How do I earn boxes?
First, when you log in for the first time on an account that existed before the crafting system’s implementation (on Tuesday March 15), you will be gifted a free mystery box and key. In order to earn more chests, you will need to play games on Summoner’s Rift, and when you or someone in your party (note: party, as in you queued up with them) earns an S- ranking or higher, everyone in your party will earn a box. You can earn up to four boxes a month, with a new one being eligible to earn every seven days (you start off with four). However, you can only earn one box per champion per season. So if you earn a box on Shaco you will be unable to earn another box on him until the start of the next season. Note that if one of your teammates gets the S rank to unlock a box for you, you are locked out of whatever champion you were playing, regardless of your own rank.
The Keys are earned a bit differently, and there is no time gating on them. Every time you win a game on Summoner’s Rift, you have a chance to unlock a key fragment. You can use three of these fragments to make a proper key. The chance of unlocking a fragment gets higher as the number of people in your party increase, but you still only earn a chance towards them when you are victorious.
You can also buy boxes and keys for RP, the base amount is 125 for one box or one key, and 195 for a box and a key. Larger bundles cost less RP proportionally, as usual. The boxes that you buy will NOT be taken out of the four that you get naturally each month.
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So what is inside the boxes?
When you open your free box, as prompted, you will be granted a skin shard, a ward shard, and 800 orange dust. The shards have several uses. First, you can activate it immediately to get the skin shown for seven days, free of charge, although it will consume the shard. Second, you can unlock it using the orange dust to add it to your account permanently – the price varies based on the RP value of the kin. Third, you can re-roll three shards that you don’t want to give you one new, permanent, skin that is the same type as the ones you re-rolled (I.E. re-roll three champion shards and you will get a random free champion skin). For re-rolling, there is no RP value taken into account, so you’ll want to re-roll low-value skins. Lastly, you can simply disenchant it to give you more of the appropriate colour of dust. You will get more dust based on the RP value of the skin or champion that the shard represents.
It should be mentioned that although the first box will only contain a champion skin shard and a ward skin shard, there are also champion shards which can be used in all the same ways, but result in champions rather than cosmetics. Champions must be unlocked using the blue dust rather than the orange dust. Blue dust is used exclusively for champions at this point, and is not interchangeable with orange dust. If you already own all champions, Riot has announced that there will be something else you can do with your blue dust down the road, but we have no further details at this time.
The first box gives you a big bonus to start off, the rest of the boxes won’t be as generous. What you can expect from an average box is one of the following:
1. A champion shard
2. A champion or ward skin shard
3. Summoner Icons + orange or blue dust
4. A Rare Gem plus one of the previous numbers
The Rare Gem is the best reward you can possibly get, because not only does it give you one of the other rewards, but the gem itself gives you another box and key to open for yet another reward!
From everything I’ve seen, read about, and experienced, the system is great. It’s a lot of fun, and it gives players who don’t want to or can’t afford to put money in the game a chance to earn some skins. It may not be the fastest system to earn your items, but considering it’s a new system that is entirely free and does not detract from any other part of the game in any way, this addition is simply amazing. It is a huge step in the right direction for Riot, and one that has me playing more games now than I have in months.