Bethesda's Creation Club FAQ asks itself "Is Creation Club paid mods?" It also answers itself: No. In related news, today I paid for $15 worth of mods from the not-paid-mods Creation Club store to try them out.
Okay, fine, I know what Bethesda is trying to say. They have hired modders to be creators of new content, and since they don't call the creations mods, they don't have to cop to being a paid mods system. Either way, I'm mostly okay with it: modders are getting paid, and there's not a fusion gun being held to anyone's head forcing them to buy anything. I still think the mods—er, creations—should be free for players, since new content (such as free mods) extends the life of games, thus keeping older games relevant, thus leading to future sales.
Moving on. My first little gripe is that you can only shop in the Club store while in-game, which I sort of don't like, especially since when you buy something, you need to restart the game to update the data file anyway. Call me old fashioned, but when I shop for futuristic guns for my virtual character to shoot mutants in the face with, I prefer to do it in a web browser.
Another gripe, and this one is substantially bigger: I don't see a way for customers to rate the Creation Club mods—sorry, content—they've purchased. Bethesda's free mod library allows for ratings from 1 to 5 stars. Creation Club, as far as I can tell, does not. That feature needs to be added post-haste. Call them mods, don't call them mods, but let players tell each other if they like them or not.
There's currently not much to choose from in Fallout 4's Creation Club. There are two guns, a couple sets of power armor, a nice-looking customizable backpack, some Pip-Boy skins, a little cross-promotion action with a Morgan Yu outfit from Prey, and a pretty big set of modern furniture you can use in your settlements.
Bethesda has given everyone 100 credits to use in the Club, but there are no items that cost 100 credits. Pip-Boy skins cost 50 a pop, and everything else starts at more than a hundred Bethbux, so you can either buy two skins or kick in some real cash for something more. I threw down $15 on Steam, which gave me 1,500 credits. You can also buy 750 for $8, 3,000 for $25, or 5,500 for $40.
While browsing, I read that some of the items are acquired not just by paying for them but by completing a quest. I kind of hate when you download a mod or pay for an item and your character doesn't just materialize in the game holding it (unless the new content is a quest itself). In this case, the item having a quest attached feels like a bonus: you're not just getting a new item, but an adventure that leads to the new item.
Thing is, what Bethesda is calling a quest isn't really a quest, at least in terms of new content or a selling point. I bought the gauss rifle from the store, and the 'quest' was just a Pipboy notification that the rifle was located inside an existing building filled with Gunners. I followed the marker on the map, killed a bunch of jerks, took their big-ass gun, and used it to kill the rest of them.
On the plus side, it's a nice big-ass gun, and the handmade shotgun I purchased is also decent, though I already have a really nasty shotgun that it will never replace. The power armor I bought is also pretty attractive, and its 'quest' was similar: follow a map marker to the angry man wearing the armor (he wasn't even in a building, just standing around waiting to die) and kill him to death.
The backpack is really cool, with the added bonus of not having to fast-travel somewhere to kill someone for it. It's customizable at a crafting station, and has several different styles that can be crafted and applied to it, each which give you a different type of buff. Below I'm modeling some urban camo, a Nuka-Cola emblem, and a survivor style (gas mask, knife, cooking pot) with a bedroll hanging from it.
The furniture pack looks pretty attractive too, though I didn't buy it, instead opting for some Pip-Boy skins which I sort of regret because they're not that great. Everything else I like—none of it is especially thrilling, but I enjoy collecting power armor sets, I'll definitely take the backpack with me from now on, and the gauss rifle is nice addition to my arsenal.
Is it worth the $15 I spent? I'm going to have to say no. I've just been spoiled by all the wonderful and creative free Fallout 4 mods (that everyone can comfortably call mods). I'm happy Bethesda is paying modders directly, and they're making some nice stuff, but at the moment the Creation Club isn't offering a heck of a lot worth paying for.