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Fallout 76: Wastelanders is a definite improvement to the base game

The update is solid but should have been in the game from day 1.

fallout 76 gameplay
Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie

I’ve spent a fair amount of bandwidth dragging Fallout 76, but I couldn’t help but return to West Virginia with the most recent update to the open-world title.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the game (and honestly, who could blame you), Bethesda has recently released a new update to the title with hopes of breathing new life into the desolate wasteland. Now, players will actually encounter “living” NPC characters, alongside a new story arc.

I thought it would be fun to revisit my previous day 1 diary entry of Fallout 76 with a new one that reflects these changes. Check it out below.

Everything is familiar, yet somehow strikingly different. I emerge from the vault as I did last time, and as it was last time, a robot is here to greet me, but instead of pointing me in the direction of an Overseer that is long gone they point me down the steps in front of me… to other people?

Yes, now, in West Virginia people are starting to reclaim the mountains of Appalachia. It makes the previous experience seem like a bad, boring dream. It gives purpose to my existence in this post-apocalyptic world. I am eager to explore it again.

wastelanders update

Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie

After speaking to the two people at the bottom of the steps, I find myself on a new adventure, one of mystery, treasure, and who knows what else. Travelers walk the roads and some buildings even have people in them selling wares and buying junk. My Pip-Boy, however, still cranks old, familiar tunes.

I eventually meet up with a shop owner who, upon questioning, needs help with some bullies that are terrorizing them. I am more than happy to help. Even in the apocalypse, I find that many of the people I meet still have a surprisingly funny sense-of-humor, even if they are (understandably) a bit cautious of strangers.

READ MORE: Dear Bethesda, please make Fallout 5 a turn-based 4X strategy

Like before, the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains is still very much in your face, with each turn off the main road leading to some truly scenic areas. I found myself getting distracted easily, the tasks at hand slowly fading away on my HUD as I was eager to see what was around the next bend.

fallout 76 exploring

There was a man fishing in this pond. I stole his duct tape. (Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie)

Eventually making my way back towards the quest area, plenty of other Vault dwellers scurried around, even more than the last time I visited West Virginia. It was good to see life in a lifeless game. Vault dwellers camps and homes peppered the main road, some basic, some whole-ass houses.

Resources are still scarce, but manageable. This is helped by the fact that other Vault dwellers have set up vending machines in their camps, where people can buy things like meds and ammo. I am thankful for this, and use my pocket change to load up on ammo before heading out on adventure.

wastelanders in west virginia

Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie

The new quest – what I’ve done of it at least – is engaging enough, with people that teeter the line between engaging and lifeless. I say this because they have some truly witty things to say, but at the same time, they don’t care that I rob them blind the whole time they are talking. In a world of scarce resources, you would think they would be a bit more protective.

Along my journey, a friend joined in and this is where the adventure really started to shine. We scavenged together, exploring buildings and fighting off radiated humans and dogs alike. Like most things in life, exploring the Appalachian Mountains and fighting off bad guys is better with friends. It seemed others felt the same, with many players we encountered having a plus one by their side.

One group, in particular, was especially helpful, veterans of the wasteland who signaled to us with the promise of supplies. These two ladies, dressed in their best casual wear (and donning futuristic miniguns) blessed us with enough clean water and stimpacks to see us through to another day.

fallout 76 gameplay

Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie

It’s these types of interactions that will keep me coming back to West Virginia and to Fallout 76. The people that you meet along the way, and now that the world is coming alive with more NPCs, there is just a lot more to like here.

I’m not ready to say “love”, because there is still a lot of game to play to figure out what I like and don’t like (the cash shop seems terrible at a quick glance), but at least the mountains of West Virginia are no longer completely lifeless.

What do you think? Interested in revisiting Fallout 76? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Former KnowTechie editor.

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