Fallout 76 – Premium Garbage?
If you follow my blog you are probably aware I like to play bad video games or incase of Skyforge video games with a lot of flaws in it but that have a lot of potential and doing things differently. So because I got bored of Skyforge I started playing Fallout 76. And after reaching level 74 and playing for 170+ hours I think I have a pretty solid picture about the game.
Is it as bad as anyone says?
It is by no means as bad as a lot of people say it is. Yes, it is buggy and a lot of base functionality is missing, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with the game. That means: If you are willing to do some tweaks on your own and do some workarounds you are mostly fine.
For example: I turned off the Vsync by editing the .ini file and then lock the FPS counter again via RivaTunerStatisticServer or similar software. The main reason is: Fallout 76 Vsync is bad. Normally Vsync prevents screentearing by slowing down the framerat a bit. In most games you won’t notice it, but in Fallout 76 everytime some item is loaded in the background your framerate is tanked. Which means it isn’t a fluent experience if your FPS is normally at 60 and suddenly it drops to 30 for 1-3 seconds and then slowly goes up and then down, up down, down, up, up, up, etc.
It happens a lot if monster attack you, especially if an enemy is charging at you which makes Ghoul attacks much more horrible. I locked the FPS via Riva because in the early stage it broke the game because the logic of the game (how fast certain tasks like walking, shooting, etc) was tied to the framerate but also I have a loud graphic card and didn’t want to hear jet turbines while playing.
Does that mean the r/fo76 subreddit was right?
Fuck no. The r/fo76 subreddit is a cestpool self-adulation. You say anything bad about the game or even something critical and you get downvoted into oblivion. And the whole “Youtubers ruining Fallout 76” is bullshit. But I can also clearly see that some Youtubers or Media in general now salvage anything from Fallout 76 to get clicks in. Which is nothing new in itself but also pictures Fallout 76 in a false light a bit.
For me the Nuka Dark Rum Merchandise Article is one such thing, which basically isn’t even directly Bethesdas fault because it is a contractor doing all the work and cheap almost garbage worthy merchandise is nothing new in the Industry and waisted money anway.
Or that there was a bug starting with the January the first 2019 where the Nuclear Silos wouldn’t work. The whole thing was already hotfixed on January the second. But people like Jim Sterling started to butcher the topic for views like there is no other thing worth doing in this game.
Or CleanPrinceGaming that says he encountered players in the game using low level weapons to instantly kill high level monsters. Despite the fact that there is no way to inspect another players character gear. And then he continues on that people abusing exploits and re-selling virtual items in an online game like it would be totally new that such things happen in online video games.
Or Dreamcastguy that starts his Fallout76 Video that he needs to be carefull or Bethesda hits him with a copyright strike because he now starts talking about the hidden Developer Room in the game and that there are essentially no NPCs in Fallout 76 despite the fact that there are NPCs.
People in general starting to overreact and incase of CleanPrinceGaming seem to start fabricating lies to spin on the narrative of the “No Good Fallout 76”. Does this mean Bethesda should become a free pass? No, of course not. But the horse is already beaten to death. Or to say it differently there is a difference being investigated under a loupe or burned like an ant.
The Story – What’s the gist of it?
The World of Fallout 76 is placed in West Virgina, Appalachia after the great War. And it is an empty lifeless world. While the people there had trouble rebuilding a mutated menace showed up: The Scorched Beasts.
These are basically giant mutated bats that have somekind of mutated virus/parasite/fungus that jumped over to the humans turning them into slaves doing their bidding. The infection slowly destroys the body of an scorched human burning them up inside out and petrifying them slowly.
Weeks before our character leaves Vault 76 the Scorched Faction of Appalachia kills all humans. And this is the most retarded thing ever that makes no sense. First off the Scorch don’t have an way to find humans. They just roam around and kill humans by chance. So hiding is pretty effective. The scorched beasts are big. So you would probably hide underground. Other Vault-Tech-Vaults are closed but there are tons of secondary Vaults open in the swamp area of the game called “The Mire” that are save.
But even if we take ingame logic out of the equation it is still stupid. How should I, the player, ever build up an connection to the World and its people if it is void of anything. It goes as deep as reading a history book with all the left notes and holotapes.
