Bethesda seems to have something of a war on its hands over Fallout 76's most powerful items. After several weeks of problems with players creating copies of items through duplication glitches, some have now figured out how to access a secret "developer room" in Fallout 76.
This developer room contains plans for every item in the game, including top-tier weapons and unreleased goodies which are supposed to arrive in upcoming updates. Oh, and there's an NPC in there sat all by itself. That's got to be the holy grail for game glitchers.
Reports of this room's existence began to surface on Reddit about four days ago, but some of my sources have told me it has been known about on Discord servers for several weeks. A video showing the room was posted on YouTube - although the original by "Mr. X" has since been removed. You can take a peep at a reupload here:
To find out more about what's been going on, I got in contact with some of the people who have visited the secret area - who wish to remain anonymous - and asked them about the process.
First up, if you were wondering what a developer room actually is, the easiest way to explain is to point towards past Bethesda titles such as Fallout 4 and Skyrim, both of which had their own developer rooms. They essentially provide developers with a space to test items, and typically contain chests filled with every conceivable item in the game.
In Bethesda's single-player titles, dev rooms are accessible on PC via console commands. As Fallout 76 is an online multiplayer game and therefore lacks console commands, its dev room should (theoretically) have been inaccessible - yet this didn't stop some players from discovering reportedly illicit methods to break in.
From looking at the video and player accounts, Fallout 76's dev room (which is technically a series of rooms) appears somewhat similar to the one found in Fallout 4, and appears to have several personalised areas with containers filled with every item in the game. A box called "All Scrap" contains plans for as-yet unreleased items, including power armour paints such as Winterized, Military and Atom Cats. Players suspect these are due to be officially released in the upcoming PvP factions update.
Some of my sources told me players had sold these unreleased items on eBay, although I was unable to find these at the time of writing. The mods on subreddit Market 76, however, have apparently had to ban several users from advertising the illicit items for trade.
Yet if you're hoping to explore the room for yourself, you may want to think twice before attempting the procedure. Several sources told me Bethesda is now issuing automatic account suspensions for those who enter the room. Players are reportedly being informed of the bans via email, and take anywhere from six to 24 hours to be issued. (Eurogamer has contacted Bethesda for confirmation as to whether it is suspending accounts for entering the developer room.)
Despite it now being seemingly risky to retrieve items from the room, some of my sources claimed players are using mule accounts to take the items before quickly transferring them to other accounts before the banhammer comes crashing down (one source told me these items are being traded in a Russian-language trading Discord). Apparently accounts belonging to players who enter the room are being banned, but those to which the items are transferred remain unscathed.
It's likely Bethesda is looking for a way to prevent players from entering the room, and the reported suspensions are a stop-gap measure. The developer has recently made a more concerted effort to tackle item duplication glitches, which had fuelled an entire side-business of people mass-selling legendary items on eBay: sometimes for prices of $45 (£35). The latest patch seems to have killed off many of the main duplication glitches - for now, at least.
This has prompted something of a panic amongst item dupers, as the PC patch was released several days before the patch for the console versions (due out on Monday). Some have claimed game servers on console have felt more unstable than usual since the patch notes were released, blaming a panic over the upcoming removal of duplication glitches. This does corroborate my own observations of Discord servers containing those who use duplication glitches, in which many players have indicated they will dupe as many items as possible over the weekend before the console patch is released.
Something that seems a little more obvious is Bethesda still has some work to do when it comes to securing the online game - although the most recent patch has made significant improvements in this regard. And it's fascinating to get a peek at what's going on behind the curtain of Fallout 76's innards. Yet this episode leaves me with one burning question: why is the dev room's NPC called Wooby?