Before we dig too far into this, it's important to note that everything discussed below is based on code that's included in CoD WWII, but not implemented. It's always possible Activision/Sledgehammer were kicking some ideas around and decided not to use them in the game. It's also possible these things were planned to be used at a future date. And, then, it's also possible that they were planned for eventual use and, given recent events, may remain on the shelf for the foreseeable future.
Anyway, now that microtransactions are finally live in WWII, folks have started sniffing around in the game's code to see what little secrets they might be able to turn up. Over on the game's reddit (via Eurogamer), it looks like they've turned up potential pay-to-win features that, again, aren't currently a part of the game. COD's loot boxes aren't all that different from what you currently see in, say, Overwatch. You can earn them through regular play, and they unlock things like character and gun skins, icons, player banners and stuff like that. In other words, nothing game-changing, which is really important when you're talking about a competitive community. And yes, you can buy additional loot crates with real-world money but, again, we're talking about cosmetics.
However, these latest findings are turning up additional types of loot boxes that make us wonder if Activision has been kicking around some less-stellar ideas. Not only have a bunch of guns popped up in the data files that aren't in the game proper, but they've also discovered additional tiers of loot boxes including "legendary," "epic" and "weapon."
If you've been following all of the Battlefront II business, you can probably guess why everyone's minds are jumping to the worst possible scenarios. Again, those guns might be planned as part of future DLC though, again, you would hope they would be free-of-charge because, again-again, this is a competitive multiplayer game we're talking about.
Still, we can't help but be cynical at this point. If we had to take a guess, it sounds like those legendary and epic loot boxes will be much harder to get than standard boxes and, wouldn't you know it, you can spend real-world money on them instead. And while the "gun" chests might just be a way of guaranteeing you specifically get gun skins in your loot chest, the fact that a bunch of extra guns are hunkered down in the code gives us cause for pause.
As it stands, CoDWWII's loot boxes are riding a fine line. But given the current state of things and the fact that we've got Hawaii and foreign countries digging into potential regulation of these practices, we wouldn't be surprised if this is the first and last we hear of the datamined info. Then again, Activision might just decide to launch those extra tiers and make them "unlocked by play only" in order to avoid any controversy of their own.