I’m not going to touch on the majority of the Open Letter in this post, just the one specific bit related to Premium Cosmetics.
A direct quote so we’re all on the same page: “… This also means that we will delay our seasonal content rollout and the Xbox Series X|S launch. We will also suspend the upcoming releases of premium cosmetics. We just couldn’t continue down this path, knowing that we have not addressed many feedback areas in the game today.”
I, personally, see a few different ways one could take this wording.
If the original plan had been to continue dedicating resources to creating new Premium Cosmetic assets, I think this is a step in the right direction. While I acknowledge that the animation of aesthetic details like outfits isn’t necessarily the same skillset as finishing the crafting system (I’m not sure since I’m not a programmer, but I’ll give everyone the benefit of the doubt), creating new assets which require REAL money to acquire (not in-game currency) would feel like a slap in the face when the money we’ve already spent hasn’t seemed to purchase a finished game. So, if this was the plan, walking it back was absolutely the right move.
However. It’s clear there are premium cosmetics, already made, that aren’t currently available in the cash shop. We know this, because we’ve seen the cash shop roll over multiple times now - and only the last set of items can be purchased. Furthermore, it has BEEN the only set of items that could be purchased for weeks now.
This is a mistake. Anyone willing to spend Aquilas on cosmetics at this point want to be able to choose what they purchase - not have their options arbitrarily gated.
I offer a couple of suggestions:
Put up all the cosmetics you already created into the cash shop. This will likely spark a certain amount of outrage in the short term, since there will probably be enough of them that people will get upset at the man-hours that went into creating them. However, this option is essentially just ripping off the bandaid. The community already knows they’re there, some people will be willing to come to Fatshark’s defense because of the aforementioned differences between asset animation and core gameplay changes, and this might just give the spark some people need to make new purchases.
At least release all the cosmetics we already know exist on the cash shop. This is the compromise option. We all know the cosmetics exist, so giving people the option to purchase isn’t going to spark any more outrage than it has already. In fact, there’s absolutely no reason to deny people the option of purchasing them - it literally just prevents the possibility of sales.
If you want to gain back some of that good-will from the player-base, re-release all the cosmetics that were already premium, paid content back onto the cash shop (so no one gets upset they paid real money for them). Then, release all the remaining, already-created cosmetics on the Armoury-Exchange, available for purchase with in-game currency. People love cool looks and are going to be so happy for something to spend their in-game money on that I’d predict there would be little negative backlash. Furthermore, it gives people a reason to log on and grind for something, while Fatshark fixes the rest of the game. Fixes take time, so anything that can keep up engagement is incredibly valuable now. This option would be, essentially, an investment in the long-term health of the game.
Edit - TL:DR, Not spending more man-hours on things that cost real money to acquire: good. Keeping the cash-shop locked on the same limited options that have been up for over a month now - especially when we KNOW other cosmetics exist, but there’s currently absolutely no way to buy them: bad.