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    Default Re: Fallout IX: Nuclear Cash Cows Go MMOoooooo!

    The problem is, while The True Nerd isn't exactly wrong about mechanics being in conflict with one another... it doesn't really matter, because that's not the underlying cause of the real and systemic problem. It is Bethesda's actions following the release that will be damaging to the company as a whole.

    Bethesda can survive a bad Fallout 76 game. After all, it isn't even a 'mainstream' Fallout game, being outside the normal numbering convention, so it's an experiment to see if it works or not. It isn't supposed to be the sequel to F4, it's just supposed to be the filler side-game while they work on TES6 and eventually (presumably) Fallout 5. So really, F76 bombing, in and of itself, isn't going to be damaging to either the Fallout brand or to Bethesda.

    Yes, F76 is a buggy, glitchy, crash-prone mess. Yes, the mechanics are at odds with each other. Fine. So it is hot garbage. Shrug it off and move on. Right? Well...

    Brand Recognition is a huge thing in Corporate America. You drive down the road, you see the golden arches, your kid starts screaming "I wanna happy meal!"... that is brand recognition. That's cash in your pocket. That is what Bethesda damaged following the F76 release, not just Fallout's branding, but Bethesda's. By continually taking the very worst possible action, and this is Bethesda taking these actions mind you which is WHY it is damaging to Bethesda and not just the Fallout franchise, they have damaged the trust and reputation they had among their fanbase.

    People will give Bethesda passes for buggy and glitchy games because the gameplay can still be enjoyable (once the bugs have been fixed by fan patches), and Bethesda is a good gaming company. They don't lard their games down with microtransactions or loot boxes (EA), they treat their customers right.

    That's what has changed. With their continual tone-deaf mishandling of every single publicity opportunity, they have made it clear that Bethesda doesn't give a f**k anymore. Either they're no longer in the driver's seat, or enough of a management shift in Bethesda itself has happened, and the priorities of the company itself has changed. And while they're still not as bad as EA (yet), they're certainly heading in that direction, and at a pretty rapid clip. And the problem is that the game is built and designed in a way that SOMEONE at least had the idea of later moving to that model. The perk packs alone are scarily reminiscent of lootboxes, and while they've *claimed* that they will never be for sale... they also claimed the special edition would have a canvas bag instead of a nylon one.

    That's the unsettling part. That's what lying and bait-and-switch tactics have done to Bethesda as a company. It has created uncertainty where before there was none. Before, if they had said 'we aren't going to monetize perk packs', people would've just taken them at their word. But now? That's... a little more fuzzy, because now they've lied, on several different topics, multiple times in short order following the release of F76. Who's to say this isn't just another one? At this point, it isn't necessarily a prediction that they WILL monetize perk packs, but just the uncertainty that they MIGHT is enough to bring up very unpleasant comparisons. Their word is no longer 'good enough' anymore. That's dangerous for the company.

    At E3, they had a fifteen second screen pan of wilderness and a title drop... and instantly over a hundred thousand people were screaming and demanding for pre-orders immediately, even if they KNEW the game wouldn't be out for at LEAST a year. That was the power of Bethesda's brand identity. Just like the golden arches, you just had to wave the idea that TES6 is being developed, and sight unseen you had that large of a clamor for the game. That was before F76 happened.

    Now, though? People who were all for pre-ordering TES6 are, in some cases at least, pausing to reconsider. "Maybe I'll just wait until after it comes out", or "Yea, but after I got burned on F76, I think I'm going to wait a bit and see how it turns out before actually buying the game." Will it still get pre-orders? Of course it will. Don't be silly, it's still TES6 after all. But will it get as many pre-orders as it would've had before this debacle? Almost certainly not. And the more Bethesda keeps screwing people over like this, the worse it is going to get.

    All I can say is... TES6 had better be something that rejuvenates the faith of the gaming community. It had better be something that doesn't have the trappings of microtransactions. It can be buggy and glitchy, as long as they let the fans mod it and create fan patches. If anything, that will calm fears rather than raise them, because we're going back to status quo. But if they don't permit third party mods in favor of the Content Creators Club? That would be a move that could literally break Bethesda as a dominant name in the industry, and relegate it permanently to second or third tier status. Almost overnight. You would actually see people demand refunds of pre-orders (before they received their content) for the first time in Bethesda's history.

    I only pray they don't.
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    Default Re: Fallout IX: Nuclear Cash Cows Go MMOoooooo!

