Bethesda has not lost my business (yet)

fallout 1 - Bethesda has not lost my business (yet)

TL;DR at the bottom

Now, to make it clear, this post is not meant to defend Bethesda's mistakes. It is also not meant to condemn Fallout 76. I'm only trying to put this whole debacle in perspective.

First, we can all probably agree, no matter what we think of the actual game, that Fallout 76's release could have been handled better. Bethesda is famous for buggy games at launch (endearingly so to some, including myself) but 76 was an exceptional example of unfinished work published early. Buggy games are one thing, unfinished games are another beast entirely. Now, as far as game content and quality are concerned, Bethesda more or less delivered what they promised: an NPC-free multiplayer-only survival Fallout experience. We can argue all we want about whether or not it was what the fanbase wanted, but in the end it comes down to taste. Some love the game's content, some hate it. We'll leave it at that (technical issues aside). Like most online games, there will be some balancing and polishing to come, so we'll mark the mechanical aspects of online play as pending for now.

On to PR. Were mistakes made? Definitely. Was damage control done? Kinda (badly at first, somewhat better recently). Could the initial response to the community have been handled better? Yuuup (by their own admission, as well). The thing to remember here is that the game developers and the marketing/PR teams are separate. I see so many memes and rants thrown at Todd Howard that, validity aside, really need to be directed at Pete Hines and his ilk instead. On the other hand, it is partially the fault of the community for encouraging rushed releases with the saturation of pre-orders. Can we really expect quality materials and deadlines that allow for the development team to iron out bugs after an incredibly short beta when we confirm their profits and pay full price for an unfinished product before it's even released?

Read:  Fallout 76 v changelog based on game data ("SeventySix.esm")

In all, I am not a fan of Fallout 76 as a game. I do, however, appreciate the fact that a new Fallout game has come out. The lore is probably the biggest draw to Fallout for me personally and, despite a few incongruencies that I hope will be addressed soon, the lore in 76 is a welcome addition to the canon. I have not lost hope in Bethesda games or even the Fallout franchise. This is not the first badly recieved game Bethesda has made nor will it be the last. I see this game as a learning experience for both the company and the community. The next time a Bethesda game comes out, I'll probably buy it (after it's released of course). I don't mind supporting a company that's provided me some of my favorite games and narratives through their rough patches. On that same note, I don't plan on buying another Fallout 76. I encourage everyone reading to continue supporting Bethesda if you've enjoyed their games, but stop pre-ordering and only buy the games you want to play. Love Bethesda for their single player narratives but want optional co-op? Don't buy an online-only game without NPCs.

TL;DR: 76 is a (subjectively) bad game, but Bethesda is not a bad game studio. Don't punish the devs that gave us the Elder Scrolls and post-Interplay Fallout for crappy PR handling and greedy marketing teams. And stop pre-ordering, dammit.


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