Tag Archives: quest

Fallout 76’s Raid Missions Feel Like Chores

In gaming parlance, the phrase “raid” implies some grand story, an epic boss fight, and the promise of great rewards at the end. Bethesda has called Fallout 76’s latest addition to the game a raid, but it lacks those things. Instead, it takes the base game’s worst quests and repackages them the most grindy, punishing ways possible.

Fallout 76’s raid consists of three missions that rotate weekly. The first one, Dead in the Water, came out last week. It revolves around continuously fighting giant enemy crabs called Mirelurks while trying to repair vault pipes and retrieve key cards to open new doors. There are distinct sections in-between where players can catch their breath, and the mission has a final boss that guarantees a three-star legendary item. Dead in the Water won’t be winning any prizes of its own at the annual Raid Awards, but as far as Fallout 76 content goes, it’s fine. The latest, called Meltdown, simply isn’t fun.

Meltdown ditches anything that made Dead in the Water at all appealing, trading its hectic, light puzzle solving for rote fetch quests. This time players have been tasked with shutting down a nuclear event that’s been triggered in the vault’s reactor. Doing so requires, once again, collecting key cards, but this time a bunch more. The vault is undergoing five levels of lockdown. Reducing that by one level requires retrieving 10 key cards randomly placed throughout each section of the vault, meaning there are 50 in all.

Screenshot: BadCompanySarg (YouTube)

This rendition of 52 pickup is supplemented by section-specific tasks like repairing mainframe cores or retrieving plant samples in the greenhouse section to unlock rooms housing additional key cards. Enemies occasionally attack, but overall there are fewer mobs to deal with, leaving your team to face the drudgery mostly undistracted. And rather than a boss fight at the end, once you finally make it into the reactor room, you simply fight waves of ghouls.

What might seem boring on paper is made even more soul-crushing by the shortcomings of the Fallout 76 interface. Picking something up requires lining up your reticle just right until an option to grab it appears. Crating mainframe cores requires getting out of your power armor and subjecting yourself to the radiation before you can continue. Bugs and lag are still present, meaning it’s not uncommon to walk into a newly opened section of the vault and have things momentary hiccup while the game works itself out, or for mission objectives to not always immediately update. If you’re especially unlucky, the game’s server might crash, booting you out and killing any progress you made.

These things are less of an issue in sections of the game where you can explore at your own pace. On the standard and expert difficulties, though, the raid missions are timed, and because they are separated from the rest of the game, you can’t leave and come back if you’re short on supplies. In games like Destiny 2 or The Division 2 where healing and inventory management are more streamlined, finishing raids is more a matter of patience, perseverance, and teamwork. In Fallout 76, raids feel more like exercises in brute forcing your way through mobs and puzzles by chugging stimpacks and RadAways and unloading as much ammunition as you have into anything that moves.

The Burrows, Fallout 76‘s first new mission added after the game launched, was roundly criticized at the time for being too short and not being challenging enough, but it still felt like a dungeon with a beginning, middle, and end stitched together by interesting lore. So far, the game’s raid missions are more like glorified versions of the game’s public events, timed quests where you respond to button prompts and shoot stuff, only without matchmaking or rewards that suit the work they demand.

In this week’s Inside the Vault blog post, Bethesda said it’s looking to address many of these complaints. The studio is “currently evaluating our Vault Mission rewards” and “investigating reports from the community about experiencing reduced performance and more frequent disconnects,” as well as “narrowing in on a fix for a bug that can cause the game controls to become unresponsive after you exit Power Armor.” There’s also still one more raid mission for players to try out next week. Hopefully it doesn’t include more key cards.

Source: Kotaku.com

Fallout 76’s New Project Paradise Quest Has You Do Genetic Experiments For Big Pharma

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.

