Tips For Playing Fallout 76

Screenshot: Kotaku, Fallout 76

Fallout 76 is an online survival role-playing game that tasks you with exploring a map four times the size of Fallout 4's, uncovering its secrets, and making a life for yourself there. There's crafting, base-building, hunger and thirst systems, diseases to manage, and mutations to cope with. It's a lot, but I hope the following advice will help you on your way.

There's still plenty I haven't seen in Fallout 76, and much I'm still learning. The game's multiplayer component, in which the world is always populated with up to 23 other players at a time, adds a whole new level of complexity. But during my time in the beta, and since the game's official release this week, I've learned a lot about how to survive and find my way in 22nd-century West Virginia.

I'll be updating these tips in the future as I spend more time with the game, but for now, here are some things you should be looking out for in the hours after you first climb out of Vault 76.

Put in the work to complete main quest missions early on.

Levelling in Fallout 76 can be an arduous process, especially in the beginning as you're continually introduced to new locations and systems. Doing the main series of quests, which revolve around following in the footsteps of Vault 76's Overseer and collecting the Holotapes she leaves behind, will get you off to a surprisingly good start.

The quests aren't interesting, but they're straightforward to complete (go to the waypoint, collect the thing, move on) and they grant a lot of XP in a short amount of time. You can't do much in Fallout 76's big, bad world until higher levels, so, while it pains me to say it, it's worth grinding out these boring activities as fast as you can. On the bright side, you'll get to see some cool places and set up a great network of fast travel points for getting around the map more quickly later on.

Pick up everything.

Seriously, I mean it. When I say pick up everything, I mean pick up everything. There is junk everywhere in Fallout 76 and it is all useful. You're basically Matt Damon from Mars in this game, taking every random thing you can get your hands on it and sciencing the shit out of it to build out your home base and extend your life another few days.

Everything from mops and glass bottles to desk fans and coffee pots can be turned into crafting materials which can then be used to craft new weapons, repair old ones, and add important structures to you base. You have a stash box in Fallout 76 that can, in the game's current state, hold up to 400 units of stuff. Don't get lazy about scavenging for random objects in the fields and abandoned buildings you happen across until it's full.

Yes, you do in fact want and need all of these tin pitchers and drinking glasses.

Scrap almost everything.

While you can auto-scrap the junk you pick up at crafting stations, reducing found objects into useful materials like aluminium and wood, it's important not to get precious about the rest of the stuff in your inventory either. The first few guns you get will feel like a godsend, but they will almost all be terrible, and more useful in the form of their component parts than as a half-assed bolt-action revolver.

Scrapping everything but the armour you're wearing, two or three weapons, and their respective ammunition will not only save lots of room in your inventory, it'll also help you learn recipes to craft the stuff from scratch as you need it.

The point of picking up everything isn't to be a hoarder, but to build up a solid base of materials so whenever you need to cook food, boil water, or fix a weapon that's actually good you won't be missing a single piece of whatever pesky resource you need (aluminium, it's almost always aluminium).

Grab some Power Armour early.

Ever since Fallout 4, Power Armour suits have become a dime a dozen. Fallout 76 continues that trend, spawning new sets throughout the world at regular intervals such that you'll be up to your ears in T-45 leg plates in no time. While you can't equip the pieces themselves until certain levels, you can hop into the chassis itself as soon as you find one.

While you'll need to keep it supplied with fresh power cores, being inside one provides a decent bonus to your strength stat and a lot of extra carrying capacity, as well as better protection. It'll make surviving early run-ins with super mutants easier, and looting buildings a lot faster, so if for whatever reason you don't already have some, get some.

Here's a helpful video showing you how to do that in just a few minutes.

Public events are a great way to farm food and ammunition.

They're easy to ignore because they're always popping up at random places on the map and not actually much fun to complete, but events — defined in Fallout 76 as timed quests that usually revolve around fighting waves of enemies — are great for quickly stocking up on meat and bullets.

Tea Time, located near the Giant Teapot in The Forest, as well as Feed the People, located in Morgantown, are pretty good for this (here's a helpful player-made map of the game). In both cases you'll encounter a mix of animals and scorched enemies that can be looted to get what you need and also quickly gain XP. It's much more relaxing to explore the wasteland knowing you've got plenty of supplies than worrying about having to backtrack every 20 minutes to go roast some more mole meat.

