Killing Floor 2 Adding Microtransactions To Early Access

A flame war, yesterday.

Killing Floor 2 [official site] is currently making its way through Early Access and by all accounts is a pretty good co-op zombie blaster. Developers Tripwire are now planning to add microtransactions to the game, letting players buy in-game items using real money. The initial items will be cosmetic, bought directly or by paying for keys to unlock randomly dropped item crates, though there are plans to add weapons “with new gameplay” in future. These items will be available to everyone on a server if one person has paid to unlock them.

None of this is a surprise – Killing Floor 1 had paid DLC weapons and skins – except perhaps that the microtransactions are being added here before the rest of the game is finished.

“In the future we may be adding weapons with new gameplay for sale, but this will appear in the ‘Shared Content’ area on the server,” explains the FAQ for “The Trading Floor Zed-conomy”. “This means that, if any player on the server has a weapon (like the Chivalry Zweihander now), then every player on the server will be able to use it. No-one gets any ‘advantage'”. This seems an improvement over KF1, where DLC weapons would only be available to pickup by other players on the same server if their owner dropped them.

The FAQ also outlines that some items will be tradable with other players, some can be gathered in-game through play, and some will be created by the community rather than Tripwire themselves. In the latter instance, the community creators will get a cut of the profits from items sold.

This is similar to how DLC worked for the original Killing Floor, and is broadly the same as games like Team Fortress 2. Unlike Payday 2, in which the recent introduction of microtransactions prompted a lot of complaints, none of KF2’s weapon skins will change the stats of the items you apply them to.

However, some people are still unhappy and the game has had a spate of negative Steam reviews in the past 24 hours. These are mostly players cross that the microtransactions are being added to a paid (rather than free-to-play) game when said game isn’t yet finished and out of early access.

The FAQ states that the decision to add the microtransactions now was taken because Tripwire “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.” Developer Alan Wilson also responded to the criticism on the game’s forum, similarly stating that though there was “Not much time left to change anything before the update,” they were listening to feedback and were introducing the market now so that “when the game comes out of Early Access, it is actually finished, with core systems like this ironed out and working the way people want it to.”

34 Comments

  1. Kollega says:

    Words cannot describe how much I detest the fact that thanks to Valve, gambling crate mechanics where you pay real money for a random virtual item have been elevated from “something Chinese free-to-play MMOs were derided for” to “a must-have feature for each and every free-to-play game, even the good ones”.

    I mean, I get that the devs have to pay for food and rent too, but aren’t there more ethical ways to earn money in a free-to-play envrionment than trying to hook players onto gambling?

    • Catweasel says:

      It’s not even limited to free to play games either, as we’re seeing more and more. Not a fan at all.

      • apm says:

        the point is that they have to pay the artists too. they arent doing anything after some point and still have to get paid.
        they are just cosmetics, unlike in payday 2 and give you a way to support the devs after buying the initial release.

        • Legion23 says:

          It would be way too optimistic that this will stay this way in the future. Tripwire even has a history of trying to pull shady stuff like making a (cosmetic) character only avaiable by buying the GOTY version of Killing Floor 1. They backed off when people complained. Personally I will skip Killing Floor 2 now.

        • socrate says:

          saying that is just silly because coder have the exact same problem yet most actually study in more then coding making them worth more and also can be hired on contract…its really bad management and bad way of dealing with employee and not knowing what to do with them in the end…im so tired of people bringing up that dumb artist have nothing to do and still get paid card and i have to say id rather see cosmetic in the game im paying for compared to having to pay a little bit and most wont in order to play with a skin that could in the first place add diversity to a rather stale game.

        • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

          The “Oh they have to pay the artists too” bit is wearing thin here. The game is still lacking dozens of guns, quite a few maps, asset sets for maps, and UI elements. I guess those things are just unimportant next to weapon skins though.

    • slerbal says:

      I agree with you. Still on the plus side because they have added micro-transactions in Early Access I can now safely remove it from my wishlist as I was waiting until release to consider picking it up. I do realise that I’m not the target market any more, but still the proliferation of this kind of thing does sadden me.

    • Kitsunin says:

      I certainly expected paid content, but I must say the crate nonsense is very disappointing to see. It’s gambling, plain and simple, and to see it invade so many games is such a shame, it being cosmetics only doesn’t change anything.

  2. Bull0 says:

    They have not earned this with Killing Floor 2, it’s had one update since it launched in EA. One of the few EA/kickstarter purchases I regret.

    • Xzi says:

      I hate to call bullshit, but not really. So, bullshit. There are 16 pages of updates for Killing Floor 2, not all of them were actual patches/changes, but I stopped counting after I passed ten. It’s the best co-op wave shooter available in the next gen, save perhaps Vermintide which is a different type of game in many respects.

      • Bull0 says:

        It’s had one update that added 2 maps and 2 classes. That’s it, other than that, there have only been balance patches. And now microtransactions. So… not exactly bullshit, more like “the exact truth”. The game is comically bereft of content. Glad you’re enjoying it – more power to you – my point stands.

