Fallout 76: Idea Man Treading water

I feel a little bit of wistful sadness with each content update to the Fallout series…one I’ve spend hundreds of dollars on over many MANY years.

The Unstoppables came out and it’s Yet Another stickerpack… I’m tired of new skill chains, new skins, New Double XP Weekends, new furniture to decorate your Doll house.

Kinda wish they’d STOP supporting it for a bit, come back in a few years with another engine, a new story, and even more Bethesda Bugs.

Am I alone?

Well, F76 is not necessarily a bad idea. But it’s painfully obvious that while many of those who worked on it really did care about the design, it was fundamentally not a real priority for Bethesda as a whole. At least, not a game. Management seems to have been very enthusiastic about monetizing it, to the extent of almost ignoring development in favor of finding ways to extract money. Bethesda seems to be extremely upset that they haven’t been able to get ahold of recurring revenue streams.

However, Bethesda’s problem is not that they couldn’t create such a product, but that they keep trying in the most absurdly intrusive, lazy way possible. That approach turned everyone off and then made Fallout: 76 into a massive public joke. And even today, it’s not viewed in the same light as No Man’s Sky. I will never see the appeal of NMS, but I can get why other people would like it (although, granted that’s after 5 years of extra development). F76 isn’t really a good multiplayer product and it doesn’t even fundamentally feel like it was designed as such.

Coincidentally, I’ve had thousands of hours of fun in Fallout games (including 76), and just last night re-installed No Man’s Sky.

My main in Fallout 76 is in the low-100s. I’m an old guy. I’ve enjoyed the run, but I’ve done everything I wanted to do, and now all the new stuff seems to me just “fluff”. I am sure that is unfair, because they expanded base-building with bunkers (and I love base-building generally), but I think the game’s played out for me. For any game, such as WoW, I have not been a fan of dailies and that sort of hamster wheel content, so I don’t care much about their challenges.

So*, yeah. +1

  • in tribute to a GQ thread about “So”.

I loved all of the Fallout games prior to 76. I won’t rehash the dumpster fire on launch, and for years after that, but the single most perplexingly tone deaf move they made during that period was offering the private servers with a couple perks for like $10/mo or whatever it was. Taking a game that most of the series fanbase loathed and asking them to pay a monthly subscription for privileged access to it was asinine. If the game had been tight with lots of content already and they decided to offer that later ala Minecraft Realms would have been different but it wasn’t. It would be like CDPR marketing private Cyberpunk servers right now.

You’re me. I did the exact same thing…and VR for NMS is awesome.

Cubsfan I didn’t mind the subscription. paid for a year of it. What I DID hate was the inherent demotion to second class citizen when the subscription expired…sure, yeah, I lost the private server…but it was thing after thing after thing that came along that I didn’t recognize as a subscription perk.

So…lots of chrome that doesn’t add to the game does not equal improvements that’ll keep me playing…caps, then atoms, then ??? and I think there’s another in-game currency…oh and each upgrade has Yet Another Skill Tree (But I’m reiterating my opening post)

I’m dealing with game fatigue (or low-T, I dunno) but I see a new hot game with new hot graphics and they’re all kinda blurring together. Oh there’s crafting? Wow! Hey, you can skin your gun! Awesome! huh…lootcrates…hmmm Battle Royale…ech.

Yes, there are areas of gaming where there’s truly new things happening, I just don’t have the energy for it anymore and it saddens me…and the stuff that scratched that itch for me (FO, BioShock, NMS) aren’t.

I hate Hate HATE all the currencies in FO76, just as I hated them when WoW kept introducing (or sometimes, obviating previous ones and replacing them with something new). Just make it “cash” and maybe some sort of Valor points or something, and be done with it.

It’s like these companies’ #1 focus is to get players to log in every day, rather than having deep, meaningful, fun experiences.

I too paid for a one year FO76 subscription, mostly because the value/month was there (maybe $8.50 a month paid annually?) and I enjoyed the peace and quiet (no gankers, no traps) that using a private world brought. But I burned out about halfway through and didn’t play hardly at all the last six months.

