Fallout 76 tips: 21 things I wish I knew before playing

By Lauren Aitken
18 December 2018 11:37 GMT

Fallout 76 is finally live, so let’s get stuck in with a whole mess of Fallout 76 tips for beginners.

Fallout 76 has huge potential to be one of the most unique MMOs out there, almost blurring the line between real-time strategy, shooter and survival sandbox. But as it stands, some of its systems and quirks aren’t very straightforward or obvious, and it’s quite a different beast to Fallout 4.

21 tips for Fallout 76

Where to find your first weapons

You need a weapon as soon as you leave the Vault. Just turn right outside and you’ll see a Responder Corpse. Loot it for a fairly basic pistol and some ammo. But look, it’s a start and it you’re going to find the Overseer’s camp you now at least have a semi-decent tool to take on the handful of enemies in your way.

Now head down the first set of steps opposite the entrance to find another body, this time with a machete. You now have a melee weapon too. Good luck.

On the map, you’ll see a crane south of the vault. This is the Gilman Lumber Mill. Head there, and upstairs in the barn you’ll find a hunting rifle and a few boxes of ammo. That should make you feel a bit more confident now to take on the world of Fallout 76.

You can’t manually save

As Fallout 76 is completely online, you aren’t able to manually save the game. The safest way to exit the game and hope your progress will be saved is to go to the main menu you and select Quit Game.

It isn’t Fallout 4: Part 1

This might seem obvious, but to the inexperienced eye, Fallout 76 looks near identical to the Fallout 4. The landscapes, the gadgets, the hairstyles – it’s a Fallout 4 skin with a twist.

Some of the buttons are mapped slightly differently and you have the addition of the CAMP function from the Pip-Boy which can get a bit fiddly.

There’s also a more functional d-pad that, again, can be a bit clunky and now features the emote function which is quite fun to use.

It isn’t Fallout 4: Part 2

Aside from the odd robot or giant moth, you’ll seldom find an NPC having a walk around the map. The main difference from Fallout 76 and the previous titles is that you and your fellow vault dwellers are responsible for rebuilding society, as opposed to being born or defrosted into a brave new world.

As such, new towns, settlements and hierarchies haven’t been formed and the population hasn’t been out reproducing for very long, so it would make sense that most of your interactions are with ghouls, Scorchbeasts and bomb-resistant robots, aside from your vault pals.

Where to find your Tricentennial Edition DLC and skins

If you purchased the Tricentennial Edition of Fallout 76, you’ll receive new skins and items to use in-game. The camp items can be used to liven up your camp straight away. The skins are available too, but you’ll need to have the item in-game before you can use it, so you’ll need to find or craft the Power Armors or weapons before you can apply the special Tricentennial skins.


Achievements that require finishing a quest, such as leaving the Vault, will unfortunately not unlock automatically. You’ll have to create a new character and re-do the required quest to get them. As for achievements that rely on crafting weapons or building a camp, those should automatically unlock assuming you already did this in beta.

Team Up

Once you’ve left the safety of Vault 76, it can be a lonely old world out there. Apart from the robots and beasties crawling the map, you only have other players to interact with. The difficulty curve when playing solo rises quite dramatically, so whether it’s with friends or some guy you accidentally invited to your party instead of opening your Pip-Boy, it’s a good idea to team up.

Playing in a group means you’ll finish bigger events, can handle more difficult quests and explore the map quicker as you all take a slightly different route or building to inspect. It’s decidedly more fun to play Fallout 76 as it was intended – as a co-op game, not a solo adventure.

You are encouraged to trade resources with your teammates and strangers, such as recipes or mods, which really makes the social aspect of Fallout 76 quite special.

Inventory and stash issues

Being over-encumbered is part and parcel of all Bethesda games, but it feels more pronounced in Fallout 76. Building a CAMP is no easy feat as you need to compete with other players for prime locations, set up defences, etc, and all of this requires resources.

Much like Fallout 4, you can pick up almost everything and some players have reached their inventory and stash limits in a matter of hours. Fallout 4, Fallout 3 and New Vegas all had a plethora of vendors, stashes and workbenches you could use to store your resources and this feature is definitely lacking in Fallout 76. You’ll need to study the blueprints to see what resources you really need and pick these up accordingly, rather than taking everything at once.

Bobby pins, used for lockpicking, inexplicably weigh more than ammo in Fallout 76, so there may be a time where you need to weigh up (ha) whether you need that extra ammo, or that extra stash of bobby pins to lockpick your way to victory.

Moving your CAMP will cost you

Should you decide that you’ve had enough of where you’ve settled in your CAMP, you can find a new location and move it there. The blueprints for items around the CAMP have small font and can be tricky to understand, and it isn’t clear at first that for every level you increase and the further you travel, it will be more expensive to set up another CAMP.

