Monday, February 17, 2020

Patch 5.2, Finishing AAR Gathering Quests, And The Fashion Report

Tomorrow Square Enix introduces patch 5.2, Echoes of a Fallen Star, for Final Fantasy XIV. I like the way that SE lays out the patch notes, with hyper-links to the various sections. The patch notes also have labels indicating whether the changes apply to the base game, Heavensward, Stormblood, Shadowbringers, or some combination thereof. While I bought all the expansions, I'm still in the base game's content and will be for some time to come. I decided to list my top 5 changes.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Pearl Abyss Q4 2019 Investors Call

On Thursday morning Seoul time, Pearl Abyss held an investor call to discuss the financial results for the fourth quarter of 2019. But first the presentation went over the entire year.

Pearl Abyss 2019 Financial Information
Operating revenue for 2019 was 33% more than in 2018. Throughout 2019, one of Pearl Abyss' main goals was to diversify its revenue sources. PA moved into the console market in 2019 with launches of Black Desert Online onto the Xbox One and Playstation 4. In Q4 2019, console sales made up 9% of the company's revenue.

Pearl Abyss also sought to make itself a company with a global reach. BDO launched on the Xbox One in North America and Europe in March and the PS4 in August. Black Desert Mobile entered the Japanese market in February and went global in December. November also saw EVE Online expand into Korea with the launch of a Korean language client. The share of revenue from outside Korea increased from 55% in Q4 2018 to 74% in Q4 2019.

The list of expansions and other ways of improving user engagement was briefer than during previous calls. One item of interest was bringing up Black Desert TV which highlights streamers playing BDO. Recently, a CCP dev hinted at a return of EVE TV. Coincidence?

Finally, PA addressed new projects and technology. We did learn that Shadow Arena would launch in the first half of 2020. Since Pearl Abyss is also attending E3 in June, I would not be surprised if the launch was announced on-stage. The company was tight-lipped about the launch of Crimson Desert, DokeV and Plan 8. When asked about the launch of EVE: Echoes, PA referred the analyst to Netease for more details. No mention was made of either Project Nova or the mysterious MMO under development by CCP in London.

At first glance, the operating revenue numbers for Q4 look pretty bad. A quarter-over-quarter drop of 11% is not a good look, even with a 20.1% increase over the Q4 2018 number. But while revenues were down, net profit actually increased by 13.2%. How did this happen?

Pearl Abyss changed the way it pays out commissions. Instead of counting total revenue from console sales, Pearl Abyss started using net revenue to put the company in line with the industry's standard practices. With the new accounting in place, commissions dropped by 56.0%, from ₩40,971 million down to ₩18,007 million. If the old methodology was used, then commissions would have only dropped by 6.6%.

The revenue by IP breakdown points to an issue Pearl Abyss made a theme on the call: an unstable revenue stream. According to what was stated on the call, PC users provide a much more stable revenue stream than mobile users. Pearl Abyss has discovered that console users act much more like their PC counterparts than like mobile users.

In Q4, the Black Desert IP saw revenue drop by 14.9% (₩17.8 billion/$15 million USD) quarter-over-quarter by climb 17.5% (₩15.2 billion/$12.8 million USD) compared to Q4 2019. The EVE IP rose by ₩1 billion/$845 thousand USD from the previous quarter. A comparison to Q4 2019 is not possible due to the 2019 results not encompassing the full quarter, as the purchase of CCP was not finalized until 12 October 2019. Pearl Abyss credited the growth in EVE Online in Q4 to the introduction of the Korean language client. EVE players have noted the increased number of Korean players and the resulting strength of the Australia/East Asian time zone. Overall, the EVE IP produced ₩59.6 billion ($50.5 million USD) in revenue in 2019.

The above is everything I noted when listening to the Pearl Abyss Q4 2019 earnings presentation. Unfortunately, as of the time I finished this post, Pearl Abyss had not posted either the call or slide presentation on their events page. When the information is posted, people should find it here.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

EVE Online's February 2020 Patch, Guardian's Gala, And Mining Changes

The patch notes for the February 2020 release came out with the patch on Tuesday. Most of the changes won't affect my play, and I'll note the few occasions they do. While CCP didn't give much lead time for some of the changes,  the developers did publish a dev blog on Friday with information on two of the bigger features, wormhole connection changes and the Guardians' Gala.

