It is no secret that a lot of people are pretty pissed off about Fallout 76, in fact, people were angry at the very concept of the game long before the bad launch. The game would have benefited from being pushed back a few months as they ironed out some issues, especially those involving server stability. Yet Bethesda games are notoriously buggy – people shouldn't have been shocked at this development, and I am in no doubt that the Fallout 76 we have been playing will look and feel very different in a year, or two years from now.
It feels like Fallout 76 suffers from a bit of an identity crisis, they wanted to please everyone and this ended up pleasing nobody. This game cannot be played like a traditional Fallout, at present, it doesn't include the moral dilemmas and shady karma experiences which helped craft the experience. If Fallout wants to become a masterpiece it needs to resolve this identity crisis and choose what kind of game it wants to be. For me, the surest way that Fallout 76 will become a huge success, is if it embraces the sandbox elements.
We need to be given the greatest number of tools available to craft our own stories, to turn the world we are in into a living breathing experience, and we need to be provided with as many creative tools to achieve that. At present we cannot permanently affect the world we are in, everything is fleeting which kind of makes a lot of things pointless, how can we craft a longer narrative, or inter-player stories when we are never going to see the same people again, or even visit the same world? Imagine being able to affect the world long-term, imagine being able to create long-lasting rivalries and relationships, Fallout 76 needs to provide the players with the tools to create our own stories.
Here are some suggestions which could aid in enhancing the sandbox within Fallout 76
1. More permanent worlds – We need to be able to make our stamp on the worlds we are in, either a world select or have specific servers for specific things (roleplay, pvp, etc). Alongside this the world is too large for the number of available players, the number needs to be doubled at the very least.
2. Player factions – Allow us to create our own factions (raiders, gangs, protectors, vault dwellers, etc) team up long-term with other survivors and craft our own motives. This will open up so much avenue and provide a limitless source for narrative creation. You could have factions marked as enemies/war with one another (this would automatically ensure full damage if they come across one another), this could also work for a bounty hunter faction. If this turns out to be too much work, just expand the present faction system and provide some avenue of creativity.
3. Player created settlements – This could expand upon the workshop system, allow for the claiming of territory (by factions and individuals) – which would survive a log out from any single individual. The same with workshops, allow for factions to take them and hold them. This means we can actually fight over resources and land – allow NPC settlers to eventually join these (and give greater options in management than in Fallout 4, tax, send them scavenging, etc).
4. A city hub – Have an instanced city hub which spans servers. It will allow us to team up, spread our factions and trade with one another. Allow limited instanced housing there, and could even make this a player created and run area.
5. Player economy – Fallout 76 has a huge potential for a player economy. Provide player run traders, either in an instanced city hub, roaming the wasteland or at our camp. These traders would only sell items that we ourselves have put up for sale and we get to set the price of the items. You could even incorporate caravans which roam the world which would have the possibility of being raided/wiped out/stolen from.
6. Overhaul PVP – Don't shy away from PVP. Instead, provide a space for people that just want to PVE. This would mean more severe punishments for dying, create an extra layer of tension and suspense while exploring and ultimately provide more roleplaying opportunities
(pretty impossible to RP a raider gang at the moment).
7. Quality of Life improvements – Alongside this there needs to be some basic quality of life improvements. Start by streamlining trading, provide a give option, mark read notes/holotapes/plans, general UI improvements and better management of PIP, etc.
That is just a small list of observations and improvements I would like to see to the game in the future. It will likely grow the longer I play the game, as I haven't reached the end game yet. Ultimately I have enjoyed playing Fallout 76 and I see a huge potential there. It has a wonderful gorgeous world, that could become so much more. I look forward to playing it for many more months and if some of these sandbox elements are expanded then probably years.
How are you finding 76? What improvements would you like to see? Let me know!