There have been quite the kerfluffles about Fallout 76 as it’s prepared to launch. Well, I’ve played for an official 24 hours now and I think I can help give you an idea of what to expect. Tips on combat they’re not, but fun all the same!
When I stepped in, I guess I kind of expected there to be large groups en’masse coming out of the Vault as I entered the game. I think I thought perhaps we’d all be grouped up outside of the doors, glancing around at one another with our fists out and ready for survival. Well, that didn’t happen. What DID happen, was one voiceless fella was just following me as he stepped out after me and I realized we were alone. Just he and I. So, since he didn’t have his voice audio on, I just started to talk to him in hopes he could hear me. Good news: He could. So, speaking to him in a matter of asking him to emote to respond to my questions, he and I wandered about to our tutorial quests. For the sake of confusion, and the meme, we’ll call him Jeff.
Well, Jeff wasn’t the most helpful with things. Seemed he wasn’t even helpful reading the map because I turned around, a dog was eating Jeff and then he was gone forever. Not just dead and respawning, mind you, he was legitimately gone. Added me as a friend but was gone forever. Okay, well, that’s fine. After meeting a couple of other new players, we wandered about together until their timezones proved they had been playing too long. I decided to just utilize my alone time listening to the radio stations, bopping around to music that reminded me of Diamond City Radio, and attempting to figure out a good place to set up camp. Well, C.A.M.P. is an interesting concept, as it means you can build your own little structures and actually pick up and move to a new location should you need to for questing. Sure, you can just fast travel back, but who wants to spend all of that time and caps zipping back and forth? Just pack it up if you’re questing in a new place, plop it down where you’re going to be hanging out and keep yourself out of some drama.
Easier said than done, truly. Being alone meant being startled by quite literally every sound and wondering when the sun would come up. Not knowing how easily the dark would overtake you, even with your Pip-Boy’s light, was quite scary. Here, I’ll include a picture of my sparse starter camp where I sat in a chair and ahead of me, unseen, are the Protectron robots roving up and down the street, waddling about to find me. Once it became light again, I started to just use my time finding camps to get some gear up before I would go work on the quests alone. Well, in proper Fallout fashion, some of the locations were… curious.
The most fun I stumbled upon came in the way of unfun, where I saw a building protected by turrets and assumed, again in proper Fallout fashion, that something REAL good must’ve been inside. So, I took some shots at the turrets, got knocked on my bubblegoose and realized there was no possible way that was a game scenario. Checking the map, I realized it was someone’s Homestead, a new feature where players can overtake houses, farms and buildings and fortify them to use as bases. Because I shot at his turret, the game said “Oh, game on, jerk!” and sent me into a Player-Vs-Player state and I had a bounty on my head. If you’re like me, however, you have no idea what it is and just ignore it. You forget. Then, when you’re sitting outside the starter Vault and waiting on your daughter to join the game, the kindly Homestead owner finds you and pops you right in the noggin.
Yup. So, Bella comes out of the Vault and I’m immediately snapped back to reality, oh-there-goes-Rabbit, dropping my real-life fruit snacks in my lap as I was startled. “What happened!?” she yelped and I just gasped and realized aloud that it probably my fault. Starting her out, we wandered about and I taught her the few things I had learned being there and also that I knew from past Fallout games. After a rather entertaining scenario (see my Twitter for the video) where she didn’t realize taking off her Vault jumpsuit meant she just had her undergarments on with armor over it, we were getting somewhere.
As we wandered about seeking more resources to build new camps, Bella and I found an unclaimed Homestead and the excitement was palpable. While protecting our location, a few folks came wandering up on Bella, myself and a newer player friend we made. Now, these fellas had some Power Armor and that, well, we weren’t quite THERE yet. Now, my concern was that they were going to bully us out of the Homestead and I couldn’t handle that given all the work we had done fortifying it!
Good news! They were friendly and after some selfies, some friend-requests and some general pal’ing about before taking off on adventures — our group of three turned into a group of five!
So, if you’re encouraged to try Fallout 76 with your friends: Do it. The bugs and crashes aren’t anymore frequent than other new online games, that I’ve found, and the actual social aspect of it is absolutely endearing. I’ve made friends, we’ve had adventures and they’ve only just begun! Get into it and have a blast! Well, hold off on the blast part maybe. What’s the most important is that you play Fallout 76 as you like, but try to expand yourself if you’re up to it. Wear a headset, turn your mic audio to ‘Area’ and engage with your fellow survivors. Party up with them, learn new things about the world and help each other out. To me, that’s what I’m loving about this game the most — it’s the camaraderie and not the crippling loneliness one typically settles for in Fallout titles. Sure, you’ll have plenty of solo time, but when you can nab a new friend and set off into the hills together, it feels fantastic.