Is Fallout 76 Experiencing Typical MMO Startup Problems?

When Bethesda announced that a new Fallout game was on its way, and soon, people didn’t know what to think. After all, Fallout 4 only just arrived in 2015. Typically these things take time.

Of course, fans speculated that it could be another “New Vegas” type of sequel, and that would probably have been a better option given the current maelstrom that surrounds the latest release.

Unveiled as Fallout 76, Bethesda proudly touted the game as a new MMO for fans of the lore and world of the longrunning PC titles. Set in West Virginia, gamers would emerge from Vault 76 to reclaim the mountainous terrain of the Appalachians.

There they can build camps, group together to take on quests, and explore a world filled with typical Bethesda secrets but lacking in one critical thing – non-player characters.

And this is only the beginning of Fallout 76’s quirks – and woes – at this point.

Right off the bat, no one can really name an MMO that has subsisted without any kind of non-player character element whatsoever, but Fallout 76 is attempting just that here in the beginning. The reception to this is not mixed but rather quite negative. Though the game forces players to join together to take on the world, the sparse populations on the servers coupled with the huge world you are plopped into are making this difficult.

Plus, some people just say the game isn’t that fun to play. Stripped of all the things that makes Fallout charming, Fallout 76 seems like a beta of a beta.

Powered by microtransactions, players are finding the prices absurd and the offerings pointless. This comes on top of an initial fee to own the game. People seem to enjoy the loot aspect of Fallout 76 but everything else with the game seems like a gamble. Indeed, you would probably get a greater return on your time playing for AllVideoSlots.com. These problems have many experienced MMO players asking if this is just part of the growing pains of a new MMO.

That’s a good question, especially given Bethesda’s own history with launching MMO properties.

When The Elder Scrolls Online launched, it was derided for being too different from the mainline games to warrant a consideration. Now, the game is thriving and is quite popular among MMO crowds. What changed?

Basically, Bethesda fixed the problems identified by players and went from there. TES Online did have non-player characters and a story, however, for those people who are sticklers for details. This is what makes the miasma surrounding Fallout 76 that much more rancid: Did Bethesda legit launch a beta as a full game?

One sign of this would be the addition of non-player characters and other elements to Fallout 76 at a later date. Bethesda could say this was in response to player demand, but anyone who has played one of their games knows that this kind of thing would have to be planned out way ahead of time and that would make the whole thing suspect.

Fallout 76’s controversies have also generated a lot more press than previous incidents in the gaming world.

For example, there is even talk of a class action lawsuit against Bethesda. This is because players who purchased the game are experiencing difficulties in returning it and receiving refunds. Launching the game through their Bethesda.net launcher, Fallout 76 is not available for PC gamers on the popular Steam platform. Steam, for its part, has a detailed and well-known return policy for games. Bethesda.net does not as of press according to Wired. Anyone who has seen the viral video of the Gamestop customer’s rage at trying to return the game knows that what Wired is reporting isn’t an isolated case of consumer outrage.

Another issue that has stoked gamer rage is the vaunted $200 collector’s edition of the game is not what was promised. Gamers expected a canvas bag from the company but instead received a nylon bag, a much cheaper product. To compensate players who purchased the collector’s edition and were unhappy with the quality of the included bag, Bethesda is giving them $5 of in-game currency to spend in Fallout 76. As you can imagine, this response is not being well received by the gaming press. It also probably doesn’t help that the bag was clearly labeled as a canvas bag in promotional materials for the collector’s edition.

All of this has of course amplified any quirks the game is experiencing as part of its launch.

A huge thing that people are confused about is what “exactly” the game is supposed to be about. Is it a Rust clone? A Fallout MMO?

But a recent viral video of players hurling homophobic slurs at others has some leaning to the former and not so much to the latter.

One of the most robust communities of PC gamers on the web, Rust attracts a hugely different audience than the Fallout games in terms of mainstream relevance and gameplay experience. Rust is a purely player-driven experience and running into homophobia, racism, and the whole gamut of human behavior is not uncommon. Looking on YouTube for Rust trolling videos will reveal a treasure trove of media related to this topic.

Rarely is anyone ever banned from Rust but Bethesda’s response to these Fallout 76 players was swift and immediate. The company banned them from the game for life which, if initial reports are to trusted, isn’t much a loss really. It is understandable that Bethesda would want to present its audiences with a certain kind of Fallout experience but it is baffling that they put absolutely no in-game infrastructure in place to support this. The haphazard approach Bethesda has taken to the design of the game and the subsequent bungling of its launch  has many questioning their devotion to a company that thrives of a loyal fanbase. Fallout 76 has even had a spillover effect on Bethesda properties not yet released such as the next Elder Scrolls game which purportedly uses the same engine.