Fallout 76 dropped back in the winter of 2018, and it had a very tough first year indeed.
Recently, Bethesda Game Studios director Todd Howard admitted the game was ‘screwed up’ from the start, with a collection of problems ranging from bugs to a thoroughly unenjoyable and empty gaming experience. Still, legions of fans hoping for more Fallout bought into the game and made it the best they could.
Slowly, but surely, the game has begun to win over its fans. At first, Bethesda struggled to make it the excellent game it should have been, but much of that changed in April 2020 with the arrival of the Wastelanders update and with it, NPCs. Theverge.com noted that finally, it felt like a Fallout game, with the signs of life we all enjoyed coming across in the previous titles.
It is still being improved upon though, with the developers looking at introducing the option for multiple player CAMPS, and switchable skill perk builds. Both sound attractive to players, but we have a few other ideas which might make the game more attractive to potential new arrivals on the Fallout 76 scene.
Gaming minigames have become hugely popular in titles over recent years, with Red Dead Redemption giving players a chance to earn in-game currency by playing cards and dice, for example. Fallout: New Vegas had a similar theme, and it remains a cult favorite. The Nevada desert was a great backdrop for a Fallout title, with lots of source material that worked well in the game. A Poker.org article on Vegas attractions noted there are 200,000 slot machines in town, and Bethesda used that to give the ‘New Vegas Strip’ a real flavor of the City of Lights. That sort of interactive experience could be hugely improved upon on PlayStation 4, offering immersive RPG fans the chance to up their caps or just have a little idle fun.
One game that always struck a chord with gamers was Borderlands, due to the unique concept of customizable weapons. We are not talking about a few skins or a couple of sights as Fallout offers, but almost endless combinations and creations which meant there were literally millions of options for players. Some of Fallout’s weapon mods are ok, but a more in-depth crafting system might work nicely. The modding element of Skyrim, a much older game, allowed traits to be carried over to certain weapons, and it might be nice for Fallout players to be able to scrap their Vampire’s Fire Axe and use the Vampire mod on another weapon. Of course, it would come at a huge cap cost, or require the collection of special material to do so, but it would put better weapons in reach of players. Recently, enemies are levelled to a player’s ability, so putting more powerful firepower in their hands seems like it might be fun.
What is the main aim of an RPG? Usually, it is all about levelling up, but beyond level 50 in Fallout 76, it really is not worth levelling up. Guns do not level with you, the things you can build at your CAMP do not improve. Instead, levelling up is purely functional, and it would be nice if perhaps this could be adjusted. Why not offer some reward for levelling up, maybe in line with some of the new rewards on the S.C.O.R.E board, introduced last year? A level up could bring a player more crafting materials, a free legendary weapon or even icons and skins for use within the game.
Under the new season’s structure, it must be possible to introduce NPC’s who are around only for that season, then disappear, telling an ongoing story within the game. Bethesda are pushing their ‘Fallout 1st’ subscription package, but to keep people coming back you need to offer depth, and an ongoing story might fit that. Each season, maybe a new group could move into one of the locations, offering a range of new and exciting challenges. They could feel much like the ally missions, but tell an ongoing story, which picks up each season where the previous one left off? That would keep players coming back, even if only to find out what happened next.
Nora Reynolds is a major in biology and a minor in Biological Basis of Behavior, writing about science in general. She also likes to try new gadgets and sports about the AI new era.