Crate Disappointment: Payday 2 Crimefest Starts Rocky

Payday 2 [official site] has kicked off its latest Crimefest event to celebrate the co-op heist FPS series’s fourth birthday, and it has brought presents for everyone. You’ll need to pay extra if you want to open your present, though.

Doubtless inspired by Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive‘s weapon crate drops, Payday 2 will now randomly give players ‘safes’ containing unlockable colourful weapon skins with stat boosts – but which cost £2 to open. What’s unpleasant is that these paid skins’ stats can be straight-up better, and developers Overkill had previously said they’d never add microtransactions.

Let’s backtrack a touch to explain how this works. After a heist, Payday 2 randomly rewards players with ‘cards’ which might be revealed as virtuacash, upgrades, unlocks, and so on. Now you might get a ‘safe’ containing a random mystery weapon skin. To discover, unlock, and actually use this skin, this you’ll need to pay £2 (or trade) for a ‘drill’ to open the safe. As well as making guns look fancier/uglier, safe skins might also come with built-in gun mods or straight-up statistical upgrades. Check out that gun in that picture ↑ up top: it’s a touch more stable than the default. Not massively so, but it’s still better than you can get without paying.

Payday 2 already has a load of DLC weapon packs meaning not every player has access to the same gear, but straight upgrades feel way sleazier. TF2’s oodles of new weapons play differently, while CS:GO’s gun skins are purely cosmetic. Payday 2’s skins are simply better.

What makes it sting for some players is that, back in 2013 before the game launched, Overkill had said “Payday 2 will have no micro-transactions whatsoever (shame on you if you thought otherwise!)”. Plans change, especially in game development, but that rubs salt in for some who love the game most.

For casual, occasional Payday players like me, honestly, this change is not that noticeable as I’m still so far short of unlocking so many guns and things anyway. It’s seasoned heisters, folks who flipping adore Payday, who’ll notice these small changes most. Many are displeased. I’m sure some will get into collecting, trading, and selling them, all the same.

Anywho, Crimefest isn’t all bad so far: it has brought a big rebalancing aimed at making all weapons viable and distinct. Overkill still have another nine days of Crimefest to unveil something amazing – and time to rethink these skins. The game’s free to play on Steam and on sale until the end of Crimefest too. They’ve also whipped together a live-action short film with backstory behind this event:

68 Comments

  1. gunny1993 says:

    The only crime I see here is … Daylight Robbery

  2. Yglorba says:

    Boo, hiss!

    I have nothing against microtransactions to sell cosmetic stuff, and even paying to speed up progression is sort-of all right if it’s done well, but paying for a straight-up advantage that can’t be obtained without paying for it is a dealbreaker in a FPS, especially one like this that isn’t FTP — so you can pay for the game, then find yourself outgunned by people who paid a bit more. It’s a feelbad mechanic, even if the impacts are minor.

    • Crious says:

      You do realise the game is player vs AI, Right?
      This shouldn’t really impact the game so much since 2+ in stability for example is like a shite in space.

      • Zanchito says:

        This always derives in “you don’t have the cool P2W items, so you’ll only drag us down. Get out of our group”, making partying a headache.

        • ScubaMonster says:

          Not really, depends on the game. Killing Floor had a lot of weapon packs but nobody gave a crap if you had them or not. Though for the most part those weapons didn’t really give you any advantages, though there was same crying about flare pistols and a couple others I think. But nobody ever tried to kick you. If you got kicked, it was for joining Suicidal or Hell on Earth while being a low level perk.

        • Megarlin says:

          Actually i have witnessed a case were someone with a weapon skin was kicked for having it.

          • KDR_11k says:

            Going by the forums people are actively rallying to do that now, kick anyone who uses these skins.

      • The Sombrero Kid says:

        If it has no effect then why compromise your integrity by putting it in the game when you explicitly said you wouldn’t?

        • Merlin the tuna says:

          It also dings the game’s already-annoying reward system. Previously, you were at the mercy of the RNG as to whether you’d get a relevant card drop, whether it’s a weapon mod, a mask, or just XP towards your next level. Now, you’re not even guaranteed to get anything because your reward can consist of “the opportunity to spend real money on another random thing.”

          The base game itself is a lot of fun, and they did a great job of building out heists that felt functionally different. But Overkill just cannot stay out of their own way, whether it’s the tedious inventory & modding system, the overcomplicated skill system, the overcomplicated other skill system (perk decks), labyrinthine UI, etc. The game has become a case study in designers not knowing when to put the final round of polish on and just walk away.

