Will 'Wastelanders' Be Enough to Save 'Fallout 76'?

The new update looks to revitalize a game that was mostly dead on arrival.
Fallout 76 Wastelanders Key Art, a stark black landscape with the silhouettes of people with various Fallout style guns and armor facing off against each other, comic like highlights in yellow giving them form. The text "Wastelanders" floats in the purple
Image courtesy of Bethesda

For as long as there have been online games, there have been disastrous online game launches. In recent years, we've seen a new trend of multiplayer online games that have brought themselves back from the brink. Games like Final Fantasy XIV, Destiny, and The Division launched with issues both mechanical and structural, but through updates and revamps, were eventually able to find an audience of dedicated players. With each new "failed" launch, you wonder whether the developers have the support and ability to mold the game into something that will come to have a dedicated community. Fallout 76 is one such game, and this week on Waypoint Radio, we discuss whether the new "Wastelanders" update sets this game on track for a comeback, or if it's too little too late. You can read an excerpt and listen to the full episode below.


Austin: And so, it's tough because I feel the edges of the ways in which they've injected parts of the old Fallout games into this thing without necessarily building the scaffolding around those things to make them like harmonious if that makes sense. Also I don't really love I still don't think the combat feels good in this because the enemies like move around really weird and I suspect that's because it's an online game and I think that stuff is probably not client side this is right this stuff is server side. They just slide all over the place. I don't know I'm gonna keep playing it because I'm curious because someone we know said that it was the best of the Bethesda Fallout games, so.

Rob: But we trust that person less as the days go by.

Austin: I would not race with Matthew Gault.


Austin: No, I don't know right like maybe there's a turn coming, maybe there's something happening here where I feel like, well I'll get pulled in deeper and deeper.

Rob: Well I think there's a profound—I think it sounds like Fallout 76 is saying something profound about just like owning a space and projecting a presence. And some people have it, and Austin it sounds like you do. It sounds like you can just walk into those bandit camps–

Austin: You're right. Well you know what, I will say, I have put some points into charisma, lately. I don't know if you can tell but I do have a three charisma in the S.P.E.C.I.A.L system, which is not very good, but it's very good for early on in the game. And maybe that's what it was, maybe [those bandits] were just like, "yeah you belong here buddy. Take what you need!"


Rob: You're just you're like, you're just that guy it's like "Hey, I just happen to be in the neighborhood fellas."

Austin: "Got any sugar? Come right in!" Yeah, so we'll see, we'll see a lot of people seem to be having a really good time with this including some some friends of mine so I'm gonna keep playing it and we'll see how it goes. I was hoping that this would be a Final Fantasy XIV situation of like "they did it, they fucking knocked it out the park, they found it, they found the game" you know? Thus far, I don't feel like that. Um, but, but we'll see–

Rob: Hmm.

Austin: What's up?

Rob: I think that is collapsing a lot of your Final Fantasy XIV experience as well right?

Austin: Oh totally, I don't even mean for me, but other people love Final Fantasy XIV. Let me be clear, a lot of people think that the Realm Reborn stuff is good. I do not, still today, but the arc of Final Fantasy XIV is kind of what I mean. I don't see evidence of that having happened [with Fallout 76] right? Even the people who are telling me "Oh, it'd be cool if you played this with us" aren't saying it's like the best thing in the world they're like, "Eh I'd be fun to hang out in Fallout-ville." Yeah sure okay I'll check it out. And that's a different thing than the sort of uproarious "they did it! they fixed Final Fantasy XIV" that came after they rebirthed the realm a number of years ago.

This transcript was edited for length and clarity.

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