Fallout 76 gets a lot of flak from many players. But there must be something keeping them playing!
From Fallout 76‘s shaky launch to the multitude of issues still plaguing the game today, it’s often considered little more than a very expensive practical joke – especially for a so-called Triple-A game.
While I hesitate to recommend any software considered ‘games-as-a-service’, I thought it might be worth looking at some of the aspects of the game which has kept people coming back.
First though, in the interests of transparency: I’ve stopped playing the game.
So why write an article about it? Because I’ve stopped playing for so long that nostalgia has begun to set in, that’s why.
And sure, I’m going to need to play the game again in order to get screenshots, but that’s the perfect opportunity for a player to ask themselves: What do I miss the most about Fallout 76?
A Fallout 76 Primer For Those Who Need It
Bethesda’s Fallout 76 is a first/third-person shooter with a storyline and heavy survival elements. It’s a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game, meaning that you’ll encounter other human players.
It takes place, as all the Fallout games do, in the USA. Fallout 76 itself takes place in the area of West Virginia known as Appalachia. The player has a portable C.A.M.P. unit with which they’re able to reserve a section of the gameworld as personal building space, essentially (but not literally) wherever and whenever they like.
The currency, instead of being dollars or gold, is in caps. As in bottlecaps.
Man, I forget how weird Fallout is sometimes.
Good Things About Fallout 76: Building up your C.A.M.P.
I’ve mentioned before how much fun the base-building can be, but it still bears further explanation.
You can build wherever you like for the most part, as long as it’s not too close to a pre-existing structure. There are literally thousands of possible C.A.M.P. sites.
It’s quite intoxicating to realise the power you have over the gameworld. The player has a near-Minecraft level of power when it comes to their C.A.M.P. which only makes the player feel stronger and more in control as more C.A.M.P. items are unlocked (such as power generators and water purifiers) through normal play.
The ideal C.A.M.P. site contains running water and enough space to plant crops because Fallout 76 is quite heavy on the survival aspects of the game.
Not every C.A.M.P. site includes these things though. Many of the higher-level players (whose character stashes presumably contain excess water/food) are more interested in being creative with their C.A.M.P.s than anything else.
While Update 21 did anger the community due to removing a lot of glitches in the C.A.M.P. building aspect of the game (thereby quashing a lot of the more creative building options), Bethesda assures us that they’re completely reworking C.A.M.P. building in a way that will ultimately benefit every player – including those who like to build up their C.A.M.P.
PROTIP: Harper’s Ferry (which you’ll visit during the main storyline) is close to a water source, multiple groups of high-level enemies, and a vendor.
Good Things About Fallout 76: There’s No Chat
Some people might consider this a drawback, but I’m not one of them.
I have a theory that the same people who yell ‘keep your politics out of my video games’ are the same people who like to bury ingame chatboxes with walls of trollfeed, just to ‘own the libs’ (or whatever).
There is voice chat, but before I quit playing I’d been active for about a year and I can honestly count on one hand the number of times I’ve heard people use voice chat. Presumably, this is because everyone who’s teamed up is on Discord.
It’s resulted in some wonderfully zany usages of the emote wheel by the community. I could honestly give the emote wheel its own section, because it’s a great example of how console games can affect PC games in a positive manner.
Take the following scenario which actually happened to me: I was wandering around with my highest level character when I noticed a scorchbeast (one of the toughest enemies in the game) flying about in the sky. As a rule, if you’re close enough to see (or even hear) a scorchbeast, then you’re going to be attacked.
I wasn’t being attacked, however. I found that curious, so I stalked the scorchbeast and realised it was attacking a player who was a much lower level than I was. Being a low-level player, they probably wouldn’t be able to kill the scorchbeast, so I figured I’d go over and help them.
But maybe they didn’t need help, for whatever reason.
So I get close to them, and use the confusion emote from the emote wheel (‘Hey do you need any help, buddy?’) to which they reply with a thumbs up emote (‘Feel free to get involved, stranger!’).
I start attacking the scorchbeast and get it down to half-health. This is because if a player doesn’t do enough damage to a scorchbeast, then they won’t get any experience or loot from it.
The other player continues swapping between hiding from the scorchbeast and attacking it, and I’m just circling around them both ready to revive the other player if they get downed.
Although it takes a while, we both defeat the scorchbeast.
I realise the other player hasn’t healed themselves for the last 5 minutes, so I drop a bunch of healing items and use the gift-giving emote (‘These are for you!’).
They pick up the items and use the loveheart emote (‘OMG THANK YOU SO MUCH!’), to which I reply with the thumbs up emote (‘No worries, bro!’)
Stuff like that – that’s what I missed the most about the game. Because…
Good Things About Fallout 76: The Community
The community is, by far, the best thing about Fallout 76. Sure, you get your idiots and your trolls, but the ratio seems far smaller than in other games.
I think the perfect example of this is the price of ammo in player C.A.M.P.s. If you buy ammo from an in-game vendor (as opposed to a player-run vendor), you’ll find yourself broke in no time flat.
So there’s an unspoken rule about the price of ammo in player C.A.M.P.s: The ammo in your player-run vendor, no matter how much it’s worth or how rare it is, should only cost 1 cap (i.e. the minimum price).
Further, many high-level players set their C.A.M.P.s up in the starting zone so that newer players have access to cheap and effective starting gear. Some even patrol the actual point at which you enter the gameworld (i.e. when you leave Vault 76) purely so they can drop some items (health, ammo, etc) in front of new players.
The very first interaction I ever had with another player in Fallout 76 was receiving a care package from them. A random stranger gave me some very handy items and then moved on. They’ve probably long forgotten about that, but I never will.
Good Things About Fallout 76: In Conclusion
Ultimately, my decision to stop playing Fallout 76 had more to do with being burnt out on the game than with any issues with the game itself. Now, while it’s definitely true (for me at least) that playing the game can be a gamble (will the game work as intended today?) it’s one of the few MMO games I’ve had the pleasure of being burnt out by.
Usually, I stop playing an MMO because of the community. Here, I keep playing because of the community. And sure, I’m not playing at the moment – but I know I’ll go back. Eventually.
Between the friendliness of the community and seeing how other people build their C.A.M.P.s, playing this game can be a fascinating exploration of not just the gameworld – but of humanity itself.
If you like to see more Fallout 76 positivity, then why not check out the follow-up article here? Hit me up on Twitter @LiamPadmore4 because creative usernames are for losers (not really), and/or comment below!