The Fall of Fallout 76


Alexander Gray

Photo from my terrible, buggy, and laggy hour experience on the Xbox version of Fallout 76 (Photo courtesy of Alexander Gray).

If you look up the definition of greedy and anticonsumer, chances are you’ll find a picture of Fallout 76. Fallout 76 is what happens when the higher-ups at a company disregard the fans for monetary gain. Because of this, Fallout 76 may take the top spot for the worst video game in history, beating out E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari-2600.

The launch of 76 was rocky to say the least. The basic reason this game was created was simple: it was purely monetary. We as the player base probably should have seen the signs ahead of time before the launch, from the bait and switches of a canvas bag for a cheap nylon bag in the $200 Power Armor edition to the poorly running beta. If we paid attention to these signs maybe then we wouldn’t have been scammed out of our money.

“I should have played the beta so I would’ve known how garbage the game was,” said BMC sophomore Jacob Groome.

Upon trying to get replacement canvas bags for the Power Armor edition, fans were met with excuses and unanswered support tickets. For the people who did get a response, they were sent a free 500 Atoms (in-game currency) for the Atomic Shop (their microtransaction store). Ironically enough, the “500 free Atoms” wasn’t even enough to get the in-game canvas bag. Bethesda eventually caved and ended up delivering replacement canvas bags to everyone six months later.

Alexander Gray
Picture of the Atomic Shop which cosmetic skins and items can be purchased with “Atoms” which is the premium currency (Photo courtesy of Alexander Gray).

The game still ran as terribly as the beta did; there were no NPCs “non-playable characters”  in the game, a vast amount of glitches and bugs, and last but not least, the Atomic Shop was open and operational since the beginning of the game. The game was considered a huge downgrade as the quality of the game and the story was awful.

“The launch was mediocre at best. The game was bad as there were lots of glitches and basically no story,” said Nation Ford High School student Eric Morgenstern.

Soon after the release, people tried refunding the game at stores and online. Players on PC were extremely unlucky with this as the Bethesda launcher has a refund policy with one rule, if you install it, you can’t refund it. A surprisingly anti-consumer move we expect from the likes of EA, not Bethesda.

“The game in three words, cash grab simulator,” said Groome.

However, things went downhill from here.

New updates and bug fixes would bring new destructive bugs. Some of these bugs included broken weapon and armor perks, removal of weapon and armor perks from reloading a weapon, broken spawns, glitched walls, breaking animations and many more. Even the quest for the ending of the game was broken after the new year’s back in 2019!

Alexander Gray
If you look closely, you can see a giant mosquito, which spawned and got stuck in the floor (Photo courtesy of Alexander Gray).

“The developers have seemingly made mistakes at every turn with balancing, glitches, and everything in between. Fixing one thing seems to break another,” said former Fallout 76 player Drew Rachwal.

One huge bug in the game’s code let users duplicate items from inside the game. Two things ended up happening. The first thing was a massive ban wave of people using this exploit, which didn’t fix stuff as the items were transported to main accounts from alternate accounts. The second thing was it completely broke the economy of the game.

So now that people duplicated a ton of items, it was time to sell them on eBay. That’s right, individuals are actually selling items on eBay and making money off Fallout 76. It doesn’t stop there though. At one point, players found the developer room (a room that contains every item in the game and is hidden to the player) and proceeded to loot it. Along with the regular items, these players also found unreleased Atomic Shop content which they took and sold the items on eBay which resulted in a loss of revenue for Bethesda.

How does Bethesda cope with this loss in revenue? They add “pay to win” microtransactions to a broken game that hasn’t been fixed yet, and a $100-$144 a year “pay to win” subscription titled “Fallout 1st.” This didn’t go over well as Bethesda broke the promise of the game not being “pay to win” and promises of private worlds for everyone, which is now locked behind the subscription along with the highly asked for unlimited crafting storage.

Alexander Gray
Photo of the “pay to win” section of the Atomic Shop which can be used to repair items or for crafting (Photo courtesy of Alexander Gray).
Alexander Gray
Picture of the main menu which shows the private worlds are locked behind the Fallout 1st subscription (Photo courtesy of Alexander Gray).

“I think Fallout 1st was a scummy excuse of a thing and a complete waste of money. I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole,” said Rachwal.

Fallout 1st also inadvertently sparked a civil war between the player base as groups of people outraged by the new subscription targeted subscribers.

The worst problem the game has had is hackers and modders. You would think, as a company, you would make the multiplayer game in a new engine that, A.) hasn’t been out for over two decades, and B.) the community doesn’t have easy access to. Nevertheless, they went with it anyway and resulted in the wasteland of the PC player base.

In the most recent events, modders have put in props from the previous installment. Fallout 4, and placed them all over the map in 76. These props include buildings, the Prydwen zeppelin from the Brotherhood of Steel group of the Fallout universe, and NPC’s like the character Preston Garvey with the famous and annoying line, “another settlement needs your help, I’ll mark it on your map.”

While the implementation of Fallout 4 props wasn’t a huge problem, the PC community would be hit with one devastating mod. The recent mod allowed modders to steal entire players inventories just by looking at them. Bethesda responded to this mod with a statement that they were investigating the mod and only a small estimated portion of 500 players were affected. Now that number sounds small until you realize the player base for 76 is very small.

In short, Fallout 76 was a train wreck made with the purposes of monetization, not to please the fans. The game could have succeeded if they listened to the fans, updated the game to another engine, and cut the monetization off.