The instability issues and consumer rights scuffles are fun to yuk at, but hardly the thing that puts me off the most about FO76 as a whole. It’s mainly plundering the iconography of the series (particularly, the 60s retro-futurism that F01 and 2 used in service of a broader point about conspicuous consumerism) to prop up a work that wholly rejects the role-playing priorities of its forebears.
During a playthrough of FO4 on Spoiler Warning (which Chris Franklin of Errant Signal was on), they were speculating when/if Bethesda were going to eventually make a game in either the Fallout or TES series that abandoned the role-playing elements in favor of a presentation-focused directed experience. While FO76 definitely isn’t exactly that, it is a complete divergence from the story RPG format to one that’s currently in vogue (multiplayer survival).
FO4 was already heading in that direction with a massively simplified and reductive dialogue tree system that existed primarily as a way of streamlining the process of getting and completing kill/gather quests. 76 is the obvious conclusion, where real NPC interaction no longer exists and you’re automatically fed kill/gather quests through basic UI interactions.
(I’ve heard the argument that some of the recordings in 76 are well-written, which I’m sure they probably are, but that fundamentally does not change the fact that the player has no meaningful capability of actually role-playing within those stories)
It’s not like you can’t have that level of story interaction within a multiplayer-focused genre, for all of Star Wars: The Old Republic’s issues with the story and MMO elements fighting for attention with each other, Bioware made a genuine attempt to include the alignment-based character role-playing that the KOTOR games were known for. FO76 throws the possibility out the window, while trying to maintain a surface-level impression of a story to facilitate a critical path for people playing on their own.
And Fallout’s brand of character role-playing isn’t so sacred that you couldn’t try to use the framing for a different genre interpretation (no one’s going to be arguing that Fallout Tactics was some betrayal of the series identity), but you need to put in the legwork to make it a fully-realized game within that new genre. They’ve just taken the junk economy and base-building mechanics from FO4—which themselves were a half-realized idea to justify the work in placing all the trash around the environments—and ported them over into a multiplayer server mod with very little adjustment, while leaning on the Fallout IP to fill the void. There are much, much better multiplayer survival games than this.
They’ll probably spend the time ironing out the most glaring technical problems, and build on what they have so that no one can accuse it of lacking capital-c Content™, but it’ll still be a nothing game. One part Fallout-but-not-really nothing, another part survival-mechanics-but-not-really nothing.
It is the most Bethesda-ass resting on their laurels project imaginable. This was going to happen in one form or another.