We all know by now about the Fallout 76 debacle, with Bethesda leading the helm. Bethesda has been a favored company among gamers for years, giving us Elder Scrolls and Fallout. Despite various bugs with previous titles, the developers have kept the hype. With every new iteration of The Elder Scrolls series comes millions of eager fans. Even as people continue to fix Bethesda’s bugs on their own, the developers still get praise. Well, that could change going forward. What happened? We’re here to lay out all the facts, covering the B.E.T.A to present. There are so many things that had gone down just these few months alone. Let’s take a look!
Bethesda’s B.E.T.A for Fallout 76
The B.E.T.A for Fallout 76 started October 23rd for Xbox One players, and October 30th for those on PC and PlayStation 4. Fallout 76‘s release date was for November 14th. That’s roughly only 2 and 3 weeks respectively before release, and there is no way that could have been enough time to iron out most of the bugs. It was considered to be a “stress test,” and Bethesda wanted players to “break the game.” This wouldn’t be so bad if there had already been previous beta tests for the game; however, there wasn’t.
With this beta test for Fallout 76, people were complaining about glitches. For many, the game was unplayable completely. For some, they still enjoyed it. Already was there talk of little in the way of quests, story, and the feel of the world overall. Textures didn’t look their greatest, random glitches in lighting and enemies, and player glitches. Not to mention there was an exploit that tied movement to frame rate. There were some outspoken players who had expressed that the fix only created new bugs.
In one instance, a bug actually deleted all 50 GB of beta files for any PC user who had downloaded early on Bethesda‘s own client. After fixes, there were reports of users not being able to uninstall the beta. Not long after, the Creation Engine was confirmed for future game development, even though it’s thought to be the cause. That engine is another discussion in itself. It’s not terrible, but it’s very dated.
Fallout 76‘s Sales and Outcome
Grand Theft Auto V has sold better this year than Fallout 76 did. We have to be honest. It’s obvious that Fallout 76 did not live up to the expectation of most players. Out of the big four to come out the end of this year, it wound up fourth in sales during November. Unfortunately, we were unable to find any hard numbers, and this only includes physical copies sold.
For those who had received the Power Armor Edition, a helmet and duffel bag were included. While the helmet itself was pretty cool, having a small light on top and allowing you to change your voice, the bag was not. We will get to the bag in a moment.
Once Fallout 76 had launched, reviews started really pouring in. Most critic reviews were mediocre to bad, while user reviews were generally terrible. At least one outlet couldn’t even finish their review due to their experiences with Fallout 76. What really made players mad were many retailers offering the game from 33-50% off during Black Friday. Bethesda‘s website even offered the game at a reduced 33% off. Considering how underwhelming the game has been since launch, it’s not all that surprising to see during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Although, just over a week after launch is not good PR. Despite all this, there is still more to sift through. There was a possible lawsuit due to deceptive practices with refunds, but was unfounded as far as we can gather.
The Duffel Bag Debacle
There is a checklist for this sort of thing, because everything that can possibly go wrong has gone wrong. As mentioned previously with Fallout 76 Power Armor Edition, the helmet met many consumer’s expectations; meanwhile, the bag had not. Clearly being advertised that there would be a canvas duffel bag included, those who received their $200 package were less than thrilled. Inside was a nylon bag instead, with a response from customer support stating that it was “due to unavailability of materials.” It wasn’t so much the item, but the surprise of it. No e-mails or notifications of any kind, allowing the buyers to discover for themselves.
In apologetic form, Bethesda allowed players to redeem 500 Atoms with proof of purchase to those effected. That’s $5 digitally to supplement a physical item worth more. An in-game canvas duffel bag costs more by comparison, set at 700 Atoms. As if the duffel bag isn’t enough to get consumers heated, a Fallout 76 Preview Event had given higher quality backpacks to influencers. That in itself is not bad, but the fact that Bethesda sent out far worse quality items to their buyers who expected more is. During these events, it’s certainly not unheard of to get free stuff, including figurines and bags.
Has the smoke finally cleared for Bethesda? Well…
While Bethesda did indeed apologize for their lack of communication and offered to send replacement bags, they hit another snag. One would think, after all this as mentioned above, Bethesda would finally be free from controversy. You would be wrong. It is a good thing that Bethesda is finally making due on their promise, with many consumers having to prod and poke; however, there was a leak of epic proportions. Not even kidding. Those who had submitted a ticket involving replacement bags had all their information leaked. This includes addresses, names, numbers, payment information, and receipts. It took hours to finally close the breach, but personal customer information was out there for a good period of time. The initial response was lackluster, although Bethesda has since issued an official apology.
There were more bugs and glitches, fixes which result in further bugs and glitches, and unwarranted game re-balances. With that, there was a minor resolution fix by members of the community, again. One of Fallout 76‘s patches hit the game with a significant nerf to experience. Still, after all this, there are what many consider to be loot boxes in the form of lunch boxes. Those who’ve played Fallout Shelter know how to obtain lunch boxes. Bethesda claim they are cosmetic-only, but we will have to see. For Fallout 76, Christmas is not safe either with the release of expensive cosmetics at a discount.
A Humble Opinion
Honestly, at this point, it’s for the best if they pull a Square Enix and just outright re-release the game. In the next year or two, redesign the game from scratch, add the human NPC element, and patch out all the bugs before launch date. This was how Final Fantasy XIV grew from one of the worst to simply one of the best MMOs around. Just pointing out some solid advice.
And yet, with everything going against Bethesda with Fallout 76, they are still one of my favorite developers.
Be certain to also check out: Weekly Video Game Sales (12/15/2018)