Nothing says fall to me like a good fair. Something about fried foods and prized hogs just makes me want to roll in a pile of falling leaves and, best of all, wander in a corn maze. We’re not quite up to fall fair season in real life, but if you have Fallout 76, one player has made sure that fall has officially arrived in Appalachia by creating this corn maze in the game.
“The maze really is a maze with dead ends and little things to see along the way,” Jcoffill, the player who built the maze, said on Reddit. “Last night a few ghouls had wandered in and surprised a few trick or treaters. Open to visitors on PS4 just about every evening. My vendor in the maze is stocked with seasonal fun things.” Jcoffill also said that they’ve had a few “backwards trick or treaters” visiting the maze in costume, who then left gifts in the maze instead of taking them.
It may still be too early for hayrides and hot apple cider, but it’s always fall in Fallout 76—at least if you can survive the ghouls in the corn maze.
Almost anyone who’s ever raided in a game before has a horror story about that time they worked really hard only to be rewarded with a piece of junk. At least one super unlucky Fallout 76 player recently joined their ranks.
“We beat the final boss, opened up the loot chest at the end,” wrote user Kaelynath on the game’s subreddit. His three teammates each got a three-star legendary item, the best in the game. Kaelynath got a drill, a simple, nearly worthless tool. “F*** you, Bethesda,” they wrote.
Fallout 76’s new Vault 94 raid is an endgame activity aimed at high-level players. Bethesda suggests that players be over level 50 and attempt it only in full groups of four. In addition to having their skills and loadouts tested, completing the raid is supposed to reward players for their time and trouble with rare and powerful gear.
Drills are neither rare nor powerful, and this isn’t the first time that they have been known to drop from legendary enemies, something players have long regarded as a bug but which hasn’t yet been changed by Bethesda. Now it appears they can drop in the raid that is supposed to guarantee players legendary drops. Of course, since drills don’t get legendary stat affixes, legendary drills are pointless.
“This was also after over an hour spent in Vault 94, which due to the fact that it zergs you with enemies throughout is in itself a gigantic resource sink that gives next to nothing for exp,” Kaelynath told Kotaku in an email.
The subreddit, which has been aware of the game’s issue around drills for months, decided to name the drill “Rod of Howard” in honor of Bethesda’s game director Todd Howard. One player even offered to purchase it. “10k, i‘m not kidding,” wrote Reddit user mepradayounada.
“The other user actually did buy it for 10,000 Caps,” Kaelynath told Kotaku. “Which definitely made my very disappointing patch day a bit better. He said that it was because he’s an ‘Art Collector’ and wanted to hang it on a display because it has a story. Which is a result I never could have expected.”
At QuakeCon 2019, Bethesda announced some new content coming to Fallout 76 later this year, including a new map for the Nuclear Winter mode and new raids. They also released a new updated roadmap for summer 2019.
Nuclear Winter, Fallout 76‘s 52-player battle royale mode, is getting a new map. It is based on the area of Fallout 76 called Morgantown and it will include more verticality and will be set in a more urban environment. The current map is more rural, filled with trees and barren hills. The new map is coming in September alongside some quality of life improvements for the mode.
Bethesda’s Fallout 76 panel.
Coming sooner is a new Vault raid. Set in Vault 94, the new raid will feature three missions that will rotate weekly and will support 4 player groups. Completing these missions will reward players with new armor and social rewards. Bethesda also confirmed they are working on another raid, but didn’t give any specific details on that raid.
Beyond these two bigger pieces of new, Bethesda shared a bit more information about the upcoming Wastelanders update. This is the update that will add NPCs into Fallout 76. It was confirmed at the panel today that players will talk to these NPCs using dialogue trees that are, according to Bethesda, more like Fallout 3 than Fallout 4. Bethesda is planning on releasing the Wastelanders update in November of this year.
Bethesda also teased private servers coming to the game “sooner than you think.” What does that mean? I have no idea. I didn’t expect them anytime soon, so that really doesn’t mean anything to me. But who knows, maybe next month private servers will be supported in Fallout 76? But probably not.
This week marks eight months since Fallout 76 released as a buggy mess. Since then, Bethesda’s online survival game has improved a lot. But while it has had a lot of good days, the arrival of patch number 11 yesterday was not one of them. Instead, it’s renewed players’ calls for Bethesda to try updates out on a public test server before dropping them into the main game.
