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User blog:ZeroTigress/Mad Loot

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Earlier this month, I made a Loot Crate account to buy the Star Wars crate for a relative. While perusing the site, I noticed that their current crate features Harry Potter, Labyrinth, Vikings, and Uncharted 4 merchandise. I figured, well, what were the chances I'll find stuff for Labyrinth of all things? And hey, I like me some Harry Potter, too. Never seen Vikings, but since I'm playing a MMORPG based on Norse mythology and culture, I can't go wrong with that. And I've played a little of Uncharted 2 so I'm whatever in regards to the merchandise I may get for that.

Yesterday I finally received my crate and I'm pretty happy with it. Got neat merchandise for all 4 franchises plus the Loot Crate magazine and a little Loot Crate merchandise as well. In addition, the box itself is totally reusable, so very environmentally friendly. Not bad for $19.95, and I can skip months whenever I want so I don't have to pay for a certain month's box if I don't want it. Of course, there's always the full on cancellation option, but I'm willing to see what they offer next month before I decide to cancel entirely.

Aside from Loot Crate, there's also other similar merchandise subscription sites as well:

  • Geek Fuel ($23.90 for its 1-month plan)
  • Super Geek Box ($12.92 + shipping & handling for its 1-month plan)
  • Nerd Block ($19.99 + shipping & handling for its 1-month plan)
  • 1-Up Box ($19.92 for its 1-month plan)
  • ZBOX ($22.33 for its 3-month plan; no 1-month plan option)

All of these competitors ship internationally along with Loot Crate, but Loot Crate ships to more countries compared to the others. It's also the only one of all of these that does not guarantee a t-shirt with each box. Which is fine by me, I have enough shirts in my closet and drawers as is so I don't mind getting only merchandise in a box. Nevermind, they now offer a t-shirt in every box. Emote sigh.gif

Loot Crate, Geek Fuel, Super Geek Box, and ZBOX are the only ones out of these that announce their themed monthly boxes; 1-Up is completely quiet as to what the box's theme is until you get it. At least with themed boxes announced, you'll get merchandise related to what you're actually interested in so I don't see 1-Up appealing to as many people with their mystery contents. But to each their own.

Interesting to note, Loot Crate and Nerd Block are the only ones in this list that have separate package deals.

Loot Crate:

  • Loot Crate ($19.95 for 1-month sub)
  • Loot Crate DX ($49.99 for 1-month sub)
  • Loot Pets ($24.99 for 1-month sub)
  • Loot Anime ($29.95 for 1-month sub)
  • Loot Gaming ($29.95 for 1-month sub)

Nerd Block:

  • Classic ($19.99 for 1-month sub)
  • Arcade ($19.99 for 1-month sub)
  • Sci-Fi ($19.99 for 1-month sub)
  • Horror ($19.99 for 1-month sub)
  • Junior ($13.99 for 1-month sub)

I personally see myself more likely to stick with Loot Crate despite Nerd Block offering more tailored boxes. Granted, that's likely because I'm more interested in anime and gaming compared to sci-fi and horror (yes, I know Nerd Block's gaming box is the Arcade box, but I'm not going to go to two different companies to fulfill both interests if one can do the job). Although, since all of Nerd Block's subscriptions (aside from the kids box) is priced the same, they give you the option to switch between subscriptions if you want. So say you're on the Arcade subscription, but the next month you see stuff in the Sci-Fi box that appeal to you more than what's in the Arcade box. You can choose to switch to the Sci-Fi subscription and get that box instead of another Arcade box for the next month. Obviously Loot Crate can't do that with all the different pricing.

Honorable mention goes to Man Crates, special gift packages formulated for MEN that are encased in actual wooden crates (worry not, each crate comes with a crowbar in case your friend, husband, or dad doesn't have one already). These can be appealing to women as well, as I find myself wanting the gamer crate as well as the various survival crates. Unlike the above-mentioned subscription boxes, Man Crates are one-time purchases and rather pricey ones at that.

For book-lovers, there is OwlCrate, which is $29.99 plus shipping for their 1-month subscription. Really good way to start up your own library, plus get some neat trinkets. Also discovered Kawaii Box (beware the pink!) that's apparently been around since February of 2014, and boasts that they ship to every country in the world AND offer free shipping to boot. (What's the catch? <<)

This of course sparked a discussion with my friends on what it would be like if GRAVITY offered similar merchandise packages for Ragnarök fans. There's certainly enough of a variety in Ragnarök merchandise to compile decent boxes. However, there are some issues in making such a concept a reality:

  • Logistics - There needs to be a warehouse where the merchandise is compiled and boxed as well as enough staff to manage the ordering and shipping. There's no way GRAVITY can start up enough warehouses globally to make shipping less expensive for international players.
  • Advertisement - Obviously the boxes could be advertised on all Ragnarok Online websites and in monthly newsletters, but that only reaches current RO players. There needs to be advertising to reach people who have yet to play RO or know about the Ragnarök franchise.
  • Supply - Even if there's a huge demand generated through widespread advertisement, there's simply not enough Ragnarök merchandise being produced to meet the demand. The more desired items such as figures, plushies, and shirts don't have enough variety in circulation to appeal to players. Players have even voiced a desire to see their main characters in action figure form similar to how Blizzard produces custom figures of player characters, but it doesn't look like it's anywhere near possible at this point in GRAVITY's life. Even using existing merchandise wouldn't work as most of those aren't even produced anymore.

On top of those issues is the fact that the Ragnarök brand itself is so weak now since Lee Myung-jin left the Ragnarok manhwa on hiatus since 1999 and both RO and RO2 have been rather lackluster in competing with current MMORPGs. I have no doubt things could fall into place to make merchandise packages for Ragnarök fans a reality if more work was done to push the franchise into mainstream media. That means continuing the manhwa, advertising the games, and finding production companies to pump out Ragnarök merchandise to meet the demand. Even just selling boxes with the same content (e.g. an art book or copy of a manhwa volume; a poster; a t-shirt; a figure; an installation disc for RO or RO2; a game code for the online games; etc.) would be enough.

Oh well, dare to dream.


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