The Hiding and The Speculation
Even with all these extensive patch notes, it seems that this wasn't the end to the talk of changes made to the game. Earlier this month reports emerged of hidden changes made to the game, some of which were actually confirmed, and it seems that these might not have been disclosed because they aren't necessarily in the best interest of the fans.
A lot of the confirmed changes had to do with increasing the grind that players had to do to get in-game items. For example, these 'stealth changes' (tested by players and shared online) dropped the production rate for fusion cores at workshops from 10 to one every hour, made extractors produce ore instead of raw material (which you need more of to get the material by smelting), and reduced ammo workshops from 400 to 200 in terms of the production cap. Fusion cores even drained quicker too, and the added grind didn't help the game's public image.
That said, other changes were a lot less controversial. One, for example, removed exploits for grenades, caps, stashes, and more, not to mention one where you could server hop to get items again if they weren't in your current one. Enemy spawning was also changed, as before the update they used to spawn when a player entered the area, even if others were already present, but now they only spawn if nobody is immediately near their spawn point.
As mentioned, these are confirmed, but there were also a lot of suspected changes that people thought might have been added, one of which claims that the late-game item Flux decayed much quicker, going down from an hour to between five and 10 minutes, with claims that drop rates are reduced, damage over level 50 is reduced, stealth had been nerfed, and a whole lot more. We can't comment on a lot on those, but it's understandable that players were and still are sceptical considering the other tweaks made, especially since many were reporting worse stability and more frequent crashes to desktop after the updates.
After this first leak we also got news of the dreaded word 'lootboxes'. On Reddit a changelog was discovered, and while this isn't confirmed or official at the time of writing, lunchboxes were talked about with effects like adding buffs like fortifying XP, as well as giving bonuses to carry capacity, damage, and rad resistance. For a game with so many image problems, this wasn't exactly what fans wanted to hear, especially since these files also came with the ATX label, linking them to the Atom Store and indicating they could be bought for real money, directing contradicting what Pete Hines had said earlier about Atoms only being used for cosmetics.
Speaking of Atoms and the Atom Store, we couldn't neglect this element of the game when looking back at the last month, as there has been growing discontent about these microtransactions. It's true that you do earn them as you play, but progress is often quite slow, and fans are more critical of the prices of things in the shop than they are of the rate at which Atoms are earned.
This Christmas period is a perfect example of this, as the Christmas bundle emerged, reduced from 3,000 to 2,000 Atoms and providing Santa icons, Santa outfits, and stuffed radstags (like reindeer). In real money 3,000 Atoms costs about £24, with 2,000 costing £16, and then if you consider lower-priced items like the emotes bundle for Christmas, this costs 1,200, but since you can only buy Atoms at least 500 at a time, you'll need to buy 1,500 if you don't want to earn it in-game, costing you roughly £12.
It's worth mentioning that purchasing 1,000 gives you 100 Atoms extra, with 400 Atoms extra if you buy 2,000 and 1,000 extra if you buy 4,000, but it's still easy to see why fans are getting a bit uneasy with how much things are costing. To put it into perspective, you'll need £28 to get some emotes, outfits, icons, and Camp items as part of the above Christmas packages, and that's more expensive than the game itself in some retailers. What's more is that a lot of these items are time-sensitive too, so if you don't pay the price, you might lose it forever.