Even with the addition of online multiplayer, a few things in the Fallout universe remain constant: Vaultboy, excessive radiation, and most importantly for this page, perks. Here are our picks for the best perks in Fallout 76 so far.
Fallout 76 perks
Perks in Fallout 76 work a little differently than in previous games. First off, your S.P.E.C.I.A.L skills all start at 1, and you gain a point to add to a skill of your choice with each level up.
Then, depending on the level of your skill, you can equip one or more “perk cards” to gain powerful passive benefits. More perk cards are unlocked as you continue to level up, and you can combine duplicates with each other to create more powerful versions of each card.
These upgraded versions cost more to equip, but since you’re increasing your stats anyway, the benefits generally outweigh the extra cost.
There are 205 perk cards to choose from in Fallout 76, which seems like a lot, but tons of them really aren’t good enough to be part of your build.
We’ve listed our favourites below, with brackets to indicate what improvements are made when you upgrade that card.
What are the best perks in Fallout 76?
Best Strength Perks
Strength is a great skill to invest in, because it not only governs how much melee damage you deal - which is useful for conserving bullets - but it also lets you carry more weight, which is very limited in Fallout 76.
Our favourite strength perks are as follows:
- Basher: Gun bashing does +25% (50%) damage with a 5% chance to cripple your opponent. This is great for finishing off weaker enemies without wasting ammo.
- (Expert/Master) Gladiator: Your one-handed melee weapons now do +10% (50%) damage. One-handed melee weapons are plentiful and, especially in the early game, you’ll find yourself using them often to conserve ammo.
- Martial Artist: Your melee weapons weigh 20% (60%) less, and you can swing them 10% (30%) faster. As mentioned, melee is good for finishing enemies and conserving ammo, which makes this a decent perk if you’re a melee focussed player.
- Pack Rat: The weight of all junk items is reduced by 25% (75%). In Fallout 76 you’ll be constantly hitting up against your weight limit, and you’ll also be collecting a lot of loot for resources - this eases that problem nicely.
- Strong back: Gain +10 (40) to carry weight. Did I mention the annoying weight limit? Yes? Well, I’m doing it again. If you’re getting sick of it as much as me, then pick this perk up.
- Sturdy Frame: Armor weighs 25% (50%) less than normal. All of the pieces of armor you have equipped contribute to your weight significantly, a problem that this perk reduces efficiently.
Best Perception Perks
Perception helps you to keep track of enemies and increases your effectiveness in V.A.T.S, as well as housing a lot of perks that buff the strength of your guns. Since there’s a much bigger emphasis on combat in Fallout 76 than previous Fallouts, you’re going to be reliant on your gunplay.
We won’t list all of the specific gun type perks, since different players will have different preferences. We like the non-automatic rifles so went with Rifleman, but if you prefer pistols or assaults, then obviously go with those perks:
- (Expert/Master) Lockpick: Gain +1 lockpicking skill, and the lockpicking 'sweet spot' is 10% larger. There are three lockpicking cards to collect, and you’ll get a decent amount of use out of them.
- Night Person: Gain +1 (3) Intelligence and +1 (3) Perception between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Even though it’s useless half the time, buffs to your core skills are always strong and always worth considering.
- Refractor: Gain +5 (20) Energy Resistance. Resisting damage to supplement your armor rating is a good bonus to have, making this a strong basic perk.
Best Endurance Perks
Endurance is another good skill to invest in during the early game, since a higher rating gives you more health and lets you sprint for longer.
- Cannibal:Eating Human, Ghoul, Super Mutant, Scorched, or Mole Miner corpses restores Health and hunger. In older games this used to be a double-edged sword, but there’s no karma or reputation to lose in Fallout 76, so chow down!
- Ironclad: Gain 10 (50) Damage and Energy Resistance while not wearing Power Armor. Taking less damage? What’s not to like?
- Lead Belly: You take 30% less (no) radiation from eating or drinking. With Fallout 76’s new default survival mechanics, you’re going to be eating and drinking a lot. Use this to keep the rads at bay and your health topped up when you do.
- Solar Powered: Gain +1 (3) to STR and END between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Strength and Endurance are really strong skills, so even a sporadic boost to them is worth considering, just don’t get stranded carrying too much overnight.
Best Charisma Perks
With no human NPCs to charm and romance, Charisma feels like a bit of a shadow of itself in Fallout 76. However, it still houses some powerful perks.
If you’re playing with a group of friends, definitely pick up as many of the team perks - like Bodyguards - as you can. But if you’re lone wolfing it, be sure to pick up Lone Wanderer, which reduces damage and increases your AP regen while you’re solo.
Our favourite team perks are the aforementioned Bodyguards, E.M.T, Quack Surgeon, Squad Maneuver, and Team Medic.
- Suppressor: Reduce your target's damage output by 10% (30%) for 2 seconds after hitting it. This can be useful if you’re struggling with some of the stronger boss enemies around the Wasteland.
- Tenderizer: Make your target receive 5% (7%) more damage for 5 (10) seconds after you attack. Bonus damage is very powerful, especially with automatic weaponry.
Best Intelligence Perks
In Fallout 76, Intelligence is basically the crafting skill, so if you’re the type to use your own ingenuity to create the best gear a game has to offer, then you’ll want to invest in the Armorer, Gunsmith, Power Smith, and Science skills.
- (Expert/Master) Hacker: Gain +1 hacking skill, and terminal lock-out time is reduced. Some areas are only accessible by hacking terminals, so grab this if you want to see absolutely everything.
- Portable Power: All Power Armor parts and chassis weights are reduced by 25% (75%). Power Armor is really strong in Fallout 76, but it munches through your stash limit like Avril Lavigne through a pack of Smarties. This perk makes that much, much more manageable.
Best Agility Perks
If you’re a big pistol user, be sure to grab a few of the perks in this category.
- Born Survivor: Falling below 20% (40%) health will automatically use a Stimpak. The level 1 version of this is a great safety net - just in case.
- Covert Operative: Your ranged attacks do 2.15x (2.5x) normal damage. As I’ve said before, bonus damage is very strong, and is always worth considering.
Best Luck Perks
Fallout 76 is all about the loot, so you might as well maximise it. There are a few good perks on offer here too, so do check if you get any good ones in your card packs.
- Bloody Mess: 5% (15%) bonus damage means enemies may explode into a gory red paste. An unqualified damage buff is a no-brainer, pick this one up when it becomes available.
- Mysterious Stranger: The Mysterious Stranger will appear occasionally in V.A.T.S. to lend a hand. A helping hand is always appreciated, especially when it’s holding a scoped .44 magnum.
For more Fallout 76 tips, take a look at our advice page for beginners and returning veterans.
If you’re a collector, here’s everywhere we’ve found a Bobblehead in Fallout 76 so far.
Or if you’re looking to wade into the thick of battle, here are all of the Power Armor locations we’ve uncovered so far too.