The biggest change, teased in the dev blog, was an increase in the connections between wormholes. The patch notes spelled out the change in more details.
  • Wandering wormhole connections (excluding to Thera and Shattered) have had their presence increased
  • Wandering C5 and C6 connections to null sec have had their presence increased
  • New wandering connections between C4, C5 and C6 wormhole systems have been introduced
Wormholes are also receiving some love during the Guardians' Gals event.
This year, the Guardian's Gala - the annual get together for the Angel Cartel and Serpentis pirates to celebrate their spoils - is not only taking place in k-space, but there will also be more challenging sites with more unique rewards in wormhole space! Running from 13 to 24 February, the rewards for Capsuleers who successfully gatecrash the outlaws' celebrations will include the new Savior Angel Cartel Logistics Implant Set.

In addition to the above, there will be a limited time increase in loot drops from PvP in wormhole space to coincide with the Guardian's Gala event. This will be happening between 13 and 24 February, so make sure you're ready for it!
The wormhole changes were met with approval from at least one member of the CSM.
But that's not all. The developers continue with changes to implants. The Sansha loyalty point store will now sell Nirvana implant blueprints (I'm assuming blueprint copies) while Amulet implants move to the Blood Raider loyalty point store. The implants will also drop from their respective pirate faction NPCs.

The new Savior implant set designed for use with sub-capital repair ships will make their way to Tranquility in the Guardians' Gala event. CCP isn't fooling around and will introduct low, mid, and high grade versions of the implants.

Along with new implants comes a round of module tiericide. With the implants come wholesale changes to remote repair modules.

The February patch also introduces some PvE nerfs. Hopefully incursion runners read the patch notes.
Changes to the qualification rules for Sansha Incursion rewards have been made. In order to qualify for the rewards, pilots must be present at the site upon completion and also have a meaningful contribution to the completion of the site.
Wormhole players may receive a surprise, as not all Sleeper warp scramblers turned off a ship's microwarp drive. They will now. Players will also notice that Drifter Response Battleships will react differently. The how is left to players to discover.

Given how much I like FFXIV's Gold Saucer, I have to comment on the changes made to EVE's HyperNet. After reading them, I still have no interest in placing any bets in New Eden. Below is the list of changes CCP introduced yesterday.

  • You can now see a list of the capsuleers who own the highest number of HyperNodes in an offer when looking at the offer details view.
  • Filtering has received a number of improvements:
  1. You can now filter by item meta groups, blueprint copies vs. originals and item categories have been added to the item field.
  2. Filter settings can now be saved.
  3. You are no longer forced to select a range for the HyperNode count field, you can now filter on offers with a single specified number of HyperNodes.
  • The history view has vastly improved filtering. You can filter by all the same criteria as in the browse view along with filtering on joined/created, active/finished, public/private offers. Sorting options were also added.
  • When a filter is applied to the history view you can now see how many total offers there are and how many the filter criteria applies to.
  • You will now see a warning on offers that have a disproportionately high HyperNode price compared to the item's average price on the regional market. This warning, along with the indicator for low-priced HyperNodes, can now also be seen in the offer details view.
  • You can now see how many HyperNodes you own along with the total number of HyperNodes in an offer when it is finished and being synchronized.
  • You will now be warned if you set a very low HyperNode price compared to the regional market estimate when creating an offer.
  • Your history will now show you all the offers you've participated in or created in the last three months.
  • Offers with blueprints will now say in the title whether they are an original blueprint or a copy.

Now, a matter that impacts my play much more: mining changes. First, the amount of ore in the game is receiving a reduction.
High Sec Asteroids:
  • Pyroxeres, Omber & Kernite quantities reduced.
Low Sec Asteroids:
  • Veldspar, Scordite, Pyroxeres, Plagioclase, Jaspet, Hemorphite & Hedbergite quantities reduced.
Null Sec Asteroids:
  • Scordite, Omber, Kernite, Jaspet, Hemorphite, Hedbergite, Gneiss, Dark Ochre, Crokite & Arkonor quantities reduced.
  • Bistot quantity increased.
Ore Anomalies spawned from Sovereignty Industry Index upgrades:
  • Level 1, 2 & 3 respawn times adjusted.
  • All variations of Crokite in all levels replaced with the equivalent yield variation of Kernite.
  • Gneiss, Dark Ochre & Spodumain quantities reduced.
Later in the day, CCP published a dev blog concerning moon mining changes. I'll quote extensively from the dev blog due to not wanting to get anything wrong.
Last December, the endeavor towards a healthier mineral distribution throughout New Eden began. While this is a complex task, changes will be implemented in phases, over a period of time, to propel the project towards its ultimate goal: a dynamic mineral distribution system that will self-regulate based on inputs and outputs.

Of course, that is easier said than done, and the road to get there is long and fraught with peril. Drastic changes are being made that will be felt throughout the ecosystem, but there is confidence that they are positive changes for the long term health of EVE Online.

The plan consists of three phases:
  • Shortage phase
  • Re-distribution phase
  • Dynamic distribution phase
The shortage phase is a mandatory step in order to get the data that is needed, so that what constitutes a ‘healthy’ distribution for the current player base can be identified and understood. This step will also allow all the factors that should be considered during the creation of the dynamic system to be listed. Currently, there are three to five steps within this phase. The first step was executed last December, and the second step is going live with this patch. The next step will be going live sometime next month.
When I first read about a "re-distribution phase", I thought CCP intended another reshuffle of moons and was going to start building probes again. But the dev blogs explained further.
During the next release, a significant change in how minerals are distributed on moons is planned. You should expect the following changes:
  • Complete removal of all basic ore types from all moons
  • Adjustments on ore volume extracted per day, per moon
  • Adjustments on moon ore type yields of basic minerals
I'm assuming the next release will occur on or around 10 March as the news is too large to include with the introduction of Guardians' Gala tomorrow. The news about the "dynamic distribution phase" should definitely inspire conversation at Fanfest on the first weekend of April.

Due to real life getting in the way, I hope to log into EVE tomorrow when Guardians' Gala begins. Only then will I get to see how big a nerf I will experience. But since I've made the decision to do most of my mining in Enduring Conduits, the only change I expect is the value of the ore I mine increase in the long term. The trip to Fanfest does look to hold a little more excitement than I originally thought, though.

Monday, February 10, 2020

The End Of A Quest Line And I'm A Fashion Leader

I started playing Final Fantasy XIV back in July, but never really had something I could write about until now. Over the past few days I did a couple of things I want to record on the blog. I managed to complete the botanist's quest line for the basic game (up to level 50) and I scored 100 on the fashion report.

I love good crafting systems. I lost myself in EverQuest 2, getting the old Sony Station Pass just so I could have more crafting characters. Unlike the original EQ2 crafting system that required cooperation between crafters, FFXIV characters can have all crafting skills on one character. I'm at the point where when I create a high quality item that required three crafting skills, I do a little happy dance in the game. Yes, I find crafting very satisfying.

Crafting isn't just about the complexity of the items and the mini-game used during item creation. Each of the eight crafting classes and three gathering classes has a story line with a quest every five levels up to 50. After reaching level 50, players have to finish the main scenario quest (MSQ) line and reach the Heavensward expansion before continuing. I found myself leveling my crafting and harvesting classes just to get to the next part of the story.

Fufucha, the Botanist Guild's Guildmaster (standing on box)
The quest line I completed was the botanist quest line. During the story, the guild master, Fufucha, becomes troubled as her guild becomes caught up in the war effort, supplying the defending forces. A committed pacifist, she decides to leave the guild she loves when the wood the guild supplies is turned into weapons.

