We live in interesting times.

Eurogamer is reporting that even the /r/Fallout76 subreddit is rebelling against the high prices of the Christmas cosmetics in the Fallout 76 Atom Store. A Santa/Mrs. Claus outfit plus Stuffed Radstag CAMP decoration and matching player icons is retailing for 2000 Atoms, or basically $20. Then there’s a Red Rocket Mega Sign for $14, set of Holiday Emotes for $12, and the perennial Power Armor paint jobs that debut on release for $18.

The article ends on this note:

It’s worth pointing out all this stuff does not affect gameplay, beyond the aesthetic. You can’t pay for a powerful weapon or more perk cards, for example. Still, at these prices, it’s easy to see why players feel like they’re getting ripped off.

It’s also not a good look for Fallout 76 at this point in its life, a month after the disastrous launch. It is (was) a full-price game. Selling skins at the kind of price you’d expect to see from the free-to-play Fortnite doesn’t make a lot of sense for those who paid full whack at release.

It’s worth noting (again) that you earn Atoms from in-game activities. At level 70, I have accumulated around 3000. The bulk came from one-time “challenges,” but there is a trickle of daily quest-esque rewards and some weekly ones that, combined, will give you about 570 Atoms per week. The angle is clear for all to see though: Bethesda wants you to purchase a few big-ticket items with the first hit of cash shop crack, and then bust out your credit card for the rest.

This, of course, makes Bethesda a monstrous, amoral scumbug, charging nearly half the cost of the base game for the modern equivalent of horse armor. Did they think they could get away with it because Fortnite charges more?!?!?!

Clearly, you should log out of this always-online multiplayer game and log into Guild Wars 2…


When you convert the tricky gem prices, you get $8.75 for cosmetic clothes, $5 for glider skins, $12.50 for new resource node animations, $5 for random mount skins, $15 for a specific mount skin, or $25 for a super-special mount skin. This is to say nothing about selling bank tabs and bag slots in a game especially designed to fill your inventory with massive amounts of junk.

Let’s log into WoW instead…


Ah, almost the original home of the $10 pet and $25 mount, to say nothing about the completely outlandish prices for character services like name changes and server moves.

Or maybe log onto Elder Scrolls Online…


Crowns appear to be 100:$1 ratio when not on sale, so that’s about $4 for hair, $5 for emotes, and between $9 and $30 for mounts. There is also a housing section in the store that features, at the top end, “The Orbservatory Prior” clocking in at $150 (furnished). I don’t know enough about ESO to comment on the value proposition of that purchase, but there it is.

“Fallout 76 isn’t an MMO!” I agree. But we all knew going in that Bethesda was going to pay for Fallout 76’s ongoing costs by way of cash shop purchases. Some of these complaints seem to be from people awakening from cryogenic sleep, discovering modern multiplayer gaming for the first time. While many are saying that the prices should be lower, I am not entirely convinced it could ever be low enough to bypass the “controversy.”

Did I think at the end of 2018 that I would be defending Bethesda cash shop purchases? No. The Atom Shop stuff is certainly more expensive than I would ever pay, if I did not have about $30 worth of credit from playing the game. And I am sympathetic to the argument that a full-fledged MMO has a greater volume of content that could conceivably justify higher prices elsewhere.

That said, complaining about the Fallout 76 store is a reach. If/when Bethesda starting putting shit in lockboxes – like they did with Fallout Shelter, a F2P mobile game everyone praised – that’s when the knives should come back out. Until then, stick to the legitimate, if boring, stuff like bugs and PR.

Posted on December 20, 2018, in Fallout and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. For me the complaint would be more focused on the fact that the cash shop is getting expanded while the core game is still a dumpster fire of bugs, exploits, and general idiocy (Push to talk only recently being added). Yes, the artists creating the fluff can’t stop and start fixing coding bugs, but as a company overall it sends the wrong message.

    Fallout Shelter got a ‘pass’ because on release it was solid and delivered what Fallout fans expected from the title (and being free also helps a bunch here). F76 clearly missed the mark for a lot of people, and a cash shop expansion sends the message that Bethesda still doesn’t get that.


    • How much “goodwill” do you think Bethesda would even get from essentially shutting down the cash shop until they fixed everything? The damage is pretty much done. At some point, if you already have a dumpster fire going you may as well start selling s’mores.

      More seriously, we’ll see how things look once the holidays are over. Will there still be weekly/bi-monthly updates and bug fixes? Will there content drops? Will there be some communication from Todd Howard?


  2. In GW2 you can convert Gold to Gems and Gold is an infinitely renewable resource in game, the amount you can get limited solely by how much you are willing to grind for it. I currently have more than 10,000 Gold across my three accounts (and probably more than half that again in tradeable assets), which equates to more than 30,000 Gems at current rates of exchange. I have never, ever made any attempt to grind gold – that’s just what I happen to have from normal play. And I’ve spent a ton, too.

    That seems to me to be an awful lot less expensive on the wallet than F76, where according to your description, you could expect to get around 600 Atoms a week and a decent cash shop item would cost you three times that.


    • 600 Atoms is about $6. If my math is correct, $6 worth of GW2 gems is 480 gems, which converts (as of this moment) to ~158g. If you have a method of casually grinding 158g a week, by all means, let me know.


      • Fifty gold in 30 minutes – very detailed explanations of a number of methods in this video:

        I don’t do those myself but I was already aware of most of them and they work exactly as described.

        The main way most people make gold, though, is either farming the Istan meta, which is generally reckoned to bring ina round 30g an hour or by farming Fractals, which is better than that. There ae plenty of other methods (Silverwastes, the Leather Farm etc) so you can have some variety if you like.

        I’d call any or all of these “casual grinding”. You’d make 150g in three thirty minute sessions according to the methods in the video, although I’d probably add a fourth to allow for bad rng. You could make 150g in a couple of evenings in Istan. There’s a reason parts of the economy went into hyper-inflation when Istan released.

        Same as with the WoW money tips you’ve posted in the past, you do need to do some research and make a small amount of effort, but really, gold is incredibly easy to get in GW2 if you have a mind to do it.


      • I didn’t watch the video until just a few minutes ago. Calling the methods “casual” is pretty laughable. Half of the methods require you to convert items that you had to grind in the first place, but magically have infinite amounts of for video purposes. Stuff like Dragonite Ore does drop everywhere, for example, but note how the 30-minute timer doesn’t include all the nodes you had to tap to get enough.

        Also not casual: grinding Fractals with strangers/friends.

        Parking alts at the end of jumping puzzles is casual though, and I’ll look into the Istan thing.


  3. I have to agree that aside from bad timing (pretty short after a really messed up launch) this isn’t any more outrageous than lots of other titles out there.

    It boggles the mind that so many gamers still seem to not have realized that we’re the ones to blame. If we didn’t buy it they wouldn’t sell it, simple as that.


    • While it is true that having no demand would result in these cash shops going away, I think it should be recognized that all these companies need is 0.1% defections to make microtransactions worthwhile. The game companies have an absurd incentive to sneak them in at every opportunity, and meanwhile gamers have to rely on “peer pressure” or shaming or whatever. Boycotting isn’t even that effective because, again, it’s entirely possible for whales to make up for any deficit.

      Even in the mobile gaming space, 95% of people spend zero dollars in the cash shop. The tens of billions of dollars that phone games bring in are from just 5% of the people playing. There is no way to fight that from a consumer standpoint.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I guess that’s unfortunately true.

        I always tend to assume, since I am kind of a ‘medium spender’ myself, so not a whale by any stretch of the definition, but also not a ‘freeloader’, that most people are like me in that regard. Going by the metrics I seem to be part of a minority though…


  4. Path of Exile charges $42 for an armor set…

    …but then they offer the base game and loads of expansions free, fess up and fall on their sword when they get something wrong and iterate and fix and polish with great communication.

    You get what you pay for?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t fathom why anyone cares about COSMETIC item prices. You don’t like it? Don’t buy it! Not like it matters.


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