Warzone: A shocking piece of information about a possible pay-to-win mechanic has been leaked by someone who seems to be in the know. This could shake the whole Call of Duty series to its core. Skill-based matchmaking is still controversial in the Call of Duty world, and someone says that Warzone’s SBMM is set up to favour people who pay money.
Even though Activision won’t say much about SBMM in Warzone, some players swear they remember when mixed-skill lobbies were back in the good old days. These days, your K/D ratio matches you with opponents who are about as good as you are.
The advantage in the game
If SBMM is in play, those at the top are left gasping for air as they try to kill other players who are just as good at marksmanship. Now, someone who says they used to work at Activision is here to tell us what’s happening.
The OP said they weren’t bound by their NDA and could talk freely about Warzone’s SBMM on a now-deleted Reddit AMA (via Dexerto). The three interpreted that Activision has “a fully functional matchmaking algorithm that puts participants against each other based on a mixture of skill, bought microtransactions, and preferred weapon used in-game.”
It’s a pretty broad statement, and if it’s true, it would question some very bad morals. The poster explained what they mean by saying that someone who spends $20 on a sniper rifle skin could be matched with someone who also likes to use snipers but isn’t as good at it. The idea is that the player with less skill will think that the skin has made the other player better, hopefully getting them to give up their money.
The website claims that.
One Reddit user called the situation “horrifying,” which shows how bad it could be if these claims were true. Regarding these kinds of posts, Reddit and ResetEra are sometimes just as unreliable as 4Chan.
The claims are interesting because they back up earlier reports that microtransactions can change where you place in Warzone. In June, we talked about how data seemed to show a difference between those who play Warzone for “free” and those who pay real money. Pay-to-win Warzone skins are one thing, but a whole meta that rewards spending money and punishes those who don’t is something else.
What Do The Accusations Of The Leaker Mean?
Who thinks the #Warzone battle pass is a “pay to win” thing? You can pay extra to skip 20 tiers at the start of the season, but if you don’t, you have to grind for 3–4 hours every day to reach level 100. #activision
Kyle Brewington, July 30, 2021 (@Kyle Brewington)
Things should be taken with a grain of salt, but the poster says that these features were tested and made it into the final version of Warzone. They also led to a “significant increase in microtransaction sales.” Activision made a huge $3 billion from Call of Duty in 2020. This is not a secret. If that wasn’t enough, just one-quarter of the microtransactions that the publisher made money from brought in $1.2 billion.
The latest scandal comes after Activision PR dispelled rumours that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare had a pay-to-win system like this. When a questionable patent claimed a Virtual Coaching System and similar claims were made in 2019, the company’s public relations department said that a system similar to the one described above existed but had never been implemented in-game. Are the leaker’s claims true, or are they just a rehash of something that happened years ago?
We’re not likely to find out, though. Activision has put nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) on everything, so the real truth might stay hidden unless someone wants to get in a lot of trouble. Still, now isn’t the best time to say that Warzone is a “pay-to-win” game since Activision has just been accused of a “frat boy culture,” sued by the state of California, and had its CEO apologize for his “tone-deaf” response.
COD YouTuber claim
Players on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC say that Warzone is pay-to-win and have proof to back up their claims. JGOD, a popular Call of Duty YouTuber, is at the centre of the claim. He says that there are blueprints for Black Ops Cold War weapons that are much better than their base versions. In other words, buying these blueprints can give an advantage over players who don’t have spare cash.
Activision and its partners have said in the past that blueprints don’t give players an advantage in the game, but this claim is now being questioned. JGOD refutes the claim by bringing up the Gallantry MAC-10, which he says isn’t just better than the base version of the gun but is much better. This wouldn’t be an issue if the blueprint for it weren’t sealed behind the game’s Battle Pass, or more particularly, Tier 95 of the Battle Pass. In other words, you need to buy the Battle Pass and grind to get this Blueprint.