I think this is a kind of secondary issue.
If I’m playing a game where strength and abilities or anything that can be described as such can only be attained via length of play then you are not rewarding players for their ability, you’re rewarding them for their longevity. I understand that a lot of gamers take this as currency that matters, but it discriminates against people that can’t spend that time yet want to play a fair and competitive game too.
If the game is truly about being competitive… there should be nothing that causes people to be better or worse than one another except for either experience (in the genre, but more likely the game) or ability (because you simply suck at aiming compared to others). Once you have an element to the game that is about progressing then you do not have a competitive game because the dev has made the choice to sideline competitiveness in favour of encouraging repeat play through gamification.
So… I too don’t agree with loot boxes at all, in any circumstances, but I look more favourably towards anything that allows for people to become “competitive” through paying in lieu of being able to grind. I actually don’t like online multiplayer games to have any form of progression. It’s unfair to those who can’t grind, it’s unfair to those who can’t afford to pay to keep up with those that are paying to progress, it’s doubly unfair to those who don’t have the time OR the money.
But here we are, someone will be “better” for one arbitrary reason in BF2 over a different but equally arbitrary reason. That’s the bed that… if I’m understanding the reports correctly… the devs have made here. Neither set of groups getting shut out of being competitive is fair, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles when that’s the system you implement in your game.
I am frequently down on Overwatch, mostly because of my experience of their matchmaking, but like with TF2, like with Counterstrike… like with DOTA, with Smite… there is something to be said for recognising that if your game is about online multiplayer then it cannot function where there are systems whereby you need to “level up” outside of the individual game rounds themselves, because someone will always feel hard done by. In a world where devs are trying (with necessity) to secure extra revenue streams this will always be those who feel that for some reason there is one single virtuous route to gaining that progression… the grind.