In Review

Fallout 76: West Virginia declares Reclamation Day a real event

One of the year’s biggest titles is now on sale. Here’s what you need to know

The governor of West Virginia has declared that the fictional Reclamation Day from Fallout 76 will be officially recognised by the state. 

Reclamation Day is the name of the first mission in the post-apocalyptic game, which is set in the US state, and sees players venture outside an underground vault to “explore” and “settle” in the bomb-stricken world, according to gaming blog Geek Girl Authority

To mark the launch of the eagerly awaited game yesterday, West Virginia’s governor, Jim Justice, announced that 14 November will now be known as Reclamation Day. 

Bethesda Game Studios, the company behind Fallout 76, posted an image on its Twitter page of the proclamation certificate, which says the day will be used to “encourage all citizens to visit West Virginia” and “explore the diverse set of featured sights and destinations” from the game. 

However, as PC Gamer notes, the proclamation is “one of those marketing stunts” that unfortunately won’t give the citizens of West Virginia a day off.

While Fallout 76 is now available on consoles and PC, critics are holding off from giving their final verdicts so that they can assess the game’s multiplayer features. 

As Fallout 76’s core gameplay centres around online interaction with other players, Forbes says reviewers were unable to trial the game until after it released. Therefore, most critics are unlikely to share their final opinions before early next week. 

Until then, here’s everything you need to know about one of this year’s biggest game releases: 

When does Fallout 76 come out?

The new title is now available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. 

There are three versions of the game on offer, including the standard version and the Tricentennial Edition, with the latter coming with “a variety of in-game bonus items” such as exclusive outfits and weapons, says GameSpot.

The final option is the Power Edition, featuring a life-size helmet from Fallout’s heavy-duty power armour, as well as a glow-in-the-dark map and a steel case for the game disc. 

Standard editions can be ordered on Amazon for £49.99 on the PS4 and Xbox One, while the Tricentennial Edition costs £79.99.

Fans willing to shell out for the Power Edition can order it from Game for £174.99.

However, the new title will not be launching on popular gaming platform Steam, which hosts most of the industry’s biggest releases, PC Gamer reports.

Instead, Bethesda told the website, PC players can download the new title and its pre-release beta version from its online store, Bethesda.net

PC users can also buy a boxed version of the game - rather than a digital download code sent via email - from Amazon for £49.99.

What is Fallout 76?

Unlike recent entries into the franchise, which take the form of single-player RPGs, Fallout 76 is an always-online multiplayer game set prior to the events of all the previous titles.

The game takes place 25 years after a global nuclear war that has all but destroyed the US. Players adopt the role of a survivor as they emerge from an underground vault and make their way into the wasteland for the first time since the bombs dropped. 

According to The Verge, Bethesda has improved its lighting and rendering technology for Fallout 76, so the game packs in significantly more detail that its predecessors. The game’s world is also four times larger than that in 2015’s Fallout 4

The new title will feature survival elements, with players able to build settlements together and to take on missions as a group, says Digital Trends

However, not all players will be friendly. The post-apocalyptic West Virginia features a number of nuclear missile sites that players can annex in order to launch an attack on other gamers, the tech site says. 

Gamers looking for a more traditional Fallout experience can still play solo, says Kotaku, but “playing together and teaming up is definitely encouraged”.

How do microtransactions work?

Bethesda Studios outlined how in-game purchases will work back in October.

Speaking to Xbox programming chief Larry Hryb, Bethesda vice president Pete Hines said players would be able to purchase items in the game using “Atoms”, a virtual currency that can be earned through playing Fallout 76 or bought with real money. 

“Quite honestly, we throw them at you all the time”, he said. “You get them as little rewards for leaving the vault, or the first time you kill a creature, or the first time you pick fruits or vegetables from somewhere. It’s a little challenge reward.”

Hines said that Atoms could be used to purchase new outfits and decorations to place around the player’s home. Players aren’t able to use real-world money to buy new guns or abilities as this would give them an advantage over those who don’t spend cash in-game – commonly referred to as microtransactions. 

While players can earn Atoms by playing the game, Eurogamer says it’s not yet known how long it would take to save up enough Atoms to buy new outfits.

How Bethesda plans to deal with ‘trolls’

In August, Bethesda chief Todd Howard provided some insight into how the multiplayer game would deal with “trolling” – where a player repeatedly kills or annoys another person in order to ruin their game – at the company’s QuakeCon conference in Texas.

Howard explained that the player who kills someone who didn’t want to engage in a fight becomes “a wanted murderer”.

The so-called murderer won’t receive any rewards for killing a player who doesn’t want to engage, says Gamespot. Instead, the murderer’s location will be highlighted to other players in the virtual world and a bounty placed over his or her head. 

The bounty money is taken out of the murderer’s own stash, according to the gaming news site. Bethesda hopes this will act as a deterrent to players looking to interfere with another person’s experience.

Other new features announced during the QuakeCon panel include a refreshed skills system where players can unlock new abilities through random card packs. 

These virtual card packs are handed to players every time they level up, says Mashable. The cards give players special perks, such as improved gun accuracy and better health. 

Bethesda has added a photo mode to Fallout 76. This will enable players to take pictures of their custom character and layer over filters inspired by Instagram, the tech site says.

Beta feedback

Fallout 76’s beta programme, which allowed players to test the game before it released, officially ended on 8 November. Bethesda has made a number of tweaks based on player feedback provided during the beta period. 

One of the main issues raised centres on Fallout 76’s weight limit, says Gamespot. Players can only lug around a certain number of items in the game, but Bethesda says it will increase this carry limit “in the future”.

Meanwhile, some players reported that their character was always hungry, even after eating, the gaming news site says. This, along with a number of other small technical bugs, has been now been fixed.

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