Bethesda's Fallout 1st Puts FO76 Players Last
The small niche of players still enjoying Fallout 76 up to now have been understandably let down by the delay of the Wasterlanders update and certainly needed a pick-me-up. In comes the Fallout 1st subscription — the exact opposite of a pick-me-up.
Fallout 1st is a subscription service for Fallout 76 that offers a number of features and quality of life changes players have wanted since before the launch of the game, now locked behind a paywall. I'm not even sure where to begin with this massive misstep.
The sale page offering the 'premium membership' has this tidbit stapled to the top.
"Ever since Fallout 76 launched, we have consistently worked to improve and evolve the experience based on your feedback. That’s why we’re excited to launch Fallout 1st, a premium membership that offers something players have been asking for since before launch: private worlds for you and select friends."
Fallout 1st offers players 'private worlds', unlimited junk storage, a secondary smaller base, atoms (an in-game currency), cosmetics, and emotes, all for the low-low price of $12.99 a month, or $99.99 for a year. What a bargain.
You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who wanted to pay a monthly subscription to play Fallout 76, especially after the game's infamously disastrous launch. What small section of the game's already well-dwindled playerbase wants to pay a monthly subscription, for things that should have been in the game already?
Some more cynical views say that this is a business move to undercut competition and take money out of the pockets of Bethesda's players, who would have otherwise purchased The Outer Worlds, an anticipated title launching this week. Others that this is nothing more than a greedy cash grab by Bethesda and a simple slap in the face to its most loyal of fans still willing to stick with the game.
Various forums and Reddit have been on fire with discussion, with any support for Bethesda on this unpopular move being downvoted or brushed to the side. Players are understandably outraged at this perceived betrayal.
The very notion that Bethesda would charge a $99 premium subscription for a game many players consider downright broken and empty is absurd — laughably and hilariously absurd.
Yet a small minority of players are still defending this decision, saying that the subscription is in actuality a real bargain, and they'll be happy to pay for it. Many of these players are being called out by the rest of the gaming community at large, much as they were at the game's launch.
Many (myself included) feel that by spending money on games and services that are unethical or faulty, you are hurting other players and the industry itself.
In theory, giving in and spending money on subscriptions and microtransactions in games where it just doesn't fit encourages publishers to continue to escalate predatory practices, which is very much what Fallout 1st looks like.
More Trouble in the Wasteland
As reports flood in from people who have actually bitten the bullet and purchased a subscription, the 'private' worlds Fallout 1st is offering don't even seem to be private.
Players are loading in to find NPCs already killed and buildings already looted, leading many to believe they are either recycled worlds or just instancing players separately from the rest of the players on an already active world.
What's worse, there is no active way to filter out who is and is not allowed on your private world other than removing them from your friends list. Anyone who sees you online can hop into your world, which brings a whole host of problems on its own.
On top of that, the usual round of bugs and glitches reportedly include the infinite scrap box deleting any scrap you put in it. Very useful and considerate of Bethesda to include a trash bin for players to throw their scavenged prizes away into. Hurrah!
Also worth noting is that Bethesda forgot to register the domain for their service, leading one internet user to buy the domain and convert it into a profanity-laced parody site, mocking the developers.
But hey, on the bright side, the game's Scorch Beasts can now spawn as Legendary enemies, so there's that. High five.