The Jimquisition: Pay To Spray – Overwatch And Microtransactions

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Overwatch is one of my favorite games of the year, but I cannot in good faith consider awarding it the title of “best” game.

My long-running policy of disqualifying premium games with microtransactions in them is consistently enforced, but it’s pissed off a lot of Blizzard fans.

As an attempt to bring understanding to such furious souls, I offer my full problem with Overwatch’s fee-to-pay mechanics and the failure of its loot boxes in general.

Chris
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Chris

FRIENDLY CRITIQUE:
During the end credits there is a little writing that says “The Beatles of people” next to your head. I was hoping that would change every episode like “The good Hitler of video games” for example but I see it’s the same. Any chance of making it a weekly gag or does it make editing the credits a nightmare?

Sam
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Sam

I second that!
That would be fun;D

Booksds
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Booksds

“The Dark Souls of Garme Jurnalizm”

Jiryn
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Jiryn

“It’s Dangerous to go alone, Take Jim”

Molly
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Molly
I don’t really understand the fury. Like… as if anyone’s “game awards” matter anyway. They’re fun to watch but they don’t matter for anything, especially not a singular game reviewer’s own personal awards show. I like Jim’s end of year awards just fine, but I think a lot of these people are pathetically taking it more seriously than Jim does… but only for the one game they want to see in it…? I mean, I know the discussion is about fee-to-pay, but, I’m sorry, I’m still hung up on how seriously these people are taking seeing their little darling get… Read more »
zeeby
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zeeby

Still have no idea how actually use the effing spray? Can’t be arsed to google it either..

Molly
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Molly

Just go up to a wall and press T :3

Or the floor… or the ceiling if you’re Pharah.

Go, spray all over the payload if you want to.

Artemiy
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Artemiy

Spray you milky white goodness all over it…

Fly Cooper
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Fly Cooper

Do you think it’s possible that the stuff is spread so thin because Blizzard are used to supporting their games over many years and if you let the good stuff loose a month after release where do you go if the game lasts more than a decade. Not defending micro transactions and I don’t believe Overwatch will still be played in 10 years but maybe that’s how they saw it when coming up with the business plan, looking at their own previous games as opposed to similar games.

zeeby
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zeeby
I have definitely thought about that. You’re right they certainly don’t want players getting everything in a month or so leaving them with nothing to earn. However i’m not sure if the answer is padding it out.. why not just have more ‘cool’ loot in total? It’s not like they’re cheap..I mean it’s $20 dollars for 24 of these things.. think about that. I’ve earned more than 24 loot boxes and have a one or two things worth caring about in them. Heck you could spend the same as the price of the game and still get a pile of… Read more »
nicethugbert
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nicethugbert

Saxophone Jim is so … professional.

Zippydsmlee
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If they make it all free every 6 months then its not that bad if its not then they suck.

Nobody's Fanboy
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Nobody's Fanboy
Question: In your opinion, Jim, would it have been noteworthy beyond “It has microtrans and that sucks because it’s a pay-up-front game” if it was better implemented? For sake of argument…if it was something more in the vein of GW2 immediately post-launch with its steady stream of meaningful unlocks, if duplicates weren’t possible or were at least 1:1 with the cost of something of the same rarity, if there were more reward criteria or more frequent rewards, or things of that nature? Seeing your review, seeing the thoughtful takes on it, and now this, that’s where I’m leaning…that it’s not… Read more »
Jim Sterling
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Basically, if it were implemented better, I’d treat it the same way I treated Garden Warfare 2. I’d feel a bit disappointed, I’d not give it a GOTY award, but I wouldn’t make an episode on it for anything. I’d move on.

Nobody's Fanboy
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Nobody's Fanboy

That was the impression I got, but figured it was worth double-checking. Good to know, thank you!

Hugh W Lawes
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Hugh W Lawes

Level 15, Got the rescue mel gold skin, Only skin I wanted. I don’t bother opening loot boxes anymore……….Wish I won the lotto…………

Peace from the land down under.

Bender3000
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Bender3000

That’s a good one.

My experience has been pretty much the same as Jim’s, it sounds like. I haven’t unlocked a single skin and only got a paltry 200 credits and I’m almost at level 20.

Angus Seydel
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Angus Seydel

I do absolutely love Overwatch, but I can and will not defend the microtransactions present within

Not Lord Atkin
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Not Lord Atkin

…you know what, even a skinner box needs to be done well. It’s a part of the experience. I’m all for optional cosmetic microtransactions, don’t generally agree with your moratorium on any monetization systems in full priced games as a principle. Except the system in overwatch is pants. It’s a good thing the game can carry it but I’d still like to see it patched.

What do sprays even do?

Nobody's Fanboy
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Nobody's Fanboy

They allow you to put a decal on a surface [wall, ceiling, object, etc]…if memory serves, it was started by / in the same era as the original Counter-Strike, where it was presented as spray(paint)ing, hence ‘spray’.

Mine used to be the Dust Puppy from UserFriendly, made a great radar for LANparties…as soon as I heard someone asking what the giant grinning fuzzball was, I knew exactly where they were.

SilentPony
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SilentPony

Hey Jim, I’m thinking of going out and getting Aliens Colonial Marines.

Sam
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Sam

You… son of a… BITCH!!
;D

Artemiy
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Artemiy

Don’t you mean son of a Pitch? Ha! Hahaha…

Kelerak
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Kelerak

Randy Pitchford, what did I tell you about going onto Jim’s website?

Pitch
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Pitch

I mean it’s happened hasn’t it? People have given up and just rolled over. We used to be so outraged by micro-transactions. Alternative costumes in games were built-in, hidden items unlocked through hard-earned gameplay.

The fire has died and those who have given up are angry they are being reminded of it.

Helmic
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Helmic

Don’t even bother playing an MMO. You’ll get to customize your face and that’s it, you’ll look like any other bloke with the same class, level, and sex. It gates off an incredibly cool part of multiplayer games for those that pay silly amounts of money.

At the very least Blizzard is ethically obligated to disclose the actual odds when you open a crate. Asking someone to spend money gambling without knowing the odds is just slimey and actually illegal in actual gambling. One day if the industry doesn’t shapen up it’ll end up being subject to government regulation.

Luris
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Luris
The Secret World is a good counterexample. You’re a bit limited in what your body looks like (only about 10 faces/eyes/eyebrows/mouths/noses/… and no body-morphing beyond height) but the game is set in present days and your clothes have no impact on your performance (you use hidden amulets instead) and you have a lot of possibility in a lot of color and styles, from sweatpants to business suit and sexy leather dresses. About 95% of it is unlocked with the regular ingame currency or through achievements. The last 5% can be bought at the game store but unless you really want… Read more »
Helmic
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Helmic

A lovely rare example, that game was good. Too bad you hardly have any in game incentive to do the game’s best content, the mysteries and ARG’s, since all the good stuff was in raids.

Infernofire
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Infernofire
Seperate to the temptation argument: I like to compare it to entering a sports tournament. If you enter a lot of tournaments you may eventually win and you’ll get a trophy as proof of that, which feels good. Now suppose that you could also just buy the trophy. Wouldn’t that take away a large part of the enjoyment of trying to win the trophy? To some people it wouldn’t, to others it most certainly would, even though having the trophy does not give you an advantage in any future tournament. I know the comparison isn’t perfect, but I feel it’s… Read more »
boguspeople
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boguspeople

That prelude was so unnecessary. Jim did not need to defend himself for something that was his opinion. If people disagree, so what, it’s not like we come here for investment advice.

PassingAtRandom
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PassingAtRandom

The sad part is that EVEN if you are f2p there are standars to be had, i mean, do we really should give software such as “Nintendo Badge Arcade” a free pass by virtue of being “free” despite how exploitative it is?

Jim Sterling
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Agreed. In fact, Nintendo Badge Arcade is still a contender for this year’s Shittiest Game awards.

And let us not forget the blight that was Dungeon Keeper Mobile.

Appretaur
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Appretaur

Uh? *This* year’s Shittiest Games awards? But that was released in November 2015, and you didn’t include it in that year’s Shittiest Games list.

BornFlunky
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BornFlunky

The irony of all of the sprays in the video’s thumbnail not being obtainable through loot boxes.

Anyhoo, time to actually watch the video.

Peter O'Hanraha-hanrahan
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Peter O'Hanraha-hanrahan

So can you at least buy the few things you do want outright? Or is it still just pure luck even for those willing to put real money down for skins ect?

Ayon Windsor
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Ayon Windsor

You can’t outright buy the stuff you want. You can only buy the luck-dependant lootboxes. However, they can drop “Credits” a premium currency of sorts that let’s you buy what you want, however they are just as uncommon as most things in the box.

Peter O'Hanraha-hanrahan
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Peter O'Hanraha-hanrahan

That’s so bizarre

It seems like Blizzard could make more money if they just allowed people to just buy the shit they actually care about it.

Because a lot of people would be reluctant to gamble their money but happy to pay extra if they know what they’re getting for the cash

Ayon Windsor
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Ayon Windsor
Fun fact, that’s exactly what I’m thinking. I play the game “wrong” for a lot of players since I only play one character. In the beta I had no luck whatsoever to get anything for that character. I may have bought some credits at launch just be done with it and have what I want. I have now sunk so many hours in the game, I have currency I don’t know what to do with. I would never pay for something like a random box. Their loss. The sheer audacity to have microtransactions is enough, making the transactions useless, is… Read more »
Peter O'Hanraha-hanrahan
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Peter O'Hanraha-hanrahan

At least in my experience with multiplayer shooters, 90% of the players find their niche and work with what they’re best at.

Problem is if you are a player that only really cares about 1 or 2 of the characters the odds are always gonna be stacked against you with a system like this.

To me that just seems absolutely bloody mental as business strategies go, essentially freezing out an entire section of their own audience when they could be catering to all of them and making even more money as a result

BornFlunky
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BornFlunky

In Overwatch, all you can pay for are loot boxes. The loot boxes -might- have currency as one of the four drops contained in each, which you can collect for items you can pick and buy.

Can’t buy the currency. Can’t assure yourself any currency. It’s all still random.

Weasel Biggs
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Weasel Biggs
You unlock credits sporadically, but Legendary skins are a thousand credits a pop. You *can* unlock everything for free using the credit system, but it’s more of a hassle than a convenience. Past Level 20, progress slows down considerably and makes random unlocks and those periodic free loot boxes a pretty long time coming. Considering, there’s a haves and have-nots economy that’s put in place, as evidenced by a couple YouTube celebs going “Hai you guys, I just bought sixty dollars worth of virtual crap, let’s stream those loot boxes! OHMIGOD, I’M GONNA SCREAM FOR NO FREAKING REASON BECAUSE I… Read more »
Gizensha
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Gizensha
Can’t say I disagree with any of what you say, there, and excellent point about how character customization is a feature (and, indeed, one that I always enjoy and oh my god why is such a brilliant character customization system as layered outfits, so not only do you have seperate pants and shirts you get to pick which jacket and hood layers go on top of the shirt rather than it being one size fits all, plus the dye system in such a meh game as Last Story) that has appeal to many. …Though because this isn’t P2W style microtransactions,… Read more »
Kimarous
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Kimarous
Having watched the original video, TB’s video, and this counterpoint extrapolation, I feel this has been a well-done debate where both sides have made their stances clear while respectfully disagreeing with one another. Neither side feels “wrong” on the issue. I was almost swayed to TB’s side, but Jim hit the nail on the head and just kept POUNDING IT… POUNDING IT… POUNDING IT… POUNDING IT… POUNDING IT… POUNDING I- But yeah, I’m going to take Jim’s side on this issue. In a similar vein, I’m quite a fan of Mortal Kombat X but find the microtransation element pretty indefensible… Read more »
molamolacolacake
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molamolacolacake
I can only tell you my experience with Overwatch, and I haven’t experienced anything toxic yet–and I’m playing on PC! I’ve only had one game where anyone even used the mic, and he just obnoxiously nagged for someone to be Bastion and get on the payload until he realized we were all ignoring him and just did it himself (he wasn’t wrong, it’s a fine strategy, but come on dude, it’s your idea, you do it if you care that much). But otherwise, I haven’t had any issues with people being jerks or anything, even in the chat box. Unless… Read more »
Kimarous
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Kimarous
Heh, no nothing like that. I don’t even have the game. I mean hostile in the senses of either “you have a healing ability and another player gets aggressive because you didn’t heal him when he wanted you to” or “community so hostile that even the ‘newbie-friendly’ areas don’t feel welcoming to newbies.” I’ve lost track of how many games I’ve played where the community has reacted like “You don’t even play single player above normal? You shouldn’t even be qualified to be here.” or extremes of that nature. Yeah, probably a vocal minority, but it’s that vocal minority I… Read more »
molamolacolacake
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molamolacolacake

Yeah, I haven’t personally seen anything like that yet, in game anyway. I’m certain there are toxic segments of the community out there, particularly when you head into forums and stuff.

I’ll be interested to see if anyone else comments and says they have seen it, though. It’s always nice to know what to look out for.

Powermad80
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Powermad80

All I really have to add is:

“especially ones with MOBA-like elements.”

That’s not Overwatch at all, you’re thinking of Battleborn. Overwatch is the TF2 sequel and Battleborn is the FPS-MOBA.

