My Fallout 76 B.E.T.A. adventure

So I decided to preorder fallout 76, I'm trying not to preorder at all these days it's of limited benefit in this fully digital distribution world and it really only benefits the publisher. The only times I do now are when you get something worth having for preordering with fallout 76 you got access to the beta. Now the beta doesn't actually run very long it's currently 4 sessions the first one xbox one exclusive and then one that was yesterday and then two this weekend. Then the game goes live on the 15th of november.

So yesterday was the first time I could get a go on the pc version, now the timing on these sessions is skewed towards east coast times so it finished at 8pm west coast time so after I'd finished at work and gotten food it was 7:30pm before I even got home that day. I'd preloaded so the client was ready to go and I just fired it up.

It had to do some presetup checking direct x unpacking the preload etc but then I logged in set it to run it found a server I watched the intro stuff then started making my character and then set it to run, got an error message.

It was now 7:55 and they had shutdown the servers.

So I got to play the character creator (which is like fallout 4's with some additional tweaks) then the beta session was over :S

Oh well maybe I can play it this weekend

My experience could have been worse tho there was a rather amusing bug which I didn't hit they had the run button in the bethesda launcher app display a countdown to the beta if you preloaded but they'd set their timezones wrong so it was 2 hours ahead and if you clicked the launch button after that timer expired it got an error message but then deleted the 50g's of preloaded data and you would have to redownload the client again before playing

Comments

I saw that another bug this time in the game client itself has been discovered rather stupidly the player movement speed is linked to the frame rate so run the game with a higher refresh rate you move faster or look down at the ground frame rate leaps up as less to render you move really quick

this is a common fault in fallout 3 and 4 where it's not really a problem but in a multiplayer game it's kind of an issue as just a quick ini file change and you can move faster shoot faster and so on

Evilmatt's picture

A beta that really is a beta? Wow. I thought the word had been ruined forever.

I'm keen for F76, because, well, us buggering about in a wasteland sounds like a laugh.

brainwipe's picture

The only redeeming feature ... us.

Bigger Rob's picture

you're thinking of alpha or early access beta still means the same thing :P

Looks like they put the end of the session tonight back a bit so I might get a go today

Evilmatt's picture

Got in an hour of so tonight played some of the tutorial parts got out into the world and leveled up once. Didn't encounter many enemies saw a few players but generally it felt quite empty and abandoned. Picked up everything not nailed down for crafting to the point of getting encumbrance then converted it all to scrap and dumped it in a storage chest in the camp system although it was the tutorial camp not my personal one.

Looks ok like an enhanced fallout 4 lots of Autumn shades has this depth of field effect that sometimes makes the background look a little fuzzy.

Not sure about the multiplayer yet it hasn't really been a factor yet. I did try an event but the server shutdown before it finished.

Will have to see if I can try it some more this weekend

Evilmatt's picture

had a go this afternoon the game loop at least solo thus far has been very fallout4 you load up with anything you can possibly get turn it into scrap and then dump it in your crafting stations to maintain and upgrade your gear. Like fallout 4 certain resources seem scarce initially most notably adhesive I was critically short of the stuff so couldn't repair or upgrade things, like f4 you can make it yourself but you need to grow a bunch of different plant types to brew it. There were also perks in fallout 4 that increased your salvage items and resource looted not sure if that option exists in fallout 76

Some of the initial missions are a bit frustrating at the moment as they require you to get certain things in the game world and everyone is doing the same quests so if you need to say kill a brahmin for meat I found every single one in the area had already been killed. I did other things and eventually found one but it took a while.

Built a small camp its basically a similar system to fallout 4 with some of the gaps patched and the ability to pack up your camp and move it.

Also found my first suit of power armor or at least the frame and two parts the parts were too high level so I had to remove them before I could use it not sure if the frame without armor gives benefits but I stashed it away for future use.

It was fairly fun taking missions doing a bit of exploring killing things collecting loot cashing it it building new bits of my camp then moving on and doing it again. It'll be interesting to see how it plays with others.

