Fallout

Nerfing NW XP: Bethesda’s New Low??

fallout 4 - Nerfing NW XP: Bethesda's New Low??
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I, like so many others, was excited to hear Bethesda was adding NW to the Double XP weekends. We're all chasing those level rewards on limited schedules. BUT after a few rounds in Morgantown, I noticed the XP seemed substantially lower than Flatwoods, so I decided to start logging my stats, just out of curiosity and what I found leads me to the conclusion that Bethesda has nerfed XP on Nuclear Winter either intentionally to increase grinding for user playtime or accidentally by changing base round gameplay. More on both theories to come. I also wanted to know how much time per round is spent just waiting around to play, and we'll cover that on the way.

Ground rules of the experiment:

I regularly pulled more than 1000 XP per match in Flatwoods, using the same play-style as now. In Flatwoods and Morgantown, I make the Final Combatants board a little over half of my matches. When it comes to play-style, I'm admittedly weak on the firefight side and choose a stealth approach more often than not, so I'm not adding a lot of points that way. Yet, considering the pittance of XP given per kill, that shouldn't make much of a difference to most players.

Total wait time (TWT) is defined by time from Main Menu to when first movement in match gameplay starts. I used my own timer, which I started the second I entered a NW match from the lobby, because connection/finding a server/load time should be considered into total match time (TMT). I then hit the lap timer to calculate actual play time (APT) until in-game death or crash.

Server/game crashes that lead to dropped matches and lost XP will be included in final averages. We've all accepted server crashes are a part of this game by now, so such errors will be counted as no XP is given on any premature exit.

All initial data was recorded on paper and later loaded into the spreadsheet. Matches are not recorded in exact order of play.

Most importantly: I LOVE 76. This is not intended to be an attack; this is purely what my data and experience shows. I've put more hours into this game than any in recent memory and deeply enjoy the experience and community, but Bethesda's actions reek of a desperation that is totally unwarranted.

The Experiment:

view?usp=sharing - Nerfing NW XP: Bethesda's New Low??
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RlwLVMkJ6phAVxOr44oEpY7XXOUjfE-o/view?usp=sharing

Here's all the data collected between Friday night to Sunday night: 22 total recorded rounds, a little south of 6 and a half hours of TMT.

TMT Average: 17m 26s
TMT High: 26m 25s (Important note – this was NOT the highest XP earned game)
TMT Low: 5m 51s (This was the lowest XP earned game, omitting the weekend's two crashes)

APT Average: 13m 38s
APT High: 20m 33s (This was from the highest earned XP game)
APT Low: 1m 8s (This is from the lowest earned XP game; I would not advise jumping between two full teams at Grafton Dam)

TWT Average: 3m 47s
TWT High: 6m 1s (This was post-crash, so I counted entire time to reboot and rejoin)
TWT Low: 2m 12s

MATCH WAIT TIME PERCENTAGES (How much percentage of TMT was spent doing nothing)

Average: 24.9%
High: 80.6%
Low: 15.3%

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On AVERAGE, we spend a fourth of NW in the lobby or doing nothing while loading. This is CRAZY. I get that Vault 51 is supposed to be a cutesy place to explore, partake in pugilism, and discover lore (which Bethesda did a good job on) but the amount of time given is too short to properly explore and too long for a reasonable wait time. If lore is the reason, there's been a chorus of "put Vault 51 in Adventure/Survival Mode." Maybe it's time.

Now for the Grand Finale: XP

XP Average: 561.54
XP High: 1446
XP Low (excluding 2 crashes): 80 (Previous Grafton Dam Massacre)

But lest any have forgotten, this is during Double XP Weekend. Meaning non-inflated XP per match is…

280.77

The high game, coming in second place, would only be 723. My friends can back me up that 723 XP per match was decent for an okay finish in Flatwoods. For a second place finish, that's absurdly and newly low.

That brings me to three potential conclusions:

Conclusion 1: Bethesda changed base match play rules, and didn't realize how it would affect XP. Play seems more frantic this map, with faster moving fire and smaller circles.

Here's the new timing upon load in:
Round 1 – 3m 30s
Fire Move 1 – 3m
Round 2 – 3m
Fire Move 2 – 2m
Round 3 – 2m 30s
Fire Move 3 – 1m
Round 4 – 2m
Fire Move 4 – 45s
Round 5 – 1m 30s
Fire Move 5 – 35s
Round 6 – 1m
Fire Move – 35s

Gameplay is very fast-paced and exciting, but combine the time with smaller circles, most are going to be eliminated after the third fire move, and XP doesn't reflect that.

Conclusion 2: Bethesda knowingly lowered XP to increase time we have to play NW to earn rewards. We know they're already actively pushing a grind with staggered Events in Adventure/Survival to keep us playing with minimal contributions on their end until we get Wastelanders. After people put in a solid chunk of time on Flatwoods, they unlocked all the rewards with relative ease. Now they play at their leisure, having no further incentives.

Conclusion 3: Both.

To wrap this all up (and thanks to anyone staying til the end), I love Fallout 76. I do. I've been here since Day 1, and I'm proud of that. And I love this community, and know there's so many of you all on here just like me. Which is why I'm saying: Bethesda. Please. You don't need to manipulate us. You've got us. We're in Appalachia and we're happy. But when you tweak events and lower XP, even if it's not intentional, it feels like you're keeping us on the hook by trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Please just relax. I don't like being played with. By making something wonderful a chore, you're driving your players and fans of this game away.

TL;DR – NW XP is now significantly lower per round AND we're spending, on average, a FOURTH of total match time in a lobby.

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