One of the biggest issues is related to Power Armor. “We’ve made behind-the-scenes improvements to the Power Armor system to help address lots of bugs,” Bethesda wrote in the game’s patch notes. “As a result, you may notice your Power Armor pieces have moved into your inventory or Stash.” However, some players have reported that the pieces have gone missing altogether. It’s not clear how many people were ultimately affected, but players with multiple sets of the rare and expensive armor appear to have been hit the hardest.
“I’ve lost an entire set of T-60 fully modded PA,” wrote one player on Reddit. “Furious as I spent ages getting the caps to buy plans (I’m not that market savvy so I never have too many caps as I have limited time to play). I know I’m never getting my PA back but its so demotivating to go and do it again.”
Others have had the opposite issue, with existing sets of armor inexplicably duplicating. “I logged in and spent 10 [minutes] putting all my frames back together,” wrote another player. “Then I put them back in my stash where they disassembled and I ended up with 812 pounds in my stash while I was still over encumbered with duplicates. Had to put everything back together a second time.”
The update has also made some controversial changes to how players earn Atoms, the game’s premium currency. Players used to be able to collect them by completing basic Challenges early in the game. In an effort to make the early game less harsh, Bethesda replaced those Atoms with useful items like Stimpaks and Disease Cures. But it didn’t add those Atoms back in elsewhere, effectively decreasing the amount players can initially earn just by playing the game.
This change comes alongside the addition of a new item called a Scrap Kit, which can only be purchased with 50 Atoms, the equivalent of 50 cents. This item automatically scraps a player’s junk and deposits it in their Stash. While not a game changer, the Scrap Kit is certainly a more convenient time saver than doing all of those things manually. It also means players who have one can adventure out into the Wasteland without worrying about dying and leaving all of the scrap they’ve collected behind when they respawn. What’s annoying players is that they have to pay for the privilege. Similar to Repair Kits, which Bethesda added to the game in the spring, this effort to monetize around the edges of gameplay while the game still has plenty of bugs has left a bad taste in many players’ mouths.
At a time when Fallout 76 has generally been on the upswing thanks to new content and clever new mechanics like player-owned vending machines, the latest update has proven to be a frustrating flat tire on the road to redemption. Anthem, another online game whose trajectory has had a lot in common with Fallout 76’s, added a public test server at the end of May. Since then, BioWare has spent weeks working with PC players to get its next big update right. It feels like Fallout 76 is long overdue for the same treatment.
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.
You do not want me in your Nuclear Winter squad. I have a penchant for switching my drop location at the last second, landing on the map hundreds of meters away from my teammates. I’m never on mic. And I’m terrible at staying hidden. But none of this stopped another player, let’s call him Bill, from trying his hardest to save my goddamn life anyway.
I used to feel like there were too many battle royale games. Then Bethesda added one to Fallout 76, and I realized how the little details that differentiate each battle royale from one to another can make all the difference. For me, that meant returning to Fallout 76’s Forest region as it was being engulfed in flames. You can drop nukes in Fallout 76. You can drop nukes in Fallout 76’s battle royale mode. But no nukes have filled me with the same amount of dread and sadness as I felt while I watched a house burn to a crisp around me as I fumbled with a door knob to get back to the hallway and escape. Behind me, everything was destroyed. In front of me, my randomly assigned squadmate Bill.
I’m not sure if he was looking for me, because I sure as hell wasn’t looking for him, but having been reunited on the verge of another apocalypse, I decided to stick with him. We were only two, our other teammates already killed. My only strategy in Nuclear Winter consists of hiding as close to the storm as possible and then getting outnumbered in the final circle of fiery hell. Bill had a much higher Overseer Rank, as well as a gatling gun, so I decided to follow his lead. There were only about a dozen players left by this point. Maybe Bill would miraculously lead me to my first Nuclear Winter win. Instead, I led him to his death.
We were on the main road just south of the New River Gorge Resort when I spotted something moving up ahead. Unable to communicate with Bill (no mic, remember?), I took out my sniper rifle to try and pin the the stranger down. I was quick enough to snag his arm before he could dive back behind a tree, but not quick enough to stop Bill from getting riddled with bullets. As Bill fired back from the road, I tried to flank our mystery vault dweller. I don’t know which one of us killed him, but I do remember being giddy with excitement about it. This was going to work. With Bill’s help, anyway.
