Even as they try to make improvements, Bethesda has once again upset a large portion of the Fallout 76 community. This time it’s the game’s usually positive Reddit community (who have steadfastly stood behind the game) that’s outraged. And this time it’s over “stealth nerfs” in the latest patch.
A new update for Fallout 76 was released on Tuesday. While it was relatively small and didn’t address a lot of the game’s most pressing concerns (many of which have been around for a while now), the update did bring a few useful improvements. Most notably, an upgrade to Stash Box storage space.
This recent patch was Bethesda’s chance to prove that they really meant it when they said they were committed to righting the ship and were well aware of the anger over a “lack of communication” about fixes, updates, and news. Unfortunately, the rollout of yesterday’s patch didn’t go completely as planned.
As many on Fallout 76’s official subreddit pointed out, the most recent update brought many unwanted and/or puzzling changes along with the positive ones. And what’s more, these unwanted changes were not included in the patch notes.
Relying on Redditors u/Myrmecomorphous and u/comeinmymeowth’s aggregate data, we find out that patch 188.8.131.52 secretly contained a number of “stealth nerfs” Among others, these hidden changes included nerfs to:
- Armor stat boosts (unless you remember to strip naked before you log off and then re-equip all of your armor)
- Workstation production rates; including fusion cores, ammo, and resources (this was added to the patch notes after outcry)
- Melee damage
- Fusion core duration
- Stealth (the actual ability) damage
The recent disappointment surrounding this patch, and Bethesda’s apparent lack of transparency in their patch notes, seems to be the straw that has broken a once optimistic subreddit’s back.
Currently, the titles of the top posts in the official Fallout 76 subreddit read: “you are breaking the goodwill of your player base faster than you are fixing it,” and “[the] community no longer trusts a word that comes out of community manager’s mouth.” These posts have been gilded (and platinum-ized) multiple times over– a surprising sight in an environment that is generally defensive of any criticism of the game.
It is important to keep in mind that the Fallout 76 Reddit community represents a very small portion of Fallout 76’s player base, and some (if not most) players won’t care at all about these stealth nerfs. In fact, the third most popular post in the subreddit currently is titled an “alternate perspective to all the anger over the patch”, and offers the counterpoint that many “casual” gamers don’t care about all this “stealth nerf” hullabaloo.
However, even within the comments supporting this alternative opinion, lies what may be the crux of all the contention swirling around Bethesda right now: there has been a repeated lack of transparency and communication whatever the issue might be.
What Bethesda calls a “BETA” is really just “paid early access” to many. What Bethesda calls “continued support” turns out to just be “fixes that should’ve been there from day one” to some. And what Bethesda calls a “canvas” bag is really “nylon”– this one is objectively true.
Apart from the outrage, and the placing of blame, some of the comments among the sea change of opinion in the subreddit do offer some constructive points. Many Redditors, like u/zakificus, point to other games such as Overwatch as shining examples of clear and transparent patch rollout. Many commenters are also asking for the simple acknowledgment and explanation of every major change to the game.
While it’s true that Overwatch is played competitively and thus must be held to much higher standards when millions of dollars and careers are on the line, Bethesda apparently could learn a lesson or two about proper continued support of games these days.