Fallout 76 Guide: Useful Tips You Need To Know
By Matt Espineli and Jean-Luc Seipke on
Surviving West Virginia
After months of waiting, a new Fallout game has finally arrived. As you'd expect from the series, Fallout 76 is a massive game that's packed all manner of RPG systems and mechanical details many of which aren't explained in detail. Add that onto the new multiplayer functionality and it's more than likely you've got myriad questions that you need answers to. Fortunately, we're here to help with our collective knowledge having each played the game for a couple dozen hours.
Many of the series' classic idiosyncrasies remain in Fallout 76. You'll wander the land, gather resources, craft items, kill a super mutant or two, and get involved in all sorts of questlines. In this feature, we go over tips you should know about the game's survival and progression systems, as well as call out important details to keep at the forefront of your mind as you play--whether it's taking time to build up your C.A.M.P. or pilfering whatever Power Armor you see.
If you're keen for a more basic rundown of what to expect when you first jump into the game, be sure to check out our Fallout 76 survival guide. In that feature, we offer recommendations of cool places to check out, as well as a few beginner's tips.
Fallout 76 is out now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, but be sure to read our Fallout 76 review to see how it turned out! For more guides, you can check out our survival guide, as well as our feature highlighting where to get some easy Power Armor sets. If you've still got questions about how Fallout 76 plays, be sure to check out our feature highlighting everything you need to know about the game.
In the meantime, what are some of the craziest discoveries you've made in Fallout 76? Got any useful tips to offer, too? Let us know in the comments below.
Tackle the Main Story Early On
Once you leave Vault 76, you are free to go anywhere you want. But don't let that freedom go to your head, as you most definitely lack the resources needed to survive. If you're not careful, you're likely to end up somewhere high leveled and dangerous. We strongly recommend at least doing the first couple quests in the main story, which act as an extended tutorial and also provide you with a ton of important supplies and blueprints. The story missions in the Overseer’s Camp, the town of Flatwoods, and the Morgantown Airport teach you about workbenches, diseases, and how your C.A.M.P. works. You also gain a ton of basic weapons, ammo, aid supplies, recipes, and plans for building. After Morgantown, you’ll be in much better shape to start exploring freely. Keep in mind that the main story is in general a great way to get new stuff and learn the game, so it's a good idea to hop back in and do it every once in a while.
Use the C.A.M.P
The C.A.M.P. is a new feature in Fallout 76 that acts as your own personal base that you can use to rest, repair equipment, and eventually build your own home. Because it's technically a camp, that means you can move it to anywhere you want on the map--for a small fee, of course. But don't fret, as stuff you’ve already crafted is stored and can be replaced at no cost, so you only have to worry about building something like a workbench once.
Traveling to your C.A.M.P. is always free, so try to place it strategically. That means putting it near resources, existing crafting benches, and water until you have unlocked crafting stations and water purifiers to do the work for you. Even if you aren’t interested in building up your C.A.M.P., it’s worth creating a basic one that has all the stuff you need, like a cooking station, workbenches, and a stash.
It's also worth noting that you can't just set up your C.A.M.P. anywhere you please. It needs to be in a location that isn't named. In addition, if you want to preserve your stuff from the elements, make sure to store your stuff in your Stash (more on that in the slide ahead) before leaving. There's a lot to the C.A.M.P., so be sure to check out our separate video that goes over all the nitty-gritty details.
Build a Stash
Like previous Fallout games, your character's inventory limit is going to be a consistent obstacle, because when you're carrying too much stuff, your Action Points are sapped just from moving around--compared to past games where you just became incredibly slow. Because of this, your Stash at homebase is one of your most valuable assets. Always have a Stash in your camp and use it store stuff to make space for yourself. Only you can access your Stash, so anything you place in there is safe from the hands of unfriendly players. You’ll notice other Stash boxes throughout the world and in other people’s camps, but using them will only access your Stash and not anybody else's. If you're far away from your camp and need to know where to look for a Stash, there will usually be one at a Train Station or Red Rocket.
