Bethesda has made a lot of missteps since the release of Fallout 76, but the company’s decision to ban a group of players involved in homophobic harassment is something the community is ready to get behind. Creating an enjoyable, harassment-free experience has been at the forefront of Fallout 76‘s marketing long before the game’s launch. The team spent plenty of time outlining how it would combat griefing, but failed to create any streamlined way to report non-game related, personal harassment.
In an attempt to get the situation resolved, “AJ” took to Twitter to share what happened to him and his friends. The harassment occurred after someone in AJ’s party had described another player’s character/outfit as “cute.” The player who was called “cute” took offense to the comment, said, “I don’t fuck with that h*mo shit,” and left. But that wasn’t the end of it. The offending player came back with a group of his own to kill AJ and his team, all while spouting homophobic remarks.
Called themselves the “gay eliminators” “cleansing the wasteland of the queers” “know what we did to your people back then, we killed them” THIS is the stuff said to us tonight when playing Fallout. @bethesda @BethesdaStudios @Fallout #Fallout #Fallout76 pic.twitter.com/zwPuz7AbsG
— AJpls (@twitch_ajpls) November 16, 2018
At one point, one of the harassers stood over his target and said he needed to “decontaminate the AIDs” from their body. Their “cleansing the wasteland” comments were reminiscent of genocidal justifications that claim murder is committed for the sake of purifying the world.
While it’s great that these players have been banned from the game, as a result of their toxic behavior that violated community guidelines, it wasn’t easy to report. As AJ later pointed out in his thread, he “clicked on their names in the menu,” but was only given “the option to mute or block them.”
There’s no easy fix for these situations. Combating in-game harassment, especially hate speech, is an ever moving target. Studios have tried a variety of methods, from praising positive player behavior to simply investing in more research. These are complex problems that require complex solutions.
Hopefully, future Fallout 76 updates will take these anecdotes into account and create more streamlined methods for reporting players who engage in hate speech.