And while I like the idea that all the robots and automated processes are left behind, the dialogues are horrible. You have 0 dialogue options. And they monologue on and on and on. Also it makes no sense that an robot would monologue, he would come very fast to the point what is to do.
This shows clearly that Bethesda has no Idea to write dialogues and quests for an MMO Type game, where you normally have very little dialogue or at least cutscenes and then have quest markers to point you in a direction. Normally what MMOs does it to inject optional lore entries or mechanics to explore the story and lore.
An example: Warframe is a shooter looter. It has some nice cutscenes, minimal dialogue and if you want to know more about certain locations, enemys, etc. you have either the Codex which grants base knowledge and a Scanner to analyze stuff.
A similar mechanic for Fallout 76 would have been that my character finds leftover holotapes and notes which get added to a personal diary. This would be quite topical because in one of the first Villages we enter, we find out that the survivers learned to write their own personal story down to cope with the loss of their old world and ways. Especially in the first few hours this kind of indirect storytelling could have been a great tool for players to find out whats going on. Because the first few hours without NPC Interaction and only Holotapes left over feels awkward.
Does this mean all quests and stories are bad?
No, and there are a some really nice told stories, but it takes a lot of time to get used to this kind of Storytelling because at some point it only feels like you walk in the footsteps of other people which had an actual live while you wander planless around in this dead world full with creatures that want to kill you.
Stuck in the Past – Mechanics and Features
My fucking god, where should I start. There is so much wrong with the game.
How to progress?
With each level you get a perk point on one of the seven S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Stats to spend and then you choose a perk card. The main issue is the game only displays you available perk cards and won’t tell you which perk cards can be aquired later on.
This brings you into the dilema that you can’t plan your character out from the start. Even if you use many of the guides on the net you often need to choose different perk cards than you would use in your later “endgame build” and the Perk Packs which you get every 5 levels doesn’t make it better.
That comes from certain Perk Cards being mandatory. Almost all gear you craft: Armor, Guns, Energy Weapons, Melee Weapons, Exotic Weapons and Power Armor Mods need not only for you to find the Blueprint you also need Perk Cards for it and for any of the categories above they have 1-3 or even 1-5 different levels. Then you have your mandatory Lockpick and Hacker Skills to open pathes through levels or item caches.
This means you go out of your way to form the character you would like and chase after mandatory stuff. A better solution would have been to implement perks generating blueprints for the different categories and get rid of the perk restriction and only let the blueprint restriction in the game.
In my opinion this Perk System shows it strong suit after level 50, but it still need improvement. The reason is you can swap out perk cards which basically means you can have a different build while being in your camp and craft new armor and weapons and another build while being out in the Wasteland. Or you can make up a complete new build.
But it needs slots for preset Builds you developed, because currently you must do it manually so it takes some time to swap the perk cards around. Also it would be really great to change S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats around as I want not shift one stat point per level up. Its so slow.
We are going C.A.M.P. – ing
Like in many other Open World Survival Games you can build your own Base in Fallout 76 called C.A.M.P.. It is okay, but it misses many things other survival games do great. Usually a lot of your ingame progression is tied to your base. Like there are usually different Tiers of material: Wood → Stone → Iron → Steel → etc.
This basically determines the quality of the gear on your character which determines which parts of the map you can savely enter. Also often additional features are unlocked through this way. But not in Fallout 76.
Most of your C.A.M.P.s base functionality already exists as you leave Vault 76. You may miss a Tinker Workbench and a Power Armor Station but you get the Blueprints relativly easy from other Players, Quests or Events. And thats a huge problem in Fallout 76, you have no requirements you only need Blueprints.
That means the C.A.M.P. is more like a Sims-Like-Experience where most stuff is only cosmetic and ties into the problem that a lot of players have no idea what kind of region is save for them.
Hidden Level Restrictions – Overpowered Enemies – Bad Level Scaling
Remember as all Streamers and Youtubers complained to only get Pipe Pistols at the start of their game, which could only be sold for 1 Cap? There are Hidden Level Restrictions!
