Interesting article about Neverwinter's monetization model: http://www.ign.com/articles/2017/04/24/the-troubling-psychology-of-pay-to-loot-systems
A few quotes:
In behavioural psychology, that randomised system of reward is the one that creates the most addiction
the repetitive exposure, almost like a commercial – every time you sign in – you’re getting that over time, and it just works and works and works on you. Maybe it’s not that week or maybe it’s five months later, but I think at some stage, and this, I’m really putting myself out by saying that you’re going to end up spending some money, either great or small.
This “poker machine-like experience” refers to the randomised nature of these loot drops, and ties into primitive parts of our brain, making them particularly effective because of how susceptible we are to them.
A lot of research shows that fixed rewards are not as effective for getting people to change behaviours, learn a new behaviour, or form a habit as random rewards are
The microtransaction systems inside these free-to-play or low-price-point apps have actually become the business model. That in itself is a topic for another day, but the point is that within that ecosystem players are incentivised to spend money, and some of these players spend thousands – or significantly more – on these kinds of systems and are dubbed “whales”.
A greater level of transparency about these mechanics and greater awareness of how they impact players would, ultimately, better help to guide purchasing decisions and temper some of the drama surrounding these systems.
I’d argue pay-to-loot isn’t the same as pay-to-win. Pay-to-loot is something subtler and, arguably, worse.
It would be a lot safer, especially for minors, if the loot that you got, say, for levelling-up and putting your time in and playing well was actually expected: there was no randomised nature to it
Also massivelyop sums up their write-up
about the article by saying that we should "stop buying lockboxes".