Fufucha coming to a conclusion
At the end, the player gets together with some of Fufucha's friends in an effort to make her see that her deeds made a difference. But not until Fufucha realizes her work benefits the innocents who are affected by war as well as those who wage it does she realize her place is back at the head of the guild after all.

Also, I received my first blue item, an axe named Rauni.

The second is an event I was excited about the first time I heard about it. The Fashion Report is an event that takes place weekly in FFXIV's casino, The Manderville Gold Saucer. For participating in the event, players receive 10,000 Manderville Gold Points (MGP). Receiving a score of 80 earns a player an additional 50,000 MGP. Players receiving a perfect score receive the title of "Fashion Leader"

Fashion Report solution for week 106 from r/ffxiv
Thankfully people figure out the solution to the Fashion Report and post to the FFXIV sub-Reddit. I've seen characters running around with a costume that would score 80 or even 100 points that don't look good. I wasn't going for 100 points, but I did want to look good.

Receiving a perfect score!
My outfit cost 15,750 gil and 3,000 MGP out of pocket. I didn't bother adding up the material costs of making other parts of the outfit because I'm lazy. For the pieces that scored points, I purchased an Oasis Tunic for the body slot, dyed soot black for the extra 2 points. I can't do the Tides dungeon, so I substituted the gloves from the Valentine's event. I dyed those dalamud red for the extra point. For the legs, I chose the Tantalus Breeches, a veteran award, also dyed dalamud red for an extra point. I bought the dragonskin boots off the market, but wasn't able to dye the boots.

To finish off the outfit, I went with a crafting theme. I crafted a woolen beret, dyed soot black for an extra 2 points. The belt doesn't count, but I needed a boarskin tool belt anyway. During the contest I wore The Emperor's New Necklace to avoid my silver necklace from showing, and finished off the set with a pair of wolf earrings. Since then, I've upgraded all the jewelry (except the earrings) up to their mythril versions. And if you look carefully, you can see my weaving pad at my hip. I'm so happy with how the outfit turned out, I made the glamour my new crafting outfit.

FFXIV has brought out my inner fashionista. But I do want to point out one thing. Although I have bought a few items off the Mog Station that I like, all the items in the screen shots were obtained through game play except one. The items seen in the botanist quest screenshots were all crafted by me except for the axe which was a quest reward. And as I mentioned, the pants I wore in my perfect Fashion Report effort were a veteran's reward. Everything else was either purchased from the Gold Saucer, the market, received as a quest reward, or crafted by myself.

As I bump into the end of the base game in FFXIV I plan to blog a little more about the game. I probably won't have as much time to play now that the break between online classes is over and Tranquility is playable again. I think I have enough material for a few more posts even if I don't play again. But I really have to reach the expansion content. I hear the story only gets better.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Back In Space

When I got home yesterday, I made the perfunctory attempt to log into EVE Online. I noticed the launcher download nine files. Hmmm. Then, wonders of wonders, I got to the login page. I entered my credentials and the launcher presented the character select screen with no delays. Selecting my character, I watched as bulk data downloaded and I was sitting in a station in Rens. Like normal.

I did have one small issue. I did not connect cleanly to the chat servers and received a pop-up box asking if I'd like to retry. I clicked yes. All my chat channels appeared.

Now, I'd been fooled before by this type of behavior in the wake of the DDoS attacks. The real test was hitting the markets with a multi-buy order, as I originally flew to Rens to buy a Heron. Sure enough, the multi-buy feature worked as intended, as fast as intended.

I had flushed the DNS cache on my computer before attempting to log into EVE. Was that the trick to logging in? I decided to attempt to log in on my second computer without doing anything. When I opened up the launcher, I saw a group of 35 files download, then a second group of nine files download. I then logged in as if nothing had happened over the last nine days.

Switching back to the first account, I saw I needed to buy 4 Warrior Is remotely, as Rens didn't have any in stock. I then tested the chat system by flying over 10 jumps picking up my new drones and then back to base. No troubles with local.

