Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 developer Treyarch has just introduced a patch for the multiplayer FPS which contains some interesting new features – one of which is already drawing ire from some its players. This update adds something called Blackjack’s Stashes to the game’s battle royale mode, Blackout – but they introduce an element that members of its playerbase allege is basically a pay-to-win feature.
As spotted by MultiplayerFirst, the nature of how the stashes work means there could potentially be a pay-to-win side to them. Publisher Activision has posted notes about the new Blackjack’s Stashes in a blog post on its site: “each player will be able to unlock one of Blackjack’s Stashes per game, which contains all the Black Market weapons in your inventory. For instance, if you’ve earned the Vendetta in the Contraband stream, it will be available for you to grab during a Blackout match in one of Blackjack’s Stashes”.
This indicates that access to all your inventory Black Market weapons will be guaranteed once per game through the Stashes – but it looks like you won’t be able to use the weapons that they unlock if they’re not in your inventory. So, if you haven’t previously obtained them from Black Ops 4’s loot boxes (known as Reserve Crates) the Blackjack’s Stashes won’t make these weapons available to you.
This could be seen as a pretty big restriction because, while Black Market Reserve weapons aren’t strictly pay-to-win, players may not earn them through hard graft, but by paying for them. It also seems that you won’t be able to come by the stashes’ weapons by other means, like looting them from another player, or discovering them tucked away somewhere in your game’s map.
As you might expect, members of the game’s playerbase have taken to Reddit to express their upset at this. Yesterday, the Black Ops 4 subReddit front page was at one point packed with users discussing the stashes, as Multiplayer First demonstrates. Users such as WwwWario and RaymondLife, as well as others, have talked about their concerns on the site.
This seems like an interesting move, considering how controversial a topic pay-to-win and other microtransaction features in games is at the moment. Last week EA was questioned by MPs as part of an oral evidence session with the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee. EA’s VP of legal and government affairs, Kerry Hopkins, asserted that randomised in-game purchases aren’t loot boxes, but rather “surprise mechanics.” A statement that it’s fair to say has received some backlash from the community. Though this is slightly different, it reflects that there are some big questions surrounding the subject of these kinds of mechanics at the moment.
If you’re keen to check out the full patch notes for yourself, head over to Activision’s site where you can see them in full.