Fallout 76 Lunchboxes May Offer Pay to Win Advantage
Prior to the release of fallout 76, Bethesda repeatedly stressed that players would not be able to pay in order to gain a gameplay advantage. The studio explained that its microtransactions would be cosmetic-only, and that its Perk cards wouldn't be pay to win either. However, a new discovery by players is casting a huge shadow of doubt on Bethesda's comments.
According to users on Reddit, the .esm files of the Fallout 76 update make several references to “Lunchboxes.” One of the strings found in the datamine includes “Lunchbox Activator EDID changed from POST_ATX_LunchBox to” which suggests that Lunchboxes–which aren't presently in the game–will be purchasable with Atoms, which is the title's premium currency.
Other strings indicate that there could be tangible gameplay buffs for those who open these Lunchboxes. One says, “POST_ATX_Lunchbox_Effect_DMGBonus EDID changed to ATX_Lunchbox_Effect_DMGBonus”, which suggests that players will get a buff to their damage. Another reads, “POST_ATX_Lunchbox_Effect_RadResistBonus EDID changed to zzz_RECLAIM_Effect_RadResistBonus”, which would provide players with extra resistance from radiation. There are also strings that reference an increase in XP and an increase in a player's carry capacity.
Fallout 76 players are concerned that these Lunchboxes will be pay to win. Although Lunchboxes may be able to affect every player on a server (the string “POST_ATX_Lunchbox_BuffRadiusGlobal” was also found), it could still unbalance the playing field overall. And although Atoms can be earned for free in the game, those who have more money will be able to buy more Atoms and Lunchboxes, which could cause one to have a greater advantage over those who have collected Atoms for free.
The introduction of paid-for Lunchboxes isn't new for the series. As seen in the image further above, Fallout Shelter also featured Lunchbox microtransactions. However, Fallout 76 players are especially conscious of it being added to Bethesda's new multiplayer game because it is a premium title. In their eyes, it's not as though Bethesda hasn't already earned a substantial amount of money from each person who has purchased Fallout 76.
The addition of pay to win Lunchboxes would also come just over a year after the huge debate about pay to win loot boxes in games and whether they constitute gambling. The dust hasn't settled on that debate just yet, and with there also being strings that imply Lunchbox openings will include confetti and balloons–which are potentially designed to entice players to open more of them–Fallout 76 may only fan the flames of that conversation.
Fallout 76 is available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.