Fallout 76 has become one of the most talked about games due for an imminent arrival. The title marks the first time that the Fallout series has made the jump to multiplayer, swapping what was previously a solitary RPG experience for a massively multiplayer online format.
Reaction to the news overall has been mixed, with some excited about the title and others a little more cautious about how they expect the game to fare. Either way, Bethesda has been working hard to try and showcase exactly what players can expect when it sees release this fall, and along the way try to address some of the concerns that players may have.
Thankfully, QuakeCon 2018 proved to be a perfect place for Bethesda to reveal more information about exactly how Fallout 76 will operate earlier this August. It wasn’t the only game on show at the conference, with Doom Eternal getting a thrilling gameplay reveal and perhaps walking away with the bulk of the kudos, but nonetheless Fallout 76 became a much more solid project in the eyes of fans. Here are some of the major announcements made regarding Fallout 76.
A question a lot of people have been asking about Fallout 76 is exactly how its player versus player multiplayer is going to work, and Bethesda was able to give a little bit of an explanation about the game’s PvP at QuakeCon. As part of the discussion about the game, producer Todd Howard, project lead Jeff Gardiner, director of content Gary Steinman, and development director Chris Mayer talked heavily about multiplayer, including those big concerns about griefing.
From the sounds of it, Bethesda is definitely aiming to protect low-level players from being unfairly attacked in-game. When a player is fighting a NPC mutated monster in the wasteland, they cannot engage in PvP combat. A pacifist flag is placed on them, meaning that – even if another player does get hit by a shot fired – they will not be able to then instigate a PvP battle. This pacifist flag allows players to avoid PvP altogether, which is a neat touch for those not interested in that kind of multiplayer.
On top of this, Fallout 76 stops players under level 5 from being killed in PvP, but there are even some further barriers to PvP when players hit this level. The first round that hits another player counts almost as an invitation to a duel, or "slapping someone at a bar" as Todd Howard put it. From then, a fight can take place, with a Cap reward for the winner. The losing player will also lose all their crafting material, although thankfully not their equipment and Caps.
However, if a player doesn’t want to take part in a PvP bout and their would-be opponent decides to kill them anyway, the player not only doesn’t receive any rewards or XP, but they will also be free game to other players. The murdered party can get their revenge to earn double rewards – although exactly how Bethesda will address the fact that this could be a good way to get XP quick if it’s carried about between two willing participants will be interesting to see – but other players will also be able to get justice. The murderer will be marked on the game's massive map, and will have a price put on their head, meaning they will likely be on the run trying to avoid other players.
The issue of nuke usage has also been raised as a concern. Players are able to nuke areas of the map, meaning that – if someone learns the location of another party’s camp – they could use the nuke to destroy the base. Bethesda has confirmed that Fallout 76 camps can be rebuilt using blueprints, which is something of a fix for the griefing issue caused by nukes, although it may well still be an irritating thing to watch out for.
A lot of what makes the Fallout series exciting to progress through is the franchise’s perk system. Thankfully, Fallout 76 looks like it will remain true to previous Fallout games. The game will, for instance, still include the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system, as well as allow players to choose from a selection of Perks.
For each level up, the player will be able to put a point into their S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats, allowing them to build their wasteland explorer as they see fit. On top of that, at each level the player is also awarded the ability to assign a perk based on the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. choice they make. There’s a wealth of options available here, much like in previous Fallout games, although it is a slightly different setup from the likes of Fallout 4 with a card-based format.
However, once a perk has been chosen that doesn’t mean that the player has to sit with it permanently. Players will be able to chop and change their perks depending on what kind of gameplay style they need at any given moment. As such, even though their S.P.E.C.I.A.L. skills remain constant, if they’re in a situation where they need, for instance, to be more effective at repairing workshop items, they’ll be able to swap perks around - something to bear in mind for the game's upcoming beta.
There is a level cap for those S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats, however, with players reaching level 50 then unable to add any more to their overall stats in that way. Thankfully, this is not true for perks, and players will be able to choose perks indefinitely after they reach that larger level cap.
There are other gameplay elements that can impact on how players use Fallout 76, however, beyond these perks. Bethesda also revealed that mutations are going to be a big part of the game, and these will impact on how the game plays in a variety of surprising ways. Gardiner explained during the discussion that his character was hit with a mutation called Bird Boned that decreased his overall strength, but then increased his jump height. Hopefully, this will add an interesting dynamic to the title, allowing players to shift how they play as they deal with these mutations.