Almost as soon as Fallout 76 was announced, many began to raise concerns about griefing in the game, and the potential for players to be - well, unpleasant towards one another. As if that wasn't already a major theme in the anarchic world of Fallout.
But there comes a point when some players are too unpleasant even for Fallout, and to combat this, Bethesda has implemented some mechanics to "turn the assholes into interesting content" (in the immortal words of Todd Howard). Thanks to a new blog post by Bethesda, we now have an idea of exactly how these PvP mechanics work.
And perhaps most interestingly of all, one of the modes sounds suspiciously like a battle royale.
The Hunter/Hunted Radio station, which allows players to engage in a "pre-war training session designed for clandestine government operatives", gives participants one hour to track and kill one another in a steadily-shrinking circle. Like a battle royale, it's last man standing - but players appear to be encouraged to track down one specific victim, who can "fight back" if found, whilst being hunted down by their own assassin. It's like a love triangle, but with bullets.
In any case, although it shares some battle royale-esque game mechanics, it seems different enough. With a minimum player requirement of four and a rewards cap of six kills, it's hardly a Fortnite-sized escapade, while the victim/assassin pairings means it's not an immediate free-for-all.
Not to mention you'll probably have to deal with creatures like giant sloths along the way. PUBG's chickens sure have changed.
The other major game mechanic introduced to limit player griefing is the "mutual combat" system. As detailed by Todd Howard at QuakeCon, players can only do limited damage to each other unless they both agree to a PvP duel - which should theoretically prevent one-shot sniping from across the map (a phenomenon I'm all too familiar with as a Rust player). The blog post explains that to initiate mutual combat, an attack must hit another player "directly" - meaning a grenade toss with splash damage won't do the trick.
If you're unfortunate enough to have been bested by another vault dweller, there are also a few re-spawn options available. If you're feeling salty, you can "seek revenge" and immediately respawn in the "general vicinity" of your killer. A successful kill will then earn you some bonus caps to wash down that sweet, sweet taste of revenge. Which sounds a little difficult, given you drop all your items on the ground when killed. Thankfully there's also an option to respawn elsewhere and end the hostility. To save face, I guess you can just say you left your Fat Man at home.
If a particularly pesky vault dweller won't leave you alone, meanwhile, you can simply block them to make it harder for them to communicate and follow you. We need a new Fallout term for ghosting - maybe ghouling, perhaps?
It's been a rough couple of weeks for Fallout, as Bethesda has been accused of retconning the Brotherhood of Steel into the game (although this has since been explained by the developer), while the studio's note to players warning them about bugs isn't exactly filling fans with confidence. From midnight onwards, at least, we should have a better idea of whether this is justified.