Focus on the thirst, hunger, endurance, and solo perks early on.

I'm not going to pretend to have mastered Fallout 76's somewhat convoluted perk card system, but in the early- to mid-game there are a few that are simply no-brainers. Under Endurance, Dromedary decreases your thirst by an additional 15 per cent when you drink stuff, while Slow Metaboliser makes food 15 per cent more filling, both of which will make your life significantly easier.

The Pack Rat perk under Endurance significantly reduces the weight of junk, which, if you're picking everything up like I told you to do, will come in very handy. Finally, I recommend getting the Gladiator perk to grant bonus damage with melee weapons and the Lone Wanderer perk to take 10 per cent less damage while adventuring solo — which, whether you love to group up with other players or not, is something you'll spend a fair amount of the game doing.

Hunger and thirst perks aren't fun but they pay off in the long run.

Melee weapons are really great.

It's really hard to aim in Fallout 76. As much as I've enjoyed my time with the game so far, I'm not gonna pretend otherwise. Early on against scorched, animals, and even low-level super mutants, carving through enemies with a good machete or even a baseball bat will help preserve ammo and reduce headaches.

If you have both the melee perk and the Power Armour, then low-level melee weapons are arguably a lot more powerful than pipe guns and bolt action rifles.

Think of your C.A.M.P. as a forward operating base.

When you leave Vault 76, you get a C.A.M.P. (Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform) device that you can begin using once you reach level 5. You can set it up anywhere that's relatively flat and spend bottle caps to move it to new locations.

Fallout 76's map is big, and Vault 76 and your C.A.M.P are the only locations you can fast travel to for free. Since Vault 76 can't move, it's worth thinking of your C.A.M.P. like a teleportation device. When exploring new areas where you'll be looting lots of stuff and dying a lot, paying the extra bottle caps to have it nearby so you can quickly return to that part of the map can save a lot of time and heartache. Especially if your game crashes, which it will occasionally do, and you glitched over to who knows where.

Sorry, but no one is coming to save you. Press B and get it over with.

Don't worry about dying.

Weird, right? Fallout 76 is ostensibly a survival game in some capacity, and it definitely feels like one a lot of the time. Counter-intuitively though, there's not actually that much of a penalty for dying.

When you bite it in the wasteland, you lose some of the junk and scrap you were carrying, and it gets left behind in a small brown paper bag that you or anyone else can pick up. But you can quickly respawn in the same area, collect what you lost, and keep going.

Because the game takes place on a live server, there's no loss of progression like in a traditional Fallout game. In fact, if you're low on health and feeling stingy with your stimpacks, dying on purpose can actually be an efficient way of restoring your health. So don't fear the reaper.

That's pretty much it for now. It's hardly an exhaustive list though, and applies mostly to the earlier parts of the game. And I'm sure there are plenty of helpful hints that I've missed, so please make sure to share any of your own in the comments.


    I fully expected this article to be...
    "Tips for playing Fallout 76"

      I was just waiting for the comments to say the same.

      "Tips for playing Fallout 76"
      "Play New California instead"

        You mean New Vegas?

          No, he meant New California. Its a near total conversion mod of New Vegas that hit the net about 4 weeks ago, took about 7 years. Its one of the better mod projects that have been done for a game so big.

      Literally came here to say this. Happy to see the first comment says it.

    Been playing and loving the game on PC. No connections issues or crashes or anything and its exactly what I expected it to be. Fallout 4 without NPCs but with actual people. Speaking of people I have had zero bad encounters so far. Cant really complain and have already easily got my moneys worth it.

      What! You can't enjoy something that the gaming collective is actively shitting on!

        I know right. I feel like I must be doing something wrong.

          Same here dude. I didn't like fo4 and find this game to be alot more to my taste even playing solo. It has issues for sure, but I'm enjoying my time

          Everyone I've grouped up with has had a blast, and I'm really enjoying it too. The general sentiment I've seen from people who have played it is positive. There are issues that need to be fixed of course, the game isn't without its flaws and does deserve critique, but the hostility is mostly (not entirely) coming from people who haven't actually spent time with it.

