'Fallout 76' update adds contentious 'pay-to-win' item

An update arriving today lets players pay real money to repair in-game items.

Bethesda started the microtransactions controversy on consoles with horse armor, and since 2006 it has extended to every annual sports game, Battlefield V, and anything you can squeeze a loot box system into. In just the latest controversy for Fallout 76, the company has made a decision to add an item to the game that players feel comes far to close to being "pay to win." Once Patch 8 rolls out later today, players will be able to use "repair kits" to patch up their damaged or worn out weapons and armor instead of relying on other resources that take time and effort to gather.

While Improved Repair Kits that give your items even more power will only be available in rare drops, the basic repair kits that instantly restore an item to 100 percent health have to be bought using the game's currency, Atoms. You can get that through gameplay, but you can also buy it with real money. As Kotaku points out, players who drop cash can not only avoid the grind of collecting materials or Atoms, they could also potentially have the edge in PvP fights by instantly fixing key weapons or armor in their Pip-Boy and continuing on almost indefinitely.

The game's remaining community has not take the news of the new addition well, especially after it was announced in a general update post with no additional information or communication. Late last year, Bethesda marketing exec Pete Hines said that microtransaction items would be "only cosmetic" and more than a few commenters see this as crossing a line. Of course, others argue that scavenging is what the game is about, and anyone who avoids that is really cheating themselves out of the gameplay.

In its blog post Bethesda said "Repair Kits are our first attempt at a utility item like this, and we plan to make adjustments based on your feedback, so we hope you'll share your thoughts with us when they go live later this month." We'll see how it feels about the feedback after these are actually live in the game once it comes back from maintenance that is scheduled to begin at 10 AM ET.