Fallout 76 - Fallout Worlds

Fallout 76 is a fine entry in the pantheon of recent Fallout games. I thought so when I played it back at launch, and I presume I’d still think so now, even though it’s been quite a while since I played it last.

For some, though, it was tantamount to the arrival of the antichrist, to in no way be hyperbolic. But I think most people’s issues with Fallout 76 can be boiled down to three things:

  1. This is an always-online variant of the Fallout formula.
  2. There have been, at times, droughts in the content department.
  3. There’s a monetization aspect inherent to the game’s core design.

Now, I think it’s safe to say that the always-online aspect is a bit of a parade-rainer if you would much rather prefer your Fallout games to be of the single-player persuasion. And even if you were to, say, add multiplayer to Fallout 4, that would at least give the player the option to experience the same game with two unique flavors rather than forcing you into the online side of the equation. No one wants to miss out on a brand-new wasteland because they like to play it dolo (that’s not a typo; look it up).

But Bethesda did offer an option of sorts to do just that with Fallout 76; it’s just that it’s tied to that pesky issue number three; monetization.

Fallout 76 - Fallout Worlds

As far as issue number two is concerned, I think it’s safe to say that Bethesda has managed to beef up its offerings over the last year or so, namely with the Wastelanders and Brotherhood of Steel updates. Thankfully, those were not tied to that aforementioned third nuisance.

Of course, before all of this beefy content was thrust upon the previously sand-swept buffet table that was Fallout 76, Bethesda did manage to dole out the Fallout 1st subscription model — for either $12.99 per month or $99.99 for the year (a savings of over $50!), you could unlock a slew of content not available to the poor bastards who only decided to pay the initial $60 entrance fee like a bunch of idiots.

To be fair, some of that extra gated content is actually pretty desirable, and I suppose it carries with it some perceived extra monetary value. There’s the ability to make those aforementioned private (single-player) worlds, for example, and a fast-travel Survival Tent you can place anywhere. If I had hitched my proverbial pony to this metaphorical Fallout 76 wagon as my sole online gaming experience, I could perhaps see buying in.

But I’m also kind of an idiot, a quality that Bethesda has no problem exploiting by encouraging numerous, continuous idiotic purchases. At the same time, I’m not enough of an idiot to buy what Bethesda is selling… this time around, anyway.

Fallout 76 - Fallout Worlds

Recently, Bethesda announced the Fallout Worlds update for Fallout 76, a sort of developer mode that allows players to tweak a number of in-game options or features in their own custom worlds. Want to ramp up the distance you can knock enemies so you can hurl them to kingdom come? Sure. Want infinite ammo, or a firearm that doesn’t need to be reloaded? Why not? Want to increase the frequency of Quantum storms? Have at it. Sick of having a restrictive limit on how much you can build at your camp, or even where you can up said camp? Screw it. With Fallout Worlds, custom worlds just work….

And since the generous folks at Bethesda are known for encouraging player engagement, the Fallout Worlds update will also offer Public Works, a revolving series of predetermined wacky worlds developed by Bethesda themselves!

It is, of course, no coincidence that Bethesda would use the word public in the title of this latter feature; it is open to the public at no extra charge, other than the cost of the base game. But the main course of this buffet — the coup de grâce of Fallout Worlds — is the Custom Worlds feature, the one that allows players to build their own smorgasbord of hijinks and shenanigans. And this part of the Fallout pie is locked behind that lovely little Fallout 1st subscription service.

Fallout 76 - Fallout Worlds

And of course it would be. I mean, Bethesda has to keep adding value so you’ll persistently be comfortable forking over $100 per year (if you pay the annual rate instead of going month to month) for a game that already cost you $20 (if you bought it more recently) or $60 (if you bought it at release) or upwards of $200 if you bought into that asinine premium-but-doesn’t-even-include-the-game-what-the-hell-are-you-even-thinking edition.

But even so, it’s insane to think that a company would release something that most of the gaming community — both players and talking heads alike — roasted incessantly since before it even launched, only to then tack on a premium subscription to unlock features that most other companies would offer for free, simply to keep their active player numbers at a respectable level.

But Bethesda isn’t most companies.

I suppose it is ridiculous to expect Bethesda would have a No Man’s Sky-style developer investment in their game or its community. After all, enough people must’ve bought into Fallout 1st to justify the price gouging. So, what do I know? (I mean, other than that this is yet another reason for me to not jump back in, since I do not have, nor will I ever have, a Fallout 1st subscription.)

Whenever there is a new free update for No Man’s Sky, or hell, even when new premium passes drop for Red Dead Online (which require spending precious, precious in-game gold bars), I tend to find myself playing again, if only to check out the new content. Quite often, I end up sticking around for a little bit after that because I’m sucked back into those game worlds. That would most likely also be the case for Fallouts 76 if Bethesda weren’t so insistent on bleeding the turnip that is their player base. I mean, I did jump back in to check out Wastelanders and ended up logging more than a few extra hours.

Fallout Worlds could be really cool under the right circumstances, but I guess I will never know. War never changes, and apparently, neither does Bethesda’s greed.

I’ll leave you with the Fallout Worlds trailer, so you can determine whether or not it’s reason enough to buy into the premium subscription (if you haven’t already).

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