Bethesda’s E3 presentation covered many of Fallout 76’s upcoming new features. However, while it devoted a lot of time to covering multiplayer; few details were shared as to how the game would stop griefing and other negative online interactions between players. Bethesda Vice President Pete Hines has now clarified some of what Bethesda has planned for this issue.
Player-to-Player Interaction in Fallout 76
Speaking in an interview at E3, Hines covered how every human in Fallout 76 will be a real player. “When you see a person in the world, they’re a real person,” he explained, “and now you have to figure out [what role they play]…maybe they’re being super helpful, maybe they’re wandering the world as a trader and just trading with people, maybe they’re being a bad guy and they’re part of a raider group.”
It seems Bethesda is taking an open approach to letting players play the way they want to. Without a large cast of human NPCs in the game and the strictures of existing factions; players may be able to roleplay a wider assortment of characters in Fallout 76. However, that would seem to facilitate players acting as enemy characters and aiming to go after other players. Hines went on to explain how Bethesda will have systems in place to stop that sort of behaviour from negatively impacting other players’ experiences.
“[We allow] for that sort of tension,” he stated, “but with systems in place that keep it from being abusive. So you can’t be harassed by somebody who just keeps chasing you around the world and keeps killing you over and over again; the game literally doesn’t allow that to happen to you. Death isn’t supposed to be a super negative thing. You don’t lose your progression, you don’t lose all your stuff, somebody can’t kill you and then take everything in your inventory [and then you have to] start over.”
A System of Challenges
Hines described the game’s player-vs-player combat system as more like a system of challenges than ordinary combat. “Think of PvP more like issuing a challenge to somebody,” he explained, “as opposed to just, ‘no matter what I want to do to somebody, I can.’ The game only lets that go so far before you can basically say, ‘I don’t want to participate in this challenge anymore.‘”
An apt comparison was Hines’ metaphor of encountering a Deathclaw in Fallout 4. In such a case, if the Deathclaw kills you, you could choose to try fighting it again or going somewhere else. Hines stated that a similar choice was at the core of their player-to-player interactions; “That should kind of be how it works for any human person. They can’t keep coming after you, just like that Deathclaw wouldn’t come running across the map and keep chasing you.”
These clarifications certainly seem to be positive control measures for Fallout 76. At present, it seems that Bethesda is taking the issue of online griefing very seriously. Hopefully the choice to hold a public beta prior to release will also help; allowing them to work out any unforeseen problems.