We got some interesting new details from the Fallout 76 panel at Quakecon today, as Todd Howard explained more about how the PvP system will work. "We want this element of danger, and it sounds weird to say, without griefing," Howard said.
Initially, damage scales down against another player who hasn't picked a fight with you. "When you shoot somebody you do a little bit of damage," Howard explained. "You don't do full damage. It's like slapping somebody in a bar. You want to fight?"
"So you do little bits of damage," he continued. "If you engage then you're doing full damage. And there's a cap reward based on the player's level. So if they player is really high level you're gonna get more caps than if they're low level. After one of them dies you can seek revenge which doubles the incentive."
That covers the interaction between two players who want to fight each other, but what about when one player isn't interested in PvP?
"The player that kills somebody that didn't want to engage in [PvP] becomes a wanted murderer. They get no reward."
At this point the QuakeCon crowd applauded.
"That's the first applause of the panel," said Howard. "Murder!"
"So there is no reward, you get no caps, you get no XP, you get nothing for becoming a wanted murderer except for the kind of social incentives people have online to be assholes."
These 'assholes' will quickly find themselves at a disadvantage in the world, with more than just their lives at risk.
"We turn the assholes into interesting content," said Howard. "They appear on your map as a red star. Everybody sees them and they have a bounty on their head. And that bounty comes out of their own caps. And they can't see the other players on the map."
As a safeguard against accidentally starting a PvP situation with an inadvertent 'slap' to someone: there will be a "pacifist flag" players can activate so their bullets don't harm other players at all. Players who flag themselves as pacifists can still be killed, but you can ignore or block player after being killed by them once, so they can't see you on the map for the remainder of that session.
Finally, Howard gave a funny story about baiting other players into PvP in what I'm deeming "The Tuba Turret Tactic." Watch that below.