          • SirDeimos says:

            You absolutely nailed it! It has become so convoluted, they should have stopped messing with it long ago. My coop group has joked that the last time it was really fun to just “play”… was during the beta.

    • ANeM says:

      It also doesn’t help any that Overkill decided to ignore the CS:GO/TF2 systems where crates don’t conflict with normal drops. You still get the drops you’d normally get, but sometimes you get bonus crates. Great.

      But not with Payday, oh no. Overkill instead replaces loot you earned with a locked box that needs money to unlock. Even if the skins were purely cosmetic, the system slows down player progression by removing tangible and useful rewards.

  3. Nereus says:

    I’m really wishing I hadn’t bought the game. I’m only out a couple dollars, but I was putting off getting into it because I was told the base game effectively needs certain DLC to play. Guess it can join the pile of games I’ll never play but inexplicably own as part of bundles.

    • Not_Id says:

      Try and get a refund.

    • CMaster says:

      No, the DLC isn’t necessary at all.
      You can play any of the DLC heists if someone who owns them hosts, and the DLC weapons make the (combat) portion of the game considerably easier. But stealth is fine without, and you can just play on an easier difficulty than people with all the overpowered DLC.

  4. Shabbaman says:

    There’s been a big weapon rebalancing, but this didn’t mean more weapons became viable. Let’s just keep it at “the big rebalancing aimed at making all weapons viable and distinct is a work in progress”…

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, I’ve yet to play it myself, but apparently pistols are now even more WRATH OF AN ANGRY GOD, and shotguns got a bunch of nerfing.

      There’s a spreadsheet with the nitty-gritty; it looks like particular precioussses got through with minor buffs, though, so far.

      Also, props to Alice for picking up on the “we said we weren’t going to do this”. Apparently there’s been some staff turnover around this issue.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Oh, and apparently weapon mods have been nerfed a little numerically, and then massively by not being adjusted to be on the new scale for accuracy etc. So what was a +5 was already less meaningful now the scale has been stretched out from 0 to 100, but it’s also been nerfed to a +2 etc.

        (Honestly, since mods require drops and are just one of the many ways grinding tries to ruin this game, I’m OK with them being increasingly meaningless.)

      • Gormongous says:

        Having played a bit, it’s very odd. Especially with assault rifles, it seems tuned to make all guns viable but no guns optimal, which is great in theory but goddamn annoying in practice, because they’ve done so by making almost all ARs hit the big damage breakpoint (39.85) but with suboptimal accuracy and stability. Basically, it’s easier to kill enemies but harder to hit them. You can see how that’d be frustrating.

        God knows what they’re trying to do with shotguns. They were already skill-intensive weapons confined to edge-case uses, but now…

        • RegisteredUser says:

          As a huge fan of shotguns, it pains me to no end that the only viable shotgun in the whole game is the Locomotive sidearm, due to the moderately okay ammo and high damage output, for close quarters. Not a single shotgun shoots anything at any distance properly at all, despite how well they actually can work at range in real life. I have no idea why they put in the time and effort to make them, because nobody is or would play with them in the game due to them being useless as primaries.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Well, I was enjoying my Raven, Joceline, and Judge until this point. I don’t know if that will continue, but I guess I might find out this evening. :P

          • LionsPhil says:

            Having played a bit, honestly I don’t notice a difference, numbers be damned. What I do notice is that suddenly my Raven is a comedy cop catapult, that sends enemies cartwheeling away from me if I’m crouched and aiming up at them.

        • KDR_11k says:

          With the way they buffed the SMGs though they kinda turned those into the new assault rifles. My Para is still accurate and stable but now does over 40 damage per shot and has the same ammo reserve as a full CAR4.

          • Gormongous says:

            Man, don’t I know it. The Para is literally a superior version of the CAR-4 in every way (eight more accuracy, four more stability, and four more concealment) except for mods, which now affect a gun’s stats drastically less. I don’t know exactly why Overkill is pushing so hard to make secondaries (especially pistols and SMGs) better than primaries.

            On the other hand, it’s worth a laugh that the Eagle Heavy, hitherto one of the worst assault rifles besides the JP36 and AMCAR, is now one of the best guns in the game with eighty-one damage and sixty-four accuracy at base, the highest damage and accuracy for an AR that’s not single-shot. Wild!

  5. slerbal says:

    Yeah, personally I’m done with Payday 2. I really enjoyed it at first but the DLCs and updates have been making the game more and more annoying and this was the final straw. It just went into the Steam Library “Hidden” section. I won’t be buying any more Overkill games/DLC. What others do is up to them, of course :)

    Still, I will always have the OST which is phenomenal and the best thing about the game. Really oustanding.

