written by Alastrom
Depending on where you are in the world, you might currently be playing Fallout 76. If not, refresh this page in about 24 hours and apply the previous statement again. In Bethesda’s first foray into multiplayer Fallout players have a chance to explore the post-apocalyptic West Virginia the way the wasteland was always meant to be experienced – together. Or alone, Fallout 76 doesn’t really look to guide your decisions. Instead, the game chucks you out of the vault and tells you to go rebuild civilization or something like that. It’s an interesting take on the series which has traditionally been heavily story driven and single player focused. The game isn’t without its faults, or vaults if you’d prefer, but if you’re used to a more directed experience you may find yourself wondering what the point is. Interestingly enough, I think Fallout 76 is basically a Vault Tec experiment. The goal, to determine whether or not players really want a multiplayer Bethesda experience. And yes, it looks like they do.
Announced at E3 by a very enthusiastic Todd Howard, Fallout 76 represents an entirely new direction for the series. While no one could ever accuse Bethesda of releasing the same game to players multiple times in a row, perceptive fans of the series will note the similarities between ’76 and Fallout 4. The reuse of assets and mechanics are easy to overlook when presented the option to venture out into the wasteland with your friends. Much like Sea of Thieves, the game is fun on your own but much better when you’ve got a few people around to share the experience with. As noted before, the game doesn’t really tell you what direction to take in the wasteland. There are missions to be undertaken but they come primarily in the form of messages left to you by the previous inhabitants of the world. During the B.E.T.A. or “Break it Early Test Application,” I was able to reach level 35 by simply wandering the world and shooting anything that looked bigger than me. While I haven’t accomplished much, I’ve enjoyed my time looting buildings and slaying Super Mutants and then returning to my camp to have a cold Nuka Cola with my buds.
We’ve asked for a multiplayer Bethesda experience for years. The Elder Scrolls Online helped to scratch the itch but the experience was too differed from what players have come to expect. Being able to experience the Wasteland or Tamriel with a friend seemed like an attractive opportunity to the point that modders have made numerous attempts to integrate the network required to have such an experience into Skyrim. Bethesda has finally taken note and while Fallout 76 isn’t the full experience we’ve come to expect from those games, it does give us a chance to scratch that multiplayer itch. For me, this represents a test bed on whether or not players truly want this experience in future games. Both Fallout and the Elder Scrolls are expected to continue long into the future and it’s hard to imagine that Bethesda won’t try to repeat any successes that ’76 brings to those games. It’s an easy comparison to make as the next installment of the Elder Scrolls was announced alongside Fallout, though with much less information provided.
Fallout 76 may not be what we expected but it’s sure close to what we wanted. Bethesda plans to support the game with micro-transactions, though they’ve insisted to the players that the game isn’t “pay to win.” Given that these micro transactions are mostly cosmetic and still have to be unlocked through normal game play, players can rest easy knowing they can continue to explore Fallout’s world without spending too many of their hard earned caps.