I am willing to bet that a lot of people browsing the Steam sales right now have probably run into the amazing deal of developer Overkill for their game Payday 2.
If you want to pick up this awesome title for a very low price, now would be the perfect time to do it. The game is full of extraordinary features that deserve more than the current 5 EURO/USD you will pay to enjoy it. So, why exactly have we seen such a dramatic price drop? It probably has to do with the recent updates that were introduced. There is a lot of ground to cover here because these new additions to the game are deeply connected. In order to explain the current situation we have to go way back when the Hype Train event was going live. Simply put there were two packages you could buy to support the developers of the game so they could add more free content to their product. By doing so you were buying artificial fuel that was added to a non-existent train that had to gather a specific amount of the liquid in order to reach it’s destination. The destination being a couple of special rewards for the players, organizing of tournaments that would have prize pools, additional character packs and heists some of which were “The Golden Grin Casino” and the fan favorite “Hoxton Revenge”.
The two packs that were available when the update was first introduced were of course priced differently and because of that-one had more things included.
I am referring to the Complete Overkill Pack (or COP as we are going to be mentioning it a lot). You could choose to pay 20 USD to basically support Overkill and in return you would receive a couple of new masks and a special prize to be named later. This pack was limited in quantity and to be fair sold out pretty quickly because at the time all of the Payday 2 players were happy with the game and how it was handling updates. I was also one of the proud owners because I personally had over three hundred hours invested in the game and was there since it was in closed beta. As the months past and we got the masks we were promised, one thing was missing-the special prize. In fact there was no talk about it whatsoever. What was said in the beginning that it would arrive in some time was the only thing we knew. Almir Listo, who is the executive producer for Payday 2 and an employee at Starbreeze Stuidos/Overkill, was simply ignoring the questions asked about the reward or relaying the same old answer. Needless to say that was the first mistake that would haunt the developers of Payday till this moment. It is because the prize turned out to be the worst possible thing and it revealed something Overkill was planning to do for a long time. The introduction of micro-transaction was about to divide the community.
This brings us to the second edition of Crimefest which is a week where free content was supposed to be released every day.
Last year it was pretty true to the free statement but this year things changed. In the very first day I remember being horrified to find out the inclusion of micro-transaction in the game. We could sit here and argue about this all day that it isn’t a serious problem because the game is PVE (player versus environment) and not PVP (player versus player). That is not entirely true because even if the game isn’t meant to be competitive that doesn’t mean that people who have spent hundreds of hours in the game can be outmatched by someone who decided to give a couple of extra bucks and receive weapons boost skins. Don’t get me wrong here-people would be more than okay if they had to give some money for skins but the stat boosts are the issue. You know there are several games that offer skins for money so you can customize your equipment and make you character feel more special in the game. One of them being Counter-Strike GO a game which all should be familiar with, developed by Valve. There are skins you can pay ridiculous money to acquire but they won’t make you any superior in the game, they will simply bring you joy as you look at them and that is the good thing. While it is true that Payday 2 did kind of set up this new model a while back when it introduced some Downloadable content which offered weapons with better damage and attachments who were unavailable unless you purchased it. The recent MTs (micro-transactions) implementation wasn’t received so well for a couple of key factors. The system works on the basis that you have to buy a safe(you can get a safe by random loot drops, not so often) and a drill to unlock it (drills are acquired only through spending real money). The first huge problem is the fact that you could pay up to 10 USD/EURO and not get what you want. When you are buying DLC in Payday 2,you are aware of what you will receive after the transaction is complete but with MTs you are left guessing which one out of the 25 different skins will be yours. To be honest the price for both the drills and safes is also kind of high considering some DLC for Payday 2 matches it.
The second issue lies in the statements made before Crimefest.
