If there is one thing Overkill knows how to do, it’s working to ensure that their game Payday 2 stays in the back of everyone’s mind. Besides a steady supply of weapon DLC, with a dash of DLC Maps, Overkill throws a bone to the less DLC-inclined as well with free content every once in a while. But one of the things to look forward to was always the events. Overkill knows how to build up a storm with their events, being no stranger to having unlockable conditions with these that eventually would result in more content for the game. Be it maps, weapons, or just masks and materials, accompanied with short live-action movies to accompany these (#FreeHoxton still impresses me to this day). With their latest event, CrimeFest 2015, Overkill has managed to let all their players grind out days and days worth of objectives… for the privilege to pay for Microtransactions.
It started as impressive as these events usually are. A dedicated website, designed with fitting music and even a pixel art styled stage where people could read up on their challenges and/or rewards. As of late the videos that came with these events/DLC were obviously made in 3D, with hints of it being Source Filmmaker. I suppose it’s more economical to sometimes have 3D puppets do your acting and your actors provide their voicelines. Nothing much to complain about, as these usually were done well enough to look impressive. These clips also have a tendency to be a bit more silly, a welcome change from the serious tone of the live-action pieces.
Things started to get cryptic when the rewards started rolling out. The requirements ranged from killing NPC’s with the ‘whiskey bottle’, to helping certain NPC’s escape in a specific Heist. Once the requirement was met, a small ‘reward’ cutscene would be unlocked showing one of the Payday 2 characters unlocking the chest in Legend of Zelda style. The rewards ranged from flutes and slingshots (which, as we now see, were more metaphorical of nature) to apparently stone slabs with imprints of ‘Rageface’ memes, including the all-too familiar ‘Troll Face’. Maybe that should have been taken as a warning…
As it would turn out, the first reward revealed yesterday for Crimefest are skins for weapons that already exist in game. The objective is simple: once in a while ‘Vlad’ (one of the story characters and Heist-provider in the game) will ‘slip’ a Safe Card among one of your three reward cards after successfully completing a Heist. So far it seems you can either earn a blue or purple safe to signify the potential treasure within. Because why would you pretend you’re not copying an already beaten to death concept if you can get away with it?
Whereas CS:GO and TF2 have their typical box-and-key method, Payday 2 didn’t resist dragging on an old joke and turned their metaphorical keys into colored drills! Because everyone would sure love to see those get jammed… The best part is that these skins will actually offer stat bonuses to your weapons. So far it doesn’t seem like the stats will make a difference big enough to dig up that “Pay 2 Win” argument, but you never know until you’ve crunched the data in the end.
Granted, as Crimefest 2015 is completed, the Microtransactions isn’t the only reward rolling out. On the website you can see that for the 9 days every day will reveal a new reward, such as more silly masks for you to wear during a Heist, and they have already rolled out a rebalance of all the weapons to make them all ‘equally viable’ for Heists.
But if I have to be completely honest, Microtransactions are a pretty sour way to start an event that the loyal Heisters of Payday 2 tend to look forward to. Overkill believes you are worthy to be rewarded with the opportunity to pay them more money… But even more so when your own Producer said only years before that their game would never have Microtransactions!
As you can imagine, the fanbase has largely been livid about it all. The topic mentioned above has been brought back to life with anger and snide remarks, and the comments in the announcements themselves are filled with disappointment and other negative emotions.
What a strange time to be a gamer. Team Fortress 2 had its hats, Counter Strike: Global Offensive took it a different direction with the whole weapon skins madness, and TF2 went with the idea as well, being no stranger to chest-and-key microtransaction practices anyway. It probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise that Payday 2 followed suit.
That said, Payday 2 is (yet again) free to play and 75% off in the Steam store along with pretty much all of their DLC up until the 24th of October. With the Steam servers now being more capable at handling Payday 2 downloads (a huge contrast to trying the troublesome updating of the game long after launch) it might be worthwhile to download the game for free. Have a look at whether you can see yourself grinding out all the Heists available over and over, something you are expected to do if you desire to level into into more than Infamy 1, or modify the cash-spunges that are your weapons. It actually costs more money to slap on already-owned attachments on a weapon than the cost of the actual weapons themselves.
How are your feelings on the matter? Do you feel the same outrage as that which the fanbase has been spewing in the Steam comments, or do you see something else behind this? What could Overkill do to make up for this?