It's been several months since Fallout 76 was released, and as of writing, it continues to be little more than a high-def error message simulator. The list of problems that players have had to deal with since launch day -- which include having their personal information leaked across the internet, getting conned out of merchandise that they'd already paid for, and being banned for using mods (despite the fact that mods are the only thing making the game playable) -- reads less like a list of teething problems and more like signs that Bethesda is trying to crash their own operation ala The Producers.
That is, unless we've been reading the game's title wrong this whole time. Maybe the "76" is a reference to how many patches it's going to take to before it's finally playable. And if that's the case, well ... that day isn't anywhere near being close, it seems.
One of the key mechanics in Fallout 76 -- specifically, its multiplayer mode -- is the ability to launch nuclear weapons. Doing this requires that players find (and decrypt) pieces of launch codes. Once they have all the pieces, they input a code into a terminal located inside one of the game's three nuclear silos. On January 1, this entire system died. Players wanting to access the silos found the doors locked shut (and on a timer lasting 9,999 hours), while the enemy ghouls who have to be killed and looted in order to obtain pieces of the codes flat-out disappeared from the map.
Players were left wandering a wasteland of confusion. What was going on? Was this a new storyline? Did Bethesda remember that the Fallout series was supposed to be about how nuclear weapons are a bad thing? And then it turned out that no, it was a bug caused by a bad piece of programming which broke when the real-life date changed from 2018 to 2019. Bethesda was soon on the case and launched (although not from a silo) a hotfix that took care of the issue. Or at least, it took care of it for now. It's hard to say for certain, considering that it only seems to manifest itself on New Year's Day. (On the upside, if it happens again, we can just rerun this article with the dates slightly changed.)
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