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Fallout 76 is a post-apocalyptic multiplayer online role-playing 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 Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on November 14, 2018.

In 2022, it was announced that developers Double Eleven and Sperasoft would be co-developing Fallout 76 alongside Bethesda, especially with content such as asset creation.[1][2] Fallout 76 receives free seasonal updates via patches and new content is planned for at least roughly 2027.[3]

Setting

The story is set in Appalachia, comprising the former state of West Virginia. The player takes the role of a dweller from Vault 76 as they attempt to reunite with their missing overseer. On their journey, the dweller discovers how Appalachia has been devastated by and suffered from the fallout, and crosses paths with different factions with conflicting ideas on how to revitalize or conquer Appalachia.

Fallout 76 originally began on October 23, 2102 (Reclamation Day), 25 years after the Great War. Time progressed by one year with the release of additional updates, the starting year being 2103 with the Wastelanders update, and 2104 with the Steel Reign update. This places the game's story before that of any previous games.

Described by Todd Howard as a "prequel" to the series,[4] the game delves deeper into the lore of various entries, such as Fallout's Forced Evolutionary Virus, the Brotherhood of Steel and Roger Maxson, whose voice is heard for the first time in Fallout 76. The Enclave introduced in Fallout 2 is expanded upon and the G.E.C.K. has a cameo. The Pitt from Fallout 3 will be explored in the Expeditions: The Pitt update in 2022; additionally, the Vault 76 overseer almost became the overseer of Vault 101 and some characters such as Jen come from the Capital Wasteland or the Pitt. There are various minor connections with Fallout 4, such as the universe of Hubris Comics, Elliot Manfield, the Mistress of Mystery's actress Shannon Rivers, and a Nuka-World collaboration called Nuka-World on Tour. Robert House from Fallout: New Vegas is mentioned in a terminal and the Ultra-Luxe casino is mentioned in an incident.

Gameplay

The Forest is the starting region after leaving Vault 76

According to Todd Howard, Appalachia's map is four times the size of Fallout 4.[5] He also emphasized the environment has more detail than Fallout 4, and that the game would utilize an open-world environment. Random encounters return. One player can have up to five characters under the same account. Each server has its own weather and time of day with occasional verdant seasons for better harvest yields. Due to its multiplayer nature, it is not possible to manually save, as the game instead keeps track of every action the player does, such as moving around the map or dropping an item.

Engaged in a conversation with Batter

Fallout 76 has changes and convenient quality-of-life features over past Fallout games. Moving away from the controversial dialogue system of Fallout 4, players can now see their full responses, and conversations often have checks for factors such as SPECIAL, items and quest progress. Players can now fast travel from indoors and with enemies nearby as long as they are not attacked within fifteen seconds, although caps are now required for fast travel with some exceptions. The inventory now has a tab for newly obtained items. Armor and apparel, as well as food and aid, are now distinct categories. The menu now differentiates between main and side quests. Quest markers now show the names of objectives. The player can use an easily readable semi-transparent menu HUD instead of the Pip-Boy. Players can now return to the top of the Pip-Boy menu by scrolling past the bottom item and vice-versa. Floating damage numbers can be enabled in the options. The Night of the Moth update added the ability to quickly loot all enemies within a certain radius, and the keyring absent in Fallout 4 was re-added.

Mods are currently not officially supported by Bethesda as they were in Fallout 4, although in August 2020, Jeff Gardiner mentioned that the team were working on an official mod support system.[6] Bethesda has not banned players for unofficial mods, though cheats or hacks are grounds for account termination. For example, players have been banned for duplicating items.

Multiplayer and communication

Two Vault Dwellers exploring Clarksburg

While Fallout 76 was designed to be played with others, solo play is possible, either by being asocial and ignoring other players, or by using a private server via the game's subscription service. Most quests can be solved solo, with only a few events requiring to team up with others.

Fallout 76 has hundreds of servers, each one having a maximum capacity of twenty-four players. To prevent griefing, players are forced into a random server upon logging in, with the exception of joining a friend's server. Players can team up into squads with a maximum of four people by joining a "public team" which offers group benefits.

Interaction with other players is done via the emote wheel and voice chat. Players can also write custom messages in build mode using neon letters, for example. Hate speech and extreme toxicity are grounds for a ban, however.[7]

Combat and equipment

Main article: Fallout 76 combat

Combat is similar to Fallout 4. Due to the game's multiplayer nature, V.A.T.S. is now real-time. It can now be used mid-air. The ability to target body parts in V.A.T.S. now requires a perk card.

Weapons and armor have durability and will need to be repaired occasionally using in-game materials. Repair kits can also be used which may be purchased or sometimes given out for free from the Atomic Shop, may be obtained after completing events, or may be obtained from the seasonal scoreboard. Weapons and armor now have level requirements with the max level cap at 50. Some equipment known as legendary equipment have modifiers called "legendary effects" which each star by its name indicating the amount of legendary effects it has. Using modules, players can "roll" a weapon for different effects in a process known as legendary crafting.

