Bethesda Wants Fallout 76 Cheaters to Repent by Writing Essays

While grabbing infinite lives in Doom is fine, cheating in an online game is a definite problem. You’re not only ruining the game for yourself, but you’re also potentially putting the rain on someone else’s parade. Generally, this form of cheating results in a ban, whether that’s by the platform holder or the company that published the game. Bethesda, publisher of Fallout 76, is taking a unique approach to policing their online world. Cheaters can get back onto the game, but only after they’re gone back to school and finished writing an essay explaining why cheating is bad.

The essay request was first discovered by YouTuber JuiceHead. It was later confirmed via Gstaff, a Bethesda Community Lead posting on ResetEra. Users could be put into this situation if they were using programs such as CheatEngine to edit the game’s code. Reshade, a post-processing tool that only affects graphics, is also on the banned list, as is anything described as a “speed hack” or “page-scrape” program.

While the request for a literal essay about the cheater’s wrongdoing may not be a standard process, it did indeed see use in a few documented scenarios. Gstaff noted that there would be “no essay going forward” as a part of the appeals process. Discussions about this unusual tactic became stalled by the holiday season, and the team is now reconsidering their options.

As for why these specific third-party programs triggered their systems, Gstaff had an answer. This list of programs is disallowed “because we do not want players exploiting the game in ways that provide a competitive advantage or negatively impact the servers and gameplay experience of other players.” This reasoning makes it a little peculiar that Reshade is on the naughty list especially since visual upgrades have little impact on other players. Perhaps Bethesda can write us an essay to explain that one.