You'd think Call of Duty: WW2 drama would be done and dusted at this point, given the game came out in 2017 and attention has already turned to this year's entry in the series.
Loyal Call of Duty: WW2 fans knew developer Sledgehammer planned to release new weapons for the game this week, but what they didn't know is the live service lever-pullers had deemed it necessary to lock these new weapons behind loot boxes.
Interestingly, the five new WW2 weapons (the KG-M21 rifle; the Blyskawica submachine gun; the Erma EMP submachine gun; the Lad light machine gun; and the WZ .35 sniper rifle) were added on the same day as Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's latest update, Days of Summer, went live on PlayStation 4 and also drew flak for locking new weapons behind loot boxes.
WW2's loot boxes are called supply drops. They fall from the sky onto Normandy beach - the game's social space - where their contents jump out for all players nearby to see.
New weapons have been added to WW2 in the past, of course, but not locked behind loot boxes. In the past, Collections were a part of themed events consisting of a variety of gear and weapons, and these offered a reliable route to new guns you could buy with armoury credits. But none of the new weapons added to WW2 this week are available to buy over at the Quartermaster. And there are no Contracts or Orders to unlock them either.
Making matters worse, players had spent time preparing for this week's new weapons, saving up armoury credits in the expectation they would be able to buy them directly.
So, to loot boxes! While it's generally agreed WW2's loot boxes are more generous than Black Ops 4's, you're still left with a random chance of getting the new weapons. And, based on anecdotal evidence from players, your chances of getting all of the new weapons is pretty low: reddit user /juankunder said they opened 280 supply drops and only got two of the new weapons.
This situation, as you'd expect, hasn't gone down well. Redditor YeOldeDonkeyKong called it "an incredibly low note to end the game's updates with".
The response prompted a reddit post from developer Sledgehammer Games that included good news and bad news.
First, the bad news: Sledgehammer said it does not have any plans to release new Collections for WW2.
"The current weapons update consists purely of weapons with no additional content and were never intended for Collections," the statement reads.
Now, some good news: in the past, newly-released weapons were offered up for Contracts shortly after their release - generally about a month. Sledgehammer said that's the plan with the new weapons added this week. The Contracts for the new weapons will drop on 2nd July.
And finally, even better news, although it's not directly related to the new weapons: Sledgehammer will briefly open all previous Collections tied to timed events, for example Winter Siege and Resistance, and weapons associated with past Collections will be available to buy with armoury credits.
"So, if you've got a ton of credits sitting around, are thinking of buying every single Collection, or are missing that one gun, this post is for you."
This is a great thing to do for the Call of Duty: WW2 community, and it's great to see Sledgehammer continue to support the game in its second year of life - this isn't something you usually see with the annual Call of Duty franchise. But it's hard to shake the feeling this week has been a bad one for the Call of Duty franchise, when you consider both Black Ops 4 and WW2 have released new weapons that can only be obtained via loot boxes. It smacks of pay-to-win, and, as has been expressed before, makes you worry for the future of the series and the impending Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Activision has confirmed Modern Warfare will not have a traditional season pass, breaking years of Call of Duty tradition.
The money will have to be made in other ways.
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