Payday 2 shows how not to roll out a new economy to players

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On October 15th Starbreeze and Overkill updated Payday 2 on the first day of the game’s annual Crimefest event with a feature that immediately caused chaos in the community. The Black Market Update added locked “safes” to the loot tables that could only be opened via the purchase of “drills” sold for $2.49 each. The safes contained a random assortment of weapon skins. Unlike the similar “gun case” system used in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Payday 2’s skins improved the stats of the base item. As expected, this update was met with negative reactions from the players. Some people accused the developers of changing the game to a free-to-play economy with pay-to-win transactions. Since the weapon improving skins could only be obtained by purchasing the drills needed to unlock safes, it was a charge that stuck. Adding fuel to the fire was this 2013 promise from Payday 2’s then producer Almir Listo:

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

Things obviously changed since that quote from Almir. While neither Starbreeze nor Overkill have publically commented on the issue, they have released a patch that added the drills to the loot tables as well, giving players the chance to obtain them for free. Since no one outside of the development studios knows the spread of items on the loot tables, it remains to be seen if this will placate disgruntled players.