Like so many other friends that I saw on Twitter, I spent longer than expected watching the Bethesda showcase on Sunday night. Thought it might have been 45 minutes, hour tops, but that sucker kept on going for 1.5 hours as the company kept announcing countless games and updates. Some were pretty paltry, some huge, but really, I was just there for one title: Fallout 76.
I think it’s safe to say that no matter what they announced, unless it was a piddly battle royale thing, I’d be playing it. But what I was hoping for, crossing my fingers for, was to see Fallout 76 take a step toward that Fallout MMO that I’ve always wanted.
I got more than I expected, really. Bethesda angered some, bewildered others, and absolutely delighted me by announcing that Fallout 76 would be a completely online game in a persistent world with standard questing, socialization, co-op, crafting, base building, and the like. There will be “dozens” of players on each small server shard that can bounce to others, keeping the world from getting overpopulated while still allowing folks to team up and fight. Huge world, movable bases, nuclear strikes, West Virginia, country roads take me home.
I’ll admit that I was standing up and cheering when Bethesda went full-fledged MMO here. Sure, they might not call it one and we can argue about the definition, but in my eyes, it is. There’s always that segment of the gaming community that treats the idea of “MMOs” like it’s poo that ruins anything it touches, but to me it’s the opposite. It takes good things and makes them potentially better with other players, persistent worlds, continual growth, and so on. Tacking that on to one of my favorite RPG franchises is welcome news to my ears.
I really like the setting and timeframe, too. I think it’s a good move to pull back to an earlier time frame when the world isn’t as broken down after the bombs dropped, which means that it won’t be as ugly and sun-bleached. Still a wasteland, still the same scavenger gameplay loop, but in a more colorful and life-filled environment. West Virginia isn’t a typical setting for games either (or any sort of media, really), and I’m glad it’s getting a shot here. It’s an inspired idea for a setting, especially with some of its nuclear-related locales and the Appalachian mountains. Might be kind of difficult to traverse up and down hills all the time, but we’ll see how that goes.
My biggest reservation is the PvP. Bethesda was unapologetic about including it into the game and encouraging players to blow each other’s heads off, and that’s certainly an aspect of survival sandboxes that has never interested me. Like Moxie said on Twitter, I’d rather be cooperative than competitive with others.
Even though the studio spent almost a half-hour talking and showing this game, I feel that there are a lot more specifics that we need to learn, especially how solo/multiplayer/PvP/grouping works. Can I avoid PvP entirely? Will there be server options for that? What about private servers? Bethesda said that players can fully solo if they desire, but what does that mean? It’s open to a lot of interpretation and we really need clarification.
In any case, I now have a really big title to anticipate later this year and more incentive to play through the entirety of Fallout 4. What did you think about the Fallout 76 announcement?