I then placed the Heron and fittings in a secure cargo container and created a contract for my alpha alt. No problems with the contract system. I then logged out and logged in my Alpha account. Received and opened the contract with no issues. With the Skilling Spree in effect, I decided to go out and kill a rat for 10,000 skill points. The only problem I encountered was that my Heron is speed/sig tanked and I took a bunch of damage before I got to range. But once at range, my light missiles finished off an NPC for the skill points.

I then did the same for characters on two other accounts. Also as expected, Jaguars, and assault frigate, work much better than a speed/sig tanked tech 1 Slasher frigate at running combat sites, even in high sec. What, you didn't think I was in low sec testing out the server stability, did you?

The final major test was running an Emerging Conduit. I logged in my combat/ratting account and undocked in a Vagabond. I was a little rusty, but was finishing up the site as a pair of Rattlesnakes landed on grid. Really, the guy needed to dual-box two Rattlesnakes to take on an Emerging Conduit? Sad.

Overall, I managed to play for a little over two hours. The only issue was I always had to click the retry button in order to connect to the chat servers. Once, I had to click twice. But once connected, I never lost the connection.

All isn't peaches and creme yet. I tried to access the forums from the train and couldn't. I'll have to try again once I get home. But getting to play EVE again with no lag and no disconnects? I'll call that a win.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

EVE Online Status And Not Using A VPN

For a week or so now, I have not played EVE Online due to a continuous DDoS attack and/or the mitigation service used to combat the attack. I include the second reason because for the last four days I cannot even get to the character select screen. Early on, I could at least get into the game, where I would get kicked out when trying to use the market.

CCP started a megathread on the official forums to keep players apprised of the situation. The only problem is, as I compose this blog post on Tuesday morning, I can't connect to the forums. I'll leave the tweet from CCP linking to the thread instead.

A lot of players are using a VPN service to log into the game from a different location from where they live. Doing so seems to work. But I am really leery of doing so myself. Reading CCP's Help Desk article on the subject gives some reasons.


While CCP does not endorse connecting to the server or web sites using a VPN or Proxy, the use of such services is not strictly forbidden. However, this can cause problems such as updating the client. It is also possible that the user may connect via an IP address that has a bad history with us.

Should the use of the aforementioned services result in the account being suspended due to suspicious connection history, or preemptive security measures, please contact Player Experience via Support Tickets

Ultimately, it is recommended that users avoid the use of such services unless absolutely necessary and that the user does so at their own discretion while being aware of the potential risks associated with doing so.

Despite the date on the article, the text of the article has remained the same since at least July 2018, when I found a link on the Wayback Machine. Pro-tip to aspiring writers. Always check the Wayback Machine when dealing with CCP pages. The last modified date is not always what it seems.

I have another reason for avoiding using a VPN. I play other games, namely Final Fantasy XIV. EVE is not region locked. I'm fairly sure FFXIV is. Although I hear that some East Coast players use a VPN to reduce lag, I'm not sold on using a VPN with a floating geo-location.  Or worse, an IP address of someone banned from the game.

So until CCP gets everything straightened out, I'll just do my online course work and play FFXIV. The game is pretty good and I'm enjoying myself. But I do want to play EVE at least once before going to Fanfest.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Garbage In, Garbage Out

When I woke up Saturday to find a message on Discord from Rhivre, the editor-in-chief of INN, asking to discuss a recent blog post, I knew I'd fucked up. Especially when the blog post involved looking at data from the Monthly Economic Report. Basically, the data on my graphs labeled as coming from June 2019 did not come from June 2019. Crap.

Rhivre thought I'd merely mislabeled the data. But a quick investigation discovered something worse: I'd pasted the data from June 2018 into my data set as June 2019. So instead of comparing activity right before the null sec communications blackout began with the end of the year, I was comparing data from 18 months previously.

The mistake basically was a misclick. I opened the wrong file to copy and paste out of. The RegionalStats.csv file included with every MER only contains that month's regional data. In order to have one data set, I copy the contents of the file into a spreadsheet every month and use that to run my scripts against. Fortunately, June 2019 was the only month affected.

