Why Fallout 76 isn’t an MMO

Bethesda has already learned a lot about turning a massive single-player saga into an online game with Elder Scrolls Online, but Fallout 76 is a very different beast. Instead of adapting the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout into an MMO, the studio has made a survival game that just happens to be home to other IRL humans. Whether you work with them, ignore them, or hunt them down like the flabby sacks of loot that they are, is totally up to you. 

Instead of the low-level creature killing that is the time sync of so many MMOs, Fallout 76 is armed to to the teeth with strange and fascinating quests that you can complete solo, or with your squad of up to four players. Spend some time training with robots at the local military base, or find out what's going on with the local water supply. Follow in the footsteps of an Appalachian overseer to get your hands on her stashes around the world, or hunt down the famous dusty myth, Mothman. 

Be the Bear Grylls of radiation poisoning

Of course, to be ready for all those adventures you'll need to master the softcore survival at the heart of the Fallout 76 experience. While the wilds of West Virginia teems with wildlife and is carved up by rivers and lakes, the animals all have teeth and the water you find out in the world is probably a lot more radioactivity flavored than is recommended by your doctor. To eat and drink you'll need to be smart, figuring out what's safe to consume, purifying water at camp or - and here's a top tip for those of you who like to stay mutation free - carrying plenty of Rad-X and RadAway to deal with any radiation you can't help but encounter. Of course, some mutations come with their own advantages, like Egg Head that ups your intelligence or Scaly Skin that makes you more damage resistant, but they're a risky way to get an edge. 

Mutants and murders

Once you've got surviving on a basic needs level covered, then you can start to worry about other people. Trolling isn't just for Twitter, people love to behave badly in online games—especially when it comes to PVP—but Fallout 76 makes it part of the game. If someone attacks you, and you don't fight back, and get killed, they're branded a murderer. Suddenly they can't see any other players on the map, but everyone can see them as a red marker, and there's suddenly a bounty on their head. Even their own squadmates can collect, so deciding to do any murderous trolling makes for a stressful day in the Wasteland. Even better, murderers have to pay the caps for the bounty out of their own pocket. Crime never pays, unless someone else has committed it. 

So Fallout 76 might be a massive online world, with handfuls of people, but it's going to a very different experience from anything you've played before. So stock up on the Rad-X, think twice and any murder plans, and get ready for the game's launch on November 14.