Bethesda gave Fallout 76 its final planned update of 2018 today, and though it was pretty minor, the studio is teasing bigger things to come next year. The official patch notes are mostly of the "stability and performance" variety but Bethesda says it plans to start offering more explanation from developers along with announced changes going forward. That should help players understand more of its decisions, whether or not they agree with them (like the tragedy of turning off the server-wide soup reward for Feed the People).
Bethesda says a mid-January update will bring fixes for reloading the Lever-Action Rifle, some new Perk Cards, and a desperate bid to stop the robot tenders of Whitespring from duplicating themselves. Pretty standard stuff, but the developer also casually mentions working on a new mode "where you can work together, or not, without PvP restrictions" it's hoping to roll out sometime in the first quarter of 2019.
Fallout 76's approach to player-versus-player combat is idiosyncratic. The game can only be played on randomly matchmade servers (unless you choose to manually jump into a friend's game) and Bethesda curbed the online bloodbaths this entails in many other games with an impromptu duel system; players can attack one another freely, but the damage they inflict is a mere "slap" until their victim returns fire and begins open combat. Players can still kill one another with slap damage, at which point they'll become a wanted criminal, or enable Pacifist Mode to avoid doing any damage to other players whatsoever. It's kind of a lot.
Adding an open PvP mode to Fallout 76 would remove most if not all of those complications. It would give griefers even more firepower, sure, but at the same time it would also keep more bloodthirsty killers penned up together instead of slapping at folks who just want to loot buildings and get on with their lives. Bethesda says it's currently testing the PvP mode internally, so hopefully it won't be much longer until we learn more about it.
Fallout 76 has had a very rough start, but at least this latest news gives players more to look forward to than the potential arrival of loot boxes.