Fallout 76 Wastelanders and Co: NPCs are the Better People! – Current games

A dead game world, populated only by robots and few human players? That sounds suspiciously like Fallout 76. As the online role-playing game in Winter 2018 appeared, it was not only plagued by a lot of bugs and design errors. Fallout fans in particular were also annoyed by the tired storytelling and the forced interaction with other players.

Fallout 76 – like the zombie survival game DayZ – should tell its own stories. But this attempt was unsuccessful and made it clear to me at the time: I have no desire for strangers in "my" game world. When it comes to quest design and experienced stories, there is nothing like old-fashioned NPCs (short for "non-player character", in German "non-player character").

This is also shown by the recently released free expansion Fallout 76: Wastelanders. This led to computer characters and a story campaign in the onlineRole play. And lo and behold: Fallout 76 is still not perfect, but at least the Wastelanders missions bring back a little Fallout feeling.





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/1020x/2020/04/npcs01-pc-games.png" alt = "Similar to Fallout 3, our character values ​​in Fallout 76: Wastelanders also have an impact The dialogues, for example, we can convince this “free radical” with strength or luck and may trigger new dialogue options.
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Similar to Fallout 3, our character values ​​in Fallout 76: Wastelanders also influence the dialogues. For example, we can convince this “free radical” with strength or luck and may trigger new dialogue options.
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Source: Bethesda / media agency plassma





The anonymity of the fight

To this day, I have had an encounter from the beginning of Fallout 76 in the back of my mind. While exploring Appalachia, I came across another player who was struggling with mutants. As a friendly Vault resident, I hurried to help and together we defeated the attackers. I waved goodbye to him for a moment, but a short time later the balls hissed around my ears. I shot back in a mental derangement, but ended up losing to the culprit. After that I didn't feel like it anymore and was finished with the world.

Unlike computer attackers, human opponents make them extremely unpredictable. This promises excitement, but – as in my case – it can also cause massive frustration. A "defeat" against another player still weighs more heavily for me than the thousandth screen death in a boss fight. Battles with computer monsters or cyber soldiers are anonymous. If I lose, the routine starts again. And no matter whether Playstation 4, Xbox One, Switch or PC – the program code behind the opponent certainly doesn't do a joy dance inside the machine. For me as a player, this means getting up, loading the cannon and trying again.





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/1020x/2020/04/npcs02-pc-games.png" alt = "Raider leader Roper is not impressed by harsh words. Instead he beats you a deal, or alternatively you can just attack him, but then he will deal with his bodyguard.
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Rider leader Roper is not impressed by harsh words. Instead, he suggests a deal. Alternatively, you can just attack him, but then get it with his bodyguard.

Source: Bethesda / media agency plassma




On the other hand, it is completely different with "shared gaming experiences": when I hit another player, I am thieving and triumph loudly in front of the screen. On the other hand, I am much more annoyed when I am tricked or even duped by other people. Nothing scratches my gaming honor as much as losing to another gamer. To my shame, I also have to admit that even encounters and friendly interaction with other players are often difficult for me or disturb me when I immerse myself in the game world. It is not uncommon for them to represent a break with mood and events.

Humans are idiots
Admittedly, this heading sounds tough. But it is (unfortunately) often the truth. Wherever too many players come together, there is a greater chance that wannabe jesters will be there. Last seen in Death Stranding: In the jagged mountains someone parked his truck so "skillfully" in front of an entrance that I could not reach the targeted bunker and therefore could not finish the mission. In the absence of a Playstation breakdown service, I had to laboriously park the car myself and create enough space. Even in the first days of Tom Clancy's The Division, players in social hub levels enjoyed blocking the exit for others. Yes, resourceful developers can easily iron out these problems. But they also show: don't give players too much freedom. Because many use them to spoil the fun of the game for others.





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/1020x/2020/04/npcs03-pc-games.png" alt = "In the coal mines you are looking for the siblings Sol and Polly. What It is not yet clear here: Polly is a robot and was badly battered by burned people.
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In the coal mines you are looking for the siblings Sol and Polly. What is not yet clear here: Polly is a robot and was badly battered by burned people.

Source: Bethesda / media agency plassma




In a game world that is only populated by "artificial" residents, I know what I get. Despite the often interspersed dynamic events, the gaming experience is tailored to run as smoothly as possible. Small inaccuracies can of course always occur due to program errors or my incalculable behavior. But with NPCs at my side, I at least know that it is not a malicious intent, but at most a bug that spoils the fun.

I want to experience my own story
So we are actually already with the most important argument for NPCs in video games: storytelling. As intense, strange and sometimes emotional stories the interaction with other players also writes, I prefer to experience my very own adventures. Selfish as I am, I want to have these moments for myself and not to share them with others.





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/1020x/2020/04/npcs05-pc-games.jpg" alt = "In the course of the game from the Jedi: Fallen Order, Padawan Cal Kestis rounds up a number of allies The little druid BD-1 is always with you, not only is she incredibly cute, but she also helps with clues and stim packs.
& nbsp;”/>



In the course of the game from Jedi: Fallen Order, Padawan Cal Kestis gathers a number of allies around him. The little druid BD-1 is always with you. Not only is he incredibly cute, he also helps with hints and stim packs.

Source: Electronic Arts




I want to sit in front of the monitor and enjoy funny dialogues like in Fallout 76: Wastelanders. But I also want to suffer with loved characters like in the case of Ellie and Joel in The Last of Us. And I want to experience emotional roller coaster rides and then get excited about characters like the baron from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Depending on whether I interact with NPCs or with other online players, the gaming experience varies enormously. Fallout 76: Wastelanders simply shows me that NPCs are often the better people after all.

The exception to the rule
However, Wastelanders also brought an exception to my mind: when it comes to co-op or companions, I simply need friends and colleagues at my side. Games like The Division 2 or also World of Warcraft, which are extremely designed for teamwork, are only fun with human components. Does this work with strangers? Sometimes … but not always. But with friends you also create memorable moments that have a completely different emotional component than classic NPC missions and events.

But no matter whether non-player characters, co-op partners or chance encounters in an open game world – the main thing is that video games move us and create unique moments. In the case of Fallout 76, this only works after the Wastelanders expansion. At least with me!

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