While the Fallout 76 Wastelanders update is changing the tide in regards to opinions on the game and its once laughably bad quality, there have always been those staunch Fallout 76 faithful. The Fallout 76 Reddit forum is one such bastion of people willing to stick it out with the game, warts and all, either from their love of Fallout or perhaps due to Stockholm Syndrome (which itself is a psychological farce, but we won’t dive into that). As such, Bethesda keeps tabs on the forum and updates the community often from there, listening to feedback and doing Reddit AMAs (“Ask Me Anything”) in order to communicate with players. An AMA from earlier today with Project Lead Jeff Gardiner and Lead Design Ferret Baudoin revealed new information on Fallout 76, their hopes for future content, and their personal favorite things in Appalachia.
There’s actually a ton of information in the AMA, as its popularity skyrocketed and is now sitting at almost 2,000 comments. Though there’s nothing earth-shattering in regards to reveals, the AMA does provide insight into how the developers view their own product, personal preferences, and the content in the game they love the most and wish to expand upon. One question that popped up time and again was about new companions and even the possibility of pets across the post-apocalyptic Appalachia. When asked about the inclusion of pets Gardiner responded, “Now that we have our companions system in the game, we are looking to add pets as well.” Robot companions also came up, which appears to be an internal discussion that the team would like to implement later in the year when their 2020 content road map is revealed.
One of the biggest, most contested questions came about NPC game balance and a lack of NPCs defending themselves from players. Humans have indeed returned to Appalachia, but for the most part allow the player-characters to do whatever they like, including steal or kill the NPCs with almost no reaction. One user asked “Why don’t the NPCs fight back? A whole group of settlers trotted by me the other day and I took out the one named leader, right in front of them and they all kept walking. I don’t think they even fought back when I didn’t kill them with the first bullet?! What is this?!”
Baudoin gave a pragmatic answer to the problem, saying that the choice came down to fun and game balance versus bugs. “For NPCs going inconsistently going hostile – there’s a balance. If anyone involved in a quest goes hostile – since everyone sees the same world, it could be super frustrating that someone you need is dead. And there are other times where we tried letting some people die and it opened up a lot of bugs. So we balanced fun vs. bugs.” This issue lies at the heart of many of the bugs and problems with Fallout 76. By doing something like an always-on multiplayer game that still exists in a static world some things just can’t be done and it appears that the old Fallout system of reputation, theft, and NPC reactions is just one of them.
There’s even more information and small tidbits to discover in the AMA, but the biggest reveal is that a content road map is on the way for the year and that the evolving storylines of Fallout 76 that have changed Appalachia since its launch will continue. Both devs talk in the thread about the arrival of the Enclave and Brotherhood of Steel, along with mentions that Appalachia may have been a testing ground for the FEV virus that spawned the super mutants.
If you’ve been on the fence now is a great time to give Fallout 76 a fresh chance and discover what’s hiding in the hills of Appalachia. The Wastelanders update is free and available now.