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Players say Fallout 76’s subscription service is busted, Bethesda responds

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Private worlds aren’t that private, scrap storage vanishes

The grotesque Wendigo, a creature in Fallout 76’s horrifying post-apocalyptic world Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

The launch of Fallout 76’s premium subscription, Fallout 1st, could not be going worse. As the game’s most committed players grapple with the audacity of an in-game purchase that costs more than many major over-the-top TV subscriptions, now comes a flood of user complaints that the most desirable content it delivers is broken.

(After publication, a Bethesda representative addressed the three biggest complaints in a statement issued to Polygon below.)

First, the ostensible reason to fork over money in the first place — long-requested private servers — doesn’t seem to deliver what it promises. Players say the privacy afforded has some loopholes, such as the inability to restrict access beyond one’s friends list. That means players with very large lists of friends in the game — those role-playing as merchants are a good example — can’t go completely invisible and make their world invitation only. Anyone in their friends list may see it and join.

Secondly, the claim that private servers deliver a “newly created” world is also questionable. Some players have anecdotally described finding dead NPCs and looted areas, which implies that these are recycled instances now sold as brand-new worlds.

The most pernicious bug, however, involves the Scrap Box — an unlimited capacity storage space where players can dump their broken-down junk. Several players have said they have lost everything.

One reported bug seems to involve using the Scrap Box in another player’s world, and then finding the deposit has vanished both there and in the player’s own private world. At any rate, scrap boxes may be best avoided until this issue is acknowledged and cleared up. The player in this instance says they’ve submitted a support ticket about this problem and heard back from Bethesda, though they have no hope that they can recover their resources.

This user-maintained thread got started yesterday as a collation of bugs folks have found since the game’s latest title update. It also notes that some Scrap Boxes aren’t accepting bulk-packaged junk (where raw scrap, combined with plastic, creates a less cumbersome bulk version of the junk).

Separately, but no less an indication of the community’s temperature at the moment, an angry fan has control of the “falloutfirst.com” URL and has deployed a parody website trashing the Fallout 1st idea and imputing malign intentions on Bethesda’s part. The URL has been up and down throughout the day, probably because of traffic surges. Fallout 1st is described as both a “one-month waste your money membership” and a “yearly cash burning pile,” and it gets way less kind from there.

Polygon has reached out to Bethesda representatives about all of this and asked for comment on the issues described by the community. We’ll update this post when we hear back.

Fallout 1st was introduced to Fallout 76 yesterday. It’s, ahem, $12.99 a month or $99.99 annually, and a subscription is not what most in the community had in mind when, last week, Bethesda said private servers would be added to the game.

In addition to the private servers and Scrap Box, players also get some cosmetics, a “Survival Tent” fast travel point, and 1,650 Atoms, the premium currency that buys items from the game’s Atomic Shop.

Update: A Bethesda Softworks representative said that an update to private world settings will be coming soon, to allow players to control all access to their private servers. The company also examined the Scrap Box and private server recycling issues.

For Scrap Boxes, Bethesda said that “a small number of players with a large quantity of scrap are experiencing a display issue causing their Scrap Box to appear empty.” The studio thinks this is a user interface issue and that players have not lost any scrap; they should still be able to access it when crafting from workbenches, as usual. “We are actively working to address this issue, both internally and using the data and characters folks from the community have provided us,” Bethesda said.

Regarding recycled servers, Bethesda denied that players are getting used or recycled worlds. “When a Fallout 1st member starts a Private World, a dedicated world is launched on an [Amazon Web Services] server. Players who have seen looted containers upon login may be experiencing the expected behavior upon log out and log in. Loot is instanced for each player in containers. As Fallout 76 players know, if you loot a container on one server, and then log out and log back in to another server, the container remains in a ‘looted’ state for a period of time.”

And as to private worlds’ privacy, “we understand this is not what players expected for their Private Worlds,” Bethesda said, meaning that anyone in a friends list may join a private world without invitation. “We are looking to provide an option in an upcoming patch that will allow Fallout 1st members to restrict access to their servers more completely.”

Update, 11:40 p.m.: Bethesda Game Studios has continued to investigate the Scrap Box issue and now acknowledges it is more than a menu display problem for a small number of users.

“Our initial investigation indicated that this was a display issue, and that no items had gone missing,” a Bethesda representative told Polygon. “However, we have since found that a small number of players have in fact experienced a loss of scrap items after placing them into the Scrap Box and then loading into a world.

“Resolving this issue is currently our top priority,” the representative said. “We are also exploring ways to restore the missing items.” Developers are trying to come up with a hotfix to resolve the issue ASAP.