We’re not sure whether to bin this as a good story or a bad – a little of both maybe. Multiple Fallout 76 players have been permanently banned from the game after they harassed another group of players with a series of homophobic remarks. According to one of the victims of the harassment, who captured part of the interaction on video, the problem began when his group encountered a group of other players led by a gamer named NathanTheHicc, who proceeded to kill their victims while making comments like “We have come to eliminate all gays” and “This is the strongest queer I’ve ever seen.”
The victims, who happen to be streamers, recorded a video of the harassment was ultimately put on Twitter, where it erupted, and then sent it to Bethesda’s community team, who pronounced an initial punishment of a three-day ban for the offenders, though the ban has since been made permanent. NathanTheHicc, a high-school senior in the US, is apparently unapologetic; as he told Eurogamer,
“My version of the incident is more or less the same as the public has taken it, the only differences being the fact that I don’t 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. I do not regret the incident. I will not apologise 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.”
The harassment also foregrounds a potential issue with Fallout 76, which is that it lacks an in-game function for reporting other players: “Bethesda community managers sent [the victim] a link to Bethesda’s website-based player report function,” Eurogamer reports, “but [he] found it didn’t work properly.” On that topic, a Bethesda spokesperson said that Fallout 76 “empowers players to permanently block other players” and highlighted the reporting functions on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, though that leaves the PC version out in the cold.
Although this particular incident had a more-or-less satisfactory outcome thanks to AJ’s ability to get Bethesda’s attention via Twitter, it nevertheless highlights the necessity for in-game reporting tools. Whether Bethesda intends to do anything about that, however, remains to be seen.