You’ll need to go into your Pip-Boy to move your CAMP, not through the CAMP device itself, for reasons known only to Bethesda.

Unlike previous Fallout games, bottle caps aren’t found in abundance, probably because it hasn’t been established as the unilateral currency at this point, so it’s sometimes worth building on your resources and manning the tent for as long as possible before moving on. While we’re on the subject of movement, remember that fast travel costs bottle caps.

If you jaunt off to a new location, you risk getting your CAMP trashed by friendly opponents or various creatures, giving you another reason to play in a group.

Weapons and armour

Fancy clothes don’t offer any damage protection in Fallout 76. If you want to minimise damage, you’re best off equipping body armour or finding a suit of Power Armor sets hidden in Appalachia. Here’s where to find Power Armor in Fallout 76, and how to customise and repair it.

Gas masks are also crucial items, as they provide a bonus which makes sense considering it’s only been 25 years since the bombs fell.

Fallout 76 employs Fallout 3’s weapon mechanic in that you need to repair your armour and weapons lest they break, and you’re left punching a Mega Sloth to death. You can repair weapons at workbenches found around Appalachia, at your CAMP and by some specialist vendors. If an item becomes broken you won’t be able to equip it, but it will remain in your inventory, taking up space until you scrap or sell it.

On a more interesting note, there’s every possibility you’ll have two of the same weapons, yet if you switch between them you may find that one will deteriorate quicker than the other, again adding another bit of survival realism into the game.

Power Armour is conveniently found near Power Armour Stations. To lock it to you, simply transfer armour plates into your inventory, enter the frame and lock its ownership to you. You can even put it into your inventory, somehow.

How Perks and SPECIAL work

SPECIAL stats have been around in Fallout games forever and Fallout 76 is no exception. Upon levelling up, you can allocate points to one of the SPECIAL stats, as well as choosing a Perk Card. There’s often a new type of card per SPECIAL rank and you don’t need to choose a card from the stat you just increased. So, if you increased your Perception SPECIAL, you aren’t locked into choosing a Perception-based card.

You begin with one point in each and raise a single stat by one until you reach 15. The current level cap is 50, so spend your points well. If you have at least three points in Charisma, you can share Perk Cards with your team and can swap them around at any time.

Most types of cards can be combined to make a better version, except for Lockpicking and Hacking. Here’s all the best perks for Fallout 76, including Mysterious Stranger and Bear Arms.

Bobbleheads are back

Yes, there are bobbleheads in Fallout 76. But they function a little differently; Bobbleheads are consumable and give you a boost for a short period of time. They are not permanent stat boosts. Here’s where to find a bunch of bobbleheads to get you started.

Hacking and lockpicking

The same lock mechanic from Fallout 4 and Skyrim is present in Fallout 76, as well as a similar method for hacking terminals. As well as bobby pins wieghing more in Fallout 76, they’re also much harder to find.

Lockpicking and Hacking Perk Cards work differently from the rest of the cards in Fallout 76. Each skill has three cars ranked between one and three. Unlike other cards, you can’t combine two Rank 3 cards to make a better version of the card.

The only way to improve these skills is to find all three cards and have them equipped at the same time.

Diseases, mutations and hunger, oh my!

Once you’ve reached level five, there’s a chance you’ll start to contract diseases from food and water and you might even begin to mutate. Diseases are only removed with cures or by letting it run its course, which is a risk all its own.

Much like in real life, being well rested in a decent bed with a frame can help prevent diseases entirely as you need to keep your vault gal/guy in top shape. If you die and respawn, you might still carry whatever disease or mutation you had, so get it dealt with asap.

Radiation is as problematic as ever as only RadAway can get rid of it. However, it can also introduce new mutations that either enhance or destroy a part of you, so it’s up to you if you want to wait and see what happens.

Useful mutations can be kept by using the Starched Genes Perk Card, which allows you to keep any active mutations forever, or prevent any new ones from coming, so if glowing green isn’t your thing, we suggest selecting this card as soon as you get it.

You also need to eat and drink regularly when touring West Virginia, borrowing the hardcore mechanic from Fallout: New Vegas. Depending on whether you’re eating homemade soups that inexplicably contain wood, canned goods or knocking back Mentats will affect your hunger and thirst levels and these resources clearly aren’t intended for health regeneration like in Fallout 4.

Combat tips for Fallout 76

Combat in Fallout 76 is challenging regardless of what level you are, and it is good practice to carry a melee weapon, a ranged weapon and a short-range weapon, like a shotgun, if possible. Ammo is scarce, so you’ll need to either loot everything, buy a tonne or craft your own.