    TES6 is not going to be the "make or break" moment: Starfield will be.

    If their big new IP is a huge flop, TES6 will be the least of everyone's worries.

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    Default Re: Fallout IX: Nuclear Cash Cows Go MMOoooooo!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    TES6 is not going to be the "make or break" moment: Starfield will be.

    If their big new IP is a huge flop, TES6 will be the least of everyone's worries.
    Disagree very strongly. If their big new IP is a huge flop, it'll be a hit, but not going to break Bethesda. Screwing over their already firmly established IP to make a quick buck, especially after doing so to the Fallout franchise? Means Bethesda has clearly 'jumped the shark'.

    One is damaging, but recoverable. The other is the downfall of the entire company as a whole.
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    Default Re: Fallout IX: Nuclear Cash Cows Go MMOoooooo!

    Yeah, while a lot of their game design choices don't appeal to me (Wastelands 2 is the Fallout 3 I never got. Fallout NV is good, but not made by them. I couldn't bring myself to care enough finish FO3 or Morrowind) I at least gave them a chance. There is nothing about Bethesda right now to even look to, they're not as bad as some of the bigger companies, but that seems more and more like they want to be, they just haven't got there yet. At least the other big companies that are doing blatant cash grabs are doing it with games that work. Even free-to-play games, which are based on micro-transactions, are putting it around a game that actually works. Bethesda is still releasing games like it was 15 years ago when the expectation of bugs was a lot more acceptable and widespread. Everyone else has upped their quality considerably, not perfect, but better than what it used to be, but it doesn't seem like Bethesda has made any improvements. Then they act like nothing at all is wrong and wonder why people are upset when they go super cheap and seem like their going out of their way to screw over their most loyal fans. Which I'm not, but they're the ones getting screwed over the most by the cheap "special edition extras".

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    Default Re: Fallout IX: Nuclear Cash Cows Go MMOoooooo!

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    But if they don't permit third party mods in favor of the Content Creators Club? That would be a move that could literally break Bethesda as a dominant name in the industry, and relegate it permanently to second or third tier status. Almost overnight.
    On a personal level, I agree with you. This development is what I have feared ever since I first heard of the "creation club" and paid mods.

    But on the other hand, I would point out that Fallout 4 sold a metric f***tonne more units than FO3 ever did. And FO3, in turn, outsold FO2 by at least an order of magnitude. Over in TES it's a similar picture: Skyrim has way, way more players than Oblivion ever did, which in turn beat Morrowind, which beat Daggerfall. And not by small, incremental margins - the numbers are huge.

    It follows that the direction Bethesda is taking is increasing, not reducing, its market, and hence its profitability. Old time fans like you and I may not like it - but statistically we're not even significant. You don't generate preorders with hardcore fan loyalty, you generate them with hype.

    Even if every single person who played FO3 or earlier avoids FO5, leaving it solely to those who've only played 4 or 76, it'll still be insanely successful because they have the resources to put into marketing, which is what really matters.
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    Default Re: Fallout IX: Nuclear Cash Cows Go MMOoooooo!

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    But on the other hand, I would point out that Fallout 4 sold a metric f***tonne more units than FO3 ever did. And FO3, in turn, outsold FO2 by at least an order of magnitude. Over in TES it's a similar picture: Skyrim has way, way more players than Oblivion ever did, which in turn beat Morrowind, which beat Daggerfall. And not by small, incremental margins - the numbers are huge.
    But how much of that is simply that the gaming market is much bigger now than it was 20 years ago, rather than the games themselves being better tuned to appeal to a mass audience?

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    Default Re: Fallout IX: Nuclear Cash Cows Go MMOoooooo!

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    But how much of that is simply that the gaming market is much bigger now than it was 20 years ago, rather than the games themselves being better tuned to appeal to a mass audience?
    Yeah, Fallout 2 is pretty much from the end of the age where "gaming news" was going into an electronics store, picking a box off the shelf and going 'this looks cool, I'll buy it" (and that's exactly how I got it) or if you were plugged into the culture, you had maybe read about it in a magazine made from real paper, that you got delivered by real mail like once a month or something. So I wouldn't say sales Fallout 2 to Fallout 3 are comparable in any meaningful way.
    Last edited by Driderman; 2019-03-01 at 02:44 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    But how much of that is simply that the gaming market is much bigger now than it was 20 years ago, rather than the games themselves being better tuned to appeal to a mass audience?
    What difference does it make? Either way, the net effect is the same: those who treasure memories of the Good Old Days are simply not a big slice of the market.

