48 hour bans handed out for economy-busting key harvesting glitch.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s multiplayer mode has an extensive range of weapons and skins to acquire through purchasing Supply Drops. As is typical for this kind of game, you can either grind out these items through playing the game—one rare Supply Drop costs 30 keys, which can typically be earned in about two hours of play time—or you can pony up some cash and buy the Supply Drops directly. A rare Drop costs about $2 when bought with the real money currency known as “COD Points.”
A glitch over the holiday period allowed Infinite Warfare players to earn tens of thousands of keys in minutes. Developer Infinity Ward had an in-game event giving away free Supply Drops containing various goodies. One of those Supply Drops was a crate containing 30 keys. Players soon discovered that this crate could be opened repeatedly simply by, er, mashing the X button, for 30 keys a press. Players could accumulate another in-game currency, Salvage, in a similar way.
With these thousands or tens of thousands of keys, players could then buy items that would have required thousands of hours or grinding, or hundreds of real dollars, to buy. Widespread use of the flaw caused Infinity Ward’s parent Activision to disable the game servers temporarily until something could be done.
In response, Infinity Ward issued 48-hour bans to anyone who used the exploit and reset their key and Salvage counts to zero. But all those unlocked items? Players can keep ’em.
The community reaction has been underwhelming. The exploiters are amused, as being locked out of the game for a couple of days in return for all the goodies they bought is small price to pay—there’s no way they could have earned so many items in game over 48 hours, so they’re still coming out far ahead. The non-exploiters are infuriated, saying that they’d rather Infinity Ward issue no punishment at all than such a pointless one and now figure that they should have used the exploit too.
People who bought COD Points are particularly aggrieved, as they spent real money to buy items that others have acquired for free. A player may feel that $2 of COD Points is a fair exchange to avoid two hours of grind, but that trade-off is rather different when this exploit is considered, and few are likely to think that $2 is worth paying just to avoid mashing X a few times.
It’s hard to disagree. The kind of grind-based economy that the game offers depends on cash payments representing a useful time saving. In this instance, they clearly aren’t, and it wouldn’t be surprising if players decided to keep their money in their pockets and just wait for the next inevitable exploitable flaw in order to unlock all the game’s goodies.