Events and nukes

The nuclear launch room where nukes are fired

Nukes can be used following the completion of the main quest, I Am Become Death. To launch a nuke, a player must visit one of the three main missile silos; Site Alpha, Site Bravo or Site Charlie, all of which have identical layouts. After a series of small tasks, the player can launch a nuke using a nuclear keycard and a launch code, the latter of which changes weekly. When utilized, the resulting nuclear blast zone is highly radioactive, and while it holds valuable resources and high level enemies, entering it requires a high Radiation Resistance. Any C.A.M.P. caught in a blast zone will be destroyed, while a player will be instant-killed. Excluding a protected part of the Forest starting region, nukes can be launched anywhere.

The Radiation Rumble event where players collect ore while defeating waves of enemies

A variety of different Events are ongoing in each server. A player favorite, Radiation Rumble is the go-to event for fast character progression in which players fight waves of enemies. Two specific events, A Colossal Problem and Scorched Earth, require a player to nuke either Monongah Mine or the area around fissure site Prime in the southeastern Cranberry Bog. The first allows to fight Earle Williams, while the second results in an encounter with a scorchbeast queen, both of which are considered the end-game bosses. A third world boss resembling a gargantuan mole rat is coming with the Nuka-World on Tour update. Daily Ops are events in which up to four players race against time to complete objectives in one of ten maps.

NPCs and quest system

At launch, voiced robots such as Rose were used to initiate quests

Quests at launch were akin to found-world quests.[8] They were largely received through holotape recordings, terminals and notes.[9] Robots were also utilized to deliver the story of the quest and other traditional roles played by NPCs in past iterations.[10] There are robots and other creatures with personalities also engaged in bartering. At launch, almost all other living characters met by a player were those of other players at release.[11][12] The Wastelanders update introduced living characters who now give quests.

Due to the multiplayer format, many quests are instanced. For players to assist each other in an instanced mission, they require the team leader to enter a location first. Other members of the team can assist the team leader in their instance, although they will not have progress done on their own character. Members can listen to the team leader's dialogue with NPCs as well.

Due to the online shared nature of the world, with the exception of a few moments during quests, or some wandering NPCs outdoors, NPCs can not be killed or harmed by the player. They can not be pickpocketed and they do not react to the player looting items in their vicinity. Nuking an area with NPCs will result in them wearing hazmat suits.

Survival elements

Todd Howard described Fallout 76 as a "softcore survival game."[13] Death does not result in loss of progression; instead, players merely drop all their junk items on-hand. Players can retrieve their junk left behind in a bag, indicated by a map icon, though other players may steal it. Sometimes players are downed instead of killed, in which case another player can use a stimpak to revive them. Like previous Fallout games, the player can sleep in beds to restore their health, but due to the time of day being uniform in the server, sleeping does not advance time.

Charleston Station

Appalachia has a railway connecting various train stations which can help supply the player. There are also thirteen lookout towers where the player can examine the landscape at the top which will add new locations to the world map.

Initially, food and drinks were important to help survive as starving would result in continual HP damage while being dehydrated would limit the maximum AP. This was later patched out, so that being more well-fed will grant more max HP and disease resistance, while being hydrated will boost AP regeneration and disease resistance.

Fo76 Stash box standard.png

Inventory management is a huge part of the game. Every player has their own instanced stashbox with a current maximum capacity of 1200. Stashboxes have the same contents no matter where they are accessed. Each character has their own stashbox, meaning a player has a total of 6000; it is a common practice for players to find others to help them transfer items between characters to take advantage of this. Fallout 1st players have access to a scrapbox which allows them to place unlimited amounts of components in it as long as their subscription is active.

Diseases act as temporary debuffs and can be acquired by various means; by being submerged underwater without protective headwear, sleeping on the ground, or by fighting diseased enemies. While diseases do not last longer than an hour, they can be removed prematurely by using antibiotics, disease cure or a Sympto-Matic. A special sulphur water fountain in a gazebo near the The Whitespring Golf Club will also cure diseases.

Mutations can be developed, either by being exposed to radiation, or by using a special serum. They are an important gameplay mechanic, and each mutation gives both advantages and disadvantages. They may be removed by RadAway, unless the second rank of the Starched Genes perk is equipped. Their effects can be temporarily suppressed by taking Rad-X.

Crafting is a major part of the game. Players loot junk items from the world, and scrap them into raw components, with which they can build a variety of items, ranging from weapons, ammunition, armor, furniture, to consumables such as food and medicine. Raw components are also required to repair weapons and armor, as they gradually deteriorate, with higher quality equipment requiring rarer components. Certain items also require plans or recipes in order to be crafted. Ore can be harvested from mineral deposits, which can then be smelted at a chemistry station.

Backpacks can be used to increase carry weight. A plan for small backpacks can be found exploring Morgantown Airport. A larger backpack involves the completion of the side quest The Order of the Tadpole.

Faction reputation

An example of a player's reputation

Two distinct factions were introduced with the Wastelanders storyline: The Raiders and the Settlers, located in the Crater and Foundation, respectively. A reputation mechanic allows for the player to slowly improve their standing with either faction. Certain decisions in quests can increase the reputation with a faction, and daily quests available in each faction's settlement guarantee that the reputation with both can be maxed out. The benefit of a high reputation lies in having access to more plans at a faction's trader. There is generally no reputation loss for killing members of a faction.

