Our hats are off to Activision. If Acti is not employing psychologists over there at Sledgehammer, they must be employing wizards. Game Informer has published a piece (via Kotaku UK) spewing all kinds of neat details about Call of Duty WWII's hub area; a social space called "Headquarters." This sounds like a really robust social space for you and your buds to mess around in between matches. You can practice with new weapons, engage in short 1-on-1 bouts and, obviously, open loot boxes. But what if you don't have any loot boxes to open? No problem. You can watch your friend's open loot boxes instead, and you can even win prizes for doing so.
That's right. Call of Duty: WWII will dish out potential rewards to players for watching other people open loot boxes. How wickedly clever is this?! I mean, sure, people are going berate Activision and Sledgehammer for this and call it the sleaziest thing ever. People are going to debate whether or not this goes too far. They'll ask if this should be forbidden because it will "tempt kids to gamble."
By allowing you and all of your friends to cram into a common social area and watch each other open loot boxes, Activision and Sledgehammer have set up a system that continually rings that Pavlovian bell in players' ears. You get to watch the entire process unfold. You know that the box could contain anything, and you feel that vicarious sense of anticipation as if it were your own. Then the box opens, the rewards are revealed, and... You get nothing.
You get to live through the entire process, but that final rush of dopamine is withheld. You don't get to keep any of those rewards, and the satisfying conclusion of this material drama is left hanging for you. You salivate, but you're not fed.
That is, unless you're willing to dish out some cash to acquire some loot boxes of your own. You could always just keep playing and unlock them naturally, of course -- Sledgehammer wouldn't be that cruel -- but when you've had a few beers and four or five of your pals are all sitting around cracking open their boxes and comparing their spoils, you won't think twice about dropping that $4.99 for some in-game currency. Likewise, if a younger person has his or her parent's credit card on file and knows that they won't miss that $5 (or even notice it), you better believe they'll scoop up an extra loot box or two to join in on the fun.
Related Forum: Call of Duty Forum