The Disgrace of the Franchise: Fallout 76

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I will start off with saying one thing:I do not think that Fallout 76 is a bad game. I think it has been severely mismanaged, and even in some cases has been outright offensive to the playerbase, but I still enjoyed playing it. I’ve mentioned it before in my articles, but I am an avid fan of the Fallout franchise, and 76 is no different. I love the classic elements of gameplay, not to mention some interesting new mechanics, like an actual official multiplayer. Through the new multiplayer I have actually found several like-minded friends, who enjoy playing the game just for the multiplayer experience. I personally play the game when I want to explore some of the in-universe lore that the game provides, most of which is actually spread throughout notes, journals, terminal entries, and other methods of secondhand information. These secondhand info dumps lead me into my next point, the lack of NPCs (non-player characters). NPCs are extremely crucial to the fallout franchise, and they are what provides the series with so many of the wonderful experiences that I have personally had. Fallout 4 was my first fallout game, and I fell in love with the character development for the companions. Companions like Nick Valentine, Cait, Piper, and others were really a central point of my interest and investment in that game. The problem with 76 is that it decided to keep NPCs out of the game completely, at least until recently. The reason this was such a big blow for the game is because so many people love the Fallout franchise because of the memorable characters in it, rather than the gameplay. The story in 76 tends to be rather dry without any actual interaction with NPCs. Even the mechanics of the game reflect this lack of character, with the dialogue system being extremely minimal, if you even want to say there is one. There is little choice that affects gameplay present in the dialogue system. The only real way to change the outcome of an event is through direct action. The whole NPC issue isn’t my main problem though, Bethesda (The company that owns Fallout 76) has picked up on that and is soon to add NPCs in an update to the game, something which I am extremely excited about. I would love to see some actual classic Fallout gameplay, combined with the new multiplayer mechanic. 

The real issue I have with this game is the issue with so many others, Microtransactions. For those of you who don’t know, a microtransaction is a small (usually “optional”) purchase within a game that will change the experience of playing the game in some way. This change can come in many forms, whether it be a cosmetic change, or a utility based change. The issue with the microtransactions in Fallout 76 is that we were promised only cosmetic microtransactions would be on the Atomic Shop (Fallout 76s ingame shop.) However, we have recently seen some actual utility based changes popping up in the game. For many people this may not seem like such a bad thing. The reason I dislike this so much is that Bethesda broke their promise, and flat out lied to the playerbase, which resulted in even more backlash for a game that had a poor release (due to buggy gameplay, and bad reputation from the start). Fallout 76’s microtransactions are almost inevitably going to get to a point where utility-based purchases are necessary to be successful in the game. As of right now, there are very few utility items being offered, but more have been promised, and I know that I am not excited to see the release of this new cash-grab system.