Loot crates/boxes/card packs have quickly become one of the most controversial tropes in modern gaming, with pretty much every franchise that features some form of customisation cashing in on the use of randomly generated unlocks. WWE 2K19 is no different, as loot boxes (known as loot packs) have become more prominent in this year’s MyPlayer mode, restricting players from creating a unique CAW for their MyCareer and Road to Glory experiences.
2K like to push the vast customisation options available to players each year, allowing gamers to design and edit every facet of professional wrestling – ranging from the wrestlers themselves to their championship belts, their entrances and the arenas they compete in. This is a fantastic element of the annual product, which brings many of players back each year despite the overwhelming criticism.
Complimenting this creative freedom is the MyPlayer mode, which takes your created wrestler on a journey from obscurity to the top of the card as part of the MyCareer Mode, or you can take them online in Road to Glory. You start with the weakest attributes and slowly build your character’s skill through completing challenges and progressing through the ranks.
You’re allowed to freely change the aesthetic of your CAW at any time, occasionally adding bits and pieces to their attires or overhauling them completely to match their evolving personalities. It’s fun to be able to wield that creative freedom that many wrestling fans crave they could utilise on today’s televised product, but that fun seems to have been stripped since the introduction of the loot boxes.
Similarly to games like Star Wars Battlefront II, Call of Duty: WWII and FIFA, most of the customisation options must first be unlocked via the loot boxes, so for those of you looking to create the newest member of SAnitY or want to make an even more flamboyant version of The Velveteen Dream, then you best get grinding for those loot boxes.
Upon creating your wrestler to use in the impressive MyCareer campaign, you’re limited to only a few, very generic outfits for them to wear in the ring. So you can guarantee that if you were to go looking through everyone else’s creations, they’d probably look very similar to your own. It really takes away from the limitless potential available to you in the creation suite, which would usually go hand-in-hand with the MyPlayer modes.
What seems like even more of a taken liberty is that even the most generic of clothing is considered off-limits during the initial creation. The fact that you have to fork out for loot boxes just so you can dress your superstar in a plain white tee is beyond ridiculous. I guess I’d be more willing to accept this if the default attires were slightly more interesting – or even more realistic. Understandably, a wrestler at the bottom of the depths of the indie scene wouldn’t have access to the fanciest of gear, but surely they’d dress themselves in something more suitable than green tights and some chest braces.
The fact of the matter is, I don’t want to be grinding through loot boxes just to give my character some elbow pads.
The only way to make your character your own is by spending in-game currency on countless loot boxes, which never guarantee you your desired piece of clothing or entrance theme. Either you suffer from the excruciating process of opening loot boxes to attain items that you’d never imagine your character using or you can purchase individual items for extortionate amounts. If I wanted my character to wear The Miz’s fabulous hooded coat to the ring, then I’d have to sacrifice 15,000 VC.
It’s not easy to build your funds either, as it requires a lot of grinding in and out of MyCareer mode. It’s grinding which isn’t really necessary when you’re only after some shades for your entrance gear, or a new taunt that’ll complement your character’s change in persona. The loot boxes themselves aren’t cheap either and don’t offer you much in the way of rewards. You never really feel like you’re getting much out of what you’re willing to spend. 2K have attempted to break down the crates into different ‘tiers’, some being more prestigious with a higher chance of legendary items, but it’s hard to justify gambling so much of your VC when you’re really only looking to jazz up your entrance.
WWE 2K could have done better if they’d taken a page from EA’s books, specifically UFC 3’s Career Modes. Again, they focus heavily on loot boxes and randomly attained perks and rewards, but it’s streamlined in a way to make sure you’re not being given tons of items that you’re not looking for. If your character is a heavyweight, you’d purchase the heavyweight packs which guarantee you X amount of items for heavyweights. WWE could mimic that with Cruiserweight moves, or stable attires, certain attire types and more.
Where 2K have indeed made some massive improvements to the MyPlayer section of the game, they still haven’t really listened to what the fans want. Gamers look for a satisfying experience that isn’t held down by tedious grinds or invisible barriers that can only be brought down by putting in more of your hard earned moolah. Loot boxes should be kept far away from games that are held up by their customisation options, as a player’s creative freedom shouldn’t be held hostage by a random reward.
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