What it is and isn’t
Many Fallout Fans have looked upon Fallout 76 with disgust. The fanbase has been built over gameplay that is singleplayer and story driven. A game where you can immerse yourself into another world and even roleplay if you want. The thought of dealing with other players who will ruin the feel of the game can be…unappealing. While I’m not a big fan of Pre-Ordering my games, I did Pre-Order this game to access the Beta. I missed the first day of the Beta because of work. However, I lucked out and have played the Beta for several days. I’ve spent my time trying to get a feel for exactly what Fallout 76 is and isn’t.
The Atom Shop will be offering items, skins, emojis, etc. through Atom Points. Everything offered in the Atom Shop are Cosmetics Only. There are no items that will give you an advantage over others. Atom Points can be purchased with real money. However, you can easily earn points by completing Events and personal achievements (like killing 250 robots). During the Beta, I earned around 700-800 points without really trying.
During my time playing the Beta, I must say I actually enjoyed it. The entire time I played, not a single player tried to attack me or grief me. Most times you’d run into a person at a terminal related to a quest, laughing as everyone else has to wait in line to turn their quest in. Most players enjoyed the game solo or occasionally a single friend. If you attack a player, you’ll do 50% damage and your icon on the map will be red. Should that player shoot back, you’ll both be considered hostile to each other and you’ll do 100% damage to each other. If your like me and just want to be helpful to your fellow Vault Dwellers, you can enter “Pacifist Mode” in the game settings. This disables ALL damage you deal and receive from other players.
Is there a Story? Well, yes, but I haven’t finished it yet. Like many Bethesda games like Fallout and Skyrim, you’ll probably find yourself with multiple active quests. Follow the trail of the Overseer after she left the Vault ahead of everyone else. Help her with the mission she was tasked with as you follow the breadcrumbs. You’ll likely run into Flatwoods first and learn about a group called the “First Responders.” They where survivors who didn’t make it into Vaults and didn’t die right away. They accept volunteers and train people how to find safe food and water and survive. Again, like the Overseer, you follow breadcrumbs that tells a story of their struggles and eventually learn of their fate.
You’ll also likely notice many bodies that are frozen and turned to ash. They fall apart and are very radioactive as well. There is a story to this that involves the Scorchbeast, but I haven’t finished that yet. So, let’s move on to other things.
Camps and Survival
If you like survival and grinding your way to power…then you may like this part of the game. You start off using just leather armor and pipe pistols. You can’t make much more than that at first. As you explore and complete missions, you’ll pick up “Plans” that show how to make new weapons, armors, schematics for new building objects, and modifications. So, much of what you can craft into items and build for your camp is locked away until you find the plans for them.
You can place your camp almost anywhere in the world. It can’t place it within an area where missions take place. You also shouldn’t place it nearby a spawn location of hostile enemies. For example: Across the Road from the Red Rocket in Flatwoods. Hostile robots spawn periodically for an event and your defenses will be tested. You can build a small shack to rest (sleeping heals you). Place some crafting tables to maintain your gear as it will wear down and break after a while. A tinker’s workbench is very useful as you can craft the ammunition to put down creatures, ghouls, and super mutants.
The game gives you a reason to harvest meat from animals and fruit and vegetables from plants. Like the Survival Mode of Fallout 4, your given a hunger and thirst bar. Kill a Brahmin and make a ribeye steak. Maybe collect some glowing mushrooms for a glowing mushroom soup to satisfy food and hunger needs. If you like the idea of actually surviving and working your way up to better gear, then you may enjoy this part of the game.
Of course, there will always be some bad things you’ll run into. While going through the introduction, you may want to turn on subtitles ASAP. I’m a player who loves the story. So, it was irritating to listen to two “Bros” talking about the game while you’re trying to listen to Mr. Handy who’s trying to explain how things work. I also wanted to sift through terminals for any “Vault-Tec Evil Plots” as well as learn about the Overseer. The problem is that if someone is on a terminal, you have to wait. Due to this, a person may decide to goof off and troll you while you wait patiently for your turn to read.
Another issue that occurred to me is the reliance on “Events.” to entertain you. Sure, you have some quests that tell an interesting story. However, once that runs out, you’re stuck with Events to keep you engaged. After doing a few, I realized having a group with you is almost required at times. I tried an event involving a certain giant teapot. I needed to keep the wildlife from destroying the very noisy machine because…well, they don’t like the noise it makes. With just a pipe revolver, I had no chance of completing the event solo. However, I later did an event with a group of 4-6 other players who happened to be near. We managed to finish the event easily but would have been impossible solo.
While participating in the Beta Stress Test, I did happen to run into some comically funny moments with other players. Someone deciding to open a noisy wrapper with their microphone on. I laughed and asked, “What are you eating?” It was quiet until I got a response “A Snickers.” I couldn’t help but reply “Did you bring enough for the rest of the class?”
I also ran into an individual who apparently had a microphone switch broken and stuck in the On position. I heard him huffing and puffing as he was trying to situate himself while commenting “Uh…oh god I’m a fat***.” I’ve known some very large people in my life, so I understand how it can be. What I didn’t expect when I returned was the sound of him scarfing down large amounts of chips. By large amounts, I mean what sounded to be fistfuls of chips followed by a literal “Om Nom Nom” and grunts. Luckily my microphone stays off until I need it, so I could shake my head and laugh over what I was hearing. These are just two incidents of some funny interactions I had with other players.
Sum it up for me…is this game crap?
If you get Fallout 76 and expect it to be Fallout 4 with other players, your setting yourself up for disappointment. There are no NPCs to talk to besides robots and one super mutant trader that I ran into. Will there be NPCs later in the game? Will there be human NPCs added at a later date? I honestly don’t know.
Do you like playing Fallout 4 in survival mode? How about just exploring the land and delving into ruins or clearing out a raider camp? How about the sense of growth as you progress to higher levels and better gear? If that sounds interesting, then you may enjoy Fallout 76. It is satisfying when you can jump in and help a newer player.
From my own experience and my tastes…I enjoyed Fallout 76 so far. This is not the Fallout Singleplayer Experience we are accustomed to. It’s a new spinoff with some multiplayer changes. Also, no, this is NOT where Fallout 5 is heading to in the future.
My biggest fear is how they will “Support Mods.” Will we be able to make mods for Fallout 5 as we do with Fallout 4? Will we only have Bethesda.net for mods? Or will we be able to go to sites like Nexusmods to find our favorite mods? My greatest fear is “Mod Support” being restricted to Creation Club Content Only. Creation Club would be a way for Bethesda to add mods to their official servers. Even if you don’t own the content provided on Creation Club, your system will have the files necessary if your friend is using a Creation Club Mod. Fan mods will likely not be supported on official servers. But, we may see them supported on private servers.
Beta Final Dates listed:
Thank you to everyone who joined us this weekend on the #Fallout76 B.E.T.A. Our final session schedule is now available.
See you Tuesday! pic.twitter.com/hCEt6c3I0i
— Bethesda Game Studios (@BethesdaStudios) November 5, 2018
I’ll see you Vault Dwellers who didn’t pre-order on the 14th of November. Until then, enjoy the safety of the Vault while the rest of us face the dangers of Appalachia.