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Fallout 76 fans are ignoring review bombs, laying out the welcome mat

Welcome (back) to Appalachia

Fallout 76 - party in Vault 76 Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Fallout 76 has arrived on Steam, and with it, the game brought out its newest expansion. Wastelanders brings factions of NPCs to Appalachia, making it less of a Day Z-alike and more of an open world mainline Fallout RPG. However, the game is still embroiled in the controversy from launch, and that reflects in Fallout 76’s reviews on Steam.

As Rock Paper Shotgun notes, the game has gone from “Mostly Negative” to “Mixed” since it has launched. Players are taking the opportunity to re-litigate some of the issues from Bethesda’s original product.

But if you jump into the game itself, there isn’t a hint of that discontent. In my time in game since launch, I’ve noticed a healthy mix of both veterans and newbies. Many of the die-hard fans are choosing to smooth out the ride for their new comrades; I’ve seen some remarkable exchanges so far. Some players are setting up their CAMPs in a highly visible place outside the Vault or near The Wayward, a new in-game bar and quest hub, and spamming positive emotes at fresh Vault Dwellers who jog by.

The most common thing I’ve seen happen to new players so far is a surprise supply drop. In Fallout 76, anyone can leave a paper bag full of their items for other people to pick up. I found one player leaving a line of those little paper bags, each one stuffed with stimpacks, weapons, and purified water, outside the Vault. When I approached the player, spamming the hello emote, she turned and fled into the woods, leaving her gifts behind for new players to hoover up. In Flatwoods, other players are doing more one-on-one time. I eavesdropped on one power-armored titan of a character helping out his brand new buddy, who was wearing tighty-whities and trying to figure out how to craft his first weapons.

This makes a lot of sense — I’ve always found Fallout 76 to have one of the best communities in gaming, which is a stark difference from the dialogue that surrounds the game in the zeitgeist. One user on the Fallout 76 subreddit notes that the review bomb seems to have been concentrated around the game’s launch, when a genuine review would still be premature. LxndrSonGoku writes, “Y’all could have at least booted up Wastelanders before trying to review-bomb, it would have made it seem almost believable. Leave us in peace.”

Wastelanders is a big reward to the core fans who stuck around through thick and thin. Many of those fans have felt attacked, but it looks like the launch of the new expansion has inspired them to kill ‘em with kindness. It’s great seeing the spirit of giving on display in Appalachia, even if these Good Samaritans sometimes take off at a dead sprint into the nearby woods.

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