Fallout 76 is a multiplayer online game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is the newest installment in the Fallout series (ninth overall) and was released on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on November 14, 2018.
Setting and story
The game is set in Appalachia, comprised of the former state of West Virginia, in the year of 2102, (the Wastelanders update begins in 2103) 25 years after the Great War and before any previous Fallout game. It involves Vault 76, which is one of the 17 control vaults designed without an experiment; physical, psychological or social. The player characters, the Vault 76 residents, some of the best and brightest of America, emerge from Vault 76 following a celebration of Reclamation Day, having been sent on a quest to rebuild Appalachia by their overseer, who left the vault before the rest of the residents. The player character is given the task of tracking down the overseer, following her footsteps and holotapes as she travels Appalachia and discovers how the War has changed her former home. In the process, the player character will become familiar with different pre- and post-War factions such as the Responders, Brotherhood of Steel, raiders and the Enclave, and how they coped with the disaster. They will also learn about the Scorched Plague and the emergence of scorchbeasts and fulfill the overseer's desire to secure one of the missile silos in the region in order to launch a nuclear weapon which will prevent the plague from spreading beyond the boundaries of Appalachia.
According to Todd Howard, the map is four times the size of Fallout 4. It utilizes an open-world environment. The game is entirely online but solo play is possible, via avoidance of other players. At release, the base game changed the way the story was presented; removing interactive human NPCs and replacing their dialogue with holotape recordings and notes. Fallout 76 has more holotapes and notes than all previously released Fallout games added together. There are robots and other creatures with personalities that can give out quests and engage in bartering. Almost all other characters met by a player were those of other players at release. In addition, one player can have multiple characters under the same account. The release of the Wastelanders update introduced living human NPCs with full dialogue trees to Appalachia.
The game has been labeled as a "softcore survival game." Death does not result in loss of progression, and food and water are also needed to survive. Loot from containers is instanced, and are unique to players regardless of whether or not another player had previously searched the container.
In addition to this, a crafting system, which allows players to construct their own dwellings, is a key feature. The system is shared between allied players. Dwellings are constructed using the Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform (C.A.M.P.).
Nukes can be obtained and used following the completion of the main quest. When utilized, the nuclear blast uncovers valuable resources and high level enemies; however, player characters need strong anti-radiation equipment to access the site.
The game is run from multiple servers that have a maximum of twenty-four players, and those players can team up into squads with a maximum of four people. Further to this, mods and private servers are planned for the game; however, they will be implemented post-release. Interaction with other player characters is done via the emote wheel and voice chat.
Player characters who die in the game lose any junk they were carrying, and then they are given a quest to go find their junk and retrieve it. The player has to decide if it is worth finding.
Quests in Fallout 76 at launch were akin to found-world quests. They were largely received through holotapes, terminals and notes. Robots were also utilized to deliver the story of the quest and other traditional roles played by NPCs in past iterations. With the release of Wastelanders, quest giving NPCs were added to the game.
Card perk system
After completing the initial release from the vault (level 2), players gain a point and need to build their SPECIAL attributes. The seven categories are each presented to the player in the form of cards. Players can then build on those SPECIALs by adding additional cards (perks) to them.
Players have to spend a varying number of points on cards, dependent on the initial value. Cards of the same type can be combined with an additional point cost to create a higher ranked version of that initial card, max rank depends on the card. The value of the card is shown in the upper left corner. Players gain a SPECIAL point on level up until level 50 which they can assign to a SPECIAL stat of their choosing. After level fifty, players have a choice on each level up to either pick a perk card or move a SPECIAL point from one SPECIAL stat to another.
On top of players assigning cards to their character to enhance their own build, there are also cards available to enhance the current statistics of their team as a whole, most of which fall under Charisma. There are few solo-player Charisma cards, as the majority are designed for team play. Another way players can support their team is by sharing perk cards, players can only share one perk card, the rank of the card they can share is based on the Charisma SPECIAL, for every three points of Charisma one perk card point can be shared.