Almir promised us free content but at day one he broke that promise. What is worse is the fact that two and a half years ago both he and previous Overkill employee David Goldfarb claimed that micro-transaction would never make there way into the game. Yes, I do understand that Overkill has grown as a studio during this time and as it has been stated,that currently there are seventy five people working there. That would mean that more money is needed to keep the studio running but the community never asked for any of this. When running a company you are suppose to make smart decisions and while it wasn’t a bad idea to expand the team working on the game- seventy five people are a big number for Payday 2 and we can’t really justify it. The reason is that it was suggested some of these people are strictly there for the console versions of the game, however most console players aren’t happy with the product. The problem being that both Xbox 360 and PS3 version of Payday 2 were buried quickly after they got released, they never saw the same expansions which the PC version offered and the developers simply claimed that was due to console limitations. How are we suppose to take that? Payday 2 ran pretty smoothly on both of these consoles and it isn’t that heavy in terms of graphics(therefore not great hardware is needed). So, what exactly was limiting the consoles? The DLC that become part of the game didn’t introduce anything that game changing to accept the limitations theory. Most of the content was weapons, heist, characters all of which could have been available to both PS3 and Xbox 360 users. Overkill simply didn’t want to invest more time and money into the console version so they decided to give up or at least on the previous generation of hardware.
(3,50 USD to purchase a drill needed to unlock a safe)
Oh, the outrage when people saw the introduction of microtransactions was overwhelming.
At least thirty threads were created in the first day quoting previous statements from Overkill about MTs to never be seen during the lifetime of the game. Quickly after that videos on YouTube appeared which showcased how bad this update would be for the community, also a couple of very insulting clips geared towards Almir Listo specifically. Name-calling wasn’t far behind as things like “Overgreed” started filling the Steam Community Hub for the software. All hell broke loose and Overkill was nowhere to be found. Moderators were left to take the hard job of trying to calm the community down which turned out to be impossible. People were so unhappy that they started issuing death threats to everyone who was supporting the inclusion of MTs. Overkill remained silent pretty much until the fourth day of the Crimefest Update claiming they have heard player feedback and will continue monitoring the situation and improve things if needed.
To summarize if you are wondering how things are right now, they aren’t good. Almir Listo has decided to be more open about future updates to the game but I feel like he has missed the point of the entire public outcry. We all didn’t like the MTs and wished for them to be removed from the game, we were not looking for a simple apology and what bothers me the most is that apology wasn’t anything more than a PR movement, something Almir Listo is very familiar with as he had managed to dodge every question that he was asked when a bunch of players managed to arrange a interview with him.
(I choose this video because the person who made it explains things very clearly and also with a fun look at the situation. He also points out that you might get a skin for a weapon you do not have, meaning spending extra money.)
The update which gave us the ability to purchase ingame skins with real money wouldn’t have been the worst thing ever if it wasn’t for the horrible track record of Overkill’s updates during this past year.
Until now Payday 2 had turned more into an advertisement for other products more than it is a game. We have seen John Wick make his way into the game, Jacket from Hotline Miami is also there,a DLC with weapons from the game Chivalry:Medieval Warfare is another addition, Alesso Heist also comes to mind. Also before the release of the game it was promised that all content for it would be available to buy for all players. This is not the case and one example is the Alienware mask which you can only acquire if you spend a serious amount of money on an Alienware gaming device. The E3 2015 masks are exclusive to those that attended the show during this year. Let us not forget that there is a high chance the Walking Dead game hype was fueled with money gathered for the Hype Train event which is just plain wrong. The Walking Dead is an upcoming team based shooter from Overkill.
(Ex-employee David Goldfarb on the microtransaction drama)
So, in general what you have to understand is that micro-transactions are here to stay. Almir Listo has confirmed this several times claiming that so far despite the player feedback, the money gathered claim that “the system was working as intended”. You could question why Almir backs out of things he has said so often even in the Steam Community Hub where he firstly acknowledged that the people who dislike MTs aren’t that many and that is a reason he will not think about removing them but when asked for a vote on this matter he quickly changed his opinion. He said that even if more people were not happy with this update, Overkill has to make some decisions themselves and can’t listen to the community on all concerns.The final thing I am going to leave you with is the fact that the special prize promised for COP owners was a weapon skin with and for the money for that pack, I was hoping to get at least a couple of more skins. One just seems like a clear insult to the players who decided to support Overkill. Right now there is an ongoing discussion on the Steam Community Hub and it is said that there will be extra rewards for all COP owners, what they will be we can all just guess at this point.