Fallout 76's New Patch Brings Unexpected Changes And More Tedium

Screenshot: Kotaku, Fallout 76

Fallout 76 is not in a good place. There’s pretty much a consensus among fans on this point. Last week, Bethesda pivoted on its messaging, posting an apology to players on the Fallout 76 subreddit for not being very communicative about its plans for updating and fixing the game going forward.

After the latest patch was announced on Wednesday, things seemed to be trending in the right direction. But then, players discovered new problems.

This week, the patch actually came out, and while it fixed some problems, it also created others. Most importantly, it sneakily rebalanced fundamental parts of the game without giving players a heads up.

While Bethesda was upfront about some changes, like players’ stash sizes being increased by 50%, which was a much-appreciated change that was requested back at the start of the beta, there were also several nerfs that players only discovered once they started playing the game. And, of course, there have also been more bugs.

Yesterday, I booted up the game, and it froze and subsequently crashed before I even made it past the main menu. By the time I was able to load my character, I spawned inside a completely new set of Power Armour I’d never had before, with my old one stuck in my inventory.

While I noticed some of the improvements, like fewer issues with building and relocating my camp, I also noticed enemies acting more strangely, and even occasionally getting healed for seemingly no reason. Like everything else in Fallout 76 so far, the new patch has turned out to be a mixed blessing, and the players who have stuck with the game through its messy launch have been posting on social media about losing patience with the game.

Again, Bethesda had apologised to the fans before this update, publishing a letter last Tuesday on the Fallout 76 subreddit saying it would be more transparent about what the development team was working on and would be sending out much more detailed patch notes when those updates went live.

Other live games, especially Fortnite, have set a bar for detailing everything that’s being changed when a new version is released, and some players were demanding the same of Bethesda for Fallout 76. On December 4, the studio did exactly that for this week’s patch. Or, at least, that’s what players thought.

It turns out that Bethesda actually ended up changing a lot more, including increasing the decay rate of fusion cores, used for Power Armour, as well as lowering how quickly resources could be farmed from public camps. Some of these changes, like the fusion cores getting used up faster, were noticeable to anyone who played the game for a bit after the update. Others were less conclusive and open to debate, like whether enemies were regaining health sooner after disengaging with them, and whether melee damage at higher levels had been nerfed.

One user on the subreddit compiled a partial changelog based on what they claimed to have datamined from the game files that corroborated a lot of what players had been saying about the game feeling more grindy. Resource production rates and extractor capacities for camp sites had all been slightly reduced, which wouldn’t normally be a huge issue, except in Fallout 76, these campsites reset whenever you log off of the game, meaning you can only use them to farm for the amount of time you stay on one server. That can be hard, given how often the game crashes.

A number of other posts on the subreddit called Bethesda out for the apparent deception in light of what the company had just said the week prior about being more transparent. “You are breaking the goodwill of your player base faster than you are fixing it,” one said.

In addition, the fact that many of the changes appeared to increase the amount of busy work in the game rather than reduce it, and were also accompanied by a litany of new bugs and glitches, made the patch that was supposed to feel like the beginning of a long road to redemption feel more like one step forward, one step back.

Two Bethesda representatives have since tried to address players’ frustrations in the comments sections of many of the subreddit threads, promising more information “ASAP” and more comprehensive patch notes in the future. “If I could change what went out yesterday, I would,” wrote Matt “Gstaff” Grandstaff, a Bethesda community manager, in a comment on the subreddit. “It’s a learning point and you guys should benefit from better patch notes moving forward.”

Patching a game that’s already so complicated and problematic can’t be easy, and given the Bethesda’s track record with big, open world RPGs, I’m not surprised that the latest batch of fixes have also introduced some new problems.

But those aren’t good reasons for players to be patient, so much as evidence for why the game should never have been released in its current state. 


Comments

    This site is as buggy as the game, it keeps refusing to show my posts.

    Long story short, the patch done gone screwed the pooch. I was having fun with a friend up until the other night. Now? Crashing, party drops, low exp and power armour issues. I was one of the people having fun... not so much now.

      That is a shame. I too was having fun despite all the media telling me I shouldn't be. But I haven't played the last couple of nights so I haven't seen the new changes. Hopefully they can salvage it for it is not even remotely as bad a game as everyone screams it is.

      What platform are you on? That seems particularly relevant when it comes to game crashes, I've still yet to have a single one on PC.

        PS4.
        Was having serious fun, my friend and I commented several times that we were not sure where the hate was coming from. My son and I made a great team, I have been teaching him mic etiquette.
        In one night I had three crashes, each time I had to bugger about to get my armour to work, my base disappeared once (I thought they had fixed that issue when someone was in the same spot. I was on my own at that time and was not joining a specific server with my friend/son). I felt let down by the reduced exp, the level 80 scorched beasts (my first solo kills without using environmental anti-air defenses) were worth less than a super mutant I killed the other night...
        I still play and I still enjoy myself, despite what the internet tells me to feel, just not as much as pre-patch. It seemed like my game was glitch free and now I am experiencing what the rest of the world was?

        I hope it all gets sorted, I have some holidays coming up and my son has already started his break. Was looking forward to a pajama day of smelling bad, eating bad and playing Fallout.

          I still play and I still enjoy myself, despite what the internet tells me to feel
          Despite what you might think, people actually don't like the game for valid reasons, not because people on the internet tell them to. I'm happy you enjoy the game but the idea people don't like the game because they are following what The Internet(TM) says is absurd.

            No it's not.

            Half the people (minimum) I talk to hate on the game and have not even played it.

            It is a buggy hell of a mess sometimes but I and many of my friends are quite enjoying.

            Also it gets annoying when anytime I say (and other people on these comment sections) that I am enjoying the game, is that it is nice that I am, but the game is still crap. It is patronising in the extreme.

    Crash to desktop on joining world on PC.

    The only possible explanation for that is zero quality assurance for PC.

    Inexcusable.

      One person crashing to desktop shows no quality assurance for PC?....not really. PCs aren't controlled systems, any number of things can cause a select group to crash and not others.

      For me personally connection/crashes hasn't changed since the patch.

    Well I found a nice place for my camp that allows me to mine both lead and junk. Now I've built my house there, I'm going back to FO4

    Last edited 07/12/18 9:19 pm

    Would be nice to update this article and fill in that the community was full of crap for most of the reported "changes". Seems to be a rather large number of people posting lies with no proof and others pick it up and run with it.

    Also worth mentioning that Bethesda have since updated the patch notes and it now includes all changes as far as anyone can tell.

    No melee nerfs, no nerfs to stealth, power cores do not drain faster. The changes to workshops were added to the notes pretty much right at release of the patch too. They were completely unnecessary and the only thing I don't like about the latest patch but give them some small credit for adding it in quickly.

    Previously, workshops produced 10cores/hr. Its a wasteland, not 2075 1/hr is more balanced in my book.

      I haven't played 76 and I doubt I will, but what got me with 4 was how mich armour was around and the abundance of cores. You didn't suit up to take on a high level enemy, or defeat a hard area you were having trouble with, or things like that, you wore it all the time. It for me ruined the effect of it.
      I would agree with lower cores per hour would be a good thing.

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