Fallout 76 in 2021: Is It Worth Your Time?

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With minimal hyperbole, many saw the launch of Fallout 76 as one of the worst in gaming history. Everything from a buggy game to promises that were nearly impossible for Bethesda to keep. The question is whether or not, after over two years of release; is Fallout 76 worth playing? The short answer is yes, I do find the game enjoyable enough to purchase, if at the very least, at a discounted price. The past two years’ worth of patches, updates, and bug fixes has turned Fallout 76 into something worth your time in its current state.

A Rocky History

Fallout 76 was a huge victim of overhype which can be detrimental to the lifespan of a game when expectations don’t line up with reality. Originally, Fallout 76 was promoted as “16 times more detail” and a world “4 times larger than Fallout 4,” not to mention the preorder promises that were hardly kept.

To add more fuel to the fire, Day 1 patch, while not uncommon these days it takes the cake at an almost 50GB patch. Many bugs were found during the closed beta testing of the game, and sadly very few seemed to be fixed by release. One year after the release, there was still a multitude of bugs still in Fallout 76. Joseph Anderson cataloged many of the glitches via his YouTube video The 1001 Glitches of Fallout 76.

Overall on launch, it was messy, glitchy, and unfortunately, some would say boring. Fallout 76 was a good idea with extremely poor execution with a rushed deadline. If Fallout 76 was an Indie-developed game, this release would have surely killed them on spawn. Luckily, Fallout 76 was created by a large enough company to survive the terrible launch.

The backlash and outrage at this game for the shabby release have caused many people to boycott and denounce many of Bethesda’s practices. This mostly is due to the fact that in many instances Bethesda claimed to not be able to, or simply refuse to fix certain problems.

New Beginnings

Fallout 76 was an interesting addition to the fallout universe, being an FPS MMO in comparison to the other fallout games. [Fallout 1 and 2 being a turn-based RPG, Fallout 3 changing that mold into a FPS (or more aptly and Action RPG). Same occurred with Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4.]

As the game stands right now, in its current state, I feel that it’s worth giving Fallout 76 a chance. The updates throughout the past two years have significantly improved the playability of the game.

Some of the more notable updates:

  • Wild Appalachia in March of 2019 introduced new events, questlines, and crafting systems.
  • Nuclear Winter in June of 2019 added a 52 player, Battle Royal game mode.
  • Wastelanders in April 2020 added human NPCs, more main story and new quests. The human NPCs are a huge addition which up to this point hadn’t been a part of the game due to logistical errors that prevented these from being added at launch.
  • Season 1: The Legendary Run update added seasonal content for players, giving a more rewarding aspect to playing and doing a lot of the more menial and tedious tasks.

The list continues with patches that provided Legendary perks, balance overhauls, new reward additions, and more. Needless to say, many of these improvements helped the playability of Fallout 76. Though the game does still a bit repetitive (especially for those who don’t enjoy questing), these new additions added more things to do and rewards to collect for your time spent in the Wasteland.

My favorite thing about Fallout 76 has to be the sheer amount of player interaction that there is. From emoting and trading with some random players you come across or attempting to hunt down a Deathclaw with your friends. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the Atom shop, it’s all cosmetics but I feel some of it should be made public even though you can earn Atoms throughout the game. I feel the atom payout for events should be a tad better for the prices of the items Atom shop.

Should You Spend Time or Money on Fallout 76?

Overall, I feel this game rightfully deserved to have the backlash it received upon release for its poor level of management, and seemingly little care for the fans. However, I feel like as of current, after letting the game update and improve for 2 years I feel it is definitely worth buying.

For those of you who bought Fallout 76 and disliked it enough for it to sit uninstalled, I suggest you pick it up once more. For those who are on the fence about Fallout 76, I’d say wait for a sale. I can understand how a critically criticized game like this can harbor ill will and not wanting to spend $40 on it, so if you can find it cheaper or you see it on sale I feel you won’t be disappointed with your purchase. All that being said, after playing for roughly 15 hours I’d still only give it a 6.5 out of 10.

Happy gaming everyone, see you out there in the Wasteland.

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