Vault-Tec has charged the inhabitants of Fallout 76 with re-colonizing West Virginia. That’s not the easiest task, considering the state of things. Towns are littered with the remains of those who didn’t make it to a Vault or the few who ventured out prior to Reclamation Day. Super Mutants have taken up residence in some areas, their migration halted by the presence of the Scorched. Both are enemies to you and I—apparently our combined efforts posses a threat to their existence. The good news (for them) is that not all Fallout 76 players get along.
Fallout fans are in an interesting situation. People who loved the once totally single-player the series are rolling solo. At the same time, because Fallout 76 is more-or-less a survival game, it allows players to attack and kill one another. If you’re like me, you might be in the middle. You aren’t really looking to jump into PVP until you finish a decent chunk of the story or successfully craft some strong gear. You know: after you’ve made some headway into your personal journey.
Pacifist Versus Player
This stance makes it difficult to deal with trolls looking to steal your hard-found junk. And while Fallout 76’s anti-griefing systems—like bounties placed over players’ heads for killing those unwilling to play PVP—alleviate some of the frustration, it’s still a pain to watch someone rummage through your stuff after getting ambushed.
That’s not to say that you can’t defend yourself. Playing in groups deters many would-be attackers, for instance. It’s also possible to fast travel away from rival players, since the game doesn’t recognize them as real enemies. That’s tricky, though. Fallout 76‘s controls are a lot of things, but “fast” isn’t one of them. Not to mention quick travel costs caps now.
Your best option is to activate Pacifist Mode. Just pull up the map, hit the menu button to bring up “Settings,” and head to “Game.” From there you can toggle Pacifist Mode on, changing your status for the better. That is if you’d like to avoid PVP when playing alone.
Pacifist Mode removes your ability to start confrontations with other players. Period. You might think that isn’t a big deal, considering you don’t want to start fights anyway. The problem is how fights start in Fallout 76—by someone shooting somebody else. If you shoot another player and they return fire, the game assumes both players opted to engage in battle.
Holding Your Ground
I’ve seen players purposely stand in front of people who are attacking NPCs. The goal is to get you to accidentally shoot them, that way they can kill you without worrying about a bounty. With Pacifist mode enabled, you can’t shoot another player by accident (or by “accident”).
That doesn’t mean you can’t fight back. If you’re in your C.A.M.P., or a friendly workshop, deployed turrets will fire on your attackers while you go about your business. Usually, people will leave you alone given how bad a situation that is. For one, it’s harder to kill someone while simultaneously dealing with their defenses. Destroying the turrets doesn’t exactly help them, either. The offender will instantly become wanted and targeted by everyone else on the server.
Pacifist Mode also reduces the damage you take from other players. It doesn’t matter if they hit you with baseball bats or buckshot. If someone really wants to kill you, they need to work at it. This gives you ample time to escape in most instances.
Not to mention most players give up if they notice you’re a pacifist. Ammo isn’t sparse in Fallout 76, but it’s limited enough that you’d rather not waste it on an artificial bullet sponge. The idea is to make attacking you less worthwhile. They are better off chasing down someone who doesn’t mind fighting back.
The Trouble With Trolls
Being hard to kill isn’t the same as being invincible, though. And Bethesda’s anti-griefing systems don’t prevent trolls from trolling. I learned that the hard way after securing my own workshop. I was clearing waves of Scorched when two players ran up to help me—or so I thought. Not realizing I was at low health after dealing with the remaining enemies, I easily fell prey to these “concerned citizens.” One of them, after my avatar dropped to his knees, started to consume my body. It was… an odd way to go.
So, I lost a ton of loot and had to trek back to my previous location. It was annoying, to say the least. But what really got under my skin was what happened next. After literally eating me alive and robbing my corpse, these two quick traveled to my new location.
They then proceeded to follow me around, jumping in front of my gun whenever I tried to attack an NPC. Apparently, they wanted to kill me again (despite my lack of loot) without doubling their bounties; if I shot them, they could fairly retaliate. I ignored their emoting, constant bouncing around, and all-around jerk-ish behavior, because I wanted to complete some quests. That and I was outnumbered.
The Non-Nuclear Options
Until Bethesda thinks up a better system, these are great tactics you can use to start combat yourself. That’s assuming you want to be a huge jerk, of course. But if it happens to you, there’s really only two options: restart or watch the map to avoid players with bounties.
If you reboot, the game will likely launch you into a new “world” with new players. The griefers will likely move on anyway. The downside is that you’ll lose any workshops you owned, so ask yourself if it’s worth the loss. The second method, fast traveling away and avoiding the baddies, lets you keep all your stuff. Wanted status makes players appear on the map at all times. It’s only removed when other players kill the bounty target, too. So it’s a pretty reliable method of steering clear.
For the most part, though, Fallout 76 is full of players helping one another. I’ve rarely seen bounties pop up on the map or groups of players duking it out. Beginners won’t have to worry about this either, since you can’t attack or be attacked by others till level five. There are those looking for easy marks, though. Hopefully, what I’ve mentioned above will help you stave off a death (or dish it out yourself). Even if it’s just to keep you from accidentally engaging in PVP. As for my two “concerned citizens?” I just got a few suits of Power Armor and a ton of fusion cores. Try me now!