All of the controversy surrounding Fallout 76 keeps getting weirder and weirder. First it was nylon bags, then it was a head-scratching support ticket glitch, and now the topic shifts to essays. As it turns out, at least a few Fallout 76 players have been banned, and in order to get the ban lifted, Bethesda is asking them to write essays on the evils of cheating in video games.
News of these bans first started spreading shortly before Christmas, when YouTuber JuiceHead published a video highlighting this strange appeals process. To hear Bethesda’s reasoning for these bans, the players at the center of all of this were banned for allegedly cheating. The users claim they weren’t cheating and instead were only using mods for Fallout 76 or reshade tools.
At the moment, it’s unclear whether or not those players were actually cheating or if Bethesda is banning users who are only guilty of running mods (Fallout 76 doesn’t have official mod support yet), but regardless of what’s actually happening, Bethesda’s requirements for getting the ban lifted are pretty hilarious. Apparently, Bethesda asked banned users to write an essay on “why the use of third-party cheat software is detrimental to an online game community” as part of the appeals process.
No, that isn’t a joke, at least not according to GStaff on the ResetEra forums, who is identified as Bethesda’s Community Lead. GStaff confirmed that the essay requests actually happened, though the company won’t require those moving forward. They also note that if players receive a ban for using mods, they should reach out to Bethesda through the company’s support site, so it sounds like it doesn’t intend for mod use to trigger bans.
Even assuming that those banned players are guilty of cheating, Bethesda requiring an essay before it will consider lifting the ban is definitely a unique approach. It’s just one more thing that makes this whole Fallout 76 debacle even more convoluted. We’ll see how this whole thing shakes out, so stay tuned.