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: