Did they create a new market?
After a tumultuous unveiling at E3 2017, Bethesda's Creation Club is finally available on Fallout 4 for the world to see and judge. Often derided as a return to paid mods, the Creation Club is a market where you can use real money to purchase mini-DLC for a game, or in normal terms, microtransactions. Compared to the free mods that you can download for the PC or Xbox, Creation Club content is officially supported by Bethesda, which means that all the content that you download from the Creation Club allegedly went through the same QA process that all of Bethesda's games and normal DLCs go through, plus it is far less likely that Creation Club content will mysteriously vanish, cause your game to crash, or otherwise stop working. Of course, the real question is whether or not this relative increase in quality is worth the price when there are so many free, high quality mods available.
As of right now, you can buy various bundles of Creation Club Credits for a not-so-insignificant amount of real money, as follows:
- 750 Credits for $8.00
- 1500 Credits for $15.00
- 3000 Credits for $25.00
- 5500 Credits for $40.00
Evidently, Bethesda has been picking up some tricks from mobile games in that the cheapest option is also the most inefficient by far, thus encouraging people to buy the more expensive bundles for the "best deal." It should be noted though that for $25 or 3000 Creation Club Credits, you can buy the Far Harbor DLC for Fallout 4 instead, which is arguably not that bad a deal considering how Far Harbor contains a new playable area, some new factions and NPCs, a fairly interesting storyline, a couple of new settlements, and some new weapons and armor.
Naturally, the Credit bundles mean nothing if you don't know what you can spend it on in the Creation Club. Currently, there are a few options available, ranging from weapons to armor to a furniture pack for people who like to decorate their settlements. To give you an idea of what each of these things cost, a recolored Pip-Boy will cost 50 Credits, a Black Power Armor paintjob costs 100 Credits, the aforementioned furniture pack costs 300 Credits, a new Gauss Rifle (or more accurately, the Gauss Rifle from Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas) costs 400 Credits, and the Hellfire Power Armor from Fallout 3's Broken Steel DLC costs 500 Credits.
Under normal circumstances, one would expect there to be a comparison between the Creation Club content and what is available for free via mods, but frankly, there is no real contest here. There are over 6,000 mods that are available on the Xbox One version of Fallout 4 via Bethesda's own in-game mod system, with dozens, if not hundreds or perhaps thousands of high quality mods that, while not necessarily uniformly perfect, currently blow Creation Club content out of the water through sheer variety. Some of the best mods are arguably better than what is available in Fallout 4 and its DLCs to boot, as plenty of weapon mods feature custom animations and sounds, more than a few armor mods have a fair degree of customization, and there are even a couple of exceptional companion mods, complete with custom voices and companion questlines, and that is just the tip of the iceberg to say nothing of what is available on the PC.
That being said, there is one fairly common and reasonable scenario in which a person might understandably consider purchasing Creation Club content, and that is if you are currently playing Fallout 4 on a PS4. In any other case, however, it is almost irrational to buy anything from the Creation Club so long as your platform of choice allows modding, which really brings up the question of why did Bethesda show off the Creation Club at E3 when, at best, only a third of their audience would be positively impacted by its existence. Sure, no one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to buy something from the Creation Club, and no one is telling you that you can't spend your money however you please, but there are just so many better alternatives. Heck, simply giving a tip or donation to some of your favorite mod authors would be, at the very least, an altruistic way to support or otherwise show appreciation for those who create great content for free. After all, a microtransaction by any other name is still a microtransaction.