Country Road to Disaster
To call the multiple incidents revolving around Fallout 76 following its release anything but a disaster would be pretty generous. Even the idea of a multiplayer focused Fallout game, the likes of which hasn’t happened since 2004 with the series original publisher Interplay. This certainly wasn’t helped by a bevy of issues, making 76 nearly dead on arrival.
Of course, these aren’t simply problems of graphical failures or bad gameplay. No, the glitches appearing in 76 have been notable even by the standards of Bethesda. In fact, it’s almost as if said glitches have leaked out of the game and infected the publisher as well, as several things outside of the actual game, and Bethesda’s handling of the situation, have been just as poor or even worse.
Fallout 76 had to do with canvas bags. The military style canvas duffel bags, named “West Tek” bags, were offered as part of the $200 “Power Armor” edition of the game. Problem is that instead of canvas, customers received cheap nylon.
People were understandably frustrated at this and proceeded to go to twitter and Bethesda customer support in order to find out what the deal was. The response from said customer support was less than helpful.
In addition to a now fairly infamous customer support response Bethesda would later attribute to a “temporary contract employee”, the publisher tried to placate those who purchased the edition with 500 Atom, the games previous currency. Ironically enough, this wasn’t even enough to purchase an outfit in the game with an actual canvas bag.
Bethesda would later start sending actual canvas bags after getting hassled enough, but by then the damage had already been done, and the way was paved for several other issues.
… And a bottle of rum
The canvas bags weren’t the only thing to go wrong in regards to physical items sold alongside the game. Some players, hopefully, all of legal age, may know what I’m talking about. I present to you Nuka Cola Dark Rum.
At $80, what people were promised were a special bottle and drink inspired by the in-game universe brand, Nuka Cola. But much like the aforementioned bags, the Nuka Cola Dark winded up coming in cheap plastic covering the actual glass bottle. In addition, the bottles themselves are pretty poorly made, making it difficult to actually pour yourself a glass.
As with the bags, people were quick to get on Bethesda about this, but once again they diverted the issue, this time to the manufacturer of the bottle Silver Bottling Co. Many were also quick to point out people could purchase fan made Nuka Cola shaped bottles for a third of the price. And just to add insult to injury, the rum tasted pretty bad as well.
New Year’s is can be a pretty stressful time of year, and no one learned that more than Bethesda when, as the clock turned to 2019, the weekly nuclear codes failed to updates. The codes allow players to access nuclear silos and if they can get past high-level enemies, launch the bombs on parts of the game map.
Unfortunately for 76 players, while the rest of the world was shooting off fireworks, they were unable to launch their own big, irradiated firecrackers. The issue was fixed, but by then it was already too late to do anything special. Here’s looking at the 4th of July.
The mysterious case of the dev room
Around the beginning of the year, reports started coming in of players managing to break into the games developer room and had been doing so for several weeks. The room is a space for devs to test items, and is usually available in single player games through console commands, though are usually locked up tight in online games like this. Of course, that hasn’t stopped some more adventurous players.
Said room contained all the items in the game, including items meant to be purchased with premium currencies and items meant to be released with future updates. In addition, players found the games only NPC, affectionately named Wooby. Some players even began selling these items on eBay, making a pretty penny at Bethesda’s expense.
Naturally, Bethesda attempted to ban players who entered the room, but this proved less than effective against those with the foresight to go in and grab the items with a dummy character before passing it along to their main account. The big question is, how many ways can people get in?
Bethesda may very well not know the answer either, as they decided to allow people who were caught to get themselves unbanned by writing to them exactly how they got in there in the first place. Essentially, this could very well mean that some players were straight up just clipping into the room on accident, resulting in a ban.
Fallout 76 has fortunately managed to find itself out of the news cycle in recent weeks, seemingly giving way to newer releases, (looking at you Anthem). That being said, it managed to become one of the most controversial games released last year, helped in no small part to what many consider its lackluster quality.
That being said, this is a game we should never forget about. Not just as an example of a bad game, but of how poorly Bethesda handled the issues that came their way. Whenever the next big Bethesda title drops, just keep one bug number in the back of your head. 76.