Always throw whatever junk you've picked up into your Stash; there's actually a command that instantly offloads all your junk in the Stash menu. Once all your junk is in your Stash, you have access to all of it at any workbench for crafting, so you don’t need to worry about carrying it around everywhere you go. Do keep in mind that the Stash does have an item limit. It's not possible to build a second one, so eventually you’re gonna have to start getting rid of stuff. You can't put off Spring cleaning--not even in Fallout 76!
Repairing Weapons and Armor is Different!
Weapon and armor conditions return for Fallout 76 after having been absent from Fallout 4. However, unlike Fallout 3 and New Vegas, where you could use another weapon or armor of the same type to improve the first's condition, you need specific junk to repair your gear in Fallout 76--much like how you upgrade mods. If you're missing materials, you can tag them for search just like in Fallout 4 to help you find what you need when scavenging. While armor takes a little time to bust, weapons can degrade rather quickly, so make sure to keep an eye on them--lest they break in the middle of combat.
Beware of Diseases
One of the newest additions to Fallout 76 are diseases, and they can really harm you if you're not careful. You can get them from pretty much anything. The obvious comes from enemies labeled as “diseased,” such as a Diseased Radroach, which can easily infect you by simply touching you. When you see an enemy marked as "diseased," it's always best shoot them from a distance.
You wouldn't think it, but beds have a high chance of giving you disease, specifically any bedding that's not raised off the ground. You also also catch diseases from eating rotten or raw food, swimming in water, or even just walking in certain areas that contain airborne diseases. That last one can be avoided by wearing certain equipment, like Hazmat or Space Suits, or Gas Masks like the Fire Breather Helmet.
If you're unfortunate enough to catch a disease, your options are to either to wait it out, or cure it with medicine. Waiting for a disease to go away on its own can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the disease. Curing a disease is obviously the prefered method, but Cure Disease (actually what the item is called) can be tough to find. Alternatively, if you're in a real pinch, you can set up your camp and wait to die and then respawn, which will cure your disease.
Pilfer Power Armor
Power Armor is high-level equipment that comes in handy later on. But in your early runnings, you’ll come across plenty of Power Armor chassis out in the world, but they’ll only have a few pieces of armor on them. These pieces are usually around level 40, so you can’t even use them most of the time. But don’t ignore these just because you're at a low level, as you can still take advantage of them. Remove all the armor pieces attached to the Power Armor, and if you have the space, bring them with you to store in your Stash. After that, hop into the Power Armor chassis, as even without any armor plates attached, it'll give a defense bonus and a boost to your carrying capacity.
It's worth noting that once you hop into a Power Armor chassis, it's yours, which means you can store it in your inventory or place it in your Stash. Taking the time to scavenge Power Armor pieces early on will put you in a better place when you reach the appropriate level to actually use fully decked-out Power Armor.
Pay Attention To The Verdant Season
Regions will gain what the game calls a “verdant season” where resources like plants will be more abundant. It cycles through different regions, so pay attention to the tip messages on the right of the screen so you know where to visit if you want to collect extra resources. Pay special attention for ingredients needed to cure diseases such as blood leaf, which is found near streams.
You Can Change Your Look At Any Time
If you're you're the type to spend an hour or two in the game's character creator, know that you're not locked into your choices after you confirm your appearance. Unlike previous games, Fallout 76 lets you change your appearance at any time. Simply bring up the map, tap R1 or RB to access the menu, and choose the "Change Appearance" option. Resort to this if you're in a rush to play the game and want to think about your looks later.
Don't Forget To Unlock Plans And Recipes In Your Inventory
Crafting is an important part of the Fallout experience. After all, if you're going to survive out in the Wasteland, you'll need to leverage all that useless junk you grab into functional items. As you explore, you will find new plans and recipes that'll expand your repertoire of craftable items. You might think these will get added to the workbench recipe list upon picking them up, but you'd be mistaken. To unlock them in your crafting list, simply pull up your Pipboy and confirm them in the Notes section of your inventory.