Housing, workshops and allies

An example of a player-made C.A.M.P., a system that allows players to build and decorate houses, manage supplies and grow food

The Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform, or C.A.M.P. for short, is a key feature which allows players to construct their own dwellings. It can be moved to another location for a small amount of caps. Players on a private team can build objects at their teammate's C.A.M.P. even when the owner has not learned the plan for the object built, as long as it is not Atomic Shop. Players can also freely use furniture and appliances at another's C.A.M.P., though bypassing locked objects will result in the "wanted" penalty. Buildable vending machines let players buy and sell items to others. C.A.M.P.s can be attacked by hostile creatures or other players, and all destroyed parts of a C.A.M.P. can be instantly repaired as long as the player has the materials.

While initially only one C.A.M.P. per character was allowed, a free second slot arrived with the One Wasteland For All update, which also introduced shelters. Shelters have less strict building restrictions when it comes to placing items, as they are interior locations and not part of the actual game world, even though some items cannot be built inside them. Additional C.A.M.P. slots and shelter variants can be purchased from the Atomic Shop.

Workshops are temporary C.A.M.P.s primarily used for material farming. Each workshop has a predefined amount of resource deposits available, which can be harvested by building mineral extractors. Just like shelters, certain items are prohibited from being built at a workshop. Control over a workshop is lost if a player leaves a server.

Much like settlements in Fallout 4, C.A.M.P.s, shelters, and workshops all have a budget limiting the number of items that can be built. Each buildable item has its own value contributing to the budget.

Sofia Daguerre, a possible C.A.M.P. ally

Allies act like housemates and each one has their own piece of furniture which can be placed at a C.A.M.P to summon them. Only one ally can be active at any given time. Three allies (settler wanderer, settler forager, raider punk) can be recruited if they are found wandering outside; these allies assign daily quests resembling radiant quests. Sofia Daguerre and Beckett, found in fixed locations, are unique in that they offer their own narrative questlines. An additional seven "lite allies" were obtainable through seasonal scoreboards; if they were not, they may be obtained after maxing Foundation's reputation and spending 4000 gold. Allies have their unique benefits; they may be vendors or offer certain temporary bonuses; for example, speaking with Maul temporarily raises Strength. Certain bonuses, such as Lover's Embrace, may only be accessed after meeting a personal reputation criteria. With the exception of Daphne and Maul, the player can customize their ally's clothes.

Abilities and perk card system

An example of a card deck build

Abilities in Fallout 76 are tied to a unique card deck system with a little over 200 cards available with different abilities and buffs. After completing the initial release from the vault (level 2), players gain a point and need to build their SPECIAL attributes by filling their slots with cards. The seven categories are each presented to the player in the form of perk cards. Players can then build on those SPECIALs by adding additional cards (perks) to them.

Initially, players receive a Perk Card Pack every two levels up to level 10. 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.

A rank 1 Luck card that may be leveled to rank 3 via combining the same card

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, and the 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 50, players are still able to pick a perk card but no longer receive SPECIAL points.

There are also cards that buff a player's 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, and the rank of the card that can be shared is based on the Charisma SPECIAL stat. For every three points of Charisma, one perk card point can be shared.

Legendary perks unlock after level 50 and allow the player to equip certain perk cards and rank up their effects using perk coins. Each star on a card represents a value of 2 perk coins upon being scrapped.

A punch card machine allows readjustments to builds

From level 25 onward, punch card machines can be utilized for different SPECIAL Loadouts. They allow for easy re-distribution of SPECIAL points for loadouts, and also for changing the currently active loadout.

PvP

Player versus player (PvP) combat becomes available when the player character is level 5, and it is only available to players who have Pacifist Mode disabled in the game's settings. 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 offender will have a bounty placed on their head and are "wanted". They receive no loot or experience for killing the opposing player. The now-hunted player is visible to all others 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.

Fallout Worlds and private worlds

Fallout Worlds was added to the game, allowing players to play in a rotating Public World for free, which offers a unique customized setting. Fallout 1st subscribers have access to Custom Worlds, allowing them to choose the individual settings. No character progress carries over into the main adventure mode.

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.

Expeditions

Fallout_76_-_Expeditions-_The_Pitt_-_Story_Trailer

Fallout 76 - Expeditions- The Pitt - Story Trailer

The Pitt, the locale of the first Expedition

Expeditions are an upcoming system coming to Fallout 76 in September 2022, taking a role similar to add-ons from previous Fallout games. The system allows players to visit cities outside of Appalachia. Expeditions feature repeatable mission-based content, new NPCs and quests. The first in the series is Expeditions: The Pitt. After The Pitt, the next Expedition will feature a new city never seen before in the Fallout series. To access an Expedition, players will need to head to the Whitespring Resort.

