In a Reddit AMA, Sledgehammer Games acknowledged the community pushback against the Gaia skin, or ‘Groot’ as most folks call it. In response to a question about what the devs plan on doing about the skin and its visibility problems, Sledgehammer said:
“Adjustments to Gaia and Gaia Blackcell Operator Skins are in the pipeline for Modern Warfare III. In a future game update, we’ll disable this item until said changes can be released to all players.”
Call of Duty and player visibility issues are no strangers. In the past, most of these issues were tied to map clutter or lighting. But more recently, visibility issues have popped up with Operator Skins via purchasable cosmetics. The infamous ‘Rose’ skin in Warzone made players damn near invisible in darker parts of the map. With Gaia, or ‘Groot,’ the skin can blend into the map and is also tough to see in darker lighting.
Sledgehammer didn’t dive into the specifics of when the skin will be disabled or how they plan to tackle its visibility issues. We’ve seen the team try new stuff with visibility via an Experimental Playlist. In that playlist, “all Operators have a colored outline to distinguish them from the environment.” The main issue with the Gaia skin is that you can see through chunks of it. The easy fix would be to fill in the empty space and change the color.
Since it was introduced during the Warzone Haunting event, the community has pushed back, calling the skin “broken” and “pay-to-win.”
I doubt Sledgehammer Games will launch the next Warzone map (Urzikstan) without removing the skin or having the fix ready. Urzikstan is set to release in early December, most likely on December 6, when Modern Warfare 3’s Season 1 is expected to kick off.
You can read Sledgehammer’s responses in the AMA on the pinned comment on the Reddit post. Anyone hoping for any response to SBMM (skill-based matchmaking) will be disappointed. Countless comments asked questions on it with no response from the devs.