Overwatch loot box drop rates have been the same across all events, says Jeff Kaplan

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Update February 14, 2017: Overwatch's game director has spoken out against some criticisms of the loot box drop rates for the Year of the Rooster event.

Some fans have been claiming that the drop rate for cosmetics seemed lower in the latest Overwatch event. Kaplan says that's just not true, however. 

Which of the Overwatch characters are you looking to show up in your loot boxes?

"The drop rates for Summer Games, Halloween Terror, Winter Wonderland and Year of the Rooster are all the same," says the director on the game's forums

Previously, our findings - as you can see below - showed different drop rates, but we did measure them over a longer period of time. Mr. Kaplan probably has a much better idea than us, so I'd be inclined to take his word for it. 

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Update: Due to the release of Overwatch's Halloween items, we decided to take another look at the new loot boxes to see what had changed. Here are our findings.

Overwatch Halloween loot box opening chances

It's that time again: maths time. Twice we've brought you as much information as we could garner from opening and watching hundreds of Overwatch loot boxes. Now we're doing it again, this time with the Halloween event boxes. Our broad conclusion is that Blizzard were happy with the droprates and returns during the Summer event, however, there is one area where things seem to have shifted.

Overwatch Halloween loot boxes

Halloween epics and legendaries are rarer than Summer ones

During Summer, we noted how many of each rarity of event item dropped. This came to the conclusion that Summer legendaries were rarer than normal ones from their respective boxes. With Halloween, it looks like they're rare still. Out of 296 Halloween items opened from 250 boxes - almost exactly the same ratio as Summer items - here were our numbers (note that they have been rounded slightly, explaining discrepencies):

  • 129 commons, 43.6% - up 2.2% over Summer
  • 117 rares, 39.5% - up 1.8% over Summer
  • 36 epics, 12.2% - down 3.3% from Summer
  • 14 legendaries, 4.8% - down 0.6% from Summer

While our sample size is not humongous, these swings are significant enough to be worth mentioning. Plus, they make a sort of sense - with Halloween items now available for currency, albeit at a vastly increased price over normal ones, making them rarer in boxes isn't an unfair move to maintain Blizzard's plan of keeping event items uncommon. This change also means that...

Halloween legendaries appear rougly once every 18 boxes

This is a slight increase over the 16 for summer legendaries, in accordance with the above. It makes Halloween legendaries the rarest in the game, but not on the same scale as their price over normal ones might indicate.

Duplicates are back to a more reasonable rate

In Summer we noted 24 duplicate items, whereas this time around there were only 13. It's very possible that the high-duplicate rate during Summer was a bug or poor luck. There have also been far less complaints about duplicates this time around, though that is partly down to coins now actually being useful for acquiring event skins and cosmetics.

Event items per box, overall legendary drop rates and pity timers did not change

Event items still appear at a rate of roughly 1.2 per box, with 1 guaranteed, and the overally legendary drop rate still seems to be increased from Overwatch's launch period. Pity timers also didn't seem to change - 10 boxes was still the max we saw between epics, while legendaries capped at 19 but on this sample size it's difficult to tell if that's a reduction or simply luck. We'll be asking at BlizzCon if we can get any more concrete information about Overwatch pity timers.

Overwatch summer skins

Overwatch summer loot box opening chances

With what we know about loot boxes already, and the release of a whole new type of box with the Summer Olympic skins, we decided to do the maths again with new boxes and see how much had changed. Our sample size was only 250, which could lead to some errors, but we think the conclusions are easy to draw. It's recommended you familiarise yourself with our original data if you haven't seen it before, which is further down the page or summarised in the video above. Here's what we found.

Legendary and epic drop chances are higher

Across the videos we watched, it was clear that legendaries and epics dropped more commonly. We saw multiple epics in a box on various occasions, while double legendaries were not as uncommon as we would expect either. Here's the exact data:

  • Epics appeared about once every three boxes, with an average gap of 2.6. This is a 20% increase over our previous average of 3.3, even if it still works out to about one in three.
  • Legendaries were roughly every sixth box, with an average of 6.2. This is a 40% increase in legendaries from a previous average of one-in-ten.

