Fallout 76 might be one of the most controversial games coming out this year. Bethesda, the messiahs of the single player RPG genre, are receiving a large amount of backlash for trying to expand to multiplayer. That isn’t what I’m here to talk about.
Recently, Bethesda flew a bunch of Fallout YouTubers to West Virginia, allowing them to play and film 3 hours of content to showcase their current development progress. Many speculated that this was all a marketing scheme to butter up their critiques in an attempt to soften the negative feedback that would inevitably ensue. I disagree. Primarily because a large percentage of the YouTubers that got a chance to play Fallout 76 were fair and critical about their thoughts and reviews. I will compile their major concerns and discoveries here so that when you exit the vault in November, you’ll know exactly what to watch out for.
Fallout 76 is not perfect. No Bethesda game is on release. With that being said, there are few bugs that have already been revealed that need to be resolved before the release date. The first and probably the most important is a glitch where damage and the sound effects for taking damage is slightly delayed. That could be the difference between winning or losing a fight, especially during PVP where tensions and stakes are at their highest. This problem is a big issue but will definitely be hotfixed and I doubt will make it through to the official release. The second issue that a lot of YouTubers noted may be a permanent mechanic that has the potential to validate the many fears fans have with playing alone.
Fallout 76 is a multiplayer game and caters to parties of players instead of those going solo. This fact alone had many Fallout fanboys taking up arms ready to boycott. What we didn’t know, and we’ve had a glimpse of through this inside look into 3 hours of gameplay, is just how much Bethesda punishes single players. Some YouTubers broke away from the devs guiding them through the world of Fallout 76, venturing further into higher leveled territory in hopes of capturing unique experiences. The overall consensus was that players can expect to really feel level disparity, especially when playing solo. Damage multipliers are given to parties allowing them to tackle bigger feats like timed events that occur throughout the lush wastes. Parties are also given shared loot regardless of involvement in these events, so if you happen to be paired up with someone you reap the benefits of all the others in your party whether you helped or not. So not only are players in parties given bonuses to damage but they are also rewarded simply for joining up with each other. This seems like a permanent purposeful game mechanic and the problem arises not with the mechanic itself but the lack of support for single player play. Single players are left to fend for themselves with very few incentives.
VATs are a thing of the past. The story has been cleverly integrated into holotapes scattered across the world that give you quest objectives both written and audio which was a surprisingly well-done feature. Be that as it may, the story fails to scratch the surface of previous Bethesda titles. This is game will be unlike any Bethesda game you have ever played and appeals to a different demographic than the majority of die-hard Bethesda fans. Regardless of what everyone is speculating, we have no idea what to expect come November and I am really interested in seeing how players react and their engagement levels come January.