I had no armor, though, and little confidence in my own abilities. Bill was armed to the gills, so I dropped him my last stimpak so he could heal up. Small acts of kindness between strangers breed disproportionate amounts of goodwill, in my experience, and Bill, though he couldn’t communicate, seemed to be genuinely taken aback by the generosity, especially following my initial status as the selfish renegade on our team. He flipped me a thumbs up, or maybe a heart, or maybe I’ve invented that memory because of how I imagined her felt., Either way, he was my new best bud. At least for a few more seconds.
I was standing in a bush while Bill did whatever Bill does. But it’s hard to see things while you’re in bushes, and even more boring just to be stuck standing there. While Bill went to check on a Scorchbeast corpse, I ran ahead looking to see if I could find any loot caches beneath the nearby transmission tower. But I never found any. All I heard was the crack of laser gun. The next thing I knew my insides were fried. Eventually, as I lay bleeding out, Bill came running. I still haven’t been able to fathom why. I was in an open field overlooked by an embankment of trees. He didn’t have a chance. And yet his selfless act of bravery, futile as it was, is still with me weeks later. Next time, Bill, I promise to wait in the bushes.
Fallout 76’s world can be a brutal, especially for players just starting out. Hunger, thirst, disease, radiation—there’s no shortage of maladies in Appalachia. In the game’s next big update, Bethesda is determined to dial down the danger, at least early on, so new players can actually spend more time exploring Fallout 76 in peace.
“We’re looking to make a few adjustments to help new and low-level characters have more gradual introductions to some of the game’s mechanics and challenges,” Bethesda said in a blog post late last week announcing the major changes coming in Patch 11. The biggest of these changes include:
Reducing the cost to fast travel for players under level 25
Giving players under level 15 higher disease resistance
Making food take 50 percent longer to spoil
No longer wiping out stat bonuses from food and drink after fast traveling
Making encounters with higher level enemies outside of the Forest, the game’s starting area, more rare
The studio says it also plans to make rewards from Fallout 76’s checklist-driven Challenges completed earlier in the game more useful for low-level players. Right now, a lot of these activities grant ammunition for guns players don’t have, or crafting materials for things they can’t yet make. New players might racking up high-level ammo while they’re hurting for first-aid, fresh water, and food.
These basic necessities can be so scarce early on for players who don’t know where to look for them that it’s become common practice in Fallout 76 for higher level players to search out those who are still in the single digits and leave them little gift bags full of Stimpaks, Rad-Aways, and grilled meats, and boiled water.
While players have done a good job of papering over Fallout 76’s holes with creative role-playing, making the game’s onboarding process a much smoother experience will go a long way toward helping it find new players as Bethesda continues to add post-release content. Patch 11 is supposed to arrive later this month.
In November of last year, purchasers of the $200 Fallout 76 collector’s edition were disappointed to discover the fancy canvas bags advertised were replaced with cheap nylon sacks. It took half a year, but Bethesda has finally made things right, as incredibly wrinkled canvas Westtek bags make their way into fans’ eager hands.
In the image above, shared on Twitter by Jordan Stapleton, we see the end result of a long journey. The canvas bag, once considered impossible to deliver due to “unavailability of materials,” has arrived. To the left of the bag we see the tiny package the canvas bag arrived in. One can easily imagine someone at Bethesda angrily cramming this bag into the tiny plastic pouch, muttering, “Here’s your damn canvas. I hope you choke on it.”
For reference, here is the nylon bag that came with the collector’s edition originally.
And here is the canvas sack fans are now receiving.
Barring these canvas numbers bursting into flames, this is the fifth and hopefully final article in the Fallout 76 Collector’s Edition Bag Saga. We made it, everybody. We’re safe now.
After a seven-month wait underscored by security issues and cheap nylon, Fallout 76 players may be able to get the collector’s edition bags they were promised.
