6 changes that could help Fallout 76 succeed

While I didn’t think that Fallout 76 was going to be the greatest game ever, I certainly didn’t anticipate that it was going to be such a messy poopfest that it’s become. Bethesda isn’t helping matters by over-promising, under-delivering, bait-and-switching, and being far too quiet. Todd Howard loves to talk up a good game before it launches, but afterward it seems like he’s nowhere to be found.

However, I don’t think that Fallout 76 is a loss here. It shouldn’t be written off and abandoned, not only because it’s supposed to be an enduring online service and will take that revenue stream away from Bethesda, but because it could be salvaged with some hard work. I truly hope that the studio is going to take a cue from, say, ESO or the original FFXIV and double-down on its efforts going forward.

Here are six changes that could help Fallout 76 succeed:

1. Be generous with compensation and talky with communication

Bethesda’s been really stingy with its apologies and compensation since launch, and both of those could go a long way to soothing a riled playerbase. It says that it’s going to be putting out dev posts on a weekly basis, but I almost think that there needs to be more — including a live Q&A session, AMAs, and a developer or two on video talking about all this. Players should be getting rewards of some kind for pre-ordering at full price and putting up with this. How about daily login rewards until the game gets fixed?

2. Get those bugs fixed and don’t hand-wave them away

Bethesda knows that it delivers buggy games. Howard was even mocking the studio during E3 earlier this year for this very thing. But you know what he wasn’t doing? Making sure that F76 was fully tested and as bug-free as possible. Killing those bugs and fixing broken parts needs to be of the highest priority right now, otherwise all other efforts to salvage this game will be rendered futile.

3. Abandon PvP and focus on co-op PvE

I don’t think PvP as its structured will ever work in Fallout 76. The map is far too large and the opt-in system will keep dedicated PvPers away. So just abandon that. Trash it. Look at Fallout 76 as an opportunity for an amazing coop multiplayer experience and do more to facilitate that. Give players better social tools, starting with text chat and guilds.

4. Give the PC an interface worthy of that platform

Does Bethesda hate PC players? At the very least it seems to barely tolerate them, giving PC players horrid ports of the console version instead of designing interfaces that work better with mouse-and-keyboard. At the very least, the inventory should be redesigned so that we don’t have to endlessly scroll through lists.

5. Rethink VATS

VATS as it is in Fallout 76 is barely better than nothing. The game doesn’t work as a straight-up shooter, but it doesn’t work as a Bethesda Fallout game either. The whole VATS system really should be re-examined and a better way found. Hey, if The Matrix Online could do bullet-time in a multiplayer environment 15 years ago, you can too.

6. Free DLC and a relaunch

Fallout 76 is going to suffer from a bad launch and reputation for a while to come, and Bethesda could only make that worse if it tries to sell DLC before the game is shored up. Instead, it could win back fans by releasing a meaty content patch (or three!) for absolutely no cost, at the end of which it could make a big to-do out of relaunching the game with all of that packaged in.

5 thoughts on “6 changes that could help Fallout 76 succeed

  1. I think all of the above are possible except maybe abandoning PvP. Players were meant to be the content in the game and unless they plan to rethink that whole concept and add an actual PvE game with DLC, I don’t know that they have much else to lean on.

    That said, we still have to see how they weather the future announcement of private servers and mods. If both end up being paid services through their system, it could be another PR problem.

  2. I’ve been playing Bethesda games since ‘Arena’ back in ’94 and their games have always been buggy. But I don’t remember there being so much stuff going wrong for them en mass as now. This whole fiasco around the canvas/nylon bags is just insane. I really hope they get their issues worked out and get back to making great games. I see all these people online wishing Bethesda to go out of business but I’ve had more fun with their games than almost any other company. It’s been a great twenty-four years- I hope it doesn’t end at twenty-five.

  3. Lot’s of voices falling on deaf ears. From my viewpoint as someone who has played games since Akalabeth the new generation of game producers are much more focused on things like hiring equality and crap learned in bullshit university courses than making games that appeal to their customers. They seem to take some attitude that they know better and their customers whom are in the wrong. Anyhow signaling your customers you don’t care will lose money and put you out of business. I hope Bethusda and other companies pull out of this nose dive and get back to what is important, pleasing the customer.

  4. Fallout 76 has been fine for my wife and me so far. Yeah, there are bugs, and yeah, there are a few annoying systems, but for the most part we’ve had a blast. And the real kicker for us has been how positive and friendly the other players we’ve encountered in the game have been. It’s really refreshing.

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