The Fall of 76

If you found this tape, it means
that everyone is dead. Or working at a different office. How did this happen? Well, I’ll tell ya. Buckle up! Buckaroos. Today’s lesson is the misfired launch of Fallout 76. June 2018. It began with everyone getting
just a little hyped up. [Todd Howard] “Have we waited long enough, guys?” [Internet Historian] Oh, God, yes we have, Todd! [Todd] “Think we have-.” [IH] Fallout 76. Bethesda’s biggest game yet. MY GOD, it was exciting and they promised we’d
know more at E3! E3 hype time! The press conference! 16 times the detail!! [Todd] “16 times the detail.” “All new rendering, lighting,
and landscape technology.” [IH] 4 times the map size! [Todd] “It is 4 times the size of Fallout 4.” “And it’s our biggest one yet.” [IH] My God, it was excitinggg! November 14, 2018. The game goes live, with a day one patch of 50 gigabytes. [Text-to-speech] “For fuck’s sake.” “I’ll see you tomorrow.” [IH] But once that’s downloaded, people start logging into the
hellscape that is Fallout 76. And, oh dear lord, they
never fixed the bugs. And there are so many of them. Goodbye, world. Goodbye, necks. Goodbye, body. Goodbye, heads. Bugs, bugs, bugs, everywhere. Server crashes. Game crashes. Old bugs imported from Fallout 4. Use more than one nuke at a time?
Server’s dead. Textures far too texturous. An all-consuming void. Error log 3:0:7. Can’t pick up stuff. Can’t stop asserting dominance with a T-pose. Frame rate problems. Screen tear problems. Getting too swole. Getting underneath the map. Getting attacked by invisible enemies. Spawning too many enemies. “Kinda speaks for itself.” Spawning too many god rays. Also, your C.A.M.P. resets after every session and sometimes it goes underwater. Holotapes randomly play static, but too many holotapes mean
NONE of them will play. Enemy AI is far more A than I. Animations are broken. Surprise! Floating objects and a Traveling Merchant. Just to name a few. Joseph Anderson has a great video that documents
just the ones that he found personally. That video is THREE hours long. But it gets worse. Error CE-34878-0 can corrupt your data and force you
to reinstall the game and console operating system. A few PC players had their
computers brick entirely. Also, when the date rolled over
to the 1st of January 2019, the nukes in the game stopped
working altogether. No one thought it prudent to program in
other years in an always-online game. And a few players were straight-up logging
into other people’s accounts. This guy had a level 78 character that was
randomly replaced with a level 8 character. Bethesda said they couldn’t
do anything about it. Many players are… not thrilled with this game, and they want Bethesda to know that. And they want everyone else to know that, too. But Bethesda owns the platform. “Is Fallout 76 fun?” [Text-to-speech] “YES IT IS.” “Banned for racism.” “Thread locked.” [IH] They had no direct outlet for their rage. The only solution was to put
a torch to everything else. Reddit. Twitter. Bethesda’s other games on Steam. The backlash was immense… but surely level heads would prevail. The reviewers would come out and
say that the game isn’t so bad. *Kaboom* Oh, dear lord, they hated it. This is so sad. Despacito, play Country Roads. ♫ Almost heaven, West Virginia~ ♫ ♫ Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River ♫ And the YouTube community
had this to say: “It’s really f*cking boring.” “Could barely bring myself to play
it in order to finish this review.” “No one on staff wants to play
any more of this video game.” “Not gonna… subject myself to another
20-30 hours of this fucking mess.” “In short, Fallout 76 is morally, technically,
and creatively bankrupt.” [IH] The mods on Bethesda forums
were working overtime. The mods on Reddit almost gave up. Look, I’m not saying that some people didn’t
enjoy and have fun with this game. But what I AM saying is that the Metacritic
was really funny to read. So what happened? Well, it came out that development
was hugely rushed. The deadlines were tight… too tight. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Plus, this wasn’t Bethesda’s A-team. It’s actually a relatively inexperienced
divison based in Austin. And the scope of the game
kept getting bigger. [Todd] “We’re gonna need
distant weather systems.” [Text-to-speech] “Hey Todd, I stayed
up all night and I just finished-” [Todd] “We’re gonna need
16 times the detail.” [Text-to-speech] “Please. Todd. No more.” [Todd] “We’re gonna need 4 times the size of Fallout 4.” [IH] That, and they were trying to patchwork the old
