(Editor’s Note: Over the next six issues of the FalloutWV Newsletter, contributing editor John Barton will examine the six principal areas mapped in the new Fallout 76 video game. Please feel free to add your commentaries at the end of the story.)
In the Fallout 76 map, West Virginia is divided into six sections — The Mire, The Forest, Ash Heap, Toxic Valley, Cranberry Bog, and Savage Divide. The Mire is located in the northeast section of the map. If we were to compare the Fallout 76 map to a map of West Virginia, the northeast area includes the Eastern Panhandle. Are all the locations found in The Mire from the panhandle? And why is the panhandle called “The Mire”?
The fan-made Fallout 76 map released by @oscerlot lists three locations in The Mire as “speculative but probable” — Martinsburg, Shepherdstown, and Berkeley Springs. It also identifies Harper’s Ferry as a location “reasonably confirmed by Bethesda.”
All are found in the panhandle in Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson counties, and all represent the region’s rich history from pre-colonial America through the Civil War. Several small battles and skirmishes dating back to the French-and-Indian War were fought here. George Washington surveyed the area as a youth and recruited soldiers from the region for some of his earliest battles. John Brown’s raid of the U.S. Armory and Arsenal also took place at Harper’s Ferry. Hundreds of Union and Confederate soldiers are buried in local cemeteries after having been wounded in nearby battlegrounds, such as Antietam.
In addition, some of the architecture on a yet-unnamed portion of the map is distinctive and could possibly represent Charles Town, the Apollo Civic Theatre, and the Samuel Taylor Suit cottage.
Also, while sinkholes are not uncommon in the state, I wonder if the one included on this section of the map is actually a reference to the Mystery Hole at Ansted near Fayetteville in the southern West Virginia?
The question remains: Why refer to the section of the map containing areas of the Eastern Panhandle as “The Mire”
West Virginia is the only state to reside entirely inside the Appalachian region. The Allegheny Mountains — part of the Appalachian Mountains — run through the Eastern Panhandle and along its eastern border with Virginia. At an altitude of more than 4,000 feet, however, it’s difficult to fathom how the area could be referred to as a swampy bog. “Mire” is a general term for four different types of wetland — bogs, swamps, marshes, and fens. Fens are actually a type of peatland and tend to be found on slopes or flats and are overgrown mostly with grasses and mosses. Arguably, The Mire sounded much more menacing than The Fen.
The Mount Weather location likely stands for the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center just over the border from Jefferson County in Bluemont, Virginia. A top secret civilian-command facility operated in part by FEMA, Mount Weather is less than an hour by air from Washington, D.C.