Initially, players receive a Perk Card Pack every two levels up to level ten. This is a random selection of four cards that the player can swap out with their current cards. After level ten, players receive the card packs every five levels. These packs can occasionally include a card that is higher in value than normal, increasing a stat or ability more than it would otherwise. There are hundreds of cards available within Fallout 76 and more will be added as the game receives updates.
Player versus player (PvP) combat does not become available until the player character is level 5. Player characters invite other characters to duel by attacking, though these attacks do not deal any damage. Before patch 7.5, they dealt nominal damage. If the player being attacked fires back, the damage being inflicted between the two players is regulated, but only if there is a large level gap between them. Players who are close to the same level inflict full damage with no restrictions. Player characters who are severely different in level have their damage placed on a curve with the higher level player doing less damage than they normally would at their level, while the lower level player does more.
If the opposing player responds but then dies, they can seek revenge. If they kill the initial instigating player, they receive double the rewards. Killers can collect any junk their target drops.
If a player continues to attack another player and that player has not responded, but eventually is killed by the instigating player, the player who did the killing has a bounty placed on their head. They receive no loot or experience for killing the opposing player. The now-hunted player is visible to all other players on the map, indicated by a red star. They also cannot see anybody else on the map. Killing the marked player results in higher-than-normal rewards.
Survival mode was a more competitive way to play Fallout 76 that was separate from the main game, had fewer PvP restrictions, higher stakes for PvP combat and a permanent XP bonus. It was released in a beta form as part of the Wild Appalachia update with patch 7.5 on March 26, 2019. There was also a scoreboard system, as well as new weekly challenges that had legendary rewards. Upon hitting Play from the Main Menu, a choice was given to play either the standard Adventure mode or Survival mode. As of October 1, 2019, the Survival mode beta has been brought offline on all platforms and is no longer playable.
Private Worlds is a mode where players with the Fallout 1st subscription can play on their own "private server." It was released on October 23, 2019, along with patch 14. The server holds up to eight players and has better server stability than Adventure mode servers. Any progress made on the server is not saved, such as taking a workshop, farming junk spots, killing enemies, etc.
If the server host leaves and no other players within the server have a Fallout 1st subscription, remaining players have a 30 minute grace period to leave before the server shuts down. However, if a player other than the original server host has a Fallout 1st subscription, the server will not shut down.
The idea for Fallout 76 arose out of a desire to implement multiplayer into the Fallout 4 engine. Eventually, a decision was made to develop this as a standalone project. Development of 76 commenced at the Austin, Texas, branch of Bethesda Game Studios shortly before the release of Fallout 4. Fallout 76 was the first Bethesda game to use tools for automatic bounced lights. Prior to this, all Bethesda games had their bounced lights manually placed by hand.
Despite the initial lack of human NPCs, Fallout 76 has more voice lines than any previous game in the series, and this record was broken even before the Wastelanders update. Several voice actors for the game used Governor Jim Justice as reference for replicating a West Virginian accent; specifically, a YouTube video of Justice discussing the state's budget was highlighted by voice director Kal-El Bogdanove. For the Wastelanders update, Bethesda Softworks actually went over their budget for voice actors now that human NPCs were being added to the game.
The game was officially unveiled at E3 2018. A beta version, the B.E.T.A. (Break-it Early Test Application), was available to those who pre-ordered the game. The beta began on October 23 for Xbox One and on October 30 for PC and PS4. The game's servers were only up for a few hours at a time, in order to test large amounts of players online at the same time. Player progress made during the beta was carried over into the full game.
