Bethesda have extended Fallout 76's pre-order beta test very slightly following a bug which deleted the client for many PC players who preloaded, making them download the whole 47GB shebang again. Bethesda are adding four extra hours to Thursday's test period in apology, though that's not much considering some players won't have even finished downloading it again by Thursday. This is a beta test, sure, but it's also something players have paid for by pre-ordering, an incentive Bethesda have stressed in marketing. Given that Bethesda's singleplayer RPGs have a reputation for bugginess, this isn't the most auspicious start for their first crack at a multiplayer sandbox.
"Do not click any buttons on the client for the time being," Bethesda tweeted last night following the start of the PC beta, when many players reported finding a whopping great download grinding into life again. Which defeated the whole point of preloading the beta.
Some players have reported that just opening the client, without even clicking any buttons, was enough to wipe it for them. Bethesda are using their own client for this Fallout, after years of relying on Steam.
"We know some users have been forced to redownload the #Fallout76 B.E.T.A. and not everyone will be able to enjoy the game tonight," Bethesda said in a follow-up tweet five hours later. "To make good, we'll be extending the B.E.T.A. for everyone on Thursday, November 1, 2pm to 11pm ET."
Thursday's testing session was originally scheduled to end at 7pm Eastern, so that's another four hours. After such an anticlimax, it's not much. And many players are losing far more than four hours of potential playtime while they wait for 47GB to finish downloading. For slow or metered connections, that's a whole lot of data.
Beta tests do exist to uncover bugs so they can be squished, but Fallout 76's beta is also a marketing exercise. The public can only get into the beta by pre-ordering, so it's Bethesda's way to tempt people into coughing up cash before reviews are in. People are paying to play this. Well, to try to play this.
Fallout 76's pre-order beta ends on Sunday, November 4th, then the game is due to launch on November 14th. We have some beta impressions brewing, though the intrepid pioneer we sent in was also hit by the preload-deleting bug so we'll all have to wait.