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.
Leveling 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.
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 pounds of stuff. Don’t get lazy about scavenging for random objects in the fields and abandoned buildings you happen across until it’s full.
While you can auto-scrap the junk you pick up at crafting stations, reducing found objects into useful materials like aluminum 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 armor 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 (aluminum, it’s almost always aluminum).
Ever since Fallout 4, Power Armor 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.
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.
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 percent when you drink stuff, while Slow Metabolizer makes food 15 percent 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 percent 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.
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 Armor, then low-level melee weapons are arguably a lot more powerful than pipe guns and bolt action rifles.
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.
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.