When Fallout 76 comes up, most people associate it with the game’s disastrous launch or the plethora of bugs that have plagued the game like a swarm of Radroaches. One of the biggest complaints lobbed at Fallout 76 has been the lack of human NPCs, as the game delivered all of its quests either through logs, robots, or just notes on the ground. It made the setting of Appalachia feel empty, but a dedicated community stuck with Bethesda’s MMORPG and cultivated a weird, but wacky world.
Yet, Fallout 76 took a big leap forward with the Wastelanders expansion which introduced NPCs and a lengthy new questline. This not only saw a resurgence of new users but left many to wonder if it’s too late to get back into Fallout 76. Over a year and a half old, there’s a decent amount of content for users to dive into which can be intimidating to players. This has left some wondering if it’s too late to hop into Fallout 76. Let’s take a look at where the game currently stands, both the good and the bad.
The Obstacles – Starting Out in Fallout 76
One of the biggest obstacles you’ll encounter is the plethora of bugs and glitches throughout Fallout 76. The game isn’t well optimized, with many players still encountering various issues while attempting to complete quests or battle enemies. Just on the Fanbyte staff, both Managing Editor Steven Strom and I have encountered a bug involving a Deathclaw spawning underneath the environment. Does this make the game unplayable? Typically no, the major game-breaking issues have been resolved and I have yet to encounter a quest that is locked due to a glitch. However, you will encounter some minor bugs regardless of what system you play on or how powerful your computer is.
Another notable problem is if you want to play with your friends in a private world, as it’s locked behind a monthly subscription service that’s $100 a year. While you can invite others into a public world, there’s no way to actually make your own, private Appalachia without subscribing. Bethesda also implemented, of all things, a battle royale mode called Nuclear Winter. It’s not great and nearly impossible to find a full lobby even with the resurgence of players. Thankfully, you don’t need to play Nuclear Winter to enjoy any of the single-player quests or the endgame.
You will also reach a roadblock if you’re a new player since the Wastelander’s storyline forces you to hit Level 20 to continue the quest. This means you have to dive back into the less than remarkable missions of the base game until you reach a high enough level. It’s a weird choice that will definitely be a hurdle for those who returned solely to interact with human NPCs. Additionally, Fallout 76 has an issue with how it spawns enemies which can prove fatal to those who are roaming Appalachia for the first time.
Instead of tailoring certain areas to specific levels, Fallout 76 will spawn in enemies around the highest level player that has recently entered that location. So if someone walks by a farm filled with irradiated bugs at Level 60, those mutated insets will typically be around that level. This can create some frustrating scenarios, where new or under-leveled users have to log out and back into the game to try and spawn enemies they can actually kill. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it can prove to be extremely obnoxious if you’re just trying to complete a quest.
The Advantages – Starting Out in Fallout 76
For newcomers, the Wastelanders expansion does a terrific job of easing players into the game while introducing them to some of the key characters. Even though you’re forced to level up halfway through the storyline, Wastelanders acts a much better starting point for those venturing out into Appalachia. The new missions also boast some memorable characters and the solid writing that the previous Fallout games are known for.
In fact, that’s perhaps the biggest advantage that Fallout 76 has going for it. Despite all the technical issues and inconsistent quests, the world is still quintessentially Fallout. Appalachia is brimming with twisted monstrosities, retro-futuristic architecture, and the tongue-in-cheek storytelling that defined this franchise. The game can be visually stunning at times, largely thanks to how different the wilderness of Appalachia feels compared to Fallout 3’s Washington D.C. or Fallout 4’s Boston. The multiple regions all have distinct personalities that make exploring exciting, especially if you are brand new to Fallout 76.
Bethesda has also done an admirable job implementing quality of life changes such as a legendary vendor and new ways to obtain high-level gear. All of this helps enhance the endgame, which is still generally entertaining – especially if you are playing with others. Dropping a nuke and creating a barren hellscape full of twisted abominations that are filled with Legendary tier loot. It’s a generally entertaining post-campaign experience if you’re looking for something more combat-focused and don’t mind grinding for randomized gear.
Is It Too Late to Get Into Fallout 76?
No, it’s actually a great time to hop into Fallout 76 if you’re a new player. While the game still has some issues, the new expansion offers a solid entry point for those just starting out. Wastelanders’ story is genuinely interesting and exploring Appalachia is an easy way to kill dozens of hours. However, it’s critical that you go into Fallout 76 with an understanding that this title is still buggy and has some notable rough spots. There are still a lot of places where this title could be improved, but compared to where it was, Fallout 76 feels like what the game should have been at launch.
The community is also remarkably welcoming and helpful, despite the lack of communication options for players. If you’ve been itching for a new Fallout experience, then this RPG is definitely worth trying. Plus, it’s now available on Steam so you don’t even have to go through Bethesda’s launcher. Given we aren’t getting a new entry in the franchise for some time, this is the best way to enjoy the Fallout experience without replaying the old titles.