Modders Are Making Fallout 76 Less Frustrating To Play

Screenshot: Kotaku, Fallout 76

Fallout 76’s launch has been plagued with problems. The game is buggy, despite two meaty patches so far, with another on the way tomorrow, and its multiplayer is a far cry from what was described when the game was revealed in June at E3.

Fortunately, that hasn’t stopped the modding community from slowing trying to improve the game on PC.

Some of the mods were built when the game was in beta in the beginning of November. That includes a lock pick bar that reveals the sweet spot for where to place the bobby pins to unlock things without breaking them, and a UI facelift that optimised the size of the game’s HUD to stop it from obstructing players’ views.

Newer mods issues since release can help players overcome Fallout 76's archaic, frustrating menus.

Since Fallout 76 is an always-online multiplayer game, everything in it happens in real time, including managing inventory and customising your character’s perk loadout.

Run out of ammo and need to switch to a new weapon? Have fun frantically trying to navigate your sluggish Pip Boy. There’s also the constant dread of being over-encumbered if you pick up too many things without keeping track of what’s taking up all the space.

Rigistrator2000’s Better Inventory mod is one way of addressing that headache. It adds filters to the inventory system and lets you view the cumulative weight of everything within specific categories.

It sounds small, but Fallout 76 is in large part a game about being a post-apocalyptic hoarder, and being able to see something like, say, the combined weight of all your ammunition or scrap material at once is super helpful. Being able to scroll through everything you’ve collected and have it filtered by things like food and drink or ranged and melee, helps reduce a lot of the friction that can make the game such a chore to play.

The Perk Loadout Manager by a modder named Keretus is another godsend, letting you create custom character loadouts and then switch between them seamlessly. Fallout 76’s skill tree system revolves around packs of cards sorted into categories like strength, charisma, or intelligence that each provide a certain bonus when equipped. Rather than invest points into particular attributes or abilities as in previous games, these perk cards, once earned, can be swapped out with one another at any time, letting you augment your character’s build on the fly.

In practice it’s a pain to scroll through rows and rows of cards to unequip and re-equip the rights ones in order to switch from, say, crafting bonuses to hacking perks while trying to unlock a particular computer terminal. The system is great, in theory, because it allows you to try alternate play-styles given the context, but as implemented usually doesn’t feel worth the trouble.

The Perk Loadout Manager fixes that by letting you save up to three perk loadouts and go back and forth between them with the click of a button. It’s not just a quality of life improvement. It makes it possible to play the game closer to how seems like it was intended to be played.

There are other helpful mods as well, like bwins95’s Glowing Items one which lets you assign a colour outline to specific types of items, so you can quickly find them while searching out in the wild. It breaks immersion and isn’t as necessary as the others, but is certainly nice for Fallout 76’s late game when you’re spending most of your days scouring the wasteland for duct tape and screws.

The game has a built-in version of this that shows a little magnifying glass next to items that can be scrapped into needed supplies. Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell you which weapon or piece of furniture it’s for, making it feel like a good idea left incomplete.

Normally these are issues I’d hope to see the makers of the game improve themselves in subsequent updates, but given the long list of to-do’s for fixing Fallout 76 overall, who knows when that would happen. Fortunately, players don’t have to wait for some of them, at least on PC, thanks the diligent modding community.

Here’s hoping Bethesda, who did not respond to a request for comment about the future of Fallout 76 mods, doesn’t blow them all up if and when it decides to launch official ones of its own.


    Bethesda needs the help of modders to make all of their games playable these days. I can't even boot Skyrim on my machine without modding it.

    Perk loadouts is a no brainer, it's rather annoying when I go to craft or repair stuff and have to scroll through all the perk cards, especially when you want to optimize a combat build and don't have room to put on say the ammo perk.

    As for running out of ammo, that's really your own fault, left d pad switches to last weapon (usually Nelle for me) and the favourite menu is easily navigated in real time.

    Before diving into mods for Fallout 76, people should know that currently, mods are not officially sanctioned. Some of these "convenience" mods are borderline "cheating" in this survival based multiplayer game. For example, because of the weight limits, a mod that means you "never" break a bobby pin means you don't have to carry more than a couple of them around - it's effectively altering the weight mechanics.

    The perk loadout feature is something everyone is expecting to be added to the game at some point, but I would expect it would have limitations in the "official" version - such as being unable to change perk loadouts while in combat. With the current mod, you could potentially have a melee build and a completely different sniping build, and switch between them much faster than a non-mod user in PvP combat.

    Bethesda has their work cut out for them sorting out how mods will work in Fallout 76, due to multiplayer and PvP balance reasons.

    Alternately, they could just ignore all that and make it open season.. but if they did that, many would stop playing the game, because it would just be a horrible broken mess (for real, not what everyone thinks it is now). Imagine if they were to just allow mods that made grenades do area damage 10KM radius for 10K damage each, or mods that made all hairstyles 10K tall and bright red so that every player was visible all the time.

    I would hope that no one gets banned for using mods at the moment, unless they are really exploiting the game somehow.

    But personally, as nice as enticing as many of these mods are, I'm waiting for the official word on the rules they set for acceptable use in the game. The game is running anti-cheat software already (albeit fairly benign currently, from what I have read), and I don't want to risk losing what I have already built up in the world simply because I didn't think about it.

    Lockpick bar mod. Really? Can't manage it or just too lazy? I'm going with lazy.

      Yeah really... I'd even go as far as calling that a cheat.

        If Bethesda cracks down on client-side mods, it'll be because of shit like that. There was even a movement in the Nexus community to try to get that shit removed but I guess it came back.

    Run out of ammo and need to switch to a new weapon? Have fun frantically trying to navigate your sluggish Pip Boy

    Can we keep these articles on track without posting nonsense issues that aren't actually a problem? If you haven't hotkeyed other weapons then it's your own damn fault if you force yourself to navigate the pip boy in the middle of combat. Next you'll say you have to hunt for stimpacks while a ghoul is smashing your face...

    In terms of the mods I personally have all the ones listed installed except the lockpick one. That one is pretty much cheating and entirely unnecessary regardless, I break a bobby pin once every 15-20 locks.

    The weight mod sounds great but in practice I only use if for the weight break down per category - weapon/apparel/aid/misc etc. I generally know where the weight I'm carrying is but that little breakdown helps confirm it and points out if I'm holding gunpowder I forgot about.

    The perk loadouts are useful, especially switching between solo/group/crafting loadouts. It was a pain before I installed it whenever I team up because I inevitably forget to swap lone wanderer out or put it back on after. The loadouts at least make that easier to do and I've found myself remembering it more since having the mod.

    The glowing plans mod...I feel a bit dirty using that one. It's the closest to cheating out of the ones I have installed but plans can be damn hard to come by and I don't want to miss out on any I find in the world. Even knowing a certain vendor sells a plan I want can still be difficult to obtain and requires server hopping most of the time.

    This game does not deserve it's community

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