Recently I had the pleasure of being one of many B.E.T.A. testers (Break-it Early Test Application) for the upcoming Fallout 76 RPG game. It was interesting – quite different as it is semi-multiplayer – and looks to be a major time-suck once it launches next week. For those who don’t know, Fallout is a post-nuclear war adventure game. Until now, it has been a solo affair, but that changes now.
Besides adding other people, one of the biggest changes involves construction of bases, defenses, etc. Interestingly, this game (previous versions played by myself and John, that I know of; I assume many, many more) is set in West Virginia, and it looks pretty spot-on. In my testing, I did my best to wander the entire map bushwhacking my way up and down mountainsides, collecting leaves and mushrooms and roots and wood as well as water.
I boiled the water and then made various teas, soups, and the occasional smoked critter as your hydration and food levels need constant replenishment. Catching the occasional disease or skin condition from sleeping on bemildewed beds and sleeping bags was a fun, if annoying twist.
It was neat to really lose one’s self in the hills and hollers of West Virginia. My father-in-law observed me playing for an hour and remarked how much some of the houses, hamlets, bends in the road, and creeks looked like places he knew (he’s from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, a 20-minute drive from WV).
Because this game will become a bit more competitive with multiple players being able to attack and kill you, I fear shitheads. By nature, I love single player games and two-person cooperatives. I also like first person shooters, especially multiplayer online, but I’m not sure that’s quite how Fallout will roll out as this game is not so combat-focused. I know there will be jerks, but I hope that they will be easy to avoid for the most part.
We all know that groups are stronger than individuals, and so I guess that means that finding a good group will be integral to long-term survival in the game. Which leads me the whole point of this post – is anyone interested in forming an in-game group of jackals?
I didn’t work with other folks in-game beyond a few minutes’ task-sharing, so I’m not sure how it will all work out, but I hope that we can meet in-game and setup our camps near each other, or perhaps stage our camps in useful areas across the Wasteland so that we can share shelter when out on the road adventuring. Since all players won’t see each other at the same time, I’m not sure if this will work long-term, but I figure it will be a fun thing to try, and making an alliance from the get-go should ease the way for many of us as we run into griefers and other jerks.
I am an Xbox player, and I know that many of you are not. For now, Fallout 76 only links players on the same hardware – Xbox, PS4, and PC. I know that John is a PC gamer (like I used to be and perhaps will be again) but I suspect that many other gamers here might be Xbox users.
What say you all? I was tempted to post my Xbox Live ID but that invites crap, so if you want to hook up in-game, please use the contact form so I can email you. I’m happy to put players from other systems in touch with each other, just use the form to tell me your game system, player ID, and email and I’ll pass it around privately to others who provide the same.
Have a great afternoon, everybody, and feel free to discuss other games – I’m currently loving No Man’s Sky Next (the new underwater mode is awesome!) and my daily adrenaline fix, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
If you play either on Xbox, hit me up and let’s have some fun. I often don’t play with headset, but I’m happy to change that since I assume you won’t be a bunch of trash-talking bros spouting sexist and racist shit or kids unable to control their glossolalia (and yes, I spelled that without spellcheck, thank you very much).
/keeping a very straight face here.
I’m a PS4 player in general, although I could potentially dig out my XBOne for this game. Definitely agree that coop survival is more fun with a group—will the servers all be Bethesda-run, or is it possible to run your own server like with Minecraft?
Anonymous At Work
“Question: What’s the difference between an alpha test and the initial launch of a Fallout game?”
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t know either. I was asking you.”
I may but…I’ll wait for about 3 patches before I start believing…
Sadly, I peaked at Ms. Pac-Man and I think I’d be facing an asymptotic learning curve to take on any modern games. Any recommendations for the old and slow?
It’ll be a buggy mess
But it’s fallout
Me and my doggy friend will be wandering the West Virginia wasteland
IANA beta tester, so this is second-hand. I read that you basically just get plinked by other players unless you engage.
That doesn’t mean that the other player can’t jump right in front of you while you’re shooting and start the fight. I might have to get it anyway, because I remember Camden Park from when I was a kid, and it’s a real area in the game.
I may well join in! Spent a few hundred hours on Fallout 4 the first half of this year on Xbox. Currently devouring this wonderful new PC RPG in the style of the classic Baldur’s Gate games. It’s called Divinity II: Original Sin. Highly recommended!
Alain the site fixer
@Boussinesque: for now, no private servers. We shall see how things envolve.
@RobertB: yes, but there are jerks and I hope they tweak things. As it was, much higher level players picked on lower-level ones with much more powerful weapons. Trying to walk away quickly (overload of course, this is Fallout!) means you die. Shoot back then damage goes to full-effect and you die instantly. I don’t think the wanted badge will what Bethesda thinks it will.
ETA: a player did in fact shoot me, making me think it was a baddie, and then walked into my return fire. Fucking griefers.
Alain the site fixer
@Ferdinand: thanks for the tip, I’ll check it out. I do miss Baldur’s Gate.
