[Gaming] Fallout 76 Info Dump

Dave

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#1
This is an info dump from a Reddit thread where some people had behind the scenes access to the development of Fallout 76.

-----General-----
  • BGS Austin are the main guys behind this game. The Maryland (Rockville) studio is involved, but they have been putting in tons of work into Starfield as well, and 76 is mostly Austin's baby after the initial design phase. They started working on 76 when they were still Battlecry studios, and began development during a time when Rockville was still working on Fallout 4 (and later beginning production on Fallout 4 DLC and Starfield). Rockvill's role is largely creative.
  • The two Fallout 76 leads worked on Star Wars Galaxies, The Old Republic, and Ultima Online between them both. The lead programmer for 76 was the client lead for SWG. They're experts when it comes to building multiplayer, and painstakingly rebuilt the engine from the ground up to support multiplayer.
  • BGS Austin was absolutely crucial in the development of this game. Rockville doesn't have the experience required to pull something like this off because they are a singleplayer-focused studio.
  • From the beginning, the map was planned to be four times bigger than Fallout 4. This is in part due to new tech that enabled them to render longer distances; they wanted lots of open space to explore.
  • West Virginia was chosen because A) it was still East Coast, and B) it was a place that would be almost completely untouched by nukes. This would give them the opportunity to have living forests, tons of different types of wildlife, and more diversity than normal when it comes to different regions on the map.
  • It was also chosen because as they dug deeper into local stories and folklore of West Virginia, they found out there were so many cool conspiracy theories, monsters, and creatures that have been part of the state's history. They felt this was a perfect match for Fallout 76. The Grafton Monster, Flatwood Monster, the Snallygaster, Mothman -- the list goes on.
  • The Mothman specifically is a unique creature that they don't want to spoil other than saying there will be stages to him. "Maybe at the beginning, he's just stalking you". Creepy!
  • There are way more creatures in 76 than all other Fallout games. Giant sloths, two-headed possums, and intelligent plants were all mentioned.
  • The mutated creatures are more dramatic because it's so soon after the bombs fell, and the radiation is at its most powerful. They like to think that not all of these creatures were able to survive into the time period when the other Fallout games are set.
  • Raiders are out. The important reason for this is that they found with raiders, players would spend a lot of time just trying to discern whether or not a hostile human was a player or AI. They didn't want this, so they created a faction of half-feral ghouls called the Scorched, who are hostile, but still sane enough to use weapons and armor. These will be the main gun combat with AI in the game, which is described as a "central pillar" of the Fallout experience.
  • The map is huge, but there are six distinct regions to the game that are each a different difficulty/level, for a natural progression. "They mentioned: A hollowed-out mountain top, soggy floodlands, a festering toxic wasteland, swampy woods, and a colossal mountain range that bisects the entire map."
  • The new weather system can encourage or deter you from entering a specific area. Maybe you want to head to the mountains, but a major rad storm is sweeping through the area right now, making it much more dangerous to do so.
  • There is a lot of open space in this map. This means that when you find something, they want it to feel like you're finding something that's been hidden from the world for a long time. There are tons of different places to find. Some of the ones they mentioned were everything from quiet cabins, abandoned wood mills, treetop watchtowers, flooded mines, and abandoned barbecue joints.
  • ^This is IN ADDITION to the fact that you will find whole abandoned cities and towns like previous Fallout games. There are also the missile silos, and a crashed space station (Van Buren!).
  • The world is larger and more detailed than any previous game. This is due to massive engine improvements. New systems for propagating forests, a vastly improved dynamic lighting model, subsurface scattering, and far more complex animations for creatures (who need to react to being attacked by multiple players at once).
  • You'll start the game in a relatively nice, green area. Another more hostile area they showed is a region full of factories that's covered in a nasty white powder, from the chemicals that the factories were full of being released.
  • Lots of vertical landmarks. The giant excavator shown in the trailer was here. They let you orient yourself easily. More verticality than previous games, since Fallout 3 and 4 were both very flat lands.