  6. sixsixtrample says:

    Thanks for the heads up, this is incredibly frustrating, we were just thinking about playing some Payday 2…I hate crap like this.

    After a hest, Payday 2 randomly

    Probably meant heist

  7. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I haven’t bought Payday or the sequel, they always did look tempting though. Not any more, Starbreeze have joined a very short list of devs who don’t have any respect for their customers in my mind.

    • USER47 says:

      Try Payday 1, it’s on 90% sale now, base game + wolfpack DLC (2 heists, one additional class) just for 2.5 euros.

      It doesn’t have the insane amount of weapons and overall it’s far more focused game than the sequel, but the action is great and the heists feel far more interesting, despite there not being that many stealth options.

    • Baines says:

      Don’t forget the lovely tweeted response last year from a dev at Overkill… In response to a complaint that the console versions of Payday 2 were broken, she advised they switch to other platforms and [expletive deleted] play it there.

  8. Crusoe says:

    As a long time Payday 2 player, this has officially killed the game for me.

  9. Kulantan says:

    Its also worth mentioning that the FAQ on the Road to Crimefest page said that all the updates unlocked for Crimefest would be free for everyone. These mircotransactions also break that promise.

    • Jalan says:

      The safe drops are likely considered the content in this instance. I’m not saying I agree with it but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how they reasoned this.

      • Kulantan says:

        Yeah, I suspect that is the reasoning they would state if pressed. But it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to see the holes in that logic.

    • KDR_11k says:

      With the way they wrote the challenge names on the Day 2 stuff I guess the microtransactions weren’t a challenge unlock.

  10. Bull0 says:

    I’ve got a suspicion / hunch / hope that this is a wind-up. Not to say that Overkill are shy when it comes to DLC but this feels like, well, overkill.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s an ill-judged one if so, because it’s generated a ton of ill will.

    • SyrusRayne says:

      If it is a joke, they really need to take a long hard look at themselves and think about why nobody doubted it. They don’t have much community goodwill left.

    • CMaster says:

      If it’s a joke, it’s a bit weird that I can go out and buy drills right now. Even if they realise this is an error and go back on it, they’re going to have pissed off customers who DID buy drills…

      • Bull0 says:

        Yeah, that’s the main evidence against, really. Still, it would only make the wind-up better if they took payments for keys and then said ha! Only joking.

  11. SaintAn says:

    I feel like changing a game this much should entitle people that bought the game before this change a full refund. Hope someone gets a class action lawsuit going so we can get our money back.

  12. RegisteredUser says:

    To clarify: David Goldfarb, who originally helped develop the game and said the “God no” about microtransactions, left Overkill over a year ago to start his own Indie thing.

    I expect that after 4 years they are trying to finally squeeze the last drops of blood out of the Payday franchise.
    However, I wonder if they are thinking ahead to ANYTHING they want to do next.

    • SyrusRayne says:

      Almir’s said it a couple of times as well.

    • Gormongous says:

      Almir Listo, current lead producer for Payday 2, also posted as much on the Steam forums in 2013: link to forums.steampowered.com

      “We’ve made it clear that PAYDAY 2 will have no micro-transactions whatsoever (shame on you if you thought otherwise!)…”

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Ah thank you for clarifying. The Goldfarb article was one of the public ones, but I was curious whether Almir (main communicator on the forums, too) had any official statement on this.

      Well, all the more of a grievance to the community.

  13. RegisteredUser says:

    The other thing about this is: people spent 2 weeks or so grinding away at tons of at times tedious challenges to basically be told “Great, now you get to pay us even more indeterminite amounts of money after we told you this was for you to get free stuff! AHAHHAHAHA”.

    That’s beyond bait and switch mean, if you ask me.

  14. CMaster says:

    Yeah, as someone who plays quite a bit of Payday 2 (it launched as a “meh” game, but became a genuinley varied and interesting one), the game was already uncomfortably “pay 2 win” – some of the “special” enemies that could be very deadly are made very easy to deal with by (DLC only) rifles/special shotgun rounds.

    However an RNG, exploitative, skin selling system is pretty much straight up bullshit, especially following the “everything in crimefest will be free to everyone” lines. I guess we’re “free” to buy drills, right?

  15. CMaster says:

    Oh also, to try and prevent people from getting skins without paying, Overkill have blocked mods from working. A modding scene that they had previously explicitly supported.

    • Jalan says:

      Wow.

