When Bethesda first announced Fallout 76, fans of the venerable role-playing series were worried that the traditionally solitary experience of the Fallout world would be tainted by the shenanigans of a shared multiplayer world.
Wouldn’t mean-spirited jerks just grief the hell out of everyone? Does Bethesda really want random jerks doing things stranger than any of their bugs could imagine? Well, Fallout 76 has been live for little over a day now and some players are doing something surprising: they’re actually being nice.
The most recognized performer of charitable deeds is probably YouTuber and Fallout fan Many A True Nerd, who has done things like beating the games without using healing aids. For Fallout 76, he’s settled on a new schtick: being a welcoming guy. Since the B.E.T.A. allowed participants to carry their progress into the main game, players like Many A True Nerd were already stocked up on goods by the time the Fallout 76 servers opened up for launch.
So while most players leaving Vault 76 for the first time will have barely anything in their pockets, Many A True Nerd is helping out. He’s built a nearby camp dedicated to helping out newbies. It’s got a purified water pump, a cooking station and various crafting stations. He’s even giving out free weapons, armor and ammo.
He’s not alone. Others, like Reddit user omnipsycho have built a welcome house where players can meet each other and group up. Players also remain peaceable around the game’s opening areas. Some are even protecting these player-built havens. Others are giving out free beers. Make no mistake: there are still troublemakers and in a way their existence reinforces the hostile wasteland that Fallout games have always presented.
But if we’re honest, Bethesda’s formula has gotten a little stale. A reliance on environmental storytelling to repeat the same “we’re fucked but we don’t know it” story inside the charred remains office buildings and schoolhouses can’t cover up imperfect shooting mechanics and survival systems. Adding human players changes everything. That’s what Bethesda is exploring with Fallout 76.
That Fallout 76 has players trying to make other players’ first hours a more welcoming experience is a testament to the exciting possibilities of Fallout 76. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Next year? I doubt Bethesda truly knows what they’re doing, and maybe that’s the point.
For what could be more exciting than a game that throws caution to the wind by letting the weird things collide, just to see what happens next? Maybe that’s not a reason to put down $60 for a game, but it’s definitely a reason to keep watching.