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Need for Speed Payback reduces the need for loot boxes

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As the heated debate over loot boxes and player progression continues, Need for Speed Payback joins Star Wars Battlefront 2 in making changes based on the discussion, largely in regards to how the game doles out currency and experience. Essentially, drivers will earn more for less from events and races, making it easier to upgrade cars and level up.

The objective of these changes, says Ghost Games, is to make progression and owning cars a more enjoyable experience, which you’d hope would have been the main objective from the outset. A generous person might suggest that they miscalculated how much grind would be involved, rather than being pressured or choosing to create a system that encourages players to throw cash at the problem by purchasing loot boxes — called ‘shipments’ in Payback.

Here’s the current list of changes:

Increased the amount of REP awarded by taking part in events.
Increased the amount of Bank awarded by taking part in events.
Bait crates now reward increased REP.
Bait crates now reward increased Bank.
Competing against a Roaming Racer will reward you with increased REP.
Competing against a Roaming Racer will reward you with increased Bank.
Air Suspension will now appear more frequently within Shipments.
Slightly increased REP and Bank for finishing an event outside of first place.

More tweaks are also in the works. Ghost Games will be changing how tune-up shops work, specifically around the quality of their stock. Tune-up shops sell cards that represent parts and vehicle upgrades, but their selection is random. Alternatively, the studio suggests that players recycle speed cards for tokens, which can also be gained by winning events, as they can be used to make a targeted roll, potentially netting players new upgrades for a specific part of the car.

The loot boxes persist, unfortunately, but these otherwise positive changes certainly suggest that kicking up a fuss about less than consumer-friendly business models has a tangible impact, and that these already quite pricey and popular games don’t need to manipulate or milk players.

None of this sounds like it will fix the problems John had when he took Need for Speed Payback for a spin. Lamentably, the series continues to try and be like the Fast and Furious movies, but with the worst cast of horrible racers imaginable.

Tyler and his crew are about to pull of the job of the century, to steal a $2m car for its tech, and be set for life. But one of the crew betrays them, and Tyler has the choice of going to prison, or working for the guy from whom he stole the car. Because, um, that’s how the police works? Who knows, certainly not the developers. Six months later, he’s still working for the mean man, on the promise that one day he’ll get revenge – nay, Payback – on the crewmate who let him down so. But the betrayer is talking to the mean man! And so he’s sad. And on his way home, someone offers Tyler the opportunity to take part in some races. But he says no, because if he races he’ll have to go to prison. (You know, that legal system.) So the next morning you begin doing some practice races to be allowed to do the big race.

Oh dear.

Anyway, if that doesn’t put you right off, Payback’s progression update is live now.

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Fraser Brown

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Premature Evaluation caretaker. Likes strategy games almost as much as he likes labradoodles.

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