Fallout 76, One Month Later

It feels like Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic shooter has already been out for a while, especially since its early access-style beta began all the way back in October, but Fallout 76 officially launched just one month ago. And what a long month it’s been, filled with release-build bugs, post-launch updates, and a big controversy about a bag. Here’s a refresher on everything that’s happened so far.

  • Fallout 76 officially releases on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on November 14. Early impressions are somewhat negative, with people criticising the game’s lack of non-player characters, jittery performance, and seeming emptiness. Some players though, excited for the game’s release following their time with it in the beta, try to make up for that by role-playing as NPCs themselves and greeting new players by giving them extra items. Among the game’s problems are glitched Power Armour suits, campsites that keep breaking, and an inventory system that’s too small.

  • The game’s Power Armour edition ships with the wrong bag. Instead of the canvas one it was advertised with, players who ordered the $US200 ($279) limited edition get a nylon bag. They light up social media with complaints. Bethesda Support representatives respond to individual complaints saying that, due to a material shortage, the company had to switch to the nylon bags at the last second.

  • One group of players craftily accomplish some end-game stuff on day one, launching a nuke at a spot on the map with the highest level enemies. They do this using some community-created tools that make cracking the codes to launch the nukes relatively quick and easy.

  • The game’s first post-launch patch gets released on November 19, a whopping 47 GB download on console and 15 GB on PC. In general, it’s aimed at improving stability and fixing bugs. The game remains busted enough that any major improvements are hard to notice.

  • A consensus begins to form that Fallout 76 is not a good game. It’s Metacritic score only reaches the 50s as outlets start posting their final reviews (user scores are even harsher, while Metacritic also notes that the game is the most-discussed PC release of the year). Even the good parts of the game become increasingly overshadowed by the frequency with which the game crashes and the failure of its multiplayer to live up to what was hyped at E3.

  • Bethesda announces a another patch on November 27 that will fix more of the game’s issues, including finally increasing stash sizes, the boxes players store all of their excess items in. The publisher also apologises for its lack of communication with the community, and says it will be more transparent about which parts of the game its development team is working on and which changes are planned for future patches.

  • A day later, Bethesda announces it’s sorry for the nylon bags. Finally responding to growing anger over bizarre bait and switch, the company says affected players will get 500 atoms to spend on Fallout 76’s microtransaction store, which turns out not to be enough to buy an in-game replacement bag either.

  • On December 3 the company announces that it will work to send out replacement canvas bags after all.

  • The next patch comes out on December 4, accompanied by more detailed patch notes. They aren’t detailed enough, though, as shortly after the update goes live players begin to see that stealth nerfs to things like resource farming at camps and that fusion cores for Power Armour aren’t lasting as long. Community managers for Bethesda apologised to players again for the lack of adequate communication and promise even more clarity in the future.

  • A bunch of Fallout 76 players’ personal information gets leaked due to a technical issue with Bethesda Support. Players who submitted tickets over the problem with their nylon bags to the company were accidentally given access to the Bethesda support system for a short while, leaving their Bethesda account message folders full of emails from other players.

    Those emails included home addresses. “Hi guys, we’ve resolved this issue,” a Bethesda community manager says in a forum thread.

  • Bethesda releases another patch for the game on December 11, this time including information about nerfs in addition to regular bug fixes. It still manages to infuriate fans. Players notice that the public event Feed the People has been patched to stop it from giving a special item to everyone on a server when it’s completed, instead of just the players involved. Players call for Bethesda to unfix it, completing the first month of a game’s post-release news cycle in one of the most ironic ways possible.


And that’s where we are. Fallout 76 has remained in the news despite its lacklustre reception, mostly because of all the ways things keep going wrong. Bethesda has announced actual content updates starting in 2019, but hasn’t announced yet whether it has plans to sizably overhaul the game in the future, or keep incrementally trying to address issues through smaller weekly patches.

One thing’s for certain though: if those Power Armour edition players don’t eventually get the canvas bags they were promised, we’ll be hearing about Fallout 76 for a long time to come.


Comments

    I think you mean "...the canvas bags they paid for...".

    Let's not whitewash the actual issue.

    Bethesda releases another patch for the game on December 11, this time including information about nerfs in addition to regular bug fixes. It still manages to infuriate fans.

    Yeah, 'infuriate fans' is not how the 11 December patch played out. The broad sentiment was it was the most comprehensive notes they'd written to date, fixed a truckload of the biggest problems people had been having, and added in some awesome quality of life changes like the occupied camp check and the bulldoze feature.

    People asking for Feed the People to be unfixed weren't infuriated, it was mostly just surprise that it wasn't meant to be that way to begin with and requests to restore it to how it was because it was a neat little server-wide thing. The only thing I recall people being particularly frustrated about is the phantom weight bug.

      Yeah...the article is written by Ethan Gach though. I've noticed already that he pretty much just rung in his review of Fallout 76 and has been extremely negatively biased. The quote you pulled out is a good example of his bias....calling the world empty and saying it had to be filled by players acting like NPCs is another...they guy did the Preston Garvey thing for fun, not to fill any kind of void.

      Real criticisms of the game are the well know bugginess that mainly seems to effect (early gen?) console users. Bit unclear there as reports from one user to another I've seen on reddit vary widely. Other than that the end game is lacking but that was pretty much a given for launch. Even MMOs launch with sparse end game activities, I'm expecting more to come for Fo76.

      My main gripe with the game at present is how damn hard it is to get weapon/armour plans. Having the shop inventory based on RNG is a horrendous decision. I've server hopped at Watoga and Harper's Ferry for hours at this point (with a level 25 alt)....still don't have my Handmade Rifle Plans.

        It just kinda reads like someone who hasn't kept much of a finger on the pulse of the game and its community, just decided it was trash in his initial review and then went 'is anyone still complaining? Someone is? Okay it's still trash then', which doesn't actually reflect community sentiment about the patch.

        There are still plenty of bugs, and a lot still to do for the dev team. But being objective also means giving credit where it's due, and the 11 November patch deserved a lot of credit. Bethesda significantly improved in fixes, improvements and communication, which is exactly what we've been asking for. Sure they came out of the gate badly, but every step they take to get back to where we expect them to be is worth acknowledging, just as every step they take in the wrong direction is worth criticising.

        This same kind of thing happened with No Man's Sky too, a game I haven't been willing to go back to but which has objectively improved in every respect. Some people are more interested in maintaining the narrative that a bad game is bad forever, instead of being open to the notion that its developers can absolutely bring it back to the light.

          I'd suggest that the playing community are dedicated hardline fans, and that many people have moved on...same thing happens with every game. There will always be a core who swear that their particular favourite game is the bees knees, regardless. Let's not mistake 'personal enjoyment' with 'product quality'.

            I think I understand where you're coming from. Naturally many have moved on, but if they're not participating in discussion about the game (whether it's on Twitter or Reddit or wherever else) then it can't be assumed how they feel about the 11 Dec patch. I think if an author is going to write that fans were infuriated about the patch, then that needs to be an accurate description of reality. Why they're not infuriated (eg. because they might be overly forgiving fanboys) is tangential to whether they're infuriated.

            Regarding the patch, we're talking about an objectively measurable thing. The depth and accuracy of the 11 Dec patch notes and pre-patch communication has qualitatively improved, the number of bug fixes is the highest of the patches released so far, and it addressed more high priority items as regarded by the community than other patches released so far. Bethesda community managers have engaged with the community in places like Reddit far more than they ever have.

            These are good things, they're what the community has asked for, and they deserve to be (and generally have been) acknowledged as good things. The article's characterisation of the community response to the 11 Dec patch is not consistent with the community's actual response, which anyone can search for and read if they care to, it's not ephemeral.

