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The Troubling Psychology of Pay-to-Loot Systems

loboguildloboguild Posts: 2,371Member Arc User
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".

Discuss!
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Comments

  • ravenskyaravenskya Posts: 1,887Member Arc User
    Interesting article - I do like the term "pay-to-loot"

    And since it is gambling that takes $$ I do find it interesting that they can take a child's money to give them a randomized chance at an imaginary prize.
    Founding Member of "Wrong Side of the Stronghold"
    Ravenskya - TR / Krisha Chaos - OP / Waffles - GF / Dex Domitor - HR
    Becky the trendy GWF - GWF / Too Toasty - SW / Falcor - DC / Morrigan - CW / Sir Didymus - OP

  • thefabricantthefabricant Posts: 4,453Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
    Meh, this is why I never have bought lockboxes and also why I avoid forming habits related to refining.

    I know some people swear by refining in low instance areas, or pressing slowly, or a bunch of other stuff.

    The rational part of me says not to do it, so I don't do it. The easiest way to not get sucked into that kind of game is to not play it in the first place.
  • artifleurartifleur Posts: 434Member Arc User
    ravenskya said:

    Interesting article - I do like the term "pay-to-loot"

    And since it is gambling that takes $$ I do find it interesting that they can take a child's money to give them a randomized chance at an imaginary prize.

    Interesting thinking indeed. I don't know much about the laws regarding this subject for the USA, or any specific state, that Cryptic might be subject to, but selling lottery tickets to children is definitely forbidden in France and that's basically what they're doing with their lockboxes.

  • thrilk#9892 thrilk Posts: 56Member Arc User
    There is no doubt in my mind that free to play/micro transaction games are designed to take advantage of people's addictive personality traits. I would not be surprised if one day that business model is viewed in the same light as interest only mortgages and rent to own models as predatory.
  • ravenskyaravenskya Posts: 1,887Member Arc User
    artifleur said:


    Interesting thinking indeed. I don't know much about the laws regarding this subject for the USA, or any specific state, that Cryptic might be subject to, but selling lottery tickets to children is definitely forbidden in France and that's basically what they're doing with their lockboxes.

    In the US you have to be 18 or older to buy a lottery ticket. I believe the legality part they are getting around through the legal definition of gambling. Someone has to use real money to gamble on the chance to win something of actual value. Since there isn't any actual value to what they are "raffling" they are getting around the fact that they are creating gambling habits in children.

    I don't have any issue with adults doing what they want with their money - but I do feel uneasy about the idea of 8 year olds becoming addicted to the gambling mentality over a make believe mount.
    Founding Member of "Wrong Side of the Stronghold"
    Ravenskya - TR / Krisha Chaos - OP / Waffles - GF / Dex Domitor - HR
    Becky the trendy GWF - GWF / Too Toasty - SW / Falcor - DC / Morrigan - CW / Sir Didymus - OP

  • loboguildloboguild Posts: 2,371Member Arc User
    edited April 2017
    There was another article on the law side of things a few months ago when China prepared a new law that forced publishers to reveal drop rates of lockboxes. Unfortunately PWE discontinued Neverwinter in China, so we won't be able to draw any conclusion by drop rates published over there.

    Anyway, the article stated it's not too easy to label lockboxes gambling and enforce the same regulations lotteries and casinos have to comply with. The current article however more or less shares the sentiment that we're close to proving scientifically that lockboxes can promote addictive behavior. That doesn't mean someone can legally challenge such system, but morally it seems more and more unlikely that a publisher can get away with it without fingers being pointed. And this does not only affect the company as a whole, but every single employee.

    We might be on the verge of customers no longer supporting this HAMSTER, and hence game developers need to come up with something better.​​
  • ravenskyaravenskya Posts: 1,887Member Arc User
    As long as it is both financially lucrative and legal - I would expect for it to remain as is.
    Founding Member of "Wrong Side of the Stronghold"
    Ravenskya - TR / Krisha Chaos - OP / Waffles - GF / Dex Domitor - HR
    Becky the trendy GWF - GWF / Too Toasty - SW / Falcor - DC / Morrigan - CW / Sir Didymus - OP

  • ghoulz66ghoulz66 Posts: 3,654Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
    Addicted to bad drops?
  • artifleurartifleur Posts: 434Member Arc User
    I am sure that Pavlov's dog was perfectly happy with his conditioning too.

    I'd like to think like @loboguild that in a near future everyone will fully understand the perversity and deceit of the lockboxes model and that game managers will quit it out of shame but I'm afraid that @ravenskya probably is right and that as long as there is no legal threat they will just keep on scamming people.
  • loboguildloboguild Posts: 2,371Member Arc User
    Well it's obvious that a change has to be enforced by the customers. The only way is not supporting it, or only where it makes sense. I personally have a very reasonable approach to lockboxes. I only open them when the expected return equals my investment, effectively taking the gambling aspect out of the system.

    If everybody would act that way, it probably already wouldn't work revenue wise and Cryptic was forced to change behavior. More than that, we can apply moral standards not only to the company, but its employees. If they treat us like addicts, I don't see why we need to give @strumslinger or @nitocris83 any respect at all. Aren't they ignoble human beings by supporting such a system?​​
  • markeen#2032 markeen Posts: 289Member Arc User
    edited April 2017
    The game is ESRB rated T for Teen which includes in its discription "simulated gambling". Sony (and I'm sure Microsoft) requires the master account owner to be 18 years old which (in the US) is considered a legal adult. (Not sure about pc but probably no "rules") Most minors don't have jobs yet and have to ask their parents/guardians for money to spend in games. Parents/guardians should be aware of what their kids are buying and should teach money management. With that said, in regards to "taking money from kids" I'd say it's the parents responsibility. The rules are laid out. The games rating discribes its content.
    And yes, micro-transactions are addicting and that is why many games use them. Especially mobile games (There's a story floating around about someone spending thousands in a month on a Mobile game and tried to sue). I agree that companies use this model because it is so addicting and for a FTP game that's great for the company.
    Now, I've spent more than enough on neverwinter and will mostly likely continue to support the game. However, I've had to vote with my wallet on another game before because their RNG was pretty nonexistent. Not to mention the game was full of bugs, new content was broken or regurgitated, reskinning of old content and money made from sales and subs was being spent on other projects. Then the final draw for me being when a member of the development team during a livestream told me directly to "just deal with it" on a broken item I had purchased in their game store. Which was broken for everyone who purchased it and the item was unusable. But this is off topic and Im lacking sleep so I'm ranting.
    Founder of Knights of Ra guild in Neverwinter PS4. Founder of The Arashikage Clan in Defiance, formally of PlayStation Home.
  • litaaerslitaaers Posts: 870Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
    edited April 2017
    loboguild said:

    Well it's obvious that a change has to be enforced by the customers. The only way is not supporting it, or only where it makes sense. I personally have a very reasonable approach to lockboxes. I only open them when the expected return equals my investment, effectively taking the gambling aspect out of the system.



    If everybody would act that way, it probably already wouldn't work revenue wise and Cryptic was forced to change behavior. More than that, we can apply moral standards not only to the company, but its employees. If they treat us like addicts, I don't see why we need to give @strumslinger or @nitocris83 any respect at all. Aren't they ignoble human beings by supporting such a system?​​

    This is the most contrived HAMSTER I've ever heard.

    So, if someone works at a Safeway, and Safeway buys from a source that is unscrupulous, the worker is complicit?

    Please get over the 'let's bring down the big guy/save the world' syndrome.

    Also, in a 'lottery', you have a chance to get nothing. In lockboxes, you get something, no matter what. It may not be the L33T L00T you were expecting, but you get something. The fact that they randomize it does NOT make it a lottery. Read up on that.

    P. HAMSTER S. : Since you buy keys and open loxboxes, you are 'guilty', according to your standard (supposed 'removal of gambling' aspect ignored as clap-trap). Does this mean we should treat you as sub-human?

    P.S.S. I really hate the way the profanity filter doesn't work when editing. Almost bolluxed up the whole deal.

  • ravenskyaravenskya Posts: 1,887Member Arc User
    litaaers said:


    This is the most contrived HAMSTER I've ever heard.

    So, if someone works at a Safeway, and Safeway buys from a source that is unscrupulous, the worker is complicit?

    Please get over the 'let's bring down the big guy/save the world' syndrome.

    Also, in a 'lottery', you have a chance to get nothing. In lockboxes, you get something, no matter what. It may not be the L33T L00T you were expecting, but you get something. The fact that they randomize it does NOT make it a lottery. Read up on that.

    P. HAMSTER S. : Since you buy keys and open loxboxes, you are 'guilty', according to your standard (supposed 'removal of gambling' aspect ignored as clap-trap). Does this mean we should treat you as sub-human?

    P.S.S. I really hate the way the profanity filter doesn't work when editing. Almost bolluxed up the whole deal.

    I don't know that anyone was saying that. I believe that the concept of gambling is - you use something of real value for a chance at getting something worth more than the amount you put in but you also take the risk of leaving with something of less value than what you put in.

    Is this true gambling? No, because in reality you are using real money to buy a chance at getting something equally imaginary whether you perceive your imaginary thing to be better or worse, it's still imaginary.

    Where I find this to have a grey area is that if younger people are utilizing this system - it sets them up to have a gambler's mindset and predisposes them to having gambling/risk taking problems down the line. Some people take issue with it, others don't. Its certainly something interesting to discuss.
    Founding Member of "Wrong Side of the Stronghold"
    Ravenskya - TR / Krisha Chaos - OP / Waffles - GF / Dex Domitor - HR
    Becky the trendy GWF - GWF / Too Toasty - SW / Falcor - DC / Morrigan - CW / Sir Didymus - OP

  • beckylunaticbeckylunatic Posts: 14,231Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User

    (Not sure about pc but probably no "rules")

    The ToS expressly states you must be 13 to even play, and if you are not of the age of majority in your jurisdiction then your parent or legal guardian must review the ToS with you. The fact that most people lie about having read the ToS and just click "I agree" notwithstanding.
    litaaers said:

    P.S.S. I really hate the way the profanity filter doesn't work when editing. Almost bolluxed up the whole deal.

    It displays correctly if you refresh.



    Guild Leader - The Lords of Light

    Neverwinter Census 2017

    All posts pending disapproval by Cecilia
  • trinity706#8838 trinity706 Posts: 643Member Arc User
    Players under the legal age are to have the terms of service gone over by their parents/guardians.

    Players don't have to spend money, if they choose to the results are on their own hands. Trying to state that games help encourage people to gamble as if people don't have to have personal responsibility is kind of silly. If parents are allowing their children to play games with random results AND spend real money on it they are responsible. If adults cannot exercise personal responsibility/restraint in their spending the problem pretty much lies there.

    The game doesn't force people to play or spend money, they themselves subject themselves to "having to play" and "having to spend money", the equivalence of F2P will eventually lead to the same results.
    “There are changes that can be made that don’t require coding...” - TriNitY
    "No amount of coding will change human behavior" - TriNitY

    Ongoing Issue: Legitmate Players Banned for Botting (Console) and the Future for "Dedicated" Players
    Community Project: Neverwinter "RNG" Database

    Suggestions: Allow Guilds More Administrative Options \/\/ "Auto" Identify Items/"Auto-Load"/Refinement Sorting+ (Implemented) \/\/ Rearrange Character on character Select Screen \/\/ Character - "Legacy" Items
  • loboguildloboguild Posts: 2,371Member Arc User
    Players under the legal age are to have the terms of service gone over by their parents/guardians.

    Players don't have to spend money, if they choose to the results are on their own hands. Trying to state that games help encourage people to gamble as if people don't have to have personal responsibility is kind of silly. If parents are allowing their children to play games with random results AND spend real money on it they are responsible. If adults cannot exercise personal responsibility/restraint in their spending the problem pretty much lies there.

    The game doesn't force people to play or spend money, they themselves subject themselves to "having to play" and "having to spend money", the equivalence of F2P will eventually lead to the same results.

