Bethesda is not doing anything unusual or out of the ordinary for an online game. There is nothing new or shocking about an online game having these issues in year one, implementing paid subscriptions, or monetizing things with an online store. To the contrary all of these things are very normal and standard practice for an online title. Their problems and the backlash they are receiving is do mainly to poor/deceptive marketing and bad PR.
If you’re comparing FO76 and holding it to the same standards as other Fallout titles you’re way off base, but this is 100% Bethesda’s fault (or Zenimax) because of how they marketed the game. They marketed the game as the next installment in the Fallout series instead of what it actually is and were as vague as possible explaining the difference between FO76 and the other titles in the series, I can only imagine they did this for sales and to try and get their single player fan base to purchase and pre-order the title. They dropped it very quickly from announcement and didn’t release much information for probably the same reasons.
To a large portion your hardcore single player Fallout series fan base, this game is a complete dumpster fire compared to other titles in the series. To your avid everyday Online gamers and hardcore MMO gamers there is nothing too bad or out of the ordinary for where FO76 is currently at other than a lack of dedicated open PVP space.
To your hardcore online gamers and avid MMO fans the expectation is this:
Year one: Online shop Garbage, bugs, server problems, broken quests, inefficient systems that need to be fixed and streamlined for easier use.
Year two: Paid subscriptions, the game becomes more playable, a lot of bugs and server issues still need fixing, but improvements have been made. New content is introduced, things start to get overhauled and streamlined.
Year three: The game figures out what people want and where it needs to be, with occasional exceptions the bugs are eliminated and servers are stable. The studio now shifts focus to creating large expansions now that the formula is finally in place.
To your play everyday online/MMO gamer all of the above is normal, expected, and standard practice for a new title. For your gamer that only or mostly plays single player titles the above is absolutely unforgivable and completely ridiculous.
There are very different standards and expectations for a single player game and online game. With FO76 Bethesda/Zenimax tried to market it as both things and thus created two sets of standards that the game just cannot meet or live up to for what it is. They invented a new category for the game for sales. They tried to sell it as not an MMO but it has all the same problems, teething issues, and development cycle as every MMO does. Players are mad who were told it’s not an MMO, don’t believe it’s an MMO, were sold it as the next installment in the fallout franchise, and think the MMO type problems it’s having are unacceptable. The “This is fallout mass co-op” or “Fallout with friends” was a marketing ploy and it initially worked. Your primarily single player fan base hates saying it’s and MMO and hates comparisons to ESO, because that’s not what they were sold and they are justifiably angry about it.
Over time this game has reveled itself to be more and more like an Online MMO with the same types of problems, the same monetization practices, and the same time frames. Now Bethesda is getting backlash for it.
There wasn’t this type of backlash for fallout shelter or elder scrolls online. Why? Because those titles were not marketed or sold as anything other than exactly what they were. Fallout shelter was marketed as a mobile cash grab. ESO was marketed as an MMO, had a long development cycle, posted content and updates regularly showing what the game was going to be etc. Everyone knew what ESO was and what they were getting. The single player fan base who don’t like MMO’s didn’t buy it. Nobody got mad when ESO introduced paid subscriptions and the craft bag that holds endless crafting materials for paid subscribers because that’s expectation and common practice for an MMO. With ESO they never marketed it as the next installment in the elder scrolls series. They never pretended it was going to be Skyrim online, they never told you it was Skyrim with friends etc.
With FO76 Bethesda/Zenimax sold and marketed it as something different. They said it was fallout with friends, they said you could play it like a single player game, they said there would be mods like a single player game, they said there would be private servers, they said it was the newest installment in the fallout series, they said it wasn’t going to be like an MMO, they said they wanted an online co-op version of Fallout 4. They released it very soon after announcement gave little to no information about exactly what it was and they said and did everything to make you hold FO76 to the same standards as other titles in the series and now people are angry. In reality the the game they gave us has the same development cycle as an MMO, the same problems as a new MMO, and the same monetization practices as an MMO. It’s an MMO on fallout 4’s engine. It’s doesn’t meet all the “criteria” of a traditional MMO but it’s the same problems, practices, and cycles.
People deep down would not be mad at what the game currently is had they known exactly what they were getting into from the start, they are mad about what they were told the game would be and it’s not.
If you read all of that it may surprise you to know that I love the game, I play it daily, and am not upset about any of the new content or features. I’m not upset because I went into it at beta with the mindset that this was going to be MMO practices on fallout 4’s engine. I expected it to have the same problems, timeline, and development cycle that MMO’s do. I didn’t expect it to be anything like the other titles in the series and never compared it to them or held it to same standards. I played ESO from day one of its release on PC, I knew what to expect and I didn’t expect FO76 to be anything different than Fallout MMO on a single player engine. I like having an MMO type game with more of a first person feel set in the world of fallout.
So after all that in summary; Fallout 76 is getting hit so hard by players and media not because of what it is but rather what they sold it and marketed it as. In the age of youtubers and online journalists making a living off of click bait and slamming things, FO76 is the juiciest target out there. Bethesda/Zenimax brought this on themselves. Did they honestly think they could create a “Hybrid” of mass co-op Online fallout using a single player engine that didn’t have the same problems, cycles, and monetization practices of a new MMO? I don’t know. What I do know though is that people need to stop attacking each other and realize that different types of players had different types of expectations for this game because they tried to market and sell it to everyone. Many people like me who expected it to be what it is love the game, but we need to understand that a lot of people expected it to be something very different and to them the game is a dumpster fire that is nothing like what they felt they were sold with to them what is an unforgivable MMO type timelines, monetization practices, and problems. They didn’t want to buy an MMO and were told that they were not.
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