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Fallout 76 is an online multiplayer RPG in the Fallout series of video games released on Microsoft Windows, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 systems. Notably, it is Bethesda's first online multiplayer game featuring a massive open world which is a representation of West Virginia.
On May 30th, 2018, Bethesda released a teaser for an upcoming game in the Fallout universe called Fallout 76. The teaser gained over 1.7 million views in a matter of hours (shown below).
At E3 2018, Todd Howard revealed more details about the game, calling it a "softcore survival" game that will be played entirely online and a prequel to the Fallout narrative. He also discussed the game being available in an open beta starting October 23rd, 2018, and confirmed a November 14th, 2018 release date.
On October 30th, 2018, Bethesda tweeted, "PC #Fallout76 B.E.T.A. players: We are aware of an issue with the client and are investigating. Do not click any buttons on the client for the time being." The "issue" in question turned out to be that clicking any button on the launch client led to the entire 50GB game being deleted and launching a redownload. The issue was mocked online as the worst bug a Bethesda game has ever had, and the company has been notorious for bugs in the past. User @dnannann mocked the bug and Bethesda's history in a tweet that gained over 4,700 retweets and 10,000 likes (shown below, left). User @9_volt_ also made a joke that gained over 1,200 retweets and 5,000 likes (shown below, right).
Fallout 76 was released November 14th, 2018. Initial reaction to the release was mostly negative. Critics were unable to review the game before it came out, and the user score on Metacritic has wavered between 2.5 and 3.0 on the first day of release, though Forbes warned this could be an example of "review-bombing", saying "Review bombing is fairly standard operating procedure for developers that anger the hivemind in one way or another, in this case committing the sin of taking an established property in a new direction." Kotaku writer Ethan Gach's first impression of the game detailed frustrating situations and unresponsive controls. In a Reddit post on /r/OutofTheLoop user turcois asked about the hate for the game, to which user lorddrame responded with an extensive list of problems with the game, including:
- Bethesda has gone the anti-consumer route by selling an incomplete product, bugs, and selling the beta as a demo.
- it is buggy, the engine clearly isn't made well for it. The FOV is locked to a level that can cause litteral, if minor, health issues for some people and the FPS is locked as the speed of some parts are tied to FPS, which is almost a cardinal sin in modern game production.
- The difficulty is so low, that co-operation is discouraged. The world is very empty, little to do really outside grinding mobs that die incredibly fast and collecting loot. The quests are cookie-cutter types we have seen a million times before.
As of November 20th, the game has a critic score of 51/100 on Metacritic.
Additionally, pictures of a physical copy of the game released with the $200 "power armor" special edition of Fallout 76 revealed that the "physical copy" inside the game's box was a cardboard disc with a download code on it. The circulating pictures led to criticism of Bethesda as selling something the player explicitly did not order on /v/ and Tumblr.
In Fallout 76, "nuking" a locale causes higher-level enemies to spawn and better loot to drop. On November 17th, 2018, YouTuber Nickaroo93 organized the launch of three nukes at once. Shortly after the nukes go off, he is booted from the server. His video documenting the event gained over 693,000 views (shown below).
The video was widely covered by gaming and tech news sites, including The Verge, PC Gamer, Techspot, and others.
On November 17th, 2018, Facebook user Tarenthis Campbell posted a video of a Gamestop customer attempting to return Fallout 76. When the man behind the desk explains that a full refund is not available and he can only get store credit, the unknown customer begins pushing over displays and knocking games to the ground. The video gained over 4.4 million views on the platform (YouTube re-upload shown below).
The video was covered by Daily Dot, who praised the man behind the counter for keeping a calm demeanor during the outburst. The video was also posted to Twitter by user @GeoffLife, where it gained over 18,000 retweets. A reply by @CNJcast praising the cashier gained over 1,000 likes (shown below).
Denial of Refunds
On November 27th, 2018, OneAngryGamer reported that after the viral Gamestop tantrum, other players reported that they couldn't receive refunds for Fallout 76 in no matter how or where they purchased it from, and that a law firm, Migliaccio & Rathod LLP, was investigating Bethesda Game Studios for deceptive trade practices. In an update on their website, the law firm wrote:
Migliaccio & Rathod LLP is currently investigating Bethesda Game Studios for releasing a heavily-glitched game, Fallout 76, and refusing to issue refunds for PC purchasers of the game who found it to be unplayable because of its technical problems. While minor bugs and glitches are expected with the release of most new games, Fallout 76 launched with a 56GB patch that has proven to be but a starting point for the game’s problems. Gamers who have tried to receive a refund because of the game’s myriad glitches have been unable to do so since they downloaded the game, leaving them to deal with an unplayable experience until patches bring it back to a playable state.
That update was also posted to /r/pcgaming where it gained over 8,600 points before being deleted for due to violating the subreddit's rules against "self-promotion." The law firm was later interviewed by Vice. There, they reported that they'd received over 200 calls from players who were unable to obtain a refund from Bethesda.
On November 28th, 2018, customers who purchased the $200 Fallout 76 Collector's Edition expressed their disappointment as they received a nylon bag with their purchase instead of the advertised, higher-quality canvas bag. The backlash started spreading after user @AllGamesDelta_ posted about the issue, including a response from Bethesda which stated "The bag shown in the media was a prototype and was too expensive to make. We aren’t planning on doing anything about it."
The Fallout Twitter account responded to the user, saying the customer service employee was a temp and not directly employed by Bethesda. The account also issued an apology, providing a way for players who felt cheated by the collector's addition to receive "500 atoms."