    That's probably how a lawyer would reason as well, and as stated it indeed seems overly complicated to challenge a lockbox system on court. The article however otherwise pretty much entirely disproves what you just said. Player do not have the choice to spend money because companies use mind trickery on them.​​
  • trinity706#8838 trinity706 Posts: 643Member Arc User
    edited April 2017
    loboguild said:

    Player do not have the choice to spend money because companies use mind trickery on them.​​

    If "mind trickery" (lol) is being used one first has to subject themselves to it by playing the game in the first place correct? Players/potential players take the first step towards whatever outcome(s) lie ahead of them and continue moving forward, sideways, etc. if they so choose.

    The article is interesting nonetheless though doesn't really state how players are responsible for their involvement.
    “There are changes that can be made that don’t require coding...” - TriNitY
    "No amount of coding will change human behavior" - TriNitY

    Ongoing Issue: Legitmate Players Banned for Botting (Console) and the Future for "Dedicated" Players
    Community Project: Neverwinter "RNG" Database

    Suggestions: Allow Guilds More Administrative Options \/\/ "Auto" Identify Items/"Auto-Load"/Refinement Sorting+ (Implemented) \/\/ Rearrange Character on character Select Screen \/\/ Character - "Legacy" Items
  • artifleurartifleur Posts: 434Member Arc User
    "Mind trickery" may seem like an overstatement but the idea is here.

    If a player decides to play Neverwinter without buying any lockbox he will still get pop-up windows telling him he could get that shiny golden mount from the lockbox, he will get shiny purple lockboxes dropping from mobs constantly, he will see ads regarding the upcoming or brand new lockbox everytime he starts the game. Over time this will slowly add up until such time when he will start feeling he wants to buy lockbox keys.

    I don't want to specifically blame PWE and Cryptic since many have done it before them and many more still do it (some chinese mobile games are pushing this system very very far atm) but I find this marketing strategy unhealthy, even perverse, and I'd like to be able play Neverwinter without being exposed to it.

  • loboguildloboguild Posts: 2,371Member Arc User
    If "mind trickery" (lol) is being used one first has to subject themselves to it by playing the game in the first place correct?

    No because that would require the game to inform players what they are getting into. And not doing so is absolutely a wanted part of the system. That's why the article rightfully lobbies for more transparency.

    Can you tell me why we aren't allowed to publish drop rates around here? Exactly, because doing informed decisions based on actual numbers works against their monetization system. "A lot of research shows that fixed rewards are not as effective". Hence it's actively suppressed.

    I would give you that scientific evidence that lockboxes can actually cause addiction is currently lacking, but you seem to have a very misguided or ignorant view on the topic.​​
  • trinity706#8838 trinity706 Posts: 643Member Arc User
    artifleur said:

    "Mind trickery" may seem like an overstatement but the idea is here.

    Know that your PoV/opinion is valid, not arguing that the game can't "wear down" some players though it is still the choice of the player to buy or not even with consistent reinforcement from the game.
    loboguild said:


    No because that would require the game to inform players what they are getting into. And not doing so is absolutely a wanted part of the system.


    I would give you that scientific evidence that lockboxes can actually cause addiction is currently lacking, but you seem to have a very misguided or ignorant view on the topic.​​

    Players do know what they are getting into and if they don't there's plenty of information out there for them to access while the game is downloading, it's called making an informed decision. In situations such as these taking the responsibility of one's action away from them and placing it elsewhere is problematic. It's not being arguing that people can't be enticed to spend money and then to continue spending or that more transparency could be useful, it's being argued that players have a responsibility in the situation as well, it's easy to simply blame game developers/producers as if the players have clean hands but it is harder for players to accept and acknowledge their own involvement and proceed forward from there.


    “There are changes that can be made that don’t require coding...” - TriNitY
    "No amount of coding will change human behavior" - TriNitY

    Ongoing Issue: Legitmate Players Banned for Botting (Console) and the Future for "Dedicated" Players
    Community Project: Neverwinter "RNG" Database

    Suggestions: Allow Guilds More Administrative Options \/\/ "Auto" Identify Items/"Auto-Load"/Refinement Sorting+ (Implemented) \/\/ Rearrange Character on character Select Screen \/\/ Character - "Legacy" Items
  • metalicum1metalicum1 Posts: 200Member Arc User
    This is very much connected with what I was writing about in my "loot" post.

