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Will Fallout 76 help curb in-game harassment?

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Sep 27, 2018, 4:03 PM EDT

Fallout 76 is Bethesda's latest entry in the long-running post-apocalyptic RPG series. It's going to be a much different beast this time around, as it's going from single-player campaigns to an always-online MMORPG-style setup. There will be no NPCs, Bethesda has confirmed, and it will instead rely on other humans to fill the roles these types of characters would.

It's an interesting and bold move, that's for sure, but it also brings about a valid concern many have about the burgeoning harassment and griefing problems that could arise as part of having a game where the players are responsible for bringing nearly every facet of the experience to life. 

Bethesda has taken this opportunity to let players know that it's been thinking about all this as well, and has in fact taken steps to help curb potential griefing issues and troublesome players who just want to cause problems for everyone else — because no matter how perfect or amazing a game is, there's always a few idiots out there looking to steal items, kill everyone for the fun of it, and cheat. 

The company has stated that it's looking at several systems to help combat these problems, including making those who continually harass others atone by putting bounties on their head with bounties paid out to those who take them out from their own stores. This could very well backfire, especially since it's a good way to get friends in on the action and cause something of a "bounty farming" system, but at the very least it appears Bethesda has thought about the potential problems that come with relying on people to do the same things NPCs could just be programmed to do. 

Given that you'll have to routinely rely on other people to trade, perhaps complete quests, and engage in other important parts of the game that characters would typically be set up to handle. The world is going to be massive, four times the size of Fallout 4, but while it's going to offer an expansive world, you still should realize you're always going to see people, even if it's less than you might think. 

It's not all about being harassed, though, no matter what gender you present as in-game. It's about being left alone to play the game correctly without having to deal with roadblocks from others who delight in making it hard for others to have fun. Bethesda has made mention of a few different measures it's looking to take to help out with this, but so far the company hasn't inspired much confidence in what kind of stopgaps it will use. 

It's unclear what kind of actions Bethesda will take to ensure Fallout 76 isn't a frustrating mess of gameplay mechanics that rely on real-world players to fill the roles given to them in an obedient manner, but hopefully, the team has been hard at work figuring it out. It's an interesting concept that can be ruined very quickly if there isn't a significant amount of effort put into safeguarding players from these very problems. 

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