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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War players have stumbled upon references to loot boxes in the beta for the upcoming entry to the series, and they're very confused.
The beta's Message of the Day apparently shows options for "Reserves", "Purchase Crate", and "Crate Bundle," but only when players use a mouse and keyboard while playing on the PlayStation 4. It's possible that these options are remnants of a previous stage in the game's development, and they've been missed by Treyarch's team before the beta went live. However, some have pointed out that if they aren't a feature of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, then it's very strange for them to appear this late in the game (so to speak).
Presently, neither Activision nor Treyarch have addressed the existence of these "Reserves", "Purchase Crates", and "Crate Bundles". Regarding Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, the publisher bore the brunt of heavy criticism for its choice to monetise downloadable content and focus on microtransactions for progression. Players were able to grind to unlock these cosmetic items, but the process was exceedingly slow and thereby spurred them to spend real money as a shortcut.
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Then, loot boxes were added to the existing monetisation systems within Black Ops 4, and expectedly opened a tin of worms which disgruntled players further. Termed Reserve Cases and Reserve Crates, these were unlockable with points awarded in matches, but they were also available in the Black Market store. Because the content contained in these was randomly generated and the probabilities were not stated, players were essentially wagering to see if they would unlock what they wanted with their purchase.
For Modern Warfare, Activision did away with the poorly implemented loot boxes and instead opted for a paid battle pass and an in-game store. This let players see exactly what they were getting for their money, and skipped over the relentless grind to unlock them otherwise. However, with these references spotted in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, it's a worrying sign that the publisher may be returning to the system of the previous game in the sub-series.
Since we don't have an official acknowledgement of the "Reserves", "Purchase Crates", and "Crate Bundles", we have to hold our horses for now and not pass judgement. As aforementioned, these discoveries may just be a bug left over from an earlier moment in the game's development.
Lately, the UK Government has been putting the pressure on video game companies to be transparent over the structure and impact of their microtransactions, beginning with an inquiry into experiences of loot boxes. As part of an investigation into "immersive and addictive technologies," I doubt there'll be many people sitting on the fence with this one.
Featured Image Credit: Treyarch, Activision
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