Dark or Light

Fallout 76: A Shot at Redemption?

William Murphy Posted:
Columns 0

I was going to write about Elder Scrolls Online’s E3 announcements after BE3, but then the unexpected happened - Fallout 76 had the most interesting announcements from the online Bethesda games. Namely? Fallout 76 is adding actual NPCs, branching dialog, more quests, and a whole lot more in the next big update, Wastlanders. But, get this, they’re also adding a Battle Royale mode that will give you rewards to use in the main survival game too. I don’t even know what to think...

On one hand, the very idea of Wastelanders as the lead into Year 2 of Fallout 76 seems like exactly what people were hoping for when the game launched - a more traditional Fallout story experience. There’s no denying that the game’s been steadily improving in the months since launch, and when the Roadmap came out that showed Wastelanders was coming down the line, that’s exactly what I’d hoped it would be.

What I did not expect was Nuclear Winter, this summer’s big update, being a 52 (?) person battle royale.

This mode sounds pretty fun, to be honest, and I’m still OK with games experimenting with BR modes as a part of the main game. What we don’t need are more “Just Another BR” full games. Heck, I’d take a BR in ESO - why not? The key for Nuclear Winter is that it seems to be giving more ways to earn rewards/skins and perk cards, while not necessarily being a mode you’ll have to play if you don’t want to. I do like how apparently progress in Nuclear Winter will let you earn experience and levels for your Adventure Mode character as well.

There’s a free trial for Fallout 76 this week, starting today, and that includes the ability to test out Nuclear Winter during the trial as a sneak peak at the new mode. I’ll be giving it a shake, for sure, but that’s not the update I was really excited about from Fallout 76.

Wastelanders, this Fall’s big story update, brings the return of human NPCs to the world of Fallout 76. It also brings branching conversations, choice and consequence, and yep - even companions, something to make adventuring solo in FO76 feel a little less lonely. If Dogmeat (or a similar character) is there, I’m sold. Heck,  it even has two separate factions you’ll be able to ally with. From the site:

“Factions of Raiders and Settlers aim to make the world their own and claim a rumored fortune. Who you side with is up to you, and your choices will determine their fates. Both the Settlers and the Raiders will present you with unique companions, stories and plenty of new weapons and armor to earn. Wastelanders will fundamentally change the way you experience Fallout 76, and it’s set to arrive in fall of 2019.”

For as fun a mode as Nuclear Winter sounds, it’s just something to waste time on until the fall, because Wastelanders seems to be the patch that might finally make FO76 “worth the price of admission”. Though, I’m beginning to wonder, with the free trial if BGS isn’t testing the waters for a full F2P conversion come Wastelanders. There’s a core community that still enjoys Fallout 76, and even I still dabble from time to time. But as the game keeps improving, it also will need a reintroduction to those who wrote it off or uninstalled - a F2P conversion with a big bold new story and Fallout experience could be that magic bullet.


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.