I never expected to return to Fallout 76 after its egregiously terrible launch, but here I am weeks after returning with Wastelanders, not only still playing the game but also looking forward to what comes next.
Bethesda isn’t the most communicative studio out there when it comes to F76, but the team did recently release its latest roadmap, giving players an overview of what’s coming to the game this year. Honestly? There’s a good deal to be excited about. Let's dive in.
Seasons are all the rage these days and now they’re coming to Fallout 76. The team used some confusing language to describe Seasons during the initial rollout, making them sound more like paid Battle Passes you might find in other games, but Bethesda clarified this week that Seasons will be free to all players:
To clarify, our Seasons in Fallout 76 are going to be free for all our players. We may add extra Fallout 1st bonus rewards in the future, but want to focus on getting Season 1 in game first and seeing your thoughts.Sorry for confusion on this.— Bethesda Game Studios (@BethesdaStudios) May 20, 2020
Like most of these systems, players will be able to accrue points towards unlocking rewards along a progression road of sorts and the option will be there for players to spend to skip ahead if they desire. There will be 100 ranks in season one and players can expect to earn rewards including new outfits, C.A.M.P. items, weapon skins, Power Armor paint, various currencies (including Atoms), and more. Season one will make its debut sometime this summer.
I’m sort of mixed about this idea. On the one hand, my hope is that it leads to a lot of fun new things to unlock, but on the other, I do hate feeling like my current game is an obligation and these are the sorts of activities that can turn a fun game into work. Time limited rewards place pressure on the player to continue to log in and progress, which is an obvious intention of the design, but making the game feel like a chore is usually the quickest way to get me to churn out. We’ll see how it goes. I am pretty stoked for that secret door fireplace…
Legendary Perks, Public Teams and a New Boss Event
The most exciting of this trio of new features is, of course, the Legendary Perk system. We don’t know a whole lot about what this will look like just yet, but Bethesda shed some light on Legendary Perks during a recent reddit AMA:
“This summer we’re adding legendary perks into the game. These perks are highly powerful and coveted, and players will unlock new slots to fit them in starting at level 50. You can also scrap all of your extra cards to ranks these perks up, and, when you roll alt characters these slots will be unlocked on them as well.”
The most attractive aspect of Legendary Perks to me is their potential to make leveling and playing alts less painful. Now that I’m higher level on my main character, it’s tough to convince myself to go back and slog through the earlier levels with a new one. It’s not impossible, I do already have an alt I made during the latest double XP weekend, but this is a welcome feature nonetheless. Hopefully Legendary Perks are interesting, but not overpowering for higher level characters as well.
Not much to say on public teams or the new boss event given the lack of details, but I’ll gladly take any new features that make joining up with other players less of a hassle.
As I mentioned in my impressions piece for Wastelanders, Fallout 76 has a bit of a level scaling issue. The way the game scales based on the level of players who enter areas can lead to an inconsistent and often frustrating experience on public servers. It also makes grouping with friends across level ranges less than ideal. To address this, Bethesda will be taking a page from their playbook on The Elder Scrolls Online with its One Tamriel update by introducing level scaling to Fallout 76 later this fall.
The update promises to offer players a consistent challenge across the entire map, with rewards that scale to player level to go along with it. Like ESO, One Wasteland will also make it easy to play with friends, something I’m very much looking forward to. Combat will also be rebalanced as part of this update, but with no details just yet there’s not a whole lot to go on there.
I recognize level scaling is not popular with a lot of gamers out there, but I think if it’s done right it can be a healthy change for the game.
The Brotherhood of Steel are returning to Appalachia this year and it all starts with the new Steel Dawn quest line coming in the fall. While it’s clear from the content already in the game that the BoS were in Appalachia at some point, there's an unresolved mystery as to what has happened to them since.
I always try to join the BoS in any Fallout game that will let me. Being able to fully join the Brotherhood in Fallout 4 was probably the highlight of the experience for me, so it should come as no surprise that I am excited to see where this story goes. Even more so after learning what I have about the BoS in Fallout 76 so far.
Steel Dawn will kick off the story arc, but players will have to wait until the winter to see where it all ultimately goes.
Fractured Steel will pick up where Steel Dawn leaves off and will introduce new NPCs, quests and companions to go with it. Hopefully this means BoS companions like Paladin Danse from FO4.
One of the biggest pain points in F76 is the lack of perk loadouts. It’s a curious omission, especially at this point in the game’s life. The card based progression system basically demands it and yet it isn’t there. I’m not sure why we have to wait all the way until winter for this feature, but better late than never, I suppose? For now, I’ll just continue using a mod to get it done (don’t ban me!).
Instanced interiors are coming to player bases this winter and lots of players are excited. I’m not much of a builder in these games; I never even bothered with building in FO4 past the tutorial section of it. That said, I do it a bit more than usual in F76, but I still keep things fairly simple. Now, if this update allows me to build some underground BoS themed bunker, I’ll definitely be interested. Give me all the BoS things!
These are new repeatable missions. That’s all we know about this feature so far. If these are basically just more radiant quests, I can’t see myself being excited. Hopefully there’s some twist on this content to make them interesting.
What’s your take on the Fallout 76 roadmap? Does it sound like it will do enough to hold your interest? Share your thoughts in the comments below!