Defunct game modes

Fallout 76 has had a few game modes that have been removed from the game:

  • Survival mode was a more competitive way to play 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. Survival mode went defunct on October 1, 2019. Its spiritual successor is the "High Risk" Public World setting.
  • Nuclear Winter was a battle royale mode that debuted on June 10, 2019. It went defunct in late 2021.
  • Vault raids were introduced alongside Nuclear Winter. They went defunct April 14, 2020, and their spiritual successor are Daily Ops.

Seasons, S.C.O.R.E. and scoreboards

An example of a seasonal scoreboard based on the adventures of K.D. Inkwell

Seasons last for roughly three months, and with each season, a new scoreboard is added to Fallout 76. Daily and weekly challenges, such as obtaining purified water, defeating mole miners or visiting a teammate's shelter, can be completed in order to gain S.C.O.R.E., which is automatically used to rank up and progress on the scoreboard. Each rank increases the amount of S.C.O.R.E. required to reach the next rank. Rewards can be claimed directly from scoreboard, and are usually only available for the duration of a season. With recent updates, Bethesda has started to make certain items of past seasons available via plans, which can be bought in exchange for gold bullion from certain traders.

Currencies

Main article: Fallout 76 currency

Fallout 76 uses four major currencies: Caps, gold bullion, legendary scrip, and Atoms. Several minor forms of currency also exist. Caps are most frequently used for the majority of transactions with vendors and other players. They are awarded for completing quests, can be found in stashes and other containers, or on defeated enemies. Gold bullion is primarily obtained by exchanging Treasury Notes, and is used to buy plans that are rare or unobtainable otherwise. Vendors accepting gold bullion are Minerva, Regs at Vault 79, Samuel at Foundation and Mortimer at the Crater. Legendary scrip is obtained from completing daily quests, or by exchanging legendary weapons and armor at a legendary exchange machine. Scrip can be used to buy random weapons and armor parts, as well as crafting components such as legendary modules, from Purveyor Murmrgh at the Rusty Pick.

Atoms can be obtained through different methods; by completing lifetime challenges, by ranking up S.C.O.R.E. on the scoreboard during a season, or by purchasing them using real-world money (100 Atoms are akin to US$1.) Most challenges are tied to the account rather than a created character; for example, collecting 760 wood only grants Atoms once, collecting the same amount with another character does nothing. However, this also means that progression can be shared between characters; for example, a player could collect 500 wood with one character and 260 wood with another in order to obtain the Atoms for the challenge. Completing a scoreboard will net the player 500 Atoms, and additional 100 Atoms for each 10th rank after rank 100.

Atomic Shop

Atomic Shop

Atoms can be used in the Atomic Shop for a variety of items. They include purely cosmetic effects in form of skins or paints for weapons and armors, furniture and other object for C.A.M.P. decoration, or emotes. The contents of the Atomic Shop are updated every 7 days, with certain bundles being available for as long as 14 days. Past offers are usually returning at some point, though it is impossible to say if or when. An item, such as a nuclear keycard or a repair kit, is available for free every 24 hours.

Setting and story

Appalachia is divided into six distinct regions, coded by color on the map

The game is set in Appalachia, comprising the former state of West Virginia. Appalachia, as explored in the game, consists of six distinct regions: the Forest, Ash Heap, Toxic Valley to the west, the Savage Divide in the center, and the Mire and Cranberry Bog in the east. Drawing from real-life inspiration, various West Virginia cities have been adapted into Fallout 76 such as Point Pleasant, Charleston, Welch, Beckley, Lewisburg, Summersville, Sutton, Clarksburg, Morgantown, Flatwoods, and Harpers Ferry. However, their locations have been re-arranged compared to a real-life map of West Virginia. Some locations such as Camden Park, the New River Gorge Bridge and Mothman Museum exist in real life, while The Greenbrier was adapted into the Whitespring Resort and Woodburn Circle into Vault-Tec University.

Several creatures from local folklore, such as the Mothman, Flatwoods monster, Grafton monster, Wendigo, or Sheepsquatch, were also taken over for the game.

Original questline

Vault 76's opening ceremony on July 4th, 2076

Vault 76 is one of the 17 control vaults designed without an experiment; physical, psychological or social. Manufactured by the Vault-Tec Corporation, Vault 76 was designed to commemorate the 300 years since America's founding due to its opening in 2076. The player characters, the Vault Dwellers, some of the best and brightest of America, survived the nuclear blasts from China during the Great War on October 23, 2077. 25 years later on Reclamation Day in 2102, the Vault Dwellers emerge from Vault 76, having been sent on a quest to rebuild Appalachia by their overseer, who left the vault before the rest of the inhabitants.

A Scorched, a victim of the Scorched Plague

The Vault Dwellers discover a world in ruins with robotic Chinese Liberator robots still running amok. The Vault Dwellers learn about the Scorched Plague, a virus transforming survivors into Scorched, and the emergence of scorchbeasts spreading the virus which are gigantic mutated bats.[14] 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, as well as her fiancé Evan. In the process, the player character becomes familiar with different pre- and post-War factions, and how they coped with the disaster, or were destroyed by it.

