Activision seem to be going backwards in their post-release content, when compared to the other major players in the industry. Where Ubisoft, EA, Microsoft, Epic and dozens more are all starting to embrace free post-release content in place of season passes and paid DLC, the Black Ops Pass is superseding the Season Pass of old. Call of Duty fans are not happy about this, pushing back against Activision for what they see to be a step in the wrong direction.
Where the Black Ops Pass was a source of controversy last week when it was initially stated that it could only be purchased as part of special editions of the game – this has now been rectified so it will be sold separately as well – the pass is still riling up fans for how it can split the community. There’s dozens of threads on the Black Ops IIII subreddit and rallies to the cause across other gaming communities, from Xbox One to seeking support from Star Wars Battlefront
Naturally, Activision say this is so they can deliver content more steadily, as seen with other live games, and reduce the amount of division in the community. However, you can equally say that they’re removing player choice by having a single large sum to pay for all or nothing access to new maps and gear. DLC packs have often seen their player count dwindle soon after release, and it’s this that has pushed others toward free releases backed by microtransactions. Call of Duty has, for the last few years, had both DLC season passes and microtransactions which can potentially unlock more powerful weapons.
In response to some of the criticism, Treyarch responded by saying:
I want to make it clear that we are very much listening to your thoughts, comments, and ideas. We know the r/ community is passionate and vocal, and it’s a place where we sincerely want to have a two-way conversation.
We are absolutely committed to supporting the entire community with a slew of free, post-release content that will extend the Black Ops 4 experience with more new ways to play than we’ve ever done before. With Black Ops 3, we’re three years after release, and we continue to support it with new content and continuous updates – and we’re not even done yet. Our commitment to the game has maintained engagement…and Black Ops 4 has far more post-release updates planned for the entire community. In fact, it’s a game that was built for expansion. Launch day is just the beginning of a long journey.
Under the barrage of negativity, they’ve also banned #SayNoToBlackOpsPass on the official COD Twitch channel.
Meanwhile, Xbox One owners are understandably put out by exclusive DLC coming to the game on PlayStation 4. This relates to the ‘Back in Black’ classic map pack that are a pre-order bonus for Black Ops IIII, but also unlock for Black Ops III. Again, the only way to get these maps is to pre-order the game.