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Fallout 76’s duped-weapon ‘purge’ looks like a success!

Developers clean up 400 types of abused items, but leave everyone with one copy

Bethesda Softworks
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

For a change, things seem to be looking up in Appalachia. Fallout 76’s managers completed their purge of duplicated items today, and the initial community reaction is very positive that Bethesda Game Studios’ actions worked as intended. There’s also news of some unrelated quality-of-life fixes coming with the next patch early next week.

First, the purge: This afternoon a Bethesda community manager explained what had happened after Fallout 76’s servers were brought online. Bethesda went after “a list of over 400 weapon and armor items we identified as common duplication targets.” Anyone with multiples of these items now have only one, whether they obtained them by exploit or another player.

Power Armor was not subject to the de-duping passover (yet; developers are looking at another purge to address those dupes later). But if a player had several copies of certain items, Bethesda went back into their inventories to look for “very large amounts of Nuka-Cola,” and zapped those as well.

Item duplication has been exploited almost since the game’s launch. While Bethesda has tried to curb it with weight limits, weapon nerfs and other spot solutions, not until today had developers attempted the straight removal of duplicated items, many of which were very high-powered weapons that threatened the fairness of Fallout 76’s opt-in PvP system.

The understandably restive r/fo76 subreddit largely gave ungrudging credit to Bethesda Game Studios for pulling it off. “I was very cynical of how this update would pan out but, honestly, well done and thanks, Bethesda,” said one redditor.

“While I never duped myself I was worried about my one [two-shot explosive] lever action [rifle] which was a gift to me from a friend for helping him out,” said another. A two-shot explosive (or TSE) rifle means what it says: It kills in two shots and has an explosive damage modifier. eBay even has them listed at $6.99, in stock. The item duplication exploit spun up a brisk black market outside of the game soon after word spread in early December.

“I had suspected it may have been a duped item,” they continued, “but didn’t want to rock the boat because I like it a lot. It’s my go to weapon for almost all things kill’n and I sure didn’t want to lose it.”

“This is a fair(ish?) way to handle this, and doesn’t punish those who may have unknowingly bought duped items,” said another. “It’s not something that will please everyone, but it’s some balanced middle ground.”

(Another wag joked that “Bethesda should put a note in your stash box with the red hand saying ‘we know’ if they removed anything,” a reference to the note in The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim that begins the game’s Dark Brotherhood arc.)

Bethesda’s community manager noted that, in the investigation leading up to the purge, “we determined that less than 1 percent of all Fallout 76 accounts combined across all three platforms needed to have duped items removed.” While the 1 percent who did have copious amounts of valuable and powerful stuff still had an outsize influence on the game’s balance and economy, dupers themselves seemed to be a distinctly small and outcast minority.

Stash limit increases, accidental CAMP damage addressed

The other cause for optimism: today’s “Inside the Vault” update spelled out some welcome changes coming in Patch 6 next week. The player’s stash volume will increase again, to 800 WT from 600. “Like last time, we are constantly evaluating storage space and discussing ways we can make improvements,” Bethesda wrote, “but not at the expense of server stability.”

Also, accidentally damaging another player’s CAMP won’t tag the user as “wanted” in the game’s manhunt/PvP system. This one has been on Fallout 76’s “known issues” for some time and had led to several unintended showdowns where a clumsy wastelander showed up on everyone’s HUD as a hostile with a bounty on their head. “Instead, you must actively work to be malicious to another player and DESTROY (emphasis theirs) their CAMP objects for it to be considered a PvP action and become marked as wanted.”

Patch 6 is the last patch before a series of weekly updates that Bethesda Game Studios is calling “Wild Appalachia,” which will roll out around the time the harder PvP Survival mode is introduced to the game. That’s slotted for a March rollout but the date may change. At any rate, “Wild Appalachia” will be the first big content drop of 2019, offering new quests and events as well as new CAMP items and crafting recipes.

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