If you want to understand what it means to destroy a legacy, then you only need to look at Fallout 76 and what it has done for the Fallout franchise.
In theory, I like the idea of a subscription based model for games. Whilst it works for some of the more popular MMO titles such as World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV. Allowing fans to buy into the game and support development for years, it doesn’t mean it works for everything.
This system works for those games because for certain people because they tend to dedicate themselves to the game and the world within. It is a great thing for those with mental health issues for many reasons I will discuss at another time.
I even like the models provided by Xbox Game Pass, Playstation Now and Antstream. You aren’t tied into contracts and you get access to obscene amounts of gaming. Again a discussion for another time.
The thing you get with all the above is things to do. Quality content built upon with each new update. In the case of WoW and other major MMOs years of world building and storytelling that create something wonderful for their audiences.
For your £9.99 a month in World of Warcraft you get access to the game itself but also the bonus of WoW Classic. You also get access to all the previous and upcoming expansions.
Again, for fans the monthly costs is considered worthwhile because of the community around the game and the lasting impressions it can leave. It is also free to try and no base game to purchase. That is significant.
Bethesda tried to muscle in on the Games as a Service market with Fallout 76, but somehow inexplicably took out all the things that made Fallout so great.
No NPC character left the world feeling empty for one and in all honesty the quests and gameplay loops were dull and uninspired. This is something the developers and Bethesda were very aware of.
So much so, they made some huge promises at E3 2019. Offering a massive ‘free’ update that would add in many of the features that make Fallout… Fallout.
Don’t forget Fallout 76 released as a full priced title. Costing £59.99 on PSN, before quickly dropping to half that, with a lacklustre launch and a scathing critical response.
Now don’t get me wrong, some liked and continue to like Fallout 76 and if they do, then good for them. I am not one to judge what anyone should like. The announcement of the update made me happy for those who are still invested in the game. Give them something worthwhile for the game they paid for.
But Bethesda shows them nothing but contempt and must be called out on their actions. Not only have they now delayed the update. Which was due before the end of 2019, to some time in 2020. They had the gall to then announce a subscription to the game.
That in itself isn’t a problem. As stated I like the idea, it works for MMO style games as evidenced in WoW and the others. But the timing of this for Fallout 76 is poor timing at best. Yet I believe this to be a calculated move from Bethesda who have no respect for their customers.
They offer a few ‘benefits’ such as exclusive skins and other cosmetics, access to private worlds and bonus Atoms currency. Yet when you step back and look at it, what have they actually offered?
In a game that has little to do in the first place, what is the point of offering private worlds? There is still little to do. The Atoms bonuses are there to hook you into the shop and get you spending more money on cosmetics.
The 1.650 Atoms you get as a bonus will get you some items, but it is the same as offers on gambling sites. You get your free spins and you might even win a little bit of money, but you then want to spend that money on the site. Then hopefully you are hooked and want to put in more of your own money.
This is the same. You buy an item with your Atoms, because they were ‘free’, but then you see something else you might want. Because the last item was ‘free’ you decide to spend £7.99 on another 1000 Atoms.
Tat’s it, you have bought in and now you are fully invested. It becomes easy to justify spending to top up Atoms and get more things you like. Bethesda know exactly what they are doing. They know this subscription, used in this way will get the biggest fans on board and they will spend.
It is a shocking practice in itself for sure, but one we see across so many AAA titles in the gaming industry. Bethesda aren’t the first and they certainly are not the worst.
What is disgusting though is, as previously stated. The contempt they show towards their fan base. With an entry cost for the game for one. They there is the delay of the update at the time of announcing the subscription package.
They think. Nay, they know! They know that fans will buy into it still. Know theyfans are under a spell and it matter not what the critics say, the fans will defend them, because they are blinded to their disgraceful treatment.
I’ve been there. Nearly getting caught in the trap with Ultimate Team on EA Sports NHL games. I fell for the traps they laid for me and I defended them for it. Thankfully I didn’t get drawn in too deep and now have ways to coping and stopping myself.
Bethesda have looked at what EA have done. What Epic Game have done and wanted a piece of that pie and like most of the corporations they don;t want just a piece of the pie. They want all the pie.
The problem with Bethesda, is they seem to not know how to make a pie. They have sold you the crust and left out all the filling. They should be treated with the same contempt in which they treated their fans.
Now I want pie.