    There's a well known psychological fallacy, though I don't know what it's called - could be a form of availability bias - that makes everyone prone to assume that their own circle of friends is way, way more representative of the general population than it really is. That applies here. If you look at the set of "all people who can be tempted to buy Fallout 5, whatever it's like" , and the set of "people who remember FO3 and hanker for an updated version of that", my hunch is that the latter set wouldn't contain much more than about 3-5% of the former. If Bethesda can milk 20% extra money per sale out of customers at the expense of losing 5% of those customers, they'd be crazy not to do it.
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    Default Re: Fallout IX: Nuclear Cash Cows Go MMOoooooo!

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    On a personal level, I agree with you. This development is what I have feared ever since I first heard of the "creation club" and paid mods.

    But on the other hand, I would point out that Fallout 4 sold a metric f***tonne more units than FO3 ever did. And FO3, in turn, outsold FO2 by at least an order of magnitude. Over in TES it's a similar picture: Skyrim has way, way more players than Oblivion ever did, which in turn beat Morrowind, which beat Daggerfall. And not by small, incremental margins - the numbers are huge.

    It follows that the direction Bethesda is taking is increasing, not reducing, its market, and hence its profitability. Old time fans like you and I may not like it - but statistically we're not even significant. You don't generate preorders with hardcore fan loyalty, you generate them with hype.

    Even if every single person who played FO3 or earlier avoids FO5, leaving it solely to those who've only played 4 or 76, it'll still be insanely successful because they have the resources to put into marketing, which is what really matters.
    I think you really misunderstand what my point is, because none of this has anything to do with my point.

    I don't mind if FO5 goes in the same direction as FO4 instead of F:NV. I won't buy it if so, but that at least is a sound business decision based on the market trends you've outlined. A bit grumpy, perhaps, but what is left of Obsidian is making a new game that might fill that hankering instead. Hell, I wouldn't mind if Bethesda pulled their heads out of their arses and made F76 something that actually COULD compete with, say, Ark or Conan Exiles. I still wouldn't be remotely interested in playing it, but I would at least respect the company for it.

    The problem is that the Content Creator's Club has nothing to do with the direction from Fallout 3 to Fallout 4, and everything to do with lootbox microtransaction BS. The Content Creator's Club is so notoriously controversial that even dieheard paid shills like Oxhorn treat it gingerly. And they've pissed off enough people not with how the game is different, but with how Bethesda is treating the player base, that going in that direction will cause irreparable harm to their brand recognition and identity.

    Everything I mentioned in the post explicitly stated that this is irrelevant to the gameplay or mechanics or how buggy or not buggy it is. It's a matter of the business decisions being made by Bethesda surrounding the release that are causing the damage.

    So... yea.
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    Default Re: Fallout IX: Nuclear Cash Cows Go MMOoooooo!

    Just comparing units sold is rather useless at this point. While just about anything will sell more units than even a popular title from 20 years ago that doesn't mean the game now has even close to the market or mind share of the older game.

    You've also got the legacy and brand recognition of the older games driving sales of the newer games.
    Although I think it is telling that even with the well received lineage of the series, 76s numbers are half of what 4s was at the same period. So their "lock" on their customer base wasn't that strong and will have only gone down after 76.

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    Default Re: Fallout IX: Nuclear Cash Cows Go MMOoooooo!

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    What difference does it make? Either way, the net effect is the same: those who treasure memories of the Good Old Days are simply not a big slice of the market.
    So why are Bethesda even bothering to call these games Fallout or TES if the brand recognition is so utterly unimportant that they can safely dump the people who originally bought the older games? Just call the things something else--you won't annoy the old guard and all the new people will be happy with your new IP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    The problem is that the Content Creator's Club has nothing to do with the direction from Fallout 3 to Fallout 4, and everything to do with lootbox microtransaction BS. The Content Creator's Club is so notoriously controversial that even dieheard paid shills like Oxhorn treat it gingerly. And they've pissed off enough people not with how the game is different, but with how Bethesda is treating the player base, that going in that direction will cause irreparable harm to their brand recognition and identity.
    I though CCC was just a Bethesda sponsored community for modding Bethesda games? What kind of controversies surround it? What's does it have to do with loot box micro-transaction?

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    Because it's all a devious plot to destroy modding as we know it and force us all to pay for our mods!

