UPDATE 22ND MARCH 2021: The R1 Shadowhunter crossbow launches officially on 24th March, Activision has announced. More info here.
UPDATE 20TH MARCH 2021: Treyarch has now said some unlock progress made towards the R1 Shadowhunter will carry over when the weapon is officially released.
Responding to negative feedback, the developer said players who previously unlocked the R1 Shadowhunter will be placed at 14 / 15 match completions "due to technical limitations" with player inventories.
This "compromise", Treyarch said, lets the developer adjust inventories appropriately and establish "a path of least resistance" to obtain the R1 Shadowhunter when it eventually comes out.
Players who began the unlock process, but did not obtain the R1 Shadowhunter, will retain their previous challenge progress. And players who previously unlocked the R1 Shadowhunter will retain their camo progress.
Refunds on the R1 Shadowhunter bundle are still planned.
ORIGINAL STORY 19TH MARCH 2021: Activision accidentally sold a new crossbow for Call of Duty: Warzone and Black Ops Cold War this week that some players spent real world money on - and now the company has pulled it from the game and promised refunds.
However, it's Activision's decision to reset progress made by players to unlock this crossbow for free that has angered the Call of Duty community.
Yesterday, 18th March, a bundle that included a blueprint for the R1 Shadowhunter Crossbow was sold in the in-game Warzone store for 1200 COD Points (around £10).
Players were confused, since the new weapon was not mentioned in any patch notes. But that didn't stop many players from buying it - even though the crossbow was not useable in Warzone.
But it was usable in Black Ops Cold War. And the base version of the crossbow was available via a challenge that, once completed, would unlock it for use. In Black Ops Cold War, the crossbow was listed as a secondary weapon under the "special" category, and you could unlock it by using a weapon with no attachments to get three one shot, one kill medals in 15 separate games. And so that's exactly what Black Ops Cold War players started working towards.
Some simply bought the bundle from the Warzone store and unlocked the crossbow for use in Black Ops Cold War straight away. Others unlocked it for free via the Black Ops Cold War challenge. Either way, for a time yesterday, this crossbow was usable in Black Ops Cold War multiplayer and zombies. The video below, from YouTuber AC OMEGA, shows off the crossbow in zombies.
Players spent pretty much all of yesterday working to unlock the crossbow and then levelling it up, unlocking camos for it along the way. Some even managed to get it to level 30.
Now, Activision has pulled the crossbow from the game and promised to refund those who bought the bundle.
Activision has also decided that when the crossbow is officially released, all progress towards it and with it will be reset - a decision the community has reacted negatively to.
"Yo what the hell... I was just grinding for the past couple of hours to get this damn thing and they just go 'whoops, our bad it was too early'," wrote redditor Cybranwarrior22.
"It's getting hard to enjoy playing this game at times."
"I just spent the entire afternoon unlocking the goddamn thing," said Trashboat77 before it emerged progress would reset. "It had BETTER reflect that when it comes back."
"I was at 14/15," Xytoup said. "I will deinstall the game if they don't save my challenge progress."
The reaction on social media has been similar:
Activision has yet to say when the crossbow will be officially released.