Usually, when video game developers scrub bugs from their games, players are pretty happy. But yesterday, Fallout 76 players were calling on Bethesda to bring a bug back to the game.
This week's big Fallout 76 patch made a long list of bug fixes to the multiplayer game, but one in particular caught players' eye.
Feed the People is an event quest that pops up at Mama Dolce's Food Processing. Once you've collected some beef stocks, some diced vegetable mixes and some meat-flavoured soy chunks, you need to activate machinery from a terminal then defend three control consoles from waves of enemies. While doing this, an alarm bell will ring, signalling you need to head to the terminal to activate a fuse box. You then need to defend the machines again until the next alarm, heading to the terminal once again to activate a valve. You then need to fight more waves until the timer ends.
Like most event quests in Fallout 76, Feed the People isn't particularly exciting to actually do. In fact it's a bit of a pain. But what helped this one stand out was the reward it granted: canned meat stew to all players on the server, rather than only the quest's participants. People liked this as it was one of the few ways players could impact the game - or its players at least - server wide, rather than locally, and that was considered quite nice.
Feed the People looks like this:
Well, it turns out Feed the People's server wide reward was not a cool feature, but a bug, and via yesterday's big patch, Bethesda has squashed it out of existence.
Fallout 76 players noticed this change and have reacted with a combination of confusion and disappointment. The top post on the Fallout 76 subreddit right now, by user nulldesuka, calls on Bethesda to "unfix the Feed the People event".
"That isn't feeding the people!" they said. "In all honesty though I kinda liked the mechanic of giving everyone else an xp buff.
Another post on the front page of the Fallout 76 subreddit, by user Infinite_Worm, declares Feed the People "exactly the kind of community-based quest I would like to see more of".
"Please don't change it," they continued. "In fact, please add more like it."
People have used this post as a jumping off point to suggest other event quests that might get all players on a server buzzing.
NerdyBernie suggests a Defend the Hospital event that rewards all players on a server with various chems, and another that drains a water treatment plant that grants all players on a server purified water. These sound like good ideas to me!
The reaction to the Feed the People change taps into one of the big issues with Fallout 76: for a multiplayer game, player interaction is severely limited (for more, check out our Fallout 76 review). There's little reason to group up other than to make killing enemies quicker and easier or to just mess about with friends. The event quests are so boring and the rewards so limited, most players on a server aren't tempted to take them on. And with PvP such a mess, there's little reason to fight other players. No wonder, then, Fallout 76 players are making their own multiplayer fun through other means.
Bethesda's on the long road to recovery with Fallout 76, and it has said more interesting missions, such as the opening of vaults, are coming down the line. Hopefully better event quests are part of the plan, too.