            Yeah I see a lot of " i watched a video and the game is shit".. Way to make up your own minds sheeple..

      I was quite discouraged by Fallout 76, due to all the fan backlash and whatnot, but I am glad to hear that you are enjoying the game and that you got your money's worth. That's all that matters.

    I finally decided to play Mass Effect 2 after picking it up in a bundle years ago. Still better graphics and less bugs than FO76.

      A pointless comparison since they're completely different games, ME2 is neither open world nor multiplayer, both areas where bugs tend to pop up. Might as well say Solitaire is better than Witcher 3 because it has fewer bugs.

        Minesweeper was always the better game.

          Minesweeper's a bit violent for my tastes, all those explosions. I'll stick to x-ray testicle shots in Sniper Elite.

    My only gripe, and its a huuuuge gripe. Is the lack of storage space.. fucking my entire camp is just scrap, why is it just scrap? Because I have no god damn idea how much of it I will or won't need what is rare what isn't because there are no indicators. How can games like Ark which let you build huge bases and stores literally thousands upon thousands of items and have player caps of 50+

      There are some architectural differences that play a part. Ark uses a classic server model, you join a specific server and that's where all your stuff is. They do offer a transfer service but it's somewhat limited and a bit involved. F76's model is more cloud-driven in design, you can jump in and out of basically any randomly assigned server on a whim.

      While storage can be a factor (not a huge one), a bigger one is transferring all your player data from a central datastore to your local server (which they host at multiple AWS datacentres). For the record I don't think this is something they need to worry about (AWS has very fast cross-region connections), but I suspect it's a factor in their thinking.

      Still, they've said they have an idea on how to increase the stash space without causing technical issues, and the plan is to see that on live before the end of the year. Until then, scrap everything - resources weigh bugger-all compared to junk. Don't store power armour pieces directly in your stash either, put them in an owned harness and store the harness instead, since it always weighs 10lb regardless of its contents.

      Agreed - and just for clarity's sake, it's not storage space anymore, it's storage WEIGHT. This goes for both your inventory and your stash. In my case I have filled my stash with a couple of weapons, some ammo and raw materials. I have also resigned myself to playing overburdened almost all of the time. I believe the introduction of the pvp elements has driven this change to inventory management. For me personally, it's not helping my overall play experience.
      I'm still loving the game and just killed my first Alpha Deathclaw so life is good.

    For all the kerfuffle with this game. I am going to pick this up in the inevitable Xmas sales once it has been patched and it is at a more realistic price. I always found exploring to be the best part of Fallout 3 and 4. The NPCs and quests were always mediocre at best. I am just going to wander off and see what I can see.

    Am loving the game, but...

    Fallout 76 (PS4 version) - Bugs & Wishlist

    * Game should us available screen area, current some areas are cropped
    * CAMP should not disappear just because someone else has build in same area or too close
    - either don't join world where this occurs
    - some other way to make it possible?
    * Stat / Status icon shows slow running vault boy... boy? SPECIAL status are also reduced. No mutation, no disease is preset.
    --> was addicted to alcohol
    * Weapon should not disenage after looting
    * Enemy warning (middle top of screen) does not disappear if in same vicinity, not no actively searching for player

    * Loot All button
    * Text chat (quick text)
    * Improved inventory
    - Group Aid into: Water, Food, Healing, everything else
    - Able to auto-drop spoilt food
    * Stash box
    - able to scrap junk in loot box
    * Warn before selling favourites
    * Mark items are junk for bulk scrap
    * Crafting set default: Show All or Show Craftable
    * Game should not auto-assign to Favourites wheel
    * Game should remember weapon favourites between sessions
    * Plans that are already known should either not appear or indicate they are known
    * Warn if you are about to do an action that would make you wanted in a work site

      Decent list. A few thoughts.

      - By weapon disengaging I assume you mean it being holstered? This only happens if you actually enter an interface (terminal, container) but if you loot directly from the mouseover it doesn't happen. If that's what you're talking about, it's deliberate rather than a bug.

      - The enemy warning has been consistently accurate on PC so far so I'm not quite sure I follow what you're saying there. 'Danger' means the enemy knows where you are, 'Caution' means they're not sure but are searching, and either nothing or 'Hidden' is shown otherwise, depending on if you're crouching. Is that not what's happening for you?

      - Spoilt food doesn't auto-drop because you can craft it into fertiliser. I suppose this could be a setting somewhere, but there isn't really a precedent for something like that in the series I can think of.

      - Just a tip on 'show all/show craftable', for things like the cooking bench if you highlight 'all food' for example, if the 'more...' line at the bottom is lit up then it has something you can craft. It's a small convenience I realise, but when you're used to looking for it you can skim an entire table's capabilities pretty quickly.

      - When you say you don't want auto-assign to favourites, the way to do that is just don't mark your favourites in the actual inventory screen. That's the only thing that feature does, is assign it to the first available favourite slot.

      - Does the PS4 version forget your favourites? That sounds weird, it remembers them fine on PC.

      Overall a good wishlist. The last two in particular would be great.

        I'd like spoilt food to be scrapped into fertiliser when you do the scrap all junk at a work bench. Moving food from aid to junk when it spoils would be a good step

      Your suggestions on the camp don't work if you're trying to join a friend's server. Just let the conflicting camps co-exist or block you from joining your friend? You can blueprint your building in 5 seconds, just save it and then if your base gets shunted off just pop it back down. If you have conflicts trying to place it put down a foundation first and then connect to it, generally works.

      Status effects are shown in the status effects part of your pip also generally get a red icon in bottom right corner. They've kept the UI minimalist so hiding it in another screen is a by product of that.

      The rest of your points Zombie Jesus has already addressed.

    Loving it with friends and family. Almost never alone!

    Some of those tips are a bit questionable.

    Picking up everything means you'll overload your stash fast. For a brand new character, yes, pick it all up. After a bit though you should stop picking up the common stuff like steel and focus on the rarer or more highly needed resources like adhesive, gears, screws, circuits etc. Otherwise you just fill your stash and end up complaining that it's full...

    Also, don't focus on Endurance ever. It is the worst stat in the game. Raising it above 1 is likely to cause regret and make you miss out on perks at end game. Until they introduce a respec system it's better to stay away from endurance completely and drop in a rank 1 of whatever the best perk card you have for it is.

    Leaving your camp in 1 spot is better if you're solo. You need lots of adhesive so setting up corn/mutfruit/tatos and a water purifier is very helpful. Let them tick away making you adhesive passively while you're off doing stuff then come back and collect. Moving your base constantly means your crops will never grow.

    Hard to aim? Yes melee is good early on but it's not hard to aim at all. You have a literal aim bot with VATS and even without it it's no harder to shoot things than in any other game. Aim for the head to deal extra damage, if your aim is bad just go for torso shots. Avoiding guns early game if you have trouble aiming is only going to make your problem worse when you need to use guns later and still cant aim.

    As for main quests - there's 2 branches. 1 following the overseer's personal journey and the other following her official route. The official side include the firebreather's quests which are absolutely fantastic, best ones I've done so far. The personal journey one is more about following her story so saying it's just go here do that is only giving it lip service.

      Not related to the article or your reply, but figured I'd mention here - seems the latest patch uncapped the frame rate, no physics problems. FOV and ultrawide support coming soon!

    My suggestions
    1. The scavenger perks like scounger DON'T work automatically which I just found out a few hours ago. So when you open an appropriate container for that perk you have to specifically press a button to "search" it on PC that's space and it rolls to see if there is anything additional in there.

    2. Pick up a pile of junk items. Go to your "junk" section under items in the pipboy menu and select component view. It will list all the components like adhesive, etc you can then tag each component you are looking for like "screws" and then when you search a container a little magnifying glass will be beside a junk item if it contains those components.

    3. Power armour. Take all the PA pieces off the chassis, get into the chassis, get out of it, now open the transfer window with the chassis and put the pieces back on it. Wait the 60 seconds it takes to return to your inventory and it will store it at a total weight of 10 rather than the 10 for the chassis + all the individual pieces

    Last edited 20/11/18 1:51 am

    All of that would be great... if you weren't always being 'ganked' by other players at every opportunity.

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