              Ethan was pretty clear about what the article was about in the first paragraph:

              "It feels like Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic shooter has already been out for a while, especially since its early access-style beta began all the way back in October, but Fallout 76 officially launched just one month ago. And what a long month it’s been, filled with release-build bugs, post-launch updates, and a big controversy about a bag. Here’s a refresher on everything that’s happened so far."

              The article isn't about the state of play or what people think about the game; it's about the dramas surrounding it. The game has become its' own news.

                I think you'd agree that "a refresher on everything that's happened so far" should include both positive and negative things - everything that's happened so far - as long as the reporting is factual, wouldn't you? The bullet I singled out is not reporting drama that happened, it's reporting something that didn't happen as though it did. Reporting on drama isn't the problem, there's plenty of that to go around and I didn't take issue with the other bullets. Reporting wrong information is the problem.

        Yeah...the article is written by Ethan Gach though. I've noticed already that he pretty much just rung in his review of Fallout 76 and has been extremely negatively biased.

        Yet again we have you attempting to delegitimize an opinion just because it does not line up with your own

        The quote you pulled out is a good example of his bias....calling the world empty and saying it had to be filled by players acting like NPCs is another...they guy did the Preston Garvey thing for fun, not to fill any kind of void.

        How is that bias? Thats his opinion and many people have stated such a thing. Just because you disagree does not make it false.

        Real criticisms of the game are the well know bugginess that mainly seems to effect (early gen?) console users.
        So because most of the bugs are occurring on console the accusations of the game being shit are false?

        We get it

        You like the game.

        But your repeated attempts to delegitimize any and all negative opinions of the game make you look like a blind fanboy who is desperate to shut down any and all negative opinions of his favourite toy.

        People don't like this game. Get over it.

          Yet again we have you attempting to delegitimize an opinion just because it does not line up with your own

          No, not really. I gave some pretty concise feedback on his article in the comments. He really did ring in that review, seemed to do little research on the game and got some basic things incorrect despite apparently spending 40 odd hours playing the game.

          How is that bias? Thats his opinion and many people have stated such a thing. Just because you disagree does not make it false.

          Using an example of someone role playing in a role playing game to call the world empty is negative bias. It's turning something around to call it what it isn't. Simple. The guy did it for fun, not to "fill an empty world".

          So because most of the bugs are occurring on console the accusations of the game being shit are false?

          No, you took that out of context. I never said bug reports are false, if you read literally my next sentence I said the reports I've seen are unclear. They verge from the game being literally unplayable for one guy to the next saying he's had little issues at all on the same system. Just saying what I've seen. The game is buggy, I know that, I've stated that and I said a decent review would cover the actual problems rather than the author's own misunderstanding of simple game mechanics.

          I get it. You don't like me for whatever reason. I don't care, just don't try to turn my words around to say something that I'm not.

          I like the game, get over it.

          I'm also not a fanboy. I'm actually kinda bored with the game as it lacks endgame (as I stated above). I expected that to happen, waiting for updates and annoyances to be patched.

            Hey mate, it’s not about liking the game, you’re allowed to like the game. It’s more the compulsive need you seem to have to rabidly defend this game by putting down others who disagree with you. You consider yourself not a fanboy but seemingly every article you’re here talking up the game. You put down Skill Up for (naturally) being irritated at the Beta and straight call the reviewer a liar

            That is extremely fanboy-like behaviour. As is straight up telling someone to put in 10 hours of drudgery so they can get to a slightly more entertaining part. Games can take a while to get into, I get it, dark souls took me a while but it had compelling hooks.

            If you are genuinely happy with your purchase that’s great. It shouldn’t bother you that many people are at best completely unenthused about this game. Yet it seems it does.

              If you take my comments out of context then yeah it seems like I'm "rabidly" defending the game. Like the guy I told to spend some time playing the game....he'd been given it as a gift, is it so bad to recommend he play the game he already had?

              Let me set you straight because I'm really not a fan boy. I didn't pre-order the game and I was going to hold off on buying it after seeing the initial reviews from beta and reports about easy hacking. I saw Skill Up's video and then the free beta keys came out and I snagged one. I played it for myself and realised Skill Up's video was largely click bait and over stating/exaggerating problems with the game.