    Instead of just being an end run around Sony's draconian mod restrictions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xroads View Post
    I though CCC was just a Bethesda sponsored community for modding Bethesda games? What kind of controversies surround it? What's does it have to do with loot box micro-transaction?
    Because it's microtransactions for useless tat like new weapons and armor, without even the potential for significant, game changing content because of the filesize limit.
    Last edited by Rynjin; 2019-03-01 at 02:32 PM.

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    Default Re: Fallout IX: Nuclear Cash Cows Go MMOoooooo!

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    I don't mind if FO5 goes in the same direction as FO4 instead of F:NV. I won't buy it if so, but that at least is a sound business decision based on the market trends you've outlined. A bit grumpy, perhaps, but what is left of Obsidian is making a new game that might fill that hankering instead. Hell, I wouldn't mind if Bethesda pulled their heads out of their arses and made F76 something that actually COULD compete with, say, Ark or Conan Exiles. I still wouldn't be remotely interested in playing it, but I would at least respect the company for it.
    Well, it really does seem like there's a whole pile of unsolvable programming issues that prevent Bethesda from using the current engine to make F76 into an Ark or Conan Exiles style survival game. Which they absolutely should have realized early in development and altered the product and marketing accordingly, but I guess that's water under the bridge now.

    Now, what they could do is produce a single-player mode for Fallout 76 that makes it play more like FO4: the Empty World, and let the players connect everything up again and leave it in place and build giant bases in the workshop zones and so forth. That wouldn't be a good game, exactly, but it would fit the playstyle of the player base better and they could allow modding to that and make the community happy. Fallout 76 represents a huge canvas to dump mods into, such a shame it's locked away.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triaxx View Post
    Because it's all a devious plot to destroy modding as we know it and force us all to pay for our mods!

    Instead of just being an end run around Sony's draconian mod restrictions.
    So they're forcing us to pay to use community developed mods?

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    Default Re: Fallout IX: Nuclear Cash Cows Go MMOoooooo!

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    But on the other hand, I would point out that Fallout 4 sold a metric f***tonne more units than FO3 ever did. And FO3, in turn, outsold FO2 by at least an order of magnitude.

    ...

    Even if every single person who played FO3 or earlier avoids FO5, leaving it solely to those who've only played 4 or 76, it'll still be insanely successful because they have the resources to put into marketing, which is what really matters.
    I'm going to have to question that general assumption. Fallout 3 is estimated at about 12.5M units sold. While Fallout 4 had very good initial sales (so very much driven based on the previous games' popularity) they gave no numbers after initial launch. That would imply that it wasn't anything special long term, they tout the good and gloss over the mediocre or bad, so if they continued to have amazing sales they would have continued to talk about it. Fallout 4 has 1.2M units sold in the first 24 hours, but that is only 10% of the total FO3 sales, so hardly an indication of FO4 players massively eclipsing the FO3 playerbase.
    They do say it outsold Skyrim for a similar period of time, and the closest I can find is estimating that Skyrim sold about 20m in a few years time. So clearly better than FO3, but hardly orders of magnitude better. When you also take into account that FO76 sales initially were half of FO4, you can estimate that it was probably about in line with FO3 sales. Which means there is no guarantee that whatever next Fallout game is released is in any way a guaranteed success. The fact that FO76 seemed to have a pretty low production cost (since they reused so much from previous work) means that is still made money. It also means that just the Fallout name isn't going to send units flying off the shelf and people are probably going to be even more cautious going into their next game than they were in 76s case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xroads View Post
    So they're forcing us to pay to use community developed mods?
    No, but also yes. Creation Club is basically Bethesda selling access to commissioned new work, whether from their internal development teams (like the DOOM and Prey crossovers) or from well-known modders (e.g. Elianora, fadingsignal, Trainwiz). The Creation Club stuff is separate from free mods (although there's sometimes a free alternative with a different implementation of the same concept, like the Hellfire Power Armor) and is currently meant to complement (not supplant) modding. It's considerably better than the first attempt at paid mods for Skyrim (the real fiasco), where almost anyone could go onto the Steam Workshop, upload almost anything (including broken or stolen mods), and try to sell it.

    Beyond a general distaste for microtransactions (and their pricing structure), dislike for the Creation Club is generally more from a fear of what it might become (the wide-scale commercialization and perhaps "gentrification" of the modding hobby, particularly within the TES/Creation Engine subculture) than from what it currently exactly is (Bethesda setting up a system where they can work with popular, vetted creators to make and sell new content for all platforms).

