So, Overkill Studios recently released a statement regarding their behavior following the Payday 2 microtransaction debacle. For those of you who’ve been living under a rock for the past month or so, the developers behind the popular crime-flavored shooter decided to implement CS:GO style safes that allow players to purchase cosmetic skins for their weapons. While initially disappointing (as Overkill stated many times in the past that microtransaction elements would never make their way to Payday 2,) the real issue is that these skins offer stat boosts that give players who pay an edge on the competition. This was coupled with a poorly done weapon rebalance that made many weapons far weaker than before, promoting the purchase of these random stat boosts in order to use your favorite weapons effectively again. All of this is just icing on the cake, however, as all of these extremely negatively received decisions were put into effect on the first day of the yearly Crimefest, a week-long celebration where Overkill hands out free goodies to Payday 2 fans in the form of in-game content.
The community uproar was intense. Player numbers hardly pass the 25,000 mark now and positive reviews decreased by the hundreds, and even now the game isn’t even close to the popularity it once had. especially following the abysmal AMA conducted by Overkill’s Almir Listo, which largely consisted of evading the questions fans most wanted the answers to and affirming that no real action was to be taken regarding the highly controversial microtransactions. All this stuff has been talked about before, but Overkill’s halfhearted apology is getting both current and former fans frothing again, and for good reason.
Reddit is largely serving as the catalyst for the community’s anger lately, and after going over both the official concession from the company and the many community responses to it I can’t help but throw my two cents in on the situation, especially since some people believe this apology to be an acceptable one. Overkill states that they will be taking steps to repair some of the damage that’s been done to their community, and at first things appear to be at least decent promises, if nothing else. Contacting former moderators of both their subreddit and official forums to ask for suggestions, adding in some free content, inserting their own moderators into the forums to answer questions. My biggest problems with the so-called reparations that Overkill wants to implement, however, are twofold.
First of all, these are promises made by a company that has broken their own word several times in the past, most egregiously with their promise of not adding in microtransactions to the game in the first place. They’re a corporation, not acting as individuals, so it makes sense when they jump at the chance to make more money than they have before, even if it means excluding a major part of your fanbase in order to do so. Overkill has gone so low as to chase after the “whales,” people who spend lots of money on microtransactions, the minority of players who are coerced into buying meaningless excess over and over instead of relying on the steady cash flow that their loyal fans and DLC releases brought them. This is not because of necessity, however, which might be the worst part. I would at least have some sympathy for the company if this was a move they made to even stay afloat, but this past year Starbreeze (and by extension, Overkill) has made more money than they ever have before, with sales from Payday 2 and it’s downloadable content driving the most of their profits. The decision to implement microtransactions was one made through greed and want of more, not as a last-ditch effort. These are empty promises that mean nothing because of the decisions they’ve already made, and their talk of fixing things mentions nothing about the one aspect of the infamous Crimefest update that people have the biggest problem with, which brings me right into my second complaint.
Overkill is not planning on fixing anything that people really want fixed. Sure, they made some improvements to the weapon rebalancing, but the weapons that were nerfed are still performing rather poorly compared to how they used to, and the safe system is still present and likely not going anywhere. The microtransactions were the most hated element of Overkill’s rather despicable behavior, partly because of the “whale-hunting” aspect of it I mentioned above, and while there still would have been a lot of community damage to make up for, the studio would have brought a lot of people back with the removal of their most controversial added “feature.” But no, even their apology states that they’ll simply be trying to add something to make the weapons skins more appealing instead of saying that they made a mistake with the implementation, making mention putting in a CS:GO style StatTrak feature so that you can keep track of your kills on the side of your guns. That part of the whole apology is what I have the biggest problem with, the fact that they say they screwed up but they’re not going to do anything to actually fix the problems that they introduced because they’re making money, instead deciding to introduce more mental assault to players in the form of shinier microtransactions.
Don’t fall for this half-hearted apology, especially if you’re one of the players that stuck with Overkill up until this debacle, like I have. I feel that the only reason that they even decided to apologize in the first place was to try and sucker in more schmucks back into their money-filled maw so that they could garner more profit. They’ve already gone from a respectable company into one of the most consumer-loathing ones in the gaming world, and you should look elsewhere if you want a company who treats customers right.