For me, I rationalized the subscription like The Elders Scrolls Online: yes, you can play for free, and have a good time. But paying the monthly subscription gets you nice things, like more crafting storage, in-game currency (see previous rant), and some other perks. People don’t go ballistic about ESO’s subscription, so I didn’t understand the level of hatred to FO76 introducing it, except perhaps because it didn’t launch that way.

A bit off-topic, but I will mention that Conan Exiles remains one of my favorites. I really like base-building, and CE gives you so, so many options and flexibility in that regard. I generally play offline, but you certainly can create or join a server. And the co-op play is very enjoyable for me.

Really it’s all just taste…

The Fallout fandom is ALWAYS and FOREVER going to complain about things…because that’s what fandom’s do.
You still have people think New Vegas is the greatest game of all time throw shit at 76 for a crappy launch…when New Vegas was broken on its launch too. It’s just rose-colored glasses of a decade later.

76 is a different kind of game–it evolving and changing. And it’s okay if its not for you… you don’t have to play? Some games can just be over–you killed a Scorch Queen, you beat the game. Congrats. You can stop playing.
We see people complain there isn’t enough narrative and too much emphasis on cosmetics…
Then don’t worry about the cosmetics and just play when they add new story content–which is yearly (and only a few hours at that). Be a casual player if your goal is only to play story.
The “grind” isn’t necessary unless you DO care about the fluff.
A lot of fans do care about the fluff.

There’s also this weird “76” isn’t Fallout enough line…a pretty prominent Fallout youtuber got dragged for the new Waterslide camp item and roleplayers in game putting on plays. “It’s not Fallout!” …quickest way to show you don’t understand a franchise. Fallout has always been a little silly.

You know who isn’t happy with the idea of people not playing Fallout: 76?

Bethesda.

New Vegas had bugs at launch - it still does today even - but that was mostly because Bethesda’s technology was a broken mess. F76 had the advantage of years of more development and is, well, a complete broken mess. But it’s a much more technology-driven game. Story content is limited or nonexistent, and yet that’s only the beginning of the game’s problems. It way overdoes the copy-pasted elements from older Fallout titles when it had the option of creating something genuinely new and exciting.

In addition, the cosmetic-flogging was both egregious and hilarious. Bethesda quite literally demanded to be paid for the same appearance options that had been developed years earlier for Fallout 4.

And yes, the public responded by not buying the game. Sales were so low that some stores simply gave it away because they just didn’t want to carry the inventory. The actual market for what F76 really is, is sufficiently small that Bethesda certainly didn’t want people to not play it. This was meant to be a huge, mass-market title but the various problem meant it had only niche appeal. It’s most popular for creating mockery on Youtube than actually selling.

For example, according to Steam there are more people playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 at this moment than Fallout: 76’s all time peak on that platform. Sure, Bethesda was really excited about pushing their (awful) proprietary platform, but those are not good numbers.

I literally have no idea what your point is…unless your point is popularity is the only metric.

I think the Fallout fandom has had many, many valid complaints regarding not only the launch of Fallout 76 but the crummy way Bethesda treated their customers throughout the ordeal. They launched a crummy game, and I don’t care if its become industry standard to launch crummy games with promises to fix it in the future, they didn’t fix any of the problems the engine had had since Fallout 3, their microtransactions are terrible, and to top it off they treated their customers poorly when it came to Fallout merchandise. Seriously, they couldn’t even give customers the canvas bags they were promised? $80 for a bad “bottle” of rum that wasn’t really a bottle.

I didn’t buy Fallout 76 because I wasn’t in the market for an MMORPG but I wished Bethesda well. I’ve enjoyed their Fallout games and I wished them well. But, man, they lost a lot of that goodwill they had with me because of their behavior.

If F76 was the same game but didn’t have the fallout name/recognition, it would be bashed as a trashy low effort broken indie early access game and have a 30% positive rating and would’ve died within a couple of days of launch. It’s not just bad, it’s one of the most aggressively bad, lazy, badly planned, consumer-hostile, overmonetized games I’ve ever seen.

If I were a researcher doing an experiment to see just how bad and consumer-hostile I could make a game while still getting people to play it based on franchise recognition, I would probably more or less do what they did with Fallout 76.

People are so tied to the idea of brands and sequels that they’ll play and defend a comically shitty game because it shares the same name of another game they liked.