Have you ever seen Les Misérables? The musical based on the book by Victor Hugo? It’s pretty popular, arguably the most popular musical of all time. And for good reason – the story is relatable, and the songs are great.
If you haven’t seen Les Misérables, here are the basics – the people who have a lot want to keep it, and the people who have a little want a little more. In the end, the have-nots rise up against the system that has taken advantage of them, and the Paris Uprising of 1832 goes down.
How, you may be asking, does this connect to Fallout 76? Let me explain…
We all know about the, we’ll be nice and say “less than stellar” reception that Bethesda’s Fallout 76 got. The latest game in a series that has spanned two decades, Fallout 76 was a shock to the system for gamers. Until now, every Fallout game has been a big selling award winner, and everyone was pretty psyched for Fallout 76. That excitement quickly turned to sadness after the game came out.
Reviewers called the game a “soulless sequel“, a “boundless void, an empty space where it feels like a game was supposed to go“, and a “failed experiment“. Players pretty much just kept away. Compared to Fallout 4, physical sales were down 82%, and digital sales were down 48%. A failed experiment indeed.
Still, we held out hope. It isn’t like there haven’t been other games that had very rough launches only to improve over time and become something players love. Sure, it’s rare when that happens, but surely Bethesda is a company that could pull it off, right?
At the end of October, less than a year after the game’s release, Bethesda added a new wrinkle to Fallout 76 – players could play in private servers. All you had to do was pay them $12.99 a month, or $99.99 a year. Adding to the poor planning was a terrible name for the service – Fallout 1st. That’s right gang, you can pay to keep the huddled masses out of your game! No more dealing with the Miserables, the Wretched, the Miserable Ones, the Poor Ones, the Wretched Poor, and the Dispossessed! Let the common folk scrounge around in the muck while you live the high life! Plus, by becoming a member of Fallout 1st, you’ll get a Scrapbox with unlimited storage for crafting components, a Survival Tent that gives you a new fast travel spot on the map wherever you want, a monthly allowance of 1,650 Atoms – the currency of Fallout 76, the very cool and very iconic Fallout: New Vegas outfit, and a whole bunch of icons and emotes!
This, as you can imagine, went over like a lead balloon. Players were pissed. They spent money on the game when it came out, and it was still buggy as all get out, but here was Bethesda offering a subscription fee service instead of trying to rectify their mistakes. Bethesda had, essentially, created a class system in Fallout 76, and some of the people who either weren’t able or willing to pay a monthly or annual charge chose to rise up.
At first, the reports of Fallout 1sters getting attacked by gangs of regular players was scoffed at. Most people thought it was a joke, or someone trying to start a fake controversy. But then Patricia Hernandez at Polygon looked into it a bit more. She found Khalifa Al-Kuwari, who described being attacked by a roving gang dressed as bears. They swarmed on Khalifa after the Fallout 1ster used an emote that only subscribers can use.
More attacks on Fallout 1st subscribers followed. Not so many that it would be considered an epidemic, but perhaps, just perhaps, we’re seeing the beginning of the Paris Uprising of 1832 in video game form. And while the Paris Uprising of 1832 wasn’t successful, it is now seen as a precursor to the 1848 Revolution in France.