              Even then I still wasn't going to buy the game...until I saw the Amazon sale for $50. I figured I wouldn't see it at that price for a while so I bought it. I've played the game for 110-120 hours now on my main and an alt so I'd say I got my money's worth.

              The reason you see me ripping into articles in the comments section is because the negative circle jerk around the game was frustrating me. Having played it myself I could see that a lot (not all) of what was being said was incorrect, straight out lies or the person writing the review had no idea what they were doing. This frustrated me because I've never seen that happen with any other game and I honestly don't know how anyone could make an informed decision on whether or not to buy because how can they tell what's truth and what's not.

              I've said many times I'd love to read a decent review of the game - not a positive review but a decent one that doesn't include exaggeration or things that are incorrect, that focuses on what is actually wrong with the game (there's a lot).

              Personally I'd rate the game as a 7/10 (I've said that on here before somewhere). It's decent but not great. There's a framework there but it needs to be built on. It seems to be trying to be a jack of all trades and has failed in some part on every aspect. The big key problems right now are:

              - A player economy possibly can never develop because of all the exploits and duping. I don't think the game can ever recover from it at this point unless Bethesda change something to make all current gear irrelevant - increase level cap??

              - The Atom store is progressively becoming more inflated. They're charging $20 for a christmas pack that boils down to a santa suit. It's absolutely ridiculous and continues a trend of new items being more expensive. It's only cosmetic stuff but it still matters.

              - End game is grinding for OP weapons so you can then go grind something else. You could theoretically buy the OP weapon from someone but you can't really because...

              - There's a bug where people can trade and steal all your stuff, right now you can't trust a trade with anyone you don't know. On top of that the economy is rooted anyway so....? Back to grinding...

              These are the problems I'd love to see reported on yet I haven't seen it anywhere outside of reddit.

              On top of that yes, there's bugs (other than the exploits). From what I've seen though it tends to vary from literally unplayable for some people with server disconnects to others only encountering bugs that are annoying but can be dealt with. Reddit compiled a list of dozens of bugs...at this point it pretty much just goes without saying that there are bugs.

              That's where I'm coming from anyway...don't interpret my criticism of crappy reporting as a staunch defence of a game that still needs a lot of work.

    I haven't played it but what i am noticing is how quickly the price became discounted, and quite heavily. It's not a good omen for the franchise, which is a shame since I've enjoyed every other entry.

    Game is a lost cause at this point, would be easier for them just to retry another game

    I've been enjoying it while playing alone and with friends. I never expected much from this game but I've enjoyed my time in the West Virginian Wasteland, apart fom stash size.
    Bethesda games have always had bugs and online games are exactly the same, now add those two together and I'm actually amazed it's even working.
    I purchased the PA edition, saw the bag and thought hmm ok.... not what I thought it would be but it's just a bag, and maybe there was trouble in the manufacturing process. I will try to get a new one but only because it's on offer.
    My experience has been enjoyable apart from some lag, frames and server trouble, what's really made the game are the people and stories you hear about of people's antics in the wasteland

    Using a one-month anniversary as an excuse to drive the knife in, huh? The barrage of hate from Kotaku for Fallout 76 is bizarre. Why not incorporate the good stuff in your "round-up"? Totally agree AAA games shouldn't be released unfinished and this one is definitely that, but I'm having more fun now than I was when it launched. It's a slow burn that deserves criticism but also deserves a better rap than this.

    Kotaku, give credit where credit is due? That would be a first in this current climate of exaggerating the state of a game. Even Yongyea whom is normally very balanced in his talks about games and gaming is pulling the hater hates bandwagon on this one. Hating how a game turned out should not affect journalistic integrity.

      I thought that they have been very fair. Keep in mind that Kotaku is actually blacklisted by Bethesda because they have stuck to journalistic integrity in the past, rather than simply regurgitating Bethesda's party-line press releases and 'review suggestions'.

