The launch of Fallout 76 was a disaster.
From unforgivable bugs and data breaches, to collector’s edition items that were the very definition of the words ‘false advertising’, the once lauded series went from controversy to controversy after the launch of its first MMO. Fallout 76, according to most, was dead on arrival.
But four years later, much to everyone’s surprise, vault dwellers are still emerging. And not only are they still actively and obsessively playing, but they’re doing some extremely weird things, from black markets, Shakespeare troupes, and full-time courier services, all the way to roleplaying cannibals and trap camp serial killers. I wanted to get to the bottom of why Fallout diehards are not only still playing the once ridiculed game, but why their 76 obsession is taking the MMO further than was ever intended. This is the Inside Story of the weird and wonderful fans still playing Fallout 76.
Normally an IGN Inside Story is available as both a video documentary and as a written article. But, on this occasion, I feel very strongly that the video documentary format is the best way to experience this story. And so that’s exactly what we’ve done: this Inside Story is video only.
I would love for you to check out the full video, hear the Fallout community’s voices, and follow my journey into the wasteland. I met some fascinating people, and our adventures together just cannot be done justice with written words alone. That being said, if you’re still unsure, here’s a little information about the weird and wonderful fans of Fallout 76 I met who were kind enough to show me a whole new side to the nuclear apocalypse. Hopefully these details entice you to check it out.
The Legacy Weapon Hunter
Matt Wills is a legacy weapon hunter and trader. Not sure what one of those is? In the video, Matt shows me some of his impressive (and very deadly) collection of prized possessions, explains what legacy weapons are, how they came to be, and how the fans of Fallout 76 began a black market arms trade policed by volunteers. It’s an underground world that introduced me to our next character…
The Wasteland Courier
Prissela exclusively plays Fallout 76 to act as a courier for other players, ensuring risky and high-stakes trades go smoothly. She’s qualified, trained, and even has a Trustpilot-style rating. Behind Prissela’s duties is an emotional story about how she got into this “career” because of unfortunate events that happened in the real world, which you can learn all about in the video documentary.
The Theater Director
Northern Harvest is the Director of a Shakespeare production group called The Wasteland Theatre Company. He shares his stories of the history and conception of the troupe, and kindly invites me to audition for their upcoming production of Shakespeare’s classic comedy, a Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The Cannibal Cultist
Darth Nick is a founding member of Fallout 76’s infamous cannibal clan, EATT (Establishment of Appalachian Taste Testers). Darth Nick introduces me to the world of roleplaying cannibals in Fallout 76, shows me around their hidden lairs, and invites me to take part in their incredibly odd initiation process.
The Trap Camp Builder
Jeepin Jeeper is Darth Nick’s cannibal brother-in-arms, but he has a taste for more than just virtual flesh. His speciality is designing and building elaborate trap camps, house of horrors-like buildings designed to lure in unsuspecting players/victims for a one-way visit. I receive an invite to one of his favourites and it doesn’t go well for me…
The Fallout Podcaster
Kenneth Vigue is the founder of CHAD: A Fallout 76 podcast, a long-running audio drama that chronicles the miserable (and funny) life of a wasteland survivor. But Kenneth isn’t just a podcaster; he’s also the creator of Fallout For Hope, a fan-created charity drive that helps out not only fellow wastelanders in real-world need, but also a children’s cancer research charity, all through the vehicle of Fallout 76.
This is just a small taste of my Appalachian adventures. I hope it was enough to persuade you to watch the full documentary. But if you’re still unsure, why not check out the trailer?
Dale Driver is IGN’s UK Video Lead and he’d like to thank Matt Purslow, Katie Laurence, Will Batchelor, Danielle Jones and all the amazing Fallout 76 players who helped and contributed along the way. Follow Dale on Twitter.