Call of Duty fans have heavily criticised Activision for a newly-released “pay-to-win” bundle deemed the most egregious so far.
The Roze and Thorn bundle includes the Thorns Out Roze operator skin. This skin spawns players with a free UAV bonus effect for the popular extraction mode, DMZ.
In Call of Duty, a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) reveals enemy locations on the mini-map for 30 seconds – a particularly useful ability in a game that involves player versus environment versus player elements. The effect is potentially pronounced in squad play, where up to six can team up.
Fans have said the ability to spawn in with a UAV provides players with an unfair advantage, making the Roze bundle “pay-to-win”. Indeed, last month Activision appeared to try to nerf the skin’s effectiveness ahead of its launch by adding a one-minute countdown on DMZ match start before a player can use the UAV Killstreak.
Now the bundle is actually out, players have reacted angrily to what they see as a depressing change in philosophy when it comes to Call of Duty microtransactions.
For years now, Call of Duty has largely avoided pay-to-win accusations by focusing on selling cosmetics either directly in store bundles or through premium battle passes, with gameplay-affecting items such as new weapons unlockable through the completion of challenges.
However, this year has seen the launch of a number of new premium bundles that have added “bonus effects” for DMZ, marking a worrying step along the “pay-to-win” road for the series.
For example, the Classic Ghost Pack, which costs 2400 CP (£16.79), includes a free two-plate armour vest, a 15-minute weapon cooldown for each of the two guns included in the bundle, and adds one more active duty operator slot for DMZ.
The Roze and Thorn bundle is cheaper at 1800 CP but just as problematic for DMZ balance. Not only does it include the skin with the free UAV, but an additional active duty operator slot, and two weapon blueprints, each with a 15-minute weapon cooldown.
Here’s a snippet of the reaction to the bundle across Twitter and reddit.
by u/alby13 in DMZ
What’s more concerning is they probably won’t backtrack on this even if it’s broken because people have PAID for it.
We’re just going to have to see how broken it is.
They haven’t even addressed 6 man premade teams. Can’t wait for 6 UAVs in a row on Ashika.
— Stodeh (@StodehTV) May 8, 2023