Fallout 76 PvP explained: challenging other players, getting revenge, and avoiding grief

Fallout 76 (opens in new tab) is new online territory for the post-apocalyptic role-playing series and developer Bethesda alike, which is leaving fans with many questions about how it will all work. The seven minutes of Fallout 76 gameplay footage (opens in new tab) that Bethesda showed off at E3 served as a top-level introduction to the idea of competing with fellow survivors, but it glossed over most of the details. Bethesda marketing boss Pete Hines helped outline the game’s approach to PvP in an interview with Variety (opens in new tab).

Some people mistakenly think it’s an all-out PvP experience with “running around and shooting folk or that you can’t play by yourself, or that nukes are going off every minute or that you can grief people,” Hines said. That kind of speculation is natural, given how different the online concept is from existing Fallout games and how other multiplayer survival games tend to function. But those other games aren’t Fallout!

“It is important to note this is not just a full on PvP game,” Hines explained. “Where you get in the world and everyone shoots everyone. It’s more like a challenge to another player.”

Hines added that “you can’t just let things go unfettered.” What specific limitations or systems will Bethesda put in place to keep players from ruining the game for one another? Some of the specifics are still taking shape, but Hines confirmed a few: you won’t lose progress or loot when you die to another player for instance, and you can respawn far away if you don’t want to get caught in a ganking loop. But if you do want to get your hands dirty “there is a revenge thing you can opt into and try to go head-to-head.”

It’s possible to go too far in the direction of player safety as well. Grief aside, Bethesda wants you to feel a sense of unease when you see an unfamiliar player in the distance and the studio has tried a few different models to balance that feeling with other gameplay concerns: “We’re still trying to figure out how you make it feel like there is some still tension,” Hines admitted. “We’ve tried different versions. I think the one we have now is pretty close.”

Not sure about taking the wasteland online? Read about why Fallout 76 could be the MMO for you (opens in new tab). 

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