    We all know that Neverwinter needs to make money, and I am pretty sure a lot of us have no problem paying, if the service is worth it (people who feel entitled to free entertainment are really not my concern). The problem arises when there is no real service, but only gambling, as it is in neverwinter. I would rather pay for the game in it's entirety, even sub based system would be better, than to not be able to pay anything to get balanced system of progression.

    Everything in neverwinter is balanced around lockboxes, character progress is hidden in super mindless grind. The situation gets even more problematic when at the end of the grind, the desirable reward is not there. Most of the time, you sell items on the AH to get the thing you really want, and very often the thing you want comes from a lockbox of somebody else. The entire economy is centered around the lockbox. In certain cases, there is literally no other way of obtaining the thing you want.

    I wouldn't even mind the pay-to-loot aspects, if they were not the very basis of the game's economy and progression system. And if you combine the system with the variety of end game content that is worth playing currently, you'll end up with a disaster that it Neverwinter end game.

    Aris Meyde CW MoF Renegade

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  • loboguildloboguild Posts: 2,371Member Arc User
    Players do know what they are getting into and if they don't there's plenty of information out there for them to access while the game is downloading, it's called making an informed decision.

    I would challenge that. Do you check every single game you're playing or downloading whether it could promote addiction or in a more general sense, have a valid age rating? Most certainly not, because they do not expect something to be harmful or abusive. It's a bit foolish to expect from everyone to know all aspects of the MMO's / games they are getting into. Players normally do that while playing, and then they already walked right into the trap.

    You're right that we shouldn't entirely release players from any kind of responsibility, but it's undoubtedly true that some publishers are not only being nontransparent, but actively preventing players from getting the information they need from their own platforms.​​
  • trinity706#8838 trinity706 Posts: 643Member Arc User
    "Progression" is defined by the player.

    There are a number of "services" provided by Neverwinter, pretty much everything in the Zen market (other than "RNG" items) give players exactly what they state they will (mounts, bags, character slots, etc., etc.

    Even some of the "RNG" elements provide exactly what they are stated to (coalescent wards, blood rubies, etc.).

    Then you have things like keys where the result is unknown and players willingly continue to utilize them. There are a number of players with an artifact set, artifacts, one or no legendary rings and are doing pretty good until they do get those Legendary/higher quality upgrades.

    Neverwinter is not pay-to-win but some players that spend money on "RNG" elements expect the "service" of getting what they want which is not how it works. Spending money on keys does not guarantee specific results, favorable "RNG" yields cannot be forced by spending money and a number of players fail to realize this. Game play over time is the equivalence of spending real money though we all live in a "microwave society" and players tend to want instant gratification which often works against them, they press so forward for "progression" that it outruns time and pretty much the only way to try and achieve it is by spending money.

    A number of players don't even see the enjoyment to be had from playing with others regardless of "RNG" not smiling upon them as often as they would prefer due to being blinded by "progression". Over time players have shifted from enjoying the game in it's entirety for what it has to offer over longer periods of time to enjoying the game simply for what it has to offer.

    loboguild said:

    I would challenge that. Do you check every single game you're playing or downloading whether it could promote addiction or in a more general sense, have a valid age rating? Most certainly not, because they do not expect something to be harmful or abusive. It's a bit foolish to expect from everyone to know all aspects of the MMO's / games they are getting into. Players normally do that while playing, and then they already walked right into the trap.

    You're right that we shouldn't entirely release players from any kind of responsibility, but it's undoubtedly true that some publishers are not only being nontransparent, but actively preventing players from getting the information they need from their own platforms.​​

    Some people may very well need to in part check the games that they are interested in playing. C'mon, it wasn't suggested that players get ALL the details about a game before indulging, simply skimming or reviews would be sufficient in a number of cases.

