Bethesda Game Studios dropped a nuke’s worth of Fallout 76 details at the recent QuakeCon 2018, including new info on the game’s perk system, PvP system, and more.
During the convention’s Fallout 76 panel, development director Chris Meyer, project lead Jeff Gardiner, and game director Todd Howard went deep into the game’s inner workings, starting with a breakdown of the game’s complex card-based perk system. Fallout 76 uses the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, Luck) system from previous games, but it has undergone a major shift.
When a player levels up, they are granted a stat point, which, like in previous games, can be put into any one of the seven S.P.E.C.I.A.L. categories. Points stop being awarded after level 50, and each category caps at 15 points. New to the series, however, is the perk system that is built into the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes. One random perk card is awarded for each level up, with over a hundred available perks that are specific to one of the seven S.P.E.C.I.A.L. categories. Perks have different point values, and a S.P.E.C.I.A.L. category can only house as many perks as adds up to the number of stat points put into that category. Perks can be upgraded and swapped on the fly, incentivizing players to mix up their strategies based on the situation.
While one perk a level doesn’t sound like much, the game will also reward perk packs, which grant four random perks, plus a helpful stick of gum that will slightly alleviate hunger. Perk packs are awarded every other level below level 10, and every five levels above level 10, and even though players will cease earning stat points past level 50, perks can still be earned. Fortunately, according to Bethesda VP of marketing Pete Hines, the game will not be unbalanced by allowing players to purchase perk packs for real money.
This new perk system can seem overwhelming, but a video posted by Bethesda to the official Fallout Twitter account breaks down the basics of what fans can expect.
You Will Emerge! Brought to you by the Vault-Tec American Tricentennial Committee. Today’s episode, “Being a Better You: Success is in the Cards”.
— Fallout (@Fallout) August 11, 2018
Another major focus of the Fallout 76 panel was Bethesda’s strategy for balancing the game’s PvP, which is something that has been a grave concern for players since the game’s announcement. We already know players can’t engage in PvP until level 5, but there are several other functions in place to make the game’s PvP as non-frustrating as possible. Firstly, when hostilities open up between players, the initial shot will do minimal damage, with damage only normalizing if the victim chooses to fire back. Should an aggressor continue to grief a passive player until they are dead, that aggressor will be tagged with a “Wanted Murder” bounty. Everyone on the map can hunt this bounty for a reward, but should the original victim get their revenge, they will earn double the normal payout.
In a mutually agreed-upon PvP confrontation, the winner will earn a modest amount of caps (currency) and experience. Stats will be standardized in PvP, making gear quality the determining factor of who comes out on top, apart from skill, obviously. There will be options to ignore/block sore losers and griefers, and players can tag themselves as pacifists should they wish not to engage with those around them.
When a player does die, they will drop the valuable Junk they were carrying, but none of their currency, gear, or progress will be lost. Players can respawn close to where they died or back at Vault 76 for no cost, but they can also choose to spawn in other parts of the map for a few caps.
The developer seems to have put great effort into retaining players’ hard work. Apart from saving almost everything a player has after death, the game also has a system to preserve the structures players built. With “Blueprints”, players can save models of structures they’ve built and stamp them elsewhere in the environment, should the originals get destroyed. This will be particularly useful in contending with the game’s player-controlled nukes. While nukes are extremely hard to unlock and cannot target specific players, they can decimate general regions when launched, so it’s good that rebuilding will be fairly easy.
Other details discussed during the panel include the game’s photo mode, team and area voice chat, mod support, character customization, and more. The full panel video can be found below.
Fallout 76 is slated to launch November 14th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, with a multiplayer beta dropping sometime in October.