Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 now has microtransactions – and they’re not going down well.
We knew microtransactions were coming to Treyarch’s shooter, but we didn’t know when – or how much things would cost.
COD Points, as they’re called, are now live on the PlayStation 4 version of the game. They hit the other versions next week, Treyarch said in a post on r/Blackops4. COD Points are used to buy Nebulium Plasma in Zombies, advance through cosmetic Black Market tiers, and access new Special Orders in the Black Market.
The ability to spend your way through Black Market tiers is a point of contention. Despite Treyarch speeding up progression through the tiers recently, it still feels like a soul-destroying grind and all but impossible to complete in the allotted time except for the most dedicated of players. As players have already pointed out, now microtransactions are live, the super slow progression makes more sense.
So, how much would it cost to progress through all of the tiers in one go? I had reached tier seven just through playing so, to unlock tiers eight to 200, I’d need to buy 193 tiers for 19,300 COD Points.
The cheapest way to do that would be to buy a pack of 13,000 COD Points for £84.99, 5000 for £34.99, 1100 for £8.49 and then 200 for £1.79, which totals an eye-watering £130.26. Nice.
Paid for Special Orders are also new. They’re more stuff to unlock in the Black Market, essentially, with their own set of cosmetic items. Here’s how they work, according to Treyarch (it sounds very Fortnite Battle Pass):
“With Special Orders, players can stack each tier with multiple items to unlock at once, allowing everyone to maximise item unlocks with two items per tier at all times and up to three items per tier when Special Events are live (like the Halloween event live right now!).
“Players can choose when to acquire and start progressing through Special Orders, and only one can be active at a time. Though Special Orders will rotate on a regular basis, they will stay in your inventory once acquired until they’re completed, and you can switch between active Special Orders at any time. Once a Special Order is activated, you’ll see the new content drop in starting on the Black Market tier you’re currently on.”
These Special Orders aren’t going down well, either. Players aren’t happy at having to spend more money to unlock challenges that, once complete, reward cosmetic items such as outfits that in previous games would have been available to earn without spending. It doesn’t help that most of the outfits you can obtain don’t look particularly interesting.
The addition of microtransactions comes ahead of the planned launch of Blackjack’s Shop in November. This is where you can directly buy certain pieces of gear with limited availability. The shop will refresh on a weekly basis with a variety of items. Perhaps the best stuff is being held back for this shop.
Spliced into the Black Market tier progression system are Reserves, Black Ops 4’s version of supply drops. While there’s currently no way to buy these direct with real money, now you can pay to progress tiers you can indirectly buy them with real money. The game doesn’t tell you what you’ll get from them, either. All it tells you is you get a single random item.
It’s worth keeping in mind that all the content you’re unlocking through playing or with microtransactions is cosmetic only. We’re talking about sprays, gestures, outfits and weapon skins, here, not perks, equipment or guns themselves.
But that hasn’t stopped players from expressing concern about Black Ops 4’s unlock system, which suffers in comparison to previous games in the series, such as WW2 and even Black Ops 3, the latter of which features more customisation options available from simply playing.
The comparison to Fortnite has also been made, and it’s clear Activision has been inspired by Epic’s battle royale game. But, as people have already pointed out, Fortnite is a free-to-play game. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is a full-price game.