Bethesda has issued a permanent ban in Fallout 76 to a group of players who targeted another group of players in-game using homophobic slurs and harassing language.
The issue was recorded on video and reported via Twitter two weeks ago. In the video (which contains strong language), a group of players is harassed over the game's proximity chat while the harassers slowly kill their characters via the game's PvP system.
In an interview with Eurogamer following the incident, the player who reported the harassment (who goes by AJ) described the sequence of events. While playing with two of his friends, a user going by NathanTheHicc approached them and asked for an item. The group conversed with him for some time before one of AJ's group remarked that Nathan's character or outfit was "cute." Nathan replied in a derogatory manner and left.
He then returned with several friends and began to attack AJ's group. AJ says he and his friends did not fight back in hopes the attackers would go away, as the game's anti-griefing mechanics prevented them from doing as much damage if the combat isn't mutual.
Eventually, AJ and his friends were killed. They blocked Nathan's group and respawned on another server. NathanTheHicc also confirmed to Eurogamer that this sequence of events as described was accurate, but refused to apologize.
Blocking a character in Fallout 76 only prevents the blocker from interacting with them. It does not serve any other penalty to the person who was blocked, and there is no in-game report function. AJ also told Eurogamer that Bethesda's website-based reporting did not function correctly.
Bethesda responded initially by banning NathanTheHicc and his friends for three days while they investigated, and followed up with a permanent ban once they verified the events. "We will not tolerate this kind of behaviour by any of our players, nor towards any of our players," said a Bethesda spokespeson. "We will continue to investigate claims of misconduct or abuse - along with Microsoft and Sony - and take action when necessary."