First 90 Days – First 100 Levels (Dec 12th 2018 – Mar 12th 2019) What are my thoughts?
The year is 1996, at the age of 13, I have a Performa Mac (fml), and everyone is playing Doom, Wolfenstein or Diablo, everyone except me. I am trying to work my way into Junktown, because I just liberated a captive from the Raiders south of Shady Sands. For those who do not know, this is the beginning of Fallout 1, and the beginning of my first real public posting for Fallout 76. I purchased 76 on the 12th of December last year. Having learned over the years to not buy a video game when it first comes out, I decided to wait and see what Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas would bring in for sales. I remember reading the bad articles, one after another, and wondering to myself “are these people just toxic haters”? I could not imagine that a company like Bethesda would release an unfinished product, especially with the franchise name “Fallout”, so I bought the game when it was only 39.99$ and proceeded to begin the never ending download. The next morning, I woke up and began like we all do, in a Vault, full of excitement and wonder for what I would find.
My initial experiences were just awesome. I had come off of a 1 year bender with the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise and mod community, and was ready to come back to Fallout, a franchise that has been good to me for decades. I had also only played a couple weeks of Fallout 4 having recently secured it during a Steam sale in November. I don’t have friends to party with, so it was not a concern to me, I simply wanted to get out there and have a blast. It was not until around level 20 that I began to really experience an issue with the weight and storage. I was running into items I thought to be keepers, and I was running out of space as fast as I acquired the items. Embarrassing as it may be to admit, it was junk that had taken up all of my space, not items. I tried to sell my junk off to vendors only to learn that I needed to bulk it first, which meant eating through my plastic, so inadvertently, I began a new habit of creating stashes for other players. Periodically I would go through my inventory and take out all the weapons below my current level range, along with any junk I had over 200 of, most of the ammo I would amass, and some first aid items, which I would then proceed to Flatwood and leave all of in the Overseer’s Chest. As I had mentioned I don’t have friends to play this with, so I would simply hope that the stashes would help some low level explorer.
Surprisingly, I was almost level 40 before I was informed of the Excavator PA, via my first friendly contact in the universe of 76, from a player named Alexsic. He informed me to head on down to Ash Heap, which I had somehow avoided the whole time, and to find a poster that would start a quest for me. Not only did this free me of some items I had been holding on to for a few weeks, but it also helped me to find content that was not directly part of the story line per se. It took that experience for me to begin to see the material that 76 has to offer below the surface. Alexsic and I continued to talk a few more times, and he gave me some further direction on where and what to do, including some nice locations to farm plastic, for which I will be grateful for indefinitely. Not too long after this, my first child came into the world, and I took a few weeks away. While I would wonder what Alexsic was up to, and I would wonder what it would be like to launch my first nuke, and other matters, I also couldn’t help getting out right irritated with the reviews and comments from other players about the game. It seemed as if people were looking for the most minor details to complain about, and then proceed to not just complain but bash and degrade Bethesda and the rest of the staff involved. It really began to bother me, the never ending stream of verbal diarrhea typed on iPhones all around the globe and uploaded for Kotaku and other publications to publish proudly like it was news worthy… all while I was thinking, “if you’re a better game designer, why are you not working in the industry instead of staying at home complaining about it like a 5 year old child”? I know that may sound rude, perhaps this is the toxic haters first MMORPG, and they are unfamiliar with updates, patches, future dlc? Maybe they had unrealistic expectations of what this would be? Maybe I didn’t know enough yet to make an opinion? A few weeks passed and a schedule of sorts began to present itself. While I had read what seems like months’ worth of toxic hater articles and reviews, I had also read some more interesting articles written and put forth on Reddit. I was sitting in my early 50’s with a pimped out Excavator suit, a shotgun I had made on my own, and still no real idea of what to do for endgame when I got there when I had read an article about farming Legendary Gear quickly. Obviously it is no surprise anymore, Leader of the Pack and Uranium Fever are legendary payouts, so I began to farm them. This lead to me making some more friends in game, and on Reddit. Friends who would one day really amaze me.
My farming continued as I worked my way towards my first nuclear launch. I was looking for something called a TSE, as that was what everyone on Reddit was talking about. It sounded like some type of magical weapon that would kill everything in two shots. How exciting I thought, and that excitement, coupled with the articles and thoughts I had read from positive people on Reddit, farming became more than just those two places. I then started participating in nukes when they would be launched, trying to take down the Scorch beasts and get my piece of Legendary Pie.
I thought that maybe Reddit would be the place to get my dream item, but capitalism and greed will manifest itself whenever possible. It is not my intention to call out people who are practicing bad business ethics on here, you only short change yourself when you rip someone off over pixels. What I did find on Reddit however, was friendly people who would take the time to explain to me why some items may sell, what makes some items worth buying, how to take screenshots that would not mislead the buyer, and other matters. Mostly, I found some people to grind with and talk to. That is when it occurred to me, the only justifiable and fundamental complaint I could come up with for 76 would simply be the less than effective ability to communicate with players who do not have a microphone. I would even go as far as to say that perhaps a chat window should not exist, as it wouldn’t in the Wasteland, you would have to talk or just stay silent… maybe that is what the developers thought? Maybe not having a chat box makes it so we will socialize with each other, and find new friends? I could find a lot of things to lightly complain about, but the game works, and it has been fun to me for a long while, so why bother? I hit 100 this morning, riding that excitement of trying to get my piece of the pie. Having pretty well established myself as a machete and shotgun user, I am now more focused with what I am searching for in the Wasteland. Stash drops are becoming a daily occurrence, which I can only hope is helping lower level players. Gear drops, faster than I can vendor, so I took to Reddit to give away items, with a simple post that explained I have no space, these items are free, remember me if you find a TSE. After just a few days, not one, but two players added me to their friends list, and either sold me or gave me a TSE. One player gave me a litany of Civil War Top Hats, which made me wonder what drugs he or she was on, until I visited a vendor. While I may not have the specific item I want, I have been able to try out the TSE now, and I look forward to passing them both on to other players who have not yet got to try out a TSE.
Today I hit level 100, and an article was printed regarding a player who uses friendly lore tactics to get new players into his Deathclaw Maze, that is awesome, straight awesome. Where someone could have complained about “no NPC’s to talk to” or “not enough storage space” or “I can’t get the item I want” or one of my favorites “I can’t move because you changed the weight of hairpins”, this person built a maze, mastered the animal arts, tamed a Deathclaw, and is probably laughing their butt off each time someone falls for it. That is awesome, that is likely what the developers had in mind when they gave us 76. I am more than positive the turd that was released when it was released (yes initially it wasn’t magic) will be outright killer and up there with WoW and FF XIV in the not too distant future.
When that happens I will look back fondly at all the articles and comments I have read, from people who can’t make a better game, and then I will remember the DeathClaw maze, and think to myself, Bethesda should hire that dude! What I am sure of is that when I wake in the morning, I want to get on 76, I want to see what new things I will find today, what places I’ll discover that are NOT on the map, possibly a new location to move my CAMP, who knows… all I know is that I want to get on 76 – and that makes it a good game! Please feel free to shoot back some hatred, some toxicity, some karma, a friend request, a kick in the head, whatever you feel is required. I appreciate that you took the time to read my opinions and thoughts. They are mine, not right, simply mine.
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