It’s not as bad as it sounds. We just wish they used less complicated sounding terms for simple ideas.
There will be several types of boxes you can buy from the shop and none of them need keys. They’re called “caches” (for whatever reason) and they drop loot and special PROJECT gear.
First, there are Augment caches and these function as normal Hextech boxes, almost. They’ll only be available for RP and they each drop two PROJECT cores, one skin shard, one random shard and maybe an Augment cache fragment.
Fragments can be combined to get more Augment caches. As per usual, three fragments equals one component.
Next, there are PROJECT-specific boxes and you can only buy one of each of these. They’re all bundled with a respective icon. The EM Caster icon comes with a PROJECT: Ashe cache, the Decrypter icon with a PROJECT: Ekko cache, the Hyper Edge icon with a PROJECT: Katarina cache and the DISRUPTION icon comes with a PROJECT: Disruption cache.
Out of the featured three boxes you get a respective icon blueprint, an Augment cache fragment and a project core. The DISRUPTION box comes with an older PROJECT skin blueprint (Yasuo, Master Yi, Lucian, Zed, Fiora or Leona), seven project cores and two Augment cache fragments.
The icon-bundled caches can be bought with RP or IP.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Okay, that’s great, but what the hell do cores and blueprints do?”
Cores are the equivalent to essence for the PROJECT stuff. It costs seven cores to upgrade an icon blueprint and 11 cores to upgrade a skin blueprint. Upgrading the skin blueprint gives you the skin and upgrading the icon blueprint gives you a special FIRST STRIKE border on your PROJECT skin’s loading slice. (Previously, FIRST STRIKE borders were obtained by buying the skin the week it released.)
Riot has also mentioned that there will be bundles that include free gemstones that you can buy once per day during the first six days of the event. Maybe that Soulstealer Vayne is more obtainable than we thought.
It seems like skin shards are much more common with the Augment caches than they are with Hextech boxes. After opening approximately 25 boxes on PBE, we got some good loot.
That’s...a lot of skins. Note that for normal skin shards (not blueprints) you do need orange essence to upgrade it into permanent loot. You can’t use cores to do that.
A bundle of 10 Hextech boxes (with keys) costs 1950 RP. So if the pricing is approximately the same, this was around $35 worth of RP, give or take. Whether or not this is worth it is up to you.