While I don’t play Fallout in any iteration, one of my sons is an avid fan, and pointed me a few years ago to a version that started in Boston, but then had further add-ons on Mount Desert Island, Maine (although not so named). My mother lives on the island (home of Acadia National Park), and I’ve been all over it for more than half a century. It was weird as all get-out to wander around familiar territory in the post-war context of Fallout, noticing zombies in a burned out church where I have played services, or noticing that a restaurant one can enter is in actuality a few hundred yards from my mom’s home. Very disconcerting!
I’ll be down for that, certainly
@Alain the site fixer: I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed turn-based combat. Very challenging strategic battles. What is the class balance and spell choices of your party? What is the opponent? The environment?
I’ve happily spent half an hour playing through the end results of battles I’ve realized I’ll lose just to experiment with powers and combinations. Like ax open a water barrel and flood the floor and have another character fireball the flood to make a steam cloud that you electrify to shock everyone within it.
Also very “open” so far in the sense that you can persuade your way past many battles, choose factions, get around whole challenges through creative use of the landscape and teleporting, combine ingredients and craft, etc. Very deep and rewarding high fantasy gaming for this one time Dungeon Master! I can see why it won a lot of awards last year.
I’ve got this on PC and I agree with most of Alain’s description – If anyone wants to play sometime, let me know (once it launches) and I’d love to play.
Several of the reviews I’ve seen about F76 have not been … kind. Were these just outliers or is the game still lacking significant infrastructure, let alone polish mere days from launch?
The griefer aspect makes me have zero interest in Fallout 76, which makes me sad.
Here’s the Divinity game link, for those with fond memories of Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape, and Neverwinter Nights:
@Ferdinand: @Alain the site fixer: If you want a very Baldur’s Gate-esque game, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is excellent. Pillars of Eternity 2 is also fantastic, and I have a special place in my heart for Tyranny, which just came out a couple years ago.
Tyranny takes place AFTER evil has triumphed and taken over the continent. Combat is like Baldur’s Gate, and storywise you’re basically a court/justice officer, and try to decide and interpret the edicts of the evil emperor. It’s super interesting, because there’s basically a bunch of factions that are somewhat evil (but have positive aspects) and a “good” rebel faction to assist as well. I really, really loved it.
It also has some of my favorite music in a game for quiet moments. Like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu6AWZ_TbRw&index=12&list=PLfG0HYK6dC4xYSDuN1g7vmXJ0dT49E52_
EDIT: You can find Tyranny here, if anyone is interested. $15 right now. And changed the music link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/362960/Tyranny/
I play with a lot of mods on Fallout 4, including the “Sims Settlements” mods that make the building of bases and the equipping of NPC’s even more of a big part of the game, and I love wandering a post-apocalyptic version of a place I know (in my case, Boston and Bar Harbor) like someone else mentions above. Perhaps after Christmas Fallout 76 will be stable enough to be worth giving a shot? I haven’t done online multiplayer in ages. Was going to give it a go with Elder Scrolls Online but still haven’t gotten started with that game.
I haven’t played an MMO for a couple of years. The last I played was Pathfinder Online – the developers explained that the goal was to allow players to be content for other players (as traders, co-workers, and – oh by the way – bandits, etc.). They promised a lot of control to prevent griefing, but that pretty much went by the wayside, imho. I doubt I’ll ever play another MMO; I’m not interested in being a punching bag.
@Gravenstone: @MrSnrub: Fallout76 is the current “hate” flavor of the month on the internet. It’s cool to hate on it.
Despite that, the game is pretty fun. Griefing is barely present at the moment because of some anti-pvp measures, with a couple of stupid exceptions. If you kill someone, they get the option to “revenge spawn” near you so they can come after you. This is fine in cases where someone griefs you, but is ENORMOUSLY annoying when you kill someone who tries to grief you. Because they can just respawn near you and try again.
It’s missing a couple of “core” PC features like Push To Talk, but otherwise it’s a fully-functional AAA game with a lot going for it. Still needs a little technical work so that it doesn’t have framerate issues on the consoles and it’s going to need more anti-hacker work on the PC side. But still well worth playing. Super interesting in that unlike the rest of the Fallout games, it takes place just 20 or so years after the war so the “real” world was in living memory.
@MisterForkbeard: Thanks for the Tyranny tip! I’ll look for it. I recently added to my Steam wishlist a game called Torment: Tides of Numenera, which has some great reviews. (Ha! I just went to Steam to copy their Torment text, and notice they’re recommending I check out Tyranny. Thanks Steam AI!)
@Gravenstone: I can tell you that my two hard-core Fallout coworkers aren’t excited about F76 because they don’t like multiplayer games. They’ll reluctantly play with other people around them, like on a WoW pve server, but that griefer jump-into-your-line-of-fire crap is a big minus/possible dealbreaker. I spent a couple of years on a WoW pvp server, so while I don’t like that sort of thing, it doesn’t really surprise me or upset me all that much.
Alain the site fixer
@Gravenstone: the download was (only!) 50 GB whereas full game is 100 GB plus whatever huge patch comes out launch day. I expect that’s a lot of content we didn’t see.
@Ferdinand: Torment (Tides) was pretty good. Very story-intensive and lots of text, and it has an usual system where you share resources for combat and speech challenges.
