15 Things Newcomers Should Know About Fallout 76

[W/drop-cap]hat started life as an absolute disaster of a game in late 2018 has turned itself around in remarkable fashion over the years. Fallout 76 has enjoyed consistently solid support from Bethesda with new updates and content additions over the years, owing to which it has built up a sizeable and dedicated player base. Recent weeks, in fact, have seen that player base growing at an even faster rate, thanks to the explosion in popularity that the Fallout franchise has enjoyed as a whole courtesy of the success of Amazon Prime’s recently released adaptation.

Fallout 76 has, as such, seen a large number of new players jumping in for the first time, and looking at its current momentum, it’s safe to say that that surge will continue for a while. If you’re among those who’re gearing up to step out of Vault 76 for the first time, here, we’ve compiled a few key details that you should know about Bethesda’s multiplayer RPG.


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Fallout 76 serves as a prequel to the franchise, being set long before any of the other games. The game takes place in the year 2102, just a quarter of a century after the world was destroyed by nuclear war. You play as a Vault Dweller residing in Vault 76, a Vault-Tec Vault in West Virginia. 25 years after the Great War, Vault 76 opens up its doors, sending you and other fellow residents out to reclaim and recolonize the Appalachia region. That serves as the setup for the base game, though as you might imagine, the story grows and evolves in significant ways over the course of Fallout 76’s many expansions and updates. We’ll get to those in a bit.


The VATS system has been a crucial part of Fallout gameplay ever since it was introduced in Fallout 3, and though it is featured in Fallout 76 as well, owing to the game’s online nature, it works a little differently. Similar to other Fallout games, you still use your action points to target an enemy’s individual body parts with VATS, with the accuracy of your attacks being determined by various factors. However, unlike other titles, the action is no longer paused when VATS is activated, with everything happening in real-time instead.


Fallout 76

The SPECIAL system once again serves as the backbone of Fallout 76’s progression mechanics, though it, too, comes with some changes. You do, of course, still use skill points earned by leveling up to improve one of seven SPECIAL attributes, while each attribute also has its own perks that can be unlocked and equipped. These perks, however, take the form of cards in Fallout 76. Each card has its own value (so more powerful perks have greater values), and the total value of the perks you equip within a SPECIAL attribute can’t exceed that attribute’s rating. Meanwhile, players can also merge perk cards to craft stronger (and more expensive) perks.


Fallout 76 is, like its predecessors, an open world game, and a much larger one than other instalments, at that. In fact, its map is four times larger than Fallout 4 (something that Bethesda stressed every chance it got in the lead-up to the game’s launch back in 2018). A number of real locations and landmarks from West Virginia can also be found scattered throughout the map, including Camden Park, the State Capitol building, New River Gorge Bridge, and more.


Fallout 76

There’s a vast variety of enemies that you’ll be encountering and locking horns with throughout your time in Fallout 76. Many of these are, of course, going to be familiar to you if you’ve played Fallout in the past, from deathclaws and feral ghouls to mirelurks, radscorpions, and more. Meanwhile, the game also features several new monster types that were inspired by West Virginian folklore, such as Mothmen and Flatwood monsters.


Fallout 4’s settlement building system is a core component of Fallout 76’s gameplay experience as well. With the CAMP system, players can build housing, workshops, and more, using different pieces and objects to build everything from walls and ceilings to furniture and much more. The settlements that you build can also be attacked by foes, while players also have to build within budget limits.


Fallout 76

One of the biggest defining traits of Fallout 76’s open world is that there are armed nuclear missiles scattered across the map that players can find and actually fire, provided you’ve acquired their launch codes. Once you nuke an area of the map, it will become heavily irradiated, which, combined with the dangerous creatures that will be attracted to it, will make it extremely dangerous to explore. Doing so, however, will come with its own rewards, since you’ll find rare and powerful gear, weapons, and loot in these areas.


Those looking to tweak their gameplay experience in different ways have the option to do so via Fallout Worlds, which offers two different modes. One lets you play in Public Worlds, which are worlds with unique settings set by Bethesda that are available to all players on a monthly rotation. Then there are the Custom Worlds, which, as their name suggests let you create worlds with entirely custom settings. Unlike Public World, Custom Worlds are only available to those who are subscribed to Fallout 1st (and their friends).


fallout 76 wastelanders

Bethesda has released a ridiculous number of updates and patches for Fallout 76, which have collectively expanded the game’s content and feature offerings massively. One of the biggest updates early in the game’s life was Wastelanders, which, among several other things, added a new questline, factions, and human NPCs. Since then, there have been several more, including Steel Dawn and Steel Reign (which brought the Brotherhood of Steel into the game), Expeditions: The Pitt (which takes players to the post-apocalyptic remains of Pittsburgh), and more.


In addition to its larger content-driven updates, Fallout 76 has also received numerous relatively smaller-scale ones that have added key features, new seasonal and public events, and new items and weapons, among other things. For instance, Invaders from Beyond brought a new seasonal event that saw you fighting against aliens, while last year, Once in a Blue Moon tasked players with helping the Blue Ridge Caravan with its business expansion plans. Other updates have added regional bosses, new weapons, new enemies, additional events, gameplay features, and much more.


Fallout 76 - Atlantic City America's Playground

The last major content update received was America’s Playground, the second part of the Expeditions: Atlantic City update. Launching in March, America’s Playground brought with it an expanded Atlantic City, making the city itself freely explorable, also adding new quests and side quests, a new expedition, new Trophies and Achievements, and more.


America’s Playground launched alongside Fallout 76’s Season 16, dubbed Duel with the Devil, which is still ongoing. On top of regular seasonal additions, Season 16 brought with it one key change, removing the scoreboard and replacing it with what’s effectively serves as a battle pass. Completing activities rewards you with tickets, which you can then use to purchase rewards across multiple pages, which themselves are unlocked over time.


fallout 76 shenandoah

Sometime this June, Fallout 76 will receive its 19th major update in the form of Skyline Valley. The update, which currently has a PTS live, will expand the game’s map by adding the new southern region of Skyline Valley, “deep into the wooded heartland of Shenandoah”, as Bethesda puts it. And of course, the update’s release will also go hand-in-hand with Season 17 going live, as well as a new questline and new factions.


A new season and another major expansion are obviously going to be Fallout 76’s major headline updates in the immediate future, but Bethesda says more continued improvements are planned as well. Though the developer hasn’t offered any specific details on that front, it says players can look forward to more new seasonal events, gameplay features, and more.


Fallout 76

Funnily enough, Bethesda still hasn’t released Fallout 76 natively on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, with the game being playable on current-gen consoles through backward compatibility for PS4 and Xbox One. That said, those on current machines do still get one key bonus. A patch released by Bethesda last year enabled 60 FPS support for Fallout 76 on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.

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