Bethesda Creation Engine into a multiplayer framework. What else could you expect? “That’s why I give my kids Fallout 76.” [crash] Now, Bethesda could tolerate the bugs and
the bad reviews and the irate players… but what they couldn’t tolerate were the exploits. Infinite inventory. Infinite invisibility. The frame rate was tied to the game speed, so
people were going a lot faster than they should. Server hopping for more items. Infinite cash and infinite duplication. Unlimited XP. Unlimited nuking. (The nuclear codes were unencrypted and
you could wall-clip into the quest room.) And someone was given the curse
of infinite invincibility. Naturally, this can really mess with
other players’ online experience, so Bethesda was ready with the banhammer… [Todd] “This just works.” [IH] …and a blindfold to wildly flail around and
take down anyone who happened by. But Bethesda wasn’t satisfied
with just banning. No. They’re a progressive company
with big ideas. They wanted to give a road to redemption. So support sent out this email
to players caught cheating: “We would be willing to accept an essay on ‘why the use of third-party cheat software is
detrimental to an online gaming community’.” That’s right. 500 words on why you’re a very naughty boy and they may just give you your account back. But a couple of days later, the mocking from news
outlets caused them to reconsider this approach. One more exploit. In all the Bethesda games,
there’s a dev room. Every item in the game is kept here. Security has to be top-notch,
because otherwise, someone could just waltz in and take
all of the best items in the game and it would be an absolute disast- Well, shit. Of course, Bethesda wasn’t equipped
to deal with the issue. People started flooding in, taking
the best items in the game, then selling those items on
a black market of sorts. At first, they tried the usual approach: (Pump that 12 Gauge in me Daddy Todd) banning people who had some
of the best items in the game. You spent 700 hours just
to get the best gun? Die, cheater! Next, they put in a system where players would
get tagged if they ever entered the room, and they banned those players. That wasn’t much better, because people
would just start using smurf accounts. Get in quick with a level 1 account, get all that good shit, then get the fuck out. Then use a duplication glitch to
get a ton more of those items. Then transfer that stuff to your main
account and you’re good to go. Bethesda then takes out this level 1
and calls it mission accomplished. And you’ve just beaten the game. So the problem continued. Bethesda is running out
of ideas to solve it. There’s a lot of speculation in the media and among
players about how exactly people are getting in, but no one except for the exploiters
knows for sure. That said, Bethesda needs to act fast before
it ruins the economy of the game. So they wrote another email
and sent it out to the smurfs. [clears throat] “Uh, hello, cheater. Do you want to tell us how you did it,
and we might unban you? Please? Should we not hear back from you, the
account will simply remain suspended.” It’s not known whether this approach worked, but from what I’ve seen, it’s still
possible to get into the dev room. November 22, 2018. Just a week after the release,
the game goes on discount. From $60, to $40… to $35… to $30. You can find it for $15 on eBay and in Germany they’re straight-up giving it for
free when you buy a PlayStation controller. Also, some stores are just zip-tying it to other products. But to Bethesda, it’s worth selling
the thing at a price close to $0, because it brings people into the Atomic Shop (which is where the real margins are), and it inflates the poor sales figures. Let’s have a look at those. The latest figures show 76 sold less
than a sixth of what Fallout 4 did. Not good. There’s also been a massive oversupply
of hard copies. Although what’s the point of a hard copy
when the thing is just a cardboard disk telling you to redeem an online code? And while sales are low, returns are high. Immediately upon release, people began
asking Bethesda for a refund. 76 is not on Steam. It’s on
Bethesda’s own platform… so they have all the control. If players only played the game for a few hours,
then generally, they’d get their money back. However, it came out that people were sometimes
getting refunds after a full 24 hours of play. Quite generous! But then word about this
spread to forums. Then to Reddit, and a post got 12½ thousand upvotes, informing people that this made pretty
much everyone eligible for a refund, and the comments told them
exactly how to do it. Bethesda was flooded with
requests for refunds. And their response? “Shut it down, lads!” “No! No! No one gets a refund now!