Even Luck
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Even Luck

Sorry this is unrelated, but your profile pic is adorable. I wish we all had little Yahztee heads as pets.

Aotrs Commander
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Aotrs Commander
My UTTERLY IRRELEVANT (since I will never be playing Ovewatch, for the very simple reasons I neither multiplayer nor shooter) opinion is that randomness to excess in whatever context and random as a primary reward mechanic (regardless of whether cosmetic, mechanical or otherwise) is a bad system. That (theorhetically) bothers me more than the actual micro-transactions. The only game which EVER tempted me into multiplayer briefly was Mass Effect 3. And that, despite having in-game currency for reward random unlocks, put me off after a while. As I was bored of playing the few characters I had[1] and getting to… Read more »
Janio
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Janio
I played Mass effect multiplayer, when it was free before launch or after it for awhile. ( do not rember it correctly ) I wonn multiple class unlocks I think and other stuff, but I was this will probably not happen when I buy it on another system. It would not carry over so I went lets not spend the money on this game, because I will need to grind and grind to unlock to much stuff and in the end I will not play it anymore. I found TB’s and Jim’s abit lacking on f2p mode. I watched some… Read more »
La Chica Incognita
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La Chica Incognita
The fact that Blizzard added microtransactions to a pay game is absolutely disgraceful to begin with. I’m a big fan of Blizzard and think that even their worst games are far above some of the best games of other companies. Blizzard always seems dedicated to their game releases and supporting them well after their reasonable shelf life, and that is something that deserves respect. HOWEVER…are you fucking kidding me, Blizzard? I remember the infant stages of this when they had mounts that you can only buy with real life money for WoW. Being as I collected mounts in WoW I… Read more »
Chromasus (Chromasus)
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Chromasus (Chromasus)

This is what I also thought. I figured it would be really good if you could buy the in-game Credits.. But of course if you could do that, you would have -control- over what you were getting. Instead, with the loot boxes, you might not get what you want which will make you buy more loot boxes. No wonder Blizzard teamed up with Activision.. A sad union of like-minded companies.

Janio
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Janio

Think Jim missed abit how much ingame credits you will get by opening lootboxes. I think its darn expensive if you would calculate it and very random between player accounts. Then again I do not watch his vidoes for distribution statisics et cetera.

Scott John Harrison
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Scott John Harrison

The fact that credits for duplicates are only 20% of the value of the item. so to buy a legendary skin is 1000 Credits or 200 duplicates of the cheapest/commonest items.

Gorantharon
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Gorantharon

And when you get direct credit drops they’re half the value of a cosmetic drop.

A legendary credit drop is worth 500 coins, for example.

Austin_sj
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Austin_sj
I have played and enjoyed free to play games without ever investing any extra cash, I wonder whether people like me make it way less worthwhile for a core game to be provided for nothing? It’s naive of people to deny that micro transactions are designed to make money, and so of course they will be presented to possible consumers in a way that makes people want to buy them. As with everything it comes down to whether someone believes a product is worth their money for a direct purchase. The gambling style thing is a little more underhand and… Read more »
iKirin
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iKirin
Oh boy, a second Jimquisition this week – what a great week! As always a really well argued Jimquisition. While I agree with TB that they’re OK to exist, if they weren’t in the game I feel it would be better. Especially in a game like Overwatch where they are only cosmetics and every content update will be pushed to the players for free I feel microtransactions are fine, as I don’t have to buy DLCs to play with my friends who might own the DLCs. But as someone who literally has ingame-payment options on his bnet-account disabled and payment… Read more »
Elvar Ingvason
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Elvar Ingvason

Agree Jim, wrote a bachelor about microtransactions recently (in game design) and came to the exact same conclusions. Good video, good game but I loath lootboxes, cardpacks, crates and all that other nonsense that now exists.

Artemiy
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Artemiy

You know, it’s good I haven’t commented until finishing the video… I can cross out the “free updates” joke.

Also, I’m not sure if I like or dislike your “extramural” discussion with TotalBiscuit about cosmetic microtransactions.

Janio
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Janio

I would so like see some games made that are just games without unlocks or coin grinds. Just wonder how they would be recieved.

Artemiy
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Artemiy

I think it works fine(ish) for the sandbox-like games. For example, there are no “unlocks” in Minecraft per se, and there’s the creative mode.
For shooters… I dunno, I feel like a lot of people wouldn’t like to have all the weapons unlocked straight from the start. But that’s just me.

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