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Why Starfield Fans Are Angry At The Game’s Latest Update

$7 for a single mission is a bad deal no matter how you slice it.

A Starfield player stands alone on a desolate planet.
Bethesda Game Studios

After nine months of underwhelming support for Bethesda Game Studios’ space-faring role-playing game Starfield, the Maryland-based studio came out swinging with some big updates during Sunday’s Xbox Showcase. Not only were players provided a look at the game’s upcoming first expansion Shattered Space, Bethesda officially launched the Creation Kit, the official toolset allowing players to create original PC and console content and mods.

But the move to further goodwill with the game’s community turned sour due to Bethesda’s decision to charge for the flagship DLC. And now, players worry that this decision will be a sign of more negative things to come.

In addition to mod support, Starfield’s latest update adds some requested features, including the ability to modify melee weapons, several bug fixes, and most significantly, a brand-new guild for players to join, known as the Trackers Alliance.

“Trackers Alliance establishes the first of several missions enabling you to live your best bounty-hunting life,” a blog post from Bethesda reads. “The first mission, The Starjacker will have you in contact with a mysterious Tracker located in settlements throughout the Settled Systems. From there, let the hunts begin!”

Starfield sickos may remember references to the Trackers Alliance in the base game. Their duty to hunt down fugitives across the galaxy sounded primed for an in-depth side quest to be included in a future expansion. The guild’s surprise inclusion in the newest update was a big win for the community.

But the new missions come with a caveat: after getting acquainted with the new faction after their first mission, players must buy the second mission for $7 in the new Creations store.

While charging for new playable content is to be expected, Bethesda has set a precedent for what content they typically charge money for. In the past, they’ve charged money for entire expansions or questlines. Questlines, like the Thieves Guild or the Dark Brotherhood in the Elder Scrolls series, are often lengthy, multi-mission offerings that feel like their own, tightly designed video games by themselves.

Starborns looking to become a full-time bounty hunter will have to pay $7 for the full experience.

Bethesda Game Studios

As many upset players have pointed out on the game’s Reddit page, charging the community $7 for a single mission within the larger, supposedly free questline is absurd and implies that future bounties will cost money.

How players are expected to buy these pieces of content also layers on additional frustration, as the single mission can’t be purchased outright. They must buy $10 worth of Creations Credits to use in the in-game shop.

Since 2015, after the release of Fallout 4, the Creation Kit has become a staple of all of Bethesda’s games. In practice, the feature has been a mixed bag from the beginning: for every genuinely great mod or original expansion, there are tons of simple cosmetics or goofy distractions for players to toy with. Discovering the best of these community creations has also been difficult without the help of online guides, as the in-game download manager is obtuse and inadequate for finding exceptional work.

Still, Creations for Starfield has been a long time coming, with Game Director Todd Howard teasing its addition since the game’s launch last September. It’s the perfect reason for players to return to Xbox’s big-budget 2023 exclusive. Like Skyrim and Fallout 4, Starfield’s Creations system also offers the most prominent creators a way of getting verified, giving them a way of making money off their efforts.

Community creations should have been an easy, controversy-free way to stir up interest in Starfield again.

Bethesda Game Studios

However, Bethesda using the same system meant to benefit independent certified creators seems wrong. It’s one thing for players to slide a few bucks to a talented creator who spends hours creating exceptionally made content for free. But when players have already paid for the base game, add-ons made by Bethesda should be presented as traditional downloadable content, not a mod.

It’s worth mentioning that players who bought Starfield’s premium edition do get $10 worth of Creation Credits. But by charging players who want to progress to the next part of the Trackers Alliance, they’re asking players to hand a significant portion of that cash right back to Bethesda rather than checking out what the game’s creators have done. The second Tracker’s Alliance mission could have easily been part of the premium edition’s expansion pass if Bethesda insisted on charging for the relatively small piece of content.

After its lukewarm reception and lackluster post-launch support, the rollout of new features should have been an easy way to get back into the good graces of lapsed players. Instead, Starfield’s big coming-out party has been muddied by questionable monetization tactics that come at the expense of both players and the creators who want to keep this fun but flawed role-playing game alive. Fans will likely vote with their wallets on this one.

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