Fallout 76 - Roleplaying in a Game That Doesn't Support It

Fallout 76 launched last month to quite a bit of negative reception. Bugs, server issues, questionable design decisions and a lack of expected features made the game a pretty tough sell. However, according to this Eurogamer article, some Fallout enthusiasts have still managed to mine quite a bit of enjoyment out of the multiplayer installment of the post-apocalyptic series by banding together and roleplaying as a bunch of jolly cultists, among other things.

The game's pros and cons aside, the article offers a neat glimpse into a tightly knit role-playing community. Here are a few sample paragraphs:

It doesn't help that Fallout 76 doesn't do much to support roleplaying in-game, either. While you can join various factions, the game hardly reacts to your membership of them at all. Want to roleplay the role of a Fallout raider? Well, you could try attack other players on the map for a laugh, but the PvP system is so bad, why would you bother? Want to roleplay as a member of the Brotherhood of Steel? Well, you could run around in Power Armor and spout self-righteous nonsense over the proximity-based voice communications to anyone who'll listen, but beyond that, but you'll spend most of your time screaming into the abyss.

Fallout 76, then, is a bad game. But I am surprised to discover that despite this, players are trying - some really hard - to find the fun. There's a surprisingly large number of people who are doing this - over Discord, over forums, on reddit - in an impressive display of collective initiative for a game that launched without many features fans had hoped for. Features such as text chat, private servers and mod support would have facilitated meaningful multiplayer interaction. Unfortunately, like Fallout 76's NPCs, these features are currently M.I.A.

"A lot of people just couldn't wait for private servers, so we make do with what is available," Lori says. "We just facilitate the means to achieve this early. It's like Bethesda said. They want us to be the NPCs... we took it to heart."

The Fallout universe is packed with potential for roleplayers. There are multiple factions and a world in which pretty much anything goes by default. Some members of Fallout Roleplay are roleplaying as survivors ("the lore in the game shows evidence that quite a few people in West Virginia survived the initial fallout," Lori says). Some are roleplaying as Vault 76 reclaimers. Others are roleplaying as recruits for the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave.

And then there's the Cult of the Mothman. The Mothman is already a fan-favourite monster in Fallout 76. He's best stumbled upon, so I won't spoil his location here. Suffice it to say, the Mothman is one of the better things about Fallout 76 and Fallout roleplayers are excited to get stuck in. "We plan to provide some eerie fun in the Fallout universe," Lori says. "We have a team putting together extensive lore to make a cohesive setting for long-term roleplay."