Active periods for the beta were scheduled as follows:
- October 23rd, from 7:00pm EDT to 11:00pm EDT (Xbox One)
- October 27th, from 5:00pm EDT to 7:00pm EDT (Xbox One)
- October 28th, from 12:00pm EDT to 2:00pm EDT (Xbox One)
- October 30th, from 7:00pm EDT to 11:00pm EDT (all platforms)
- November 1st, from 2:00pm EDT to 11:00pm EDT (all platforms)
- November 3rd, from 5:00pm EDT to 9:00pm EDT (all platforms)
- November 4th, from 2:00pm EST to 9:00pm EST (all platforms)
- November 6th, from 1:00pm EST to 3:00pm EST (all platforms)
- November 8th, from 2:00pm EST to 8:00pm EST (all platforms)
The origin of the Wastelanders update and the addition of human NPCs to the game is somewhat unclear. According to Marc Tardif in June 2019, content containing living human characters was initially "not even on [the] radar" for Bethesda, and community feedback was the driving force behind the development of the update. However, lead designer Ferret Baudoin stated in August 2020 that, from the beginning of development, some developers disagreed with the idea of excluding human NPCs in the base game. Despite this, there were a number of logistical issues that prevented human NPCs from appearing at launch, as it would have further complicated an already difficult technical process. Baudoin said that, as such, adding back human characters was actually on the radar "from a very early point."
Power Armor edition
The Power Armor edition of Fallout 76 features a wearable T-51b power armor helmet, a West Tek bag, an exclusive Tricentennial steel book, 24 collectible Fallout figurines, a glow-in-the-dark world terrain map of West Virginia, various Tricentennial Edition bonus in-game items, and access to the Fallout 76 B.E.T.A. The bag included in the Power Armor edition was originally intended to be a canvas duffel bag, but, due to difficulties with obtaining materials, Bethesda ultimately changed the bag material to nylon. On December 3, 2018, Bethesda announced that they would be providing canvas bags to those that submit proof of purchase of the Power Armor edition by January 31, 2019. Ultimately, the replacement canvas bags began to be delivered to customers by June 14, 2019.
The Tricentennial edition of Fallout 76 features:
- Tricentennial power armor customization for the T-51, T-45, T-60 and X-01 power armors
- Tricentennial weapon customization for the 10mm pistol, hatchet and laser rifle
- The spectacularly handsome Vault Boy mascot head
- A patriotic Uncle Sam outfit
- A celebratory Vault Boy saluting emote
- First-class tricentennial workshop posters
- Tricentennial commemorative photo frame
- Access to the Fallout 76 B.E.T.A.
The Wastelanders edition of Fallout 76 features:
- Fallout 76
Wastelanders Deluxe edition
The Wastelanders Deluxe edition of Fallout 76 features:
500 Atoms Pack
Unlike the the normal game this version came with
- Fallout 76
- 500 Atoms
- Requires 64-bit processor and operating system
- OS: Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit OS required)
- Processor: Intel Core i5-6600k 3.5 GHz/AMD Ryzen 3 1300X 3.5 GHz or equivalent
- Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 780 3GB/AMD Radeon R9 285 2GB or equivalent
- Memory: 8GB RAM
- Storage: 100GB of free disk space
- Requires 64-bit processor and operating system
- OS: Windows 10
- Processor: Intel Core i7-4790 3.6 GHz/AMD Ryzen 5 1500X 3.5 GHz
- Graphics: Nvidia GTX 970 4GB / AMD R9 290X 4GB
- Memory: 8GB RAM
- Storage: Over 100GB of free disk space
Updates, or add-ons, in Fallout 76 are different from previous games. With the online nature of the game, add-ons function as a series of updates spanning a certain period of time featuring new content. All of this content is free and is incorporated into the game. These include:
- Wild Appalachia - Released on March 13, 2019, introduced new features, creatures and quests.
- Nuclear Winter - Released on June 10, 2019, includes a 52-player battle royale gameplay mode.
- Wastelanders - Released on April 14, 2020, added human NPCs to the game for the first time.
- The Legendary Run - Released on June 30, 2020, introduced the seasons system.
