PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds just received two new cosmetic crates full of clothing items and accessories, except you'll probably never going to get most of them.
Available only on PUBG test servers at present - as part of a new patch - the crates are named Desperado and Biker. When they do make it to the live version soon, they'll join the currently available crates as possible drops when using BP.
This is all well and good, but developer PUBG Corp - in an unprecedented move - decided to reveal drop rates for each of the individual items therein, showing just how incredibly rare many of them are.
You can see the full list of contents of the two new crates at the link, but just to give you an idea, the rarest item in the Biker crate has a 0.01% change of dropping. There are three of those in that crate alone with the same, insanely low drop rate.
The Desperado crate, the one that'll cost you an Early Bird key to unlock, doesn't really fare much better, with the rarest items having a 0.16% and 0.32% odds of dropping.
To illustrate just how dire these drop rates are compared to other games with loot boxes, let's take a look at the two of the most popular shooters right now: Overwatch, and Destiny 2. Both games offer loot boxes with cosmetic items (though Destiny 2's gear mods are an exception), but the response to each by fans and players couldn't be more different.
There are many reasons for the way each game's version of loot boxes has been received, but it's how often they reward players with the rarest items in their respective blind boxes that's worth bringing up here.
Let's start with Overwatch, since Blizzard had to officially reveal drop rates early last year in compliance with a then-recent Chinese law. Overwatch's loot boxes contain an assortment of Common, Rare, Epic, and Legendary items.
Legendary drops are typically skins that completely change the look of characters, and they no doubt take the most development time. Naturally, legendaries are the rarest. Even then, they have a 7.4% chance of dropping, or one for every 13.5 loot boxes. That's just a minimum, since a quick google search will reveal that players have found legendary drop rates to actually be higher.
What's more, Blizzard implemented a change last summer to drastically reduce duplicates in Overwatch loot boxes, particularly for players who have yet to complete a legendary collection of skins for all heroes.
Destiny 2's Bright Engrams also contain four items, though Bungie doesn't reveal the odds.
Exotic is the highest tier, and according to many YouTube videos, you'll get an Exotic in eight to ten boxes. The odds are a bit better than Overwatch's, but Blizzard comes out on top because of how much loot boxes cost. They're both miles better than PUBG, still.
But what about the value for money?
PUBG Corp has not yet revealed the price for the Early Bird key that unlocks Desperado crates, but it's safe to assume it's going to cost $2.5 like the Gamescom key. This is also pretty much the standard price for keys in games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Killing Floor 2, and many others that utilise similar key-and-crate systems.
Even then, you'd be paying $2.5 for a single item, compared to four in Overwatch or Destiny 2. The value for the money is also very much in favour of the two games, at around $1 at the highest per box for Overwatch, and about $2 for Destiny 2.
You could argue that one of PUBG's crates - the one with the lowest odds - is completely free, and you could simply ignore it and not lose anything. This is true, but adopting this line of thinking dismisses two major factors. First, PUBG's drop rates and the amount of content vs money spent is still well below other big games, so even if you had no problem partaking in its system, you'd still be getting an objectively worse deal than even Destiny 2.
The other, and more important point, is that PUBG has the worst progression system of the three. Overwatch guarantees a free loot box, with no caps, every time you level up. Regardless of how good you are at the game, there's always a loot box waiting for you the next time you gain a new rank. The same goes for Destiny 2, and though the process is not as smooth as Overwatch's, the path is there.
Back to PUBG, the only way to get crates is by spending BP. BP is earned from playing the game at a really low rate that rewards in-match placement over anything else. PUBG also makes every consecutive loot box more expensive after the first one.
The game actively pushes players away from the only progression system it has in order to control the quantities of items in the market. No other game does this, and this is likely why these obscene drop rates feel more like an insult here than they would in any other game with loot boxes.
The developer is clearly more interested in selling keys and taking a cut of the expensive Steam Market deals that'll happen when the pieces inevitably end up there. Just take a look at how expensive the Gamescom, and PlayerUnknown clothing sets are.
The fact of the matter is, PUBG needs to overhaul its progression system and implement a consistently rewarding one. For this to happen, PUBG Corp will need to create a lot more of these cosmetic items in order for there to be enough content to sustain such a system.
Like it or not, the cornerstones of every one of these blind boxes, from Call of Duty: WW2 to Overwatch, Destiny, and Star Wars: Battlefront 2 all rely on some low quality, easy-to-make items that make up the majority of what you'll find in it.
Pistol grips in Call of Duty, sprays in Overwatch are all there because games don't have infinite content. PUBG could have t-shirts take up the mantle of the loot box filler, because that'd still be better than what we have today.