One thing that did happen was I looted a chest which turned out to be owned by someone else, this gave me a wanted rating and pvp ensued I got ganked by 6 other players. I didn't lose much some scrap I think and I was able to re spawn right where I died so it wasn't much of an inconvenience but I feel like it should have warned me before I got that rating

Evilmatt's picture

had a go with Big bob today as they game me a bunch of friend codes (somewhat late in the beta process to be doing that as this was the last beta session but still) first off we had a great deal of trouble just friending each other. The social menu in fallout 76 pops up with a search box that says "click here to add friends" but since the game uses controller by default if one is connected you have no mouse pointer and none of the buttons on the game pad allow you to select that box

in the end I found you could disable the controller in the game submenu (not in controls for some reason) and then it would switch back to mouse and keyboard and you could then click and type in the friend name and add them. It also uses really odd keymappings going back through the menus is not escape it's tab. So friended we set off again I rolled a new character so we weren't too far outside the same levels.

Immediately bob was having problems with frame rate the game couldn't seem to handle 4k on his machine which is weird since this is basically fallout 4 with multiplayer hacked into it. It also seemed not to support borderless window so there were a few reboots to get the thing into an acceptable state. With that sorted out we met up in the same instance and began bashing and shooting robots together. Then we discovered another issue that on bob's machine it wasn't rendering the water for some reason. with some more fiddling and another restart he got it to render the water as a white texture which seemed to be some sort of lighting glitch as inside it worked ok.

We then wandered on the starter quest collecting water meat and cooking stuff killing a few robots and such. We witnessed a host of weird glitches this supply drone turned up dropped a crate sideways on the ground got stuck inside the building glitched all over the place then shot off into the sky, The supply drop smoke had weird shadow textures from a nearby tree.

We did some missions explored the wasteland participated in an event and setup a camp site.

It was a fun time but the game is glitchy and the multiplayer bits especially so for something with a release date that is a week and a half off it feels woefully under prepared interface nonsense weird visual glitches it gets confused with group quests sometimes where both of us had the same quest sometimes it would make you do the quest twice. Some parts looks like tehy work well the charisma stat now does things like buff the party so I had a card that if equipped boosted xp for everyone in the party and there are things like skills can be amplified by the charisma stat if you are in a group.

I think it can be a fun game to play wander the wastelands build up a base and loot weapons etc but it's a little buggy at the moment which for something based on a game released three years ago almost to the day seems very wrong

Evilmatt's picture

One other factor that occured to me about the interface which is basically the same as fallout's 3-NV-4 pipboy with it's multiple pages and multiple tabs in pages and then lists of stuff in monochrome green. Clunky as hell and slow to navigate which is fine in single player as the action pauses everytime you enter the inventory but in multiplayer you can't do that. It has a couple of tweaks to make it more multiplayer friendly a quick action favourite wheel which you can put various things on for relatively quick selection in combat a map that you can actually read and some quick actions for using a stimpack and swapping between the last two selected weapons. But if you say run out of stimpacks and your health is plummeting and you want to use some of the other items like food to restore your health and you haven't favorited one of them it gets very clunky and slow to select things which is death when some enemy is attacking you.

It's another part where they've not really thought through the implications of the game being multiplayer they tweaked their existing systems rather than rework things and that's the game all over. It's fallout 4 bodged to be a multiplayer game with all the story stuff and npc ripped out. There's fun to be had for sure but it feels like they could have done a proper job of it and it would have been much better.

Evilmatt's picture

I think the very limited access to the server didn't help, along with the MMO nature, mixed with what seemed to be an awful tutorial experience; I felt under pressure to just keep pushing forward with the quest chains, rather than freely exploring (and enjoying) the world ... which is my favourite past time in Fallout games.

There were a fair few engine problems (I really liked the bugged mob who re-spawned instantly and just ignored you, unless you walked in front of it, at which point an invisible attacking force would chase you down wearing you down until you collapse); BUT it did seem like the important player interactions were working very well, I never saw a player character bugging out or doing anything unbelievable. It was a shame everything else that that game depends on was a buggy mess.

Bigger Rob's picture

It feels like there is the sort of expansive detailed world full of things to find and explore I spent a while wandering about the vault tech university which I stumbled across full of simulated vaults and lots of notes on the terminals with typical vault tech evil shenanigans some of which added new misc quests to my quest log. That sort of single player wandering about looking at some building in the distance and deciding to go see what it is does work as well as it does in the previous fallout games. I'm not sure how well that would work with a group.

