Tripwire Interactive has announced in a Steam Community Notification that there are new, upcoming plans afoot. A link in the post will lead to a Killing Floor 2 web page talking about a new feature called the Zed-conomy.
The update talks about how you will no longer be 'required' to be in a Match, finishing a Wave in order to 'go shopping'. In other words, a fancy way of saying there will be a Microtransactions shop in the main menu for you to acquire cosmetics. It is stressed, however, that these cosmetics will not offer any combat advantage. The page quite literally says at one point "Your guns will continue to fire with exactly the standard 100% gory satisfaction guaranteed, with no effect to your combat statistics OR performance." An important point to make when the P2W Microtransactions debacle with Overkill's Payday 2 is still quite recent.
The details page gives us further information regarding the Zed-Conomy skins. It seems there are four parts to this. First is the Free Loot! portion, where there is promise that 'after a long day fighting hordes of zeds' you will likely receive some loot as a reward. These range from cosmetic accessories to weapon skins, and are said to be yours to keep forever or trade/sell on the market.
There are also new player outfits available for purchase from the Trading Floor, with it selling 3 new uniform bundles for your characters. Each bundle will come with a new uniform, a new cosmetic and multiple skin variations for them.
Then we tread into familiar territory. Horzine Supply Crates will contain a single skin variant of a wearable cosmetic, to be 'chosen at random from a set possible items for each type of crate'. USB sticks will contain a single Rare weapon skin blueprint. These can be unlocked with a decryption key, and all three of these can be purchased from the Trading Floor or Steam Market. Both accessories and weapon skins come in 6 tiers of rarity, with accessories having several variants and weapon skins having 3 levels of wear (mint, field-tested, battle-scarred). Additionally, there's a chance you can be awarded a golden version of the accessory/skin you just unlocked.
The F.A.Q. page reveals additional useful information. It explains that the Trading Floor will be a shop where players can buy in-game items using their Steam Wallet funds. What also bears noting is that while most items can be traded in the Zed-conomy, being able to craft items and skins from existing is an intended feature that however will not be part of this update yet.
Interesting to note is that items found during gameplay or obtained by opening a Horzine Supply Crate or USB stick will be able to be sold, whereas most items sold on the Trading Floor will not. Furthermore, the items that will be sold will not only be from Tripwire, but will also have community-made items. Further detailed on Killing Floor 2's Workshop About page, item creators will earn royalties from their items if they are accepted and if they are sold for a free.
In a worrying turn one of the answers states that, while the are currently no items that will boost stats or perk experience game, "[They] will be listening to player feedback on whether [the players] would like a feature like this." However, it is stated that if they sell weapons with new gameplay, that these will show up in the Shared Content area of the server. In short, this means that any player on the server will have this weapon available to them (much like how the Chivalry Zweihander functions now) resulting in no player getting any advantage over another.
Finally, a dedicated Modding section reveals that classical modding will not be warded off in favor of these Microtransactions, saying a Mod Based Workshop is in the works for players to easily upload and subscribe to their favorite mods. Essentially there will be a curated and a subscription-based workshop. The Curated Workshop serves as an approval process for modders to have their content uploaded and possibly integrated into the game. The Subscription-based workshop will function exactly as the workshop from the original Killing Floor, where players can upload mods and maps easily, which other players can then subscribe to independent of Tripwire. The FAQ also states that pretty much any type of mod is permitted, as long as it doesn't use copyrighted material or intellectual property from another company, as this will force them to remove it.
Truth be told, only those who didn't pay attention at Killing Floor 2's ongoings didn't see this coming. The Workshop had submissions, but very few (if any) had links where you could actually try them out, hinting that this wasn't going to serve as a modding platform. Having a Voting Queue when visiting the Workshop also hinted towards this direction.
With people on edge regarding Overkill's mess, Tripwire's promise to not make these skins Pay-2-Win is a great start. What is troubling however is the fact that Killing Floor 2 is still in Early Access. The FAQ responds to this saying "[They] view the Trading Floor as a feature that needs iteration just like the rest of the features in the game. Early Access is the perfect place to iterate on the Trading Floor feature with the community."
Personally, I'd feel more conflicted on it if the game felt buggier than it currently does. For an Early Access title, it's been quite stable for me and only the lack of a wide array of maps and limited choice of cosmetics could really account to this title still being Early Access material. The cosmetics portion is clearly being tended to now, and I've seen a few unofficial mod maps in rotation on some servers. Not to mention the promise that regular modding for Killing Floor 2 will not be warded off. Maybe this could be one of the last few updates before the game truly releases?