Noone seemed to mention it so we thought we’d keep you in the loop.
Fallout 76 launched with cosmetic microtransactions last November to almost universal disapproval; a multiplayer game with a weak story wrapped in the skin of a single-player franchise famous for its deep plots and characters, Fallout 76 was a spit in the face to Fallout fans. And now, following half a dozen individually horrifying controversies; two separate scams (one a bag and another a beverage), a severe data breach, an sketchily advertised false ‘discount’, childish methods of customer support, and now to this; Bethesda in February quietly added microtransactions to the game that give you and your friends a gameplay advantage. Yes, really.
‘The Unstoppables!’ event saw the addition of four new costumes themed around an in-universe superhero team of the same name. Of the four, two (Grognak the Barbarian and The Silver Shroud) previously appeared as outfits in Fallout 4, the corpse of which acts as Fallout 76’s base code. These costumes were sold at a price of 800 fallout-brand fun bux (Or ‘Atoms’), which roughly translates to $8USD. That’s correct, for $16 you can earn the chance to wear 2 outfits that are directly ported from a game you’ve already played.
But that’s not the bad part; for each member uniquely wearing one of these costumes (or the fifth which can be earned through gameplay), the entire party receives a +15 HP bonus. In a game which includes PvP. What’s more, that is indeed Uniquely, meaning that the costumes do not stack; to receive the full +60 HP bonus (A significant amount of HP which will absorb several shots per person), it is required that your party spend a total of $24USD on microtransactions, or $32USD if you don’t wish to earn the costume available through gameplay. And to add a cherry to the cake, these items were limited edition, meaning players simply did not have the time to grind for the transaction currency.
Given that cosmetic microtransactions have already been the bedrock of one controversy – namely, the Christmas-themed items which were sold at a ‘sale price’ discounted from a price they had never been sold at – it is no surprise that Bethesda Game Studios, their publisher Bethesda Softworks, or their parent company Zenimax Media (whoever made the decision) chose to go back on the promises they made in the run-up to release; that all microtransactions would be cosmetic.
In other words, players may have chosen to purchase Fallout 76 because they judged this business model to be ethical- and are now in the position for having financially supported a product which has changed the morals upon which it operates for the worse.
It is important to note that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 also did something similar, adding microtransactions and loot boxes after release such as to skew reviews and other media coverage in their favour. Bethesda may be planning something similar, as a recent leak pointed towards a possible addition of loot box-based Micro-gambling to the Fallout 76.