Once again, gamers prove that protests can work.
Here’s the deal: Paladins players have been grousing about the Cards Unbound system for months, alleging that the system basically turned in-game purchases made with gold into purchases made only with real cash – in other words, that Hi-Rez had gone way too far over into lockbox-centric pay-to-win territory. At one point, the Paladins subreddit was so fed up that players were “designing” really terrible MS Paint-esque fake cards in protest.
At the tail end of February – the same day IGN posted an article citing an anonymous source claiming that the Cards Unbound system was forced upon the dev team by greedy execs, the studio finally backed down.
“Looking solely at the metrics, the Cards Unbound system introduced in OB64 has actually been successful in increasing our overall player engagement and new user conversion, while at the same time helping increase our revenue per player,” HiRezChris wrote on February 22nd. Buuuuuuut: “We know this system has angered many of our most loyal fans and become a point of continuous contention in the Paladins community (and even inside of Hi-Rez). Your voice has been heard loud and clear.” Consequently, he said, Hi-Rez was going to remove the Cards Unbound system from Paladins and replace it with one that isn’t so grindy and P2W.
“With the removal of Cards Unbound, we will be compensating players the Gold equivalent for all duplicate cards acquired through Radiant and Champion Chests. As an added bonus, we’ll be awarding players VIP Points for their duplicate cards. With the removal of various Card Chests, all Paladins players will start on an even playing field in all of our game modes, with no more grind or monetization around loadout card acquisition.”
Perhaps the best takeaway from the whole debacle is that Hi-Rez embraced the terrible art that was done in protest; it opened up a contest for players to submit their worst art, the best (worst?) of which is now in the game as part of a paid spray pack. And below. In order, that’s RIP OB64, Enara by Zennos, Merster Riding by Omenya, Classy Barik by Oppoh, and Gurk by CrankisDank, all very deserving, we think you’ll agree.