- One Wasteland For All - Released on September 15, 2020, featured a substantial balance overhaul across the entire game.
- Steel Dawn - Planned for release in the Winter of 2020.
Tales from the West Virginia Hills
- ↑ Fallout 76 trailer at E3 2018
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Fallout 76 - Official reveal from Bethesda.net
- ↑ YouTube live at E3 2018 Monday: Ninja, PlayStation & Ubisoft Press Conferences (Official Livestream)
- ↑ Pete Hines' twitter
- ↑ Map Image
- ↑ Additional map image
- ↑ Pete Hines' Twitter
- ↑ Everything Bethesda Showed at E3 2018
- ↑ Bethesda Game Studios on Twitter
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 The New Wasteland: What to Expect From Fallout 76
- ↑ Bethesda Confirms Fallout 76 is an Online Survival RPG
- ↑ Fallout 76: Check Out the Emote Wheel
- ↑ Fallout 76 es presentado
- ↑ Gamerant NPC quests article
- ↑ PCgamesn quest article
- ↑ IGN Todd Howard demo E3 2018
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 QuakeCon 2018 Q&A
- ↑ The Making of Fallout 76 - Noclip Documentary
- ↑ Nate Purkeypile on Twitter: "Until 76 all of the bounced light was done by hand with manually placed lights. It's time consuming but the artistic control is nice. Good tools are key to covering this much space."
- ↑ "Fallout 76 Actually Has More Voice Lines Than Any Previous Game" at VGR.com
- ↑ Kal-El Bogdanove on Reddit: "Hi! Voice director from the game here. Little-known tidbit: lots of our voice actors used videos of gov Jim Justice as ref for the WV accent. This one in particular:
Thanks for playing!"
- ↑ "Fallout 76 Wastelanders Broke Bethesda's Voice Acting Budget" at GameSpot
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Introducing the Fallout 76 Power Armor Edition | Bethesda.net
- ↑ Fallout 76 | B.E.T.A. Update + Info
- ↑ Fallout 76 – Our Future Begins… Together in B.E.T.A!
- ↑ FALLOUT 76 B.E.T.A. 'WILL BE THE FULL GAME' AND PROGRESS WILL CARRY OVER
- ↑ Windows Central - Fallout 76 BETA schedule: All times and dates
- ↑ @BethesdaStudios: "We know some users have been forced to redownload the #Fallout76 B.E.T.A. and not everyone will be able to enjoy the game tonight. To make good, we’ll be extending the B.E.T.A. for everyone on Thursday, November 1, 2pm to 11pm ET. Thanks for your patience. #ExtendtheBeta"
- ↑ "Wastelanders wasn’t even on our radar": the Fallout 76 community is the reason we're getting human NPCs
- ↑ Bethesda Fallout 76 Interview ~ QuakeCon At Home 2020:
Ferret Baudoin: "It was talked about almost immediately, as soon as we started coming up with sort of the design for what this game would be. There were developers that didn't agree, that said, y'know, right out of the gate, we should make it to where there's talking NPCs and the more traditional fixtures of a Bethesda RPG. It would've added an enormous amount of technical challenge on something that was already...like, the Russian judge was giving us like 'oh, that's a 12/10 for technical difficulty' already. There were straight up logistical reasons, like 'you do wanna ship this, right?' But it was something that was...it was on our radar from a very early point."
- ↑ Kotaku - Fallout 76 Power Armor Edition promised fancy bag, delivers nylon
- ↑ Kotaku - At Long Last, The Canvas Fallout 76 Bags Have Arrived
- ↑ Metascore for Fallout 76 on PC, Metacritic, Retrieved May 19, 2020
- ↑ Metascore for Fallout 76 on PS4, Metacritic, Retrieved May 19, 2020
- ↑ Metascore for Fallout 76 on Xbox One, Metacritic, Retrieved May 19, 2020