Almir has responded in the Steam Forums topic regarding the moderators on strike, saying he has been in contact with them and has heard their reiteration of what has been said in the topic itself. The feedback will be discussed over the weekend and he believes having a public discussion with the moderators will do a lot of good.
Overkill Software has released Update 90 for their game Payday 2. With the recent outrage surrounding Crimefest and the Pay-2-Win Microtransactions along with Overkill’s Almir Listo dismissive AMA surrounding the subject, Overkill has been under a lot of scrutiny from their fanbase. In a worrying turn of events, Update 90 now adds features that may upset much of the old fanbase even further.
The update starts with welcome announcements such as the Lab Rats Heist staying after the Halloween event and a weekend challenge holding a new mask. The Lab Rats Heist has been praised for being a Heist that thinks out of the box in terms of level design while taking a new spin on a familiar Heist. However, a new semi-stationary enemy in the shape of a gigantic spider has been plaguing Heisters who suffer from Arachnophobia. No comment seems to have been made yet to this issue.
However, Overkill seems to be adamant on upsetting their old fanbase by incorporating the Team Boost system. Basically, every unlocked weapon skin now has a chance to have a Team Boost built-in, giving either extra money or extra experience to the entire team. It seems Overkill is not intent on undoing any part of their recently implemented Microtransactions. The skins stay, their stat boosts stay and now they may function to split the userbase in two even more, with sides representing the people willing to waste even more money on skins and those who don’t. While the team boost does give it to the whole team, it also stacks, meaning that someone without a skin in the group may be accused of dragging them down.
And to further solidfy that, two safes are now added to replace the purple Crimefest safe. The first one being The Completely Overkill Safe awarded to all the 50.000 owners of the limited edition Completely Overkill DLC. Additionally, owners of this DLC pack now also get 7 DLC for free. The DLC’s being The Western Pack, Gage Assault Pack, Gage Sniper Pack, Historical Pack, Armored Transport, The Overkill Pack and the BBQ pack. This might be a hint that Overkill is looking to release even more DLC. The second safe is themed after the Heister Dallas, with the skins being largely Texan themed.
What bears noting is the fact that Overkill promised, long ago during the Hype Train event, that the ‘secret item’ that would be offered to owners of the Completely Overkill Pack (now proving to be the Completely Overkill Safe) that the item would NOT give players an advantage in the game with the items being ‘cosmetic’. This is yet again Overkill going back on an original promise, which has become something of a running theme with them.
The response to this has been negative, as one might expect. But the surprise seems to have worn off quickly. However in a drastic turn of events, three Steam Moderators who maintained Payday 2’s steam forums are now on strike in response to this. Feeling that Overkill isn’t owning up to their promises of better communicating with their fanbase, they refuse to yet again mop up the mess the company is making without any regard for them. Not to mention that they strongly disagree with the functioning of the Completely Overkill Safe.
The moderators treat the following as their ultimatum. They will no longer refuse to work if they are given a public interview with a member of Overkill, demanding that they are heard and hear from Overkill as to what they are willing to do to fix the situation. Reversely, they are prepared for the chance that they may instead be ‘let go’ as moderators. Moderator Ashley states she personally cannot sit by while, “they continue to promote immoral business practices. I felt the skins system needed work but could function. The recent safe update showed against that.”
I’ve had a look at the boosts. It seems the skins indeed have icons assigned to them now, with the + signifying a gun stat boost and the icon shown earlier signifying a boost to the entire team. The latter is rather nondescript so it might be worth assuming that the Team Boost applies to both raised Exp and Money. I took a further look into the Marketplace and compared my skins to the ones sold, and it seems that the boosts may be assigned randomly.
I am sympathetic with the Steam Moderators on this issue. Beyond the business practice being more than questionable, these folks have been moderating the Payday 2 Steam Forums for no wage whatsoever, suffering a stressful job along with their own unhappiness with the situation. Overkill seems fine with letting volunteers mop up the messes they make.
Furthermore, I do believe that Overkill is using this to double down on milking their own game. It began with the AMA pointing out that they would not undo any part of the Microtransactions, and this Team Boost is a clear signal that these Microtransactions are here to say. When the stats show that they are making money and the new player intake is almost equal to the amount of players quitting (or in other words, the player numbers haven’t crashed) then it’s safe to say Overkill is turning Payday 2 into their milking cow.