WTF?! Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is now charging $20 for a ten-piece “cosmetic” pack containing a watch that tells players how many times they’ve died in-match, rather than in the post-game stats like usual. The feature arguably provides a tactical advantage to players that have it, violating the developers’ promise that “all functional content that has an impact on game balance, such as base weapons and attachments, can be unlocked simply by playing the game.”
Every CoD game until Modern Warfare gave players the option to see their kills, assists, and deaths during a match, and when Modern Warfare launched without a visible death count (in most modes) players immediately asked for it to be implemented. Paying $20 for it wasn’t what anyone had in mind.
Image via krzaqu on Reddit
Analyzing one’s kill-death ratio during a match can be pretty important. In Team Deathmatch, the team with the best kill-death ratio wins. If you go on a rampage and rack up a dozen kills you might think you’re doing well, but if you haven’t been paying attention to your deaths you might not realize that you need to play a little more cautiously to boost your ratio. It’s certainly not a major difference, and a thoughtful player should be aware enough anyway, but it certainly goes a little bit beyond being just cosmetic.
In most games, a cheeky but small pay-to-win element might go unnoticed but Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has otherwise been a shining beacon of what a game should be like. There are no loot boxes. You cannot spend money to boost stats. There is no costly DLC pack with new maps and content that the entire player base can’t access. Because of that, and general quality and gameplay, it made $600 million in its opening weekend and has been the best-selling game of the year.