Developers Treyarch are receiving backlash from the Call of Duty community over the implementation of the S6 Stingray into Black Ops 4, with the gun described as ‘pay-to-win’, particularly with its operator mod.
Black Ops 4’s latest major update came on June 4, in the form of the ‘Days of Summer’ update, which changed numerous aspects of the popular FPS. It also added 5 new weapons, all but one of which are only available through the game’s microtransactions.
The Vendetta Sniper Rifle is available at Tier 50, but the other 4 weapons - the Locus, Peacekeeper, S6 Stingray and Ballistic Knife are only available in Reserve Crates, which can be bought with CoD points, which cost real money. It is the S6 Stingray which has garnered even more criticism, as it is widely considered overpowered.
The S6 Stingray is a 2-round burst Tactical Rifle, and has an operator mod known as ‘Impact Blast’. Earned at Weapon Level 15, the operator mod means ‘flechette projectiles’ explode upon impact with an enemy.
Operator Mods need 2 slots in create-a-class due to the wildcard required to enable them, but it is clear the extent to which players believe the S6 Stingray needs a nerf, particularly taking into account its capacity to one-shot kill as a Tactical Rifle - an ability usually reserved for Sniper Rifles.
Given the fact it is only accessible via Reserve Crates, the community feels it is ‘pay-to-win’ - meaning that players will be rewarded with the strongest items if they invest real money into the game.
There have been numerous Reddit posts detailing it’s overpowered nature and calling for nerfs.
"The fact that they think this is acceptable to add this gun in a high TTK [time to kill] CoD game is another level of greed and incompetence," one Reddit user said. "The fact this gun can kill in 1-2 shots, while majority of the weapons kill in 4-5 is mind blowing."
Similarly, popular CoD content creator SwaggXBL demonstrated its strength in public match, in which he dominated the opposition thanks to the gun’s insane abilities.
Oh you thought the Dragon Breath was bad? this is the Stingray OP mod... pic.twitter.com/1PmjnfKwon— Kris (@SwaggXBL) June 5, 2019
It’s important to remember that Activision, publishers of Call of Duty, are likely to be more responsible for the disliked, ‘pay-to-win’ nature of these new weapons, as they have the final say on how the game's microtransactions operate and how DLC is distributed.
While there is a weapon bribe available at Tier 25 of the Battle Pass, this only provides a new weapon or a MKII version of an existing weapon: meaning players’ chances of acquiring the new weapons are even lower.
The community’s despondence with this method of dispensing DLC is not dissimilar to previous CoD titles, such as Black Ops 3, which also saw multiple weapons added to the game that were only accessible through convoluted, expensive Supply Drop systems.