In brief: Bethesda has not talked too much about what is going to keep Fallout 76 players in the game for the long term. However, at its recent preview event, Design Director Emil Pagliarulo discussed a little of what Fallout 76's endgame would involve.
Fallout 76 is less than two weeks away from launch, but we already know a lot about it. One thing we don’t know is what the endgame is going to entail. Every MMORPG has a hook that keeps players interested and playing long after they max out their character.
Bethesda has previously indicated that the endgame somehow involves nukes, but the question remains: how does nuking each other increase the longevity of the game? The studio revealed a little more about it at a preview event in West Virginia last week.
Most MMORPGs add high-level content to keep long-time players satisfied. Typically this will involve things like dungeons and raids with super-powerful bosses that need to be taken down by multiple players. The rewards are usually rare weapons, armor, and items.
Venture Beat attended the preview event and learned a little more about Bethesda's hook for high-level players, and it’s not like other MMORPGs. There are no raids — there are no dungeons. There are caves you can explore and there are beasts to battle in them, but you can still solo them if you want.
So what’s the deal? What is going to keep people playing?
The endgame boils down to what Fallout 76 Design Director Emil Pagliarulo calls “the nuke loop.” As we already knew, players can gather launch codes to set off warheads. Once an area has been nuked, a couple of things happen.
“As you get to higher levels and you can get the nuke codes and actually set one off, what that does is it changes the region that you nuke into a high-level zone,” said Pagliarulo. “The creatures are glowing. The flora are different. That’s where you can get some of the highest level recipes and ingredients to craft the best weapons in the game. We see that as a repeatable content loop. That’s the major endgame content.”
Unlike Fallout games from the past, most of your gear will be crafted rather than found. Although Fallout 4 had a fair amount of crafting, it was primarily modding of existing equipment. It will be different for 76. Remember, these are the first vault dwellers to emerge after the war. Everything is destroyed, and they (you) have to rebuild from scratch.
Recipes are the primary means of obtaining weapons, armor, and other items, and there are about 700,000 different craftable items. You can expect the blueprints within the nuked zones to be more powerful, but also more dangerous to retrieve.
Will this be enough to keep people playing long term? We’ll have to wait and see, but Bethesda has indicated that it is not relying solely on endgame play for longevity. It plans to release content down the road.
“[The development team has] talked about future expansion type things,” said Pagliarulo without going into detail.
Fallout 76 hits PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on November 14.