Starting Fallout 76 is a daunting prospect. The black sheep of its franchise, the game was marred by what was potentially one of the worst launches the industry has ever seen.
Horrendous bugs permeated the gameplay experience from top-to-bottom, with players losing items from their inventories, getting stuck in world objects (such as vending machines), and being unable to consume food or water during their wasteland adventures. Truth be told, there were literally hundreds of bugs at launch – no, Todd, this did not, in fact, “just work.”
When we put aside Todd Howard’s sweet little lies, though, and look at the current build of Fallout 76, we find a game that the developers poured their blood, sweat, and tears into. This game is nearly unrecognizable from the one that was released almost 4 years ago, and I’m sure this is a revelation that many gamers have been having: Fallout 76 looks to remain a mainstay GamePass offering, meaning many people that’d never give the game a second look are now dipping their toes into the irradiated pool.
If you’re just getting started on your Appalachian adventures, here are 7 tips to keep in mind as you traverse the West Virginian wastes.
Entering the wasteland is an iconic first step of any Fallout game. Stepping out of Vault 76 and into the forests of Appalachia is no exception. Y’see, open-world games are a blessing and a curse – being able to pick a direction and just book it into the distance is a ton of fun, but it’s incredibly easy to miss important beats if you don’t slow your roll.
Sure, Fallout 76’s “main story” is kind of thin, and it meanders on and on, but you absolutely want to complete the first couple of quests the game leads you to, and that means speaking to these two ladies outside of the vault and heading down the path to the Wayward.
When you arrive at the Wayward bar, you’ll get a few supplies that will help you on your journey, and more importantly, you’ll learn how to set up your C.A.M.P. This is a necessity for your Appalachian adventures, allowing you quick and easy access to crafting stations and item storage in your personal stash!
The cap economy can be brutal for a new player, so it’s good to have a free teleport. Having your C.A.M.P. positioned near points of interest you visit often is super useful. It might seem easy to leave your base set up in the Forest area of the map when you get started, but as you level up and move your way across the map, it’s much better to move your C.A.M.P. to an area you’ll want to loot fairly often.
The C.A.M.P. isn’t the only free teleport location, though. Certain places across the map serve as free fast travel points after you first discover them. Moving the C.A.M.P. away from these places is highly recommended so that you can make the most of your portable, fast-travel location!
With that being said…
There are a number of places around the map that allow players to fast-travel for free. The first free fast-travel point is unlocked by default… because you’ll always be able to travel back to Vault 76 for free! There’s a veritable list of locations across the map that provide free fast-travel, though, including the Rusty Pick, the Whitesprings Resort, Fort Atlas, Foundation, and the Crater. The previous season also introduced Nuka-World On Tour to the Ash Heap, which also doubles as a free fast-travel location.
Players who join public teams can also fast-travel to their teammates’ C.A.M.P.s at no cost, and since there’s no downside to joining and leaving teams, you can pop into one for a free fast-travel if you notice someone’s C.A.M.P. is near where you need to be!
Public events are a great opportunity to discover new locations, level up quickly, and gain lots of powerful rewards! A public event will begin server-wide every 20 minutes, with a notification letting every player online know which event has just begun.
From there, players can fast-travel to the event for free, cooperating with one another to complete the challenge and earn unique items. Certain crafting blueprints can only be earned through events, and some are quite rare! For example, one of the best events for gaining experience points, Radiation Rumble, drops the plan to build the radioactive barrel in your C.A.M.P.
The newest Fallout 76 season introduced mutated public events, spawning at the top of the hour, every hour. These events feature buffed-up enemies – and very special rewards! If you’re able to brave these mutated events, you’ll get a massive leg up on starting your Fallout 76 journey.
The good news about Fallout 76 perk builds is that you can’t really permanently screw them up. You continue to earn a perk point every time you level up, and with no level cap, it’s completely feasible to rank up every perk card in the game, eventually. With that being said, you’re still quite limited with what you can have equipped at any given time… and you’re not going to be sitting on a stash of perk points at the beginning of the game, anyway.
The best thing you can do is pick a solid build and work your way into filling out the perk cards for it in the early game. There are several really popular meta builds that the Fallout 76 community collectively stands behind – you could go with a Bloodied build, a V.A.T.S. build, or really anything that uses the Commando cards.
You don’t need to follow the meta, of course. I personally run perk cards that cater toward a long-range stealth rifleman playstyle, which is far from the most effective way to do things in this game. What’s really important is that you’re thinking about how to synergize your perk cards early on, allocating your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points thoughtfully, and making sure you’re playing in a way that pays off while still letting you have fun!
If you’re familiar with the Fallout franchise, you’re familiar with caps, the unofficial currency adopted by wastelanders for trade and bartering. But newcomers to Fallout 76 might not realize that there is actually a multitude of currencies that are traded throughout Appalachia.
Some of these currencies, such as legendary scrips, can simply be exchanged at the start of the game. Other currencies, however, such as gold bullion, require the player to complete the main questline from the Wastelanders update to unlock.
It’s in your best interest to do these quests as soon as possible, as special currency vendors carry a unique stock of premium goods and plans that you can’t get anywhere else!
It’s common for gamers to “pack rat” their items, accruing wealth and never letting go of what they’ve picked up. It’s an understandable impulse, and it’s one I share myself. Unfortunately, that isn’t gonna fly in Fallout 76, and it’s imperative that a new player finds this out early on.
Nearly everything you pick up in Fallout 76 has some numerical value for weight attached to it. Medicine, ammunition, junk – all of these things will weigh down your character. Stimpaks weigh 0.75 pounds. If you’re carrying around a missile launcher, each shot you pack away is going to take a whopping 3 pounds of inventory space. There are exceptions to this rule… important quest items are generally assigned to weigh “0 pounds” in your inventory, for example, but these are few and far between.
Sure, there are perks that will reduce the weight of certain items in your inventory by up to 90% (I highly recommend the aptly titled Pack Rat perk card for junk hoarders like me). Upgrading your Strength S.P.E.C.I.A.L. also increases the weight you can carry before becoming over-encumbered, as does wearing a backpack or a suit of power armor. But you’ll still inevitably run into problems if you pick everything you find up off the ground. And the stash in your C.A.M.P.? Well, that’ll only hold 1200 pounds of items. That might sound like a lot, but that space fills up ungodly quickly.
Basically, no matter which way you cut it, you’re going to need to budget out space for ammo, medicine, and junk and stick to that budget! When you’re picking up junk, don’t indiscriminately nab everything you see off the floor. Grab things that you actually need the requisite components of, and try to grab pieces of junk that weigh less than others.
Are you trying to craft up some bullets for your minigun? You’re going to need lead, so prioritize that – and instead of picking up 40lb barbells, loot places with lots of pencils, tin cans, or rat poison instead!
Inventory management is definitely a learned skill, but it may very well be the most important one for any new Fallout 76 player to pick up!
Wishing you luck in the wasteland, vault dweller.
Have you picked up Fallout 76 recently? Was GamePass access the deciding factor? If you’re new to 76, let us know what your experience has been like in the comments down below!