Yesterday it turns out that I was not crazy, and that Fallout 76 was in fact active and fully launched for most of the day. When I popped in to get a screenshot for the blog post, I noticed that it was allowing me to hit play… and sure enough I got in with a half dozen people roaming around the map. The funny thing about this is I remember doing something similar during the launch of Elder Scrolls Online and getting into that game several hours early. I guess it pays to be patched up and ready to go when Bethesda launches a new game. The funny thing is though, since I knew the game was available it caused me to approach launch day with a lot more chill than I normally have. This is also helped out by the fact that I had a character with progress that carried over from the beta, and I didn’t exactly feel a rush to get to a point of sustainability quickly. Now that said I am always seeming to need a source of food and a source of water and weirdly enough a source of wood… to keep boiling said water.
For most of the beta I spent my time around the Flatwoods area, which is one of the first towns you encounter… if you actually follow the quest directions. However it is an area rich in resources and quests so in theory it is a pretty good idea to go there first. We did a jaunt to the far south at one point and captured the Poseidon power plant as a Trio, but I never managed to make it to Morgantown which was where the next major quest objective was directing me towards. So I set forth on a journey that would take me up Interstate 59 to Route 64 and on into the basic vicinity of Morgantown. I largely followed the highway system in part because I figured if I were doing this for real… I would wind up doing that as a way of keeping track of where I was going. Sure I could have set a waypoint off in the distance and made my way across the open terrain, but I was curious what attractions I might be able to find from the highway.
Roughly halfway down Interstate 59 I encountered a Slocum’s Joe which for the uninitiated is the Fallout Universe version of a coffee/donut shop. On the road beside it however was something magical… I am guessing this player spent every last minute of the beta hoarding resources to build this really awesome base, giving him one hell of a start for when the game launched proper. What was creepy however is that the mutated hounds were flopping stuck in the side of his fortifications. They were one of the random encounters I ran into along the road so I am guessing they attacked the base… and then got gunned down but the two turrets up above. My previous camp location had the problem of constantly being attacked by feral ghouls, and in one case they managed to damage the turrets and make their way into the base… and I logged in just as they were taking out my generator. So as such I started thinking more defensible fortifications… and this guy here seems to have a great design… minus the fact that the steps are wide open. Maybe the NPCs can’t walk up steps so good?
When I got to Morgantown I found this bridge with an eyebot moving back and forth across it playing its patriotic theme… and behind it was leading a trail of rat pups pied piper style. I watched the bridge for quite a bit and nothing else seemed to be pathing across it due to the fact that this neutral/peaceful event was programmed to take place there. This gave me a bit of an idea…
As such I opted to move my camp and reconstruct it underneath the bridge… thinking that this map feature might make for a slightly more defensible outpost. This was well and good until I realized that the ground was just uneven enough to make erecting a barrier of fences nigh impossible. I’ve built as much as I realistically can at this moment because I have run out of resources. However the area surrounding my camp is full of logs, so my hope is they will have re-spawned each time I visit the camp and can keep harvesting a decent amount of lumber that way. Additionally I am on the outskirts of Morgantown, which should serve as fertile scavenging grounds for parts to make more stuff. The camp being nearby will let me shuffle loads of things over to it and dump them in the machinery there to free up my inventory. I need to learn to pair down my weapons and carry only the things that I know I will be immediately using. The truth is I have largely settled on my serrated machette and my trusty 10 mm pistol… but in both cases I need to build the level 10 version of each I think. Unfortunately my building spree has run me out of other resources as well.
The biggest takeaway from last night is that this is in fact a Fallout game. My wife got home super late and as a result I largely played things other than fallout until around 7:30. By 8 pm however I was deeply engaged in the game and did not really look up or pay attention to the time until a little before 11 pm when I hurriedly scrambled off to bed. Another friend managed to play until 4 am without realizing it. When you are focused on this objecting or that while exploring this deceptively large and densely populated map… all other things in the world sort of fade away. I still have not really encountered any players in a negative fashion, and while they are out there… once I left the Fallout 76 proper area and Flatwoods especially… I stopped encountering them. That is not to say that there are not players out there… the above screenshot I took to show off where my camp is located and you can see a number of dots sprinkled around the map representing other players. That seems like a large number for the roughly 6 am when I took it. More than that however I learned a few key pieces of information about why the world is the way it is… and what happened to most of the people that were remaining. That however is a tale that I am going to save for another time, given that it factors on some serious spoilers.