Source: Kotaku.com

Fallout 76’s New Camera Quest Helped Me Fall In Love With The Game’s Broken Beauty

The Harper’s Ferry Armory.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Fallout 76)
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

Fallout 76’s world is lonely. Despite being a multiplayer game, it hosts just a couple dozen people around a sprawling map in any session you play. Other Fallout games might have a lot of computer-controlled civilians to chat with. Not this one. All of the non-player characters died long ago, or mutated beyond recognition. This limits the game’s drama, but the more I play Fallout 76 the more I’ve come to appreciate what it gains from being so empty.

I had this epiphany thanks to the game’s newest quest, Bucket List, which adds a new playable object to the game: a film-based camera. This is distinct from the game’s photo mode, which requires players to open a seperate menu and temporarily disables their character. The new camera, a ProSnap Deluxe, lets you capture moments with the ease of zooming down the sights on a gun, one of the most natural instincts in any shooter. Ever since getting the camera I’ve been eagerly snapping pics.

The New River Gorge Bridge.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Fallout 76)

To begin the quest you first have to find the corpse of a tourist, one which wasn’t in the game prior to last week’s update but now randomly spawns at any number of locations across the world. I found mine after climbing up through the Landview Lighthouse. Looting a skeleton draped across the wrought iron railing at the top I learned it belonged to Anne Litzinger, a college student who moved from San Francisco to go to school in West Virginia and didn’t like it at first. “I thought this place was antiquated, filled with ignorant hillbillies. I hated it,” she says in a holotape. “Eventually, I guess I got over myself. It turns out, people are people. Brains aren’t regional and our birthplace doesn’t define us. I decided that once I graduated, I’d really explore West Virginia.”

Even though Fallout 76’s world doesn’t have living non-player characters, their ghosts continue to haunt the world, imbuing it with low key melancholy that makes it feel like one of the most relatable in the series. As Litzinger tried to mine through Appalachia’s cultural and architectural heritage the bombs fell. Her sightseeing list became a bucket list instead, knowing the radiation would kill her before she could finish it. She asks that whoever finds her body does so for her.

It’s not enough to loot Anne’s corpse and start taking pictures of the locations that remain on her list. You first have to repair her broken camera and make some film for it. I was missing some of the aluminum and crystal necessary to do so first before going back to my camp I made a detour into the Morgantown high school. The cafeteria pantry is full of cans and the classroom has microscopes, both of which could be broken down into the ingredients I needed. I couldn’tt help but think about the students told to duck and cover under their desks when the alarms went off as I walk the hallway of broken lockers.

One of the places on Anne’s list is the Red Rocket Mega Stop, a 1950s-style gas station and diner for vacationers coming in off the highway. Another is the Pumpkin house, an old Victorian home surrounded by jack ‘o lanterns where a robot programmed to harvest the orange gourds continues to do so in perpetuity. It’s inspired by a real world location in West Virginia where people carve and display thousands of pumpkins every year.

The Pumkin house
Screenshot: Kotaku (Fallout 76)

At the end of the quest the Fallout 76 gods dump a random legendary weapon and an assortment of other lesser loot directly into your inventory for your trouble, since neither Anne nor anyone else is alive to give it to you.

Fallout 76’s landscape is dotted with so many strange, decaying monuments to space age Americana that I can’t help but marvel at them, especially when one unexpectedly catches my eye as it peeks out over a tree line or from around the side of a mountain range. But some part of me also feels compelled to take pictures to document the beautiful parts of a disappointing game so many people will never get to see. It’s a sentiment that’s also subtly reflected in the Bucket List.

Games fit into the various nooks and crannies of our lives in all different ways, and where Fallout 76 failed as an ambitious new type of story-driven multiplayer sandbox, it’s performed admirably as a destination for virtual camping trips and strange archeological hikes. I’ve come to fall in love with the sounds and sights of Fallout 76’s post-apocalyptic Appalachia in the dozens of hours I’ve spent combing through it. Players might never be able to rebuild it as Bethesda once suggested, but even as a graveyard for the victims of a nuclear war it’s the one I keep returning to.

Source: Kotaku.com