Visit Payday 2’s Steam page and you’ll see how the overwhelmingly positive user reviews suddenly turned like milk a month ago. They tell of a “wonderful” co-op shooter broken in the name of bullion when Overkill introduced a microtransaction system.
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The new Payday Black Market hinges on CS:GO-style stat-boosting loot drops which players pay real money to unlock. The community wasn’t appeased by the tweaks Overkill made in response to community uproar, or by the assertion that the system was “working as intended”. But the studio now appear to be at least willing to talk about it.
“The past few weeks have been some of the most challenging in the history of this community,” wrote Payday producer Almir Listo. “Players have been angry with us, media have written about us en masse and our volunteer moderators went on strike. For all the distress we’ve caused the past few weeks, I’d just like to take the time and say that we’re sorry.
“We’ve done a lot of things right in the past, but these past few weeks we screwed up. We need to get better at many things, and we will do our best to improve as soon as possible.”
Listo doesn’t say in his statement precisely where he thinks Overkill went wrong, but the key things seems to be communication. They’ve arranged studio meetings with YouTubers Last Bullet, modder ‘I am not a spy’ and PeaseMaker – one of Payday’s most active Russian players – to talk about improving the state of the game. What’s more, eight Overkill developers will henceforth play an active part in the forums.
“We’ve been reading your feedback and clearing bugs, but we haven’t engaged you in discussions,” says Listo. “This has alienated us somewhat, and for that we apologize.”
After a two-hour public discussion with those AWOL moderators, Overkill are also looking into mimicking CS:GO’s StatTrak system – although they won’t yet make any promises. What do you think Payday needs now?