The new subscription service is called Fallout 76 1st, and it’s an add-on subscription that players can purchase on top of the base game (which retails for $39.99). With Fallout 76 1st, players will get access to the following perks:
- Private Worlds: Private servers that can host up to seven friends.
- Scrapbox: A new storage device for unlimited crafting component storage.
- Survival Tent: A new placeable fast travel point with a Stash, Sleeping Bag, and more.
- Atoms: 1,650 Atoms per month for the Atom Shop.
- Ranger Armor Outfit: An iconic Fallout outfit.
- Icons and Emotes Pack: Unique icons and emotes for 1st subscribers.
It’s not easy being a Fallout 76 fan. When Bethesda’s live-service, multiplayer-only approach to the Fallout series was released in late 2018, it was met with less-than-critical acclaim. The game was buggy and there were problems abound outside the core gameplay experience.
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A security lapse exposed user data online, and there an entire thing about a collector’s edition canvas bag that wasn’t. Even today, Fallout 76 feels like a work-in-progress with bugs, network issues, and more keeping it from being a smooth experience.
Despite this, Fallout 76 has an ardent group of defenders online. There’s the r/FO76 subreddit, which unlike the r/Fallout subreddit, was built around Fallout 76. There’s also Bethesda’s official Fallout 76 forums, both are often reliable spaces for constructive Fallout 76 discussion.
But following the announcement of Fallout 76 1st, the r/FO76 subreddit’s front page is alight with mostly criticism.
“Defended this game multiple times but I can’t defend this new membership,” one Redditor writes. “Unlimited component stash space is the real dagger.”
“I’ve stuck with Fallout 76, believing Bethesda was acting in good faith towards player’s feedback. More stash space, ways to extend food life, and other requests were highly publicized. I believe this feedback would be used to make the game better for all players. To take that feedback and monetize it by providing the requested features via microtransactions is not acting in good faith,” another Redditor writes. “[E]specially when Bethesda launched an inferior product. Actually, I feel it is unethical.”
A subscription fee for private servers isn’t all that novel. Games like Minecraft charge players for the right to host their private servers. The difference is that Minecraft is a well-established online multiplayer game with a robust, and functioning world.
Fallout 76 spent the better part of the year fixing many of its launch bugs and is still fleshing out content for its player base. This process still isn’t finished. One of Fallout 76’s most anticipated DLCs, Wastelanders, which introduces NPCs and branching dialogue options, was delayed. So not only is the community reeling from the delay of an anticipated, and long-awaited feature, but they’re discovering that another high-priority feature could cost up to $100 a year.
Watch IGN’s Fallout 76 video review below.
One quote being bandied about is one from Bethesda’s vice president of communications Pete Hines during an interview with GameSpot. Hines told the publication that while the Atom Shop will be cosmetic purchases only, “all the DLC, all the post-launch stuff – is going to be free. That’s important.”
However, Bethesda pre-empted this quote’s resurgence and walked it back in a press release from earlier this week. “Our approach to these items at launch was to keep them purely cosmetic. But after looking at all the data, it became clear that to consistently deliver content that keeps Fallout 76 fresh and exciting for all, we needed to rethink our approach to the Atom Shop.”
Safe to say this bungled messaging and poor timing is just the latest misstep in Fallout 76’s ongoing narrative. And it’s unclear just how much more Fallout 76’s most loyal fans will be able to stomach.
Matt Kim is a reporter for IGN.