Bethesda Game Studios released an update recently for Fallout 76 that introduced a number of long-overdue quality of life changes, along with new maps for certain game modes. Among the updates were two new C.A.M.P. items: a refrigerator and a scrap-collecting robot. However, many Fallout 76 fans are angry about how these items were implemented into the game, since they represent a “pay-to-win” system that players were hoping to avoid.
The two items were actually fairly useful and would probably be welcomed under other circumstances. The refrigerator is an item that players can build in their C.A.M.P., and it reduces the spoilage rate of food and drinks in the player’s C.A.M.P. stash. This is especially useful for storing crafting ingredients, since crafting benches draw from the stash, not just your inventory. The other item is the Collectron Station, which produces scrap-collecting robots that gather junk in the nearby area.
The problem with these otherwise useful and practical items is that, unlike most useful C.A.M.P. items, they cannot be found in the game world, earned through quests, or purchased from vendors. They can only be bought in the Atomic Shop with Atoms, a currency that can be bought with real money.
This goes against Bethesda’s promise that the Atomic Shop would be for cosmetics only, and wouldn’t affect gameplay. This is not the first time that Bethesda has put gameplay objects in the Atomic Shop. They added consumable Repair Kits that allowed players to fix their weapons on the go, and later included Scrap Kits that let players scrap the junk in their inventory and place it in their stash at any time. Still, these are, as Bethesda claims, a “convenience thing.” They just make the game easier and let you do things on the road rather than waiting to find crafting benches and stash boxes. The new items offer unique and fairly advantageous bonuses, which players probably won’t have access to if they don’t pay for them.
It’s unclear whether this represents a shift on Bethesda’s part toward a pay-to-play model. While there was outrage over Repair Kits, the addition of the Collectron Station and Refrigerator seem like a much greater leap towards pay-to-play, since it allows paying players to permanently put an item in their C.A.M.P., which means that they will have permanent, if small, advantages over other players. Hopefully this is the last freemium feature that appears in Fallout 76.