    Bethesda doesn't always make the "right" decisions regarding the modding community (which is far from a unified bloc anyway), but they do have a history of wanting to help expand it, which is why they've provided the Creation Kit for most of their titles and even introduced mod support to the console versions in Fallout 4 and Skyrim Special Edition. Fallout 76 does not officially support mods mainly because Bethesda hasn't finalized their plans on giving us moddable private servers, and plugin-based mods simply aren't going to happen until those are available.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mando Knight View Post
    No, but also yes. Creation Club is basically Bethesda selling access to commissioned new work, whether from their internal development teams (like the DOOM and Prey crossovers) or from well-known modders (e.g. Elianora, fadingsignal, Trainwiz). The Creation Club stuff is separate from free mods (although there's sometimes a free alternative with a different implementation of the same concept, like the Hellfire Power Armor) and is currently meant to complement (not supplant) modding. It's considerably better than the first attempt at paid mods for Skyrim (the real fiasco), where almost anyone could go onto the Steam Workshop, upload almost anything (including broken or stolen mods), and try to sell it.

    Beyond a general distaste for microtransactions (and their pricing structure), dislike for the Creation Club is generally more from a fear of what it might become (the wide-scale commercialization and perhaps "gentrification" of the modding hobby, particularly within the TES/Creation Engine subculture) than from what it currently exactly is (Bethesda setting up a system where they can work with popular, vetted creators to make and sell new content for all platforms).

    Bethesda doesn't always make the "right" decisions regarding the modding community (which is far from a unified bloc anyway), but they do have a history of wanting to help expand it, which is why they've provided the Creation Kit for most of their titles and even introduced mod support to the console versions in Fallout 4 and Skyrim Special Edition. Fallout 76 does not officially support mods mainly because Bethesda hasn't finalized their plans on giving us moddable private servers, and plugin-based mods simply aren't going to happen until those are available.

    Thanks! I think that clears things up. And I can definitely understand the concern.
    Last edited by xroads; 2019-03-01 at 05:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Fallout IX: Nuclear Cash Cows Go MMOoooooo!

    Quote Originally Posted by Erloas View Post
    I'm going to have to question that general assumption. Fallout 3 is estimated at about 12.5M units sold.
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/...fallout-games/

    I'm seeing different estimates, but I think it's a bit of a rabbit hole to talk about sales numbers. Lots of things influence game sales: Installed base of compatible platforms, competing products, markting, game reviews, word-of-mouth, the list goes on.

    On the other hand, I think there's little reason to call what Bethesda did with Fallout 4 and Skyrim unsuccessful, and yes, it succeeded in spite of much grousing from RPG grognards who think the franchise has become unmoored from its roots. I don't think it's marketing, however. Publicity gets you exposure, it does not really confer quality in and of itself. Apple products are overhyped and overpriced, but they still have to be good enough to carry that premium brand. Likewise, I seriously doubt many people bought Fallout 4 just on mere sight of that commercial with the Dion and the Belmonts song in it. I know I didn't. I looked at previews, let's plays, reviews, screenshots, etc. I knew before Fallout 4 launched I wanted to buy it, just like I knew before Fallout76 launched I wouldn't buy it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    I'm seeing different estimates, but I think it's a bit of a rabbit hole to talk about sales numbers. Lots of things influence game sales: Installed base of compatible platforms, competing products, markting, game reviews, word-of-mouth, the list goes on.
    I went with Wikipedia, which has sources for their numbers, but even those are also estimates. But I was mostly refuting the premise that Fallout 4 sold so much better than Fallout 3 did that a hypothetical Fallout 5 could succeed only on players of Fallout 4 that never even played or cared about Fallout 3, and therefor don't/can't care about the changes between them. Add to that the relatively poor sales of 76 would imply that Bethesda doesn't have "the pulse of the current players," so there is equally no guarantee that any direction they go with 5 will be an overall improvement or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    On the other hand, I think there's little reason to call what Bethesda did with Fallout 4 and Skyrim unsuccessful, and yes, it succeeded in spite of much grousing from RPG grognards who think the franchise has become unmoored from its roots. I don't think it's marketing, however. Publicity gets you exposure, it does not really confer quality in and of itself. Apple products are overhyped and overpriced, but they still have to be good enough to carry that premium brand. Likewise, I seriously doubt many people bought Fallout 4 just on mere sight of that commercial with the Dion and the Belmonts song in it. I know I didn't. I looked at previews, let's plays, reviews, screenshots, etc. I knew before Fallout 4 launched I wanted to buy it, just like I knew before Fallout76 launched I wouldn't buy it.
    There is no doubt they were successful games. Fallout 3 had huge hype because of the legacy of Fallout 1&2 (sales number aside, Fallout 2 is often high up in the "best games of all time" lists). I would say that for the time Fallout 3 was a bigger hit, in terms of the industry as a whole, than Fallout 4 was, even though Fallout 4 sold more copies.
    It is a given that "one of the best games of all time" isn't in any way directly tied to financial viability or profits. So of course Fallout 5 could be an entirely mediocre game and still make them a lot of money. But I also think they've poisoned the well of community loyalty and any missteps going forward are going to cost them more each time.
    Last edited by Erloas; 2019-03-01 at 11:14 PM.

