The issue with the claim that Bethesda is punishing mods that don’t actually negatively affect gameplay is that it’s much harder to prove this idea in practice. Gamers always tend to break games in strange and unpredictable ways, and they tend to use mods and other addons in weird ways too. And let’s be honest, games are always subject to cheaters online, with most of the bans being justified. The lack of proof as to what mods are being used often adds even more ambiguity to the situation. The overall trend of erring on the side of caution and banning suspected cheaters is often the best approach as a result of these issues.
In terms of Fallout 76, gamers are reporting that their accounts are being banned for cheating, or more specifically using third-party applications. You can find the full text of the notice being e-mailed to banned players down below.
This account has violated the Code of Conduct and Terms of Service by cheating. The account was detected to be running a third-party application, which provides an unfair in-game advantage, while logged into Fallout 76. […] The use of this type of application is not permitted under any circumstances, nor for any reason. As a result, we regret to inform you that this account has been permanently disabled and will no longer be eligible to participate in any ZeniMax Online services.
One of the more puzzling elements of this whole ordeal surfaced when people began digging through the Terms of Service for Fallout 76 looking for insight into their banning. Players discovered that they could potentially appeal a ban by sending an essay to support explaining both the negative impact cheating has in online games, as well as expressing their own regret.
If you would like to appeal this account closure, we would be willing to accept an essay on “why the use of third-party cheat software is detrimental to an online game community”, for our management team to review.
Bethesda has been making a lot of missteps when it came to Fallout 76 these last couple months. The game has been experiencing tons of crash bugs and server issues, and that’s just the start. Then Bethesda tried to pawn off a much cheaper nylon sack for the $200 Collector’s Edition instead of the canvas bag that was originally promised. Then a glitch on the customer support portal exposed the personal details of potentially hundreds of gamers to unknown parties. All of that is just the worst of it too, all in all, it’s been a real mixed bag. For recompense, Bethesda did offer any active players free copies of the Fallout Classic Collection.
So it’s currently unclear exactly what will come of this whole situation. It would be hard to conclusively prove cheating without releasing conclusive evidence outing specific individuals in response to appeals. This something Bethesda will likely never do, and not only because of the backlash it would inevitably trigger, but because such an act would likely be very illegal in certain areas.
Regardless of the outcome, things are still pretty rocky in this particular digital rendition of West Virginia.
Fallout 76 is currently available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.