Fallout 76 is the first online Fallout title, and Bethesda’s Todd Howard has already confirmed that there will be “no human NPCs” in the game. The funny conversations and hard decisions that have, in many ways, defined the previous games will be completely removed in favor of interactions between real people as they try to survive the game’s world.
And players are ready to fix what they’re imagining will be wrong with the game. This isn’t anger; this is earnest energy directed at maintaining what they feel is the tone of Fallout itself.
“What I’m saying is: there’s huge potential for players to create and curate a world with serious depth,” one player wrote on the game’s subreddit. “Squads of players RPing as Brotherhood, enclave, raiders, couriers ... the list goes on ... (and hell, why not create your own gang of people and inject it into the lore?) all inhabiting a shared world where stories and conflicts can rage on for hours and hours.”
We know that private servers and private worlds will be coming to the game post-launch, and the same player is hoping for robust control over those worlds.
“This, obviously, is contingent on Bethesda giving server administrators the tools to lay out the groundwork (and a playercount that can support RP scenarios like this ... 32 players please), but I’m keeping my hopes up that they do,” they wrote.
Some fans are offering their services directly. If the game doesn’t provide NPCs, they’ll become NPCs for other characters if the game or mods support it.
“I’ll probably treat it as a Fallout-style roleplay server,” one fan explained. “Set up a store. Send players on quests. Have friends act as raiders and ambush dudes. Finally be that Fallout merchant I always wanted to be, ever since New Vegas and the Gun Runners.”
Other players are hoping for a sort of “karma” system where you can see at a glance if a character is hostile or friendly. This would help players who just want to hang out and role-play in the game’s world to find each other without worrying about other players opening fire upon first contact.
“Karma radar would be so cool,” a player wrote. “If you grief too much and lose too much Karma you could be detected by players with proper perks. If you and others have good Karma, you can detect each other with a proper perk, making it easier to find cooperative players to quest with.”
They noted that everyone is wearing Pip-Boys according to the lore, so this sort of per-player tracking would make sense in this world.
The community is saying what it wants
We don’t know all the details about how Fallout 76 will work or how players will and won’t be able to interact, but the Fallout community has already spent a generous amount of time sharing ideas for the sort of game it wants to play, even if it doesn’t line up with the game that’s actually being made.
This sort of thing has been seen before with online games; Sea of Thieves fans that have stuck around for the long haul are having fun creating and interacting with others in a game they seem to be crafting in real time. They’re determining the tone of the game just as much as the developers.
Fans are worried about losing the role-playing aspect of the game in exchange for a much more violent world. The solution: they’re stepping up to role-play as characters for their own fun and for the benefit of other players. They want systems so characters can feel safe making contact and talking to each other without things always devolving into gunfire. There is a lot of discussion about dedicated role-playing servers to play a less violent version of the main game.
These are reasonable requests, and they show the kind of game the community wants to play. The idea of an online Fallout may not immediately appeal to everyone who has played the previous game, but a large percentage of the population seems willing to try to shape Fallout 76 into something that at least resembles the classic titles.
The message is clear: Fans are saying that if Bethesda isn’t willing to give them the sort of experience they want, they’re willing to help add by adding it to the game themselves. If the community has to be NPCs, they can at least try to be friendly ones.