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    The larger concern for me has always been how it impacts me personally, regardless of sales figures. The sales plummeting would actually be a good thing in a lot of ways - it would make Bethesda re-evaluate the road they're going down. If I'm lucky, the failure of 76 will cause them to take a new approach with TES6 and try and return to their roots.

    ...I'm not hopeful on this point.

    I fully expect TES6 to have a "Build Your Own Fortress" mode with an entire faction shilling for it such that you have to go out of your way to avoid it, along with a main quest that will require said fortress at some point. Smithing will be mandatory, because the only way to upgrade your weapons will be with junk found in the game world. Heck, it wouldn't surprise me if everyone in the game world is already dead and you interact with everything via note. You get to read about the amazing battle with Alduin that you didn't get to witness because you're 50 years too late and the battle would require an NPC with a voice actor.

    Etc., etc.

    Or maybe they'll just turn it into yet another clone game like Far Cry/Assassin's Creed/Shadow of War. I dunno.

    I just find myself incredibly pessimistic about open-world RPGs at the moment. They all seem to have become infected with this shoot-and-loot cycle driven gameplay filled with minigames while forgetting to actually tell a story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin View Post
    I just find myself incredibly pessimistic about open-world RPGs at the moment. They all seem to have become infected with this shoot-and-loot cycle driven gameplay filled with minigames while forgetting to actually tell a story.
    Maybe it's just my age, but there are very few RPGs today that I personally recognize as such. Most of them are action RPGs, or action games with RPG elements. "Telling a story" isn't an RPG, most games should tell a story, so having a good story an RPG does not make.

    Fallout 3 and beyond never really felt like RPGs, they feel like story driven FPSs with very clunky mechanics. So at least for me the games have always felt a little out of place with themselves. They've tried to shoe horn in ideas that don't really mesh with the core design. I know not everyone sees it that way, and especially if you're younger and all of the contemporary "RPGs" you've ever played are done in that design. Not to say that I don't enjoy them, I loved Mass Effect, and Borderlands, but I also don't consider them RPGs in any real sense.

    It also seems that the farther they go the more they go down that disjointed path of trying to bolt on RPG things to an action game and not tuning up the action side of things.

    Not sure exactly where I'm going with that, just that so many things get stated as RPGs that really don't have much of anything that makes them RPGs. And that Bethesda very much falls into that trap and tries to bolt on too many "rpg things" onto a core gameplay design that doesn't really work the way they pretend like it does. So while it has fun parts, and you can "make your own fun" with them, it generally means ignoring the poorly designed parts and that they're lacking a lot of "fun" as they are out-of-the-box. 76 is a prime example of that, not even considering the bugs side of things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erloas View Post
    Maybe it's just my age, but there are very few RPGs today that I personally recognize as such. Most of them are action RPGs, or action games with RPG elements. "Telling a story" isn't an RPG, most games should tell a story, so having a good story an RPG does not make.

    Fallout 3 and beyond never really felt like RPGs, they feel like story driven FPSs with very clunky mechanics. So at least for me the games have always felt a little out of place with themselves. They've tried to shoe horn in ideas that don't really mesh with the core design. I know not everyone sees it that way, and especially if you're younger and all of the contemporary "RPGs" you've ever played are done in that design. Not to say that I don't enjoy them, I loved Mass Effect, and Borderlands, but I also don't consider them RPGs in any real sense.

    It also seems that the farther they go the more they go down that disjointed path of trying to bolt on RPG things to an action game and not tuning up the action side of things.

