The Fallout 76 default voice chat being set to open raised one of the biggest issues experienced by fans during the beta for Bethesda’s latest title. Players reported discontent with the fact that they weren’t given the choice to mute other players who happened to nearby, meaning that they would have to hear whatever came through their microphone.
Forbes has reported that “[Bethesda’s] goal with voice chat being on by default is to highlight that the world is alive with real people, other players like you. We like to start with encouraging player interaction.” Although this is a great idea in relation to making it feel like the other players are emphatically being controlled by actual people, it doesn’t quite work unless everyone is fully committed to playing intently without any background noise.
The removal of mandatory voice chat likely won’t be ready by launch, but it will be implemented at some point in the near future. Therefore, players who simply don’t want to have to hear other people’s living room conversations will be able to leave voice chat, experiencing the game in a more solitary fashion—which seems just as viable as having to play with other people anyway.
A good compromise would be to implement a push-to-talk feature, which is also being looked at for a “near future” release. However, yet again, this likely won’t be ready by launch, which is now less than a week away.
Fallout 76 is due to launch on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on November 14, 2018. All players who partook in the beta will have their progress carried over into the full game, so maybe having the opportunity to overhear experienced players early on will help you to get your bearings. However, it is likely that Bethesda will fix the voice chat issues soon, as they constituted a huge part of the negative feedback from beta players.