  • They have their version of the Greenbrier Hotel, which housed a real-life nuclear bunker. Their version has a large golf course connected to it, and has its own story which they don't want to spoil.
  • More clothing than ever, and you have to discover a lot of it in specific spot. An example they give is that there's a real-life town called Helvetia, which is home to a festival where they make paper mache masks. They made ten of them for you to find when you visit the town in Fallout 76.
  • A lot of stories and quests you'll find will be the locational stories that we see as unmarked quests in previous Fallout games. An example given is a firehouse in Charleston, and if you go there you can find firefighter gear, and take a firefighter training course. They want you to explore and discover these things yourself with your friends.
-----Gameplay-----
  • You can play solo, but at launch there will be no private maps. They fully believe in the idea of sharing a world with other players for Fallout 76.
  • There is a main story, there are plenty of quests, but they want this game to be about what you want to do on any given day. Maybe you want to explore a new region, or maybe you want to go hunt down that last rare component for a crafting project. Maybe you want to kill a creature for its drops, or maybe you want to set up a new C.A.M.P.
  • Events! An example given was a horde of super mutants attacking a farm. You get notified and can swoop in to save the day, and they want you to meet other players doing the same thing. You don't know what's going to happen, and they're okay with that. An example given was "maybe you see ten Yao Guai come in because somebody trained them in from across the map". Animal Friend, ahoy!
  • In addition to the C.A.M.P.s you can build anywhere, there are also public workshops that must be claimed. These are specific locations that you have to clear out, and once you take them there could be events that spawn. But they can also contain useful crafting resources: An example is a mine that, once claimed, allows you to get a regular income of lead ore. Lead = bullets. Being able to make your own bullets is very valuable in Fallout, and potentially to other players.
  • Your C.A.M.P is your portable, build-anywhere settlement. They're smaller than a full settlement, but can be placed anywhere on the map. If you join a new game, your C.A.M.P will automatically be where you left it. If by some miracle two people have their camps in the exact same spot (they stress this is very unlikely due to a player limit of 20-30 and an enormous map), it will be saved as a blueprint and you can put it down anywhere you want.
  • Crafting is a big part of the game. You'll be able to craft guns, mods, ammo, food, armor, power armor, etc. Everything that you could craft in Fallout 4, and way more. They want you hunting down rare materials to craft that next big item.
  • Talking about how they want survival elements to be a big part of the game, but never tedious or boring: "I have to brush my teeth every day, or they'll rot out of my head. I do NOT want to do that in a video game. I just don't care!"
  • You have to eat and drink to survive. Anecdote: Somebody stumbled into a heard of cats and said they'd never been happier to see cats because it meant they could eat!
  • Food rots over time, and your gear degrades and must be repaired.
  • Rads are different, and cause mutations. The higher your rad count, the greater the odds that you'll get a mutation. They're like traits from Fallout 2, where you get a buff to one thing, and a penalty to something else. They can be cured if you don't like them, and in the late-game you can become permanently mutated if there's one you really like. Most mutations are stat or gameplay changes, but some are visual.
  • You will be able to sell items you craft to other players. Crafting is a big part of the game and they want crafting specialization to be worthwhile and powerful. You can spec into cooking and make valuable food that other players might be willing to pay for.
  • Perk cards completely replace the perk chart from Fallout 4. Every single time you level up, you take a new perk card. Perk cards are divided among the primary SPECIAL attributes, and you can have a limited number active at one time. You can swap your active cards out whenever you want, and can share them with other players in your group. This incentivizes coordination in groups, where you can specialize to work well when grouped up.
  • One person in your group might be focused on survival stuff like crafting and cooking, somebody might be geared up for combat, another might be specced into building great defenses for your settlement, and the last might be built as a medic to heal other players up.
  • For crafting food, you find recipes all over the world to unlock new stuff to make. There are "orders of magnitude" more recipes in 76 than Fallout 4, and a lot of the items you craft are +/-. One food might make you more susceptible to disease, but give you a huge health buff.
  • They are exploring the idea of letting you set up a robot vendor in some kind of a hub area, so you can sell items to other players who visit the hub. This is not confirmed, they're still exploring it, but he reiterates that it's a live game and that they're thinking long-term.
  • There are anti-griefing measures in place, they don't want the game to be too chaotic. Aggressive players will get a wanted level, and the penalty for death is only respawning at a nearby location.
  • There are different ways to communicate with other players, including voice chat, an emote wheel, and even a photo mode that came out of a game jam.
  • They want to know when to control the player, but more importantly, when NOT to control the player. They want this to feel like a Fallout game. The other players in the game world a system they do not control, and they will not shy away from it. They embrace it. They said when players collide it might be messy for a bit, but they have levers in place to solve problems. They'd rather do that than play it safe. They want to try this, they can make adjustments later if they want to.
  • 24-32 players at once. It was a challenge deciding on how many players would be in the game, and how frequently they wanted players to bump into each other. They want meeting another player to feel special, so they didn't want it to be too frequent.
  • Players will be visible on the map at all times, in their words, for good or ill. They want you to be able to see other players doing an event or a quest, and then go along to help them, or maybe even to attack them (though again, there are anti-griefing measures in place that they will tune as the game goes on).
  • You can trade with other players that you meet.
  • You can immediately join your friends in their session or invite them to yours.
  • Party size is currently 4, though that is easily adjustable. They're aiming for 4-person co-op gameplay, but they also want to have bigger conflicts like 12v12 deathmatch.
  • They're always adding more content to the game. Right now they're working on the aforementioned team deathmatch mode for players who may complete every quest and want something to do.
  • Nukes nukes nukes. Nukes are endgame content that require you to play through the game's story and complete repeatable quests to find the launch codes. The story there is that the Scorchbeasts (the giant bats) are crawling up out of the ground, and you can seal the fissures with nuclear strikes. They're hard to access and will not be used constantly by tons of players.
  • Nukes are NOT A GRIEFING DEVICE. Their function is to create high-level areas wherever you want on the map, and you are actively incentivized to do this in non-populated areas, because you want to be the first one in there to plunder them. If you stay too long, you die!
  • It is very challenging and time consuming to obtain the code to actually launch a nuke. It requires playing through most (if not all) of the main story, and then completing a repeatable quest until you have every part of the code. Because of the opportunity this presents and the time investment, players aren't going to be dropping nukes left and right on other players: by doing so, you will have effectively wasted your limited-time reward by dropping a high-level, loot rich area on or near somebody else.
  • You can quickly and easily repair damage if you are nuked, or join another session. (Note: this is not from the documentary, this is from other E3 interviews, but I'm putting it here because there's a lot of talk about nukes in the comments.)
  • The Legendary item system returns, and places you nuke are excellent places to farm legendary items. Eventually, the nuked area will return to its pre-nuke state. Depending on where you nuke, you'll find different things inhabiting the area, because areas have different flora and fauna.
  • You can nuke other players. Todd is very excited to see what people do with the nukes, because they just don't know what's going to happen.
  • If your settlement is nuked, you can easily repair the damage. Again, nukes are NOT A GRIEFING DEVICE.
-----Post-Launch-----
  • After Fallout 76 releases, the Rockville studio will remain creative leads, but most of their work is going toward Starfield, along with their Montreal studio. Austin will be in charge of supporting the game for years to come.
  • Microtransactions are a thing. This is acknowledged as an unfortunate reality of supporting both dedicated servers and free post-launch content for everybody. They are purely cosmetic. Anything you can purchase with microtransactions will also be able to be obtained for free by playing the game.
  • All DLC/updates will be free.
  • The plan is for part of the Austin team to be working on regular content updates, and the other part of the team working on larger content drops. So you get frequent, smaller updates (new events, free items were some examples), and then major content updates every so often. That is the plan, and they will have to make adjustments based on what players like and don't like.
  • If they make something they really like and the players don't, they will not double down on it. Instead, they'll embrace the stuff that players do like.
 

