21 Things We Learned About Fallout 76

21 Things We Learned About Fallout 76
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QuakeCon 2018 hosted a Fallout 76 panel on the weekend and it was chock full of tidbits of information about the upcoming game.

The panel was composed of Development Director Chris Mayer, Project Lead Jeff Gardiner and Game Director Todd Howard. Split evenly between a talk about the game’s levelling system and a long-form segment where the team answered common questions about the game, the panel was very informative about what the actual experience of Fallout 76 is going to be like.

You can watch the full video here, or you can read my distillation of all the fun facts below. Note that you need to skip 40 minutes into the official video to see the panel.

Here’s some of the stuff we learned.

  • They showed a short Vault-Tec explainer video about levelling up and mutations followed by more elaborate explanations by Howard and Gardiner. Each level up gives you a single point to dedicate to a S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stat and for each point in a stat you can assign a certain perk. Perks are chosen from a bank of options. If that sounds confusing, well, I think it is. Watch the video above if you want the best explanation possible.

  • Since perks are assigned, you can swap them out based on what you need in the moment. For example, if you’re doing some heavy PVP with friends, you might want an increased damage perk. If you’re scavenging, then you might want more carrying capacity. As Howard said, “you’re swapping a thing out here or there.”

  • The game’s level cap for attaining S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points is 50, but you can continue to accrue new perks beyond that.

  • You are susceptible to mutations at certain levels of radiation and it doesn’t seem like you have a choice about it. Gardiner told a story about getting a surprise mutation called “Bird Bomb” that increased his jump height while decreasing his strength.

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  • The game has a photo mode that can be used with friends, enemies and everyone in between. We saw a little bit of how it worked during character creation, but not how it functions in the open world.

  • Player versus player combat is opt-in. To initiate it, you shoot at someone and it does a small amount of damage. Howard likened this to “slapping someone at a bar.” If that person wants to do PVP with you, they fire back and then weapons do full damage. Winning a PVP battle gives you some caps (the game’s currency) and some experience points based on your levels.

  • If you kill a player who never accepts your invitation to do PVP, you become a “wanted murderer.” You get no caps or experience.

  • Players are incentivised to hunt down wanted murderers. The murderers are marked on the map and players are encouraged to hunt them down. As Howard said, the mechanic “turns arseholes into interesting content.”

  • PVP does not start until level 5.

  • You can ignore and block other players in a session, preventing them from interacting with you and you can flag yourself as a pacifist if you don’t want to deal with the PVP mechanics.

  • PVP combat numbers are normalised between players. Howard claimed that a low-level player could fight a high-level player in power armour, although obviously it’s going to be hard and the higher level will have the advantage.

  • When you die, you keep all of your equipment and caps. You will drop your “junk,” an upgrade material that you use in your camps for building objects and equipment. Upon death, the key question for a player is “is it worth it to go back and get my junk?”

  • Another death thing: when you die, you have the option of respawning close to your death point or back at Vault 76 for free. You can also respawn at other locations for the cost of caps, with that cost increasing the further away from your death spot that you want to respawn.

  • When a nuke goes off, camps are destroyed, there are higher level enemies and the map’s loot changes.

  • But fear not! Camps have a blueprint system, so if you make a building you like, you can “blueprint” it so that you can easily construct a replica somewhere else. So if your replica of Hagrid’s Hut gets nuked, you can build it somewhere else as long as you’ve blueprinted it.

  • The blueprint system also allows you to easily deconstruct and relocate your camp to other places in the map. The panelists said this was a fairly common thing for people to do during internal testing.

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  • You can make musical instruments. Todd Howard pretended to play an invisible tuba.

  • There is team voice chat as well as area-based public chat. You can mute it if you want to.

  • Inon Zur is doing the score. There are more radio tracks in this game than any previous Fallout title.

  • The VATS system is still in the game, but it is real-time and you cannot target body parts unless you have the perk. It is unclear from the panel how exactly this works, although Howard clarified that putting points into the Perception stat will make you more accurate.

  • There will be private servers as well as mods. Howard said that mods in particular are difficult to implement due to the game’s online nature, but that it is a problem they are “100% committed to solving.”

And that’s it! It’s kind of a rollercoaster of Fallout 76 information, but it’s the biggest information splash that we’ve had about the game since E3 and it gets me thinking about two dozen other questions I have about how this will actually work in practice.


  • Every time I read any new info on F76, I am just always left with the same question: Why Online but?

    The franchise has always been one of the best single player games to play (Well, Fallout 4 was disappointing story wise). Are we never going to get a new Fallout game for single player? If they are going to make F76 online only, the least they could do is have some sort of mode to play alone, and not worry about seeing other players or risk getting attacked by them (That pvp system of theirs will do nothing to stop the griefers).

    • So they can cash in on microtransactions like everyone else.

      The incentive for players to purchase cosmetic items isn’t quite the same if it is a single player game – you’ve got no one to show off your cool items too.

    • It sounded like it was somewhat possible to play minus all the heartache, but it seems this is not your cup of tea.
      Id say they are highly likely to make another single player story game. Its not even 3 years since fo4, so i reckon this is essentially a gap filler and perhaps an opportunity to try a different style of gameplay in the fallout universe. It appears to use all the same stuff as fo4, so i imagine its a “quicker throw together”, while a new game simmers in the background.
      For example, fallout shelter did not mean all fallout games therein were mobile builders.

    • Why Online?

      They have made only single player games till this point. Your question should be why not before? Why not later?

      They are doing so well and as a single player game, quite alot of the money in gaming is being poured into loot crates and boxes! Online is for better or worse the only way forward. The need a money stream to keep them going. They aren’t saying good bye to single player games, they simply want to experiment with what they have.

      AS billytron also “kinda” eluded to, Fallout76 is built on the Fallout4 engine entirely – with updates – If you have played FO4 this game will be entirely the same for feel and visual fidelity and will be more of a greater game play experience rather than a new game. The development life cycle of FO76 so far is half that of a regular game from Bethesda. AS it was stated in a vid log from NoClip Think of the game as FO4 with a new perk system and multiplayer system

    • While I will still play it at least in the beta I will miss having that single player Fallout game

  • Even after all that clarification it just doesn’t look like a game aimed at the Fallout fandom. Seems more like a cash grab on the current trend like Ark and Fortnite.

      • They began explaining there were ways to get away from someone who tries to challenge you but didn’t go into detail. I’m not a PvP kinda person, or an MMO kinda person but I think this will be the first ever MMO I’ll get.

  • In reference to the surprise mutation mentioned, I heard ‘Bird Boned’ when they spoke about that perk. I thought it made sense since birds have lighter/hollow bones, but they can’t sustain as much weight or pressure as other animals due to that (‘Easier to fly, but weaker’ translating to ‘Can jump higher, but less strength’). Either way, looking forward to seeing more of the game ^_^

  • Me, a single-player Fallout fan, crying salty tears at the release of a Fallout game I won’t play. Oh well. Hopefully there’s a Fallout 5 announcement soon which confirms it will be a single player focused title.

    • Not likely, ES was announced not too long ago. It will probably be two to three years before we get another proper Fallout titlle.

    • I wouldn’t expect FO5 this side of 2027. They have Fo76 to release, Starfield, ES5 and a rumoured other new Ip all before FO5

  • In regards to mutations I noticed a perk card that mentioned Rad Away giving a chance to NOT cure mutations.

    I also noticed another card mentioning CAMPS and “team workshops” so you might be able to build with others.

    One thing I would like clarified is so far there has been no mention of text chat in game. Voice is ok but some of us would like not to wake up the entire house at 3am

  • So… from what I understand there are no NPCs… no story driven quests…?

    So basically a PUBG / Minecraft set in the Fallout universe?

    • I’m assuming it’ll be closer to a Day Z kinda game, with building. There will be mobs to kill and players to hide from. Sounds as boring as Day Z if you’re a solo player.

    • Apparently there are quests you get from the Overseer which seems to be an Ai, the odd quest through holotapes and a main quest which seems to be acquiring nuke codes to launch said nukes to seal fissures that are releasing “scorch beasts” into the world.

      So basically the main quest is Oblivion with WMD’s

  • Hmmm the picture becomes clearer… I will probably get this to play with mates, but I am still not happy about the direction they’re taking… does anyone know if they mentioned how you will get these perk cards? Are they going to be microtransacsions for a pack of cards? Like hearthstone, fallout shelter lunchboxes, battlefront 2 (before they removed them) etc? I will be bleak if that’s the case…

    • I take it you didn’t watch the video. The perk cards you get every second level, up to level 10 and then from there every 5 levels. You also get perk card ‘packs’ which give you random cards from different specials that you might not previously have earnt before.

      • Not entirely correct, you get to pick a new card every level up out of a few choices, then every 2nd level up (then 5th after level 10) you receive the booster pack of 4 random cards.

  • Hmm, just wish they would make a game as good for mods as the original Skyrim (new Skyrim has broken most mods used originally), sick of what they’re doing binding games to not being able to run mod that simply lift the pure quality of their game.

  • So, they have an opt-in PVP combat system, and in-built persecution for griefers, but let folk blow your settlement to hell with nukes?

    That’s pretty much Bethesda’s logic and PR babble outlined in one sentence.

    I suspect this game will be limited, in a very short space of time, to a very small group of try-hard ‘fans’. I can’t see it appealing to the casual gamer.

    • Nukes make sense to me. This is (broadly) set in the Capital Wasteland area of the game, an area thats heavily radiated and unlivable. It has to get that way somehow, and from a Fallout lore angle I love the idea that we’re the ones that ruined it.

      But central to that is the idea that a lot of nukes got dropped in a relatively small area. Its a pretty simple idea to turn it over to players who arent going to give a rad-rats about consequences.

      I’m not a PvP person myself, but the lore building behind this is something most people seem to be missing. As a Fallout fan, being part of that is more interesting that just another generic story set in the same world with the same mobs and challenges.

  • Small note in regards to somethings most people seem to overlook, the “Point” cap for each SPECIAL category is being risen to 15 and Cards cost 1-5 points

  • “There will be private servers as well as mods. Howard said that mods in particular are difficult to implement due to the game’s online nature, but that it is a problem they are “100% committed to solving.” ”

    I guess this answers my question if private servers would be dedicated :/

    I will 100% wait to see if they do solve it before even consider buying.

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