Stop me if you've heard this one: The addition of loot boxes to Ghost Recon: Wildlands has been met with a wave of criticism from fans.
Ubisoft introduced Battle Crates into Wildlands with the arrival of the latest post-launch content update, titled Extended Ops, on January 25. These crates offer cosmetic-only items of various rarities such as gun camos, wearables, or character skins from other Ubisoft games.
Granted, playing Wildlands while dressed as a Rainbow Six Siege or Assassin's Creed character sounds pretty cool. Unfortunately, Ubisoft's loot box system didn't work as promised when it launched, and is rather expensive besides.
Unlike the loot boxes in Call of Duty or Overwatch, you can't earn these crates for simply playing, completing objectives, or using rewarded in-game currency. You can only purchase them by spending real cash on Ubisoft store credits. The store currency is currently on sale at 800 credits for $US3.49 ($4), and that minimum base pack will get you two Battle Crates at 400 credits each. 3840 credits are sold as a medium-sized pack for $US13.99 ($17), but since a bundle of crates costs 4000 credits, it's not quite enough to buy it.
Ubisoft's announcement of Battle Crates on January 19 stated: "There are no duplicates in the Battle Crate system. You will only get items you do not already own." This promise also shows on the screen as you open your purchased crates.
But as players spent their cash in hopes of unlocking new cosmetics, many complained on Reddit that they did indeed receive duplicate items that they'd already purchased from cosmetic packs in the store.
This part, at least, is being fixed: Reached for comment by Kotaku, a Ubisoft representative said Friday afternoon that "the duplicate issue with the Battle Crates has been resolved," and that players should no longer receive duplicate items. Ubisoft did not say if players who got duplicates would be refunded or otherwise compensated for the error.
Earlier on Friday, I tested my luck by purchasing a bundle of crates, spending $US17.48 ($22) to purchase enough credit packs to buy a bundle of ten Ghost War crates at the price of 4000 credits. I also claimed the free Spec Ops (campaign cosmetics) crate and a free Ghost War (PvP cosmetics) crate from the Ubisoft store.
Unlike the Rainbow Six Siege loot crates that Ubisoft will be introducing this spring, many of the Wildlands items aren't exclusive to the crates and can be purchased in the store. So the most compelling reason to test your luck with the loot boxes is for the chance of Legendary character skins, which can only be obtained from the Battle Crates.
I opened a total of 14 crates, which earned me only one Legendary Rainbow Six Siege skin. And one crate contained the El Tio devil mask, a duplicate of an item that I already owned.
Luckily, I haven't purchased many cosmetic items from the store, so much of the other stuff I got out of the crates was, at least, not duplicates. Some crates had unique gun cosmetics, but many crates gave me ugly hats and lame face paint.
All in all, I was disappointed. Even without the duplicate items issue, Wildlands' current loot drop system doesn't feel like a good gamble, especially for players who have previously purchased packs of in-game items.