Make It A Point To Scavenge Bobby Pins And Radaway
Classic necessities from previous games, like Bobby Pins and Radaway, are much harder to come by in Fallout 76. Make it a point to investigate every nook and cranny of an environment, as these items are often tucked away in the most unexpected places. And if you've got enough money or resources, make sure to stock up by buying, trading, or crafting them. Work at it enough and before long these won't be so hard to keep in constant supply.
Interact With Others!
Fallout 76 is a multiplayer game so interacting with other players is major component. But you must be wondering: "What's possible?" First off, there is in-game voice chat that's area-based, letting you hear people close by. Direct communication is a useful tool for asking players if they want to trade or help you out. If you don’t want to to hear other players you can always turn this off in the audio settings, and it's still possible to communicate with visual emotes.
Trading with other players is as simple as walking up to them and pressing a button. You can get a full look at someone’s inventory and request specific items you're interested in. Of course, there's also PVP. You can’t attack or be attacked by other players until you're level 5, which is meant to prevent spawn camping outside Vault 76 and killing all the newcomers. Once you can attack others, you’ll notice that when you first start shooting players, you will actually be inflicting a reduced amount of damage. Again, this is meant to prevent random people from just killing you, or you from killing them. If the other player attacks back, the two of you have officially engaged in combat with the damage safety turned off.
While it's difficult, it's possible to kill a player who isn’t fighting back, but doing so is considered murder. That puts a bounty on your head and replaces your icon on the map with a bright shiny red star, letting everyone know where you are. Any player can then murder you and be rewarded with a bounty of caps, which comes out of your personal supply. You'll get some rewards from the bodies of dead players, but looting them isn’t gonna score you their armor or weapons. Instead, you only get their junk and crafting supplies. While this may not seem like much, scoring a large supply of junk can be a nice boost for you, while losing a lot of junk you just spent the last hour collecting can be pretty devastating. Luckily, your dead body will be marked on the map, so you can recover your stuff regardless of what killed you.
When an encounter stops being fun and games, you can block a player by finding them on the social menu and then flagging them.
How Parties Work And Some Useful Tips
Teaming up as party comes with its own benefits. Party members can share Perks with each other (more on Perks later), as long as your Charisma stat is three times the rank of the Perk. It's best to work together with your party and figure out which perks to share to maximize the benefits of the group.
When you're in a group, the questline the party leader has active is shared with the whole party, and completing the quest gives everyone the reward--even if party members have already beaten that specific quest.
Party members can also fast travel to each other without needing to pay caps. You aren’t tethered to each other, so you're free to split up and travel separately and then rejoin as a group whenever you want. In fact, if you're friends with someone and in the same server, you can fast travel to them for free even if you aren't in a party together. If you have a large group that needs to be broken up into multiple teams, this is a great way to stick together and form a supergroup.
Good Perk Cards To Get
Fallout 76’s new leveling system is quite a bit different from previous games. This time it's based around Perk cards. Every time you level up, you can put a point into one of the seven S.P.E.C.I.A.L. skills that make up your character's stats, and then pick a card to equip for the skill. The number of points you have in that skill determines how many cards you can have. For example, if you have four points in a particular skill, you can unlock four Rank 1 cards, or two Rank 2 cards, or one Rank 3 card and one Rank 1 card. A Perk card always starts at Rank 1. If you want to upgrade its rank, you need to combine it with duplicates of the same card.
There are dozens of Perk cards, many of which we've yet to find. You generally earn them by leveling up, opening up Perk card packs, or by completing challenges. Below is a rundown of which cards you should look out for.
