Implementing a randomized reward system (lootbox/gacha) in a completely free game?

What are your thoughts on randomized rewards (loot boxes/gachas) in games? Especially CCG mobile games like Girls Frontline or Arknight? I understand the negative connotations around them because they’re used by devs to squeeze all the money out of you. But the dopamine rush from receiving a good reward is still there and I think the mechanics themselves can become enjoyable, as long as they’re not abused. I want to implement them into my game (Food Frontline).

Okay, please put down your pitchforks! The game will be completely free and there’s no way to make payments in the game. I want to reproduce the gacha mechanics because I like the dopamine rush whenever I open a loot box or gacha. If you’ve played for a while with any of the popular CCG mobile games (or games with loot boxes), you know what I’m talking about, the “good” feeling from receiving a random reward after spending a certain amount of resources (time, in-game credits, …).

I wonder if I can execute this properly, I’m adding a ton of equipment items, characters, outfits, furniture, base backgrounds, … into the game and I want to distribute them using gacha systems.

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it’s basically the same way legendaries are distributed in a game like diablo. I did watch a GDC talk about how to make that system feel better than pure randomness, though I am going to work soon so I can’t find it just now. when I get home I can see if I can find it to share if you want.

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I admit I have a bad feeling about RNG, I am not a lucky person and this kind of feature as much it’s realistic is just a frustration source for me.

I prefer when we earn an amount of currency every run, that we can spend in a shop outside the dungeon.

Implemented well, a Skinner box system can improve a game’s experience without wasting the player’s time. However, it can make for a bad time if a player gets an unlucky streak. Just because the player has a one-in-three chance of getting something they want, that doesn’t mean it’ll take all players three tries to get it. As someone who plays a ton of Warframe, I know what it feels like to repeatedly get screwed over by RNG.

If I were to make a game in RPG Maker, I’d probably remove the possibility of basic attacks missing. Even if there’s only a 5% miss chance per attack, it’s still possible for an unlucky player to miss three attacks in a row and lose half their health because their character forgot how to punch a rat.

Nothing except the flashy presentation separates gacha from any other randomization in games, For example in Dragon ball Xenoverse games (a fighting game/brawler with rpg mechanics), beating any stage gives you rewards based on RNG, it could get a bit frustrating when you unlocked 6/7 unlockables in the stage and kept getting duplicates tho (something to consider).

I’ve also already played a few games with the whole gacha presentation, every single player virtual TCG, A game called Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash where skills and weapons were pulled from card packs, Xenoblade chronicles 2 had you pulling party members from a gacha system, A game called “Gotcha Force” had it as the games central mechanic, it was about collecting toys and battling them so quite literally.

I’d say the things to look out for is just wasting the player’s time too much, since the game shouldn’t be competitive or monetizing through the gacha make sure systems are in place to prevent the player from having to grind like after 5 or 10 rolls you are assured something you’ve never got.

It’s really not hard to do away with the streak of misses or bad rewards with rng. You just add a value that increments each time you get a bad result and resets when you get a good result. You can then set it so that whenever you get something like 3 misses in a row you’re guaranteed a hit on the 4th attempt.

here is a talk about reward systems.
I didn’t find the one about making the randomness less frustrating unfortunately. but just doing a basic “pity system” like the one @Fervus mentioned or a system where your odds go up after every bad drop until it’s guarantied would be fine. just remember the edge cases can and will happen with pure randomness and you should do something to mitigate that.

I have to say, this is not something that does anything for me, and I suspect others too. For me it’s just a frustration to go through extra steps of collecting points and then cashing them in rather than just having loot on enemies.

Even more frustrating if I have to do it to get things I genuinely need to advance the game. If it’s just fluff things then fine, I’ll just never bother cashing them in. If I have to do it to advance - then I’ll just stop playing.

Obviously there are lots of ways to fudge the system so good stuff eventually drops out: the one that’s pretty much required of gaming systems with real payouts is drawing from a notional shuffled deck of rewards and holding the drawn cards in a discard pile until all have been used. This guarantees that the good stuff must drop in time.

It looks like purely randomized item distribution (outfits, equipment, materials, …) are really hated xD
I’m going to leave the gacha mechanics in, but also implement the actual shop system (gacha price is much cheaper than direct purchase from the shop). For example, an outfit gacha might cost 100 credits, while the specific outfit will cost 1000 if purchased directly

What do you think?

I think having the option to buy something does distract from the feeling of “I got this rare thing, sick!” though if the balance is right you might still get that feeling (I think a 10x price to buy might be a bit low).

I would say that there might be a skewed view against the randomized items, because people that hate them want the people making these things to know and the people that kind off like it wont feel like they need to speak up (I personally am radically anti-random but I know others aren’t). I could be wrong of course but it’s worth considering

I’ll weigh the gacha price based on how many different options there are, for example, there are lots of different equipment types and some equipment are divided by element, so equipment gacha will be much cheaper compared to the direct purchase price, but for outfits, there are only around 10 for now, so gacha price will be at least 1/10th of the outfit direct purchase price

These are some really strong words, however it is how i feel.

I HATE LOOT! Or anything that has to do with loot, like lootboxes. Its not rewarding, due to the rng in any type of loot system, there is no do this and get rewarded with that, rather its do this and there is a chance you get rewarded with that. When i do things, in games or in real life, assuming it’s not for charity or free, i expect payment or fair trade for my efforts. Loot removes this. Instead of getting say 2 gold coin for each creature slain its now a 50% chance of getting two gold coin for a creature slain. There is no reward here, rather twice the work to get the same thing. The Boarderland’s game personify a loot system that to me suck the life out of a game. It has a paid system along side the loot. However to make looting even a relevant game play mechanic, most money is earned via looting. So much time is wasted looting rather than playing the game, and the action. Time wasted collecting the loot, time wasted organizing and going through the junk loot, time wasted selling the unwanted loot. I’d rather have that time invested in playing more of the story, or the fighting action than having to go looting for a better weapon to be able to continue, said story, or be even able to continue the fighting action. Any game that has a somewhat rewarding loot system generally speaking has to nerf its paid system(theres no reward in getting something you could have gotten easier or quicker, thats why in boarderlands all the best stuff is only acquired via loot).

I belive that “Boarderlands” is intended to be loot based game at the first place. It made for people, who finds it entertaining, so all other mechanics is helping looting and loot sorting mechanics.
But if loot is not main point of the game, it may still be helpful to make game feel more interesing. If you play a good story based game, you may find that loot is helping to tell this story, like in “Dark souls” games. Well, “Dark souls” is not that much about story, but this idea of telling a story by items discription is good, and works perfect for the game.
So loot can be a good mechanic if used politicly, and if game creators is know what is most important in their game.

I see your point, as I said earlier, I’ll make sure direct shop purchase is possible and reasonable. The gacha mechanics will be more like a novelty thing, bored players can throw some resources at them and see if they’re lucky.

Also since this is a completely free game, I’ll throw in something to bypass the grind such as cheats.

from a personal stand point. I agree that feeling of lucking out and getting something great for rng is good but one IF that is the only way to get a item it can be annoying lucky or not. two if a person has bad luck with RNG point one is even worse. and I had bad Luck with RNG so if you do lootbox DON’T make them the only way to get a item

It is a legal system if the game is not competitive, and it would be even better if the way to open it was for example 10 hot dogs open a box, you can buy 10 hot dogs with real money or you can find the game with a degree of difficulty a little high, but even so if you try hard you can open the box for free or if you have no chance to pay with real money to open it