Before we begin, I’d just like to point out I have only played Fallout 4. I don’t know if there are similar modes in other Fallout games. While I do have some knowledge of certain aspects of Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas, my knowledge is not sound enough to reflect on them. With that, let us begin!

Bethesda and Fallout fans from across the globe eagerly await the arrival of Fallout 76. November 14, 2018 is the day we’ll be able to explore West Virginia to our heart’s content. And as someone who recently got into the Fallout series, I am one of these eager people, going so far as to pre-order the t-51 Power Armour Edition of the game. But that isn’t what I’m here to talk about today. I’m here to lament over the ‘softcore’ survival of Fallout 76.

If you’ve played Fallout 4’s Survival Mode you know how hard it can really be. You have to feed yourself, keep hydrated, and actually sleep. Stimpaks dehydrate you and you heal so slowly it’s hardly worth it. And forget about saving wherever you want to. You have to sleep for that. You take more damage and ammo has weight, so you can’t hoard about 100 mini nukes like I do. It’s truly survival of the fittest in the Commonwealth Wasteland. And most of the time, softer players – like myself and plenty of others I know – don’t really want to do this.

Yes, I am aware that Fallout 76’s softcore survival mode will be a little different. It will have aspects derived from Fallout 3 and New Vegas, particularly the deterioration of weapons. That’s fine. But the problem is that so far, from what I’ve heard, 76’s promised softcore will be more like the hardcore survival of 4.

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Great Idea, But…

If I’m being honest, I love the idea of survival being a part of 76. But I am disheartened to know that it is the ONLY option, from what we’ve been shown. And I think having a survival mode is only going to chase off players, rather than bring them in. After all, if you’re just a casual gamer like myself, you don’t want to have to remember to eat, or sleep, or drink water. I want to play the game just for the story, not for the realism.

Instead, there should be the survival mode that has been spoken about so often and a more casual mode for people who don’t want to play that way. People like myself and many others would prefer just to explore the world, collect junk and ammunition to protect ourselves from the things that go bump in the night, and generally have a good time. So far Fallout 76 is being catered to hardcore gamers.

When you think softcore survival, you think sleeping to save & eating and drinking. But thus far this hasn’t been shown to be softcore. This is hardcore. You have to treat infections, and if they decide to include stimpak dehydration like they did in Fallout 4, then I’m absolutely out. And it’s almost seeming like you need to play with friends to survive in the game. But what if you don’t have that opportunity? How in the world are you going to fight the irradiated beasts of the West Virginian wasteland all on your own if they’re catered to multiplayer? You’re not going to be able to. And thus, you’re locked out of the game. (Not literally, but where’s the fun in playing if you’re never going to be able to get anywhere?)

Might Be Different Come Release

All that I’ve said could be moot come the game’s release. It might be that the Fallout 76 survival is scaled down compared to the Fallout 4 survival mode. The ammo might weigh that little bit less, and the difficulty of the wasteland’s monsters might scale down depending on how many players are in the server. And perhaps, infections could be downgraded. I’ve stated before that these are in the game, and it’s a sore point for me. But maybe, just maybe, Fallout 76 will not need one specific cure for one specific infection. If there’s just the panacea for all infections, or maybe only a few different infection control measures, then that’ll help the ‘softcore’ aspect.

Also, food going bad. I’d much appreciate it if the food you store didn’t go bad, because if I have to remember to eat at least I’d like to know that the food I keep in a box didn’t mould over and become inedible when I actually need it. And on the same topic… if I have to eat, then something needs to be done about carry weight. S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats need to reflect the carry weight, and perhaps maybe how you build your character does too. If you have a muscled, buff character, you’d think that you’d automatically have a higher carry weight than a lithe, small character. But that’s a whole other kettle of fish.

Fallout 76: Break-It Not Early Enough

Fallout 76

The other thing I’d like to talk a bit about is the Break-it Early Test Application, a.k.a Fallout 76’s beta. Everyone expected the B.E.T.A to be released maybe one or two months after its announcement at E3. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. We’re getting it a month before the actual game’s release.

The reason I’m salty at this: a beta should serve to aid a developer in finding and patching bugs and glitches before the release. Technically this is still true. But Bethesda games are… notoriously buggy. That’s sometimes not a bad thing. You can get some whopping good laughs out of their bugs. But that’s not the point. If I have to worry about surviving a damn sentry bot coming after me at lightspeed AND whether or not I’m going to glitch through the floor and find the abyss, I’m not going to be happy. The B.E.T.A should have been released much, much earlier, if not to fix bugs then maybe to see what works with their ‘softcore’ survival and what frustrates players so much they leave.

To Conclude

It almost doesn’t seem that Bethesda knows what ‘softcore’ survival is. But it could differ from the survival modes of previous games. As long as certain aspects from previous survival modes/hardcore modes are downgraded or omitted entirely, perhaps Fallout 76 will remain softcore as constantly stated. I still believe a more casual mode should be implemented, mainly because I want to emulate Liberty Prime, but if not, I can live with that.

Whatever the outcome, I’ll still be picking it up. You can look forward to an unboxing video of the t-51 Power Armour edition also from me come November 14.

Are you looking forward to Fallout 76? What’s something that makes you worried about the game, and what’s something you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below and stay with us at Culture of Gaming for more editorials like this!

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