My Sterling Folly

sterling treasure box

Earlier this week, the Destiny April update went into effect. With the update came the addition of the maddeningly enticing Sterling Treasure boxes (available from the Eververse Trading Company).

Allow me to backtrack for a moment.

When microtransactions were introduced to Destiny a while back, I was skeptical. I was fine with them being strictly for cosmetic emotes, but then when those were successful, they branched out to other types of items (e.g.: for the Sparrow Racing League you could purchase a record book and it would allow you to earn exclusive rewards) which continued to make me feel mildly weird.

But this week, I realized how fully conflicted I feel about the current microtransactions in the game.

On one hand, I understand that Bungie is trying to make additional money where they can. Destiny is a huge gaming experience, and maintaining and furthering that isn’t cheap. On the other hand, you can now buy (with real money) these in-game Sterling Treasure boxes which possibly contain one random piece of armor, and potentially other fun things (like Sparrows and ships).

Even though I find the Sterling Treasure tempting (and, in two cases, too tempting to ignore), I also find it infuriating (in a video game way). The gear from the Sterling Treasure boxes falls prey to the RNG of the game which, historically, hasn’t been good to me.

And sure, you can earn up to three boxes per week for free (per account, not per character), but with all the gear randomized, it could theoretically take weeks or, more likely, months to acquire a full set of gear for one guardian.

Case in point.

When I started up the game, I knew I was supposed to get a Sterling Treasure from the Postmaster for free.

It wasn’t there.

I did the other activities to earn my two boxes, but I was so impatient and frustrated at not getting the initial treasure (because, come on, what Destiny player doesn’t want all the new loot?), that (against my better judgement), I bought some Sterling Treasure from Eververse.

I immediately felt bad about it.

I felt worse about it when I realized I ended up with three sets of robes for my warlock (my weakest character), and only one item from the gear set I was trying for.

Over the past several days, I’ve been playing like crazy to level up. The RNG of the game has been abysmal for both everyone I’ve played with, as well as me (two days ago I received an engram that decrypted to light level 100; seriously), and I am barely leveling up.

I was already frustrated, but it didn’t help that I was seeing people all over the tower and community spaces wearing full sets of the new armor. The only way that could have been achieved this early in the update would be by purchasing additional boxes from Eververse.

So after seeing and reading that all these people had better loot than me, I broke down and bought more Sterling Treasures. And I got only one item that I didn’t have. Everything else was a repeat of something I already had.

I sincerely wish Destiny had some sort of intuitive system for the Sterling Treasure that would be less likely to give you duplicates (or triplicates) of gear you already have.

Alas. It would appear they do not.

I feel like I should have not only learned my lesson from buying my initial Sterling Treasure boxes, but that I should have known better than to fall prey to these microtransactions in the first place. I felt immediate shame. I also felt the entire foray was fruitless (FRUITLESS FORAY FRIDAY!), so that compounded the shame. I keep telling myself that I’m “supporting a developer I like,” but really, I am just a greedy guardian who wants all the new loot.

I am the worst.

Have you ever bought into microtransactions in a game? Which game? How did you feel about it? How do you feel about microtransactions in general?

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have endless strikes to do with bosses that will yield two blue engrams even with several Three of Coins active.

Ugh. Destiny.

I can’t stop playing it. It’s frustrating and engaging as hell.

I’ll be in space. Frustrated in space.

Happy Friday, friends.

14 replies »

  1. Microtransactions affect me in a similar way. They’re just there….lurking…wearing down my will to resist them. I caved in Hearthstone pretty quickly, but I resisted for quite a while for Path of Exile and Heroes of the Storm. But then I thought, hey, these are free games that I do want to support, so I’ll throw them some dough and get something out of it too. It’s such a slippery slope though…you can go down the rabbit hole pretty quickly.

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    • You are right about the slippery slope. I still don’t have the gear I want and I am frequently tempted to buy more of those dumb boxes.

      I do get the wanting to support devs part, but, yes, it can become a crutch to fall back on that thought.

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      • I do understand things from their point of view too however. If it’s the only continued revenue stream for the game…it’s going to be hard to not put serious advantages in the microtransaction bucket. Compared to entire mobile franchises that are built on pure pay-to-win mechanics, the restraint we see in fully developed games seems reasonable. But…it’s still dumb boxes.

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  2. The only game I’ve really played the most that had microtranscations was Mass Effect 3,I didn’t buy any of the boxes for the multiplayer cause every match you earned a good amount of credits to buy them.

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  3. I don’t have a problem with microtransactions for cosmetic items. I do have a problem with microtransactions for items that can have a game play effect, especially if microtransactions are the only way to get them and their acquisition is still at the mercy of random numbers.

    That being said, I spent a good bit of time yesterday in Destiny (Guardian Land Sharks!) and leveled my Hunter from 20 to 30. Boy I still suck at this game but it still feels great!

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