Todd Howard and company offered fans more details on the revamped S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system, online combat mechanics and other features of Fallout 76 today at QuakeCon 2018.
DOOM Eternal may be the current star of QuakeCon 2018, but that’s not to say this year’s event is lacking in exceptional new games; Bethesda, id Software, Avalanche Studios, and Machine Games have an incredible lineup of titles on display for attendees, including RAGE 2, Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot, the new Prey: Mooncrash DLC, and the highly-anticipated Fallout 76.
The first of Bethesda’s presentations for today, Bethesda’s Fallout 76 Q&A panel featuring Todd Howard, Gary Steinman, Chris Meyer and Jeff Gardner gave new insight on the development decisions and gameplay mechanics behind the franchise’s first venture into online territory. A new “You Will Emerge!” video from the Vault-Tec series of tutorials began the panel with a comical dive into the new perk system. Still dubbed “S.P.E.C.I.A.L.” for all of Fallout‘s individual skill traits (i.e. Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, Luck), players will now receive perk cards with every gained Level. Depending on how many points have been invested into the various S.P.E.C.I.A.L. traits, players may assign cards that total said trait’s number of invested points; if the player’s Endurance is +7, he or she may apply Endurance cards until their total point number is equal to 7. Cards may also be stacked or combined with duplicates, so long as the total card points are still equal to or under that corresponding trait’s points. As players reach higher levels, they will receive Card Packs, containing a random set of cards upon each gained Level. Assigned trait cards can be reset at any time, allowing the player to adjust their perks to fit any situation.
Ever since Fallout 76 was revealed to be an expansive online world, fans have been rife with questions surrounding the potential for PvP (“player-versus-player”) encounters. No gameplay examples were shown on-screen during the QuakeCon panel, but Howard, Meyer and Gardner offered several recounts of in-house testing moments as insight into Fallout 76‘s PvP mechanics:
If someone wishes to instigate a fight with another player, he or she may attack them at will, however damage will be significantly scaled back until the other player chooses to return fire. Once both players engage in combat, attack-power will “normalize”, so neither player has a clear advantage over the other, in case of a severe difference in Level; this mechanic of adjusting firepower for PvP was done to minimize “griefing” or “trolling”. The winner of the PvP duel may loot the player’s Caps (currency) and Junk upon death; additional Caps are granted to the winner if there’s a significant gap between the two individuals’ Levels.
Of course- with much persistence- players may kill others who choose not to fight, but severe penalties will be in store for- quote- “asshole players”. Anyone who kills a pacifist player will be branded a “Murderer”, and a worldwide bounty will be placed on their head; the Murderer will be indicated by a bright red star on the map, visible to everyone presently online. In conjunction with the harsh reality of said player’s position being known to all players, the Murderer’s map will be wiped clean of other players, meaning he or she can only rely on pure observation in the game-world. When players are killed, be it PvP, creatures, Mutants or other inhabitants of Fallout 76, they will drop a sizable amount of their Caps and all of their Junk- a vital material for crafting and upgrading equipment and structures. This feature is flipped for Murderers; to really drive home the idea that one really shouldn’t go hunting pacifist players, not only is the bounty is taken from the Murderer’s own Caps, but he or she will not receive any Caps nor Junk from other killed players.
PvP is surprisingly the least destructive issue concerning potential griefing, thanks to the new ability to launch nukes at various areas of Fallout 76‘s landscape. In case of a potential nuclear holocaust, Fallout 76 players may save their entire home or encampment as a “Blueprint” for a quick relocation; terrain pending, a saved Blueprint will rebuild the entire structure or base wherever the player sees fit.
The entire Q&A presentation can be seen below, courtesy of Bethesda.
Fallout 76 will release for PC, PS4 and Xbox One on 11/14. Those who pre-order the title will have the option to participate in the closed online beta this October.