Everyone go home! Show’s over!” “Robot customer service man engage!” [Text-to-speech] “Customers who have downloaded
the game are not eligible for a refund. We apologize for the inconvenience. DIE-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-” [IH] A few things followed. First, people got mad. One hardcore gamer even trashed a
GameStop for refusing his refund. Thank you for calling GameStop. This is Brian how can I help you? A bit of an overreaction… but probably also fake. Second, the media. And third, a class-action lawsuit. Their inconsistent refund policy and terms
of service may not be strictly legal. November 27, 2018. Migliaccio & Rathod LLP filed a class-action
suit on behalf of customers. Media quickly picked up on that. Their main argument is that it’s a sometimes
unplayable game (owing to its technical problems), that they’re refusing refunds, and that Bethesda is engaged in
a strategy to release it anyway and then slowly patch their way
into a more playable state. Updates on this lawsuit are slow, so I’ll keep
you informed on the second channel. [Ad time.] Look, there’s a meteor headed
straight to Earth! Oh my God! We must do something! Was anyone curious enough
to read about it online? – Not me. – Not me either. – Nope. – Oh no! Now people think I’m dumb
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signup process to get the first 30 days free. Then cancel anytime. WINK. Pl-please. Look, I need- I need sponsors. I- I bought a lifetime supply of toilet paper,
thinking I was saving money, but then I left it out in the rain
and the crows got it, and now I’m back to square one. Please. [Ad’s over.] Let’s rewind a little bit. Fallout fans made their pre-orders, and the most dedicated pre-ordered
the Power Armor Edition. Wow. It came with a helmet, box, map, army toys, and a genuine West Tek canvas bag. [angelic choir] Fast-forward to the release… and customers notice that their precious bags, which are supposed to be made of
the finest canvas in the land, look a bit… different. In fact, it looks like a carry bag
the REAL bag should come in. Did they really just advertise one
thing and deliver another? You can’t do that! So there was a surge of backlash, and people began emailing Bethesda, asking for refunds,
asking for answers. By this point, customer service
is absolutely over it. They are done with the façade, and
they send THIS email in response: [Text-to-speech] “Hello. We are sorry
that you aren’t happy with the bag. The bag shown in the media was a prototype
and was too expensive to make. We aren’t planning on
doing anything about it.” [IH] That’s the whole email. Staff at Bethesda aren’t even
hiding their contempt anymore. Naturally, the internet goes wild. [Y] “Are you fucking kidding me?” [TQ] “Wow.., Wow..” []”I got so mad, I shaved
everything off my face!” “Okay, guys, this is a bit of a PR nightmare.
We have to quell the outrage. What do we do?” “Well, we’ve got this in-game currency. Let’s just give them the
minimum amount of that.” “FANTASTIC idea.” “Hear ye, hear ye! Anyone who paid $200-300 for the Power Armor Edition
is hereby entitled to $5 worth of in-game currency… that you’ll be able to spend with us.” “500 Atoms? Fuck yeah!” – What are you gonna do with YOUR Atoms? – I’m gonna buy 5 eighteenths of the white
paint version of the Power Armor! – Whoaaa!
– What about you? – Light Wood Laminate, Light Wood
Laminate, Light Wood Laminate! – [gasp] Fuck the bag!