You will not find specific gear until your character is behind a certain Level Threshold which often ties into the Level restrictions of the certain Item. Sometimes you will run into Gear much higher than your level, like your Character is Level 10 and you find Level 50 Power Armor Gear, but this happens because the game scales around the Characters walking through the World but the different Regions have also an own Level Range.
For example a Level 120 Character walks through or close to a location in the Savage Divide and let spawn Level 68 Scorched then a Level 15 Character can walk into them and get mowed down.
This lead to the problem that new Player and Youtube Gaming Reviewers think that the Level Range of the Monsters is totally random. Also it leads to open road blocks and frustration for new players because nobody told them that there are different Regions of the game.
In generall it is really hard for beginners to determine the overall difficulty of enemies by levels. For example an Scorched Human with level 6 is way easier to kill than a Supermutant level 5. Or you will meet level 40 Scorched Humans that are way easier than a Deathclaw level 21 that will toss you around and maul you down in like two bites.
In generall you can say, the bigger the enemy the more difficult it gets and the higher the level the more cautious you should be.
Nobody tells you anything
A huge issue in Fallout 76 is that nobody tells you about the various ingame mechanics of the game which can lead to a lot of frustration. The game would have greatly profited from way more hand holding in the first 1-3 hours of the game. I think Bethesda tried this with the huge mass of Holotapes and Notes lying around in the starting Village Flatwoods but it alienated the players because they never found an NPC. And you can miss a lot by not picking up a damn Holotape or Note with initalize a quest.
This is a horrible miscalculation of their part. Why not find an Surviver in the Church/Hospital? Someone you need to take care on that explains you the bare minimum. It could have started with the use of a stimpack, then he explains you that he has a sickness and explains you about the sickness you can get from various sources in the game. Hands you out a blueprint to craft for him a Medicine that you can use later on.
Then he tells you about what happened to him and the Scorched. Explains to you about the different factions and regions about Appalachia. And then you can end it with him dying to the Scorched Infection he explaining you with his dying breath that you should continue your search for the vaccine.
After this part the game is way more handholdy and easier to get into.
What am I doing? – Gameplay Loop
The gameplay cycle of Fallout 76 is easy. You exploring the world. Gather materials. Break them down. Build your base. Craft items. And then the cycle repeats. Along your way you will find different recipes and blueprints to build new items and progress. Find new quests. Take part in Events.
It is in itself a good experience. The world, even if it is kinda empty, is still interesting and feels big with a lot to discover. And if you can ignore the bugs and server crashes even better. Only occassionally the game lets you down.
For example, I found a secret chinese underground base. And I was really excited to get the Secret Chinese Stealth Armor. But it doesn’t even exist in the game. There are several records in the base that say that they never received the Armor and couldn’t reconstruct the Stealth Armor because their personal was not capable of it. You only find another Power Armor, like the remaining three dozens lying around in the world.
On the other hand you can get special items or blueprints. For example you can get a special Excavation Power Armor in Ash Heap after a relativly short quest, which also let you mine a bit more ore from nodes. So the rewards are there but too rare in my opinion.
Why? Just Why? – The Atom Store
Since I played the game I roughly earned 4,000+ Atoms for the Ingame Shop. There where only a few things I wanted, because the shop in itself is garbage. There is nothing a Fallout 76 player like myself really wants. Of course it is only cosmetic and Fallout 76 is a Postapocalyptic Survival Game but there is nothing to look really cool and outstanding or let my base look cool.
And it is fucking expensive. Seriously. Some of the virtual items are way more expensive than their real world equivalent. Not that you should buy Atoms. It is nothing I would recommend but only to put it in perspective.
I seriously think, the person that came up with the idea for this shop and is administering it should be fired from the company and kicked out of the gaming industry entirely. So bad of a shop is it.
Would you recommend it?
If you are a person with a high tolerance for bugs, crashes and can ignore some flaws the game has or enjoy to play early access survival games and like more of a casual playstyle then Fallout 76 is an okay to good game. But I wouldn’t recommend buy any collectors edition.
I buyed it for 23,99 € and didn’t regret it. So you should try to get it around this price point or even lower, which shouldn’t be hard by now.