        • Conehead The Barbarian says:

          3 maps, 2 classes,4 new characters, a new graphics system for gore, new audio system. Then when this economy update is released it’ll have gunslinger, a new map and the patriarch. So I’d say they have been working on it, it may not be the fastest of updates but they are of good quality when they do come out and aren’t full of bugs that make the game unplayable for a while after the update.

          • Bull0 says:

            I mostly just objected to being told my factual observation was bullshit. I haven’t got a huge axe to grind with the developer or anything but I do regret the purchase, there’s not enough to it, and seeing that they’re already devoting time to adding micropayments is a bit insulting.

      • Kitsunin says:

        And Vermintide doesn’t do server browsing, which makes it kind of uh…unplayable, for parts of the world. So in a way KF2 is the only current gen horde killer.

        • Pheeze says:

          Vermintide does have a server browser. Press “L”.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Oh my, it does! Odd that wouldn’t be in any of the menus…

            Eek, no wonder the matchmaker can’t do its job.

  3. magogjack says:

    The thing about TWI is that they actually put some of that money back into the game.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      The game that isn’t finished yet?

      • magogjack says:

        I was happy with my purchase when I bought the game, there is a full game there already, its just a bonus to me that they will add more things for free.

  4. Al Bobo says:

    I have nothing against cosmetics in KF2, EA or not. Those devs have pretty good track record, when it comes to supporting their games after launch so it’s ok for me, if they implement micro-transaction thingy already.
    My policy is to maybe buy some fluff in a game that I have played a long time. I have already racked up over 150 hours in KF2 so I might buy something, if it looks good enough and is reasonably priced.
    However, I’m not going to buy a single crate. If I want something specific, I’m not going to gamble for it. Crates are for people, who can’t control themselves or just like to gamble and that is ok. Those guys/girls would throw their money away, anyway, in other forms of gambling.

  5. Viral Frog says:

    Well shoot. I had fully intended to purchase this game come Christmas. Looks like I just saved a bit of money for something else.

  6. Stellar Duck says:

    I appreciate their work and play RO2 as much as I can but microtransactions certainly means I’ll never buy KF2, much to the annoyance of a couple of friends.

    It’s a practice always to be shunned. I loathe Valve for introducing it.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Forgot to add: the Valve part specifically for introducing gambling. Not even EA have stooped that low.

      • Soulstiger says:

        Uh… Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age:Inquisition off the top of my head. You could get the same gambling items in-game, but you could also pay real money. You know, to cut out the whole playing the game part.

  7. buzzmong says:

    The “if one person on the server owns it, everyone can use it” approach of DLC, as far as DLC goes, isn’t a bad one.
    Payday 2 did that with heists and it wasn’t too bad, and it does mean people get to see and experience it, rather than it just being totally locked behind a paywall. Obviously only really works okayish on PvE games.

  8. thestryker says:

    While I’m not a fan of microtransactions, I don’t understand all of the complaining about this. Currently it’s a way to spread around money between company and fans who create art for the game and nothing more. If you don’t like it, don’t spend any money on them your gameplay experience doesn’t change. They have also said that in the future if they add anything unique which does have an effect on gameplay everyone on the server will have access to it when someone with it joins whether they “own” it or not.

    At the end of the day microtransactions suck, and this gambling version is arguably the worst kind, but it seems foolish to judge a game negatively by something optional that has zero impact on your game experience. This isn’t payday 2 where the developers went back on a promise and then gave people a distinct paid advantage. Personally I’d rather see them do this than putting out a ton of random little dlc which contains game changing stuff (ala kf1), and hope that this is what they’re trying to implement instead.

    Only time will tell how that will work out, but as of right now this seems to be a completely fair setup which doesn’t put anyone at an advantage over anyone else.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Indeed, it’s definitely far too early to be saying that they’re going to betray us all. DLC items being shared throughout the lobby is pretty great thing!

  9. rocketman71 says:

    So, we’re still waiting for the linux dedi server, and they’re losing their time with this shit?.

    That’s cold, Tripwire.

  10. anHorse says:

    How about they make the fucking game first

    • Kitsunin says:

      Considering the currently kind of sorry state of the balance, do you think the game is unfinished primarily because it doesn’t have enough art?

      Cosmetic items will be developed by their art team. Doing this isn’t likely to mean developments will slow down. At all.

      • anHorse says:

        It’d be hard for it to get much slower tbh

        And this isn’t just art team time is it? The entire drop crate etc mechanic has had time spent on developing it for the game

        • Kitsunin says:

          I’m sure it took an amount of time, but it’d be incredibly minimal. Dunno exactly what their system involves but I’m sure copy-pasting TF2’s system would take less than a day for the people who might otherwise be working on more important things. I don’t know crap about programming and I can more or less imagine how to code such a system.

  11. Crusoe says:

    This would be somewhat easier to swallow if TW were better at communicating with the community.

  12. chris1479 says:

    OMFG is it too much to ask Mr Developer to actually FINISH THE FRICKING GAME before you start virtual chugging for more money you grasping twats. I have bought the game and am pissed off at how slow development has been and now I know why.