Between Loot and Airdrop - what exactly does Loot mean?

LOOT, that's us. But of course you know the term not only from our logo, but also generally belongs to the vocabulary of gaming. But what does Loot actually mean, where does the word come from and since when has it been in circulation?

In this blog article, we'll tell you everything you need to know about Lootboxes, Crates and Co., and we'll also tell you about the history of Loot.

Loot - A short story, translation and definition
Detached from gaming, the term Loot has been in use for more than two hundred years. The word's first origins can be found in the early 19th century and derived from the Indian term lut. It means stolen booty. In English, the word was spelled with double -O- to make the stretching of the vowel clear, but the definition remained the same: stolen or looted goods from an enemy.

The establishment of the term in the gaming world was analogous to this in terms of linguistic history. We're talking about the looting of fallen NPCs and looting happen in many games, especially if enemies are defeated.

A classic example

Classic examples are games like World of Warcraft or Diablo, in which demons and monsters are killed and then it's on to the loot. These examples are also resourceful because they bring an additional component that you will surely associate with loot - the random factor.

It doesn't have to be that way, obviously, and there are plenty of counter-examples, but often the loot you get after a long fight is randomly generated. Some mini-bosses always have the key to the real boss in their jacket pocket, but whether you find a legendary assault rifle or the golden pineapple in Destiny, that's randomly rolled. If you're lucky you'll have more power and punch, if you're unlucky you'll have an inventory full of junk.

Loot and the establishment in gaming
The path from British colonial troops of the 19th century to CS:GO is still quite long. You can see that the Lootchest principle works well in analog examples like trading cards or stickers. People just enjoy collecting things, unwrapping things, opening things, and getting excited when you catch rare prizes. In fact, it's so much fun that opening a Lootbox can become addictive (more on that later). 

So whether it's Panini soccer pictures, trading cards from Magic: The Gathering, or even the Surprise Egg, a pack with puzzling contents is the analog equivalent of the Lootchest in gaming.

It took a while for this gambling form of minigame to find its way into gaming, however, and you've probably never heard of the first Lootchest in game form: MapleStory is a Japanese MMORPG that sold tickets for real money in 2004 and let gamers gamble for prizes.

In 2007, it was the Chinese game Zhengtu that made lootcrates the core of the game mechanics; this basic idea can still be found today in free-to-play titles that are financed by the use of real money. The fact that it is more lucrative to make a few players spend horrendous amounts of money than to charge all players a fixed price had become clear pretty quickly.

Lootboxes, gambling and questionable consequences

If it's not about looting of fallen NPCs or human opponents like in Fortnite, for example, but about buying loot, you'll find a double-edged sword here.
Many players defend such models, since no one is forced to buy Lootchests. Free-to-play games remain free for the player base and allow everyone to try them out without obligation. Especially young people with a small petty cash can play as much as they want without having to raid the piggy bank. However, it becomes problematic when the equipment won is not only particularly aesthetic, but also brings with it real gameplay advantages. EA's FIFA Ultimate Team mode, for example, is specifically designed to give players with more starting capital a better team. The acquisition of particularly strong heroes or game cards, as in free-to-play games like Raid: Shadow Legends or Hearthstone, is also at least in a moral grey area.

More on Lootboxes, gambling and questionable consequences

In addition, there is the targeting of the developer studios. The system is aimed at so-called whales. The term is already known from the casino, these are those people who are willing to spend a lot of money, often more than they can actually afford. Spending several thousand euros per month on hats in Team Fortress 2 is no exception in many cases.

To protect these people (with a tendency to gamble), there are many mechanisms. Apps in Apple's App Store, for example, must state the odds of winning in a loot box. Many governments are also consulting on making opening lootcrates gambling, which would come with an 18 rating and could put an end to these mechanics in practice.


But also you should know how to identify loot and gambling. You know how it is: you open a box, the main prize seems certain, but the spin goes on a little bit? In this case, the outcome was already determined when you opened it, everything else is an illusion meant to trigger endorphins in your head. After all, the near-win has the same hormonal effect on gambling addicts as the real win.

You can find some links & pictures about Loot and Gambling here or here: So does this mean that Loot is bad per se? Not at all, because there are many great, fair and exciting examples of how to make Loot right and fair.s 

Loot designed fairly - examples from different games

In principle, Loot means in English first of all only captured things, and many games also keep it with this translation. Fortnite, for example, offers permanent visual upgrades only as a direct purchase or in the Season Pass - so no nasty surprises. You can find loot from your opponents or as an airdrop. Whenever a crate or the Loot Lama is smoking on the horizon, you know that big loot (and a hot fight) is waiting. And because the Loot Lama takes forever and three days to open, another principle comes into play: risk and reward.

You'll also find this in many RPGs like Divinity: Original Sin, Diablo or Torchlight II and shooters like Borderlands. If the opponent is stronger, the monster drop is better. So, do you prefer to risk something early and upgrade strength, stamina and other stats faster? Or do you bypass your opponent and wipe the floor with them if you're strong enough? Such optional encounters can also be found in Dark Souls and co, so you can decide for yourself if the monster drop is worth the stress to you.

Various examples from the industry

In addition, examples from various games show that optical upgrades and equipment can also be designed fairly with random lootboxes. For example, can equipment be traded with friends or forged back into raw materials? Are upgrades permanent or do they only apply to this game round?

For some links & images around the history of lootboxes in gaming, check out: With a good look back at EA, whose business practices have done a lot of damage in recent years.


There are many models to keep random wins in games fun and fair. Our LOOT DRINK can give you energy and power, but when it comes to luck with Lootboxes, it will only help you partially. With inner strength and stamina, however, you know that it doesn't matter either, even with the ugliest gun in CS:GO or as a no-skin in Fortnite, nothing stands in the way of a successful session. Of course, that doesn't mean you won't have many an advantage with our extra power. Faster at the airdrop in PUBG or even from the most modest cards a clever Hearthstone deck built. So stay cool and don't stress if the lootchest was once again only Lvl 1 loot and lint.


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