Salutations fellow summoners and/or Rioters,
I would like to start being grateful to Riot Cactopus for his labor trying to communicate the "economy" changes during the preseason. Trying to be real and honest was the right choice, and I wanted to praise you with that. Putting that aside, I warn you this will be a long post and I hope we can further develop or thoughts accordingly, so don't expect a tl,dr.
I'll try to summarize my thoughts and opinions (plus what I believe resonates with a large part of the community)
1. The changes of the Orange disenchant value were poorly communicated. You can agree to disagree in most of the points I am going to make but for the sake of honesty it is required that we accept this premise. It was a massive failure, I'm positive that MOST of your customers (including the ones that pay for loot boxes). A drastic change so essential to costumers was communicated in the poorest way possible. A OE disenchant nerf so drastic mustn't be silenced the way it was, we should have been receiving more and more information regarding it, in order to prevent what it wasn't prevented: huge collections of skin shards pilled under the frustration of an uninformed costumer. I know you care about how the players feel regarding changes and I wanted to give you some feedback: I felt cheated. A lot of us felt that way. And what it is even more important that feelings, it affected the value perception of people's own money.
2. Orange Essence is a broken system by default. The idea of adding a tertiary currency into the game being regulated by the Loot boxes is a delicate one. It is really difficult to balance, as it resonates with the costumer's perception of value (specifically with their hard earned cash value). It's a virtual currency inside a payed virtual good which is susceptible of RNG and at the same time is essential to transform those items from the loot box into a permanent item. As the only source of OE is delimited to loot boxes we end having a Ouroboros situation here, where we buy loot boxes to get skin shards, to disenchant skin shards to get OE to enchant skin shards. This point is essential to further develop and dwell into the core of the issue.
3. The devalue of Orange Essence has been so harsh that It is perceived objectively as not worth to spend a single dime on loot boxes. And it might very well be. Loot boxes are a RNG reward system in essence, so in order to distance ourselves of blunt opinions we should know the occurrence probability of each item. After a quick scan through Google, I have yet to find official occurrence probabilities provided by Riot Games, so we are going to dwell into the speculation territory here. Unfortunately, it is a necessary evil to further elaborate in this point.** DISCLAIMER: All of the following is an hypothetical example used to illustrate the argument, it is not by any means how the system exactly works nor they are the real occurrence probabilities.
First I'll being with the basics of a probability system based on a random number simulator (RNG). Using a feasible and fairly simple system programmers are able to assign an item from a pool of items to a specific number out of a predetermined range of numbers for a RNG function. I'll try to illustrate it with a simple example.
The function s_ample(1:100, 1) _ will return a random natural number between 0 and 100 (we won't dwell into program languages, as it is just an example). Using this returned number, we can assignate values or ranges of values to different items from a specific list. When we open a loot box, we make a dice roll with 100 possible outcomes. The returned value is then assigned to a specific list of items.
* [1:20] = An Emote
* [21:35] = A summoner Icon
*[36:50] = A ward skin shard
* [51:70] = A champion skin shard
*[71:100] = A champion shard
Let's say the returned value is a 61. It would then mean we have attained a champion skin shard. Then the system might use another random number generator to determine the item in question. This can be added to multiple layers such as: To which champion this skin shard pertain or which is the rarity of the skin. Adding more layers to the system only increases the RNG or the dice rolls. Accordingly, the probability of adcquiring an specific item is decreased by each new layer added. Essentially this dilutes the occurrence probability of a single specific and desired item, defining the quintessence of the Loot Boxes system (which is applicable to all of the loot boxes systems no matter the origin or publisher).
Adding the emotes diluted the value of the Loot box itself, as it is perceived as a second class cosmetic with no value regarding orange essence as it is unlocked as permanent and you are not able to disenchant it (Summoner Icon's are included into this metaphoric sack). Keeping the champion shards after the BE rework dilutes more the value of the purchase of a loot box too, as the reward is just unsatisfactory in all the levels, specially as it is the outcome of a real money purchase gamble. Adding to the mix the Orange Essence devaluation have just hit the final nail in the coffin, making the Chest purchase objectively worse.
* The change has been partially justified by the following statements:
"we wanna be able to spread out orange essence type loot and rewards across multiple systems without having to take an additional huge revenue hit at the same time that we're making runes free. Going into 2018 you're also gonna get skin content through things like events and honor (lets call them "orange shards" since we're really talking about anything that can be disenchanted into orange essence). We lowered the disenchant rate on shards, and we're giving out more shards." We have been so far locking rewards with missions. The missions provide tokens (an "event" currency) which can be used to purchase a bunch of cosmetics. The rewards of those FREE missions are only enough for a couple of cosmetics (of course, you can always spend RP to experience the ultimate mission event). The honor system does not reward cosmetics aside from the ultrare drops of Grey WW and Medieval Twitch (no, not counting the honor skin ward). Does it justify the changes of the OE? No, not at all. If this is the new way of giving more shards, I can already tell you it won't be enough of a justification.
And again, it all can be summed up as bold, sensible question: Why are we trading the OE values before any trade off is received (as early as 2018 soon™)? It would have been wiser and more honest to implement the changes of OE WHEN we can actually perceive the trade off. As it currently stands, it feels as being robbed and cheated.
PS: I've selected two of the most neutrally approachable arguments to debate about. If required, I can discuss each of your major clarifications/points across the original post.
* Riot Cactopus insisted and brought to the discussion the pitty timer and the double chest chance. As it was his request, I'm about to discuss and elaborate on the matter. Pitty timer was a nice and a necessary inclusion. After diluting more and more the probability of a desired cosmetic item through loot boxes, and lets face it, the skins are the most desired item of all; It was a logical step. Thank you.
Regarding double chest probability, well it might be nice but alas it is governed by chance and in taken into account as a change in a vacuum, it doesn't live to the expectations. Does those two new implementations justify/trade off the OE devaluation? No, not at all.
And before you write about how the community only whines about more free stuff because reasons, allow me to suggest a few possible solutions without the classic "the community is not mature enough" discussion. As one of the axis of this issue is the poorly communicated change regarding OE values, the best solution would be allowing players to regain the value lost from their skin shards:
1. By reverting the changes of the OE temporarily for a couple weeks
2. By making the skin shards received before the preseason to retain the same value before preseason.
3. By adding the OE difference in value between after preseason and before preseason as a net gain of OE for each skin shard.
We can further elaborate about the pricing of the Chests, as the value of the items it contains have significantly dropped. Can be expected costumers will pay the same price for a devalued item? It might deserve a whole new debate entirely.
I would like to end it here as I've already expatiated myself quite a lot, but I wouldn't do it without leaving some food for thought here and one of those "comparisons are odious" situations:
* [Riot Cactopus](https://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/gameplay-balance/fRZopjhE-bring-back-the-old-value-of-orange-disenchant-riot?comment=0009) said: "The goal is to make rewards systems that feel meaningful, rather than just constantly increasing the amount of stuff we give out every year because player expectations keep rising."
* [ EA Community Team ](https://www.reddit.com/r/StarWarsBattlefront/comments/7cff0b/seriously_i_paid_80_to_have_vader_locked/dppum98/)said: "The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.
As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we're looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we'll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay."
I feel we have the right to be worried for the time being.