I wish I could say that I’m arriving to Fallout 76 without any sort of pre-formed opinions. I haven’t ever touched this game since it first made its less than stellar debut or even after it started to pull itself together with the Wastelanders update, but I’d be lying if I didn’t also admit that I hate this IP. A lot.
Perhaps it’s because I’m a late adopter, having only ever played Fallout 3 and being sorely disappointed even though I finished its main story and a lot of its side quests, but the world of Fallout never really interested me. Nothing about its mechanics engaged, none of the characters stood out, none of the choices I made mattered. About the only thing it did to hold my interest was let me watch enemies blow apart into meat confetti in slow motion while some of jazz’s greatest voices played in the background.
Still, I felt the same way about The Elder Scrolls games and I think Elder Scrolls Online is a fabulous MMORPG. So perhaps I can put that aside long enough to get through this month.
Straight away, a lot of the routine hit me square in the face. The game’s overuse of acronyms and its blase nuclear family ’50s pastiche smeared over me like so much mayonnaise. I’m a part of Vault 76 meant to revitalize America after the bombs fell. Also an Overseer for the vault disappeared and I’m made to care, I guess. Woo. Oh, hey look, I can wear a party hat.
The first NPCs I met after the stodgy butler bots were a couple of ladies looking for whatever the Big One is inside of the Vault. That seemed to be almost interesting, but just as quickly as it was brought up, it was forgotten as I made my way to the Wayward. It was here that I started to perk up a little bit as I wandered the world. Not because the scenery was interesting mind you — it isn’t — but because little side quests kept popping up. I fought mightily against my ESO-playing lizard brain to ignore all the lovely things popping up around me because I had a job to do.
…right after I clear this house of enemies. I hear a kitty in there and I don’t want it to come to harm.
Making way to the Wayward did start me on a couple of interesting quests that actually did a pretty good job of acclimating me to the game. These weren’t the literally guided tutorials that I experienced in Vault 76 but were interwoven in to the narrative of the quest line. And a couple of the lines of dialogue were actually pretty funny, too. I don’t know if I’m going to remember Mort or the Duchess terribly fondly, but they are entertaining at least.
But then, Fallout 76 kind of let me down once more when I decided to try and use V.A.T.S., making things feel less tactical and more like turning on an auto-aim bot that sometimes worked. I even unlocked a perk that let me target specific parts, but it just feels sort of slapped on, as if the devs felt they had to have the system in the game no matter what, even if it ended up being a pale green imitation of itself.
My early time in Fallout 76, then, has been oscillating between amusement and the niggling sensation that my instincts to not care were correct. I can’t necessarily toss this in the bin so soon, but I am having a hard time working up anything resembling emotional investment right now. But we’ll see how things progress.
On the subject of things progressing, I’m at a point where I can make at least a few different choices here, and so I turn to you lovelies for some guidance. The next step of my quest to help the Duchess and the Wayward involves a couple of routes, and I’m open to suggestions here.
How should I approach the next part of my primary quest?
- Go to Anchor Farm. (7%, 48 Votes)
- Go to the Tyler County Fairgrounds. (9%, 60 Votes)
- Do 'em both. I mean, who's stopping you? (84%, 563 Votes)
Total Voters: 671
Next up, it’s once again a question of focus. I know I pretty much started off asking this question, but I once again defer to those who are playing the game more regularly on the best course of action here. Especially since a lot of resources like ammunition and caps to buy same seem to be pretty darn hard to come by.
What should be my focus while in the wilds?
- Keep to the main quest. Ignore the shiny UI elements. (9%, 61 Votes)
- Approach side quests as you go. It's fine, stray from the path a little. (91%, 611 Votes)
Total Voters: 672
As usual, polling will wrap up at 1:00 p.m. EST this coming Friday, December 11th. For now, I’m going to be happy that I don’t have to tromp around Appalachia for a bit. I’m ready to do something else.