FALLOUT 76: INSIDE THE VAULT – WASTELANDERS PREVIEW PANEL RECAP AND GAMEPLAY VIDEO
In case you missed our Wastelanders Preview Panel at Bethesda Game Days last week, we’ve recapped many of the key details from the live show. We’ve also included the raw gameplay video that played during our Wastelanders discussion, and have answered a few more community questions we didn’t get to during the panel.
WASTELANDERS PREVIEW PANEL RECAP
Our Fallout 76 panel at Bethesda Game Days showed off exclusive footage highlighting a handful of the biggest updates to the game, with commentary from a team of BGS developers – Project Lead Jeff Gardiner, Lead Designer Ferret Baudoin, Lead Artist Nate Purkeypile and Design Director Mark Tucker. If you couldn't catch the show live, we’ve included a link to the panel VOD below, and recapped many of the key details we shared in case you would rather read than watch.
Wastelanders takes place one year after the base game begins, and we wanted to make the world realistically feel like time has passed. Some details are small, like the fact that your Pip-Boy now reflects that the year is 2103, and some are huge, like NPCs, Factions, and updated locations. The people who have flooded into Appalachia have been hard at work setting up their own settlements—safe havens for people like them. The two new main locations are Foundation—the home of the Settlers—and The Crater— the home of the Raiders. Both settlements act as hub locations where players can trade with NPCs and pick up quests.
But Foundation and The Crater aren’t the only places you’ll encounter other humans. In fact, NPCs are spread out across the map, including Lacey and Isela, who you’ll meet right outside of Vault 76. You’ll encounter them both whether you’re starting with a new character or coming in as a seasoned vet. In fact, Baudoin mentioned that players of any level can enjoy Wastelanders content: “There’s a new intro, so you can jump right in straight out of the gate, but high-level characters can go back
As the gameplay walkthrough continued, we introduced Duchess, the proprietor of a bar called The Wayward, as well as the new instances system. These areas are places that only you and your teammates will experience. “Instances were a huge step for us, because one of the things it allows us to do is tell a tailored story to anyone that’s entering it,” says Baudoin. “Before, when you would go into these places, who knows what state it could have been in? People could have gone in and cleared out the entire dungeon. There could have been literally nothing left for you to do, and that’s kind of a hit-or-miss experience. Also, you will not get an empty dungeon. You’ll get an experience that’s full of life and is tailored to you going in there. Also, there was no way we could really react to you. Your choices, your decisions. Instances make it so we can cumulatively, step-by-step keep track of what you’ve chosen so it can be reflected as you go along."
“This is super exciting technology for us, not only for Wastelanders, but for everything we’re going to be doing in the future,” Tucker adds. “It literally is a game changer for us, and you should expect to see more of that content moving forward.”
One of the biggest topics of conversation during the panel was, well, conversation! Dialogue trees have returned alongside NPCs, and this expands beyond what we’ve seen from them in the past. “We get to go back to some of the strengths of Bethesda,” Baudoin explains. “These are conversations. We’re trying to connect you with human beings and emotions. We’re trying to give you a real impetus for why you’re doing the things you’re doing.”
“We’re not just limiting dialogue to four options,” says Gardiner. “There are a number of different ways you can interact with NPCs based on your S.P.E.C.I.A.L.s, previous events you’ve taken part in, as well as the kind of character you want to roleplay.”
According to Baudoin it took quite a bit of tweaking and balancing to create a new dialogue system that allowed for a lot of freedom, but wasn’t overwhelming to the player. Thanks to the Wastelanders dialogue system, the team was able to go back into the base game and rewrite some of the original conversations you might have had to give you the option to respond. Tucker says this is something they want to continue doing with the base game; going back through the campaign and adding new dialogue to continue making things feel different.
As you dig into Wastelanders, you’ll encounter two different factions you can side with – the Settlers and the Raiders – though Gardiner says you don’t have to choose one or the other for most of the game, giving you the chance to experience both the Settlers’ story and the Raiders’ story. “You can kind of go down both questlines to a point,” Baudoin adds. “You will eventually have to make a decision, but you can go far enough with both sides before that point that you get a sense of who these people are. Whoever you end up siding with, it’s not like you can’t be friends with the other side. We have a Reputation system. It’s just that the side you do choose to help, you’ll get a huge bump in your relationship with them.”
That being said, even if you side with the Raiders in the new storyline, there is one Raider faction that will remain hostile to you: The Blood Eagles. We spoke about this new enemy group while showing off Riding Shotgun, one of the new events in Wastelanders that has the player working with NPCs to escort some Brahmin through a series of tunnels under Foundation. “One thing we’re trying to do with these new events is give players more jobs,” says Tucker. “Obviously in this one, your primary goal is to protect the Brahmin, but there are optional objectives where you can go find hidden supply caches, and they’ll be different every time you play through. If you find those supply caches, you’re going to get a much better reward at the end.”
In Wastelanders, there are even NPCs you can recruit and get to know better outside of the main story quests. These Allies will come back to C.A.M.P. with you and give you quests, and of course, they are romanceable. There are two major Allies, and three “lighter” Allies. The lighter Allies will protect your C.A.M.P. and give you daily quests, but they aren’t necessarily main characters and you will have to track them down in the world, rather than finding them in the hub locations.
At the end of the panel, we shared a little about what’s coming post-Wastelanders, including completely reworking how regions of Appalachia and the leveling system function together in order to make the whole world viable for you at any level. Say goodbye to high-level zones and low-level zones. Enemies you encounter will be at your level and at your friends’ levels so you can play together.
PREVIEW PANEL GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE
During the Preview Panel, some extended in-game Wastelanders footage played in the background while we discussed the update. Many in the community expressed interest in being able to watch this video without our voices talking over it, and we’ve uploaded the raw gameplay footage so that you can give it a watch whenever you’d like.
Prior to the Wastelanders Preview Panel, we had asked the community to submit questions to us on the Fallout 76 forums. While we wove many of the answers to those questions into the panel, we didn’t have time for a specific Q&A section, so here are a few more answers to questions we missed during the show:
Can we still launch nukes in Wastelanders? If so, what happens to settlements like Crater and Foundation?
You can definitely still launch nukes in Wastelanders. This isn’t the Raiders’ or the Settlers’ first rodeo, either. They will jump into their own hazmat suits to protect themselves from radiation.
Does the Wastelanders storyline override the story in the base game?
No. We’ve worked to weave the new Wastelanders story into what’s already there in the base game. New characters will still be able to complete all base game content in addition to the new quests. Also, some of what you accomplished in the base game story will have a role to play in Wastelanders.
Is Wastelanders going to be strictly solo play, or will team play be an option?
You can play through the new story content solo or as part of a team. If you’re the Team Leader, your teammates can also choose to “Listen in” as you have conversations with different NPCs during your quests.
Are major balance changes coming with Wastelanders?
During an event last year, we had discussed a balance pass coming with Wastelanders, but since then have revised those plans. At Bethesda Game Days, we mentioned that we want to make all regions of Appalachia engaging for characters of all levels in the future, and that is where we will plan to focus our balancing efforts.
How are you combating exploits and improving security?
We take exploits and cheating seriously and we’re working to address cheating and close out exploits as often as possible. For example, earlier this year we implemented tech that enables us to address certain issues and exploits without needing to bring the game offline for maintenance, which allows us to be more agile than before. We also still have plans to roll out multi-factor authentication, and we will have more details as we are nearer to its release.
What are your plans for Fallout 76 after Wastelanders launches?
During the panel, we mentioned that we already have plans for future content through this year that we’re excited about and that we hope you will love, too. We’re focused on releasing Wastelanders right now and will look to share more details about additional 2020 Fallout 76 content in the near future.
Finally, here is a look at our Community Calendar for Fallout 76 over the next couple of months. We’ve seen some requests from the community to have more insight into our plans for recurring events, and we put together a schedule so that you can keep track of what’s coming up next. Check out the image below to pencil upcoming Double XP events, Purveyor sales, Fasnacht Parade, and more into your calendar.
We can’t wait to play the Wastelanders update with you when it launches on April 7, and we hope you enjoyed the preview we shared of the new content in action at Bethesda Game Days this year. Until next time, we’ll see you in Appalachia!
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