Just when you thought things were starting to settle down with Fallout 76, another incident has riled up the playerbase, and this time it's all about a fridge and a scrap-collecting robot.
Fallout 76's latest update dropped yesterday, and introduced a number of quality of life improvements along with some new maps. A glance at the Atomic Shop section, however, revealed several new utility items were also added - such as refrigerators, which can be placed at C.A.M.P.s to reduce the spoilage rate of stored food and drink by 50 per cent. There's also a WALL-E wannabe in the form of the Collectron Station, a C.A.M.P. item that spawns a little scrap-collecting bot to search the nearby area for scrap and simple items.
What's the big deal? You may recall an article back in April about Fallout 76's repair kits, which allow players to pay to restore their items. Players accused Bethesda of breaking its "no pay-to-win" promise, pointing to several statements assuring players this would not happen. Such as this one from Pete Hines (senior vice president of global marketing and communications) when talking to the Metro about the Atomic Shop:
"Part of the main reason we're doing it is because we want to provide all of the post-launch content that we do for free. So any DLC or new content we add is free to everybody. And we feel like we're being upfront, we're doing this in a way that makes sense. It's only cosmetic, there is no pay-to-win. You can earn it in-game if you don't want to buy it."
Well, history has repeated itself, and here we are once again. The fridge and robot have so far received a frosty reception, with some players arguing this crosses the line between cosmetic and pay-to-win. Others consider these items worse than repair kits, as food and material shortages are two core components of Fallout 76's survival gameplay loop. The fridge and scavenger bot are currently neither free or earnable in-game.
On top of this, players have taken issue with the pricing of the fridge, which costs 700 Atoms - about £5.59 if you buy a pack of 1000 for £7.99 (the Collectron Station is 500 - about £3.99). Still, you'd have to buy the whole pack and have leftover atoms. Or wait for the next Curry's sale.
There's also the fact Bethesda was passed the fan idea for a fridge six months ago. At the time, the publisher told fans it had seen the suggestion and would pass it to the development team. That a paid-for fridge has resulted from this community-led idea has also caused some players to feel uncomfortable.
When the previous repair kits incident occurred, Bethesda told PC Gamer it didn't consider repair kits pay-to-win, as they did not offer players a competitive advantage (aside from in PvP). Project lead Jeff Gardiner did, however, say he could "certainly see why other players would see it as being on the other side of the cosmetic line". Although some players are demanding quests to make the items earnable in-game, I suspect Bethesda's reaction will be similar this time. Hope you like mouldy mirelurk meat.