Anyone who remembers the initial launch of Fallout 76 remembers that it was pretty bad; or rather, a downright catastrophe in most regards. There were a couple of things that made the initial launch so distinctly poor, but if there’s one thing almost every player could agree on as being an utterly terrible design decision, it was the lack of human NPCs in an RPG game. Imagine a Fallout game where there is no one to talk to at all aside from robots and computer recordings. It was and is as bad as it sounds, being one of the most vocal complaints from players everywhere, so it makes sense that Bethesda would try to fix it.
The plan was to release human NPCs in the Wastelanders update, along with questlines to go with them, thus making Fallout 76 much closer to the single player formula most people actually wanted it to be. Unfortunately, in a recent post on Bethesda’s own website, it was revealed that the update is going to be pushed back to a January-March timeframe for 2020. Supposedly this is because of how ‘ambitious’ the update has turned out to be.
“We’re excited about how Wastelanders is coming together but it’s going to need more time to be the best, most polished update it can be,” the announcement states. “Wastelanders is turning out to be one of the largest expansions we’ve ever done, and it changes the entire world with human NPCs returning.”
While that sounds all well and good, most players probably don’t view the ‘expansion’ in such a light, considering that it is for content many people believed should have been in the game from the very start. Even so, it’s at least good to hear that the update is supposedly expansive enough to need this much time before it is ready to go. Hopefully that means it’ll truly be compensating for everything the game lacked at launch, though that could be the voice of optimism speaking.
The announcement also included a roadmap of future plans for the game, which apparently includes a rework of the Atomic Shop, as well as the Challenge reward system, though there will supposedly be no advantage that players can buy in order to get ahead. Bethesda also claimed to be working on many quality of life improvements for the remainder of 2019, though they didn’t give any specific details about what those improvements would be. The same is true for the new events they’ll be adding, new perk loadouts, the Legendary Player system, and the public test server. We know all of those things will be coming, but details are a little sketchy for most of them.
But while players will have to wait for all of those to be added to the game, there is a new feature coming a whole lot sooner, that being the addition or private servers. According to Bethesda, this feature was also one of their most requested, which is why it will be available sometime next week. However, the ability to mod your private world will not be added until a later update, and that date has not exactly been specified.
The fact that Bethesda is adding all of this content to the game is good; but whether or not it’s praiseworthy is up for debate. It’s not quite the same situation as a company providing ongoing live support for a game that was already great. In this case, Bethesda is adding a bunch of content that most people believed should have been in the game from day one. Of course, they could have just decided to leave the game as it was, but they did at least have the decency to try and fix their serious mistakes; even if the biggest mistake will now have to wait until 2020 to be rectified.
Besides, Bethesda has also been adding some content that wasn’t expected at launch, such as a battle royale mode and even raids.
Ultimately, there’s no denying that Fallout 76 had a massively rough start. With a lack of content, including major RPG elements like NPCs, the admittedly beautiful world (which had a lot more green than most Fallout games) still felt lonely, empty, and ultimately inconsequential. Bethesda took steps along the way to try and fix all of that, to keep players invested in a large world where the only other people to encounter were a handful of real players. Most of them were just band-aids that sought to slightly mend the much larger problem.
The Wastelanders update is supposed to fix that, and even though it is way too late in coming, it is certainly better than nothing. Will it be enough to finally make Fallout 76 the game that everyone though it was going to be at launch? We’ll have to wait to find out, but unfortunately we’ll have to wait until 2020 at this point. In the meantime, we may still get some fairly regular updates from Bethesda to keep players invested until the Wastelanders update; even so, hopefully it’ll be coming in January of 2020 rather than March.
Here’s the popular trailer for Fallout 76: