Fallout 76 is one of those gaming stories that has become far too common in the past few years. When it launched in 2018, the phrase said by Todd Howard was “It just works.”
That phrase soon became a meme because, honestly—it just didn’t.
There were so many issues with the initial release of Fallout 76 that it was shocking it was released in the state it was. The gameplay was choppy, there were glitches everywhere, and plenty of players, including myself, experienced some complete crashes.
If that wasn’t bad enough, all of the quirky personality of the series was completely gone as NPCs didn’t exist in the world, and instead, holotapes and robots were the only things that could dish out any bits of exposition and lore during your time with the game. Before we begin with our Fallout 76 gameplay guides, let’s look at the changes made in the game throughout the years.
Changing Over the Years
Luckily, that all has changed in the past few years. NPCs were added into the game, servers got stability, story content was developed, and several DLC addons have turned Fallout 76 into one of the most enjoyable online experiences to date.
Bethesda looked to their success with Elder Scrolls Online and decided to implement a lot of what made that experience great into Fallout’s first foray online, and so far, the new look to the game, along with the many free downloads weekends its gotten, have turned one of gaming’s biggest failures into a full functioning game that will grip you the same way that single-player Fallouts of the past have.
As a Fallout 76 player, I was turned off by the initial disastrous launch, but since the addition of the Wastelanders DLC, I’ve found this is a game world worth spending a lot of time in. The interaction with other players and conflict that arises with them and the incredible variety of enemies have made this an addicting experience that feels so different from any other MMO out there. It breaks the mold in so many ways, and that Fallout feeling is back in full swing with the addition of 100s of NPCs as well.
There is a lot to get a grip on when it comes to Fallout 76, and just like its brother game, Elder Scrolls Online, it can be overwhelming when you first start out. Let’s explore everything there is to know about Fallout 76
Exploring the World
As is customary with every Fallout game, you begin in a vault, and this acts as the tutorial area. Once you emerge from it, though, you are free to explore the world in front of you, and in Fallout 76, that world is Appalachia, which is where West Virginia used to be. Your mission from that point on is to reunite with your missing Overseer.
Of course, that’s just the driving force of the game, you don’t have to do that at any point, and if you’d like, you can just explore the map at your leisure. The map itself is absolutely massive and is roughly 4 times the size of the map of Fallout 4. Throughout the map, you will encounter random enemies, events, and Fallout 76 quests to take on should you so choose.
You can fast travel anywhere you’ve visited previously, and new to the series is the ability to fast travel while you’re indoors, so you’ll never be too far from the surface.
While you can go about things with a group of friends, you can still play Fallout 76 as a solo adventure. This can be done by manually avoiding other players, or you can use a private server, which will essentially turn the game into just another Fallout game, which some might actually prefer. There are a few events that require teaming up with others, though, so you might want to let a few people onto your server when that time comes.
Each server has a maximum of 24 players, so even on the fullest ones, you won’t be getting overcrowded anytime soon. When you encounter other players, you can interact with them via the emote wheel, or you can voice chat with them if they get into close enough proximity to you.
Veterans of the Fallout series will be right at home with the combat here as not a whole lot has changed from previous games.
You can play from first or third-person perspectives based on your preference, and you have a wealth of weapons at your disposal to do battle with.
One thing that has changed with Fallout 76 is the V.A.T.S system. See, in the past games, this would slow downtime, and that would allow you to target different appendages of your enemies. Because of the nature of online games, slowing downtime doesn’t exactly work.
Instead of that, V.A.T.S works as an aim assistant, and with that comes some advantages and disadvantages. You can now move around while using it, which makes you a far tougher target for enemies to hit.
Your enemies will keep moving too, so you need to keep that in mind as well. Just like previous V.A.T.S systems, your attacks can miss their target, so using it in close range is ideal.
There is also no queuing up of actions anymore as everything is happening in real-time. You still need action points to use it, though, so it’s going to be a rarity that it’s available to you early on throughout the game.
There is a critical meter just as there was in Fallout 4, so you can still use V.A.T.S to deliver a devastating strike. There is also the ability to target limbs as in previous games, but the difference here is you need to acquire an item called the Perk Card to use it.
Aside from the V.A.T.S system, combat is pretty straightforward. You will be aiming your guns manually, and different areas of enemies cause different amounts of damage. You will find headshots to be the most effective damage-wise, but this is also the smallest part of enemy bodies, so it might not always be the best course of action. Sometimes, shooting an enemy in the leg or arm may be a better idea, as this can cripple them or even cause them to drop their weapons.
