It's Fallout 76 day, and fans are already preloading or waiting to pick up their copy after work. But for some Aussies who preordered the game, particularly special editions, supply issues mean their Reclamation Day will come much later.
For most Australians and New Zealanders, it's been a lucky day to leave the vault. International timezones meant Fallout 76 servers unlocked first for us, and those who received their digital codes or attended midnight launches have been wandering the wasteland just fine.
If you ordered a special edition, however, things have been a little stranger.
Kotaku Australia started hearing word from readers earlier this week that things were amiss with two special editions of the game, the S.*.*.C.*.*.L. edition through Amazon and the Power Armor edition through EB Games.
For those ordering through EB Games, notifications started going out late last week that Fallout 76 shipments had left the EB Games warehouse. Australia Post tracking numbers were supplied, but users as of today haven't received any updates from the national postie. EB told users on Twitter yesterday that strict embargoes prevent copies from going out earlier, although EB stressed to me over email that there were no delays on their end.
Hi Blunty. The Fallout 76 Power Armor Edition is set to release tomorrow, 14 November, alongside all other editions of the game. Due to strict release embargoes, we are not able to send an edition to arrive prior to the release date set by the distributor of the game.
— EB Games Australia (@EBGamesAus) November 13, 2018
I asked EB Games whether users could still expect their special editions of the game by today. They confirmed that orders were "shipped according to the customers estimated delivery time", and that copies were shipped from EB's warehouse in accordance with advice from Australia Post. Any issues with Australia Post not sending out updates, however, were out of EB's control.
Things have been more fraught for those ordering through Amazon Australia. Multiple readers shared their correspondence with Kotaku Australia, showing that Amazon has given users the option to cancel their S.*.*.C.*.*.L. edition preorders.
One user shared an apology email from a support representative, stating that stock of the S.*.*.C.*.*.L. edition had ran out entirely - even though that user had a receipt for a preorder. Others also confirmed that Amazon had offered them the opportunity to cancel, with no ETA on when the S.*.*.C.*.*.L. edition would ship.
"We're awaiting a revised estimate from our supplier," the Amazon correspondence read.
It's a frustrating situation. For anyone who pays the premium for a special edition, you expect to be able to play on launch day with everyone else. And in a world where double digit launch day patches are common, there's an expectation that the highest tier collector editions could at least arrive a day ahead to allow enough time to preload.
Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case. Making matters worse is that the experience seems to be inconsistent. Some users are expecting to receive regular copies of Fallout 76 by today, while others aren't. Fans have been leaving complaints on the Bethesda ANZ Facebook page, noting that they've received no tracking updates for days; one posted that they're not expected to get Fallout 76 until Tuesday.
The users who had the least trouble appeared to be those that picked up their pre-orders in store. A few posted shots of their Power Armor helmets on the official EB Games Facebook page, while others complained about Australia Post having no record of the shipments in their system, only receiving the game despite ordering special editions, or being left in the dark entirely.
Part of the problem is also on an individual level. If a driver or courier doesn't scan an item upon collection, people waiting for their shipments won't get updated on its progress. Those same people will then reach out to the storefronts they ordered from for answers, which have to cycle back to the couriers to understand what's going on. Other instances, like the cancellation of items that have been pre-ordered, are more complicated and even more frustrating for fans.
I've reached out to Amazon Australia for clarification on when special edition shipments are expected to arrive, and what will happen for users who had their special edition orders cancelled through Amazon. Amazon Australia confirmed that they were looking into the situation, but did not have a statement by the time of publication. I've also reached out to Bethesda Australia and have not received a response. This story will be updated should more information and statements come to light.