The latest patch for Fallout 76 released today includes some shiny new additions Bethesda revealed earlier this month: cameras and item repair kits. The latter can only be purchased with meta-currency, a departure from the in-game storefront’s focus on solely offering cosmetic items.
According to the Wild Appalachia patch 8.5 notes, the kits come in two varieties, neither of which can be crafted, dropped, sold, or traded. Basic Repair Kits restore any item back to 100% condition and are sold in Fallout 76’s Atomic Shop for Atoms, which can be earned by completing challenges or spending real-world munies. Improved Repair Kits go the extra mile and buff any item to 150% condition, but rarely appear. Currently, only the game’s nastiest baddie, the Scorchbeast Queen, drops them, but in the future they may be rewarded for other quests and battles.
Bethesda’s decision to add an item that affects gameplay to its Atomic Shop may strike some as troubling given that when the store was originally unveiled back in November, they promised only cosmetics and emotes would be available through microtransactions.
“It doesn’t offer anything with a competitive advantage, and more so, it aims to bring joy not just to you, but the other dwellers around you,” Bethesda said in the original Atomic Shop announcement.
According to the patch notes, repair kits constitute a “convenient option” rather than an in-game advantage. I’m sure players will quickly figure out whether that holds true or not once the bullets start flying. While I agree with Bethesda that these kits will probably most often be used as a shortcut to avoid stopping off at a workbench, there’s also no doubt a behemoth like the Gauss Rifle or M2 Browning going from nearly zero percent condition back to full strength has the capacity to turn the tide of a fight. So yeah, you may not be throwing money at the game to win, but you are throwing money at the game to ensure your weapons won’t break in crucial moments, which sounds an awful lot like an advantage to me. Cue the Kermit “But that’s none of my business” tea-drinking meme.
As for the obnoxiously named ProSnap Deluxe camera, you aim and snap photos exactly how you aim and shoot a gun. Workbenches now include camera mods and film once you unlock their crafting recipes, and the viewfinder even handily labels any nearby locations or creatures. For truly channelling your inner annoying tourist, the patch adds new challenges and an additional quest, Bucket List, unlocked in the macabre fashion of pilfering a camera off a corpse.
As someone who fell in love with Fallout 76’s West Virginia countryside – even though I’m still lukewarm about the game itself – the new camera quests could very well give me the excuse to pick it up again. After all, I need another excuse to continue ignoring the backlog gathering virtual dust on my computer.