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Fallout 76: Bethesda talks offline play, matchmaking and private servers

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Over the past few weeks, Bethesda Vice President, Pete Hines, took to Twitter to respond to a few pressing concerns about Fallout 76. The bulk of questions centred around how the game's private servers will work, and offline play. Hines also mentioned a few things about matchmaking, post-launch content, and mod support

Related: Fallout 76 BETA release window and South African price list

Hines again confirmed that Fallout 76 will be supported with "free updates for years to come." Bethesda previously mentioned this in a documentary with staff, but coming from Hines, it is now official. The free updates will be regular, but small content updates like events and new items. There will also big major updates, with smaller, free DLC in between.

When it comes to exactly how private servers will work in Fallout 76, it sounds like Bethesda has yet to finalize most details. Hines was bombarded with questions about private servers, mod support on it and so on, to which he eventually replied along the lines of, Let's just get to launch, and that it isn't currently something that's important to Bethesda as they're focusing on finishing the game.

I understand his urgency to get Fallout 76 launch ready, but the specifics of private servers could be a deal breaker for some or the reason why others will purchase the game. Be that as it may, here are what Hines did confirm.

"At some point there will be private servers where you can set up whatever kind of rules and mods you want for yourself and others," explains Hines. Modding is a major part of the Fallout universe, and it how this will work will have a major impact on the game.

When it comes to the release date of the private servers, Hines replied that it will be some time before Bethesda is ready to talk about that, but that it will definitely only be "sometime after launch."

The next question, of course, is how these servers will work. Will it be self-hosted servers or a service for servers? To which he replied that it would be a service for private servers, which could be a very tricky thing. It sounds like it might be a service players will have to pay extra to use. Many online games offer the hosting of private servers as a paid for service (like Battlefield 1's RSP). We will just have to wait and see until Bethesda clears up this question. However, if hosting your own server is one of the reasons why you want to buy Fallout 76, then I suggest you wait until we know more about it.

According to Hines, you will have your own private server, but Bethesda will host it. So it definitely sounds like having your own Fallout 76 server will only happen via a service by Bethesda that you will probably have to pay for. The next question would then be, who has full control over your server, and how far will Bethesda allow users to tweak their servers? How ill modding work and so on.

Regarding server availability and if you'll be able to connect and group up with friends across the globe, Hines replied that "You're just playing. If you have friends in other countries you want to play with, you can."

Sounds like general matchmaking principles, and that joining as a party won't be a hassle. You can have a squad of up to four people when joining as a party. Servers won't host massive amounts of people, you might even struggle to run into other players, so it sounds like the focus is more co-op centred than player-vs-player focused.

Marco voiced a concern last month that Fallout 76 will be more like a glorified RPG battle royale, but I don't see that happening with so few people able to join a server. Bethesda also previously confirmed that the maximum server size will be capped to 32 people. There is also no ring of death and rewards for being the last man standing.

The next big question is if there will be any form of offline play available. This is something that pops up repeatedly, and Hines made it clear that Fallout 76 isn't intended to be played offline in any manner.

"It's a server based game. I don't see us completely re-engineering it to somehow be an offline game that is entirely client based."

The point is, Fallout 76 is an online multiplayer game; if you're looking for a single-player experience, then this is not for you.

The Fallout 76 releases on November 14 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The controversial beta opens in October, Bethesda has yet to announce the specific dates, but we know it will release on Xbox One first.

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"I don't see us completely re-engineering it to somehow be an offline game"

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