Opinion: Activision should reconsider the Black Ops Pass

Keshav Bhat

The Call of Duty community has been split over the recent announcement from Activision regarding the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Black Ops Pass, which is Activision’s replacement for the Season Pass for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

Just to show how split the members of the community are, our poll asking how many players will be the Black Ops Pass ended with a 50/50 vote.

While it’s replacing the Season Pass and changing how DLC season works, there is still a core problem with the Black Ops Pass: MP Maps are still not free.

There is some positive in Activision’s new approach to DLC, as announced: giving fans more frequent content. For the last several years, Activision has been delivering new DLC Packs for Call of Duty only four times a year, and the time between the packs has been a long drought of nothing. There has been more content recently with community events, but still, the amount of content other games deliver almost monthly or weekly, Call of Duty needs to catch up. And it appears that this year’s approach will deliver that, and that’s good.

But multiplayer maps released post launch should not be tied to the Black Ops Pass. They need to be free. Putting paid multiplayer maps for the post launch season splits the play base into many different matchmaking profiles and creates a split community over all. Just looking at how bad it’s gotten on PC, where the Season Pass is not popular at all, people who do own the Season Pass struggle to find lobbies – and are then unable to play the new DLC maps.

The entire industry is moving forward – allowing free post maps content – should be reason enough for Activision to also reconsider their strategy. This year, they are launching in October, in the midst of many, many games. And if fans hear how Activision is still charging for post launch content, while the competitors are not, many will overlook Call of Duty – no matter the loyalty to the franchise. EA’s Battlefield V will have no premium pass and deliver all post launch content for free, with their “Tides of War” system. EA has been forced into making changes to their games after the huge backlash regarding Star Wars Battlefront II. And you don’t even have to look at competitors. Activision Blizzard’s own Overwatch franchise, since its launch, has given all of its post launch maps and heroes free, with cosmetics only being tied to their loot system. If one of their own portfolio of games can deliver that, why can’t Activision? Why does Activision keep resisting to make positive changes for the franchise?

We know Activision will not remove the Black Ops Pass fully for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, but they should reconsider the content it includes by removing the MP maps. That’s the issue with the pass as it stands today. Zombies content will always be something Activision will charge for, regardless, and getting bonus cosmetic content for Blackout does not effect anything.

Activision can also add more to the Black Ops Pass. As it stands today, the Pass will actually deliver less content than the usual Season Pass for Call of Duty. 12 multiplayer maps is less than the amount Activision delivered for Black Ops 3 post launch, which had 16 total after the 4 DLC Packs. There’s many different things Activision can include with the Black Ops Pass – besides MP maps: post launch DLC weapons, daily login bonuses, new cosmetic content, and more.

And we already know there is going to be some sort of loot system in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 — exactly what has not been announced. There’s already a confirmation that Call of Duty Points, the in-game virtual currency, will be returning in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, meaning Black Ops 4 — as it stands right now — will charge for post launch maps and have a full fledged microtransaction system.

With the industry pushing forward and adapting to the current trends that exist, Activision keeps falling behind. Fortnite, currently the world’s most popular game, is free to play and all post launch content released since launch has been added to free in updates. The only thing they are charging for is cosmetic based skins and emotes, which has earned them incredible amounts of money each month. If Activision wants to stay on top and keep being #1 yearly with Call of Duty, then it is time for the company to make changes that the community wants.