Content of the article: "76 is annoying close to being a really good game"
Now, I'm not saying that 76 is a pretty good game that needs a little more polish, because it's got some real flaws, what I'm saying is that there's an alternate universe very close to ours with a really good 76.
If they had taken the story and the setting and the factions they made, and just used them it could've been really good. The Responders/Firebreathers, Free Staters, and Brotherhood of Steel had a really good conflict dynamic going on. They had a lot of mutual distrust and friction, but they all had the common goal of fighting the Scorched to save Appalachia and the world. It could've been a great story trying to unify all of those factions while also trying to fight the scorched and the plague at the same time, maybe dealing with some raiders and the Enclave, or even having to work together with the Enclave because of their tech, and also getting to fight crime with the Mistress of Mystery and her Mysterettes. It's a story and a world and a conflict that I'm interested in, and they set it all up and then made you read about it on everyone's emails. It would be super easy to inject the player into the world too, all you have to do is make the vault open after 5 years instead of 20. Maybe you were a scout or something.
Plus, the world design was great. They had all of those visually distinctive regions/Biomes, with way more wildlife and cool creatures than any of the other games. The Cryptids were awesome, and I loved seeing little mutated beavers and frogs hanging around. Plus the Mole Miners are really cool. Also, Dragon Bats that use echolocation blasts are cool, even if the AI was pretty wonky.
It had a lot of cool weapons too, even though it had the worst weapon balance of any Fallout game, and sledgehammers and some of the heavy guns were basically the only good options, there were a lot of cool designs. They brought back some of the cool stuff from NV like the grenade machinegun and the chainsaw (which you can now set on fire), and added some cool stuff of their own like the gatling plasma, gatling gun, .50 Cal machine gun, and The Dragon with it's comically long reload time. These would be super cool weapons if they were balanced for single player instead of not-really-balanced-at-all for multiplayer.
What's annoying is that it doesn't even feel like they made it multiplayer to cut corners since getting it to work required a crudload of patches and a lot of engine changes, and if they had just taken an extra year and filled the world with survivors and told the story they were already telling it would've been much better and not required them to basically re-make the game.
It's quite possible that they just wanted to do the games-as-service microtransactions cash cow thing, but, Fallout 4 made them somethings like 500-600 million dollars, and Skyrim made them over a billion dollars, so it seems like they should have noticed that people will pay good money for their single player games, and since fallout 76 sold about 2.5 million copies it can't possibly have been a good investment. Is this just a dumb corporate thing? Is it Zenimax pressuring them? Was it just an experiment? It feels like they're smarter than this.
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