All right. So here's another twitter rant about #Fallout76 and why it tries and fails to be a 'theme park', and how human (or 'actor') NPCs are necessary when creating a 'theme park' video game.
I have worked at several theme parks over the years - Including Disneyland California.

At Disneyland, you are not just a customer service person, but a 'cast member.' You are there to behave almost like an actor. You are there to help the guests get into the spirit of the park.
This means that when I was at work I would act at all times like a pleasant, genial, approachable person. I would answer the more bizarre guest questions with answers that were in a way, in-character with my role as a park rep, often times playing off the make-believe of the park
Functionally, the role that cast members at Disney parks fulfill is like being NPCs in an RPG. The park is one big RPG playground, and we're there to add to its texture and make it feel like a cohesive community to the guests.
Instead of giving out quests, park cast members get guests into the spirit of the rides and attractions at the park. Our presence is part of the holistic experience of bringing the park to life.

Now imagine if we were all replaced with computer terminals and audio logs.
Granted a living person is obvious more lifelike than an NPC - but NPCs serve the role of 'Disney park cast members.' They are there to do specific things to add texture to the world for the guests. Just as NPCs do traditionally in RPG games. (in tabletop the DM takes that role)
#Fallout76's Appalachia *is* functionally a theme park. (Just as MMOs like WoW are theme parks.) It has its own 'zones' with themes and event activities that are functionally the 'rides.'
If you want to get people into the spirit of your theme park where you are world-building you NEED to have a human face (or anthropomorphized creature equivalents) to act as carnival barkers to attract player interest, ground the lore in reality, and provide memorable characters.
Much like the abandoned theme park zone it has, as it stands right now - #Fallout76 ITSELF feels like an abandoned theme park.

Not a lived-in one where survivors build community and vainly keep up appearances in the ironic 50s-post-apocolypse humor the games are known for.
Think of how much more lively every zone in the game would feel if it was populated with NPCs that - even as extras - told little stories about the world, about the survivors themselves, and about the player's involvement in that world.
I'd like to meet the guy who runs Uncanny Caverns - he could be a kooky weirdo with his own strange dialogue tree that makes players around him gut-bust laughing.

I'd like to trade with human NPCs who make snide remarks about events that are happening or the player's faction.
I'd like to see human NPCs running in panic for shelter from events where monsters are invading a world settlement. I'd like to run into traveling human NPCs in the middle of nowhere who start you off on a quest arc. I'd like to have NPC companion characters that can join a party
All of this stuff adds up to texturing the world and making it feel lived-in, telling more story about the world and getting players - even subconsciously - into the 'spirit' of the world and its lore.
In summation: #Fallout76 is a 'failed experiment' demonstrating how MMO world-building & atmosphere falls flat when you take out NPCs in a setting that relies on human NPC storytelling to ground the experience- the 'cast members' of a Disneylike Theme Park are absent in this game
I will also add - if they do add NPCs to this game, the storytelling can ALSO be utilized then to create a deliberate 'empty' atmosphere in portions of the world that are intentionally meant to feel empty - i.e. an abandoned dangerous mine, or a secluded region of a swamp.
But yeah - adding traditional human NPCs (albeit tweaked for multiplayer in mind in how players can interact with them) who directly inform the player about the world and give it texture will only help #fallout76, not hurt it.
Here's a threadreader page collecting my thoughts in the twitter rant above about how #Fallout76's decision to remove human NPCs is an abject failure of bethesda's apparent design goal of making its world of post-apoc Appalachia a multiplayer theme park.…
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