One of the things I’ve loved about Fallout 76 is the shopping, in particular, being able to create your own store and go shopping at other player’s stores. I believe this feature became available around the time I began playing, around April 2019, and after the shopping trend soared, it began to taper off. Today, on the verge of the Wastelanders DLC, shopping has devolved into a hit or miss, or even get killed experience.
First, here’s the shopping experience I love, starting with an example of my own store. I don’t have a particularly cool looking store, but my stores are efficient and I go to a lot of trouble to keep them well stocked with the items I sell.
For one thing, rather than have a random assortment of weapons, I specialize in 50 cal machine guns and all kinds of ammo, including Ultracite ammo. The same is true about armor, I specialize in BoS combat armor, plus plans for Ultracite power armor. And I don’t sell a bunch of meds and junk, I specialize in supplies of Nuka products, plus hard to find meds. My specialization hasn’t increased my sales, but when someone who is interested in the types of products I carry drops in, they usually buy a lot of stuff. A problem is, players don’t drop by as much as in the past and there’s several reasons for this, but one reason is that cheaters and griefers have found ways to make shopping a less enjoyable experience.
GRIEFERS & DEATH TRAP STORES
My only experience with Griefers comes from the years of playing Second Life. A griefer is a strange breed of person; a psychologist would probably identify them as anti-social personalities. They seem to enjoy causing normal people problems, anxiety, losses and pain. Normal people usually wonder: What’s wrong with these people? This post isn’t about who psychology, it’s about what griefers do, specifically to the FO76 shopping experience with stores designed to be death traps.
- Killer Stores had been relatively rare in FO76 until recently, at least on Xbox One. I’ve seen videos by players on PCs that indicate that there is much more mischief on PC versions of the game.
- The killer stores I’ve encountered generally have one thing in common: on arrival at the store you have to enter a building and follow passageways.
- One type of death trap had a passageway was obscured by palm tree plants, making it necessary to walk blindly up stairs and then fall into an enclosed trap with a bank of a dozen flamethrowers. You can die instantly, but the game is glitched enough that you might respawn and respawn indefinitely, burning up all of your Stim Packs (health restoration meds). Fortunately, You can always just power off if you need to, or open your map and exit the game if it will let you.
- There are other variations on this hateful theme, for example, the griefer may use land mines, or just put the stores’ vending machines on a platform that extends over a cliff, so when you use the machine, the griefer can simply exit the game, the floor disappears, and you fall to your death.
How do I know these things? Yeah, I’ve been caught in a variety of these schemes, but I’ve avoided many others. First, if you go to a store that seems to have a great inventory, but you have to enter a building: beware. And if the store is on a cliff, first you should observe the outside if you can see where the vending machines are: do not use machines that are suspended over a high cliff. If you have to enter the building, and find yourself forced to walk down long corridors, you may be in danger; however, half the time (who knows, really?), these are legit stores with creative designs and you can use the vending machines successfully. A lot of stores have taken to putting their vending machines in front of the building, and this is a good sign. However, even outside, you may be in an area where bloated Gangrenous Feral Ghouls or some other one-hit-kill beasts frequently attack, so be careful even here. Yeah, it’s sad that shopping has come to this.
There another kind of store that seems to have a great looking inventory on the map, but once you get there you discover the vending machines are locked behind doors. So, if you pick the locks you instantly become a “Wanted Player” and fair game, regardless of your Pacifist setting. And you’ll prolly get killed. If you don’t pick the lock, you’ve just wasted your Fast Travel fee; hence, they’ve costed you money (and like I said, this is fun for these guys, even if they aren’t around to see you).
What can you do? Before you Fast Travel or otherwise go to a store, check the name of the store’s owner. If you get killed in the store or if you are sure the store is a trap or a grief, you can block the player. Blocking bad actors is no panacea because there are thousands and thousands of them, but they you won’t have to deal with that specific griefer or their stores (stores don’t show up on map) if owner is blocked. I believe that you still may come across their stores through exploring, but if they don’t show up on your map then you’ve probably blocked or otherwise muted them. If you make a mistake, you can easily unblock.