China has a new rule that forces game creators to publish the drop rates for items in randomized loot boxes, and now we know a bit more about how a game like Overwatch works in that country.
On Blizzard’s Chinese Overwatch page, you can now find a four-point list that details the math behind loot boxes. In Overwatch, players can get cosmetic items to decorate their characters from loot boxes. The game gives you a free loot box every time you level up your account by playing matches, but you can also buy bundles of of these with money. This introduces of a light gambling element to the game, and it is one of the reasons that Overwatch is now the eight Activision Blizzard game to generate more than $1 billion in revenue.
Here’s how Blizzard broke down the probabilities:
- Each loot box will include 4 items.
- Every box will contain at least one item of Rare quality or higher
- It takes an average of 5.5 loot boxes to get an Epic item.
- It takes an average of 13.5 loot boxes to get an item of legendary quality.
That translates to an 18.2 percent chance for an Epic and 7.4 percent chance for Legendary.
Now, this rule is only for China (since that country instilled it), so these rates may not apply outside of that country. And Blizzard could have a million reasons to adjust these probabilities for other regions. I’ve asked the publisher if these numbers do apply to other territories, and I’ll update this post if it provides an answer to that question.
Also, these numbers don’t necessarily mean you always have a 1-in-13.5 chance of getting a Legendary item. It’s possible that Blizzard has an algorithm that adjusts the drop rates depending on your recent luck, so that if you’ve opened 50 loot boxes and haven’t gotten a Legendary, you have a higher chance than 1-in-13.5 to get one in your 51st loot box. I don’t know if that’s the case, it’s just that nothing in the public disclosure excludes that as a possibility because the algorithm could still even out to 1-in-13.5 over time.