Bethesda is back at it again with the Fallout series this time bringing us to the post-apocalyptic wasteland of West Virginia.
Fallout 76 is set 25 years after the bombs dropped. It is up to you and other vault dwellers to explore the vastly changed landscape. All kinds of perils will lie ahead of your journey as you make your way across the wasteland.
Fallout 76 is the first time Bethesda implements multiplayer in the series. NPCs are in the game but only in the form of robots and vendors. This was done in hopes of increasing player interactions. It certainly makes for a weird feeling of complete desolation in some parts of the map. Yet it feels right considering it is 25 years after the bombs were dropped.
The Fallout 76 Beta or Break-it Early Test Application became available on October 23rd for Xbox One. On October 30 the Beta was made available to PS4 and PC. The Beta is only live at specific windows of time and will continue to do so until the release of the game on November 14th. Although riddled and prone to bugs Bethesda warned of this ahead of time.
The experience so far has been a pleasant so far despite getting slaughtered by a Deathclaw which honestly should be expected so let’s get into that!
Emerging From The Vault
Upon waking up from what sounds like an eventful night you are prompted to craft your character.
Once finished you simply mosey on over to your Pip-Boy and slap it on. Next on the agenda is fetching some gear to start you off provided to you by Vault-Tec. As you exit the vault you will notice some named Mister Handies standing next to displays. Presumably these are the same ones that have been taking care of all the vault residents since Vault 76 came into operation. Most items are consumables that will help you start your journey. The last item is not a consumable its your very own C.A.M.P. device don’t forget to thank Crowley.
With all this on hand discover the Overseer’s quest and you are ready to emerge from the vault. Get on out their and reclaim what has been lost.
There are some new features and mechanics that separate Fallout 76 apart from the other Fallout titles so let’s dive in.
Fallout 76 is the first in the series to include multiplayer. Vault dwellers can team up or you can keep to yourself. Both have their benefits seeing that some players are not to lore friendly. PvP is possible upon reaching Level 5. The whole system is neat as it really does add the ability for everyone to create their own stories.
According to some in previous Fallout it was the NPCs and the lore behind them are what brought life to those wastelands. I guess to others the finite dialogue options with NPCs and hearing the same repeating dialogue made the wasteland feel more alive.
The map is very massive to the point where some areas are desolate despite playing with others in the same server. Yet it makes for a right feeling of desolation. 25 years after nuclear bombs were dropped one would imagine civilization would be sparsely found.
The C.A.M.P. system is a similar settlement system to what we saw back in Fallout 4. Instead of being tied down to just one plot of land now you can build your home base almost anywhere. Your home base cannot built within a certain vicinity of a crafting area or other player’s home. The C.A.M.P. allows you safely store your scrap and other belongings worry free from would be prospectors. All of your items placed within the C.A.M.P. are conveniently connected with any Stash Boxes you encounter throughout the game without the need of a Perk or points in Charisma. There are also claimable workshops throughout the map which offer their own incentives for owning.
The new S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Skill Card system is a nice change from the perk system we have seen in previous titles. It allows for more customization of gameplay on a single playthrough. You can change your skill cards out as you see fit. It takes away that pressure of picking the right perk to suit your needs.
Basic Wasteland Survival
Ever play survival mode in the previous fallout games. It’s not as bad as most imagine and makes for a great survivalist experience.
Fallout 76 now includes some aspects of survival mode such as keeping up with your hunger and hydration levels. Diseases have now been implemented into the game so be aware. I contracted Swamp Itch by sleeping on a dirty sleeping bag left out for who knows how long on a rooftop. I got a SPECIAL debuff to my agility -2. Some diseases go away on their own but others have to be treated with medicine. Sleep deprivation has not been included in the survival mechanics and there is no indication that it will be upon full release of the game.
It’s easy to stay well fed and hydrated since resources are in abundance. No more picking away at 200 year old scraps. Supply drops will also drop throughout certain parts of the map which help keep your inventory stocked up on essentials.
Keep your wits about you and your gear well maintained while traveling the wastes. Enemies can easily overwhelm an unprepared adventurer. So long as your well equipped Deathclaws and Grafton Monsters pose little to no trouble.
Interacting With Fellow Vault Dwellers
The idea of multiplayer certainly peaked my curiosity when I first heard of it being introduced to the newest Fallout title.
My first encounter with other Vault Dwellers was met with a hatchet being swung at me in front of Vault 76. It made for a somewhat funny encounter. My next encounter was at my Camp and landed me a teammate. Despite being teamed up we were unprepared and we were slaughtered a few times by a Deathclaw. My other encounters involved events which made it fun in that everyone was eager to help take care of 3 waves of Scorched enemies. Upon doing so we were all rewarded with some supply drop loot.
There were not many times I interacted with the bounty system. The few times I did it was rather confusing and allow me to explain why. I have not been wanted myself since I have pacifist mode on but the info I managed to obtain from wanted hooligans left me conflicted with the system. Apparently if you harm another Vault-Dweller or Camp you get a bounty placed on you.
