As announced at Bethesda's E3 showcase, the major Wastelanders update is coming to Fallout 76. After the last cycle of updates have focused on adding more quests, skills, and activities for players, the Wastelanders update will have much more substance to it. The update will bring back human NPCs, add in new questlines, and a full dialogue tree into Fallout 76. The update is designed to advance the story of Fallout 76 as a whole. After the first year, where the various player characters rebuilt the Appalachian wilds, former citizens and even a Vault Overseer have begun to move back in.
A lack of human NPCs and actual interactive quest givers was one of the major misgivings people had about Fallout 76, aside from the bugs. While the lumbering, multiplayer madness of Fallout 76 likely would have shipped with many of the same bugs, placed NPCs would have gone a long way towards making Appalachia feel more alive. There is no release date set for Wastelanders, but the free update is set to come this fall.
This update also precedes a free week for Fallout 76, running from June 10th to June 17th. Obviously, PS4 and Xbox One players can download it from their respective storefronts, but PC players will have to use the Bethesda.net Launcher in order to get their hands on Fallout 76.
Lastly, the Fallout 76 team closed the show with a new look at a free game mode coming to Fallout 76: Nuclear Winter. Likely set to launch after the Wastelanders update, Nuclear Winter is a 52-player battle royale, done in the way that "only Fallout can." Nuclear Winter will start with a beta week running concurrently with the free trial, with the full update likely to come sometime this fall. Based on Bethesda's description for Nuclear Winter, it will be a separate game mode selected from the main menu, and not something found in Fallout 76's version of Appalachia.
According to Bethesda, you will be able to bring over your customized Fallout 76 character into Nuclear Winter, but your level won't affect your damage output and loot drop rates. Nuclear Winter will also feature both PvP and PvE elements, meaning you'll be running from both the irradiated monsters of Fallout 76 and your fellow players as well. Additionally, you'll have the ability to set up bases in Nuclear Winter, as well as find various perks strewn about the game world. All of the perks and monsters have been rebalanced to fit the pace of Nuclear Winter matches, which Bethesda estimates will take about 20 minutes, on average.
Unlike the astronomically popular Fortnite however, Nuclear Winter won't require resources to set up fortifications and bases. Blueprints will carry over from your Fallout 76 character, but turrets and emplaced guns will have to be found in the world itself. Also, players can find and launch nukes in Nuclear Winter, and the effects will persist throughout a match. Nuclear Winter also has its own progression system that unlocks new skins, plans, outfits and more for your character, both in Fallout 76 and Nuclear Winter. All of these changes will be testable by players during the free period this week for Fallout 76, and as an update later this year.
If you want to know more about this and other announcements happening at E3 then be sure to check out our E3 2019 Coverage Hub.