The recent announcement of Fallout 76’s new $100-a-year premium subscription service has unsurprisingly been met with a lot of criticism. Despite already being a full-priced game with micro-transactions, Bethesda decided the monetization wasn’t heinous enough yet. So, in case anyone has forgotten, here’s a complete rundown of all the ways in which Fallout 76 shows how much contempt Bethesda has for their fans.
This one is probably not much of a surprise for anyone. Bethesda has a history of releasing buggy games. Pretty much every release since Oblivion has been extremely buggy the day it came out. Fallout 76 probably has more bugs than all of their other games put together. One video detailed 1,001 bugs and clocked in at nearly three hours in length.
Turns out that the main reasons behind the buggy release were twofold. Firstly, tweaks to the Creation Engine were being made by a relatively inexperienced team based out of Austin, Texas. Secondly, the deadline for the game was very tight, which didn’t allow for much testing or fixing. This alone doesn’t really show contempt for the audience more than it shows Bethesda’s incompetence, but we’re only just getting started.
When many people found out how bad Fallout 76 had ended up being, they sought a refund. At first, it turned out that even if you played for 24 hours you could still potentially be eligible for said refund. When this news hit, many people asked for their money back.
Obviously hoping to stem the tide of lost sales, Bethesda responded by sending out a message which claimed that playing the game for any amount of time at all voided your refund rights. Once again, this reaction proved blindingly unpopular and even started a class-action lawsuit against the company for their inconsistent refund policy and other deceptive trade practices.
As well as a normal edition of the game, you could also purchase the Fallout 76 Power Armor Edition, which included everything from a power armor helmet to a genuine canvas bag. When the special edition arrived, however, what it actually contained was a cheap-feeling bag made from nylon, not canvas. Worse still, they did actually make canvas bags and handed them out to Instagram influencers.
In response to complaints and requested refunds, Bethesda offered a consolation prize: 500 atoms, worth about $5, for the in-game atomic shop, which is the smallest possible amount you can purchase. After more outrage, Bethesda did back down and offer to supply the bags they actually advertised. Of course, being Bethesda, this led to its own problems.
If you wanted to request your replacement bag, you could do so by submitting a support ticket. Once it was submitted, you were promised your bag within four-to-six months. Unfortunately, Bethesda’s security was pretty lax.
People logged into their Bethesda support account and ended up receiving the support tickets of a lot of other random people. Effectively if you’d requested your canvas bag, your address and e-mail had just been leaked to a whole heap of strangers.
This list of Fallout 76’s transgressions might already seem long, but it doesn’t even touch on the potentially illegal sales tactics in the Atomic Shop, the Nuka Cola Dark fiasco, the time they banned their biggest fan, or the huge amount of stealth nerfs and pay-to-win items they’ve been guilty of.
It may be time for even die-hard Bethesda fans to admit that the company clearly thinks very little of the people who support it. No matter how much fan-goodwill they’ve built up over the years, it might be time to give up on the company as another heartless corporate monolith.