– He’s right! Fuck the bag! [chanting “Light Wood Laminate”] Of course, this was Bethesda’s
fantasy of what would happen. What really happened is further outrage. And even the media started piling on. ♫ Almost heaven, West Virg- ♫ It even became part of that
class-action lawsuit from earlier. Bethesda put out a tweet apologizing
for their curt customer service and gave a different excuse for why
they didn’t make the bags. A shortage of material, apparently. That was quickly debunked… because it turns out they DID
make the canvas bag, except they gave them all
out to influencers. Oh dear. It’s not the same one, of course, but it’s sourced from that
ever-scarce material, canvas. But what’s more amusing is that it turns
out there is a canvas bag in the game, if you don the postman’s outfit. Which, of course, can be
found at the Atom Shop… for 700 Atoms. Ooh. Just short. Well, the bleating from the online community continued,
and Bethesda’s lawyers realized there would be trouble, so they decided to capitulate. “Alright, fine, we’ll make your
precious fucking bag. If you want to claim it, you’ll have to fill out this form with your
name, personal details, address, etc. etc. and we’ll ship out the bag to you in 4-6 MONTHS.” But it doesn’t quite end there. Because Bethesda is known for bugs and of course their website is a buggy mess, too. Turns out all of the customer support inquiries
are unsecure and open to the public! In fact, people can open and
close and change them at will. Listed are details of full legal names, phone
numbers, home addresses, and more! If you’ve requested your canvas bag,
you’ve just been doxxed. Not knowing how to immediately
fix the problem, Bethesda panics and temporarily shuts
down the whole website. And that is the tale of the Duffel Kerfuffle. How could this have been so difficult?
They made one for New Vegas. One last piece of merch: a rum drink, Nuka-Cola Dark. Pre-order’s available in September. Shipped out on November 14. $80 plus postage and handling. Not cheap. But in return, you got a very cool bootle. Looks good on the shelf. A great conversation piece with
the family over Thanksgiving. Or at least it would have been. November 14 came and went,
and there was no rum. Er, okay… A week later on November 21,
an email comes through. There’s a delay. “Things aren’t up to the usual
Fallout standard”, they say. “the usual Fallout standards” “all of this just works” “things aren’t up to the usual Fallout sta-” “So we’ll have it for you soon.” No specific date given. Nothing. Then on December 5, another email. “Good news! We start shipping on December 12.” It’s been nearly 3 months since you pre-ordered, but as a show of good faith, we made
this promotional video for you.” And this is where things went
from tardy to retardy. Right there. Did you catch that? That’s just a regular industry bottle and a plastic shell. We paid $80 and waited a quarter
of a YEAR for a plastic shell? People were not happy. Look at that ratio. Nothing in the marketing said that it was a plastic shell. “SUPER PREMIUM”, we were promised. And the media agreed. People began cancelling their orders. Silver Screen tries to convince people
that it’s not cheap and shitty. “It actually cost us twice as much to make
the plastic one than the glass one!” Then what the fu- “We spent a hundred hours coding the design.” Convincing stuff. So it arrives, just a few days before Christmas. The rum is about the quality you’d expect. “Oh god. Can I swear on this? It’s my own show. Agh.” Worse is the design. The oversized lip means liquid
can pour inside the shell. “Hard to pour ’cause… of how
they made this damn thing.” “I spilled like half the shot.” “Very dribbly…” So you’re best off opening the whole
thing up to prevent spilling. If you do that, there’s a good chance
that you’ll snap the flimsy plastic. Any liquid will immediately ruin
this cheap paper sticker. Some made their own at home, and
the quality was about on par. But look, if you do want a decent version of this
product, there are reputable sellers of them. They’re on Etsy. They’re far cheaper,
and they actually give a shit. Not gonna lie, though. Some of the memes
that came out of this were pretty good. Now, many claim that this
was an honest mistake… “Sorry…” …or that customers were at fault for
misinterpreting ambiguous marketing. I disagree. All of the marketing shows other glass items. All of the mock-ups show something more
akin to frosted glass than plastic. They give plenty of descriptions of the product, too,
and not once do they mention plastic. And they were engaged in a bunch
of other tomfuckery as well. Before the product was even available, they flooded
their own product reviews with a bunch of 5 stars. This raised some eyebrows, and people
on Reddit even called them out for it, so they deleted them. You can see all this activity
on the Wayback Machine. Now, if they’re happy to
deceive people in this way, it seems silly to give them the benefit
of the doubt about the glass. It’s also worth quickly talking about
the Bethesda Merch Store. Some of these items are pretty neat. That’s cool. Good idea. I’d have that. Fallout 76 pant. Singular. But why is he so mad? The photography is all just slightly… off. This gaudy jacket was mocked
relentlessly on social media. But does the 76 in $276
really make it more immersive? And why did they just toss it on the ground? And it comes in this crumpled-up toddler body bag. You’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars
in merch, and you don’t have an iron? Why is she wearing the size XXL?
