Fallout 76: Giving the end of the world another shot

It’s probably safe to say that Fallout 76 was a disappointment to many when it came out last year due to a combination of poor decisions. The biggest of these were bugs, trying to create a weird MMO hybrid design that failed to be social in the least, a lack of a true VATS combat system, and cumbersome PC controls. Bethesda barely gives PC players a second thought, and it shows in the questionable keybinds and inventory UI in its games.

Anyway, while I was disappointed with a game that I had hoped would fill that post-apocalyptic MMO hunger I had, I never thought it was a complete wash — and I was encouraged by hearing the odd report of players who had stuck with it and found a lot of good among the bad. So it was on my radar to return to when it got a few bolstering patches under its hood, and, well, here I am.

Since I never got very far into the game, I had no problems starting over and trying to take this game at face value as a survival-model RPG. This meant slowly progressing through areas, picking up everything not nailed down, scrapping junk, and building up a base of operations. I love the *idea* of a base more than how Fallout 76 institutes it, mainly due (again) to Bethesda’s horrible interface. It’s workable, just not very user friendly. At least this time around I’m sort of getting it and finding that crafting stuff isn’t as difficult as I had made out in my mind.

I’ve also been relying on a melee weapon for these early hours, since it’s usually more than enough for the enemies that I encounter and it saves ammo for a more needed later date. The first play session that I had in the game, another player emoted at me and then left a nice baseball bat for me in an Overseer’s Cache. That’s come in real handy, and I’ve had some fun knocking robots around with it.

Shown: An awesome player base made by Not Me. Not shown: My base, which is a sad, pathetic wooden platform with a couple of things on it.

The more I play, the more the absence of both other players in any large number and the absence of NPCs creates an odd, isolating feel. I’m not a fan. I don’t need tons of either people or friendly mobs, but it’s bizarre how the game bends itself into knots to never show people (you’re usually Too Late to save the humans in any given area) and I don’t get why there aren’t zone chat windows, better grouping tools, or guilds. Any of those would’ve brought the community together, but as it is, I just forget that this is a multiplayer game at all. And that is sad.

The redeeming nature of the game is in that classic Fallout exploration loop. It’s just fun to explore these different thematic areas, such as a wilderness camp that included a ropes and obstacle course and several cabins. I almost made it to the end of the ropes course but kept falling due to the terrible platforming controls.

Looking at the map, I’ve only explored a very small area in total, mostly because I have to keep returning to base camp to offload materials as I get weighed down. I did rejoice the day I found an actual (robot) vendor to buy some of this stuff I’d been saving, as caps are hard to come by in this version of the game.

Another fun activity is playing dress up. In addition to armor pieces, there are certain outfits that can be acquired and equipped. Here I am wearing priest’s vestments (with a Bible tucked in the back, natch). Figured that would be somewhat appropriate!

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