They announced another two beta sessions (as well as a bunch of fixes) one today and one thursday: Tuesday 6 November, 10AM PT/ 1PM ET/ 6PM GMT – 12PM PT/ 3PM ET/ 8PM GMT, and Thursday 8 November, 11AM PT/ 2PM ET/ 7PM GMT – 5PM PT/ 8PM ET/ 1AM GMT.

both seem to end long before I'm likely to get home after work so I doubt I'll be playing them they look more gmt friendly than the previous ones tho

I have one more friend beta code if anyone else wants a go BQD7-CF6K-Y9XY-32EP-A3FG

edit: I realize that by the time I posed this the tuesday session had already finished so just thursday left

Evilmatt's picture

I saw they put in a fix for the physics loop being determined by framerate they locked the fps to 63

Evilmatt's picture

They also said they plan to adjust the camp stash box weight limit which is currently 400 which sounds like a lot but I hit it in only a few hours of playing the beta from scrapping everything in sight then dragging it back to camp also some of the bigger items like power armor weigh a lot. They previously said there would be no limit on stashing stuff but I guess someone changed their minds since it's only accessable in a camp or a red rocket not sure why it has any limit at all.

Evilmatt's picture

And you can't uninstall the beta without buying the full game ... nice.

Bigger Rob's picture

I've seen a couple of Let's Plays of this, and it looks a little...dull? There was a lot of "let's go look at this", but then everything was very un-interactive when they got there (for example, getting to a water park, then not being able to go in the water slides). There wasn't a real idea of any goal or aim.

I'm probably not the target market, but seemed less.of a game, and more of an exporable environment...

babychaos's picture

The exploration aspect of seeing a building or some such on the horizon and going to see what it is has always been a big part of the fallout games but previously it was balanced by the story the various factions you could join and do quests for the characters you would meet and interact with the settlement building you could do but since all of that has been stripped out it does feel very empty as a game.

Fallout 76 has a main quest a goal of securing the nukes and to do that you follow the vault overseer who leaves audio logs at various points but theres none of the usual interaction that would come with those sorts of quests in a single player game. In fallout 4 you are always running across raiders or random wanderers since they've decided there are no humans in the game who aren't real people you only ever find bodies never live people. It's always weird like you are always showing up after some massive gun fight that killed everyone just moments before you got there.

I think they've painted themselves into a corner by not allowing people in their game and having no npc stories even if having a voiced npc is similar to just having a tape of that play it makes the world feel more real if there are people in it.

Evilmatt's picture

Yeah, that makes sense, it does look like an RPG without quest-givers. Not sure how player interaction will replace that....again, all the interaction I've seen so far has been limited to being in the same place while a mob needed to be killed. I've seen one accidental PvP (basically one guy mis-clicked and shot another player, and they turned round and wiped them), but nothing else like trading or talking.

As I said, I'm not really the target market (way too much downtime in between action phases), but it does seem to be some strange design decisions... One play-thru was a person who wanted to see what single-player was like, and his take was that it felt compromised (he was the one who accidentally triggered PvP), and the other was 3 playing in a team...they just wandered from place to place without really finding anything to do other than slowly chip health off high-level murlocks (sp?). They ended up trying to get mutations by drinking toxic water (unsuccessfully)

babychaos's picture

Yeah my interactions with other people have been mostly ignoring all of them except one time I somehow got a bounty on me then I was killed by this group. I played a bit with Big bob although we were mostly working through the tutorial quest line which details the light survival aspects of the game and didn't do much in the way of exploring. We did participate in an event which are these mini missions open to all players in the area that pop up usually with some "kill this" or "collect that" type objectives.

So far I'm not sure how much multiplayer content there actually is there. When people were asking for multiplayer fallout they really just wanted coop and instead bethesda did this and it's strange. You can wander about as groups taking down harder stuff looting and pillaging and it seems like if you are in a group the camp system allows anyone in the group to build in a group members camp so I can see some fun to be had constructing elaborate death fortresses. Some of the ways the card perk system works plays well to groups they made the charisma stat and cards (which in the single player game are usually about speech checks and the like) into a mechanism where you can buff other players skills or gain additional skills from other players depending on the card perk you select and the charisma level you have.

They billed the nukes as a team sort of multiplayer only high end content but I've not even gotten close to that to see what it's like.

Evilmatt's picture

Well, fuck and balls. I was hoping this might become a Sunday night regular but without any environment to fight, it might become a bit boring. One of the fun things to do in GTAO was fucking with the NPCs and narrow escapes.

I might checkout out some Let's Plays before I splash out.

brainwipe's picture

Look on the bright side...it's probably more of a game than Sea of Thieves.