      It might pay you to do a bit of research before jumping on the fan bandwagon, I suggest.

        Kotaku was blacklisted by Bethesda because they leaked FO4 before it was announced and ruined a surprised revelation/announcement. Nothing about that reporting has anything to do with journalistic integrity.

          And neither does regurgitating the developer's press releases and review hype. FO76 is the first big brand game for a long time that has had reasonably honest reviews across the board. Thankfully, Kotaku did get blacklisted, and when it comes to Bethesda products should now be the go to site for review information, specifically for that reason.

          The core elements of why FO76 ended up the way it did, and why Beth and other developers behave the way they do is pretty much because the games media, on the whole, are elements of the marketing process, rather than being a separate element with some accountable oversight...as part of the marketing process, 'journalistic integrity' does not exist, because they are not journalists, they are advertisers, and advertisers should declare they are making paid infomercials, whether that 'payment' is by money, free review copy with a topics/comments list, or paid hookers and dinners at gaming conferences. The other primary danger for the hyping and misinformation of games is by the fan base, and the problem we are seeing here is that totally legitimate complaints and actual game development problems are being swept under the carpet by a hard core of 'fans' who are defending the game, and in some cases, Beth itself. FO76 has been something of a watershed moment for Beth, where the shortfalls are glaringly obvious, and the Beth hypetrain has been so openly brazen with the lies and ripoffs.

          I sincerely doubt it will change though, and we will see the same crap development work, and the same overpriced product and ingame commodity pricing, that we see today, and we will see the same arguments among the gamers, in the next rpg's that Beth roll out...

          Beth is toxic now, it will only get worse. They don't know how to change.

          Last edited 17/12/18 4:44 pm

          Does sitting on info for the sake of a press release really count as journalistic integrity, though?

            I'll preface this by saying I don't agree with either Bethesda or Ubisoft blacklisting Kotaku, but ethical journalism (and I mean those words seriously, no Gamergate bullshit) is a little more nuanced than just 'report all the things'.

            Rather than reporting it being a sign of integrity, it's the opposite that's the driving factor here. Reporting confidential information (including trade secrets) requires the information be in the public interest, otherwise it's unethical (and often illegal) to report. Leaking information about Fallout 4 and Assassin's Creed Syndicate before their official announcements wasn't in the public interest - they were both going to be announced long before their releases regardless, the public stood to gain nothing from learning about them earlier than that. People being interested to know isn't the same as it being in their interest to know.

            Again, I don't agree with the companies blacklisting Kotaku, but I understand why they did. All the parties spend time cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with each other, not in ways that violate their independence or integrity but more like friendships - news media benefits from access to interviews and early copies, while companies benefit from coverage.

            I realise the analogy is imperfect, but imagine a situation with actual personal friends, where a friend of yours had learned a harmless secret about you, one you were preparing to tell everyone on your own time, but decided to blurt out anyway. That same sense of betrayal of trust that would result between personal friends can also happen in business relationships, and at the end of the day neither company nor media has an obligation to work with each other, they do it for mutual benefit, and if they feel like they've been burned they'll stop contributing to that working relationship.

              I was only considering it as "unless they agreed to an NDA with Bethesda/Ubisoft, it was fair game"; but you raise a good point. Things get into iffy territory when the particular branch of journalism revolves more around products than information.

              Well said.

              Something that gets lost more and more these days is the full relevance of something. By that I mean 'report things' is more than just that, it also includes 'that are in the public interest to know' after it. Its the whole statement, not just one bit of the other.

              Stumbled across a YouTube vid the other day talking about the Crytek v Star Citizen legal case. Think the channel was YouTuber Law or something similar. Anyhow, he goes through the relevant clause in their contract and does a pretty good job of explaining why Star Citizen won.

              In short, the case was brought because they were using a different engine, and Crytek was arguing they were promoting/developing a competing engine. Judge looked at the whole clause around it and ruled against it, citing the full clause had "in the business of..." and how important that was.