But really, I made another mistake. I shouldn't have compared a summer month to a winter month. I should have compared December 2019 to December 2018. The graph still shows Delve ridiculously far out in front in December 2018. Also, the tremendous shrinkage in the value of the PvE activity is still clear. But, I would have accounted for seasonal variations comparing one December with another.

Even with the mistake, I don't intend to give up performing analysis of the New Eden economy. Like a lot of EVE players, I like graphs and charts. I also need to practice R skills like creating charts and graphs. In my classes, I'll go a month at a time without creating a data visualization and then at the end of the class, I have to go through my notes to see how to create a graph.

In the future, I'll try to produce graphs at a more cluster-wide level. I do have an idea for producing graphs at the Empire level for all the high and low sec players. I just need to make sure I have everything correct, including the data. As the old saying goes, garbage in, garbage out.

Friday, January 31, 2020

CCP Statements Related To The Sale And Trade Of Skill Points

With the continuing DDoS attacks on the main Tranquility cluster preventing me from playing EVE Online normally, I wasn't sure I'd have a good internet spaceship related post. Then CCP decided to change their new player promotional packages. A lot of people apparently thought CCP was going to remove all SP from the packages. That didn't happen. Instead, the maximum amount of skill points in any one package was reduced from 1 million down to 250,000.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Washington State Moves To Protect Gambling In Video Games

While the movement in Europe is toward more regulation of video games, the climate in the United States is turning in another direction. In the state of Washington, legislators in both houses introduced bills to protect the video gaming industry by altering the state's Recovery of Money Lost at Gambling Act.

In the House, HB2720, the authors of the bill quite bluntly state they aim to protect the video game industry in their state in the original draft.

The legislature finds that the state has made it a priority to grow clean, high-wage jobs by encouraging firms engaged in video game development to invest and grow in the state. The state has been successful in its efforts and an estimated twenty percent of the global video game development industry is now based in Washington state. However, recent court cases filed in federal district courts in Washington have created economic uncertainty for video game companies located in Washington state, or offering games to players located in the state, by raising the possibility that the legality surrounding these games will be decided differently than similar issues raised and decided in other states, such as Illinois, Maryland, and Ohio.

The legislature further finds that two video game companies based in Washington are subject to recently filed class action lawsuits. These lawsuits, if decided adversely to the game companies, pose a substantial financial risk for video game development in this state. The further possibility exists that companies based in Washington will move their base of operations to other states, which would  remove thousands of jobs from the state and a currently incalculable, but materially significant, amount of tax dollars.

Therefore, it is the intent of the legislature to remove this economic uncertainty by clarifying that a player is not entitled to recovery under RCW 4.24.070 unless the video game played provides a mechanism for the withdrawal of money or property from the game.
Sounds like good news for video game manufacturers.

In the state Senate, SB 6568 was introduced three days later. The original text of the bill spelled out a specific exemption for video games.
(2) For purposes of this section, "illegal gambling games" does not include online games of chance when played solely for entertainment purposes with virtual items if such virtual items may be used only for gameplay and may not be, per the terms of service of the game, transferred, exchanged, or redeemed for money or property.
Quite clearly, these bills were in response to the latest decision in Kater v. Churchill Downs in which a federal judge ruled a video game did not require a real world cash payout for a plantiff to obtain a payout for under Washington state law. The newly formed lobbying group Game On WA certainly wasted little time getting new legislation introduced.

The bills in Washington run counter to the trend in Europe where anti-gambling activists and government officials want to include third party sites engaged in real money trading (RMT) in any definition of gambling. The latest official making such a claim was National Health Service mental health director Claire Murdoch of the UK. In an article from the NHS:
The Gambling Commission does not regulate some loot boxes due to a loophole meaning it is not classed as gambling. Under current gambling legislation, this is because there is no official way to monetise what is inside of loot boxes.

Despite this, third party websites selling gaming accounts and rare items are commonplace and easy to find on places such as eBay across the internet.
Recently, Sen. Josh Hawley (R., MO) recently introduced legislation to outlaw loot boxes in the United States. But as like a lot of other efforts to outlaw loot boxes around the world, the bill is part of an over all larger effort. In Hawley's case, the bill is one of three looking to "disrupt big tech" in the US.