Each limb has its own health bar, and when you damage it enough, that is when you cause all sorts of negative effects to happen to your target.
When you cripple a target, aside from dropping weapons, they will also receive tons of debuffs such as reduced mobility, or with some enemies, a self-destruct sequence might commence. Hitting any body part will modify your damage, so keep that in mind when taking your shots. The amount of damage dealt with body parts starts a body part multiplier, which is used to determine how much damage an enemy is going to take.
Throughout your journey in Appalachia, you’re going to encounter a wide variety of enemies, and while plenty of them will just deal out physical damage, there are also some other kinds of damage that you will need to defend against as well. Here are the different damage types to look out for in Fallout 76.
- Physical Damage: This is damage dealt by normal guns, explosives, and melee damage. An armor that protects against this will have the stat called Damage Resistance, and the higher this number is, the higher amount of punishment your character can take. Continue reading our Fallout 76 Malee Ideas Guide.
- Energy Damage: Energy Damage deals with damage dealt with by laser, electric, and plasma weapons. To defend against this properly, you want Armor with a high Energy Resistance.
- Radiation Damage: This damage has to do with any radioactive weapons, and while rare, if encountered, you will need a high Radiation Resistance on your equipment to survive it.
- Fire Damage: Fire damage comes from any flame-based weapons or explosives, and it can deal residual damage depending on the weapon being used. Fire Damage is reduced by Damage Resistance, and there is no specific resistance needed for it.
- Cryo Damage: Cryo damage is dealt with through cryogenic weaponry, and when used, it creates a slow effect that will stall your or your enemy’s movements. You can defend against this with equipment that has high Cryo Resistance.
- Poison Damage: Damage dealt by poison weapons will cause damage to you over time. This can be devastating if you don’t have the proper healing items on hand to combat it, so to prevent this kind of damage, you will need Armor with a high Poison Resistance rating.
- Pure Damage: This refers to damage that is done exclusively by the Wendigo Colossus. It cannot really be reduced, but armors with high damage reduction will fare a bit better against it than ones without.
- Explosive Damage: Explosive damage refers to damage dealt by explosions at any time. This is an area of effect kind of damage, and the amount of damage caused is based on the weapon being fired, so a direct hit is not needed to do damage of this type.
- Bleed Damage: Several melee weapons in the game can cause bleed damage. This can also be caused by weapon mods like knives added to the ends of a rifle. This type of damage will take away your health over time. Bleed Damage is impossible to reduce, so it bypasses any armor you have.
- Electrical Damage: This type of damage is only used in the Electrically Charged mutation, but it is resisted by having high energy resistance on your equipment.
You will come across tons of different during your time with Fallout 76. This equipment is generally found on the corpses of your enemies, but it can also be purchased at shops or found in various cabinets and chests throughout the game.
Your weapons are all able to be modified by attaching various items to them. Each modification will impact everything from damage to how fast it fires to accuracy. Some will provide visual changes, though others might just be a behind-the-scenes change to the damage numbers.
All the weapons in Fallout 76 have a randomly created condition bar that creates the durability of that weapon. That means you can find multiple weapons of the same type that have different durability bars. The mods you add to the weapons can change the length of the condition bar.
In addition to this, characters that have a higher intelligence stat can craft weapons that have much higher durability bars. On the other hand, players with a higher luck stat can influence the durability bar of weapons they find.
A weapon’s level will determine the base damage as well as the maximum condition bar of the weapon. Mods can increase these, but the base amounts will always be the same.
In terms of what weapons you’ll have to play with, the variety is deep, and you’ll find everything from pistols, shotguns, and sniper rifles to axes, spears, and swords. Each one will be able to get mods on it, and some can be broken down to provide upgrades for other weapons as well.
Fallout 76 allows you to mix and match your Armor and clothing to create something that’s not only aesthetically pleasing but also something that will protect you in the wild as well.
Your Armor, bodysuits, and power armor will all be subjected to condition degradation as you take damage. When the condition goes down to 0, it will break and become completely useless. Luckily, this won’t make the equipment useless forever as it can be repaired using scrap at any Armor Workbench you can find. That means you’ll never want to pass up an opportunity to pick up scrap.
While you might find yourself picking up some amazing armor and clothing, you won’t always be able to equip it right away. The reason is that each of these has a minimum level before they can be equipped. This includes Power Armor parts as well. The Power Armor Chassis is not leveled though, so as long as you remove the higher-level parts, you will be able to use it.