I tend to watch a lot of the Eurogamer video team, in terms of ability they are similar to me (ie not a pro-gamer with huge amounts of play time). This is their take on it

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018-11-14-fallout-76-is-a-multiplaye...

babychaos's picture

Thanks mate. Gave it a read, doesn't sound too promising but tallies with other reports.

I wonder if our "style" of play would suit it. EMW, Big R what do you think?

brainwipe's picture

It's difficult to say I've only played a few short sessions and only one with someone else

I think we could have fun with it but I'm not sure for how long the session we played together we sort of got bogged down in the tutorial quest and had a load of issues with bugs so it was a bit disjointed

I can see maybe if we set some sort of goal we can build towards getting all tooled up in power armor and taking down some of the larger enemies might be entertaining.

In my last beta session I did find things getting a bit more challenging as I started to get tougher enemies and find better weapons. I got this laser gun with rapid fire that was deadly but chewed through all my meager energy ammo in seconds. I also found two suits of power armor I couldn't yet wear.

I'm certainly up for giving it a go but then I've already bought it so no need to weigh the pros and cons of a purchase

Evilmatt's picture

I really want to play it and enjoy it, and I am sure there is some fun to be had, but I don't think it is ready.
Given the choice I would leave it for now; however, if everyone else had a copy that would give me enough reason to get it.

Bigger Rob's picture

I really want to play it and enjoy it, and I am sure there is some fun to be had, but I don't think it is ready.

I get you. In the feels, bruh.

brainwipe's picture

CDkeys is already selling the EU version for just under £30, claiming 47% off.

Bigger Rob's picture

They desperately need to increase the storage space too it's so small once you have a few bits of stuff you want to keep you max it out very quickly. Even if you turn everything into scrap that 400 pounds space gets full fast. Although I found you can craft bulk versions of any excess crafting materials that then sell quite well to vendors.

Of course that might also be down to the 4 power armor frames I've accumulated and then the various bits of power armor I can't yet equip the place is full of suits of power armor just lying around ... no fusion cores but loads of power armor :S

Evilmatt's picture

One of the things I saw on a video is that you have to restart base building every time you log in. Wtf.

brainwipe's picture

That's not been my experience.

I think it depends if you want to move it or not and even then it's more an aspect of the terrain you setup on and the way you structure the camp.
Normally it's just there where you last left it when you log in again if you move it or the area is in use (never happened to me and given the size of the map and number of players it seems pretty unlikely) then there might be some rebuilding.

When you move the camp connected pieces reallocate as one unit usually so if you place a lot of disconnected stuff it is like building it all over again, it seems to rely on the foundation units to work out what is connected. if you link everything together on connected foundation units then it's usually one piece when you come to move it. With the simple camp I built the main area with my crafting stations, storage,bed and massive number of turrets is a single piece made of I think 6 bases but the plants I put down on the ground are all separate so when I move the main area is one piece then the plants are separate so I plonk down the main area and then lay out my plants again. Some of that is down to plants being required to be in soil and since you've moved they may or may not be in valid positions.

One time I did have the camp come apart when I ran the game after the beta and moved for the first time such that each individual foundation unit was separate piece (this included all the stations and such ontop of the foundation in that chunk so even then it was about 4 units to redeploy and then a few plants) but it wasn't hard to slot it all back how I wanted it and that only happened the first time after the beta usually the whole thing is one block and then plants are seperate. So I think that was just a patch issue from post beta.

So when you setup a camp and build stuff then log off next time you log in the if the same spot isn't taken it redeploys it as is and I've had that in the games I've played (even the post beta session it was still active when I logged in it was only when I tried to move it that it came to bits).

However if you want to move the camp or the location is filled then the camp and all the things you build go into storage and then when you pick a new spot and deploy the camp you can usually slap it down from the camp inventory without rebuilding it.

Now as I said some bits if they are not tethered to a base become separate so things like plants or fences not connected to your main foundations (the sort of floor units you need to build to put down the other stuff) become a separate instance you need to put down again when you move this might be fixable if you could make them part of the base structure with planters or some such not sure don't have that plan option.

I have occasionally had issues getting the camp to place as it won't overlap other objects so depending on the terrain and amount of trees or rocks it can sometimes be tricky to find a location if the camp is too big.

There is also the option to blueprint your camp as is and then recreate it from parts not had to do that myself.

Evilmatt's picture

My camp is pretty basic mostly turrets

Evilmatt's picture

Ah, I might have that wrong. Kinda like your camp there, mate!

brainwipe's picture