After a protracted and convoluted rollout, including multiple in-game stores, tiered progressions, and microtransactions, the last of Black Ops 4's monetization is here. The final piece of the puzzle? Well, it's loot boxes, of course.
If the seasonal Fortnite-inspired progression - or Blackjack's shop and the Black Market - weren't enough to satisfy your craving for colorful guns and boastful emotes, you can now buy Reserve Crates. If you pay $1.99 per box (or play two hours of Multiplayer or Blackout), you'll be in for the chance to get three cosmetic items, such as weapon skins, outfits, emotes, and stickers.
OK, so the loot boxes give cosmetic items. Nothing unique with that. Many a triple-A game that gives you a shiny weapon camo or a fun hat if you wave a couple of dollars in its direction. The problems arise when players who buy a bunch of these Reserve Crates are inevitably going to end up with gameplay-impacting items. The "MK II" version of weapons that grant 25% additional XP per kill, for example, or (if previous Call of Duty titles are anything to go off) signature weapons that handle better or "feel" better.
There's also the issue of duplicates. Looking for a particular skin or signature weapon? Well, unfortunately, you can't simply whittle away at the library of available contents in the hopes that you'll get better odds to get what you want because you're likely to get repeat items, including signature weapons.
Black Ops 4's monetization is messy and convoluted. There's a $60 season pass that includes DLC maps, the option to pay for skips in the tiered Contraband system, Special Orders (timed challenges) you can buy, individual cosmetic items you can spend your dollars on, and now the Reserve Crates.
Every inch of this game has been meticulously monetized in a way that's hard to not feel icky about. It's shame, really, since the game itself is great the focus on loot boxes will inevitably overshadow the meaningful changes coming to Blackout soon, which is awkwardly poised between Fortnite, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, and now Apex Legends. And with Blackout not being free-to-play, it's even harder to feel good about.
Naturally, the Black Ops 4 community aren't happy about the endless additions of new ways to spend real money on in-game items. The Black Ops 4 subreddit is filled with justifiably frustrated and alienated fans wondering when the game will stop trying to squeeze money out of them. Only time will tell if Activision will respond to the backlash and roll-back some of the more egregious elements of monetization.
In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates on Black Ops 4's monetization as they happen.
What do you think? Have you bought any loot boxes? Are you for or against their implementation in Black Ops 4? Let us know in the comments!