The big Fallout 76 Wastelanders update that will bring NPCs, companions, a new story quest, dialog options, and more to the post-nuclear online adventure—that will make it more like an actual Fallout game, in other words—has been delayed. It was initially expected to be out this fall, but Bethesda announced today that it's been pushed into early 2020.
"We’re excited about how Wastelanders is coming together but it’s going to need more time to be the best, most polished update it can be, so we are delaying its release to Q1 next year," it said. "We’ve continued to re-evaluate and change our processes to make sure the work we’re doing hits our quality bar, and yours. We apologize for this delay but know it will be worth the extra time."
The happier news is that private servers, which have been on the menu since October 2018, will go live next week. As Bethesda has said previously, it will handle all private server hosting, so you won't be able to set something up at home, and it sounds like there will be a cost involved: "Our goal for players who purchase this service is to offer something for everyone, not just those who want a private server," Bethesda said. A studio rep declined to confirm that, however, saying only that specifics will be revealed "in the coming days."
Changes are also coming to the Atomic Shop, the in-game store where players can purchase cosmetic and, since April, gameplay-related items. Atoms, the in-game currency, is earned through gameplay and can also be purchased with real money. The addition of Repair Kits to the store was initially a point of contention—as Fraser noted at the time, locking an essential, DIY survival tool behind a storefront wasn't a great look—but Bethesda said that they've since become one of the most popular categories in the shop.
"We want to create an Atomic Shop experience where players feel good about spending their hard-earned Atoms. To make the system more fun and engaging for all players, we plan on reworking parts of the Challenge and reward system next year to be clearer, more fun, and more impactful for all types of players," it said, again without getting into details.
"Of course, players can also buy Atoms, and we’re careful with everything we add to not upset the game’s balance. Our main objective is to avoid a situation where players can spend money to gain a competitive advantage or make the game worse for other players. Even more so, we want systems that allow players who do choose to buy Atoms to make the game better for others, not just themselves."
Most of the big action will be coming next year, then, but there are a few updates planned for the balance of 2019: Bethesda said it's still working on new events, the Legendary Player system, a public test server, and perk loadouts, plus "previously announced fixes to the existing game and quality-of-life improvements many of you have requested."