How loot crates and microtransactions work in Assassin's Creed: Origins

Purchasable with real money, the loot crates in the recent action game Middle-earth: Shadow of War derailed the conversation about the game to some degree before launch, although, for the most part, they're not really necessary for getting the most out of the game. It sounds as though Assassin's Creed: Origins will see similar "soft" loot box mechanics too. Here's how they work.

Assassin's Creed: Origins takes the franchise back to ancient Egypt, and throws in some RPG depth for good measure. You will be able to obtain all sorts of gear upgrades through regular play, but also via Heka Chests, which contain "Rare" and "Legendary" tier items.

A character named Reda roams the game's sizeable map, changing position over time. In Reda's Nomad's Bazaar, you will be able to purchase the Heka Chests either by completing a daily mission for Reda, or using Drachmas, obtained through regular play in-game.

You can also purchase Heka Chests using real money, via Helix Credits. Ubisoft says that in-game credits, i.e. Drachmas, will be the main avenue for accumulating Heka Chests, though.

Every Rare and Legendary item available in Assassin's Creed: Origins will be available without buying Helix Credits, thankfully. Players will also be able to spend Helix Credits on time-saving mechanics, allowing them to purchase Drachmas, crafting materials, ability points, and maps. You will also be able to buy a selection of weapons and outfits using micropayments too, skipping the need to earn them in-game.

Assassin's Creed Origins

Assassin's Creed Origins (Image credit: Ubisoft)

For better or worse, time-saving loot crates look as though they're going to become a staple of single player games moving forward. Helix Credits were also present in Assassin's Creed Syndicate, and Unity, after all. Publishers are looking at additional revenue streams for their games, as retail game prices have remained static against inflation for several years, while production costs have ramped up as we head towards increasingly complex, photorealistic games. We'll be sure to let you know if Assassin's Creed: Origins forces Helix Credits on you for optimal play, but at the moment, that doesn't look like it will be the case.

