Fallout 76 was poised to be an amazing addition to the Bethesda line-up, and at launch was riddled with bugs and unfulfilled promises. While some things have gotten better over time, has it really been enough?
Bethesda thinks so, and has released a new way to squeeze just a bit more money out of those who bought into the Fallout 76 disaster by introducing Fallout First.
What’s Fallout First?
Fallout First is a “premium membership that offers something players have been asking for since launch: private worlds for you and select friends”. Or to put it better, a $100 annual subscription (or $12.99/mo) to play Fallout 76 with your friends.
Having a private world to explore and build with your friends is something players have been asking for from launch, and better yet, the friends don’t have to subscribe in order to play with you.
The addition of scrap box is also a solution to a major issue players ran into with limited storage space. The scrap box provides players with unlimited storage for crafting components, meaning that they can take longer to accumulate resources for builds rather than quick spurt gathering and building.
The survival tent is also a cool bonus, where it lets you place a “free” travel point that has a sleeping bag, cooking station, scrap box, and an instrument.
Subscribers will also receive 1650 Atoms per month, which are the premium currency of Fallout 76. The current rate to purchase Atoms with actual money is $10 for 1100 Atoms.
You’ll also receive a variety of cosmetics, such as the Ranger Outfit from the much-loved Fallout New Vegas Game, as well as unique icons and emotes to be used in-game.
Well, to start when Fallout 76 was first announced they said that all microtransactions would be “Cosmetic”. This would indicate that you’d be paying for stuff like skins, icons, emotes, and maybe some specialty items from time to time.
Now it seems that features are being locked out from players behind a subscription service paywall. The backpedaling from Bethesda isn’t something necessarily new to any game in their line-up, but it’s certainly another nail in their coffin.
The cost isn’t something to overlook either. Fallout 76 seems to be heading the way of Fortnite and Apex Legends, but unlike those games, players are spending $40-60 for the base game in addition to the annual cost for features that seem like they should have been included from the get-go. It’s a slap in the face of the dying player base.
On top of the pricey $100 annual fee, players using console will also need either Xbox Live or Playstation Plus to play online, which brings that fee up by $40-60 a year more.
Private worlds are great, but the main ask from the player base was private servers with dedicated resources. If the main player leaves the private world, and no one else online has a “Membership” that world ceases to exist. Other games like Minecraft have servers and realms, and charge $8 a month or so for an “Always On” server. You also have no control over who on your friend’s list can join the private world, and there is no way to block them from joining or password protect your world. That certainly is a concern if you are working on special projects or builds. Anyone can come in and “wreck it”.
Storage with Scrap Box. The fact that this was limited, to begin with, was a fumble in the first place. Even games like World of Warcraft that have limited bag space will allow you to upgrade it in new ways, such as buying epic and legendary bags with more storage slots, to expanding your bank for more long term storage. You can also opt to have a guild bank in games like WoW and get even more storage, as necessary. But the fact that these items seem to disappear if the world ceases to exist as no one with a membership is online, that storage becomes pointless.
Atoms, Atoms, Atoms. The 1650 Atoms is a nice touch, but most items in the shop are over 500+ Atoms, so that’s not going to get you much month to month. Even if you saved this reward for a few months, you still would be able to barely afford a complete outfit. Seems like this offer could have been a bit more to really attract those cosmetic hunters.
Let’s also not forget about the Wastelander DLC. The free DLC was initially an apology from Bethesda to the fans, and this has been pushed back to the first quarter of 2020 (January-April to be more specific). Some are speculating because the Fallout First initiative and membership, but others are speculating that the “Free DLC” all were promised may be lined up to be behind the membership paywall so Bethesda can keep the promise of free DLC and boost their numbers a bit more. Either way, we certainly like seeing game companies start to hold off on release dates if things aren’t quite right, but we do see Wastelander becoming a casualty of the Fallout First program.
Let’s also not forget the fact that someone was able to buy the domain FalloutFirst.com before Bethesda. How could you not own the domain for a product you’re pushing? This is such a big oversight. Additionally. the person who owns the site at the time of publishing this is using it to create a scathing rant against Bethesda and their greed.
Fix your game before you start trying to charge players for more money and features. They’ve already paid a reasonable price, and have received less than what they were promised. The game still has a ton of bugs and issues that at times make it literally unplayable. The $100 tag for a membership on top of that just adds insult to injury. This seems like a desperate cash grab for a game that you won’t be able to support a year from now.
And, if you’re going to go the way of subscription models like Fortnite or Apex Legends, maybe don’t half-ass it? What makes a subscription model work for games like that is that they’ve made their base game free. And sure, this might upset people who have already paid for the game, it will bring in new players and have your servers thrive. Don’t just do free weekends! A lot of MMO’s back in the day offered the base game for free in exchange for a subscription model and saw their subscriber base increase substantially.
To the fans:
As much as I love the Fallout franchise in general, don’t buy into this. You deserve what you were promised, and if we all keep giving them money they’ll think it’s ok to not deliver on those promises. Don’t give them a reason to think this is a good idea. And while I’d hate to see a great idea (initially) fail, maybe it’s the wake-up call the brand needs to finally get things together.