Gather round, children, and let me tell you the saga of the collector’s edition Fallout 76 bags. The fancy-pants $200 Power Armor edition of Fallout 76 was supposed to come with a canvas bag, but players got nylon bags instead. They were not happy, and our own Luke Plunkett referred to them as “nylon trash.” Bethesda promised replacement bags, but we haven’t heard much about when they’ll arrive until now. To make matters worse, customer support for people who wanted these bags accidentally leaked their names, phone numbers and addresses. If I were to ever buy what amounts to a $200 bag, I would hope that it 1) is made of literally anything other than nylon and 2) does not dox me.
But the Bag Saga may finally be coming to a close. Today, Bethesda tweeted that they’ll be sending out replacement bags starting next week.
I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that next week is also E3, where Bethesda will be having a press conference and will want to foster goodwill from their fans. I just hope that whatever the resolution is, it will not require a fifth article about these freaking bags.
Mikael Hertell really wanted a pet Deathclaw. He wanted one so bad he spent hours searching through Fallout 76’s broken wilds in search of one he could tame. He named it Steve. Steve was a good boy. Some might say a very good boy. That is, until Hertell went to sleep, woke up the next day and found Steve dead, killed by a glitch. That wasn’t the first time this happened to Hertell, either.
Before, Steve there was a Mega Sloth. There was also a gun—a legendary TSE (two-shot explosive) .50cal machine gun. Both disappeared. The gun vanished, Hertell believes, because of a glitch, something many players on the game’s subreddit have shared experiences of. What happened to the Mega Sloth is less clear, but Hertell, a YouTuber and musician who lives in Finland, thinks it died because of the unstable way campsites occasionally load in the game.
“What is the point of having near impossible to find weapons in the game if [Bethesda] won’t even acknowledge a bug that just deletes your most beloved guns from your inventory?” Hertell wrote in a frustrated May 1 Reddit post. “And I’m also out of my tamed sluggish mega sloth that i server hopped for ages [to get]…logged in and poof no sloth in my camp anymore.”
“I’m afraid to log back in, I lost my pet and my favorite gun i can’t afford to lose anything else :/”
What happened to the Sloth? Hertell still isn’t entirely sure.
“I logged in and I noticed that there was no sound from the sloth but all the enemies that spawned were dead, looked around for a bit and found him hanging from the ceiling of one of the pre-existing buildings that existed inside my camp boundaries,” Hertell told Kotaku in an email. “To this day I have no idea what killed him because the only enemies there were low level mole rats.”
Whatever the bug was that took his first pet’s life, Hertell remained undeterred in his quest for an irradiated buddy. “I’m a huge pet lover irl and currently have three cats and a ball python in the house so it just felt like something was missing from my camp unless it had a pet in it,” he said.
The mysterious nature of pets in Fallout 76 also appealed to him. Nothing in the game tells you that you can tame wild animals. Even the game’s official strategy guide only mentions it in passing when discussing the perk card for Wasteland Whisperer, the skill that makes it possible to pacify wild creatures, and even then it doesn’t specify that these animals, if properly tamed, will follow you back to your campsite and hang out with you till death do you part.
Hertell crowdsourced information from random Google searches, equipped Wasteland Whisperer, and went out hoping for the best. The creatures have to spawn alone, and even then it doesn’t always work. Yesterday, after weeks of preparation and server hopping, Hertell finally found a lone Deathclaw and managed to woo it over to his side. He was elated. He posted about it on the game’s subreddit.
“God I hope this one doesn’t die like my megasloth…” he wrote.
Then today he logged back onto the game, and it had died. “Well that lasted a whopping 12 hours, I logged in and somebody was checking out my camp and he told me that a Supermutant killed my pet…” he wrote in a follow up post.
This time, the culprit was clear: bad loading times.
Ever since Fallout 76’s Wild Appalachia update arrived at the beginning of April, loading into the game has become a slightly more wonky affair. It’s hit people with elaborate campsites the hardest, as different parts of the game world appear to occasionally load in at different times. This is what Hertell believes happened to him, and why Steve is now dead. “The problem is that now when you log in to the game the game loads you into the game world quite fast and then loads enemies relatively quickly or agonizingly slow depending on where you are spawning,” he told Kotaku.
“Same goes for camps,” he continued. They take a minimum of around 1.5-2 minutes to fully load into the world so you are stuck there waiting for them to load. My issue with the pet was that for some reason while my camp took a long time to load into the game (and as almost everything is client side in the game this holds true to every visitor I get) my pet deathclaw steve would load the same second you spawned near the camp along with enemies.”
