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Bethesda has banned a group of high level Fallout 76 players for life as a result of their homophobic attack on others in the game. As reported by Eurogamer, the trouble began when a player by the name of NathanTheHicc asked a trio of other players for a Disease Cure item; when one of them said he had a cute outfit, NathanTheHicc responded with, "I don't fuck with that homo shit," left, and then came back several minutes later with friends and attacked them while hurling slurs over voice chat.
Fallout 76 reduces PvP damage inflicted on players who choose not to fight back as a way of discouraging griefing, and so AJ, one of the victims, told the site that they tried to wait it out in hopes that the attackers would get bored and give up. It didn't happen. "They stuck with it and even joked about how 'this is the strongest queer I've ever seen'," AJ said.
AJ and his friends moved to a different server once they respawned, but because there are no in-game reporting tools in Fallout 76—an absolutely astonishing oversight for a game built around PvP-enabled multiplayer—they were forced to report the matter via Twitter. They eventually connected with community managers who were "very kind and helpful," but the support page they were directed to didn't work properly.
"The site asked for a video file of the incident but the accepted file types weren't video files. So we couldn't send one," AJ said. "For me, the page would not even load. It seems very difficult to report players."
Eventually Bethesda got the full story, possibly because NathanTheHicc actually uploaded a video of the incident from his perspective, titled 'Cleansing of the queers', to his YouTube channel. He admitted to Eurogamer that AJ's claims about the attack are accurate, although he claimed that he doesn't actually hate gay people.
"It was just a late night of having fun and after the first encounter (seen on my channel) we felt it would be fun to offend them somehow. You can call that evil but I think it's just playful immaturity," he said. "I do not regret the incident. I will not apologize, given the opportunity. I don't plan on doing anything like this in the future but to be fair I didn't plan the initial incident, I just found them and decided to go through with it."
He may feel differently about that now, however. After initially slapping him with a three-day suspension, Bethesda made the ban permanent after reviewing the matter. As for AJ, they said the incident was "draining" but expressed greater concern for how that kind of behavior could impact other players who aren't equipped to handle it.
"What if they targeted a kid playing that was struggling with their identity? What if they said all those things to someone that was playing solo and didn't have anyone to talk to? That can really mess someone up. Playing a game to escape reality and then that happens," they said. And while Fallout 76 players can permanently block others, AJ said that's not good enough.
"Simply blocking someone from a session is only temporarily protecting yourself, but not stopping anything from happening again or to other people. For 76 specifically, non-PvP servers would be great. Maybe things would have been different if they were not able to kill us. Despite all the bugs and glitches, the game is fun when you're with friends and can casually explore and play."
PvE and roleplaying servers are two fixes our our Fallout 76 reviewer Chris Livingston called for.