As soon as Bethesda announced that Fallout 76 would feature PvE and PvP elements, players had concerns about griefing. At the time Bethesda wasn’t ready to explain how it would combat griefing in the game, but the studio did say it had a solution, one that it felt was quite clever.
At QuakeCon 2018, Bethesda was finally ready to explain exactly how PvP will work in Fallout 76 and how it aims to discourage griefing. Granted, it is still possible for players to grief others, but doing so carries a heavy price.
First off, in order to initiate a PvP scenario, players will need to attack each other. If one players does not attack the other then the “handshake” of a PvP encounter will not begin, and the aggressor will only do a small percentage of their actual damage. But if the attackee fights back, then the gloves come off and both players will do appropriate damage for that particular fight.
Even that small amount of damage, though, is capable of killing another player, even if they do not want to participate in PvP. And presumably if the aggressor is of a high level, that small damage could be enough to kill any low level player quickly, thereby hurting their experience. The good news is that players don’t lose anything when they die but they will have to respawn, which can carry a cost. According to Bethesda, respawning at Fallout 76 is free but other locations will carry a cost.
On the other side of the equation, the griefer’s punishment is much harsher. After killing an unwilling player, the griefer will be label wanted and will appear on the map for all other players in Fallout 76 to see. If a player chooses to take up the cause of a bounty hunter they will be rewarded with caps (from the griefer’s own wallet) for the kill. In essence, there is no point in killing another player that does not want to PvP; they will only lose.
Bethesda notes it is still possible for a high level player to engage with a low level player in PvP and for it to be a fun experience for both parties. Fallout 76 compensates for the level difference so neither player feels over or underpowered, but the low level player does stand to gain more should they win the engagement.
Lots of multiplayer games with PvP elements handle griefing differently, but it sounds like Bethesda has come up with a clever deterrent for Fallout 76. Since the griefers don’t gain anything and they stand to lose caps, there shouldn’t be too many vault dwellers causing trouble.
Fallout 76 releases November 14, 2018 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.