Bethesda has somewhat good news for folks who are currently enjoying Fallout 76, along with a bit of a bummer delay for players waiting for NPCs to arrive in post-apocalyptic Appalachia. Next week, Fallout 76 is launching a paid service for private worlds, while the Wastelanders update—set to be 76's biggest yet—has been delayed from Fall 2019 to Q1 2020.
A new update on Bethesda's blog promises that a paid private server service is coming to Fallout 76 next week, but it is otherwise scant on details. "Our goal for players who purchase this service is to offer something for everyone, not just those who want a private server," reads the announcement. We reached out to a Bethesda representative to clarify whether or not Fallout 76 players will need to pay for this service in order to access private worlds and was told that information regarding "benefits, cost, access, etc." are coming soon. The announcement does add that mod support is planned for private servers in the future.
The Wastelanders update, first announced in February and later revealed to herald the addition of NPCs and a brand new main questline for Fallout 76, is being pushed back to Q1 2020 for the sake of quality. "It's going to need more time to be the best, most polished update it can be," reads Bethesda's post. Bethesda included some new screenshots teasing some NPCs, environments, and monsters that will be featured in the Wastelanders update.
Bethesda is also giving players an update on the state of Fallout 76's Atom economy. Atoms, a currency that can either be earned in game and purchased, used to be purely for purchasing cosmetic items. Bethesda has since introduced some gameplay changing items (like repair kits and refrigerators) to the Atomic Shop, and says it will continue to carefully balance the mix of cosmetic items, utility items, and the balance of Atom-rewarding challenges to ensure that players who do purchase Atoms "make the game better for others not just themselves."
After its rough launch last year, adding private servers and reintroducing NPCs stood out as two promising directions for improving Fallout 76. As an online survival game, Fallout 76 could use more features like private servers to support its players. As a Fallout title, it really needs more of a story, which will hopefully come in Wastelanders.
Time will tell whether Bethesda's commitment to supporting Fallout 76 makes it popular with a broader audience, but it's worth remembering that there are still a lot of players who've been enjoying themselves in odd ways and blowing each other up in 76's bizarre battle royale mode. If you're interested in checking out Fallout 76 now, USG's guide section can get you up-to-speed on Fallout 76's unique setting, monsters, and systems.