              You cant pick and chose what parts are relevant and what aren't, its the full belief. In the Kotaku v Bethesda situation, Kotaku did 'report things', but didn't account for the 'that are in the public interest to know' part.

              Like you, I don't agree with the blacklisting either, but I also get why they did it. Leaks are leaks. They're going to happen, and when they do, often theres good reason for people to know about them. But not always.

              In the FO4/ACS situation, there wasn't any good reason. It was just a story released for the sake of having an exclusive. That's a step away from what ethical journalism is meant to be about.

                After thinking about it, I'm still torn. There's all sorts of fine lines involved, not to mention the matter of who should get to decide what counts as being "in the public interest".

                I don't know..

    I wonder what the point of this post was? it wasnt telling us how the game has actually changed. It was just telling us what happened in terms of public issues and embarrassments and virtually nothing of how the game has changed or got worse or better.

    I was truly interested in seeing a run down of what steps have been made but got nothing of that.

      Yeah. Your best bet is to check out the official patch notes. The first one was thin as fuck, just be aware.

      November 19
      December 4
      December 11

      Off the top of my head, the key things are:
      - Frame rate uncapped without interfering with the game
      - Ultrawide support partly added (some stretch still present)
      - FOV and DOF sliders added
      - Push to talk added and made default for PC
      - Stash size increased from 400 to 600 and if it's stable they'll increase it more in future
      - SPECIAL respec added, each level past 50 you can move one SPECIAL point from one attribute to another, instead of taking a perk card
      - A bunch of stability and performance fixes for both server and client
      - Game now prompts you on joining server if your camp can't be placed because it's already occupied, gives you the choice to stay or try another server
      - Bulldoze mode removes small obstacles that would have prevented placement of camp objects before

      You answered your question in your first paragraph. The article is about the dramas, not the game...Ethan says so in the first paragraph. The drama surrounding the game is more entertaining than the game itself, for a lot of people...and cheaper, too.

    Mmmm....this might put a few of your minds to rest:

    "And that’s where we are. Fallout 76 has remained in the news despite its lacklustre reception, mostly because of all the ways things keep going wrong. Bethesda has announced actual content updates starting in 2019, but hasn’t announced yet whether it has plans to sizably overhaul the game in the future, or keep incrementally trying to address issues through smaller weekly patches."

    Just to allay the inevitable criticism that will be levelled with me, I have absolutely no issues about the format of the game, nor whether I personally wanted to see it or not...my issue is simply do with Betheda's ongoing commitment to raking in as much coin for as little effort as possible, and the support they receive from the apologist fan base, which in reality does no-one any good as it simply encourages Bethesda (and other companies) to continue on the path of less value-least effort.

    Buying a game on speculation that it will eventually turn into something worth the value that you paid up front is a non-argument, especially when the developers have a history of churning out poorly developed and poorly supported products already.

    Please feel free to provide evidence if you wish to disagree...I would be delighted to see actual evidence.

    Last edited 17/12/18 2:52 pm

    Looks like Bethesda is going to be adding Lootboxes to the game.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/Fallout/comments/a5l9f7/lunchboxs_appearing_in_fallout_76_esm_files_no/

      Speculation at the moment is that they're either for the Christmas event, or are being set up as a daily login reward. The ATX prefix doesn't necessarily mean they'll be on the atom store; the assets for them have been in since beta and it's likely they're repurposed as in-game only while keeping the same prefix, as a few other items in the data files are. But who knows at this point. We'll have to wait and see.

    i feel like the canvass/nylon bag thing wouldn't have been such an issue if it was a genuinely great game, like God of War or RDR:2 great. But it's not. The game sucks. It's. Just. So. Boring.

    The fact that I can buy the tricentennial edition or whatever it was called at EB Games of all places brand new for only $47 within one month after launch tells me the state of the game isn’t great.

      $47 is for the preowned normal edition. A brand new tricentennial edition is $68. Still a solid Christmas sale discount for both though, around 47% off.

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