Fallout 76 continued its frustrating relationship with its players earlier this week, as new holiday-themed additions to the Atom Shop arrived with exorbitant prices since many of the items arrived with what amounts to a $20 USD price tag for aesthetic items.
Fallout 76 has been one of the worst major game launches in recent memory, beginning with a rocky release that saw reviewers lambast the game for its emptiness and ineffective server structure. While Bethesda attempted to resolve those issues, the company launched several huge patches, with some fans unable to play the game because the amount of data Bethesda required them to download put them over their monthly internet usage limit. Finally, Bethesda's collector's edition versions of the game released with different materials than what was promised in advertising earlier, with the developer failing to mention anything before getting called out by the community.
Related: Screen Rant's Fallout 76 Review
To say that Fallout 76's recent exploitative infrastructure comes as a surprise to its community, then, would be an exaggeration. According to Eurogamer, the Atom Shop currently has a "Comin' to town" bundle that has been discounted to 2000 Atoms and includes a camp decoration based on a Christmas radstag, player icons, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus outfits. That discount puts the real world value at about $20 USD. Meanwhile, a Red Rocket Mega Sign will set players back about $18, while a bundle of 12 different Christmas emotes will tag players for around $15.
The reaction from the community has been predictably negative, especially given recent rumors about Fallout 76 considering pay-to-win elements. Even the game's most dedicated supporters have suggested it is getting progressively more difficult to support Bethesda after each decision the company makes regarding Fallout 76, with one Reddit poster stating, "I'm really trying my hardest to support and defend Bethesda but they just keep making it more of a challenge." That post, made in the contextually pretty positive Fallout 76 subreddit, had over 800 upvotes at the time of this writing.
Fallout 76 does give players some amount of Atoms while they navigate the world of Fallout 76, and early reports even suggested that these rates were pretty generous. While that might be true of the early game, by the time players reach Fallout 76's end-game content, the free Atoms begin to become much more scarce. The reaction to the new item pricing might be influenced by the fact that this is the first wave of them that many dedicated players will likely need to spend real money on.
Getting called out for ripping players off with pricing is a bad look at any point in a game's history, but it's especially egregious for Fallout 76. The game is coming off of one of the most disappointing launches of all time, and selling inconsequential items for a third of the price of the full game during the holiday season is just another dagger in the back of the fans who, despite the long list of problems, have continued to attempt to support Fallout 76 as Bethesda scrambles to try and make it playable and, more importantly, worth players' time.