Payday 2 Mods Refuse to Work as Microtransaction Backlash Worsens
"I personally cannot sit by when they continue to promote immoral business practices."
The Steam moderation team for Payday 2 has stated it will no longer work unless it can hold an interview with the development team to discuss the game's microtransaction policies, which have proven to be deeply controversial.
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A moderator, going by the online handle Ashley, has published a notice claiming to be the recipient of online abuse and death threats, stemming from envenomed public debate over microtransactions added to Payday 2 that give buying players a performance boost.
Despite previous assurances that Payday 2--a co-op first person shooter centred around heist missions--would "never" include microtransactions, in mid-October its developer Overkill introduced special safes that could not be cracked by conventional means. Only a special kind of drill, which costs $2.50, could be used to open these safes.
The rewards inside were weapon skins which provide various boosts to player performance. The move triggered outrage online, and in response Overkill introduced random drops of these special drills, giving those who continue to play a chance of unlocking the skins without having to pay.
Representatives for the studio also explained that additional funds would be helpful for the studio to achieve its ambition to support the multiplayer game until 2017.
But late on Thursday, Overkill introduced the game's 90th update, which includes further benefits to those who pay. “Team Boosts” provide in-game cash and XP bonuses to everybody who completes a heist, however only those with special weapon skins can benefit from this.
Hours after the update deployed, Payday 2's communities across Steam and Reddit have expressed outrage at the decision. In turn, this has put a strain on the moderators.
Ashley says the Steam moderation team, which is made up of community members that have been selected by Overkill, is expecting to be dismissed due to its refusal to manage the outrage.
"We've recently been under a great deal of stress after the Crimefest update. A number of death threats thrown at us as well as much more heavy moderation needed due to a huge increase in users breaking the rules," reads Ashley's notice.
"We are not paid and have been in a very stressful situation."
Ashley and the moderation team have branded Overkill's recent endeavours as "immoral".
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The question of how Overkill can be funded to sustain support for its community is at the heart of the issue, but it appears that the proposed microtransaction route has alienated Overkill from its fans.
Ashley's notice continued: "I like to believe that I am not unreasonable but unfortunately the situation constantly degraded. We will no longer refuse to work if we are given a public interview with a member of Overkill. We want to be heard and see what Overkill are willing to do to fix the situation.
"If Overkill decides to let us go as moderators it's something we are prepared for, I personally cannot sit by when they continue to promote immoral business practices. I felt the skins system needed work but could function. The recent safe update showed against that."