War…War never changes. But Fallout 76 changes regularly – and it’s rarely for the better.
If you’ve never heard of Fallout 76, let me bring you up to speed real quick: Fallout 76 is a post-apocalyptic-themed single-player game that has very basic multiplayer functionality, so it likes to pretend that it’s a post-apocalyptic massively multiplayer online (MMO) game.
The latest update/patch is easily the worst received patch I’ve seen in my time with the game (over a year, on and off).
Let’s discuss the latest Bethesda fail, shall we?
Fallout 76 Update 21: Bethesda drops the ball again
When it comes to Fallout 76, Bethesda has dropped more balls than puberty ever could.
Simply put, the launch for Fallout 76 was bungled from the start, and they still haven’t recovered. There are still bugs in the game that have been there since launch, the design for the game is incredibly flawed on multiple levels, and the PvP aspect of the game was implemented with the exact same level of care and precision that one might expect of a particularly-clumsy hippopotamus who’s deep in the throes of a DMT trip.
While I could go on like this for some time (I really really could), that’s not going to teach anyone anything and it’s not going to address the actual issue.
The actual issue is, of course, the same issue as most (if not all) of the other so-called Triple-A (i.e. premium) games companies: The companies are run by people who not only don’t game, but they also have no idea what gamers want.
They’re simply out of touch with their players.
Fallout 76: Minecraft But With Guns?
One of the few ‘low-irritation activities’ (because I’m not comfortable using the word ‘joys’ when discussing this game) is building up your base. You can plant your base anywhere you like in the gameworld as long as it’s not too close to a pre-existing structure.
A large section of the Fallout 76 community (including myself) play the game more as a sandbox (open-world) building sim, because the game allows you to play like that. You’re not penalised for ignoring the main story beyond ‘not being given certain schematics’.
Many is the time I’ve logged on, become immediately bored with playing due to the Fallout-4-but-worse vibe the game gives off, and just gone camp-hopping (visiting other players homes).
Some of the homes I’ve come across have been creative. You can see some of them in the pictures I used in this article/post.
Let’s take a look at one specific example. One player home (pictured below) was placed near a fairly popular travel point, so it was clearly designed to be experienced by other players.
I walk up the stairs at the front and I see a vending machine (an unattended player-run shop) in front of me. For some reason, the other player had placed a smoke machine in front of the vending machine.
I write the smoke machine off as a lame attempt to create a spooky atmosphere, roll my eyes, and decide to see what the other player is selling in their vending machine. I walk up to the vending machine and try to use it…
…but it’s not there.
I have somehow been teleported to another area, even though I didn’t use my map and didn’t die.
No, wait – I haven’t been teleported. The smoke machine was hiding the fact that there’s no floor in front of the vending machine – I’d simply fallen through the floor!
I start panicking because there are tales of other players making ‘deathtrap camps’ (which would be a great name for a metal album), and I quickly open up the map to travel away as quickly as I can.
But I realise: If I’d been deathtrapped – well, I’d already be dead.
So what, I wondered, was the other player – uh – playing at?
It wasn’t a deathtrap camp – it was a maze camp set up like a haunted house tour!
Although you can’t make hidden switches and things like that, the other player had placed spooky items (such as mounted heads of the top-tier enemies, or even actual Halloween decorations) throughout the camp.
They used their knowledge of the building mechanics in the game to create a non-interactive experience for other players. The whole maze only took me about two minutes to slowly walk through – but I’ve never forgotten the experience.
This is what I mean when I said many players ‘play the game more as a sandbox (open-world) building sim‘ earlier.
Simply put: If you treat the game as such, it can basically be ‘Minecraft, but with guns‘. And that’s not a bad thing!
Fallout 76 Update 21: Bethesda is against fun
“Oh but Liam“, I hear you say over a crackling comms connection because you’ve hacked into my Pipboy. “You just spent most of this article talking about building bases and not even saying why the new patch is so bad!“
Much like any other form of creativity, making a player base in Fallout 76 isn’t as simple as you’d think.
I don’t build crazy things like haunted house tours, just fairly standard house-like structures. However, there are numerous occasions where I’ve had to start over from scratch because I can’t place a build-part – even though the interface is telling me that I can.
That alone should give you some idea of how time-consuming it can be to create a workable base. Stupid rules such as ‘no free-floating floors’ are annoying and actively stop you from building things you were able to build in Fallout 4.
However, some clever players have figured out many different workarounds for the games limitations when it comes to creating buildings.
Because Bethesda are generally terrible at game design (including the implementation of it), they’ve forgotten to include rules for many of the building parts. The aforementioned clever players have figured out where Bethesda have slipped up, and used that fact to create many different camp designs that shouldn’t technically be possible.
Fallout 76 Update 21: The Backlash is Real
Bethesda have, in their infinite wisdom, decided to actually start including the rules on most of the building parts.
This means that building camps in a certain way (taking advantage of certain glitches) is literally no longer possible. Thankfully, the already built camps were allowed to continue existing, but that’s little comfort to those that formerly enjoyed certain aspects of the base-building.
When I went to Reddit earlier, literally the first 3 pages of the Fallout 76 subreddit was nothing but posts about how much the community hated the latest patch.
Check out some of these Reddit post titles:
– Bethesda, this patch is embarrassing
– Congratulations, Bethesda, you just alienated almost the entire building community.
– Day 1 player, yearlong Fallout 1st Subscriber here: I just cancelled.
– I honestly don’t know if I can play this game anymore……and I hate it.
– No more complaining, time for action
– Bethesda, look at what you’ve done
– Saying goodbye to 76, so decided to showcase my base before turning off the lights one final time.
– The extent of which Bethesda is out of touch with the community is just sad
Fallout 76 Update 21: Bethesda’s response
Bethesda have actually commented on the controversy with their own Reddit post.
It’s full of corporate doublespeak, because of course it is, and it doesn’t even address the real issue.
The real issue being, as one Redditor said above: ‘The extent of which Bethesda is out of touch with the community is just sad’.