Payday 2's Controversial Microtransactions Aren't Going Away, Devs Say, But Might Get Changed

Payday 2's Controversial Microtransactions Aren't Going Away, Devs Say, But Might Get Changed

It's been a rough time for Payday 2. Adding microtransactions to a game that promised to never have them, combined with the developer's inability to respond to any criticism, seemed like it might prove fatal. As an olive branch, the developers have issued a formal apology — a step in the right direction.

Lemme catch you up. Payday 2, a team-based heist shooter, has remained remarkably popular since its release, with a legion of fans supporting it, long after other multiplayer games have closed up shop. (Anyone remember Evolve?)

Early on, the developer publicly said it wouldn't introduce microtransactions into the game, so when that happened without advanced notice, fans were understandably pissed off. Some weapons with extremely beneficial stats were locked behind safes that could only be opened by paying for drills. Worse, the developers refused to acknowledge anyone was upset. Some players launched a website called The Road to Greedfest, a parody of the game's "The Road to Crimefest" promotion, before drills were finally added as a random drop.

Not long after, despite many loud protests, the developers added XP and in-game cash bonuses to these weapons. How come? Well, that's probably because the microtransactions were "working as we intended," aka they were selling.

This lead to another crisis moment in the Payday 2 community, in which several (unpaid) moderators decided to resign in protest. Apparently, this finally got Overkill's attention, prompting a two-hour long conversation on Skype.

It seems few people were moved by the conversation, however.

Payday 2's Controversial Microtransactions Aren't Going Away, Devs Say, But Might Get Changed

This Skype dialogue soon lead to a post on Steam.

"The past few weeks have been some of the most challenging in the history of this community," said Payday 2 producer Almir Listo. "Players have been angry with us, media have written about us en masse and our volunteer moderators went on strike. For all the distress we've caused the past few weeks, I'd just like to take the time and say that we're sorry. We've done a lot of things right in the past, but these past few weeks we screwed up."

"We screwed up" is the kind of humbling phrase Payday 2 fans have been waiting from Overkill for weeks. Video game fans can be fickle, yes, but they had a point, which is why I kept writing about the ongoing debacle here at Kotaku.

"We need to get better at many things," said Listo, "and we will do our best to improve as soon as possible."

That does not, at this moment, involve removing microtransactions from the game. Instead, it appears they're going to try and work with the community to find some kind of middle ground so Overkill can make money and players can feel as though they're not being cheated for not spending more on the game:

Today we had a meeting with Ashley and Jones, two of our volunteer moderators. Ashley and Jones has been collecting questions from the community that we discussed during the meeting. Two of the topics were stat boosts and the latest COP reward. We're currently looking into what we can do to make up for the final COP-reward. Ashley and Jones gave several suggestions from the community that we are currently discussing internally.Our main goal is to try to find a way to reduce or remove the random elements of the final reward, whatever that reward will be. Regarding stat boosts, Ashley and Jones suggested that we introduce something similar to StatTrak as part of future safes, a feature used in CS:GO in their cases. This is something we've been thinking about as well, and something that we will discuss going forward. I must stress however that we cannot currently make any promises but these are things we will be discussing as we move forward.

One of the moderators, Ashley, has even signed an NDA with Overkill in order to have private conversations with them about what players would like to see.

There are some other promises, as well, including meeting with prominent members of the modding community, the game's sizable Russian playerbase, and having more Overkill developers actively taking part in the game's forums.

"We need to get better at communicating with you," said Listo, "and this is one of our first steps in doing so."

Whether that holds up, however, remains to be seen.


    In the end he said that he cannot promise to remove the microtransaction. Just stop supporting them. If they agree they fucked up, roll back the microtransaction.

    "Get better at communicating" In a world where your connected to your audience 24/7 with instant feedback who let you know immediately this was shit. Fuck off. I can only hope this means the micro transactions have failed and theres been a mass exodus of their player base

      Sad thing is, Steam Charts shows it hasn't really lost any players over this, and if anything is picking up players. Maybe this is a case of any publicity is good publicity? Or maybe the issue has over blown drastically; either way I feel like this is a betrayl of the players and I won't be support Overkill in the future. I regret buying Payday and Payday 2 now.

        I think the biggest impact was probably losing the volunteer moderators.

        The game NEEDS mods to curate the cesspit of community interaction, and these guys are/were free... not having them continuing to work for free would mean they either let the community devolve into online Lord of the Flies madness, or they have to pay someone to do it.
        Both are bad scenarios.

        So they need to keep the mods on-side... and that means making the mods' lives easier by not making them have to put up with the fallout from their monumentally ass-brained decisions.

          'Cesspit' is extremely accurate when it comes to talking about the Payday Community. Unfortunately, I doubt there's much, if anything they can do to get the community on-side. The Payday community has been quite hostile and showing an overinflated sense of entitlement since before Payday 2 was released. I don't agree with SB's introduction of micros, but I feel their pain when it comes to having to deal with the minefield of the community.

    I liked this game when it came out, but it had so many DLC for gun packs, I just stopped as I didn't like the game enough to spend more than the game itself cost to get all the content. There's nothing wrong with this; if I was more invested in the game and not so much in others, I would have gladly bought all the DLC.
    But on top of a non-free game with copious amounts of DLC, to add pay-to-win mechanics is ridiculous. And I clearly remember them trumpeting how they would never introduce microtransactions when the game first came out; a big reason I bought it as I felt the developers had good values that aligned with my own. Even though I don't play the game anymore, I feel betrayed by their actions; I gave them money because I wanted to support a developer who won't put shady microtransactions in a permium game; probably the same feeling everyone get's every 4 years or so when we vote in a new prime minister. I sure won't support this company every again (and I was thinking of purchasing it again on PS4 recently as something fun to coop with my partner, but after finding out about all of this there's no way in hell I will support a developer who betrays their players and blatantly lies). I don't see how they can recover from this, especially when they're rhetoric is, we've heard what you have to say, and we don't give a single f%^&! If they had a shred of decency and respect for their players, they would have A) communicated this with the players (you can argue the players technically don't have any say in the development process, but at the same time, developers have no say in whether a player will play their game or not) and B) it should have only ever been cosmetic, period. Good luck to them though, I certainly will enjoy watching this story unfold even if I'm biased and hoping they crumble.

    Last edited 24/11/15 9:58 am

    And yet no actions to support the words.

    Only Actions can make the words mean anything.

    Last edited 24/11/15 10:01 am

    The microtransactions haven't ruined my experience, I still quite enjoy the game. I'm even tempted to start buying drills just to spite all these loud, pissed-off children.

      If you start buying drills the micro transactions will ruin your experience. I watched a guy open 50 safes on release day and he got nothing but absolute junk. The droprates on anything good are unbelievably low.

      You are better off spending 100 dollars on a slot machine than 100 dollars on drills.

        That'd be true if I wasn't just doing it out of spite. Not that I'd ever seriously do it, at least I don't think I would.

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