The big and busy world of Fallout 76 might be enough to make up for the lack of dialogue and NPCs in Fallout 76.

Is it a good and fun game? Having spent a little bit of time on the game, is it the game I will still be excited about?

Making judgment from just a few hours of playing the game is not really fair but after playing the game, I would love to play it again when I can. I am waiting for the beta as well as the full version of Fallout 76 to come out in November. Even though I like the game, there are several things that lower my enthusiasm a little bit.

Almost heaven, West Virgina

Fallout 76’s West Virginia is a large world and a few hours of playtime only allowed me to go around a small piece of it and the places I went through were packed with many stuff. I spent a bit of time going as a team but after that, I also spent time on wandering off with the purpose of exploring the map by myself and I did not have the chance to go far before having things to do on the way.

There was a pretty cool server event in the server where I got to activate a robot and then protect it as the robot had a duty of patrolling a town filled with feral ghouls. While I was going around the woods, I came across many tree houses that were connected together by ropes and those houses were explorable by jumping and climbing. I then saw a relay tower and also a power station that had a lot of enemies inside and my mission was reactivating those two structures. There were also a lot of ruined houses available for looting, an underground mine that had already been abandoned and I also encountered a lot of random monsters. I even got inside the Mothman. Personally, I feel like Fallout 76 is a large world that comes with a lot of random things that can keep players busy.

6 regions in Fallout 76

Fallout 76 also has the conveniences of the usual single player mode of Fallout game. You can go around the map pretty fast, using your camp, your buddies or server events as fast-travel markers. Its seem like dying is not really a big problem as you will not lose your weapons and you often respawn near the place you died. The game encourages players to explore the world and it is not hard to return home again.

Forgiving survival

Fallout 76, as an online shooter that offers PvP, feels really forgiving. If you participate in PvP and you are killed, your junk will be the only thing you lose. Junks, in this case, are things like your tape, your screws and random things you found. While it is possible for anyone to stalk you and also kill you even though you are not willing to fight, they will be marked as an outlaw and they will be assigned a specific bounty so killing you may put them in more problems than the benefits they can get. In addition, the maximum players a server allows is 24 so you are not likely to be killed as it can be a real pain for anyone to look for players in this huge world. I participated in a PvP fight during our hands-on session and I got killed but then quickly respawned not too far from where I died so not a big deal I guess.

There are several elements for surviving like drinking and eating, but in the early stage of the game and The Forest’s starting zone, they may feel tame. You will lose your action points if you do not drink or eat anything for a certain amount of time, but the draining will be really slow and there are just many things to loot so it does not seem like that can ever be a problem. Even if you are getting dehydrated and starving, it will take ages to drain you to death.

The Forest’s starting zone

Those above points may sound like I am complaining and some may think that this game surely does not fit for players who are looking for games that offer an extreme survival simulator. But I am personally happy to not have to care about water and food or being challenged with PvP. A harsh and unforgiving survival experience or constantly worrying about being killed by other players are not what I am looking for in Fallout 76. But I am wondering whether the game being a bit forgiving can be a turn off for players who want hardcore experience.

Talk to me

I can’t tell whether I missed having many NPCs to talk with and also dialogue choices to make. But my main activity in this session was rushing around looking for things to do, not players to talk to. Though I will surely miss talking with those NPCs, not just due to the story but also because they offer opportunities for roleplaying as well. Deciding upon your character’s nature - if they are ruthless and evil or helpful and kind or something like that - usually stems from having the conversation with those NPCs. Even being given two options like "I'll help you, but it's gonna cost you" and simply “I’ll help you” may stir up thoughts about your hidden character inside and what it might be.

This got me thinking what kind of roleplaying this game may facilitate. You may roleplay with real players (there are options of team chat and proximity voice as well), but only when you meet them, and in an online game with a big map like this, it may be a quite a while before you come across anyone. I did not really favor the Fallout 4’ settlement system, but I still think it is nice to have NPCs going around, sleeping like normal people, putting defense and having small conversations with you as well. Those little things make the game more alive. I wonder if you will feel alive like that in Fallout 76 when you are not surrounded by random players or by friends or your team or even NPCs to talk with.

Persistent thoughts

I played the survival multiplayer game developed by Facepunch Studios called Rust every few days for a month. I played in a server with a medium size population and built a small tent near several other dwellings, and also met some local people there. They were not my friends or anything but most of them were pretty friendly. I would sometimes log into the game and see them, but other times I would not. The stuff was still there even they were not. Their dwellings were always very close to mine. I would log in and see how they were progressing and also see how their bases had grown, see new houses and bases in the surrounding. To me, it was like a neighborhood. And it was a community which had persistence even when I was the only person around. Sometimes I would log in the game and some bases had been destroyed by raiding players but it still to me felt like just a small little town.

Servers of Bethesda have been (and still are) one of my concerns. I just do not understand why they do not allow players to browse servers or choose their desired ones that they can keep visiting. I know my dwelling will still be located at the same location whenever I go open the game but it just does not feel right to know that bases close to mine are not going to be the same ones the next time I play because the owners are not around.  That can be the last time I can see them if they are not my friends. I understand the purpose of that is not having players’ base get destroyed when they are not in the game, but it also takes away the feeling like you are a part of a persistent community.