Arts & CultureVideo Games

Gaming Week in Review: Bethesda’s Creation Club is live, ‘Destiny 2’ launches with microtransactions and controversy

Bethesda’s Creation Club launches with purchasable content for “Fallout 4” and “Skyrim.”

A few years back, Valve—the Seattle-based juggernaut best known for running online gaming marketplace Steam—worked with Bethesda to create a platform for game modders to sell their work. Several modders were secretly invited to create new content to sell on Valve’s pre-existing Steam Workshop, a mod platform that is integrated into the Steam client. Bethesda’s popular “Skyrim” was the guinea pig for the service as one of the most moddable games available. The experiment was not well received; Valve took down the service within 48 hours and issued a formal apology.

Bethesda decided to give the idea another go with its new Creation Club,  an integrated store for “Fallout 4” and “Skyrim” that sells a curated collection of independently developed content. Bethesda has been working with developers outside the company and with community content creators to develop a collection of different add-ons for the two popular games.

Several of the new Creation Club items. (Courtesy of Bethesda)

For “Fallout 4,” the add-ons range from a fully customizable cosmetic backpack and modern furniture for in-game settlements to updated versions of items from previous games, like the Hellfire armor and Chinese stealth suit from “Fallout 3.”

Bethesda has professed that its new Creation Club is not the return of Valve’s “paid mods,” but the similarities are still strikingly similar. Reception from fans has been lukewarm at best, though that hasn’t dissuaded the company. Bethesda has already announced a second wave of content will be available soon.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Bethesda’s Creation Club and Valve’s bid for paid mods on the Steam Workshop is the rate of content curation. Valve didn’t really set any standards for what could be sold on the Steam Workshop, leading to some comical situations. Picket signs to protest paid mods and $10 mods to add an extra apple to the game were just a few of the ways users put the system through the ringer.

Another immediate concern is how this premium content will affect the current modding community. Bethesda claims that all content for sale on the Creation Club store will be originally developed for the platform. But both the aforementioned Hellfire armor and Chinese stealth suit have pre-existing mods available for free on Bethesda’s own website in the community mod catalog. One has to wonder, what would stop some committed modders from copying all of the Creation Club’s content and if that were to happen, what actions might Bethesda take?

You can learn more about the Creation Club here or watch the E3 announcement trailer below:

“Destiny 2” day one micro-transaction system draws controversy from the game’s community.

Bungie seems to have taken a few pages out of the Blizzard design book as they launch their new game on the platform. “Destiny 2,” the latest installment of Bungie’s franchise, has a random cosmetic loot feature called Bright Engrams, similar to both “Overwatch” and “Heroes of the Storm’s” different loot box systems.

These Bright Engrams can be earned or purchased for an in-game currency called Silver, that can be bought with real money. They provide a range of character emotes, one-use armor color shaders, space ship textures and Sparrow bike designs. Players can also obtain weapon and armor mods that have a minor effect on their character’s power, prompting some players to accuse the system of being “pay-to-win.”

But many players find a bigger issue with the change of the shader feature, which is used to change the color and texture of in-game armor. In the original “Destiny,” shaders were unlocked and could be used infinitely. In “Destiny 2.” shaders are single use items, meaning you’ll need to stockpile them throughout the game or save them only for the items you’ll have for a long time.

While not particularly egregious or unfair, the current micro-transaction system in “Destiny 2” has managed to rub many longtime fans the wrong way. Bright Engrams can be earned rather easily at max level but can be purchased as early as level 20. Bungie has been receptive to community feedback in the past, so we’ll have to wait and see if they decide to make some reforms to their current business model.

You can check out the Emerald’s previous coverage of “Destiny 2” here or watch the latest trailer below:

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Mathew Brock

Mathew Brock