Oh Fallout 76. The 2018 game that precariously built-up my expectations only to blow them into smithereens with a Fat Man. Its PvP system was a bit bust, the latter missions of its story forced players into working together, and the complete lack of human NPCs left the land of Appalachia feeling particularly empty.
We get it, there’s been an apocalypse and Vault 76 was the first to open and its inhabitants spill out onto the mildly radioactive land. Civilization had yet to be established. In fact, we — the vault dwellers of Vault 76 — ARE civilization, tasked with rebuilding life as we knew it before the bombs dropped.
It’s a novel ideal, but one that, in execution, never really satiated the Fallout cravings that fans had quite as much as they’d hoped. That’s why the arrival of Fallout 76’s upcoming Wastelanders expansion is so darn exciting for a lapsed Appalachian explorer like myself.
In its first official trailer, the voiceover aptly talks about how “it’s been a long journey,” and that “Appalachia has changed.” The same can be said for poor ol’ Fallout 76. Anyway, the trailer almost immediately focuses on the arrival of human NPCs traversing the world, going about their daily lives, and settlements being established.
Wastelanders introduces an entirely new main questline for players to embark on. New faces have been seen making their way into Appalachia from the mountains, and it appears two factions are about to go head-to-head in a battle for control over the territory.
What makes this face-off particularly interesting is how dark and creepy one of these factions look. We’re assuming they’re all part of the same group, but the peeps with the creepy skull masks? Yeah, this looks like it’s gonna get interesting.
The introduction of human NPCs will not only make this new questline feel distinctly different from the sub-part main questline in the core Fallout 76 experience, but it’ll help to make the world feel far more lived in.
It’s something that the base game severely suffers from, reducing your interactions with the world down to, for the most part, shooting anything that moves.
These new faces up in the mountains open the door for quests with more branching paths and dialogue options, and it’s a safe bet that the Wastelanders questline will culminate in you have to side with one of the two factions.
Bethesda hasn’t just stopped there, though. Wastelanders will also introduce new locations, enemies, weapons and a reputation system.
While the development team hasn’t shared details on these new locations, enemies or weapons just yet, I can’t help but hope we’re going to get more enemies like Mothman or the Flatwoods Monster, and locations that encourage you to find their hidden goodies tucked away off the beaten path.
These moments were the high points in the sea of mediocrity that was the original release, and helped to give an otherwise bland MMO that typical ‘Fallout’ feel.
Judging by the weirdly giant-legged creature about to get a face-full of arrow in the trailer, it appears Bethesda agrees, too.
Wastelanders will be coming to Fallout 76 for free when it releases on April 7, which makes checking it out a very low risk proposition. Even if you fell off the main storyline before you reached its conclusion, the addition of human NPCs, new areas to explore, and new bizarre weapons to blast aforementioned new enemies to pieces.
With such major new features and content coming in Fallout 76’s Wastelanders update, I can’t help but feel this could be the fresh start the game needs to turn its woeful fortunes around. I’m thinking FFXIV and A Realm Reborn levels… but then I was also the guy unreasonably optimistic about Fallout 76, and look where that got me!
Fallout 76’s Wastelanders update will be available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC (including Steam!) for free on April 7.