Modern Warfare Microtransactions Is an Example of How Activision Is Learning

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While we’ve already talked about some of the design decisions we don’t agree with in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, those issues don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Instead of dwelling on that, we’re here to talk about something positive that the game has managed to pull off, and that’s how Activision seems to have learned how to handle in-game microtransactions properly with how the Modern Warfare microtransactions have been presented (at least so far).

Nope, we’re not saying it’s perfect, and in an ideal world, we’d rather that these things don’t exist, but the harsh reality is, they are here now, and it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere soon.

Thankfully, though, Modern Warfare’s Battle Pass system seems to have found the perfect balance in terms of having Activision make money and making it somewhat consumer-friendly. It’s a big departure from past Call of Duty titles like Black Ops 4, where weapons were only realistically attainable in Supply Drops (a.k.a. loot boxes), which meant people who spent money (though it wasn’t guaranteed) had access to the weapons. And if these said weapons were powerful? Tough shit, pal! Better grind for a month in the hopes of getting it.

That has all changed in Modern Warfare. Right now, in Season 2, the first weapon (the GRAU assault rifle and the Strike SMG) can be obtained by hitting level 15 of the Battle Pass (no purchase necessary), which isn’t all that hard to do. This was also the case in Season 1, where the two new guns were also obtainable in early parts of the Battle Pass.

While things could suddenly change in an instant, I don’t see it happening given how successful Modern Warfare microtransactions have been so far. What we have now, it’s what I’m hoping we get in this year’s rumored Treyarch-developed Call of Duty game.

Sure, I’d love for bundles sold in the Modern Warfare in-game store to be a lot cheaper, and maybe don’t lock specific items in bundles, but that’s a small price to pay compared to having guns tucked away in Supply Drops and having dots sold for actual money.

Before Supply Drops though, we had the Call of Duty Season Pass, which usually gave each map pack four maps each, with four released throughout the year. That said, this severely fragmented the player base, which made matches a lot harder for some (experience players likely bought the map pack), while it also made matchmaking a wee bit harder than it should. The new approach to DLC ensures that the fanbase now sticks together and everyone can enjoy the same maps with one another. Easily a dropping point for many in past Call of Duty games, especially on PC.

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When Infinity Ward announced that they weren’t just skipping your usual Season Pass with but even doing away with Supply Drops in Modern Warfare, naturally, the skeptic in me (and in every Call of Duty player) was waiting for the other shoe to drop; like it was impossible that Activision would allow it without any other form of replacement.

Well, for some weird reason, Activision did just this. Now, this doesn’t mean we won’t ever see Supply Drops or any other form of microtransaction element in Modern Warfare since past Call of Duty games had these implemented months after launch, but from the looks of it so far, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Another major drawback I’ve seen so far aside from the pricing and bundles of cosmetics? It’s that Emblems and Calling Cards, which are staples for the franchise in terms of earnable in-game rewards, have been tied to missions, with some missions only available if you buy the Battle Pass. There are still quite a few Calling Cards and Emblems that can be earned by completing in-game challenges, but it’s significantly smaller than in past Call of Duty games.

My main takeaway here? Activision knew it was pushing people away or testing their patience with how they handled Supply Drops and microtransactions in the franchise’s last few releases, and they corrected themselves before the player base cratered due to how annoying it was.

Here’s hoping this year’s Call of Duty follows suit with microtransactions. Has Activision finally learned how to handle Call of Duty microtransactions without angering the player base? Let’s hope they have, and won’t try to test the player base’s patience with another round of Supply Drops.


Opinions expressed here are solely of the author’s and does not represent MP1st in its entirety.

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