Bethesda has unveiled Fallout 76's upcoming PvP mode - and it sounds like a griefer's paradise.

Survival, which launches in beta form at some point in March, includes the same quests, events and story from what will soon be called Adventure mode, but PvP restrictions will be heavily relaxed.

In Survival mode, all players except your teammates or event groupmates are automatically flagged as hostile toward one another by default. Unlike in standard play, in Survival there are no invitations to PvP. This means you can attack other players without restrictions from the first shot. There's level scaling in Survival, too, which means new characters have a chance against high-level characters. The idea is players will need to keep their wits about them during every hostile encounter.

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When Survival launches, you'll have two options to play Fallout 76.

Bethesda said the current planned death mechanic will see players who die in Survival mode unable to use the seek revenge respawn option you currently have in standard play. Instead, you can only respawn at your camp or Vault 76.

The developers also plan to award double the caps for a kill, and those who die may drop their aid or other items as well as their junk (in standard, it's junk only).

Bethesda said you can create new characters for Survival mode, but you can also use your existing ones. Progress carries over between both modes, too. This means you can load up in the relative safety of Adventure mode, then pop into Survival mode ready to rock.

"If you'd rather keep your existing characters as they are, we recommend starting a new one when you head into the more challenging Survival mode," Bethesda said in a blog post.

And finally, Bethesda plans a leaderboard for Survival mode so you can see how you compare with your friends and others in your current world.

Fallout 76 players are already questioning some of the mechanics at play in Survival mode, and there's a lot of concern about griefing.

Take, for example, the death mechanic that forces players who have been killed to respawn at their camp or Vault 76. What's to stop a posse of players from spawncamping Fallout 76, or someone's camp, in order to keep killing them over and over again?

Players are also wondering why Bethesda plans to let current characters in Survival mode. Those who do create a new character will no doubt go up against characters whose level is in the hundreds and with endgame gear. Even with level scaling enabled, this doesn't sound like a fun prospect.

And given your progress carries over between modes, what's to stop one player from using Adventure mode to stock up for Survival, then, when all their high-end arsenal is rinsed, popping back to the safety of Adventure to restock?

The Fallout 76 subreddit is currently packed with posts from players concerned about how Survival mode will end up working. Representatives from Bethesda have stepped in to insist nothing's set in stone, and it'll tweak Survival depending on feedback. There's even the suggestion Bethesda may push the beta launch of Survival back "based on feature work and testing needs".

Fallout 76, as most know, launched late last year in a pretty sorry state, and Bethesda faces an uphill challenge turning the multiplayer-focused post-apocalyptic adventure around. It's already issued a series of updates, mostly focused at squashing bugs and making quality of life improvements (a big new patch is set for the end of January), but what's needed now is more interesting things to do in the game. Survival looks like it'll offer a different kind of PvP experience, but I'm holding out for big new PvE events.

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

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Wesley is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.