They first become familiar with the defunct Responders led by Maria Chavez, a humanitarian relief effort formed after the War but dissolved in 2096.[15] With the research efforts of a Responder named Claire Hudson, the player character vaccinates themselves in an old medical center. Hudson's message sends the player character to become part of the Fire Breathers, once led by Melody Larkin, and they learn about Hank Madigan, a Fire Breather seeking to eradicate the Scorched.

Searching Hank's trail, the player character meets a robot named Rose at the Top of the World; Hank's body is trapped in a cage, having been killed by raiders. Rose's personality and voice is based on a raider woman named Rosalynn Jeffries. Rosalynn's boyfriend, David Thorpe, would later design the robot after her. David was lied to about Rosalynn being killed by the Responders; he used a mini nuke to avenge her by destroying the Summersville Dam dam on Christmas morning. This caused Summersville Lake to catastrophically flood Charleston, actually killing Rosalynn, and over one thousand other survivors and Responder members in what would be known as the Christmas Flood.[16] Rose requests the player character to find an old Raider stash. After seeing they can be trusted, Rose helps them obtain Hank's uplink, a device that can locate Scorched, but it was broken by Raiders.

To help repair the device, Rose sends the player character to the bunker of Abigayle "Abbie" Singh, who was developing the project. The player character becomes familiar with an anarchist group Abbie was part of, the Free States, who distrusted Vault-Tec and, apprehensive about the United States' government's ties to the corporation, decided to build their own bunkers instead in the Mire. Abbie survived the War in her family's bunker and learned about the Scorched threat which took over Harpers Ferry in 2086. Her deceased father built a defense detection system against them, although its sensors were damaged by the swampland humidity. Although Abbie took over and quit the project out of difficulty, the player character is able to bring it to fruition after finding the access codes located in a terminal owned by Sam Blackwell, another Free States member.[17][18]

Taggerdy's Thunder led by Elizabeth Taggerdy, which became the Appalachian Brotherhood of Steel

Although Scorched can become detected, the player character still requires weapons to fight against them and the scorchbeasts. Abbie's message informs about the Appalachian Brotherhood of Steel. The player character heads to Fort Defiance, previously known as Allegheny Asylum, and learns the Brotherhood in Appalachia was led by Elizabeth Taggerdy, which was adapted from the Taggerdy's Thunder unit due to Elizabeth's close ties with Roger Maxson, whom she communicated with over a radio transmitter from California. Elizabeth pleaded with Maxson to grant her team permission to use nuclear weapons against the scorchbeasts but was forbidden by him because he found the concept of using nuclear weapons, even to help fight the scorchbeasts, to be too morally abhorrent after their world was destroyed by nukes.[19]

Searching for her, the player character finds out the fate of the Brotherhood in a cavern after the group attempted Operation Touchdown.[20] It turns out that nuclear strikes are essential to defeating the scorchbeasts. The player character attempts to fulfill the overseer's desire to secure one of the missile silos in the region in order to launch a nuclear weapon to fight the scorchbeasts spreading the plague, protecting humanity by preventing the plague from spreading beyond the boundaries of Appalachia.

A scorchbeast queen emerging after a nuke launch

After doing more investigation into Sam Blackwell, as Taggerdy's notes suggested he could be the key to unlocking the nuclear silos, the player character learns of a bunker under The Whitespring Resort and goes there in hopes of finding survivors. There, they discover the bunker was used by the Enclave, the remnants of the United States government. They encounter the Enclave's AI, MODUS, and also discover the scorchbeasts are a bioweapon unleashed by Enclave leader Thomas Eckhart in 2086 in order to overcome DEFCON.[21] With MODUS' assistance, the player character launches a nuke, inviting other vault dwellers to fight against the scorchbeasts and their virus. However, the overseer has left behind a frustrated holotape for the vault dwellers who chose to launch nukes for any purpose other than destroying the scorchbeasts.

Wastelanders

Duchess in the Wayward bar

Wastelanders was a major content overhaul to Fallout 76, featuring human NPCs. Wastelanders begins on October 23, 2103. In order to begin the Wastelanders storyline, the player finds Isela Mejia and Lacey Drummond outside Vault 76 when they first leave, who are disappointed they are having difficulties locating a rumored treasure. Afterward, the player is directed to The Wayward bar, where they encounter a woman, Duchess, being held at gunpoint by Batter.

After a series of events, the Vault Dweller reunites with their overseer at her house, who has returned due to her curiosity of the new people arriving in Appalachia, even despite her disgust at the portion of her vault dwellers who used the nukes like playthings. The Scorched Plague is relevant in this storyline, as well as efforts in order to widely spread a vaccine against it. After the people have been inoculated, the overseer convinces the Vault Dweller to see the value of revitalizing the economy with a gold-based currency, hoping it will bring humanity together in the end. The Vault Dweller and the overseer learn about Vault 79, the site of the rumored treasure, and discover the vault may hold the country's gold reserves.

The atrium of Vault 79

The Vault Dweller meets two new groups that have settled in Appalachia; the Raiders at Crater led by a woman named Meg Groberg, and the friendlier Settlers at Foundation led by a man named Paige. The Vault Dweller can learn more about the people within each faction and the struggles they face. However, the Vault Dweller must eventually choose which of the two factions to raid the vault with. Regardless of the faction, a socially isolated ghoul (Penelope Hornwright or Lucky Lou) will, after an abduction, help break into the vault and try to find a home in the faction where they can be accepted in spite of their biology.

Steel Dawn and Steel Reign

Daniel Shin and Leila Rahmani, two opposing Brotherhood leaders

Steel Dawn and Steel Reign are a story revolving around a recent Brotherhood of Steel expedition arriving from California, the Brotherhood First Expeditionary Force, who were sent to re-establish contact with the original Appalachian Brotherhood. By the time of Steel Reign, the year is 2104.

This questline focuses on two members with conflicting ideals about where the Brotherhood should go; Knight Daniel Shin and Paladin Leila Rahmani, as well as the Scribe Odessa Valdez who acts as a mediator between the two. The story also focuses on some youth involved with the Brotherhood, such as young brothers named Colin Putnam and Marty Putnam who wish to join the Brotherhood to better humanity, an inexperienced member who lacks self-confidence named Erika Hewsen, as well as a young woman who blames the Brotherhood for her family's demise named Marcia Leone. To begin the Brotherhood questline, the player must be at least level 20 and will need to visit Fort Atlas and speak to Russell Dorsey.

Development

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 commenced shortly before the release of Fallout 4, at Bethesda Game Studios in Austin, Texas.[22] Fallout 76 is 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.[23]

Because the engine of Fallout 4 was tailored to only handle one player, the developers experienced difficulties modifying the engine to handle multiple players. Whether or not the game should have human non-player characters was a large debate in the developer team.[24] The developers agreed on a consensus to try an experimental approach in which other players took the role of non-player characters.

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 Wastelanders update.[25] 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 it was actually on the radar "from a very early point."

Despite the initial lack of human non-player characters, Fallout 76 has more voice lines than any previous game in the series,[26] and this record was broken even before the Wastelanders update. It also has more holotapes and notes than all previously released Fallout games added together. 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.[27] For the Wastelanders update, Bethesda Softworks actually went over their budget for voice actors, as human non-player characters were being added to the game.[28]

According to Bethesda's Pete Hines, the developers and writers took the lore and canon of the Fallout series very seriously when developing the game, which is why there were no living Raiders before the Wastelanders update, with the Scorched taking the role of human-like enemies. He commented, "Why would there be super mutants, or the Brotherhood of Steel? How does that all fit and hold together? There’s absolutely reasons and explanations for how all that ties to Fallout 76."[29]

Production

Music

Updates, such as Wastelanders and Steel Dawn, received their own soundtracks

Main article: Fallout 76 soundtrack

The soundtrack of Fallout 76 was composed by Inon Zur, who created the soundtracks for the previous Fallout games. The base soundtrack was originally around three hours in length, a little shorter than Fallout 4. However, more music was added to the game with its updates; Fallout 76 now has the most original music in the series so far with over four hours.

Developers

Main article: Fallout 76 developers

The project was headed by executive producer Todd Howard and directed by Jeff Gardiner and Chris Mayer; the game marked Jeff's departure from Bethesda who left in late 2021 after three years of working on Fallout 76 post-launch. The game was produced by Kay Gilmore, with Emil Pagliarulo and Mark Tucker as designers. Ferret Baudoin, who previously worked on Van Buren and designed the Hoover Dam in Fallout: New Vegas, worked on Fallout 76 as a writer and quest designer.

After the game's release, one of the game's quality assurance testers, Sara Matthews, passed away. A character bearing her name was added as a tribute to her.

Promotion

The game was officially unveiled at E3 2018, although the game was hinted at three years earlier in Fallout 4 with Vault 76 mentioned by the newscaster at the beginning of the game. On September 15 and 16 in Point Pleasant, Bethesda collaborated with the annual Mothman Festival and welcomed Fallout cosplayers to join, also giving away Fallout merchandise. This promotion event was first pitched by the Mothman Festival to Bethesda.[30] Bethesda also held an event at The Greenbrier, which served as inspiration for the The Whitespring Resort in Fallout 76, allowing players to play the game in a ballroom.[31]

At QuakeCon 2018, three months before release, Todd Howard attended a Q and A session where he explained how other players were going to replace NPCs, how the perk system would function, and more. Todd stressed that Fallout 76 upon release would not be the final version of the game, that it would be a live game constantly receiving updates, and that it could be a very different game several years in the future.[32]

A beta version, the B.E.T.A. (Break-it Early Test Application), was available to those who pre-ordered the game.[33][34] 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.[35] Player progress made during the beta was carried over into the full game.[36] Active periods for the beta were scheduled as followed.[37]

Fallout 76 BETA schedule
  • October 23, from 7:00pm EDT to 11:00pm EDT (Xbox One)
  • October 27, from 5:00pm EDT to 7:00pm EDT (Xbox One)
  • October 28, from 12:00pm EDT to 2:00pm EDT (Xbox One)
  • October 30, from 7:00pm EDT to 11:00pm EDT (all platforms)
  • November 1, from 2:00pm EDT to 11:00pm EDT (all platforms)[38]
  • November 3, from 5:00pm EDT to 9:00pm EDT (all platforms)
  • November 4, from 2:00pm EST to 9:00pm EST (all platforms)
  • November 6, from 1:00pm EST to 3:00pm EST (all platforms)
  • November 8, from 2:00pm EST to 8:00pm EST (all platforms)

Updates

The Fallout 76 2022 roadmap

Main article: Fallout 76 updates

Updates in Fallout 76 are different from the add-ons of 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.

Updates
Fallout 76 updates
FO76 LargeHero Wild Appalachia.png
Wild Appalachia
March 13, 2019
Wild Appalachia is the first major update for Fallout 76. A mythical beast, a lost generation of scouts, and the strongest brew this side of the wasteland. Welcome to Wild Appalachia – a series of new quests, features, events, crafting systems and more starting on March 12 and appearing over several weeks.
FO76 LargeHero Nuclear Winter.png
Nuclear Winter
June 10, 2019
Nuclear Winter is the second major update for Fallout 76. Summer will bring another series of major updates to Fallout 76, including Nuclear Winter - an entirely new way to play that changes the rules of the wasteland.
Fo76 LargeHero Wastelanders.png
Wastelanders
April 14, 2020
Wastelanders is the third major update for Fallout 76. Embark on a tale with true choice and consequences in Wastelanders – our biggest and most ambitious update for 76. Wastelanders will include a new main questline, new factions, new events, new features and even more surprises.
FO76 LargeHero Season1 (Legendary Run).png
The Legendary Run
June 30, 2020
The Legendary Run is the fourth major update for Fallout 76. From the makers of Unstoppables Shindig, Blast Radius, and Catch the Commie comes The Legendary Run - a new way to experience irradiated West Virginia. Each season brings a new progression of challenges to complete, plus exclusive rewards like Atom Bundles, Perk Card packs, and unique cosmetics.
FO76 Updated 2020 Roadmap - One Wasteland.png
One Wasteland For All
September 15, 2020
One Wasteland For All is the fifth major update for Fallout 76. Experience all that the Appalachian Wasteland has to offer no matter your level. Rebalanced combat and rewards scale to your level so players at different levels can easily team up to experience the entire world together---from the Toxic Valley to the Cranberry Bog.
Steel Dawn promo art.jpg
Steel Dawn
November 21, 2020
Steel Dawn is the sixth major update for Fallout 76. Later this year, the Brotherhood of Steel returns to Appalachia in search of new technology. The start of a new story arc, Steel Dawn will introduce new NPCs, quests, and companions to the West Virginia Wasteland.
FO76 LargeHero Locked and Loaded.png
Locked & Loaded
April 27, 2021
Locked & Loaded is the seventh major update for Fallout 76.[39] Containing an all-new Season, Scoreboard and Rewards, the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Loadouts and C.A.M.P. Slots features, a major expansion for Daily Ops, and much more![40]
FO76SR Campaign Art.png
Steel Reign
July 7, 2021
Steel Reign is the eighth major update for Fallout 76. The next chapter in the story of the Brotherhood of Steel, picking up where Steel Dawn left off.
FO76 Fallout Worlds keyart.png
Fallout Worlds
September 8, 2021
Fallout Worlds is the ninth major update for Fallout 76. The winds of change are coming, and with it an evolution to Private Worlds! Stay tuned to future Inside the Vault articles for more information as we get closer to release. We're also bringing another expansion to Daily Ops to bring you even more ways to play.
FO76 Night of the Moth BigHero Titled.png
Night of the Moth
December 8, 2021
Night of the Moth is the tenth major update for Fallout 76. Introduces The Mothman Equinox seasonal event, color settings for the Pip-Boy and quality-of-life changes to looting and Public events.
Invaders keyart fo76.jpg
Invaders from Beyond
March 1, 2022

Invaders from Beyond is the eleventh major update for Fallout 76. Introduces Invaders from Beyond seasonal event, SCORE is now obtainable in Public and Custom Worlds, and backpacks can now be hidden.
FO76 Test Your Metal logo.jpg
Test Your Metal
June 14, 2022

Test Your Metal is the twelfth major update for Fallout 76. Put your armor, weapons and grit to the test in multiple new-heartpounding public events. Introduces several new public events, as well as upgrades to the Fallout 1st scoreboard.
FO76 2022 Roadmap Expeditions The Pitt.png
Expeditions: The Pitt
Fall, 2022
Fallout 76 updates
Expeditions: The Pitt is the upcoming thirteenth major update for Fallout 76. This Expedition takes players to the irradiated ruins of Pittsburgh, now known far and wide as simply The Pitt. First introduced to players in Fallout 3, the devastated Pennsylvanian city has become dominated by mutated monstrosities and other threats. See what opportunities (and dangers) await in this new locale when this Expedition embarks for Fallout 76 in 2022!
Fo76 2022 Roadmap Nuka-World On Tour.png
Nuka-World on Tour
Winter, 2022
Fallout 76 updates
Nuka-World on Tour is the upcoming fourteenth major update for Fallout 76. The fizziest show on Earth has kicked the irradiated dust of the tires and hit the road. Next stop Appalachia! Introduces new events and a new regional boss.

