We watched some soldiers as they watched some soldiers opening a loot crate in Call of Duty

Crate balls of fire

The new Call of Duty is out, and this time it’s War 2. Sledgehammer Games, not content with turning the beaches of Normandy into a “Headquarters” where players can run around like silent psychopaths, have introduced a system of loot crates in COD: WWII whereby you can see all the items your fellow infantrymen pull out of their goody boxes. Super. One strange mission, Eurogamer have noticed, even tasks you with watching people open their airborne presents.

To give you an idea of what’s involved: when you stand in the game’s social space (similar to the Tower in Destiny) and call in a loot crate from your inventory, the box falls out of the sky and lands on the ground in a blast of dust and sand – a “supply drop” in the game’s parlance. Then it bursts open like an angry mimic, vomiting helmets and emotes for all to see. Here’s one I opened.

At this HQ, you also get “orders” from a commander. These are straightforward tasks familiar to any player of multiplayer games laden with progression systems. Win a number of deathmatches, for instance, or kill a certain number of enemies in one game mode, and you’ll get a reward. One of these tasks is to simply watch three supply drops being opened by other players. The reward is 25 points of “social score”. Ew.

Here is me watching a player open his loot crate.

Here is me watching some other players watching a player open his loot crate.

I’m so proud to be winning the war just like they did in the history books.

It’s absurd, and a bit grubby. Designers have long been manipulating our socially-wired brains to make us chase the next box of random treats. Here, they’re not just encouraging you by showing what others have received (what you, dear player, could receive!) but also making sure you take notice by giving you a wee bribe to do so.

You can’t currently buy Call of Duty WWII’s loot crates, but that doesn’t mean this won’t change in the future, nor that it isn’t taking something just as valuable from you: your time. If you’re grand with that, no worries. War it up, old friend. But it helps to be aware of the behavioural psychologist in the machine.

17 Comments

  1. Spuzzell says:

    I try to have an opinion on CoD but I’m not 12 years old so it just.. I don’t care.

    Watching people open loot boxes? Yeah, alright. I mean. 12 year olds like playing pass the parcel and stuff?

    • Hekkel says:

      You can have an opinion when you’re younger than 12. Try it.

      • Spuzzell says:

        So, I tried to have an opinion on you having an opinion on me not having an opinion on CoD, and I just don’t have any opinion.

        It’s like you’re irritated because I don’t care to choose between two Yu-Gi-Oh cards.

        I can’t possibly care, I’m an adult.

  2. lowenz says:

    “Press F to WATCH respect”

  3. CAMN says:

    This is window shopping on a whole new level.

  4. Turkey says:

    There should be a 1/100th chance of the crate crushing you, giving the other players a chance to steal your loot.

  5. Moonracer says:

    The glass half full part of me wants to imagine that someone will learn you can drop loot boxes on enemies and kill them.

  6. Preciousgollum says:

    Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare was a fine game, and Modern Warfare 2, was arguably better.

    Lest we forget. Let us remember. Press F to pay respects to good games of the past. Shining, even in death. The comrades lost… won’t stop hurting.

    I MEMBER!

  7. DEspresso says:

    I just watched RPS watching some soldiers watching some soldiers opening a loot crate.

  8. RayEllis says:

    Wow. An actual mission to go watch other players open loot boxes…

    Christ! Could they be any more blatant about it?

  9. TechnicalBen says:

    And in an interview with BBC news the developers said this is the most respectful WW2 game yet…

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