The release of Fallout 76 is a milestone cautionary tale for AAA developers.
At launch, it was a bug-riddled, apparently unfinished game which, predictably, had negative reception across the board. The ambitious idea of putting a Fallout game on a shared multiplayer-only experience itself was a double-edged sword. As the community almost unanimously believed, Bethesda had completely failed to back their ambition up with any solid takeaways.
Ever since, Fallout 76's disastrous launch has shaped its reputation. The numerous PR disaster afterwards, such as the Fallout Canvas Duffel Bag controversy, and the Pay2Win repair kits, exacerbated it even further.
Some of the anti-Fallout 76 community rhetoric can be chalked out as spillover from its shaky release. Despite all their failings, Bethesda has been trying to improve the game, and it has begun to pay dividends.
Note: This article reflects the writer's opinion.
Fallout 76 is likely in the best state that it has ever been in
Games with disastrous launches, undergoing redemption arcs as developers patch things up, is not unheard of. We need only remember Hello Games' No Man's Sky, and see how much it has improved in five years.
Bethesda has made similar promises, and thus far, they have shown some effort to back up this agenda. For those who have been playing the game since launch, Fallout 76 might not have shaken things up enough for a revisit. But for a brand-new player, here are three reasons that the game might be worth trying in 2022.
The biggest detriment to Fallout 76 at launch was its clear marks of rushed development. The game was extremely buggy. Bethesda's attempts to fix them with later patches had, ultimately, broken the game in different ways in the past. But in 2022, the game is stable enough to pass for a servicable game at its release stage. While some day-one bugs like the fast travel bug still persist, they do not hinder the experience nearly as much as previous issues.
Throughout their 2020 and 2021 seasons, Bethesda has also added some much-needed quality-of-life changes and reversed jarring game design choices. To name some of them:
- Shared loot inventory for all nearby corpses
- Sliders for crafting multiple copies of the same item
- Legendary items can be crafted
- Legendary perks can be recycled
- Different loadouts for perks and camps, with two free slots to start players off
- Player no longer needs to deal the killing blow on a legendary target to get legendary item drops
Most importantly, Bethesda has now populated their desolate world with NPCs, and added major story content and quests with the Wastelanders update and the Brotherhood of Steel update. With Fallout: Worlds, the player can even take full advantage of a de-facto creative mode in the one category where Fallout 76 has really innovated: base-building.
Nearly all of this content, including the free Battle Pass (Seasons), is also unlockable without extra microtransactions. Despite Bethesda breaking their cosmetics-only mtx promise in the past, Fallout 76 offers significantly higher value for its base game purchase in 2022 than it did in 2018.