So, I bought the Collectors Edition of Fallout 76 at launch because I love collectors editions but I never got around to playing the game. It sat and sat and I always intended to 'get around to it' but never did. Finally the quarantine madness started to kick in and I decided to give the game a shot – especially after hearing that a new major update had just come out that added in NPCs and more in depth quest lines. I told my friend and he also grabbed the game so we could play together.
Starting out we played together for a bit and were both pretty happy with it. It feels like the previous Fallout games, maybe a 'lite' version in some regards but still good. Grouping was annoying because XP/loot isn't shared – if you don't damage an enemy you get nothing so by playing together we were actually robbing each other of XP/loot – not a huge deal, but a bit annoying.
Questing together, the actual logistics of it, is just terrible. There's no way to share quests with teammates so if one of us played when the other wasn't available we were completely de-synced. Which means we pick one of our quest lines to follow but the person whose not on quest doesn't have any objective markers or anything so they just sort of have to follow along. At the end the mission ends and the person on quest gets a bunch of XP and caps while the follower gets a handful of caps. Sort of lame, again. It can really increase a disparity. Some quests, such as dailies, seemed like a great way to group together – aside from the fact that it spawns us different objectives for the same tasks.At one point a mission we both had sent us to find a robot to talk to – the game spawned two of these robots about 100 feet away from each other so that we each had our own. There were several quests that had instanced zones for no reason so, again, we'd either take turns doing it with each other leading or we'd split up for the sake of time.
There are events that are best done in a group but it seems like a mixed bag because then you're competing with other players for kills – a Legendary enemy spawns (which is the best way to get legendary loot drops) and one of the 5 players who are here is going to one shot it – meaning nobody else gets the XP or loot. So not even grouping but actually playing alongside other players is frustrating.
But the game is still fun I said, right. It's just annoying to group together. Playing through the new 'main story' and quests was great. It builds around the idea that there were no humans prior to the update, having this be all about 'people returning' and competing for resources and the like. Building camps is also fun because you can set up a shop and sell things – which causes your camp to show up as a vendor on the map that other players can travel to. I really like seeing people explore my camp because I put a lot of work into it and it's fun/nice/interesting to have revenue coming from that.
The leveling system is another thing that confuses itself – as you level up you earn randomized perks every few levels and the ability to purchase a special stat/perk card at every level. You can equip a number of perks for every stat equal to your value in the stat (if you have a 7 Strength you can equip two level 3 perk cards and a level 1 or 7 level 1 perk cards) but because of the randomization and the fact that you start out with 1 in every stat everything just sort of winds up feeling somewhat broken. If you buy the perk cards for lone Wanderer, for example, then you wind up with a 5 Charisma and a perk card that costs 4 points in it. If you want to group with someone then this card no longer does you any good so you can replace it… but you probably don't have anything else to put in that slot because all the points you chose were for Lone Wanderer and random chance determines whether or not you have anything else. Once you're past level 50 you can sort of correct for things like this but it's slow and pointless to do so.
Plus – there's a bunch of perks that are 100% basic functions that you'll want but don't care about equipping most of the time which means you'll go to camp, change your perks around, do some crafting, then swap your perks back around to go and adventure. It just adds this level of tedium that shouldn't exist.
Despite these odd quirks with the game I really enjoyed it – finding new gear, exploring, finding funny stories or items in the world (I found a couple of stuffed animals torturing a third on the roof of a building) felt like Fallout. I finished the story and was excited to keep playing and then suddenly… just lost all steam.
The 'end-game' grind is one of the most boring, tedious things I've ever seen in a game because you can't even grind it. There are two factions and every day you can do one daily quest for each of them. There's a third quest you can do to get a favor bump with one of them. It barely moves the reputation bar and it takes a grand total of 30-45 minutes to do all three of them (and most of that is loading screens). In addition every day you can 'earn' 200 gold to purchase the end game gear – all of which costs between 250 and 1750. A full set of the basic armor and upgrades for it costs, I think, around 7k gold. Meaning it takes 35 days of grinding to get that one set of gear. A full set of faction power armor is closer to 10k. It's just…. Jesus Christ. Give me some way to grind for these things. To be fair there are random events you can stumble across to increase faction reputation but… I spent about 2 hours doing those last night and barely saw the reputation bars move – and that's when I actually found them – logging into different servers and fast traveling to encounter locations.
It's all such a strange experience. It's an online game that actively discourages grouping with others. As a community game it falls apart by encouraging you to kill things as fast as you can before others get a chance so that you're constantly depriving each other of rewards. As a single player game it's fairly basic and you wind up losing out on the few amazing bits the game has. The leveling system is clever, conceptually, but seems to be so innately broken that they added the ability to 'fix it' after level 50 because they knew how busted it was. Even exploration is tainted because of the fact that the entire game is RNG – why bother looting or exploring when what you find is going to be determined by luck rather than your actions – if my friend stops to pick a level 3 lock he might wind up with literally nothing, while in that same time I kill 5 enemies and get XP and all their loot.
I have enjoyed playing this game but I don't understand what it wants to be. I want more games like this but I want more effort put into them. I want a reason to play with people, I want the ability to farm for things rather than having to sit around waiting for no reason.
I made this thread to talk about my experiences with the game because I know a lot of people aren't really up to date on it and to hear what others have to say. What do you like doing in the game if you're a player? Why haven't you tried the game if you are a fan of the newer Fallout games?
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