YouTuber YongYea posted a video response to the controversy, gaining over 330,000 views in less than 24 hours.
Private Information Leak
On December 5th, Redditor Jessiepie posted to /r/fo76 telling players he had access to their private information and the ability to edit it, writing:
I am receiving every single one of your support tickets on my Bethesda account. Mostly it's your receipts for you power armor set requesting a new bag. These receipts contain all your info. Your email and home address and the card you used to buy this extremely glitched game… I can update your ticket for you, if you'd like. And close it! How fun is that? Please rest assure I have no desire to stalk you or mess with your Fallout 76 experience.
On the Bethesda forums, user RadioactiveTrinket also reported about the leak, writing:
Beware with what information you put in your tickets, cause they are basically public !
I went on the support website today, to update a ticket of mine, and surprisingly (or not…) I ended up being able to see all sorts of tickets, with people putting their personnal informations in them, like receipt screenshots, names, addresses and so on. I'm assuming this is a bug in the website, because I don't see for what reason Bethesda would make tickets public.
The controversy was covered by Forbes, who noted both posts contained deleted screenshots of the problem. Bethesda Support tweeted about the controversy the following day with a statement saying the website was taken down immediately upon discovery of the error. The statement also said no passwords or full credit cards were leaked (shown below).
Fallout 1st and Domain Hijack
On October 23rd, 2019, Bethesda announced Fallout 1st, a premium subscription service for Fallout 76. The service, available for $12.99 per month or $99.00 per year, allows subscribers to play on private servers and offers them a number of exclusive items.
On the same day, an anonymous 4chan /v/ board user made a thread in which he revealed that Bethesda did not buy http://falloutfirst.com/ domain before the announcement and that he bought it instead for the purpose of ridiculing the company and the Fallout 1st subscription service.
The hijacked website featured an "Fallout Fuck You 1st" announcement based on that posted by Bethesda on the company's website, edited as if the company was admitting to disliking its player base and to openly scamming them (screenshots shown below).
The 4chan thread gathered multiple responces within hours of being posted, with the news of the website hijack being reported by users and news outlets online in the following hours.
The game quickly developed an online following after it was announced. A subreddit about the game has gained over 82,000 subscribers. The game's Facebook page has over 4,400 likes. In June of 2018, Noclip posted a 40-minute documentary to YouTube going behind the scenes of the creation of the video game, gaining over 1.5 million views (shown below).
On May 4th, 2019, YouTuber Internet Historian released a video titled "The Fall of 76" describing the various problems and controversies around Fallout 76's launch and its associated merchandise (shown below). The video received over 18.8 million views in fifteen months.
Take Me Home, Country Roads
The song Take Me Home, Country Roads was used in the trailer of the 2018 game Fallout 76. Unlike the previous songs listed, the one used in the trailer is a cover of the original made specifically for the game.
The song started seeing increased use in memes in the spring of 2018, due to the song's use in the Fallout 76 trailer. KnowYourMeme user William, Lord of Dimentions created an Ok, Bye Mom variation referencing the song and the trailer on May 30th, 2018 (shown below, left). Additionally, memes about the song on Reddit will often feature comments referencing the game. A post on /r/memes_of_the_dank using breath in Boi has a comments section talking almost exclusively about the upcoming Fallout game.
 Daily Dot – Fallout 76 goes viral over bug that deletes the entire game
 Facebook – Fallout 76
 Metacritic – Fallout 76
 Forbes – Don't Trust 'Fallout 76' Reviews Today
 Kotaku – My First Day Out Of The Vault
 Reddit – What's the deal with all the hate for the new Fallout 76 game?
 Ars Technica – We unbox the $200 “power armor” Fallout ’76 version so you don’t have to
 arch.b4k.co/v/ – Fallout 76 Disc Is Made of Cardboard
 Tumblr – Thevaultfalloutwiki
 The Verge – Fallout 76 players launched so many nukes at once that they crashed a server
 PC Gamer – Fallout 76 players launch 3 nukes at once, crash server
 Techspot – Fallout 76 server crashes under triple nuke strike
 Daily Dot – Customer trashes a GameStop because he can’t return ‘Fallout 76’
 One Angry Gamer – FALLOUT 76 CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT COULD MATERIALIZE OVER BETHESDA DENYING REFUNDS
 Classic Law DC – Bethesda Game Studios Deceptive Trade Practices Investigation
 Reddit – /r/pcgaming
 Vice – These Lawyers Want to Sue Bethesda Over 'Fallout 76' Refunds
 Twitter – @AllGamesDelta
 Imgur – Imgur Summary
 Reddit – I am getting your support tickets on my Bethesda account. Now I know where you live.
 Bethesda – Bethesda is leaking your personnal informations through tickets !!
 Forbes – 'Fallout 76' Support Ticket Glitch Leaked Access To Players' Private Information
 Twitter – BethesdaSupport
 Bethesda – PRIVATE WORLDS, SCRAPBOXES & MORE COME TO FALLOUT 76 WITH FALLOUT 1ST
 Fallout First – Private Worlds, Scrapboxes & More Cumming to Fallout 76 with Fallout FUCK YOU 1st
 Reddit – Bethesda in their infinite wisdom failed to secure the domain name for FalloutFirst.com
 Reddit – The domain name for Bethesda's 'Fallout First' was appropriated and turned into a mocking page by an anonymous 4Chan user.
 DTF – Анонимы выкупили домен Fallout First и запустили на нём фейковый сайт Bethesda с шутками про компанию
Oct 24, 2019 at 12:03AM EDT
Nov 27, 2018 at 07:18AM EST
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