Killing Floor 2 is getting review bombed after developer adds cosmetic microtransactions

Here we go

Tripwire Interactive announced today that Steam Early Access title Killing Floor 2 will have cosmetic microtransactions starting with the next update. Though that update will bring a new perk (Gunslinger) and two new maps, it will also bring an in-game store called the Trading Floor.

In Trading Floor, weapon skins and cosmetic accessories will be dropped in-game either standalone, or in the form of crates or USB sticks. If found in a crate or USB stick, you can purchase a decryption key to obtain a random item. Most of these are player-made from the recent competition; the creators will earn 25 perent of the revenue from their submission any time the item is purchased. These accessories are purely cosmetic and have no effect on the core, skill-based cooperative shooter.

Cosmetic weapons and items come in a variety of rarities and conditions (battle-scarred, field-tested, and mint). The rarest tier will only be available through crates, USB sticks, and trading. An eventual crafting system is also in the works.

Money earned from these microtransactions will go toward continuous support of Killing Floor 2 post-release. Community Manager Jared Creasy posted on the Steam forums, saying that “While players liked the weapon skins [in the first Killing Floor], that didn’t translate toward supporting the free updates they were designed to.” Weapons in the first game were purchased via DLC packs on the Steam client.

However, the shadow of October’s Payday 2 fiasco is looming over Tripwire Interactive. Players on both the Steam forums and the Killing Floor subreddit are in a furious uproar, with posts titled “Is this a fucking joke?” and “What the fuck is Tripwire thinking, adding microtransactions before the full game is even released?” Most of the anger stems from players’ dissatisfaction with the rate of content updates thus far; they see this as an inappropriate prioritization of company resources and time. Creasy says that “Backend developers who have been working on this aspect of the game do not take anything away from gameplay development.”

All of this had led to a chunk of Killing Floor 2 owners flooding the game’s Steam page with negative reviews. Players with upwards of 200 hours in-game are changing their once-favorable opinions to reflect their microtransaction-induced wrath. This hasn’t had a marked effect as of yet, as the game still sits  at “Very Positive,” with 89% of the 17,893 submitted reviews being satisfied.

Other players are upset because of this question in the Trading Floor FAQ post.

Q: Will I have to spend money to remain competitive?

A: No. All of the content added in Trading Floor at launch will be cosmetic only and not affect gameplay in any way. 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. 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”. Co-op game – everyone starts out equal! Our goal is for any such weapons to be side grades anyway, so they won’t provide an edge over the current tier of weapon power.

Weapons (functionality-wise) are not part of the microtransactions that are about to be launched with the next update. Tripwire is laying groundwork for the future. The “Shared Content” feature is its attempt at lessening the divide in the userbase that occurs when not every person who bought the game is willing to purchase DLC.

Since most of the people who are upset about this are also mentioning Payday 2, it would seem that this is a combination of the current microtransaction-heavy climate and unfortunate timing. Tripwire Vice President Alan Wilson says the studio’s listening to feedback:

Not much time left to change anything before the update, but we are listening. And, to those asking “why not get the game out of Early Access first?” – well, here’s your answer. Feedback, leading to changes in what we are doing with this, changes to future plans. 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.

And it would appear that Tripwire is listening because not long after that, a forum-goer expressed concern that he would no longer be able to 100 percent complete the game because it would be about real money and not skill-based achievements. Wilson responds “On a separate theme: interesting point on the subject of ‘completion,’ thanks. Beginning to understand peoples’ desire to have ‘everything.’ We’ll have to give that some (more) thought.”

Killing Floor 2‘s next update has no official release date, but will be released before the end of the year. It remains to be seen how these microtransactions will be received by the community once they see them in play. We’ll keep you updated on the situation.

The Trading Floor Zedconomy [Tripwire Interactive]

Zack Furniss