Assassin's Creed: Origins launches on October 27, 2017, for Xbox One, PS4, and PC, with Xbox One X enhancements.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • "For better or worse, time-saving loot crates look as though they're going to become a staple of single player games moving forward." F*** that. It is still time to get rid of it. For the good of gaming let's all boycott this bs. At the very least don't spend anything on this. The better option would be to boycott the game. This f2p mobile phone game model is build to frustrate players. It is meant to make people grind unless they don't spend money. People say "it's an option". It's not. Basic gameplay is changed to frustrate players, a gamer is constantly asked to pay money. This is NOT optional. And about the "inflation production costs". Please stop with the bs. Let them spend less on marketing. Other companies manage to make financially successful games without these anti-gaming bs...  
  • Couldn't have said it better. I refuse to buy forza 7 because of the loot crates and I refuse to buy NBA 2k18 because of the vc. I've been long time fans of both series but any game that adds loot boxes I will not buy in protest
  • Completely agree; I for one refuse to buy any PC games that have microtransactions in them; as it always breaks the game completely because the whole gameplay is designed for players to spend as much money as possible instead of being designed to be the best game possible. If CDPR can make a hugely succesful game like the Witcher 3 without this BS and whats more DRM free and still have millions of people buy and support them; it just proves all this other publishers like Ubisoft and WB are complete idiots and all they want it to fleece the paying player while delivering a far inferior product. I hope everyone boycots these so-called games, and spends their money supporting decent publishers that care about their players.  
  • Don't see anything wrong with these "short cuts" if you get fed up of grinding through certain parts of the game.
  • I never got the whole shortcut thing. If you're paying 60 bucks to play a game, why would you pay more money to not play it, or play it less? Unless you just want to make it easier. But to me that defeats the purpose of having a game that brings you a challenge, either by difficulty or for its length.
  • I completely agree what's the point of buying a game if you're just going to spend money to make it easier instead of putting in the hard work to complete it.
  • There would be no grinding, if the game was not designed to be grindy so people are forced to buy these BS 'shortcuts' as you put it. Don't be an idiot and think for once.  
  • The "grind" has been in all the AC games since the first one. There have always been things to find, bits of relic, maps, notebooks, music, etc. etc.  So nothing has changed. It was only later in the series that they introduced additional DLC that you could buy to unlock item locations, or additional resources for upgrades. So the 'grind' was there before the 'transactions' Maybe if you actually played the game you'd know that...
  • Thanks for ruining another series that I love, Ubisoft. Great way to follow in the EA and other's sell out, rape the customer for everything mentality.
  • How are they 'runining another series'?  The transactions have been there for the last few games.
  • Maybe transactions with in game money at shops to buy maps and armor, that's not the same thing. When you start introducing real world money into single player parts of the game to bypass parts of it or make it harder for those that choose not to buy in, it ruins the experience. I have had issues with this since games like Dead Space made it possible to buy a set of armor or weapons that negated the legitimacy of my achievements for my playing the game on the hardest setting by making it like playing on easy. I have no issues with earing in game money BY PLAYING, or even get them as awards for beating lower settings, but don't make it possible to buy your way out of playing the game.
  • When they introduce real-world-money-box, you can still ignore'em.
    Introducing it does not equal to locking lengendary gear from normal progression or from in-game-money-box. They didn't make it so you have 0 change beating a boss because you have to pay for a full set of legendary armor (features in most f2p mobile games).
  • It leads down that road though. I care less about it now, but it still bothers me that my achievements in a game are diluted because someone can chose to support a greedy publisher and pay for game progress.
  • Get in the bin Ubisoft!
  • So the very early games (in the 70's / 80's) were designed to frustrate. You dropped a quarter, had three lives and once you died, you put in another and started again. Then continuation happened. You paid your quarter, and when you died, you had the option of paying to carry on from where you left off. Games like Gaunlet allowed you to buy 'health' with quarters. If you look back at those games, they were hard on purpose. They made you pay more quarters to play / continue. The video arcades had overheads and needed a certain income per machine. Thankfully, you are able to pay a large amount of money up front ($80 or so) and play a game at your own pace in your own time. How adding additional money to this is ethical - I don't know. The game industry is tremendously profitable (more so than movies) so this is definately an unwelcome addition.
  • Q: will you progress differently or have more fun if the feature, crates-offer-for-real-cash wasn't implemented (meaning, only cr-creates)? In the past, we have random loot (or boxes) dropping from corpses.
    In some games, in-game-merchant sales you those loots. It's Part of the game, there was no balance issue. Modern days, in-game-merchant still sales you loots. Do we have any balance issue?
    Meanwhile, for those inpatient / no-control players, dev offers in-game-merchant loots for real money. All the sudden, we have Balance issue? If a game purposely make enemy impossible to beat without full set of legendary gears (like those f2p mobile games) and locks legendary gears away from normal progression... this is greed.
    If a game progress fine, I'm ok with those real-cash-crates implementation, cause I'll just ignore'em.
    * Forza and Middle Earth progress fine so far. I've never buy any DLC or micro-transaction-goods from any game.
  • Let's face it, you are supporting it because that's MS's strategy and you're a fan of MS. If you really care about gaming you would be against this. Mobile f2p model is used to frustrate players. Make players grind hours and hours for something that can be bought for a couple of bucks.  "It's optional and just ignore it" is the common excuse people give but they'll end up saying they have NEVER done it... No one can tell me how is it good for gaming... You really need to look up "psychology of free to play" and you'll understand more how it works. And the worst part is that these are f2p model in a full price game.  If your priority is MS then just ignore what I said... Just know that you're doing more harm to XB when you support this...
  • MS's strategy? Middle Earth and AC-O?
    Are those games, "mobile" f2p model? Traditionally, monster drop random loots. In-game-merchant also sales them.
    Somehow In-game-merchant is also featured in menu for quick access.
    Now, devs also offer it for quick by using real money. You can STILL buy all those boxes with in-game-credit. Progression changed? What changed?
    Do they offer special loots only in special box for real money?
    Do they make bosses so powerful, impossible to beat? unless you pay extra for those special-real-world-money-box?
    Just talking about logic. I will against it if they make it so legendary gears can only be bought with real money / are locked away from normal progression. * Why am I a MS fan?
  • "MS's strategy" Oh you don't know it's the strategy of the company you worship?
    Here some links hope you learn something: You have ask me a lot of question without replying mine.
    Did you look up "psychology of free to play"?
    If you don't like to read here are some videos for you to watch: It replies the basic questions as to why it is just wrong for gaming. And here is a question for you. 
    1) How is this good for gaming?
    2) Do you want them? Can you see people asking for this? Almost everyone in forums doens't want it...
    Now for you questions: "You can STILL buy all those boxes with in-game-credit. Progression changed? What changed?"
    I'm not sure which game your refereing too but you know what's changed? 1) It is much more likely that you have to grind hours to get something with in-game-credit. and 2) you are constantly teased and sold the stuff that could take HOURS to get. The difference is that the goal is no longer to make an enjoyable game but to frustrate players so he can pay. Don't want to believe me? Here are some videos of actual FANS of the different games complaining about it. (NOT company fanboys but fans of games) Killer instinct: Halo 5
    Here is a video of a Halo fan who talked about how things was with Bungie's Halo 3 vs 343's Halo 5. Gears 4
    I don't need to say much about that... There are enough actual FANS of the game that are pissed. And what about Forza 7 and how this franchise has become a microtransaction hell.
    They removed features and got them in loot boxes... "Do they make bosses so powerful, impossible to beat? unless you pay extra for those special-real-world-money-box?"
    Can you understand that BASIC GAMEPLAY is being changed to frustrate players? "* Why am I a MS fan?"
    I really don't know. I don't know why people become fan of companies. That's stupid imo... 
  • Why is MS's strategy have anything to do with Middle Earth and AC-O?
    It's not their games. I don't care about MS.
    I treat every game individually (even franchise, I can play the 1st, skip 2nd, 3rd then start playing 4th and maybe stop half way and go for the 5th) . I'm fan to nothing. > The difference is that the goal is no longer to make an enjoyable
    > game but to frustrate players so he can pay.
    Then if dev offers in-game-merchant in menu quick access, for credit only, no real money involved, does it make you "fell" more enjoyable? > Can you understand that BASIC GAMEPLAY is being changed to frustrate players?
    Where is the change? Can you state me the "before" and "after"?
    I'm playing Middle Earth, progression's fine.
    I've seem angry critics bashing Forza, yet, in the article states you can get 200000 in 20 minutes. In the comment.
    "I never noticed the garage purchase level preventing me from getting cars, because the earlier cups all use lower level cars and by the time you beat those you will def have a garage score high enough to buy any car."
    "Honestly the first week or two of playing this game was very frustrating because I kept feeling anxious that the microtransactions would show up and imbalance the game, but that never happened"
  • Loot boxes work as expected: one less sell from me.