In Fallout 76, what I'll miss most is cheating my damn ass off

The Fallout 76 beta arrives on PC next week, with the full release on November 14. It's almost here: the first online-only Fallout game. Which means it's finally time for me to sit down and have a difficult conversation I've been dreading. A conversation with the command console for Bethesda RPGs, the console I have happily and lovingly entered many, many Fallout cheats into over the years. There won't be a cheat console (a legit one, at least) in Fallout 76. So it's time to say goodbye.

Goodbye, tgm. Thanks for all the invulnerability. So long, tcl, you helped me make my way to the exit of many confusingly designed buildings and dungeons. Farewell, killall: your brutal and instant massacres of my enemies saved me a lot of hassles. 

And player.additem? I think I'll miss you most of all.

I'm a cheater. Not at online games, and probably not at even most singleplayer games. But at Bethesda's singleplayer RPGs? Oblivion. Skyrim. Fallouts 3 and 4. I cheat. I cheat kind of a lot.

Not at first, of course. I'm interested, like anyone else, in an enjoyable and challenging experience, not in taking shortcuts by making myself an unkillable god or filling my pockets with unearned gold. But Bethesda RPGs are long—not necessarily the main quests, but in terms of what you do when you've done the main quests—and I've got hundreds of hours in all of those games named above. I reach a point where some of the tasks and routines of the game have grown less enjoyable and I sometimes don't want to bother with them anymore. So, I cheat.

Part of what makes a game fun even after you've made your way through dozens or hundreds of hours is playing it exactly how you want to, eliminating the stuff you don't like and focusing on what you do like. So when I play Fallout 4 these days, maybe I'll come back to my settlement after a mission and decide to craft something, and discover I'm missing one of the ingredients. Or maybe I'll tap the hotkey to jam a stimpack in my chest and discover I'm out. Maybe a bloodbug starts buzzing in my face when I'm only in the game because I want to take a quick screenshot of something and I just can't be bothered with actual combat. I tap the tilde key and start typing.

Without cheats, I never would have been able to play Santa Claus to Skyrim's NPCs.

Without cheats, I never would have been able to play Santa Claus to Skyrim's NPCs.

It's mostly convenience cheating (and sometimes, as above, creative cheating). There's something I want to do, but to do what I want to do I'll have to first do something I've done countless times, like craft something or fight something or even just walk somewhere. And I just don't want to do that again. So, I'll cheat. It'll type tmm 1 in the console, which adds every location to my map so I can fast-travel to somewhere I've never been instead of fast-traveling to a location near that location and walking. It's laziness, but I've played 200 hours! I'm entitled to a few shortcuts at this point.

Maybe I'll be on the ropes in a fight, down to my last shred of health, unsure of when I last saved the game, and not willing to die and restart to beat the monster that is also down to its least shred of health. Tap tilde, type tgm, press enter, tap tilde again. There, I can't die! Even if I did die, what am I going to do? Not come back and kill the monster on my next try? This creature, no matter how powerful, has no hope of defeating me permanently, so what's the difference? The simple act of saving a game and reloading, really, is a cheat in and of itself. Pausing time to take meds or switch weapons is a cheat. Hell, VATS is a massive cheat. It's just a cheat that's called a feature.

So when Fallout 76 comes I'm going to miss a lot of things I could do in the singleplayer Fallout games. I'll miss slowing time with VATS and fast-forwarding time with T. I'll miss chatty human NPCs and being able to choose a line of dialogue for myself. I'll miss being able to use my Pip-Boy without getting ghoul-slapped by an irradiated freak because time doesn't pause, and I'll miss quicksaving before a big fight or no-clipping when I don't feel like trying trying to scale a cliff on foot.

But most of all, more than anything else, I'll miss my console cheats. Goodbye old friends. When I'm 100 hours into Fallout 76 and some little repetitive task has become too bothersome to perform, I'll tap the tilde key in my heart and think of you.