Power Armor is again the star of the show in Fallout 76. You can enter Power Armor wearing any clothing and Armor you want, and doing so will provide you extra protection. The lower layer of clothing you’re wearing will have its bonuses nullified upon entering the Power Armor, so be aware of that.
Events happen periodically through Appalachia, and you’ll rarely be able to tell what is happening next. A lot of these events can be triggered by the players of the world, but others just happen on their own.
There are a variety of events that can happen, and some might have you racing against time to complete an objective, while another might have you facing off against an incredibly tough enemy with a group of people. The randomness of it is what helps keep the experience feeling fresh hours and hours into it.
It wouldn’t be a Fallout game without the presence of nukes in some fashion, and Fallout 76 knows this well. Players are actually able to launch nukes in the game after a certain amount of circumstances have been satisfied.
After you complete the main quest, I have become Death, you can visit any of the three main missile silos in the game. Once there, you complete a small series of objectives, and you’ll be given a nuclear keycard and a launch code. This will let you nuke pretty much any area in the game.
Once you nuke an area, it becomes highly radioactive, so you’ll need a good amount of Rad’s protection to explore it. Within the blast, the zone will be a ton of valuable items, resources, and, most importantly, the appearance of high-level enemies. You can fight some of the toughest enemies in the game in blast zones, so prepare yourself accordingly.
Questing has overgone a lot of changes since Fallout 76’s initial launch. Quests were initially given out largely through holotape recordings, terminals, and even notes. Robots were also used to deliver exposition on the quests at hand as well as shop keepers and other roles that NPCs would’ve filled in the past.
When the Wastelanders update was released, human NPCs were injected into the game, and they became the quest givers of the world. When talking to the NPCs, you get the chance to view your full responses to the characters and have a variety of chances to use SPECIAL checks to get certain dialogue to play out. NPCs cannot be killed at random during Fallout 76, so you’ll have to take your aggression out on the enemies of the world instead.
The NPCs also are not able to be pickpocketed or react to items being stolen. This kills the immersion a bit, but I’ll take the human NPCs over holotapes to give out my quests any day of the week. In a nice touch, any nuked area will result in the NPCs of the area wearing Hazmat suits.
There is the main questline to follow, but you will also be able to take on various sidequests during the game as well. Most of the quests can be completed as a solo player, but several will require you to cooperate with other players in the world to complete them.
Fallout 76 embraces the Survival game genre more than most of its previous titles. The result is a slightly more hardcore experience than what fans of games like Fallout 4 might be used to.
Death in Fallout 76 does not result in any loss to your character’s progression, but it will cause them to drop all their junk items. If you die, you can retrieve the junk in a bag where they last died. You can find this junk bag on the map. The catch here is that other players that find your stuff can steal it.
You won’t always die immediately, and sometimes, you will just be downed instead of being killed outright. If this happens, another player can use a stim pack to revive you.
If you find yourself out in the world and low on health with your supplies dwindling, you can always sleep in a nearby bed. This will restore your healthfully, but unlike in other Fallout games, it will not advance time.
In addition to sleeping in beds, consuming food and drinks are important when it comes to keeping your health in good shape. You will have to deal with being thirsty as well as hungry, so maintaining these regularly will lead to more success. If you starve, your health will continually decline until it runs out. If you are dehydrated, you will continually lose maximum AP.
You will have to worry about the physical condition of your character, but you’ll also need to worry about item management as well. Each player will have their own stashbox where they can stash a maximum capacity of 1200 pounds of equipment. Fallout 1st players will conversely get a scrap box, which gives them unlimited room for storing equipment.
In Fallout 76, you will be exploring some pretty awful places and within those creepy areas lies disease, which you can acquire in a variety of ways. Fighting diseased enemies, submerging your head in water without protective headwear, sleeping on the ground, or fighting diseased enemies will all give you a chance to catch a variety of different diseases.
Diseases can cause different debuffs to your character, but they will only last about an hour in the game world. If you want to get rid of them before then, you can use antibiotics, a disease cure, or a Sympto-Matic to cure your diseases.
Check out our complete Fallout 76 Disease guide to learn more.
You can’t survive in a world as brutal as Fallout 76s without some crafting skills to back you up. Crafting takes center stage for the first time in an MMORPG in Fallout 76, and it’s absolutely crucial to get a grip on this system.
When you’re exploring the world, you will be able to loot just about everything you see. When you collect these random items, you can scrap them at a workbench, and with the materials, you can create tons of items. These items range from weapons, ammo, and Armor to furniture and consumables like valuable food and medicine items.
