Borderlands 3 has no mercy when it comes to loot boxes.
Nobody likes loot boxes. At least, according to a recent survey of over 1,000 gamers performed by a Canadian gambling website. Because loot boxes are gambling.
Don’t think so? You’re in the minority. According to Casino.ca, most gamers consider loot boxes to be a form of gambling, just over half think they’re predatory, about 45% think they’re addictive, and 40% believe they should be regulated in some way.
Half of the respondents also regretted their decision to buy a loot box--if you can call it a decision.
Borderlands 3 released without a single loot box, to the resounding cheers of its fans. However, they did have at least one nod to the controversy surrounding loot boxes, and it’s called Loot Boxer.
It’s a slot machine, which is universally considered to be a form of gambling. And you’re literally handing over cash (in-game, at least) to gamble on a machine that’s called “Loot Boxer.” It’s the same slot machine as found in Moxxi’s Bar in Borderlands 2, but this time the game at least tells you what rewards are possible when the dial stops turning.
It’s an obvious dig against loot boxes, but then, loot boxes deserve all the controversy they get.
Countries all around the world are coming to grips with the scourge of loot boxes. Several European nations, including Belgium, have already banned them outright as a form of gambling (which they are). The UK seems poised to be the next country to say "no" to loot boxes, although EA is determined to fight them every step of the way by calling them "surprise mechanics."
Meanwhile, the US is grappling with loot boxes in its own way. One senator proposed a ban, which freaked every major game maker right out, and then they all got together to take the baby step of at least publishing their loot box odds.
All these reasons are likely why Gearbox shied away from loot boxes in their latest looter shooter title.