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Players say Fallout 76 will be rife with hacking, but Bethesda disputes it

‘Cheating or hacking will not be tolerated,’ publisher warns

Fallout 76 beta - Mirelurk Queen Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Bethesda Softworks is disputing claims made Monday in a well-read Reddit thread that Fallout 76’s Windows PC version is vulnerable to rampant cheating and griefing because so many users, thanks to modding, are familiar with the engine and technology the game is built on.

On Monday, Reddit user teetharejustdone alleged there were five ways to hack and break Fallout 76, basing that on a 4,000-hour playing history in Fallout 4 and two years of experience modding it. They alleged that the game doesn’t have server checks to verify the integrity of files or player and environmental models, and that things such as wall collision are handled on the client side (and therefore can be altered). Using a packet analyzer, they said users could also take advantage of unencrypted server traffic to manipulate their hit points and other stats and disconnect other users.

“In conclusion: Bethesda should not have just made Fallout 76 by throwing mods on it from Nexus and solid it as a new game,” they wrote. “Have fun in the wasteland gamers [sic].” They included a link to Nexus Mods, where users are already making and uploading mods for the Fallout 76 beta concluding today, that exposes the “sweet spot” in the lockpicking minigame.

In a statement to IGN, Bethesda said that “many of the claims in the thread are either inaccurate or based on incorrect assumptions.” Bethesda also reiterated that “cheating or hacking will not be tolerated.”

That said, “the community has however called to attention several issues that our teams are already actively tracking and planning to roll out fixes for.” The statement didn’t specify what issues are being addressed.

At the end of October, users pointed out that Fallout 76’s game engine speed was tied to the framerate — meaning that users playing in high-frame-rate situations (or exploiting them) could move unreasonably fast within the world, a hack with potentially serious ramifications for an online multiplayer game. Bethesda confirmed that the issue was present but that it would not be fixed until the game launches, which is Nov. 14 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.

The final beta session for Fallout 76 is today on all of those platforms, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.