Earlier in June, we reported on how a Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 update added exciting new weapons – but locked them behind loot boxes.
The move was met with universal criticism from players who accused Activision and Treyarch of adding a pay-to-win element to the game (one of the DLC weapons, the S6 Stingray tactical rifle, seems particularly powerful right now).
This week, Treyarch responded to the furore, and announced what it was going to do about it.
In a post on the Black Ops 4 subreddit, Treyarch announced plans to “provide all players with new ways to earn weapons just by playing the game in any mode”.
These “new ways” include a community challenge that unlocks the free, fully customisable Grav assault rifle (this is live now), an upcoming Contracts system (more on that in a bit), a “new path” to earning more loot boxes in all modes, and additional earnable duplicate-protected Weapon Bribes due out in the future.
Digging into the detail, Treyarch said the new Contracts system, due out in Black Ops 4’s next major update in late June, will let players complete Contracts each day, with rotating daily challenges across every mode, including Zombies. Here’s how Contracts looks in the new After Action Report:
While these new systems will help with the acquisition of DLC weapons because, theoretically at least, we’ll get more loot boxes more quickly, they don’t tackle the underlying issues with Black Ops 4’s monetisation – or even the main issue with locking DLC weapons inside loot boxes.
As many have pointed out, these updates do nothing to prevent duplicates turning up in loot boxes (duplicates should be ditched outright, most suggest). We’re told to expect additional earnable duplicate-protected Weapon Bribes, but if these Weapon Bribes work the same as those currently in the game, you could receive a MKII weapon instead of a DLC gun from the recent Days of Summer update.
Nor do the new systems provide a direct way to buy the new DLC weapons. Some who own the disappointing Black Ops Pass reckon they should get them for free – and it’s hard to argue with that point.
We’ll have to wait and see how significantly these new systems change the Black Ops 4 grind. It’s fair to say players are sceptical of their potential impact.
“We at the studio are always reading the many comments posted to social channels and we continue to incorporate player input into each update,” Treyarch said, “so please keep your feedback coming to help us make the core gameplay experience the best it can be.”