Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's Battle Pass- Deceptive or Decent?

Developer
Infinity Ward
Release Date
October 25, 2019
Multiplayer modes
Co Op, Local, Online, Online Features
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Why Not Both?

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's first Battle Pass Season kicked off with the promise of a huge content drop. According to Infinity Ward's advertisements for the Battle Pass, the game will be receiving up to seven new maps spread across three existing multiplayer modes, three new multiplayer modes, two new guns, at least four new Spec Ops missions, and a deluge of cosmetic items. Of course, like most modern post-launch content schemes, this new content isn't going to be released at the same time. Instead, it will be slowly integrated into the game whenever the developers feel like it. Since the current season lasts for 60 days, one can assume that it will take that long for players to receive the new content.

Normally, this kind of news wouldn't be too surprising. After all, there's no logical way that Infinity Ward would be releasing this many new maps for free this quickly. Even back in the days of paid map packs, such a prospect would be a stretch. Indeed, of the aforementioned advertised content, only about half of it has actually been added to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare at this time. There's maybe two or three new maps, one new mode, and perhaps a couple Spec Ops missions. To no one's surprise, the paid cosmetic items made it through. The two new guns also became available to everyone. On paper, nothing too controversial whatsoever. Those who want to pay for the Battle Pass get their skins and other crazy cosmetics, and those who don't want to fork over some money still get the maps and guns and such.

 
 

Unfortunately for Infinity Ward, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's audience is needy, and you can't really blame them given the current state of the game. One of the largest gripes is that leveling the Battle Pass is agonizingly slow, regardless of whether you are paying for it or not. It takes around three or four full games to unlock the first tier of rewards. This translates to about an hour of play. Assuming that each tier takes the same amount of time to unlock (which they probably don't), this means that someone will have to play 100 hours of the game at minimum over the next 60 days to unlock everything. Realistically, once you factor in load times and such, you will have to dedicate two hours of each day to the game to just barely get what you paid for. You can cut this time down to about a third if you only care about the free guns, though once again this relies on the assumption that the XP requirements for the tier unlocks are the same across all tiers. 

Again, this is not a terrible deal in theory. You can recoup most of the cost of the Battle Pass in in-game currency without having to reach level 100. As far as modern microtransactions go, it could certainly be worse. Indeed, one can argue that the current attitude of discontent is mostly a result of Infinity Ward's lack of action on actual criticisms of the game. The most basic complaints from launch, particularly in regards to the spawn mechanics and Spec Ops difficulty, remain unaddressed. If anything, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's spawn system feels like it got worse since release. And good luck trying out the new Spec Ops missions when enemies still spawn infinitely from every direction. There's also the mildly concerning fact that some very popular playlists got phased out for no apparent reason. Granted, Shoothouse 24/7 was restored relatively quickly, but its absence and the subsequent reaction from the community spoke volumes about existing map design.

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Is this the future of microtransactions? (Yes, yes it is)

One way that you can look at it is that the Battle Pass came out at precisely the wrong time. The honeymoon phase for a new game only lasts for so long. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is already at the "dissect the game's faults 24/7" phase of its life. That Infinity Ward advertised the Battle Pass as the biggest free content drop in Call of Duty history when one of the included maps is a worse remake of a classic is not helping the situation. Perhaps if Infinity Ward was more forthcoming with their plans, things would be different, but that's obviously not the case. Ironically, the release of Halo: Reach, a decade old game, at the same time might have also stolen a bit of the Battle Pass' thunder.

The Battle Pass in itself isn't especially exploitative, which is a little surprising, it's just (presumably) not exactly what people had in mind when it was advertised that there would be new, free maps. It may be naive to expect to receive several new maps all at once for free, but getting a slow drip of maps over the span of months when Call of Duty is a yearly title is hardly exciting either.

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Staff Writer

Hi everybody! I've been playing all kinds of games for decades now, from FPSes to city builders to the occasional platformer, and if nothing else, it's taught me that games are the ultimate form of art.