Lunchtime in Fallout 76

written by Alastrom

 

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Fallout 76 isn’t in a great place right now. The game is still suffering from major server instability, game breaking bugs and a number of item dupes that are trashing fellow player achievement. While digging through the recent patch notes, a Reddit user by the name of “Despotak” discovered the mention of in game items called “Lunchboxes” with an item attachment that suggested they were coming to the Fallout 76 in game store. These lunchboxes were said to include various items in the game, some of which would apply power ups to the player character. It’s no secret how players typically feel about such cash shop schemes. We’ve seen time and time again that gamers are typically ready to accept in game loot boxes if they don’t effect game play directly. This typically manifests as cosmetic items only. While I’m in full support of Bethesda going this route in order to monetize the game, I also fully believe they won’t survive the backlash that these loot boxes will bring, at least not at this stage in the games controversial development.

Fallout 76 lives in a weird world of duality. The game isn’t your typical “massive multiplayer” game, but it is multiplayer and the dwindling player base can still consider itself “massive” by some measures. While it’s difficult to say what the future of Fallout 76 holds, for current players the game experience revolves around collecting resources for various purposes and nuking either a prime site to summon the Scorchbeast Queen or nuking Whitesprings to farm legendaries. Both of these experiences are frequently cut short by server instability or game breaking bugs. Combined with the ability to easily dupe any item in the game, legendary farming is quickly becoming a waste of time for people interested in participating in the in game market. To this end, loot boxes would have a very difficult time carving out their place in the world. In game cosmetics are the realm of the vanity gamer and many of us fall into that category. Without a way to express that vanity in game, I feel the incentive for players to purchase anything in the store remains at an all time low.

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On the other hand, we don’t know what this data mine actually suggests. It’s entirely possible that Bethesda placed these lunchboxes in the code as an option to generate revenue but ultimately decided to go another direction. It’s equally possible that they don’t believe Fallout 76 is currently in a state where loot boxes can be successfully peddled to the player and the code will remain dormant until the opportunity arises. Riding the heels of the nylon bag controversy, it’s clear that Fallout 76 has a lot of work until players feel they’re ready to invest more than just their time into West Virginia.

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