Bethesda's tax on new vending machines garners mixed reactions
How do you manage a fake economy where currency is continuously pumped in to it?By Cal Jeffrey 7 comments
Why it matters: On Tuesday, Bethesda rolled out patch 9 for Fallout 76 called Wild Appalachia. The update included the addition of much-welcomed backpacks, which addressed complaints of lack of storage. Another highly anticipated item is the personal vending machine, but it came with some controversy.
Until now trading in Fallout 76 was carried out in person with other players or you could sell unwanted gear to vending bots. After installing Patch 9, players can place their own vending machines at camp, stock them with gear they want to sell, and set a price. When other players encounter the machine, they can buy available items with Caps.
There's a catch though. Bethesda will take a 10% cut from every item sold. The devs claim this fee will help to "maintain the health of the game's economy and mitigate inflation."
Now granted, Caps are not the premium currency bought with cash (that's called Atoms), so Bethesda isn't stealing real-world money from players. Still, Caps are not easy to come by, especially for beginners, which is why some are up in arms about the cut.
"How does taking 10% of our caps in player vending 'help support a healthy game economy?'" said one 76er on the game's subreddit. "It will make us charge more than we actually want for the items in order to make up the difference."
"This 10% fee has been designed to help maintain the health of the game's economy and mitigate inflation."
The player makes a good point. If players know they are going to be charged 10 percent on transactions, logically they will just raise the price to offset the difference. So at first glance, contrary to what Bethesda claims is the reasoning, it will actually cause inflated pricing.
However, the issue is not so cut-and-dry. As Caps continually enter the economy through questing, the value of the currency decreases. To maintain a steady worth, Bethesda has to have a mechanism to remove them from the game.
"Having multiple ways to get caps out of servers helps to reduce the overall amount of caps floating around in players pockets," said another Redditor. "Having a fast travel cost caps and implementing a tax in these new vending machines help to accomplish that goal. Personally, I think we need even more ways to get rid of our caps."
The problem with this argument is that players' wallets are capped at 25,000 Caps. So there is already an artificial ceiling for how much currency can be in the game and it seems rather low. Once players reach that limit, fighting monsters and questing becomes unrewarding, essentially ruining endgame play.
The small wallets exacerbates the problem increasing the need to remove currency from the game. So it's a bit of a Catch-22 in trying to regulate the economy, especially when there is no telling whether a player is going to be dropped into a rich or poor server on any given day.
It will be interesting to see how Bethesda continues to regulate the Fallout 76 economy. Will they make Caps harder to earn? Increase wallet size? Charge more for fast travel or selling? It seems anything they do will be criticized by a portion of the community.