While working on my claimed workshop a pair of Vault-Dwellers discovered me luckily they were just taking a look around. Once they realized what I was doing they invited me to join there team. One of the players shot the other jokingly but failed to realize pacifist mode was not turned on. My turrets opened fire immediately. We invited to the team in hopes it would reverse the bounty but it had no effect. The only way to rid of a bounty is to have it claimed in other words you have to be put down. This is what left me conflicted but I completely understand and support the decision to create a bounty system. It was made in hopes that it would discourage unsavory behavior and it seems like to have achieved that. It is a no non-sense system that punishes offenders and even goes as far to down right discourage bad behavior.
I kinda feel bad putting down wanted players because I never know why the person is wanted the only information I know is how many caps will be awarded upon completing the bounty leaving me conflicted. Regardless I highly recommend reaching out to your fellow vault-dwellers whether it be in the form of supporting fire or an invite to the team.
Building Up A CAMP
Building up a Camp is reminiscent of the workbench system we saw in Fallout 4.
Camping has never been easier with the Camp. If you find yourself in completely uncharted territory set up your Camp and start building away. With the Camp you can build virtually anything to fill your survivable. The best part is you can even save the blueprints for future endeavors.
Something that has annoyed me about setting up Camp is location. Depending on the location of your Camp the next time you sign in you may find your entire Camp gone and all of the structures missing from your Camp reserves. I have yet to confirm if all of the structures are scrapped and your material put back into your Camp. From my experience this happens when you own a claimable workshop or a Camp set up close to someone else’s that signed in earlier then you did into the server.
Camp by all means feels like a sharpened workbench system. Most structures snap in making it really easy to create your own personal base. Camping is not required and its benefits depends largely on your playstyle.
The standard Camp should include the following to
- A Stash Box for stashing your goods safely
- Shelter of some sort including at least one bed to get that well rested bonus
- At least the Weapon and Armor Crafting Benches to be able to maintain your gear
- A Cooking Station to create food and drink aid.
- Resources such as a water pump for collecting water and a food supply for example a Mutfruit plant
- Turrets for defense they protect your Camp from any enemies and hostile Vault Dwellers.
I ended up claiming a claimable workshop from the cold dead hands of some Super Mutants. Upon doing so I pony upped some caps for the workshop and thus claimed it as my own. The workshop came with some helpful natural resources. Since I had the resources I settled down and got to work on harvesting the my newly claimed resources.
To be completely honest I have always thoroughly enjoyed sandbox games. Carving out my own settlements throughout the map provided me with hours of fun. I can already envision myself putting in the hours to build a Camp capable of operating all throughout West Virginia with ease.
Questing In West Virginia
The first quest you ever get is discover the Overseer’s quest.
Upon doing so you are tasked with tracking the Overseer. The main quest line involves you tracking the Overseer as she travels first to visit parts of her past then to fulfill a task from Vault-Tec. Eventually she reveals that her task was to find and secure nuclear codes for Vault-Tec. I am certainly looking forward to finishing the main quest line once the game is released.
Side quests offer insight as to what happened after the bombs dropped. Plenty of the areas you discover while tracking down the overseer offer a side quest. At the time of playing the Beta I completed only a few side quests. Learning the events that happened after the bomb dropped from primary sources such as the Holotapes is interesting in Fallout 76. During the Beta it was so hectic and time was of the essence I barely scratched the surface of what’s in the game. It seems like side quests will not the affect the main quest line in any manner. Say goodbye to completing those sweet side quest and seeing the fruits of your labor in the form of Liberty Prime, a Vertibird filled with Remanent Enclave Forces, or an entire army of Minutemen and Women reinforcing you as you complete the main quest line. Completing side quest will result in being rewarded handsomely so there is still incentives to complete them.
While questing throughout the waste occasionally you will happen upon Events. Events are miscellaneous quests that are shorter and offer some kind of reward upon completion making it worthwhile. Some Events are more difficult than others but being apart of a team can help mitigate the difficulty. I would have been turned to a gore bag had I done one Event by myself which was survive 3 waves of Scorched. Luckily there were people that wanted to complete the Event. The stampede of Scorched stood no chance with our combined might.
My Experience With The Beta
When I find out about a new video game being developed I don’t form any expectations rather I form curiosity.
When I first of heard of Fallout 76 I was curious to see what the developers in Bethesda were going to create. As more information came out about the game so did speculation and negative backlash which I ignored and continue to ignore on a normal basis. I prefer to experience all video games myself because at the end of the day I play for fun.
No Beta is perfect there has never been such a thing. Bethesda even warned everyone ahead of time that the Beta would be filled with bugs and prone to server outages. Fallout 76 is going to be a work in progress and Bethesda indicated this is certainly a game they want to last for many years to come.
With all that being said my experience was overall fun. I was left interested in the game as I have always enjoyed the sandbox features made available with the workshop system. This workshop system is in the its infancy I certainly look forward to seeing some features added like being able to select and pick up an entire structure and put away an entire structure.
Overall I had a pleasurable experience and look forward towards the full release. Every player will have the option to take their time or just barrel through the quest lines. I for one will be taking my time and uncovering the events after the bombs dropped along with building up my camp and resources. I certainly am looking forward towards creating a safe rest stop for other vault dwellers.