Before Hertell could do anything, Steve was dead. A super mutant had killed him. Since pets in Fallout 76 don’t scale to match the level of the player they belong to, it doesn’t always take much to kill them, even if they’re a dreaded Deathclaw. And the pets don’t respawn. Once they’re gone they’re gone for good. If Hertell’s camp turrets had spawned in more quickly, they might have been able to save Steve. “I’m just pretty pissed really, i spend so much time getting the pet only for it to be killed in a matter of hours,” he wrote on Reddit.
The tragic story of Steve might seem like a strange, isolated incident, but it’s indicative of a broader tension within the game and its community. It’s possible to get a pet to get attached to in Fallout 76,, but almost everything about the world, going down to the very code its built on, seems intent on trying to extinguish that relationship at a moment’s notice. The subreddit is full of postswith people requestingan overhaul to the pet mechanic, or a little more attention for itso that more players can give it a try for themselves.
Based on his recent experience, Hertell warns players against trying until the feature is fixed, or at least the load times for campsites become more stable. “What good is taming a cat when it dies to the first radroach that decides to attack your camp,” he said. “[It] would be cool for Bethesda to actually make it work instead of leaving it in a sorry state that its in now but I feel like the only things that get patched are the ones that get a lot of public outcry and the pets aren’t that well known so I really don’t see them making any significant improvements to them in a while.”
Slowly but surely, pet taming might finally be starting to get the attention it deserves. There’s already a meta memorial service for Steve going on in the game’s subreddit, with some players calling on one another to celebrate the Deathclaw’s legacy in some way at their own camp.
“May the legend of Steve live on in campfire tales,” wrote one player.
Without stuff to kill, the masses in Bethesda’s online survival game Fallout 76 tend to get restless, taking aim at one another when nothing else worth their time is available. Fortunately, this week’s update has offered up a fine distraction in the form of a public quest called Project Paradise.
The quest is located in a series of man-made biomes used for genetic testing in a new area under the Arktos Pharma plant, just south of Morgantown. Project Paradise becomes available every so often, drawing players from far and wide into the bowels of big pharma to complete experiments in exchange for rare loot. It works well in part because it’s a multi-step mission inside a vast new underground environment but also because successfully completing it really does require strangers coming together and working as a team.
The first phase of the quest involves activating an experiment that unleashes three test subjects into their respective biomes. From there, whoever is around has a limited amount of time to kill nearby livestock and harvest plants to fill each biome’s trough with the proper food. After the feeding period, players then need to defend the creatures against enemy attacks that come in three waves. This means having at least one player in each biome to fight off invading ghouls and robots.
The entire place is teeming with level-50-and-above Assaultrons who enjoy blasting you at point-blank range with their giant face lasers The group I was with spent most of our time running back and forth trying to revive one another while trying to take cover behind broken machinery. At one point I was critically injured and called for help, only for someone to come over, stare at me for a brief moment, and then decide to eat me to regain their health. Sometimes you got to take one for the team. (It only takes seconds to respawn nearby and rejoin the fight.) The social aspect and the large-scale destruction go a long way toward making Project Paradise a lot more fun than last month’s more solo-oriented Burrows dungeon.
The event also guarantees players a three-star boss who drops a three-star legendary item if all of the animals are fed as much as possible, making it worth everyone’s while and encouraging teamwork to get the best possible result. It makes me wish Bethesda could go back and add similar mechanisms to trigger more difficult and rewarding versions of other public quests.
So far, the only real downside to Project Paradise, outside of the occasional bug (which currently seem more common in the underground biomes than the rest of the game), is the lack of a server-wide alert for when it’s happening. Many players have taken to constantly bringing up their map to check if the event is active as a result, with lots of calls from the community for Bethesda to add some sort of more obvious notification.
Slowly but surely, Fallout 76’s would continues to feel a little bit less empty, thanks not just to new quests like Project Paradise but also the recent addition of player vending machines, which players can use to sell items to other players. On one server, a player had set up their camp right outside the Arktos Plant and was selling low-priced healing items to help the adventurers heading inside—Fallout 76’s version of a lemonade stand. Maybe Appalachia can get rebuilt after all.