You will also need to have raw components to repair items like weapons and Armor. The better the equipment, the rarer the components you will need to fix them. Some items in the game require plans or recipes to be crafted, so when you’re out in the wild, try and pick up anything that might seem valuable at some point.
To get valuable materials, you can mine ore at mineral deposits, and you can take these to a chemistry station where they can be smelted and used to create items.
If you’re running low on space to carry all the equipment you find in your travels, you can craft Backpacks to hold more. Early on, you can find a Backpack plan in Morgantown Airport, and this should be one of the first moves that new players make.
With the introduction of the Wastelanders update, a storyline was implemented involving the Raiders and the Settlers. The Raiders are located in the Crater, and the Settlers in the Foundation, and each of them can be joined if you so choose.
There is a reputation mechanic that is affected by certain choices you make with each side. You can raise your standing with each faction by completing the Daily Quests that appear for each side.
If you achieve a high reputation with one side, you will have access to more plans at that factions trader. For some reason, killing remembers of a faction will not negatively affect your standing with them, so don’t worry about that.
This system isn’t as fleshed out like most other MMORPGs, but it’s a newer addition to the game, so more factions may appear in the game over time.
Housing is a big part of Fallout 76, and it determines where you’re going to be calling home while you play. You can create your home in just about any area of the map, but you can’t build where someone has already built before you.
You can build two camps at once, and you can also build a shelter as well, which is a separate entity from the game world and far more protective as it’s an interior location.
When deciding to build a camp, you need to determine if the area is going to be suitable. You ideally want to build in areas that have a high amount of resources nearby, and that includes water, wood, and sources of food as well. You want to be able to farm the area as well, so do some research in the game world before deciding to build your home.
You can also find allies around Appalachia that will join your settlement, and some of them assign Daily Quests, and others have unique narratives to follow if you so choose. They also give out bonuses such as increased strength and other benefits depending on your personal standing with them.
It wouldn’t be an MMORPG without some PVP in the mix, and Fallout 76 has plenty of it. You will not be able to fight other players until you reach level 5, but that happens pretty quickly, so take that time to get used to the game’s mechanics before facing off against other players. If you don’t want to fight other players, you can turn on Pacifist Mode, and this will render you immune to other players.
To engage in a fight with another player, you have to attack them, and this will trigger an invite to a duel. Players who are hugely separated by level will have their damages regulated to make the fight a bit fairer.
Once the duel starts, it’s an all-out war between the two or more of you involved. If you have two teams, then beginning a duel will put both of your teams into conflict. If you die during the showdown, you can seek revenge on your killer.
If you complete your revenge, you will get double the rewards. If you win the initial duel, you can collect any junk items that your target has dropped. If you continue to attack a player who is not responding to your duel, you will get a bounty placed on your head.
You will now be a “wanted” player, and that means you’ll be visible as a target to all other players on the map. If you happen to kill a marked player, you’ll get some substantial rewards for doing so.
Other PVP modes were available for a time but are no longer around. The most prominent of these was Nuclear Winter, which was a battle royale mode involving a few maps where teams of players would fight amongst each other and random enemies to be the last one standing. This mode was removed in 2021 due to low player counts, though some form of it may return in the future.
Fallout Worlds is a unique system available to all players, and it introduces the ability to play in customized versions of Fallout 76.
This version is available to all players and features monthly rotating public worlds that have settings that have been handpicked by the game’s developers.
This game mode is only available to Fallout 1st subscribers and their friends and is essentially a private server that can have up to 8 people in it and offers you a less populated and far more customizable way to play Fallout 76.
Question: How many people will you run into while playing Fallout 76?
Answer: Servers currently hold up to 24 players at a time. This number is rather low, but it makes running into other players a more valued occurrence and fits in a world that is supposed to feel as lonely and desolate as Fallout 76 is supposed to.
Question: Is Fallout 76 still supported?
Answer: Almost 4 years into its lifespan, Fallout 76 is only getting better and receives regular updates that change several features and add a substantial amount of stories and quests to the game.
Question: Have all of the bugs in Fallout 76 been fixed?
Answer: It’s a Bethesda game, so not every bug has been ironed out. For the most part, though, Fallout 76 is a far more enjoyable experience than it was when it was first released in 2018.
Fallout 76 is a vast experience that throws a lot at you and expects you to learn all of its systems pretty fast. It’s an unforgiving game at times that can get pretty difficult at certain spots. My advice would be to take it slow.
Drink in the atmosphere of this post-nuclear war West Virginia and explore a ton. You will find better and better weapons and Armor as you do, and this will get you better prepared for the challenges that the events and quests have in store for you.