As you probably know, the Charisma skill is based around working with other players. If you're in a team, you want to use Charisma Perk cards that provides team bonuses. A useful one is Inspirational, which nets you bonus XP when in a team. But make sure to share the card if you want your whole team to get the XP boost rather than just you. Even if you aren’t in a team, Charisma still has Perks, like Lone Wanderer, which reduces damage and boosts AP regen for solo players.
As you play, an important factor to consider is your weight limit. Running out of space is a problem you'll face often. The Strength Perk card, Pack Rat, can reduce the weight of your junk items up to 75% at max rank. However, in our experience two of the most unexpected sources of weight are food and first aid supplies.
The Agility Perk card Thru-hiker can reduce food and drink weight to a max of 90% and can easily clear up to 60 lbs from your inventory. Another good Agility Perk card is Action Girl/Boy, which lets you regenerate your AP faster. This is incready useful as it ties into your sprint, which tends to run out quickly early on.
Endurance cards are useful in managing the game’s survival requirements, such as reducing radiation, not needing to eat or drink as much, or preventing diseases. Make sure you and your party always have lockpick and hacking perks handy so you can unlock safes or hack terminals.
Gunsmith is an incredibly useful Intelligence Perk card that makes slows gun degradation and lets you crafter higher tiers of guns as you rank it up. There's also First Aid, which increases the amount of health gained from stimpacks.
These are only few examples of cards we found useful during the early parts of the game. Remember you can swap your perks at anytime, so always take the time to set them up to fit your current playstyle.
Complete Challenges to Earn Atoms
Fallout 76 has an in-game microtransaction store called the Atomic Shop you can access from the main menu. Everything it offers is purely cosmetic, like new outfits, paint jobs for you Pipboy or Power Armor, photo mode poses, and player emotes. It all costs Atoms, a currency that you can buy with real-world money. But chances are you'd rather earn those Atoms by completing in-game challenges. There’s a series of set challenges you can complete along with a rotating set of daily and weekly challenges. You'll naturally complete a lot of these just from playing, but if you're itching to get more Atoms, check out the challenges page in the menu to find some of the easy ones to complete.
Rapid-Fire Tips (Other General Tips)
There's a lot of small stuff packed into the game that's worth being mindful of. Below are some tips we didn't think would suffice as their own slides, but are important to mention nonetheless:
- Holotapes still play when you enter a loading screen but you no longer hear them. So if you have a tape playing wait until you leave or enter a building or fast travel until you’re done listening to it.
- Always carry a Hazmat suit with you. There are tons of areas with heavy radiation that can quickly kill you the more you spend time there, so a Hazmat suit is essential. That, and they can prevent airborne and waterborne diseases.
- If you find an instrument, take 30 seconds to play it and receive the Well-tuned status, which grants you a bonus +25% AP regeneration for 1 hour.
- Be warned, if you murder someone while in a party, your teammates can start attacking you right away. You won't be able to attack them, however, because you're on the same team.
- Use a Tinker’s Workbench to bulk your materials, which will condense them and reduce the weight, freeing up more space in your inventory or Stash.
- If your meat, veggies, or fruit spoil, don’t eat them but also don’t throw them away. You can convert them into fertilizer.
- Sleep at the start of every play session until you get the well rested icon. It means you get more XP on your adventures.
- You can swap your Pip-Bboy between two viewing modes: the standard one takes up your entire view, but the alternate version lets you see what’s around you while you navigate menus.
- When building the CAMP, many objects in the world block larger saved bases from being placed. Fortunately you only really need one point of contact and can float your entire base on a single set of stairs. Minimizing your base's footprint will reduce your chances of not being able to deploy it.
- Even if you don’t like VATS, it’s still very good for quick shots with bolt action weapons.
- Remap the grenade button if you play on PC and plan on using ShadowPlay. Its currently set to Left ALT, and trying to start and stop ShadowPlay will have you accidentally throw a grenade. Also it's just an awkward key to put melee/grenade on anyways.