The moment Todd Howard announced Fallout 76 as an “entirely online” post-nuclear RPG at E3, you could hear question marks ricocheting around the showfloor like bullets out of a minigun. How many players will share a world? What about mods? How does PvP work? Can I play Fallout 76 on a private server? Am I going to get nuked (again)?
At QuakeCon 2018 on August 11, game director Todd Howard confirmed that private servers are part of the plan. "That is definitely something that we are doing. We are committed to it. It's not just having a private server, it's being able to mod it," he said in a Q&A panel.
Pete Hines later cautioned that private servers would likely not make it to Fallout 76 until November of 2019. His prediction was pretty spot on, it turns out, because private servers are here! Here's everything you need to get one started.
How do private servers for Fallout 76 work?
Instead of traditional server rentals, Bethesda is tying private servers into its new premium membership for Fallout 76, called Fallout 1st (opens in new tab). Bethesda is charging $12.99 per month or $99.99 for a whole year. As long as you're a member, you'll have access to a private server that supports up to eight players. The price is fairly hefty for a server with such few slots, but Bethesda is trying to sweeten the pot with other bonuses. For being a Fallout 1st member, you get monthly allowances of Atoms, a new survival tent, and cosmetic goodies. Check out the full offerings below:
It's an interesting way to potentially simplify the server process, but one interesting question unanswered: what if you want to rent multiple servers?
Will Fallout 76 servers have admin tools?
Nothing concrete yet, but expect some degree of control in adjusting the severity of PvP interaction with the fellow wasteland wanderers you invite into your realm. “We don’t want [PvP] to be griefy but we want to have some drama,” Howard told Keighley in the E3 2018 interview (opens in new tab).
Bethesda’s Pete Hines backed up that sentiment in an E3 interview with Gamereactor.eu, saying, “I understand when you hear 'online' or you hear 'multiplayer' or 'PvP' that people jump to, 'Well, it's an MMO,' or, 'It's a free-for-all where everybody's just shooting each other,' or, 'I'm gonna get griefed constantly by other players.' And the fact is, this just doesn't fit into the mold of anything else, because that's what Bethesda Game Studios does. We aren't the type of company and they're not the type of developer that looks at what somebody else is doing and says, 'Oh, we're just gonna do that.'"
You can use mods in Fallout 76 private servers, right?
Right, but not on day one. It's probably safe to assume that with Bethesda handling the selling and hosting of servers that mods will run through the Creation Club (opens in new tab) and not from any outside sites, even for us PC players.
We’ll be happy as long as we can replace the launchable nuke with a Thomas the Tank Engine skin, but our guess is NPC packs and PvP-disabling toggles will be the most popular downloads.
Will Fallout 76 private servers still be online-only?
Correct, just like the rest of Fallout 76. Pete Hines clarified on Twitter (opens in new tab) following Bethesda's October 17th announcement that Fallout 76 has never been designed to be played offline. Private servers won't be meant for players to attempt to play Fallout 76 as a singleplayer game, rather to let groups of friends or streamers have a private place to play, mod, and roleplay.