No one would be upset about the premium currency of Dying Light 2 if it had been released alongside the game
Dying Light 2 has not become the game I had hoped for. When I reviewed it in February of last year, I regretted that many of the things that made the ...
Dying Light 2 has not become the game I had hoped for. When I reviewed it in February of last year, I regretted that many of the things that made the original Dying Light great were missing in the sequel, such as the crafting system, realistic parkour, and genuine horror. Instead, there were several layers of half-hearted RPG systems that nobody asked for.
Despite these concerns, I never completely wrote off the game. Dying Light has undergone significant changes in the seven years that Techland has supported it, and the studio has promised that the sequel will receive the same support. We have seen significant improvements in parkour and combat systems, as well as scarier encounters, including the knife-slide move showcased in the E3 presentation. Unfortunately, all the goodwill that Techland has built up in the past year and a half has been almost entirely undone by the ill-timed introduction of its new premium cash shop.
Our very own Joshua Robertson is doing a good job here by breaking down the details of the new item shop, but in short, Dying Light 2 players will no longer be able to directly purchase cosmetic items through the store of their chosen platform. Instead, they will first need to acquire in-game currency called DL Points, which can then be exchanged for cosmetic bundles. This has been portrayed as a positive for players, as they no longer have to leave the game to make purchases. However, more importantly, it benefits Techland as the company no longer has to pay a percentage to Steam, Sony, and Microsoft with every sale.
Players are understandably upset. It's frustrating enough to have to purchase a stack of zombie dollars just to download a chicken mask, but what really gets people worked up is the fact that you can't simply buy the exact number of points needed for a purchase. DL Points are sold in packages of 500, 1100, 2300, 3600, and 6500, but cosmetic bundles cost 300, 450, 550, 600, and 750 points. No matter how many points you buy, you always end up with some leftover after making your purchase. That wasn't the case when you could buy the bundles directly through Steam, so players feel deceived by the new shop.
Dying Light 2 is currently being bombarded with massive negative reviews, and the community is in full uproar on platforms like Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, and Steam. Current reviews there are only at 47 percent positive. An endless flood of reviews criticizes Techland (and Tencent, which recently acquired the developer) for adding microtransactions, even though the game has always had them. They are now just offered in a new, slightly worse way.
It's hard to imagine that Dying Light 2 would have received such harsh criticism if the premium shop had been implemented from the beginning. Whether it's good or bad, cosmetic microtransactions have been a staple of games for a good decade and are generally seen as the only acceptable form of DLC, alongside actual expansions that a game can have. As long as one doesn't have to pay to win, most people are fine with games having cosmetic microtransactions and being able to purchase them in in-game shops.
Fortnite V-Bucks, Grand Theft Auto Online Shark Cards, Apex Legends Apex Coins, and League of Legends Riot Points are all used to purchase cosmetic items, and players simply accept it. Even when Destiny 2 players criticize Eververse, they do not complain about the in-game shop itself but only about the price of cosmetic items.
And while premium shops are more common in multiplayer games and games with online components like Forza, Metal Gear Solid 5, and Marvel's Avengers, many single-player games have also integrated in-game shops. Silver Bars in Far Cry 5, Helix Credits in Assassin's Creed, and Creation Club Credits for Fallout 4 and Skyrim are just a few examples. Some players wouldn't have been happy about the premium shop in Dying Light 2, considering that the first installment of Dying Light didn't have one. However, there wouldn't have been as much criticism if Techland hadn't waited 18 months to add such a shop and simultaneously removed the ability to simply purchase cosmetic items through Steam.
The company has already addressed the issue and offered a solution that unfortunately completely misses the mark. They have promised to add the ability to purchase certain items from bundles with the remaining currency after buying the desired product. However, what they won't do is give players the option to buy exactly the number of DL Points they need, which would almost solve the problem for their disgruntled community. Even this solution, Techland says, will take time to implement.
Personally, I'm willing to pay for V-Bucks or Apex Coins if it means the developer of the game I love can retain the profits. It doesn't benefit me if Valve or Sony take a percentage of it, and I don't inherently consider premium currencies as predatory, as some people do. At the same time, it's clear that the gap between the amount of in-game coins you can purchase and the price of the bundles is intentionally designed to tempt you into spending too much on coins that just sit in your account. Or worse, it motivates you to spend even more than you normally would in order to use up all your coins. It's a poor implementation of a monetization system, but Techland would probably have gotten away with it if they hadn't waited so long to add it.