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Dying Light 2 adds a premium currency, cue the Steam review bomb

 Dying Light 2 zombie
Dying Light 2 zombie

Techland has released the Summertime update for Dying Light 2: Stay Human, which comes with the kind of sunshine news every player loves to hear about: the game's added a premium currency. Yay! Microtransactions are not new to Dying Light, with the first game offering several bundles over the course of its long and well-supported life, but these have previously been purchasable via online stores and the trusty method of the US dollar (or whatever your local currency may be).

So clearly Techland wants a bigger slice of the pie. The developer has posted an FAQ about DL Points which claims they are "a straightforward way for you to buy bundles without the need to leave the game [and] also make our lives easier, because we won’t have to set up the bundles on multiple outside stores." For the moment, players can still buy stuff in the old way, but Techland's intent is clearly to phase this out, with the FAQ saying this will remain an option "for now" (outside of the PlayStation Store, from which it is removing all existing bundles.)

The announcement comes with 500 DL Points for existing players (which need to be redeemed before October 7), though it doesn't appear that this bonanza is actually enough to buy anything decent. This is one of the big problems for players: you can buy 500 points for $5, but most bundles cost 550 points. Previously you could buy that bundle with real money for $6 or whatever the case may be, but now you'll have to spend $10 to get 1,100 DL Points and basically put more money into game upfront. The biggest bundle offered is 6,500 DL points for $50.

Reaction has been what you'd expect. Players don't like this and, among the usual calls to boycott the game and refuse to buy any of its DLC, many are drawing a link to Techland's recent acquisition by Tencent. Techland itself addresses this in the FAQ, saying "these events are not connected at all", and that probably is the case: the acquisition only went through in July this year.

More notably, this has been put in the context of previous and well-liked community manager Uncy leaving, and his replacement saying on the game's Discord that players who have an issue with this should "play something else." For his part, Uncy seems to regard DL Points as a bad thing and has made this clear publicly.

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You already know what happened next, and the Steam review bombing campaign is ongoing in earnest. The game still holds a "mostly positive" rating for now but around 2000 recent reviews are "mixed". User cryocore is fairly typical of the sentiment among the negatives, saying Techland "just took a massive dump on the game and their reputation."

Techland has kinda-semi-addressed this in an update that hasn't done much to quell the ravenous hordes. "As far as we understand, a big part of the frustration stems from the pricing of the bundles and the resulting leftover DL Points," says the studio, "[...] we’ve already started working on a couple of solutions proposed by the community." These include basically re-jigging the bundles and making items purchasable individually but "that will not happen overnight, as it’ll take the devs some time to rework the system."

So: the backlash is real, but it seems certain Techland is simply going to bunker down, do a little bit of fiddling with what it offers for DL Points, but more-or-less stay on the same course. It also seems extraordinarily unlikely that it would back down on a system that integrates its cosmetic offerings into the game and gives it more of the proceeds. People may be angry, but change here feels unlikely.

In terms of the game itself the news is better, with the update bringing some reasons to be cheerful. An addition that will make Steam Deck players happy is in-game integration of mod.io, which as with the desktop version, will provide easy access to community maps. A crossover with Payday will see infected robbers appearing, who can be killed for special loot in an event that runs until September 21.

A previous update, Gut Feeling, made the game much gorier, which Techland belatedly realised "could impact the streaming experience." Now the game allows players to select between Full, Limited, and Minimum brutality settings in preferences. There's also now an option to skip to prologue and start the game directly, which is mainly targeted at NG+ players and allowing easier access to co-op mode.

The update also comes with a huge list of bug fixes, among which the highlights include "Volatiles jump-scared some players by spawning right in front of them", which they will no longer do, and "Biters bounce off correctly after being thrown into a wall."