This weekend at PAX East Bethesda showed off about 17 minutes of Fallout 76 Wastelanders (opens in new tab), the free expansion adding NPCs to their multiplayer RPG. Members of the team were on hand to talk along with the footage, noting that NPCs are being incorporated into the main story quests. Along with the fact that Charisma is suddenly an important stat for impressing those NPCs it seems like the release of Wastelanders will be a good excuse to start over with a new character.
In conversations with NPCs like Mort, a ghoul voiced by Jason Mewes (aka Jay of Jay and Silent Bob), you can see there are sometimes more than four dialogue options to choose from. Along with the silent protagonist and the way the camera zooms in during conversations it feels a lot more like Fallout 3 or New Vegas than Fallout 4, which is an interesting choice.
The team note that existing robotic NPCs have been rewritten and made interactive so you can chat with them as well, rather than just have those quest givers monologue at you as they previously did. There's a new reputation system at play, and a choice to make between settlers and raiders, although apparently we'll be able to explore some of the questline for each before choosing a side.
Among the other additions seen are new weapons like a bow and a plasma caster, a lighting pass that makes everything look a bit less flat and makes reflections show up a little better, and instanced locations for major NPC so that you (and any team mates) aren't bothered by randoms while the plot's happening.
The expansion comes out on April 7, which is the same date as Fallout 76's Steam release. Here's everything we know about Fallout 76 Wastelanders so far (opens in new tab).