Fallout 76 has had a helluva launch. A helluva launch! Helluva troubling, that is.
Even Todd Howard knows it was questionable, but the fact remains, Bethesda kept at it and is slowly chipping away, fixing what was ostensibly an Early Access game. Does it excuse the launch state? No, but having played it from day zero through now, I can say it has markedly improved. Bethesda’s Jeff Gardiner (project lead) and Chris Mayer (development director) are keen to agree that there’s still strides to make when speaking to PC Gamer.
The duo mused on a number of topics, including their “draconian” take on stash (a huge complaint at launch that was later addressed), something they call all part of a “balancing act.” Some changes were nigh immediate, some required thinking on, but in the end, Gardiner notes that it’s all about teamwork, both in-game and in terms of feedback: “People go into the game and part of their gameplay is to help other players to succeed and enjoy the game.” Gardiner says that the playerbase is “very healthy” but declines to give specific numbers (as is customary in most industries).
Gardiner also speaks on community mods, explaining that Bethesda actually “has a list of the top ten mods that are played” as a (Barbosa voice) guideline. They stop short of confirming a Creation Club for Fallout 76, but tease that there are “all sorts of plans in the future” that are on the way, and that modding is a part of it. Private servers are also still in the works (with no window in sight), and Nuclear Winter is expected to be talked about at E3.
As for one of the most contentious issues in recent Fallout 76 history, game-impacting repair kits (which are for sale in the Atom, or premium currency, shop, and can be acquired through gameplay means), Gardiner is remaining steadfast on the issue. He explains: “We believed the repair kits were a convenience item for people who didn’t want to grind for adhesive and other things,” he said, “and it was just a way for them to basically shortcut game systems, definitely not pay-to-win. I will argue [with] anybody that [repair kits] makes you win at the game. First of all, you’re not really competing with one another, except for in PvP mode. We have all the information, how often people repair, what they repair, and again, you can repair in the game, it’s simply just a strict convenience thing. That’s my take on repair kits.”
A noble stance, but I take umbrage with the “except for in PvP mode” qualifier, not to mention that introducing what are essentially purchasable “convenience” fees, similar to FarmVille, into a Fallout game. But that’s all beside the point: Pete Hines confirmed in August, 2018, before the launch of Fallout 76 that microtransactions would be “only cosmetic.”
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Bethesda talks ‘balancing act’ of Fallout 76 support, how they monitor player mods