Dave

Staff member
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#2
Basically it's a Fallout MMO with microtransactions and nearly impossible to mod. Hard pass on this.
 
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#3
Holy shit, Bethesda has never gotten Fallout and nukes being a God damn powerup is the ultimate expression of that.
 
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#4
Basically it's a Fallout MMO with microtransactions and nearly impossible to mod. Hard pass on this.
Yep, I'm completely indifferent to this game, and will not be buying or playing it. This marks only the second Fallout game I won't own/play, after Brotherhood of Steel.
 
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#5
Not really interested either.
And no matter how often they repeat and stress it - Nukes will be a griefing device, one way or another.
 
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#8
Not really interested either.
And no matter how often they repeat and stress it - Nukes will be a griefing device, one way or another.
Bethesda: Hey, remember how the main message behind Fallout was how cool nukes are?
Everyone: No?
Bethesda: NUKES!
 
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#10
Meh. I don't blame them for building a game in the universe that isn't for me. Not everyone likes the games I like, and vice versa. I mean, they're wrong, but they have money so I get it. I'll just sit this out and wait for Fallout 5. Or play the other 10000 awesome games at my disposal. Whatevs.
 
#11
I.... I actually saw the trailer for this and was kind of excited for it.

.... I've never played a fallout game before though. And I have never followed the franchise. But it looked like a post apocalyptic game that may actually get me back into MMOs.

I'm wrong?
 

Dave

Staff member
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#13
I.... I actually saw the trailer for this and was kind of excited for it.

.... I've never played a fallout game before though. And I have never followed the franchise. But it looked like a post apocalyptic game that may actually get me back into MMOs.

I'm wrong?
I don't like it because every other one has been single player. For the most part, single player is what I like to do. I very seldom play multiplayer games. Hell, even in WoW I run around alone most of the time. But in this game if you try it you'll be at a severe disadvantage from griefing since you are shown on the map at all times.
 
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#14
Fun fact: The Woodburn Circle image is actually a photo from the 1975 Backyard Brawl with the statue and Chitwood Hall edit photoshopped in. Old Mountaineer Field is right behind those buildings. :p
 
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#15
Some information about nukes.
You can't target specific players only areas. Players will be warned and get enough time to take their stuff and leave. The area will then change to a "High Level area" for a certain amount of time with high level enemies that drop rare items. Then it will change back. So it's not really relevant for PVP only for PVE and since it's not really easy to get the launch codes according to Bethesda, you won't see nukes every 5 minutes.
 

Dave

Staff member
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#21
So, Fallout 76's security features are non existent. There are no client-side file checks, the server basically just accepts anything the client tells it, client-to-client communication isn't encrypted or in any way obfuscated, and a lot of packets are sent in plain text. Basically it's a hacker's playground.
Wait. Bethesda messed this up? Shocked! SHOCKED I SAY!
 
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#22
Wait. Bethesda messed this up? Shocked! SHOCKED I SAY!
On the one hand, yeah, duh; but on the other I can't help but think that I'm over here opening a port on my home router to the world to allow my friends to play an Alpha game released by six haphazard indie devs in an apartment in Germany, and Bethesda can't secure a beta, to the point that they're warning people not to play the beta on PC?!
 

figmentPez

Staff member
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#25
50 minute video? Is there a tl;dr video as well?
The TL;DR is "There's a location in Fallout 76 that's called Vault-Tec University, and horrible shit happened there in the past, just like every other location in a Fallout game."

Oxhorn is exhaustive in his lore videos. He covers everything; every note, every computer entry, anything that might be a clue to the lore the game is trying to build about the location. I really enjoy his videos because I don't have the patience to find every little bit in a location when I'm actually playing the game, and I really don't have the patience to discover all the possible branches of dialogue for various choices and/or character builds, but I still like the lore of the games. Watching his New Vegas videos has been really great for me, since it filled in a lot of stuff I'd missed while playing.
 

Dave

Staff member
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#26
I am not a fan of his voice. I didn't last very long without knowing what the point was.
 

figmentPez

Staff member
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#27
I am not a fan of his voice. I didn't last very long without knowing what the point was.
I enjoy his voice, but I can see how it could rub others the wrong way. I will freely admit his videos are very niche, and that their goal is not readily apparent.
 
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#30
Saw some highlights of the Ninja/Rick and Morty/Some other dude stream.

That's some cringy cringe shit.

Ninja and the other dude are not good at banter. Justin Roiland basically had to do all the work and of course, as happens when you're riffing that much, not everything lands but Jesus those other two gave him nothing.
 
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