Fallout 76: How Mods And Private Servers Work, And When They're Coming

Mods in Fallout 76 only work on private servers.

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Now Playing: Fallout 76: We Played For 3 Hours, Here's What We Learned

Fallout 76, like previous games in Bethesda's franchise, will feature mods, but how will they work with the game's new always-online, multiplayer focus? We chatted with Bethesda marketing boss Pete Hines recently, and he told us that mods in Fallout 76 will only run on private servers.

"Mod support is going to be tied to work that we're also doing on private servers, and letting people do private servers. Mods will be a thing that run on private servers," he said.

Hines said it's unlikely Bethesda will ever allow mods to run on Fallout 76's 24-player public servers. Mods are user-created modifications that are capable of doing pretty much anything people can think up, so it makes sense that Bethesda wants to restrict them to private servers to help ensure a semblance of fairness.

"I don't foresee a universe in which we allow players to come in [to Fallout 76's public servers] with their own unique and different mods. If you want to run mods, they'll have to be done on a private server," Hines explained. "You'll be deciding what sort of mods you're including and running, and everyone playing on that server is playing with those mods."

Mods aren't coming to Fallout 76 at launch, however. Hines cautioned that mods may not be supported in Fallout 76 until November 2019 at the soonest. "It's going to be a lot of work. But mods and private servers are definitely coming," Hines said.

Mods in Bethesda games like Fallout 4 and Skyrim have been and continue to exceptionally popular and helping contribute to the longevity of those games and others across the industry. Those games, however, are exclusively single-player experiences, whereas Fallout 76 is always-online.

Fallout 4 and Skyrim initially only supported mods on PC, but they later came to PS4 and Xbox One, albeit with some limitations. It remains to be seen if Fallout 76 mods will launch first on PC.

GameSpot recently had the opportunity to play three hours of Fallout 76. For lots more, check out our deep-dive written preview and video coverage in the embed above. You can also check out some recent news stories and videos through the links below.

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Avatar image for jsprunk

I've had that stupid Whitesprings quest on my tab for weeks now to kill 10 ghouls on the golf course....which after killing literally 100s of ghouls, I'm still at 0 according to the quest.

Avatar image for Atzenkiller

Will people have to pay for those private servers, or will that actually be the way to be able to play this game in peace without fear of morons messing things up for you? Since I kinda doubt that Bethesda would just let people run their own servers without them profitting from it in some way.

Avatar image for octagneh

@Atzenkiller: Hey Atzenkiller. I don't think anyone knows yet how the "private servers" will function. I have a post in this thread where I explain what Bioware/Atari did in the past, but no one knows what Bethesda will do. IN my example in my other post, Bioware allowed a person to host the game from their home on a dedicated computer. This was neat (at the time) but there was potential for issues such as, if a guy named Bob had a server at his home, and he had three other people that played on his server....in other cities, states, or countries.....and Bob had a power outage, the other players could not play. Or if Bob had someone in his home start a Netflix movie, it would make his game server buck and pulsate in performance. Thus, eventually the idea of "Hosted Servers" came into play. They were actually hosted BY Bioware and you paid like $20 a month for one. When you first got it and logged in, the game was already pre-installed and had a menu where you could start the server, stop the server, send broadcast message, upload mod, remove mod, turn mod on, turn mod off, etc. The hosted server had insane bandwidth and would not suffer power outages.

As far as "morons messing things up"...yeah..for a company like Bethesda who refuses to condone nudity in their games...and in times where each passing new school mass shooting is causing more and more people to blame it on PvP violence in games...I'm really surprised Bethesda threw themselves 'under the bus' on this one and forced PvP. And you can come up with all the Double Speak you want about "oh you can choose to ignore the offender *cough* but they're going to kill you anyway...but hey....they will get a bounty and that makes things better". You can throw all that in the trash when the govt finally has to step in and regulate your game because at the end of the day.....it's still a PvP shooter.

