Fallout 76 and Griefing
I have been following Fallout 76 a lot lately. The subsystems and graphics look amazing, but it also sounds like an exciting hybrid for Bethesda. While Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) does have some PvP elements, we have never seen a Fallout game with “MMO-esque” PvP. It feels like with the advertising for 76 that Bethesda is putting a lot into the PvP aspects and they are more than happy to talk about it. This isn’t “bolt on” PvP, this is legitimate, “built into the game” PvP.
As with any PvP system, the key in 76 is going to be able to balance the griefers with the people who want to partake in legitimate PvP, that’s why when I saw this quote from Todd Howard stuck out:
“[our PvP] turns assholes into interesting content.”
The plan is this:
1.) Johnny farms for hours and gets to be Mr. Badass when it comes to equipment.
2.) Johnny gets bored of regular PvP and wants to pwn some noobs, so he goes out into the game (note: weapons are on a normalized level curve, which makes it a little harder) and starts killing level 5 guys who just got flagged for PvP.
Here is where the magic happens:
3.) After killing the low-level players, Johnny now has a bounty on his head. When he is eventually put down, the player who puts him down will receive the (hefty?) bounty from Johnny’s caps (in-game currency).
4.) When he is marked for bounty, he is marked on all other players’ maps. Maybe marked is not the best word to use here, he is featured as a bountied player to all other players; however, he cannot see the other players on his map, and his bounty added silently to his character from his perspective.
I like the plan, and I think it ads an extra layer to anti-griefing. My thoughts are:
The silent bounty is key to this system.
This potentially could add an additional trophy for bounty players. For example, look at me - Not only am I powerful enough to kill noobs, but I also challenge anyone to ‘come at me.’ If this person is successful at holding people off, then Bethesda has just created an unofficial ladder for people to brag about on forums.
They need to make it hurt for the bountied player. Not only should they have to have caps removed, but they need destroy all armor, force repairs, do something to make it hard for them to bulk back up.
My favorite PvP system of all time was the original EQ on the original PvP servers. It came down to: you died, and the person could loot your entire body. If I recall right, SOE ended up making this just one item lootable eventually.
There were tons of griefers in that system, but also some cool unofficial community groups that would form when people banded together to take down people and loot all their stuff and split it between the group with the player’s eventual death. I am excited about this new system, but also just as excited to see how what game system organically comes from this.
Full interview about PvP at Quakecon can be seen here: