An update to Fallout 76 has introduced non-cosmetic items which can be purchased with real money, prompting concerns that Bethesda has broken its promise to keep “pay-to-win” elements out of the post-apocalyptic MMO.
As detailed on the Fallout 76 website, the game’s latest Patch 8 update has introduced Basic Repair Kits, which Bethesda describes thus: “Basic Repair Kits are single-use consumables that immediately restore one of the items in your inventory to 100% condition. So long as you have a Repair Kit in your inventory, you can use it to fix up a piece of gear anytime, anywhere, and without spending any of your own crafting materials.”
But Basic Repair Kits (unlike Improved Repair Kits, which can only be earned through gameplay) are available in Fallout 76’s Atomic Shop – which allows gamers to make purchases using real money and previously only sold cosmetic items. That appears to contradict quotes Bethesda VP Pete Hines gave to Gamespot last year: “If you don’t want to spend money in the Atomic shop for cosmetic stuff you don’t have to. We give you a shitload of Atoms just for playing the game. Folks that want to spend money on whatever the hell it is because they don’t have enough Atoms, they can, but it’s not, ‘I’m now better playing against other players because I spent money.’ It’s not pay-to-win. And it’s not loot crates.”
Predictably, the move has caused outrage on Reddit, with users queuing up to point out that those who can afford to spend lots of money on Repair Kits will find it easier to survive in Fallout 76, and that the arrival of one non-cosmetic item in the Atomic Shop will open up the floodgates for others.
After a rocky start to the game’s life, Bethesda has worked hard to make Fallout 76 feel more like a finished item, via DLC such as Wild Appalachia and a series of patches. But reneging on its promise not to let a pay-to-win ethos creep into the game runs the risk of alienating its fan-base in search of profit. To find out more about Fallout 76, visit its website.