Avatar image for octagneh

This concept is like Neverwinter Nights was many many years ago. A person would host a server (at home or you would lease a server from the game maker) (why would you lease a server? It was not THAT expensive and was on a powerful machine with massive bandwidth) and your pals would know how to log into your server. You would download and install mods (kinda like Nexus with Fallout 4 mods) and when your pals logged onto your server, it would check to see if they had copies of all the mods, if not, it would pause their login and bring them up-to-date, then let them play. The server admin (you) could add and remove mods at will (required a server reset though). I have no idea how Bethseda is going to do theirs.

I too, like some of you have said, am not too enthused about this game's opening offering. Mainly PvP kills it for me. I am 53 years old and I played the original Doom on opening day back when you had to snitch the IPX protocol from your work's Novell floppies to even get a home Tokken ring to work for network play. And every since day one of multi player games, the fragfest of pvp has over time, burned me out. I'm not overly enthused about a game of hording and acquisition being interrupted by some 14 year old punk who is trying to build up his Twitch audience with Rage and Grief videos by killing other players non-stop.

Avatar image for urgelt

@octagneh: I played NWN on private servers and even hosted a few private server games on my own computer. It's worth mentioning that not only were mods allowed, but Bioware provided DM tools, so a campaign could be run on the fly, a bit like pen-and-paper D&D games. The software technology wasn't advanced by today's standards, but it worked.

Bethesda hasn't said anything about providing DM tools for private servers, but if they did, it would be the first time since NWN that a gaming software company did that, so far as I am aware.

Now that Hines has explained that Bethesda intends to allow modding on private servers, I'm much more interested in this title. Mods could add NPCs, companions, quests, gameplay changes, better graphics, all sorts of things - all in the context of the largest open world map Bethesda has yet released. Players could customize a single-player experience, or host customized game worlds for friends. It's actually rather exciting.

Avatar image for snugglebear

They've been using that line since the start, but the timeframe is new to me. A year out? Wow.

Avatar image for Ice-Cube

They could allow UI Mods like how Elder Scrolls Online does, cause you're playing with other people who don't have Mods.. I know ESO is an MMO and Fallout isn't really one but close to it.

I do understand why they chose this route, i'm assuming the Mods are going to be fully fleshed out in comparison to the restricted ones ESO can have.

Avatar image for Marky360

Man a whole year for mods I think I'll wait til they get thing worked out before I jump in any way.

Avatar image for sabredj

@Marky360: This game was always a non-starter for me until mods are available. I love Fallout and Skyrim but once you've played with mods, I don't want to ever go back.

Avatar image for Marky360


Yea agreed

Avatar image for mrdinghat

November 2019 for mods? Lol, no thanks. Fallout 76 will be long forgotten by then.

Avatar image for Shin_Gallon

My interest in this game was already nearly zero, and I didn't expect it to have mods online, but it's nice having confirmation that it will even have them.

Probably Creation Club only, though, which still means I'm probably not buying this game unless it's on one hell of a sale.

Avatar image for sabredj

@Shin_Gallon: If it ends up only Creation Club they are going to have a hellueva PR nightmare on their hands from series fans.

Avatar image for RELeon

Yeah I wouldn't think they would allow mods from private servers to cross to public. That would just be broken. Definitely keep those things separate.

It would be fun privately with friends, but if you could transfer that gear over to public servers, people would just cheese it. Good call and keeping them separate.

Avatar image for bastardcookies

@RELeon: There's a problem with that. Mods aren't gear. Why can't I apply ENB settings to make the game look better? Has nothing to do with gameplay. Why can't I change the UI layout? Has nothing to do with gameplay. Why can't I change locally stored textures so they look different to me without affecting anyone else on the server? How about mods that add more songs/radio stations locally? What if I have a badass rig and rendered all of the textures at 4K and want to use them instead of the potato textures in the game? Again, no effect on gameplay.

Not all mods are "Hurr, look at my god item."

Avatar image for RELeon

@bastardcookies: I get that, and I agree with you. Mods like that would be great. I just think it would be really hard to regulate all the mods to ensure some are not giving people a crazy unfair advantage.

Avatar image for bastardcookies

@RELeon: Have the files stored server side, instead of client side. If you do that the equipment files aren't available to mod. You can change textures, but even if you change the files on your computer the game just pulls all of the required scripting and such (fire rate, ammo, damage, armor, etc) from the server with each load.

Avatar image for Barighm

Oh. I guess that's okay.