    Not sure exactly where I'm going with that, just that so many things get stated as RPGs that really don't have much of anything that makes them RPGs. And that Bethesda very much falls into that trap and tries to bolt on too many "rpg things" onto a core gameplay design that doesn't really work the way they pretend like it does. So while it has fun parts, and you can "make your own fun" with them, it generally means ignoring the poorly designed parts and that they're lacking a lot of "fun" as they are out-of-the-box. 76 is a prime example of that, not even considering the bugs side of things.
    I'm gonna join you on the "grumpy old man" bench. A lot of "cRPGs" tend to think "If you have skills, it's an RPG". Diablo bills itself as an RPG. In Fallout and TES, you at least make choices about things that happen in the game... which faction you ally with, how you approach things. For it to be an RPG, your actions should have impact beyond the personal... "I chose not to bother with this quest" doesn't count, but "I chose not to bother with this quest so now I don't have an NPC that would have been useful" gets closer.
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    While I don't really want to kick the hornet's nest of the "what is or isn't an RPG", I do take a bit of an issue with the grumpy old man bit. Final Fantasy I has always been labeled as an RPG, and that came out in 1987. The overlap of "game has stats, leveling up, and a certain type of gameplay" and the term RPG have been intermarried pretty much since videogames are a thing. Meanwhile, there are so-called "Adventure" games with none of the RPG mechanics that do let you roleplay by the choices you pick, and the RPG moniker never touches them.

    I'll certainly agree that the definition being used here is one where there aren't a whole lot of games being made for it, but then I think that's always been true. Fallout 2 was remarkable because of the number of choices you had, meaning it stood out from other games in the genre even at the time.

    When thinking about the type of open-world game I would like, my mind keeps going back to Assassin's Creed Odyssey - or rather, what was wrong with it on a fundamental level. In the game, you are always playing Kassandra, and while you can emote slightly differently she always has the same overall characterization. And of course, she always has the same backstory and main quest. This isn't a bad thing in and of itself, but then we get to the rest of the game.

    The game world itself is massive, dwarfing any of the worlds Bethesda has put together since, well, since their procedurally generated games like Daggerfall. And yet, the game world itself feels very empty. There's simply not a lot to do in a lot of the areas. There's a bunch of minigames, but they don't seem to matter. You hunt bounty hunters for perks and loot. You fight for either the Spartans or the Athenians purely for loot, with no effects on the greater world. Etc., etc., etc. When the game does shine, it's because it drops the minigames and actually focuses on story, like the island where you help a rebellion take their land back with the drama that the rebel leader is secretly the illicit daughter of general that rules the island.

    What I would love to see is one of these big game companies do a second pass over one of their current games. Be it Fallout 4, or Skyrim, or even a classic like Morrowind. Take the shallow sandbox that is already there, and start digging. Want to play an Imperial Legionnaire where you start from level 1 and your win condition is a final battle in Stormhold? Build a big questline for that. Make it possible to start out as one of the rebels on the island, and expand the quest options appropriately. Set up a proper Caesar's legion quest for New Vegas, where you can either go full in on the cruelty of it or work to reform the Legion into a more viable long-term prospect.

    The amount of cool stuff you could do with existing content is endless. Of course, this will never happen, but a man can dream.

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    The ****ty thing is, if they're going to reuse the same ****ing engine and assets for every game for 20+ years, they may as well do that anyway. Not much downside, really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    The ****ty thing is, if they're going to reuse the same ****ing engine and assets for every game for 20+ years, they may as well do that anyway. Not much downside, really.
    They really can't do that. Computers are changing, and have been since they first appeared. First there were the eight bits, with up to 64k of memory, then came the 16 bits with megabytes and more. Now we're on 64 bits with over 4GB of memory (that was the 32 bit limit), if they don't use all of the computer then somebody else will, and it will look and feel better. The same old engine won't last 20 years (that would be Quake about now) while computers keep changing.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    They really can't do that. Computers are changing, and have been since they first appeared. First there were the eight bits, with up to 64k of memory, then came the 16 bits with megabytes and more. Now we're on 64 bits with over 4GB of memory (that was the 32 bit limit), if they don't use all of the computer then somebody else will, and it will look and feel better. The same old engine won't last 20 years (that would be Quake about now) while computers keep changing.
    Actually they can and are doing that. The Gamebryo engine for Fallout 3 was released in 2003, the precursor engine was NetImmerse released in 1997, and the Creation Engine was the successor released in 2011. Exactly how much changed between the versions is hard to tell, but the Creation Engine specifically was a branched development of the core Gamebryo code. I think they flat out said they weren't going to change engines because they could easily port assets from the older games into new games as well as keep using the same asset creation software (aka creating models and animations). So while there have been iterative changes to the game, there are parts of it that are almost 20 years old, if not older.