      If actually proven to be true (and a lasting change at that), then that is utter bullshit.

      • CMaster says:

        I see some talk that some mod functionality may be reneabled after crimefest, no references though. Also, there’s clearly plans for steam workshop support along with this skins stuff. After all, as valve have proved – why make this sort of content yourself, when the community can do it for you.

        • Hahaha says:

          Nothing was blocked they did some major changes to the engine which broke the hooks both BLT and the YML versions are being worked on.

          link to steamcommunity.com

          “As you’re no doubt aware, the current update has rendered HoxHud and all other Lua based mods inactive. Firstly, this is not due to any hostile action on Overkill’s part.

          However, the changes they have made to the compilation of the game engine has resulted in a lot of the API functions being inlined instead of existing as functions in their own right which unfortunately then requires reimplementing them externally, by hand, from the CPU machine code (x86 asm). “

  16. MessWithTheBull says:

    In a game where you only attack AI, I’m not really worried about the stat changes. I am annoyed by the fact that this was supposed to be a microtransaction free game. Crates and keys definitely smells like microtransactions to me.

    I’d never not recommend the game to anyone over it though, even after all this time Payday franchise is amazingly fun, pick up and play. Long as you get halfway intelligent teammates than all is well.

  17. Tazer says:

    Did they ever release any content that allows you to upgrage/customize your safe house? Seems like having all that money sitting around isn’t helpful if you can’t spend it.

    • CMaster says:

      No. They decided (reasonably enough) that people would rather have more actual gameplay content, than a safehouse that would be looked at once after upgrading then ignored. You can spend offshore cash on going infamous, “buying” heists (so you pick a difficulty and mission, rather than waiting for RNG to show up what you want) and occasionally useful for “Offshore casino” – where you could gamble for reward cards.

  18. Velko says:

    An interesting case in terms of corporate crisis management. The community went absolutely bonkers over this, and Overkill haven’t commented at all. This situation has been on for very nearly full 24 hours now; did they not have an emergency communication plan, why are they not in full damage control mode yet, and first of all, how on earth did they not see this coming? In these situations swift and decisive action is extremely important. For a bigger (real-world, even) case, see Volkswagen…

    • LionsPhil says:

      From what I hear (which is, of course, the raging fires of the Internet), the mods on their Steam community are in full damage-control mode at least, rapidly locking everything down, marking negative reviews as abusive, and banning people.

      You know, basically the worst kind of emergency response you can have to defuse the rage.

      • Velko says:

        Yes; giving the first response in the hands of Steam forum mods is probably the worst possible option.

    • CMaster says:

      I can’t imagine that they didn’t see this coming as a community response. So I suppose there are two possibilities:
      1) It’s a “door in face” anouver, and after a preplanned amount of time (anwwhere between 3 days and the end of the “free to play” period of Crimefest) they announce “we’ve listened hard to your feedback, and as a result, we are removing stat bonuses from skins”
      2) They decided that despite all the fuss, the evidence suggests they’ll make more money from crates than they’ll lose from less players buying DLC. There’s no answer that would make existing players happy, so better to just ride it out.

      • Gormongous says:

        I don’t know, the fact that the Day 2 rewards are five masks (each taking up one “achievement” each) suggests to me that they didn’t see this coming. Why lead with it, why have nothing good as a follow-up, and why have no plan for damage control besides mods repeating “there are strong opinions on either side” and “we’re reading your feedback” on the Steam forums?

        The Payday team had recently visited Valve headquarters in the past few months and, by all appearances, that may have led them to think that this’d be received just like the F2P elements in CS:GO or TF2. You know, those games that costs little or no money, not twenty dollars plus over a hundred dollars of DLC.

        I really can’t build a mental model for how they thought this would go down. The community had already been groaning at their one-DLC-per-month antics, why would they welcome more opportunities to spend real money?

        • CMaster says:

          Eh, previous Crimefest and similar events have been pretty up-and-down between days with huge stuff, and days with trivial bits. There’s 10 days, can’t be game-changing content every day. Also, Overkill seem to expect people to get quite excited abouts masks.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    Crate Expectations.

  20. Nim says:

    I just unlocked my first crate as a mission reward and if I buy the key for 2,19€ I get a single random item. I quit TF2 when it went F2P and they added this crate shit.

  21. BlazeHedgehog says:

    My main problem is that the update is nearly 5 and a half gigabytes and I don’t have a lot of bandwidth for “patches” like that. Especially when, as I discovered this morning when I woke up, the patch started redownloading from 0% after nearly getting to 75% yesterday.