She’s clearly not happy about it. But who looked at this and said: “Good job. Print.” Now that’s surprising. And what the fuck- They made the bottle properly! Yeah! One of THOSE, please, but bigger and brown! Is that SO hard? Let’s get back to the game. December 2018. There are two new patches
released that caused quite a stir. First, the good. For PC, they included a number of quality-of-life
improvements, including push-to-talk! [Squidward saying future twice] But also brought in field of view sliders. Hooray. Increased stash capacity from
400 pounds to 600 pounds, and a small buff to automatic weapons. Hooray. They decreased the carry weight of bobby pins so
it no longer took up 10-20% of people’s inventory. [Todd] “I got a box of bobby pins the
other week. It said ‘Weigh these’.” [IH] There were also upgrades to the C.A.M.P.
that allowed for easier construction and a bunch of bug fixes. Hoo-ray. The bad. A whole bunch of unannounced
stealth nerfs. They generally made the game grindier. Ammo production was decreased. Fusion cores burned out faster. Legendary enemies spawned less frequently. [Text-to-Skyrim-chicken] “En garde. I’ll f-ck you up.” [IH] And the backlash was significant, because everybody knew why
Bethesda was doing it: to encourage people to use the Atomic Shop. And let’s talk briefly about that store. Some of the prices are outrageous. A Christmas tree for $12. A Santa outfit for $20. Blue and yellow paint for $18. Oh, look – $3 for the same sweater vest and
slacks item imported from Fallout 4. But the biggest offense of all
was the holiday emote bundle. $24 for some Christmas-themed emotes. Twice the price of these games. The media agreed that these
were egregious prices. But worse, they’re engaged in some
deceiving marketing practices, too. Oh, look! It’s marked down half price! But it’s not. It was RELEASED half price. They’re artificially jacking up the price, only
to then give it a fake limited-time discount in order to create a sense of urgency. That’s illegal. (Here in Australia, at least,
in Canada, and in the EU.) Reddit quickly picked up on
this and pointed it out. Bethesda reacted by scrapping the “discount” and
just setting it as the always-intended price. Okay, it’s been about 25 minutes of whining
now, so I’m just gonna leave it here. I didn’t even get a chance to touch
on the new pay-to-win fiasco, the new camera item that lets you teleport, dwindling player numbers… But, on the flip side, they’re also adding new content
and improving the game over time. Heck, No Man’s Sky was a surprising comeback. So… maybe Bethesda can do it too. But for now… Todd returns to cryostasis… hiding in his bunker until the bombs
of outrage stop falling… and returning only when it’s time… to get our hopes up once again. CURIOSITYSTREAM.COM/INTERNETHISTORIAN Not many people know this, but I’m
actually quite a good rap artist. Rappist, if you will. So I’m going to say all these names
for you from the credits as fast as I possibly can, in
time with the scrolling. Here we go. One take. Jesse Deal, Miles M-Millikan, Justinroiland… oh, uh… Steve Rizzo, drutters, IndigoZero,
Luke Hackel, Astatine210… aw, fuck… Jordan Prince, uh, DrTexx, Papa Spicy,
Peter Tefft, edgeykidX, Bryce Toyler Hamm, No-Nate Odenkirk, uh- Sanya Waffles, Crabby- If you wanna get read by the rappist,
then why don’t you head over to… [heavy sigh]

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