Fallout 76 is Bethesda’s upcoming online multiplayer action RPG set in the Fallout universe. It’s the first title in the series – and the first game by Bethesda Game Studios – to be a fully multiplayer experience.
At QuakeCon Todd Howard announced that servers will be both public and private, allowing players to invite friends should they choose to do so. Additionally, every human you see in the game world will be another player. From the sound of it, this one’s going to be pretty groundbreaking.
If you thought death was a frequent enough occurrence in previous Fallout games, remember that all you had to worry about then was AI enemies. Fallout 76 will introduce enemy players into the mix along with the addition of a full-on PvP mode. The elephant in the room becomes our main question here: What happens when you die in Fallout 76?
Since the game is no longer a single-player experience, saving and loading will not work the way they have in the past. “For a long time we tried testing where there was no punishment at all,” says Development Director Chris Meyer. “That took all the sting out of death. People used it to their advantage … it didn’t feel right. But we didn’t want to make it to punitive.”
When a player dies in Fallout 76 the only thing that will drop is their junk: Odds and ends like leather, bone, rubber, or silver. That means players will not be losing anything of real value or worth like guns or armor. “Junk is nothing that you can’t just re-get if you keep playing,” Todd Howard explained. “But collecting that junk you lost was still sunk time. Do you want to go back and get it? Before this, you could just run into a dangerous area and there’s no penalty of death. You can just fast-travel back. Now there’s a moment where you pause. ‘Do I want to take a moment and collect my stuff? Maybe store the junk before I head into danger?'”
The only instance where a player will lose more than simply junk is when facing off with another player. Die in PvP and you’ll lose caps, too, which are the game’s main form of currency.
The junk you drop can be reacquired at the spot where you died, but other players can pick it up just as easily. That means going back to retrieve it might not be logical – will it still be there? How valuable was the junk? Items like screws or silver are very valuable, so players are encouraged to consider lock it away before leaping into a dangerous scenario. That junk is safe from other players and can be kept in stashes seeded throughout the game world.
As far as respawning, players can re-enter the game from anywhere they’ve unlocked, just like in Fallout 4. Fast-travel will work the same way too. Spawning at Vault 76 will always be free, so will be the spot closest to the wherever you died. If you want to spawn somewhere further away, that’s going to require spending caps. The cap cost will depend on how far away it is.
So you play, you die, you lose junk, you respawn for free at either the vault or close by, and you decide whether you want to retrieve your lost gear.
Death has a sting, but it’s nothing too severe.
To see BGS describe the death system firsthand, check out this video of their full panel at QuakeCon: