Psyonix revealed in August it planned to kill off Rocket League’s randomized loot crates. It’s now laid out how it will replace them: with a new type of drop called blueprints. After every match, you’ll have the chance to snag a blueprint, which explains upfront what item you’ll obtain if you buy it. You can pay for a blueprint (and item) immediately, or you can hang onto it in your inventory to purchase later. As with crates, painted, certified and special edition items will be available through blueprints. Psyonix also has a new item shop on its roadmap. It’ll feature older items that appeared in crates along with new ones.
“Like the Crate items that preceded them, Blueprints can drop with special attributes like Painted, Certified, and Special Editions,” Psyonix wrote in a blog post outlining the system. The idea is that players will know what they’re getting from Blueprints instead of “surprise mechanics” of loot boxes, which have been controversial. In May, United States senator Josh Hawley proposed new legislation that would ban pay-to-win mechanics and forbid companies from selling loot boxes to kids. Psyonix’s switch to Blueprints is one way to handle the controversy. Adding a loot box “X-ray scanner” to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in for French players is another way. If you want to know where to Buy Rocket League Items, 5mmo.com will be your best choice.
Also coming in December is a new Item Shop, where credits can be spent directly on a rotating selection of cars and car accessories, including “new items, legacy Crate content you might have missed out on, and the long-awaited debuts of items like the Titanium White Dominus.”
Items purchased in the Item Shop will not be tradeable. Psyonix will not say whether blueprints and credits will be tradeable at this time, which is what will determine whether the current marketplace can continue to exist. If I had to guess, I’d assume that blueprints will be tradeable, but credits will not. Again, there’s no confirmation on that at this time.
While the process is similar, the key difference is that you can see what’s on a blueprint, so you can decide if you want to buy it or not. To compensate for the fact that fewer people are going to be spending money this way, the game will also be introducing an item store, which will sell “a wide variety of content including new items, legacy Crate content you might have missed out on, and the long-awaited debuts of items like the Titanium White Dominus.”
A change is coming to the Rocket League store later this year, one foreshadowed by fellow Epic Games Store title Fortnite. Epic Games recently removed loot boxes from its Save the World mode. Now that change is coming to Rocket League—which Epic now owns—as well. All paid, randomized loot boxes, known as Crates, will be removed from the Rocket League storefront.
A new system will be added that “shows the exact items you’re buying in advance.” It’s not clear whether the storefront will primarily move over to individual items or bundles, but more information including timelines and rollout specifics will be released in the coming months. As for the store’s existing offers, the official blog post says that “Rocket Pass Premium, DLC Cars, and Esports Shop items will continue to be offered for direct purchase alongside our new system. In addition, Cheap Rocket League Prices is on hot sale at our website 5mmo.com.
The Blueprint system isn’t without its problems, however. When it was first introduced, players were very upset over the new item pricing. While Blueprints brought transparency that Crates didn’t, their introduction also jacked up the rates in the item store. Many felt that they were paying for the removal of loot boxes by having individual items cost double what they did before. Psyonix listened and quickly lowered the prices, hopefully ending the turmoil.
As for Epic, leaving loot boxes behind isn’t likely to hurt its bottom line any time soon. “Epic, however, could afford to get rid of loot boxes since it has found a viable alternative in the form of the battle pass,” Rogers said. “This monetization method has proven far less controversial, and battle passes were even introduced to Rocket League last year.”
We’re not likely to see the end of the loot box in games altogether, but as the industry moves toward more transparency, we may see more alternate “consumer-friendly” methods of monetization. Strategies like Epic’s battle passes have performed well and it makes sense that other publishers may seek to implement similar strategies in an effort to avoid the increasingly-controversial loot box discussion.