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Call Of Duty Leaker Exposes Warzone 'Pay-To-Win' SBMM

Activision | Unsplash Sharon McCutcheon

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Posted 

2nd Aug 2021 16:51

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The Call of Duty franchise could be rocked to its core, as an apparent insider has leaked shocking details about a possible pay-to-win mechanic. As skill-based matchmaking continues to be a controversial cause for debate within the wider CoD world, someone claims Warzone's SBMM is rigged to reward those who part with their cash.

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Even though Activision remains tight-lipped about SBMM in Warzone, there are players who swear they can remember the good ol' days where there were mixed-skill lobbies. These days, you're matched with rivals of similar skill based on your K/D ratio.

If SBMM is in play, it means those at the top are left panting for breath as they try and take out equally skilled players who are marksmen masters. Now, someone claiming to be an ex-Activision employee is here to lift the lid on what's really going on.

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Is Call of Duty: Warzone pay-to-win?

Warzone pay-to-win
Reddit

Posting on a now-deleted Reddit AMA (via Dexerto), the OP said they weren't bound by their NDA and could speak freely about Warzone's SBMM. The three explained how Activision owns "a fully functional matchmaking algorithm which matches players against each other based on a combination [of] skill, purchased microtransactions and preferred weapon used in-game".

It's a pretty sweeping statement to make, and if it's true, would call into some seriously questionable morals into play. Expanding on what they mean, the poster explained how someone who spends $20 on a sniper rifle skin could be paired with someone who also prefers using a sniper, but isn't as good with it. The idea is that the lesser-skilled player would think the skin has made the other player better - hopefully causing them to part with their cash.

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According to the site, one redditor branded the situation as "horrifying", showing just how damning these claims could be if they're proved true. The problem is, Reddit and ResetEra are sometimes as unreliable as 4Chan when it comes to these sorts of post.  

Interestingly, the claims back up previous reports that microtransactions affect where you place in Warzone. In June, we covered how data seemed to show a difference between "free" players and those who spend actual money in Warzone. Accusations of pay-to-win Warzone skins are one thing, but that's different to a whole meta that will reward you for spending money and punish you if you don't.

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What do the leaker's claims mean?

Things should be taken with a pinch of salt, but according to the poster, these mechanics were tested and appeared in Warzone's final release - as well as leading to a "significant increase of microtransaction sales". It's no secret that Activision made a whopping $3 billion from Call of Duty in 2020. If that wasn't enough, $1.2 billion of the publisher's earnings came from just one quarter of microtransactions.

The latest scandal comes after Activision PR debunked rumours that this kind of pay-to-win system was in place for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. When a suspicious patent mentioned a Virtual Coaching System and similar claims were made in 2019, the company's PR said a system like the one outlined above existed, however, it had never been used in-game. Are the leaker's claims the real deal or are they just piggybacking a story from years ago?

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Unfortunately, we're unlikely to find out. Activision has slapped NDAs on everything, and unless someone is willing to get into a whole world of trouble, the real truth might remain hidden. Still, in the wake of Activision's allegations of a "frat boy culture", being sued by the state of California, and the CEO apologising for his tone-deaf response, now isn't the best time for Warzone to be accused of being a pay-to-win title. 

 

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First Vanguard Zombies Map Details Leaked

Sledgehammer Games | Treyarch

Written by 

Joseph Kime

Posted 

17th Sep 2021 12:27

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