Tripwire Interactive, developers of Killing Floor 2, is introducing a trading floor where players can buy and sell cosmetic items, and the news has been met with a wave of negativity. Here's a snapshot of the game's Reddit page right now:
And over on Steam there's been a wave of negative reviews, unhappy that while the game is in Early Access it is already receiving cosmetic DLC.
The way it works is that Tripwire's added a number of drops to the main game. While playing you can be rewarded with cosmetic items, USB pens, and loot crates. The cosmetics are immediately usable but the crates and the pens need a key to unlock. These can be bought for real money on the Trading Floor.
Some cosmetics can only be found as drops, some can only be found in USB pens and locked crates.
It's important to note that at this point all the items on sale are purely cosmetic. Overkill, Payday 2's developer, has been caught up in six weeks of infighting with its community because its cosmetics also affected the stats of the game's weapons.
Tripwire makes its position clear in the Trading Floor FAQ:
Also, a number of the cosmetics on sale have been designed by the game's players. In a system akin to Valve's profit sharing with Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, and Dota cosmetics designers, Tripwire is sharing 25 per cent of player-created cosmetic items cost with its creator.
I'm a little surprised by the negative response of the community: the original Killing Floor was packed with cosmetic DLC. The game had a long life of free updates thanks to the continued revenue the cosmetics brought in. This Trading Floor system is new and makes cosmetics a more prevalent part of the game but the principle is largely the same.
I suspect of the reason for the backlash is because of how much Payday 2 has been in the news lately. On the surface, it looks like Tripwire is making the same mistake: releasing a game and then adding microstransactions after the fact. The two key differences is that Tripwire's cosmetics have no material effect on how the game plays and it didn't explicitly say it wouldn't add microstransactions to the game.
There is one criticism that stands out, however. Players are pointing out that this update comes ahead of new maps, perks, and other changes that the community has asked for – essentially, it is thought, the team has been working on this instead of tangible improvements to the game. This is something Tripwire is going to have to prove isn't the case if it hopes to win over the angry parts of its community.
In its Trading Floor FAQ Tripwire says that the microtransactions will allow it to continue updating the game:
And the Trading Floor update does come with two new maps and a new perk. Clearly, the angry parts of the community expected more.