The Crimefest annual community event wasn't exactly a PR success, but rather than revert the introduction of microtransactions and paid-for stat bonuses with skins, Overkill Software has doubled down on their changes.
As you can imagine, the fans are far from impressed. But they're not the only ones upset. The volunteer Steam moderators are just as outraged -- so much so that they've gone on strike.
In a pinned post on the Steam forums, volunteer moderator Ashley outlines why her and two other admins have announced their decision to strike. "We're pretty unhappy with the [Completely Overkill Pack] update for a number of reasons," she writes. "Due to this situation, myself and Jones are now refusing to moderate the forums any more."
The offending update is the Completely Overkill Pack, a package that contains a pick from "an exclusive collection of 25 weapon skins". "The Completely Overkill Pack owners are guaranteed a rare, epic or legendary weapon skin upon opening, which can be used, traded or sold," Overkill wrote on the landing page for the latest update.
So, what's the problem?
The volunteer moderators write that while the COP safe provides "1 of 25 skins", the problem lies in the variance therein. "What I didn't expect is that these skins can be of varied quality and rarity. This is NOT acceptable and just expressed the lack of feedback taken into consideration," the thread says.
To the moderators, the design of the COP rewards illustrates a long-running pattern of ignoring and not adhering to community feedback and/or advice, a sentiment that has been echoed by long-running PAYDAY fans since the surprise introduction of microtransactions during the Crimefest annual community event.
PAYDAY's user rating has plummeted from the low 90's to 76% from 167,455 reviews all within the space of a month, an indication of the public's fury. The moderators are prepared to return to work, so to speak, though if Overkill grants them an interview with a developer. "We want to be heard and see what Overkill are willing to do to fix the situation," Ashley explained.
"If Overkill decides to let us go as moderators it's something we are prepared for, I personally cannot sit by when they continue to promote immoral business practices. I felt the skins system needed work but could function. The recent safe update showed against that."
It's difficult to imagine a studio that has such bad PR in the last few weeks, but going by the studio's recent public communications it doesn't seem like they'll do a 180 any time soon. After all, the game's producer already intimated in a Reddit AMA that adding microtransactions was necessary to stave off layoffs at Overkill.