    Can't speak for everyone but players on this end are rationally thinking adults that know that spending money on "RNG" elements in Neverwinter does not always produce high yields and it is that discretion that they hold whenever faced with the decision of buying keys or not. A number feel that when they get those high quality items that the thrill of reaching a "pinnacle" soon fades. They don't rush content on this end either, the more that remains ahead the more foreseeable play time as well.
    “There are changes that can be made that don’t require coding...” - TriNitY
    "No amount of coding will change human behavior" - TriNitY

    Ongoing Issue: Legitmate Players Banned for Botting (Console) and the Future for "Dedicated" Players
    Community Project: Neverwinter "RNG" Database

    Suggestions: Allow Guilds More Administrative Options \/\/ "Auto" Identify Items/"Auto-Load"/Refinement Sorting+ (Implemented) \/\/ Rearrange Character on character Select Screen \/\/ Character - "Legacy" Items
  • loboguildloboguild Posts: 2,371Member Arc User
    edited April 2017
    For my taste you make it sound too much like we should let the dealer off the hook and tell the addicts they should have made an informed decision before taking a drug. We probably have to agree to disagree at this point, but I'm glad the thread came a alive a little. Any talk around this topic is a plus.​​
  • trinity706#8838 trinity706 Posts: 643Member Arc User
    edited April 2017
    Wouldn't put it like that LoL

    Players not being aware of the stick that the carrot dangles from is a problem. No matter how delicious it may seem or be described to be by others who have had a taste or two, seeing so many players jump for it and it remain out of reach more often than not is a good indicator to quit jumping for it or to jump less...

    Even if the "RNG" temptress continues to try and entice players to partake, players that "know better"can help snap others out of that trance that often leads them astray. Players being out for self hinders such things. Players on this end mention to other players frequently that they have a 100% percent chance to buy something from the trade house (if it's available) if they save/have the AD vs taking their chances buying keys to either get something or to generate the AD for it.
    “There are changes that can be made that don’t require coding...” - TriNitY
    "No amount of coding will change human behavior" - TriNitY

    Ongoing Issue: Legitmate Players Banned for Botting (Console) and the Future for "Dedicated" Players
    Community Project: Neverwinter "RNG" Database

    Suggestions: Allow Guilds More Administrative Options \/\/ "Auto" Identify Items/"Auto-Load"/Refinement Sorting+ (Implemented) \/\/ Rearrange Character on character Select Screen \/\/ Character - "Legacy" Items
  • demonmongerdemonmonger Posts: 3,046Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
    It all makes perfect sense now...
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    I hate paying taxes! Why must I pay thousands of dollars in taxes when everything I buy is taxed anyways!
  • lantern22lantern22 Posts: 794Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User

    There is no doubt in my mind that free to play/micro transaction games are designed to take advantage of people's addictive personality traits. I would not be surprised if one day that business model is viewed in the same light as interest only mortgages and rent to own models as predatory.

    Nothing wrong with interest only mortgages if you use them correctly.

    Now lockboxes on the otherhand, you would be mad to pay $$ to open those
  • maatmonsmaatmons Posts: 58Member Arc User
    I'm not completely sure of the laws here in the US. I think that as long as there's no cash payout, it doesn't fall under any of our gambling laws.

    Heck, there are claw machines here filled with iPods and stuff. And all claw machines are set to only be winnable a fraction of the time according to an inner random number generator. But, so far as I know, even the claw machines with items worth hundreds of dollars don't have to tell you their odds.

    I've never heard of claw machines, even the iPod ones, having any sort of age limit. If we're letting children pump money into a machine with an undisclosed, randomized chance of a payout legitimately worth $200+, what are the odds of anyone raising a fuss over imaginary rewards?
  • qexoticqexotic Posts: 836Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
    Thing is, at some point someone is going to clarify that the items we can acquire in games do have substance, i.e. they are not imaginary. As it stands, it would be more accurate to say that they have no tangible existence since you cannot physically pick up anything that you obtain in a computer game like Neverwinter. However, the items do exist even if only as a string of numbers stored on a computer somewhere.

    I haven't checked up on the legislation in recent times but intangible items that we 'own' do already exist. The best examples being digital music and video. While you never actually own commercial music and videos, you just buy a license to listen to or watch them, you do own music and video you create yourself. Digital video shot on CCTV, personal cameras and mobile phones is admissable as evidence in court even though it has no physical existence beyond being strings of numbers stored on hard drives, flash drives, USB sticks, etc. In the not-so-distant past, images shot on good old fashioned film have a tangible, physical form. You could hold them and look at them. Items in computer games will eventually have a declared legal status. It is only a question of when this will happen. Software companies like Cryptic will try to stop this happening for as long as they can get away with it >:)
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