    Granted a lot of the core of other engines are also older and it is hard to know how much any versions actually change. But at least here the biggest issue seems to be that many of the same issues have stayed around and not been fixed over many different games. You would think after 16 years of working with essentially the same engine and having re-written part of it themselves, they would have all the kinks worked out and be able to release really solid games. But no, instead the games are just as unstable and bug ridden as ever.

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    About Fallout, I think that Bethesda did a minor "bad thing" that I have never seen anyone call out. When it came to writing, Fallout 1 was a fairly serious game. Fallout 2 completely flipped it; it is pretty much a parody. What about the Hub, and the two stand-ins for Nichole Kidman and Tom Cruise, who are actually famous porn actors from New Reno? Bethesda never said "OK, that's two different games. And we are making a new game, we will give it tonal unity." Instead, it said "The Fallout series is both serious and facetious, we should make games that are both serious and facetious!"

    Otherwise, I agree that there are way too many minigames. It's something that I saw for the first time in a mod for Oblivion, Mida's Magic. It allowed you to research very cool spells, but it asked you to go and collect junk all over Cyrodiil to manufacture them. As a result, I never enjoyed it. However, it received great acclaim. Skyrim took it to new levels. And it was cool, but it meant that you couldn't just roam freely, or do your quests: you had to get back very often to drop, sell, or manufacture stuff. Because of how frequent the encounters were, you could never manage to get away from a single city. And the dragon bones and scales made it even worse, since it was absurd to leave stuff worthy that much out there. The Convenient Horses mod partially corrected this, since you can simply fill up your horse's unlimited inventory and keep doing your things.
    Fallout 4 also exaggerated this aspect. Obviously. It's also clear how certain elements were deliberately underdeveloped because mods were expected to fill in. Settlements are one example. They still are immensely better than the old "buy a house/manor" missions, but they end up falling down on stuff like "under attack" messages. And it's clear that the concept of settlements entices expectations that have more to do with SimCity than an open world RPG (I mean, a game like NWN2 could simply have a part of the plot in which you invest in a castle, and then you stop having this option).

    The trouble is that, since Morrowind, Bethesda Big Games have been exploration games more than anything else. Adding too many of these side-mechanics ends up ruining the exploration experience.

    About 76, yes, it probably will make people wary of a new Fallout game. However, Bethesda will almost surely release TESVI before FO5, so what will really matter is how TESVI is received. After that, FO5 will pretty much be seen as TESVI's sequel. FO3 was actually called Oblivion's spiritual sequel by one of the devs, IIRC.
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    Everyone referred to FO3 as Oblivion With Guns, not just the developers.

    A lot of 1&2 blend together in my mind, but I remember both as being very noir, black comedy. Very much in line with Dr. Strangelove. I think 2 was just a bit more obvious with it. There was also a lot of references/easter eggs. The president's secretary with a stain on her blue dress.

    To my mind, they got the tone of the world pretty good, matching the first games. At least in NV, didn't play 4 and don't really remember 3, and the Fallout Boy videos are all about right in tone. To me it was the gameplay and world design that didn't match the first games.

    It felt like many of the things they did with the later ones they borrowed and stole from MMORPGs. I think because those were the driving forces of the market at the time, especially in the RPG genre. But they didn't realize the how and why the ideas worked better in MMOs and why it was unnecessary in a single player game. Not even mentioning that many of those parts of MMOs are what people disliked the most of MMOs, but they were time sinks and that seems to be what they were going after. The whole "you've spend 60 hours playing this game, that means its 3x better than a game you played for 20 hours." Things like "player owned houses" in MMOs were better there because that was the only long term change you could have on the world, and being social games having personal but sharable things like houses actually served a purpose. In a single player game you can simply have the characters actions make real changes and you don't have to rely on small superficial things like housing. You also don't have to gate *everything* in a single player game behind "collect 700 random bits of things from around the world."

    They seem to usually take the "this is a good idea, so lets do it in our game too" approach rather than refining and polishing their core gameplay and ideas. 10 mediocre ideas are better than 3 very well implemented ideas sort of design.

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