Summer box pity timers don't seem to have changed, though the smaller sample size (and continuing mystery surrounding pity timers in Overwatch in general) does make it hard to tell. We saw one epic opened on the 10th box, keeping with that pity timer, but legendaries never stretched beyond the 16th.

It's worth noting that this is items as a whole, not just summer items. Here's that data...

There are about 1.2 summer items per box

You are guaranteed a single summer item in your box, and we saw as many as three in one. Over the course of all our boxes opened, this averaged out to just under 1.2 per box, with 297 opened in all. This makes them slightly less common than rares in ordinary boxes.

We also saw a decrease in coin drops that was roughly equal to this, due to there being no currency drops from the summer item 'slot.'

Overwatch summer loot boxes

Of summer items dropped, 5.4% are legendary, 15.5% are epic

Here was the breakdown of just summer items from that total of 297:

  • 123 commons - 41.4%
  • 112 rares - 37.7%
  • 46 epics - 15.5%
  • 16 legendaries - 5.4%

This compares favourably to the opening chances from ordinary boxes, with less commons and more rares, epics and legendaries per item opened. As shown above, you get 1.2 goes at it per box, so times these figures by that for your chance of any individual box having the rarity of item you want.

Summer legendaries appear roughly one per 16 boxes

Using the above data, any summer box has a 6.48% to contain a legendary. That's one every sixteen boxes, so while summer boxes are better for legendaries overall, summer legendaries are rarer than normal legendaries were from normal boxes, based on our data.

Your chance of getting a Summer duplicate is quite high

This is a bit more hand-wavy than we'd like, as we weren't tracking exact duplicate chances in our previous data, however across the 250 boxes opened we saw 24 duplicate summer drops of epic or legendary rarity, not counting the originals. That's 8% of the rarer summer items opened becoming currency that then can't be spent on other summer items. If you add in rare and common drops, it will be even higher.

The reason for this comes down to the size of the pool being drawn from. In a normal loot box, four items are pulled from a pool of 1,333, with one of them having to be rare or higher. For summer items, it's one from a pool of 110. This means in a single box, assuming just one summer item, you are seeing 0.91% of the summer pool, versus 0.3% of the pool in one of the classic boxes.

You need to open 850 summer boxes to get all of the summer items

Again we aren't the only ones that have been doing the maths. This data comes from this Reddit post and associated video archive. Despite there being a tenth as many items in total, due to credits not being usable on summer items and there not being four per box, almost the same number of boxes are required to unlock everything.

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HersheySquirtle avatarVextrinity avatar「Spaerk」 avatarCashin31 avatarninjabunny avatarkoosgergely avatar+3
Vextrinity Avatar
9 Months ago

33 boxes opened.

1 legendary and 4 epics, I feel so unlucky.

「Spaerk」 Avatar
9 Months ago

Same, but at least my first one came out fairly early so I will get a pity-legendary soon.

HersheySquirtle Avatar
9 Months ago

Some interesting numbers. I haven't paid for any boxes since I play on both PS4 and PC, and I already hate the fact that I have to earn everything twice to begin with. I'm certainly not dropping any dough into loot boxes until such time that my unlocks sync with my connected PSN and Bnet accounts. Why are they even linked, anyway? =P


Cashin31 Avatar
8 Months ago

Guys I got three legendaries in a row. Level 14-16

Cashin31 Avatar
8 Months ago

I mean level 13-16

ninjabunny Avatar
8 Months ago

hey i got ultraviolet skin for tracer it was golden

how much did it cost

koosgergely Avatar
8 Months ago

im lvl 20 and i got 0 skins from boxes. No commons, no rare, no epic, no legendary. Only origin skins because i have origin edition.

Dirt McGirt Avatar
7 Months ago

25 earned boxes, one box with (2x) legendaries. It seems the pity pattern does exist with earned boxes as well

WhiteCrow Avatar
5 Months ago

Got Reinhardt's Halloween skin last night. Not exactly the one I wanted, as I already like the Bloodhardt skin I use, but I'll take it given the odds. I really want Skullyata!

"Pass into the skull."

Rock1m1 Avatar
5 Months ago

I guess I am in a fool's errand hoping to get as much legendary Halloween skins as possible.