Update, July 2: Fallout 76 cosmetics can be earned in-game, as well as purchased.
We know Fallout 76 will offer microtransactions for cosmetic items, and now we know you won’t actually have to spend money if you want access to those options. Todd Howard says that whatever the form Fallout 76’s real money currency takes, you’ll be able to earn it in-game. Howard says the two main goals for the game’s microtransactions are to avoid pay-to-win mechanics and allow any such items to be earned in-game.
With, er, pioneering experience in the field going all the way back to horse armour, Bethesda’s done a fair amount both right and wrong when it comes to add-on content, and Howard says that learning has helped them balance the design of Fallout 76’s purchase options. The developers don’t want to split the playerbase by offering exclusive bits of DLC, and these cosmetic items are intended to keep additional features free while bringing in additional revenue for continued development.
We're hoping Fallout 76 ends up being one of the best multiplayer games on PC.
We first heard microtransactions would "only come in the form of cosmetics" through Noclip's Danny O'Dwyer, who has had extensive access to developer Bethesda. Moreover, "any purchaseable cosmetics available will also be available to earn through gameplay." Bethesda says this will be a crucial element in supporting dedicated servers and keeping DLC free.
That's right: Fallout 76 will be supported with "free updates for years to come" in the form of regular, small content injections - such as events or new items - that will fall between larger updates on a lengthier schedule.
This, at any rate, is the current plan - Bethesda says it expects to make adjustments after the game launches, and intends to double down on the features players seem to be embracing.
There's no telling what those updates will entail right now, but we've been taking a look at the monsters from West Virginian folklore, and if any are missing at launch, I'm definitely on board with a live model if it means they get added in. Battling some of those using the new real-time VATS system should be pretty intense.
Noclip's latest episode is typically excellent and has plenty more to say about how Fallout 76 was made and how it will work. You should give it a watch in full, but all the stuff on live content and microtransactions is at 30:15, if you want to skip ahead:
Thanks to E3 and all the interviews that have followed we now know Fallout 76's release date and plenty else, so you know where to click to get caught up.