I’m waiting for the Flashpoint expansion for BattleTech to drop late this month. Until then I’ll plonk away on Slay the Spire and Dungeons of Dreadmor, around (seemingly briefer and briefer) visits to WoW. I think I’ll just view F76 from the distance for now and see how it launches then matures through a patch or three.
@Ferdinand: In the same vein as all of the above old school isometric RPGs, I’ve put WAY too many hours into Pathfinder: Kingmaker since it’s come out and I’ve been having an absolute blast. I’m sure that’s in part because Pathfinder is my system of choice for actual live D&Ding. The steam ratings are mixed because it was pretty damn buggy on release, but the devs have done a great job cleaning things up in the weeks since IMO. And the implementation of the Pathfinder system is really deep and satisfying.
I’ve only recently really dived in to Steam for PC games. I moved off of a MacBook Pro for 10 years, to a swanky new Alienware Windows laptop this year. So now I get to PC game again for the first time in many years, to go along with the Xbox habit I picked up when my kids were younger. It’s been fun to create a Steam wishlist of games, and just wait for the emails saying they’re on sale. I picked up Spore and Jade Empire for about $10 last week. I’m seeing that both of the Freedom Force games are on sale for literally $1.49 each (down from the regular $5!). I’ve grabbed some Total War: Warhammer and Dawn of War games for when I get the army war games jones eventually. :)
I still only have a PS3 and last played Fallout: Las Vegas, I think. Yeah, it’s been a few years. I enjoyed those games a lot, though. (I was in a restaurant the other day and they played one of those old ’40s soundtrack songs [“bongo bongo I don’t wanna leave the Congo” or something] and I couldn’t stop giggling.) This new game, however, sounds like another MORPG that I have zero interest in. I just want an immersive single-player experience. But then again, I mostly play stupid little games on my phone these days….
I’ve 100% Fallout 4. I’ve completed the game on survival. I’ve nearly completed a survival permadeath. I have one game where I didn’t leave the Sanctuary Island until I hit level 100. Rolled in to meet dogmeat with half the perks in the game, and will leave Red Rocket when I hit level 150. Will leave Starlight at 175, etc.
Needless to say, I know F4 as well as anyone, yet I’m very skeptical of 76. I really want 76 to be great. I applaud Bethesda for taking the risk, and being aware that they pretty much don’t know what the fuck they’re doing. Give me a private server and I’m all over it, but I do not like persistent massive multiplayer games. Fortnight is a different beast and much more approachable.
I don’t hate 76. I think it’s a really positive step for the franchise, but it may not be the game for me. Still suffering with a case of that RDR2 strain of the flu going around for now.
@Alain the site fixer: guess I’ll wait and see how that develops, then. Currently enjoying Diablo 3 for the fourth time (this time on the Switch) and Warriors Orochi 4 on my PS4 to scratch my “kill all the things” itches, and working my way through Dragon Quest XI and the newer Xenoblade Chronicles 2 game when I’m in less stabby moods.
I’m up for a group. I’m on PC. Once I get my ID and whatnot, I’ll use the form and let you know. I’ll probably have to upgrade my video card so it might be after launch before I start.
@MisterForkbeard: I don’t want to hate on it. I do want it to be what I like out of Fallout.
That said, I will be following the release to see if it’s something I’ll like.
Is the casino still open at the Greenbrier?
Alain the site fixer
@Boussinesque: I’m buying my lovely wife/gaming partner the Switch for Christmas. I can’t wait to try Diablo on it with her!
@Alain the site fixer: once you do, let me know—always looking to expand my list of online coop friends!
@MrSnrub: I wasn’t trying to day you were hating on it irrationally. More just that many articles and talk about it is giving borderline wrong information because it’s cool to hate on the game right now, and that gets you clicks and upvotes.
Sort of like the massive pile-on for Mass Effect Andromeda. Game had some issues, but wasnt nearly as problematic as everyone said.
I genuinely enjoy the beta process. I don’t enjoy the in-dev portion where testers are pulling 10+ hrs & sleeping under tables & shit, but I like trying EVERYTHING and seeing if it works. Pity I completely suck on consoles. I think I will be trying the mobile Diablo & Destiny 2. My friends are on Destiny right now and no one is on WoW. I’d like to try gaming with some people for my 1.5 hrs of available gaming time.
My son-in-law is a programmer for Fallout. My daughter and grandchildren are hoping to see more of him soon. Unfortunately he is the one of the programmers that gets the middle of the night call to fix some cant live with bug the beta testers find. And that is after working very long days for the last few months. And 7 day weeks for the months before that. Working for this gaming company is not for the weak.
And dont ask what part he works on. He is not allowed to say. Actually he is not supposed to say what game he is working on, but that is easy to figure out based on when his schedule gets intense. His company’s policy is not to allow any vacation time for the year before the release. After the release, he can talk about it more.
I played a ton of Fallout 4 and I’m on Xbox – would definitely be interested in a F76 crew. Just need to find some time to play it once it comes out…
The Red Pen
The need to eat and drink and stay healthy is like survival mode on Fallout 4. I found that incredibly tedious but it makes the game move very slowly so progress really feels like progress.