While Fallout 76's dedicated pocket of fans await the Wastelanders expansion, Bethesda is bringing attention to its play test later this week which will give a few hundred players an opportunity to try out the new content ahead of its full launch.
The Fallout 76 Private Test Server (PTS) will go live on January 17 exclusively for PC players. Sign-ups are only available through Tuesday, January 14 at 6 pm ET, so the studio stresses that you opt in now if you'd like to be considered to join. You can sign up at this link. Bethesda also stresses that more people will opt-in than will be invited, simply because they plan to keep the player pool small by inviting only "a few hundred players." They hope some of the community's most active players are made aware of the play test so that the small pool of players is populated with the game's most committed players to improve feedback.
Bethesda also laid out the terms of the invite, saying players will need to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) when they join, which is customary for things like this. Though player progress from the PTS will carry over from session to session, it is liable to be removed should the dev team need to do so for bug-related reasons. Additionally, all progress made in the playtesting phase will not carry over to the main game, which is again customary for events like this.
Bethesda has not announced a closing date for the private test but said they will update players with that information later. They also make it clear that the private test server remains separate from the public test servers, which are still in the development pipeline at the studio.
Fallout 76 launched on November 14, 2018 to low review scores and a buggy launch. Its average on OpenCritic sits at just 53 from 133 reviewers, with only 6% of them recommending the game to players. The Wastelanders expansion will bring one of the community's most-requested features, non-playable human characters, to the game for the first time.