GBAtemp Exclusive Fallout 76: Breaking down the B.E.T.A. before launch

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by Hells Malice, Nov 12, 2018.


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    Fallout 76, the new multiplayer “survival” Fallout game by Bethesda, has already been quite a polarizing title. With all sorts of claims and opinions flying around, I figured i’d drop my two cents in about what I thought after playing some of the BETA. I also figured it might be a good idea to talk about some of the hot topics surrounding the game as well.

    So let’s get started. I decided to split this into segments, just for simplicity and readability for anyone interested in specific topics. I’ll explain certain things as needed, though if you want a more in-depth/detailed look into the game and how it works, there are much better sources to look through.



    No NPCs, and worries about questing

    One of the biggest gripes I see with people, is the lack of NPCs. It seems like a lot of players (journalists included) don’t seem to understand that Fallout 76 was never meant to be a standard Fallout experience. The idea of shifting to a survival game (more on that next) was to move away from some of the conventions that had become standard. Mainly, NPCs. Fallout 76 focuses primarily on exploration, because exploration is significantly easier to do with a group of friends. Even with the lack of NPCs, the game still has plenty of quests, most of which pop onto your tracker as you get within the area of one. More standard quests are available too, but are given to you by a deceased NPC via holotapes. Frankly I felt it to be a fairly similar, albeit streamlined, questing experience. It cuts out the unnecessary back and forth and just gets to the point. It tells you what to do, and why you’re doing it. Simple!

    So in short, no the world is not populated by NPCs, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s full to the brim with notes, holotapes and terminals full of lore, stories and even hints of where to find juicy loot. It works given the open world multiplayer nature of the game, and that’s the most important part.



    Survival and PvP

    From the outset, Fallout 76 was touted as a survival game. Though as Todd Howard put it, a “soft-core” survival game. What exactly does that mean? Well as it turns out...it means there are effectively no aspects of survival games in Fallout 76, aside from thirst, hunger and an online world.

    Some may be disappointed, and others relieved, to know that this can essentially be a singleplayer game even if you’re forced to always play online with others. Although PvP is technically possible, unless a person fires back, you do next to no damage to them. The “slap” system basically makes PvP optional. Even if another player starts slapping you, you could simply log off on the spot, log back in and be on a new server. Alternatively you could block the person while they whittle down your HP. Even if they kill you, all that happens is you can respawn, and they get a server-wide bounty put on them for everyone to see. If you don’t fight back, you don’t drop junk as you normally would in any other death scenario. By default you can see where every player is on the map, but blocking people prevents you from seeing each other. Unless you’re Wanted, of course.

    Jumping back to survival, as I said before, there is very little that makes this a typical one. You can build a fairly small mobile base known as a CAMP. It will try to spawn into the world wherever you had it when you log into the world, though from my experience it tends to just come back to you and needs to be re-placed. Thanks to the matchmaking system, it means public servers have absolutely no sense of community. You will never see familiar player structures, you will never see the same faces. You won’t ever form alliances, become enemies, fight wars, help allies. There is absolutely no tension from wandering around because even if someone manages to kill you, you drop effectively nothing. This is one of my biggest gripes, but at the very least, private servers will fix this issue.



    Voice Chat


    After the final B.E.T.A., Bethesda released a statement going over a few of the things that were major concerns to players. One of them being the voice chat system. For those who don’t know, Fallout 76 defaults you to a “hot mic”, mean if you have a microphone, by default it was turned on. This led to some very strange moments where you’d hear people breathing, eating, talking to themselves or others. Most of whom had no idea they were live to the world. It was mostly an issue in the character creator, but it led to a significant portion of the playerbase simply disabling voice chat. You could not turn off your hot mic and still hear other voices. Bethesda heard the cries loud and clear...and issued a statement that they didn’t see the problem and people need to just deal with it for the foreseeable future. No, I’m not kidding. That wasn’t their words exactly, however, this was:

    After the internet blew up for a second time, they quickly edited to say they were looking into adding it in the near future. Apparently the third time IS the charm.



    Stash Size


    Hoo boy, this is probably the biggest topic of them all. Each player has a personal stash, which is a magical container that you can find throughout the world, or at your own CAMP. It’s the only place to store your valuables. However during the B.E.T.A., many noticed the limit to be quite tiny. Even using all of the tactics available to stretch your storage, you still hit the limit fairly quickly. Hundreds of complaints surfaced all over the place: Reddit, Twitter, their forum, and I’m sure elsewhere. Similar to the voice chat issue, Bethesda gave this statement about stash sizes:

    I didn’t really know what to make of this statement; it says that the 400 stash limit will get easier to deal with over time. What does that even mean? As someone who accrued approximately 10 hours of B.E.T.A. gameplay time, my stash is nearly full. I can assure Bethesda that within the next 10 hours, things will not be getting any easier.

    Rant aside, many (myself included) have speculated that 400 was simply a BETA limit to stifle hoarding pre-launch. Which would make a ton of sense. That idea was shaken a bit by that statement, but it’s all too possible the person writing the reply had no idea what the plan was for the stash going forward. given it’s a fairly vague response. We’ll just have to wait and see what Bethesda does. If launch rolls around and that 400 limit remains, no nuclear bunker will be strong enough to save us from the explosive rage of the fanbase.

    Just a cute little note, but older MMO/Diablo 2 players might be entertained by the thought that it IS technically possible to make your excess character slots into “mules” for your extra junk. Though it does require a friends help to transfer items. I don’t know why the return of mule characters entertains me so much.



    PC support


    PC players will be annoyed to learn that Fallout 76 is worse than ever when it comes to their platform of choice. There are very few graphical options, and a lot of console specific features remain intact and unable to be disabled due to how the settings seem to work. This means no removing motion blur, depth of field, or other mildly annoying things that make the game look a lot worse to save performance. There also isn’t an FOV slider, which I believe is fairly standard for Bethesda games to not have. Though unlike before, thanks to a much stricter hold on mods, many of these issues can’t simply just be fixed by modders. Bethesda hasn’t given us much on this particular topic, but they did have this to say about FOV:

    Some fans have pointed out (many times), this claim is false, as modders always quite easily work in a FOV slider with little issue. Bethesda just seems to be stubbornly resisting this issue for whatever reason. Hopefully it’ll be resolved fairly soon, as it is one of the bigger complaints many PC users have.

    For everything else, I suppose we’ll just have to wait and hope. If Bethesda declines to fix the issues, we can only hope a clever fan will find a solution.



    Exploits


    This is an important issue that mostly affects PC users. There was a lot of chatter floating around about exploits. Most of this seemed to be from a lot of sites (very incorrectly) reporting on a “speed hack” that had already been discovered. While somewhat true, it’s hard to have called it a “hack”. What it was, is players realizing that just like every other Bethesda game on the Creation/Gamebryo engine, physics are tied to framerate. Hilariously, this meant that turning off v-sync in an .ini file allowed them to essentially speed themselves up. You could move faster, attack faster, and I believe it even sped up enemies. It was a fairly inconsistent exploit that only a few could really use properly thanks to the game running rather poorly for most people. But nonetheless it was a pretty big one, so Bethesda forced a 60 FPS lock on all PC players for the remainder of the B.E.T.A. as a bandaid fix. I doubt much damage was caused by it since it was only a limited exploit, and at best people just saved themselves some travel time.

    Outside of that, there were numerous fear mongering threads popping up around Reddit and the forums, however they all ended up being speculation and none had any real proof. A lockpicking mod was created to show the sweet spot for any locks, because the sweet spot was shared with the game client and thus readily available for modders to display. People went wild with this tiny bit of info and speculated all manner of exploits, but in the end nothing ever happened for the entirety of the B.E.T.A.. I imagine if such egregious exploits were running wild, people would have made others quite aware.

    Bethesda seems properly receptive to receiving and dealing with exploits as they hit, at least so far. So hopefully they keep it up and nip anything that might show up sooner, rather than “in the future”.



    General Thoughts


    As someone who enjoys the Fallout series, but has never been a diehard fan, I was very skeptical going into the B.E.T.A.. I was excited for a proper Fallout survival game, but I eventually came to terms with the idea that such a thing won’t exist until private servers can make it so.

    Despite that, I had a lot of fun. Shifting the focus away from dull, uninteresting NPC conversations and more onto exploration really worked well for me. The world is huge, and I barely even dented it. There’s bits of lore all over the place. My favourite was when I’d find a note describing the location of a key, or a loot stash. It made it actually worth checking notes even if you’re not fully interested in lore. The world is full of stuff to do and discover. Plenty of room for screwing around as well. Workshops need some work but are still fairly fun to hold for some sweet, sweet resources.

    It plays like any other FPS Fallout game, just with a larger variety of mods and weapons. Combat is fine for the most part thanks to guns being hitscan, though melee can be a bit annoying when you swing THROUGH enemies due to sync issues. But overall it worked as well as to be expected. There may not be any humans, but Scorched effectively replace the role of raiders by toting guns and being ruthless.

    Perks are much more interesting this time around, allowing for all sorts of cool theorycrafting around builds. It takes a while to get things going due to most good cards unlocking further up the level spectrum, but once you get there, it’s great. There are a few quirks they could work out, like receiving useless duplicate cards of perks that can’t level up. But otherwise the system is very well done, and provides options for hundreds of cool builds.

    Needless to say, I’m ready for launch. I’m hoping to be able to do an official GBAtempTV stream when the time comes, but we’ll have to see how my schedule works out around that time! If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. I’ve unhealthily immersed myself into the community so I have a decent amount of knowledge that didn’t fit into a write-up.

    Stay tuned for our full review, which will be out just a little after launch.
     
    Discussion (18 replies)
  1. Xzi

    Xzi Virtual Bartman

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    Minus the entire RPG aspect it sounds like. I'm guessing VATS is gone at least for PvP too. Not sure how well the shooting mechanics in modern Fallout games will really hold up on their own, especially because Bethesda already owns other FPS properties which do shooting a lot better (DOOM, Wolfenstein).
     
  2. HaloEliteLegend

    HaloEliteLegend Zzzz

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    Great article! I enjoyed when you wrote an article like this for Sea of Thieves, and I again enjoyed this one. You should do more like this.
     
  3. Bedel

    Bedel The key of the blade

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    This is the first time I read "B.E.T.A.", as if it were the acronymun of something. Isn't it just a normal letter from the greek alphabet? Or is this something I ignore just for this game?
     
  4. Hells Malice
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    Hells Malice Are you a bully?

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    Thanks! I am hoping to do more of these.

    No its basically identical. VATs is real time which is a bit weird, but it works fine and has plenty of perks to make a VATs build viable. I doubt a VATs build would ever be that great in PVP since it just compensates for poor aim, aside from the crits. But you lose valuable perk points to do it.

    The RPG aspect of it was actually greatly enhanced. You earn SPECIAL points for every level up to 50, and each SPECIAL caps at 15. Every point in a SPECIAL lets you equip 1 more point of perk cards, and provides its own benefit as well just for raising the stat. Making builds is more interesting than ever. Here's a perk builder if you want to poke at it.

    Gunplay is fine, but yeah it's nothing mindblowing. But it works.

    Bethesda themselves made it an acronym for "Break-it Early Test Application". It's kinda cute.
     
    Last edited by Hells Malice, Nov 12, 2018
  5. AtsuNii

    AtsuNii AtsuNii's New Beginnings

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    In my opinion one of the things that I miss most, is the NPCs. Boring chatter might be the usual with them, however they turn the settlements that are around actually feel like people are trying to build up again after the devestation of the bombs.

    Further the base building as far as I've heard is practically useless. Because if you logout and back on, all the items of your camp have been placed back into your inventory. Not in a way that it is all ready to go again, but you got to build it all over again. I'm not sure if this is still the case, but if it would, then I'll leave it at being useless.

    As far as I have seen and heard things of this game, I think it was indeed best to just ignore Fallout 76 and just wait with the hope they can make up by making a proper SP Fallout.
     
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  6. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

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    I'll skip this one. After fallout 4 released, it turned out that all the chances of 4 toward 3 were changes I didn't like, and now it's shifted yet again in a direction that isn't what I consider Fallout's core. No NPC's, eh? Well...at least it's a solid direction choice. No idea what that "mike always on" thing was about (how is the sound of someone's mum complaining that another gamer plays too much video games in any way adding to the immersiveness of a nuclear wasteland? :unsure:), but ey...I'm more curious about this on a human interest level than that I'll play the game at one point.

    It's still a bit of a pity (for years, fallout 1&2 were the only RPG's I could stomach), but at least there are decent alternatives around now (I still gotta get around to play wasteland 2, for example). :)

    EDIT: for clarity...I'm not ditching this game in any way. I'm simply not interested. I played (and disliked) fallout tactics, and this is shaping up to be...erm...probably not "the same", but something I simply have no desire of playing. It might be the best game ever for someone else...it'll still not be what I intend to play. :)
     
    Last edited by Taleweaver, Nov 13, 2018
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  7. Xzi

    Xzi Virtual Bartman

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    Eh, perks I wouldn't really call part of the RPG aspect on their own, especially in a game where they can only be used to enhance combat. The vast majority of FPS games have something similar now after all. The game loses out on a lot by not allowing multiple methods to complete quests and/or conversation pathways.
     
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  8. Chary

    Chary Never sleeps.

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    Sadly that's been dead since FO4. I've learned to accept that this isn't Black Aisle/Obsidian Fallout, and this is a spinoff. That's how I'm considering it, at least. The lore is a slap in the face of course, and there's minimal RPG elements, but on the face level, this is modern Fallout that we've come to accept since 3 and 4.

    I do really like the perk system, though. It might all be combat, but at least the gunplay isn't like a pea-shooter like it was in the past games.
     
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  9. Hells Malice
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    Hells Malice Are you a bully?

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    Not having NPCs adds its own atmosphere to the game. It's fun exploring and seeing all the crap that went down in this crazy wasteland. But I never enjoyed NPCs or questing in Fallout 3/NV/4. So an exploration based Fallout was right up my alley to begin with.

    I didn't play with CAMPs as much as I should have tbh, but you CAN save everything you build into blueprints. If you're manually moving your base, you have to have remembered to blueprint your design or it does go poof. I think that's where people make mistakes. If you swap servers and your CAMP is uprooted however, it auto saves a blueprint of your exact CAMP and stores all of the pieces to be immediately slapped back down somewhere. Big fancy bases aren't really meant to just be thrown up at your convenience tbh. No other survival game even lets you move them.

    The core aspect of an RPG is just playing a role, tbh. The only real requirement to even be an RPG is character building. A few obvious dialogue choices don't really make or break a game being an RPG lol. It's definitely not a story-driven game though. It's lore driven, similar to the Souls games.
     
  10. Xzi

    Xzi Virtual Bartman

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    Yeah it feels like they always have to make a lot of compromises for multiplayer. Just like with ESO, it's not really an Elder Scrolls game, it's an MMO that's designed to look very similar.

    Oh well, I'm sure someone will have fun with Fallout 76. For myself and others like me, I think the New California mod that recently dropped for FO:NV has a lot more to like in a more traditional Fallout style.
     
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  11. chartube12

    chartube12 CPT Chazz 713

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    You can bundle items into bulk packs. You get certain weapons and armor so often it’s worth breaking them down. Especially since blueprints (sometimes called plans, it changed back to one another during beta) are automatically learned when scraping them. I have never hit the stash limit. Also you have two stashes. The camp module acts as addition storage. During the beta it was half the stash boxes. But it’s still enough. Although I heard both are being merged into 1 for a total 600 weight space soon, with additional 200 coming later. Idk, I just don’t get the stash limit complains. Also I don’t get the complains of people wanting a separate box for food, ammo and armor for organizing. You can tab through everything in storage. So it wouldn’t make cents n actually be inconvenient to have separate boxes.
     
  12. Hells Malice
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    Bulk items only go so far, and it's an annoying waste of plastic.

    You get mods from scrapping weapons. I think you can also find recipes with specific weapon mods too.

    There's only one stash. It's a 400 limit and there is nothing else except your character to store items into. Any container you make in your CAMP will just link to your stash. Every storage container is effectively an ender chest from Minecraft.
    Hitting the limit is super easy, and in general it's just incredibly annoying that you can't really store items. Most guns weigh like 10lbs, especially once they've been modded. And that's just simple shit like pistols/rifles. Heavy guns are a nightmare.

    I could see a limit of about 1000 being reasonable. I don't think it should be infinite, but right now it's just ridiculous.
     
  13. bi388

    bi388 GBAtemp Maniac

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    Fallout was originally a unique experience where the world and the view you get of the story was all crafted around your character and how you play. There were many ways to handle things but they were all well thought out. The world was full of life rebuilding society and brilliant npcs. The villians were all gray morally, as were the good guys. There was no generic hero and no generic evil villain. Bethesda has been dismantling that piece by piece every game and now we have this. A broken mess of a game, part of an rpg series that has no roleplaying, no npcs, no moral choices and no morally ambiguous characters.
     
  14. Hells Malice
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    Most of the "moral choices" were pretty boring in Fallout 3/4 tbh. One of the best parts of the games was the world building through lore, which is still perfectly intact (and albeit, better this time).

    Like I said in my OP, I think a lot of people are misunderstanding that this was never meant to be a mainline Fallout, nor was it ever meant to deliver a Fallout 1-4 experience. It's a multiplayer spinoff focused entirely on that. It's focused on the story of West Virginia, and what the hell happened after the nukes dropped. You explore a decimated environment discovering all of the things that went down while you happily waited in your vault for things to calm down.

    As far as roleplaying goes, i'd argue it's better for it. Just because the game doesn't hold your hand and tell you what you are and what you should be, doesn't mean you can't go into this game and play a role. Just by the virtue of how every person on this planet has a different personality, goals and ambitions, every single human in the game is a person playing a role. Other humans are much more interesting for roleplay than any boring, lifeless doll of an NPC ever could be.

    Though if you're really hard up about roleplaying, i'd definitely wait for private servers. I can guarantee there'll be some incredible roleplaying servers for people who want to exist in a world that is alive with people. Not alive with pre-programmed husks that spew the same set lines every conversation.
     
  15. chartube12

    chartube12 CPT Chazz 713

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    I have never seen a gun weigh 10 pounds. The camp piece you intially click on to build and setup is it’s own container of 180 pounds. As I posted above though, at some point it is being merged into the stash. Bulking items isn’t a waste! Bulk items weigh from .10 to .50 pounds. It’s a big savings. Individual pieces can weigh much more than that in total. The odds of getting actual mods from scrapping are low, getting mod blueprints from scrapping is ridiculously high! Don’t see how people are capping thier containers unless they are hording everything. Thier isn’t any need for that. Just create items as needed, break everything found down. 580 is more than enough!!!
     
  16. Biff627

    Biff627 GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    I personally did not like the game part... The game looked great! Graphics were great, but the gameplay did not hook me in very well.... Preorder got cancelled.. It was pretty buggy for me and crashed quite a bit...

    I hope everyone else enjoys it though! Im just gonna play spyro now
     
  17. Hells Malice
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    Oh you got fooled by the overseer's stash haha. Some people mistake it for a personal container, but it's just a container anyone can look into. So if you put anything into it, you'll lose it. It's not tied to you. I saw people talk about that a few times.
    The ONLY stash the player has is the 400 stash. Trust me.

    My very sparsely modded shotgun is 10 lbs
    Warning: Spoilers inside!
    My pipe pistol is actually 6lbs, my bad. But mods add a ton. I can see a full modded gun being 15-20lbs depending on what it is. Heavy guns are even worse, but they at least have a perk you can invest 3 points into to reduce the weight by a lot. But that still doesn't help you store it. It takes up a ton of space.

    Even fully bulked, 400 is nothing. 400 is 10-20 hours of play time at most. It's a big problem. Especially since the higher leveled you get, the heavier crap seems to become. You have to use a crazy amount of perk points just to try and manage personal carryweight. Ain't nothing saving your stash weight though.
     
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  18. bi388

    bi388 GBAtemp Maniac

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    The moral choices were certainly boring in 3 and 4. When I say the series was born off of intelligent and moral choices, those arent the games I mean. 1, 2 and NV are the games that follow the series heart and what make it unique.

    And yeah I know this isnt a mainline title, but that doesnt justify it imo, just like metal gear survive being a soulless shooter with the mgs name slapped on doesnt justify it. This game has nothing in common with the base of the franchise to me. The series was built upon smart roleplaying and npcs, none of which this has. And I wouldnt be that upset by it, except I know we arent going to get another real fallout again. Fallout 5 isnt going to be bethesda saying "we are sorry that 4 has no rpg elements and removed all the thought provoking gameplay, heres a successor to 2/nv", its just going to be a reskin of 4. And the chance of a NV2 is dead with obsidian now owned by microsoft.
     
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