This week I’ve been absolutely consumed by the thought of Fallout 76. I know, I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up for a proper MMORPG, but even the prospect of some online multiplayer functionality thrills me to no end.
Fallout has been one of my favorite computer RPG series ever since its first installment way, way back in the 1990s. I played Fallout 2 like crazy back in the day, log in to Fallout Shelter frequently now, and just recently started my third journey into Fallout 4.
There’s so much to love about these games, which is I’m quite eager to see the full reveal of Fallout 76 by Bethesda at E3 next week. Before that happens, however, I want to share with you what I’ve always wished for in a Fallout MMO. It has such potential to be an awesome online RPG with a huge built-in fan base and big developer muscle behind it. Let me share my list and then you do the same in the comments!
1. The retro-futuristic vibe
This entry comes almost without having to be said. One of Fallout’s greatest appeals is that it took a morbid and ugly post-apocalyptic setting and jazzed it up with retro-futuristic settings. Our universe and the Fallout one branched off significantly following World War II, and much of the game’s lingering remnants of civilization are based on atomic age culture. It’s keen!
2. The humor
Again, that setting is enough to send us all screaming for anti-depressants or our mommies. It’s the end of the world, what is there to smile about, nevertheless laugh? But Fallout really injected a healthy dose of humor (black and regular) into its descriptions, UI, characters, and situations. It’s still quite grim at time and the humor doesn’t make it a farce, but it helps to get us through the wasteland with a smile.
3. Iconic touches
C’mon, you can’t have a Fallout game with some of the major elements of the game’s design, such as Pip Boy, Fallout Boy, Vaults, stimpacks, deathclaws, and all the rest. Fallout is a fully fleshed-out world with its own brand that makes it instantly recognizable and likable compared to other post-apoc titles.
4. Pip Boy UI
Having gone back into Fallout 4, I was once again impressed with how the user interface is well integrated into that clunky-but-so-fashionable arm computer that Vault dwellers wear. Sure, you could make a Fallout game without allowing us to use Pip Boys, but WHAT WOULD BE THE POINT. You might as well end the world.
It gets lonely traveling out there in the aftermath of civilization, which is why you need a partner or two to help you out. Even in a multiplayer setting, I’d still want to see the option to pick up and bring along NPC companions, perhaps similar to what SWTOR does. At least give us Dogmeat!
6. Radio stations
It’s a silly thing to gush over, but I really am a fan of optional radio stations in Fallout. Again, part of it has to do with tamping down isolation; when you have a friendly voice in your ear, it makes the exploration seem more bearable. I can imagine how an online game would be able to continually expand the radio station with new interludes and songs as time went by.
If the rumors are true, Fallout 76 is going to feature some sort of base building mechanic. That makes sense, as Fallout 4 included that as an optional feature. At the very least, I’d love to be able to scavenge goods and materials to build up a cozy little safehouse tucked somewhere out of the way.
There are plenty of factions and groups in the Fallout series, and I wouldn’t mind Bethesda transplanting its Elder Scrolls guild system over to work our way in to some of them. I’m not just talking about mindless reputation grinds but instead deep storylines and new mechanics. Let us earn our place in the world and forever identify with our actions.
9. A primary focus on PvE
PvP is a trap that many online game developers are falling into lately. I’m not saying that PvP is bad or has no use, just that I suspect too many devs see it as an easy way to get around building real content. “PvE first and PvP after” is my desire for a Fallout MMO. I want hand-crafted content in a world that’s fun to explore.
10. Perks (and other cool character building)
It’s always been pretty engaging to build characters in Fallout games, especially with the game-changing perks that you occasionally receive. Yes, these are essentially talents, but Fallout has always seemed to have a lot of really fun ones that made me wish I could grab them all. I’d expect any online game to step up its game and give me some freedom and flexiblity in shaping my own Vault Dweller.