Stand-alone efforts unburdened by other issues seem to pass the legislative process more quickly than those tied to grander objectives. Thus, the change to law concerning gambling in video games most likely to pass is the current effort in Washington state long before the anti-loot box legislation sees the light of day. Then again, the effort in Europe began years ago while the movement in the U.S. is much more recent.

What does that mean for those who play MMORPGs? I expect government regulation in the U.S. will not change very much. But the effects in Europe, and the knock-on effects world-wide are yet to be determined.

Monday, January 27, 2020

The NHS Jumps On The Loot Box Bandwagon

I really wonder if the people who began the crusade against lootboxes knew the force they were unleashing on our hobby. Today's example comes from the United Kingdom. On 18 January, the National Health Service published an article by NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch calling for the elimination of loot boxes.
“Frankly no company should be setting kids up for addiction by teaching them to gamble on the content of these loot boxes. No firm should sell to children loot box games with this element of chance, so yes those sales should end.

“Young people’s health is at stake, and although the NHS is stepping up with these new, innovative services available to families through our Long Term Plan, we cannot do this alone, so other parts of society must do what they can to limit risks and safeguard children’s wellbeing.”
Look, I get it. Loot boxes are bad. When I played Guild Wars 2 and ArenaNet asked me to purchase keys to unlock the loot boxes that dropped from NPCs, I was pissed. But the NHS isn't just concerned about gambling for kids. The article also quoted Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a psychiatrist and founder of CNWL’s National Problem Gambling Clinic.
“As the Director of the National Centre for Gaming Disorders, the first NHS clinic to treat gaming addiction, I am fully in favour of taking a public health approach and bringing in a regulatory body to oversee the gaming industry products currently causing great concerns to parents and professionals. Loot boxes are only one of several features that will need to be investigated and indeed researched. We need an evidence-based approach to ensure our young people and gamers in general do not continue to be subjected to new and increasingly harmful  products without our intervention.
I think a lot of gamers and talking heads on YouTube see the loot box issue as a central issue. They do not see that gambling is just a part of a bigger issue to those outside the video game ecosystem. In September 2018, the World Health Organization declared "gaming disorder" a disease.
Why is gaming disorder being included in ICD-11?

A decision on inclusion of gaming disorder in ICD-11 is based on reviews of available evidence and reflects a consensus of experts from different disciplines and geographical regions that were involved in the process of technical consultations undertaken by WHO in the process of ICD-11 development.

The inclusion of gaming disorder in ICD-11 follows the development of treatment programmes for people with health conditions identical to those characteristic of gaming disorder in many parts of the world, and will result in the increased attention of health professionals to the risks of development of this disorder and, accordingly, to relevant prevention and treatment measures.
I'm old enough to remember moral crusaders like Jack Thompson railing against the harmful effects of video games. Back then, politicians introduced legislation in the United States to protect children from the contents of video games. A law was passed in California doing so, but was ruled unconstitutional in 2011. In Brown v Entertainment Merchants Association, the Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 vote that video games deserve the same constitutional protections as books and movies. As the Washington Post reported at the time:
Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that “like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas — and even social messages” that are guarded by the First Amendment.

He continued: “No doubt a state possesses legitimate power to protect children from harm, but that does not include a free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed.”


Scalia was unmoved. “Justice Alito recounts all these disgusting video games in order to disgust us — but disgust is not a valid basis for restricting expression,” Scalia wrote.

He said that violence has never been found to be outside the First Amendment’s protection. And he noted that children through the years have been fed a hefty portion of it, from fairy tales (“Cinderella’s evil stepsisters have their eyes pecked out by doves”) to high school reading lists (“Lord of the Flies recounts how a schoolboy called Piggy is savagely murdered by other children”).
At a time when video games are more popular than the movie, music, and television industries, I can't help but think people are thinking about cutting the legs out from a competitor. But whatever the reason, the anti-lootbox bandwagon has another passenger.