Beta planned for March
One of the weirdest aspects of Fallout 76 is the way it handles multiplayer combat. One person has to initiate things by firing away at another person, slowly chipping at their health the whole time. It’s sort of Fallout‘s take on old-timey duels and slapping your enemy across the face with a glove. However, if the under-fire party doesn’t reciprocate, it turns into one person slowly-but-annoyingly killing the other — a drawn-out griefing process that no one’s really happy with. It’s far from perfect.
Bethesda’s working on a new mode for its more aggressive players. It’s called “Survival” and it places unique emphasis on PvP. Bethesda gave a detailed account of nearly everything about Survival in its latest “Inside the Vault” post.
When Survival eventually goes live, Fallout 76‘s main menu will splinter into two different play types: Adventure and Survival. Adventure is the Fallout 76 that launched last November. It stays exactly the same, and is probably considered the “true” Fallout 76 experience or whatever.
Survival, on the other hand, turns other players into one of the most dangerous foes in the game. There’s no restrictions on initiating combat. Anyone can shoot anyone at any time. Level scaling will work just like it does in regular Fallout 76, which means that a low-level player still poses a very realistic threat to a high-level player. (This system is almost certainly in place to prevent high-level players from mowing through everyone else and making the mode nearly unplayable.)
Bethesda says it’s not sure exactly how it’ll handle death, but Survival’s first implementation will send the deceased back to either their camp or Vault 76. There won’t be bounties placed on whoever did the killing, because that’d kind of defeat the purpose of encouraging player combat. As a way of raising the stakes, the victor will earn extra caps and will be able to loot aid items off the defeated player’s body. Although, it seems unlikely Bethesda would put all of a player’s medical supplies up for grabs because they were bested once. That seems prohibitively punitive.
While Adventure players are not at risk of Survival players hunting them (they’re separated on different servers), there is crossover between the two modes. It’s entirely possible to enter Survival with the character you’ve created in Adventure. However, Bethesda notes that Survival ramifications also carry over. Any items lost on a Survival server remain lost when switching back to Adventure.
Apart from the multiplayer combat differences, Survival is the same Fallout 76 content that has been in the game since launch. It has the same quests and story, just with the added caveat that other players can get in the way. We’ll see what Survival amounts to in a little more than a month’s time. Bethesda plans to hold a Survival mode beta (with leaderboard support) sometime in March.