VATS still feature in Fallout 76 even if the game doesn’t really mention them. A lot of Fallout fans think VATS takes the fun out of the combat, but I personally enjoy seeing my enemies explode into pieces in slow motion. They cost Action Points to use but are great for spotting an enemy up ahead or when entering an area, you suspect might be covered in mines.

With the right Perk Card, you can start to target specific areas of the body, and any shot you land will fill the critical meter.

Level scaling is a little bit different in Fallout 76, with Bloatflies and Molerats being much tougher to beat, but killing them is a great way to farm XP early on. Don’t get cocky and try and take on a Scorchbeast on your own when you’re a low level, though, because the results are just sad.

PVP and death in Fallout 76

Once you’ve reached level 5, other players can start to attack you and it can be relentless. If someone shoots you and you don’t retaliate, you’ll take reduced damage and if they kill you, there will be a significant murderer debuff on their account for a few hours as well as a bounty on their head. Players will be able to see the murderer and claim a substantial reward if they take you down.

You can reenable Pacifist mode to ensure you don’t accidentally shoot another player, but that doesn’t mean they can’t shoot you. You can hope that a kind stranger will revive you with a Stimpack or one of their Perk abilities. If you receive further damage whilst in a downed state, you’ll die and leave behind a death bag filled with your junk. You do get a quest to retrieve your lost gear and placing a CAMP near any potentially challenge location mitigates the risk of losing your stuff.

You can also resort to dropping a nuke on someone, but that’s a bit far, surely.

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Crafting like a pro

Workbenches are all over the shop in Fallout 76 and can be built at your CAMP, so you can make food, craft ammo and come up with some bizarre chemical concoctions.

This feature is severely limited by the “someone else is using this” feature that we hope will be patched out because there’s always some absolute bass who won’t move and you end up queuing like you’re in The Division.

Always build a Vault-Tec Stash to store your junk in so it’s on hand when crafting. As we said earlier, it’s a good idea to try and pick up everything you can but it’s also worthwhile looking for key elements and hoarding them as opposed to a manic free for all.

You can spend a few caps to send all your junk to your stash, providing the stash isn’t full, or head back and deposit it yourself.

Blueprints can be placed to save your CAMP layout, which is useful if you’ve spent a lot of time and resources building the CAMP of your dreams and don’t want to have to meticulously place things again should you choose to move.

Some players have encountered issues with this throughout the beta and have found that their blueprints have been deleted, so take this advice with a pinch of salt for now.

Cooking and modding

Recipes and mods can be found throughout the map, and you’ll need to open your Pip-Boy and interact with them to learn them. You can find them in the wild, in chests, from special vendors or by trading with other players.

Upon finding a food or plant for the first time, a recipe can sometimes pop up for something basic like a soup or stew, and by dismantling weapons with a mod you’ll find out how to create it yourself. If you dismantle an item in perfect condition you might get a recipe or mod for that item, or you can carry on looting.

The main questline gives you a short tutorial on both recipes and mods, which is useful. Wood is a super valuable resource in Fallout 76 and is essential for cooking, so grab it where you can. Other than that, you’ll need to get hunting to get some tasty meats.

You can process water like in Fallout 4 to make your drinks slightly safer, too.

Fast travel

Fast travelling cost caps, so you’ll need to weigh up if it’s worth it or not. You can fast travel anywhere you’ve visited before, but the further away from your current location it is, the more it will cost you.

Make sure you have a steady supply of caps for those times when you’re feeling lazy or need to get to an event fast. The only locations that don’t cost caps are Vault 76, your deployed CAMP, and the location of any player in your party of four.

Character customisation and cosmetics

Completing challenges is worth doing if you’re interested in gathering Atom Points, which you’ll be able to spend on cosmetics at launch. You can earn these in-game and will also be able to spend your real-life money on them soon to buy skins.

You can also edit the appearance of your character at any time and you don’t need to exit the game to do so, just open up the main menu while in-game and select Change Appearance. You can change their face, hair and sex at any point during the game.

You can’t pause an online game, mum

As Fallout 76 is an online game, you can’t pause it. This makes looking through your Pip-Boy quite risky as it takes up the whole screen and you probably won’t notice someone creeping up on you. You can toggle your view of the Pip-Boy to see a little better, but it’d be sensible to find somewhere to hide first.

In a similar vein, it would be good to familiarise yourself with the quick slots on the d-pad to switch between weapons, food, medicine and other favoured items as opposed to trawling through various Pip-Boy screens to find what you need.

Fallout 76 is available on November 14 on PC, Xbox One and PS4.

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