Fallout 76 is packed with enemies: scorched, ghouls, robots, moth men and more. Once you conquer the wasteland and settle down for the endgame, though, things get a little less exhilarating. Right now, most of the endgame comes down to acquiring nukes, dropping them, and then either battling the scorchbeast queen or farming lots of flux from the Whitesprings Resort.
One player decided, in a noble pursuit, that he would become the endgame content that he felt Fallout 76 lacked on his own. Meet SatelliteJedi, a user who took to the Fallout 76 subreddit after acquiring a bounty of 1000+ caps. “I am your raid boss, I am your content,” he declared.
It’s an amazing story of how players are making the wasteland of Appalachia feel alive ... while struggling against the systems Bethesda has put in place. SatelliteJedi has completed a couple of raids, but many of his successes have been in spite of Fallout 76. His efforts are a sterling example of the best of Fallout 76: the community of fans who breathe life into the struggling game world.
The art of becoming a raid boss
SatelliteJedi describes himself as a massive fan of the Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises — “anything Bethesda or Obsidian has done,” he told Polygon. He and his friends played every single beta session from start to finish, but after 110 and beyond, he said he found the content was lacking.
“How many times can you farm the Scorchbeast Queen before you get dull? How many times can you nuke Whitesprings before it becomes a grind?” he asked.
It’s a fair question. SatelliteJedi had a ton of caps, and he found that the PvP system in the game actually holds up. After three or four days of a massive bounty, he realized that the game was more fun when he realized he never knew when the next enemy was around the corner, waiting to collect. That led to a realization, and an opportunity. SatelliteJedi, who plays with a full team of friends, speculated that it would be more fun if more people were aware of that bounty, and they could prepare and hunt him down.
In short, he would become a MMORPG raid boss, controlled by a player. As for backstory, that’s easy enough in the Fallout universe.
“I am the president of a corporate entity turned foul, after the collapse of the market (and society),” he wrote on Reddit. “I enlisted the aid of my top Directors and rebranded our organization as a Raider outfit. We sold weapons and ammo to government and terrorist organizations alike before the war, but business just isn’t what it used to be. Now we use our aforementioned munitions to take everything that you own (and we also punch babies).”
The challenge was simple: SatelliteJedi sat behind two locked doors and a number of traps. He has three bodyguards. With that set up, all that was left to do was throw down the gauntlet.
Breach and clear
SatelliteJedi has trouble reporting on the actual events; he was largely locked in a room as a priority target for hours at a time, listening in on bodyguard communication. In one day, during eight hours of constant attacks, the boss room was breached twice. The first day, in the munitions factory, SatelliteJedi and his bodyguards went with the admittedly anemic backstory of corporate executives turned raiders.
On day two, the team dressed up in cultist robes. Being out of power armor provides less in game bonuses, but the atmosphere of hiding in the bottom of a mine decked out in spooky robes was worth the trade off. SatelliteJedi has ideas for the future: Raiders, cultists, enclaves. “We realized the goal isn’t to win,” he says. “We don’t need to max our gear, because it doesn’t matter if we win or not. It’s more important that the heroes win, eventually, just like any good story.”
The problem with the story is that there are a multitude of issues that still stand between good, clean multiplayer fun and players. SatelliteJedi admitted that he missed many invites from interested players, because they simply didn’t show in the social tab until the next day. There are countless ways that a player in bad faith could cheese the system. They could log out, denying attackers the bounty. They could trade the bounty among his bodyguards. SatelliteJedi’s entire system had to be a work around of the current PVP system, creating a story in spite of existing systems, and not because of them.
Bad faith brawls
The ability for bad faith exploitation can currently happen on both sides. SatelliteJedi notes that the current PVP opt-in system allows players to try to bypass his bodyguards and go straight to the boss fight. In theory, the bodyguards can attack them, but until the hostile player attacks back, it’s ineffectual. Making every member of the team Wanted is a temporary solution, but as soon as a bodyguard dies, they are once again unable to opt-in to two-sided PvP.
Certain weapons are also currently so busted as to ruin two-sided PvP. SatelliteJedi had to ask players not to use explosive legendary weapons, such as gauss rifles, 50 cals, and shotguns with the explosive legendary modifier one-shot other players, even with over 750 resistance to energy weapon damage. Add in the prevalent item duping, and its not difficult for a player to get their hands on a weapon that make the concept of a back and forth, pre-determined PVP fight essentially obsolete.
In the end, many players who are engaging with Fallout 76 want to live in a wasteland where they can engage in PvP, but it’s an underdeveloped system. Players can — and often do — log out in the middle of a bout, ending it immediately. The Hunter/Hunted station is meant to provide a queue for PvP-oriented players, but for most, it doesn’t trigger, due to a lack of players queuing up across servers.
SatelliteJedi and his endgame content is awesome, and shows the potential of the game that Fallout 76 could be. Bethesda has announced that there will be weekly events and bi-weekly patches in 2019; it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to keep the game going. If this tale of endgame content is any indication, Bethesda’s best bet may be to give the players the tools they need for fun and to get out of their way.