Reception

Fallout 76 received a Metacritic metascore of 52/100 on PC, 49/100 on Xbox One, and 53/100 on PS4 in 2018.[41][42][43] The Wastelanders update received a 69/100 for PC in 2020.[44]

Behind the scenes

  • At E3 2019, Todd Howard commented on the disappointment with the launch of Fallout 76, mentioning he and the team were caught off-guard by the number of issues. He mentioned much criticism was deserved and that it should have had a longer beta test which is one of his biggest regrets about the game's development. He appreciated the continuing constructive criticism from fans to help make the game better.[45] In 2021, Todd mentioned, "We let people down and were able to learn and be better from it. We're fortunate 3 years later to have 76 be one of our most played games, and it's thanks to the 11 million players who have made it an incredible community. It's made us much better developers in the end."[46]
  • Bobby pins were originally 0.1 pounds. In 2019, a fan sent Todd Howard a package of bobby pins and asked him to weigh them.[47] The bobby pins were soon changed to weigh 0.001 pounds after.
  • Timothy Cain, the original creator of the Fallout series, mentioned he was disheartened by people who used his work on Fallout and Fallout 2 to put down Fallout 76. Leonard Boyarsky of Interplay and Obsidian mentioned, "Making games is very hard. No one sets out to make a bad game. People spend years of their lives..." and, "To have those games come out and not do well is a crushing experience."[48]

Gallery

Concept art

Video

Tales from the West Virginia Hills

External links

References

  1. Double Eleven: Adventure awaits in The Wastelands of Fallout 76
  2. Sperasoft announces development support for Fallout 76
  3. PC Gamer: Bethesda is working on a 'five-year roadmap' for Fallout 76
  4. Todd Howard @ E3 - Fallout 76/Starfield (0:18)
  5. Fallout 76 trailer at E3 2018
  6. PC Gamer: Bethesda confirms that Fallout 76 is still getting official mod support
  7. Fallout 76 Players Banned For Life After Saying They Plan To 'Eliminate All Gays'
  8. Gamerant NPC quests article
  9. PCgamesn quest article
  10. IGN Todd Howard demo E3 2018
  11. Fallout 76 - Official reveal from Bethesda.net
  12. YouTube live at E3 2018 Monday: Ninja, PlayStation & Ubisoft Press Conferences (Official Livestream)
  13. E3 2018 Fallout 76 reveal on YouTube.com
  14. Whitespring surveillance recording 5.4.8
  15. Fallout 76 loading screens: "After the Great War, Appalachia's emergency personnel mobilized to help their fellow citizens. These Responders became part government, part crisis relief."
  16. The Christmas Flood (holotape)
  17. Abbie's bunker terminal entries; Abbie's workstation, The Scorched Detection System (SDS)
  18. Coming to Fruition
  19. The nuclear option
  20. Belly of the Beast
  21. Whitespring surveillance recording 8.5.2
  22. The Making of Fallout 76 - Noclip Documentary
  23. 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."
  24. 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."
  25. "Wastelanders wasn’t even on our radar": the Fallout 76 community is the reason we're getting human NPCs
  26. "Fallout 76 Actually Has More Voice Lines Than Any Previous Game" at VGR.com
  27. 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McSF_Va_kaY Thanks for playing!"
  28. "Fallout 76 Wastelanders Broke Bethesda's Voice Acting Budget" at GameSpot
  29. GameStop: Why Fallout 76 Changes Series' Lore (Including The Brotherhood Of Steel
  30. Point Pleasant Register: Mothman Festival welcomes Fallout, Bethesda
  31. Mountain Messenger: Bethesda holds event at The Greenbrier ahead of Fallout 76 release
  32. QuakeCon 2018 Q&A
  33. Introducing the Fallout 76 Power Armor Edition | Bethesda.net
  34. Fallout 76 | B.E.T.A. Update + Info
  35. Fallout 76 – Our Future Begins… Together in B.E.T.A!
  36. FALLOUT 76 B.E.T.A. 'WILL BE THE FULL GAME' AND PROGRESS WILL CARRY OVER
  37. Windows Central - Fallout 76 BETA schedule: All times and dates
  38. @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"
  39. Jeff Gardiner tweet, 2-14-2021
  40. Inside the Vault: April 27, 2021
  41. Metascore for Fallout 76 on PC
  42. Metascore for Fallout 76 on PS4
  43. Metascore for Fallout 76 on Xbox One
  44. Metascore for Wastelanders on PC
  45. GameSpot: After Bethesda E3 2019 Conference, Todd Howard Opens Up About Fallout 76's Struggles
  46. Todd Howard Reddit AMA
  47. A Fallout 76 fan sent Bobby Pins to Todd Howard and told him to weigh them
  48. Obsidian Isn't Happy With Fans Bashing Bethesda And Fallout 76
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