Fallout 76 Beginner Guide: Tips, Tricks, Mechanics Explained

It’s about Reclamation Day for Fallout 76 and Bethesda is taking the Wasteland online. In this Fallout 76 Beginner Guide, we’ll cover Tips, Tricks, explain mechanics and give you an overview of how to take your first steps into Appalachia when leaving Vault 76.

Fallout 76 Beginner Guide: Tips, Tricks, Mechanics Explained

Whether you’re a veteran Wastelander or a new survivor, read on to find what is new and different from previous Fallout games. I think you’ll be intrigued to find that it’s much more than you realize…


Team up with friends and take on the Wasteland

Making your Character

Character Creation can take seconds or hours, depending on your preference. You can change your appearance at any time via the game’s menu, so do not worry too much about this. If you don’t pick the default options, highlight each section of the face that you want to tinker with and you will be given a myriad of choices in terms of size, colors, density, etc. There are multiple hair and beard options, as well as the possibility to select make-up, scars and other skin blemishes to complete your personalized look.

Stats, Perks & Your Build

Unlike Fallout 4, Builds will play a major role in Fallout 76 due to the new way in which S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats work together with the available Perks. Leveling up your character will give you Stat points, and these cannot be changed as of launch (although apparently a re-spec option is in development), so you will need to consider what Perks from those Stat groups you are interested in beforehand. Further, Perks are obtained, equipped and ranked via something called “Perk Cards“.

  1. Level up = put points into stats. The amount of points into each stat will determine which Perk Cards you can equip, based on how many points the Perk costs.
  2. Put point into stat = You get to pick a Perk Card, the game suggests you one from that stat’s pool of cards
  3. Level up = Perk Card Pack. You start getting card packs every other level starting at level 4 until level 10. After Level 10, you get perk packs every 5 levels.
  4. Combine duplicate perk cards = Rank up your perks

While you can swap your perks at any time, you should really spend some time researching and theorycrafting before making decisions about your Stats, as you don’t want to end up without enough points to equip the more powerful perks of a specific stat.

Mutations are the new Traits

Previous Fallout games gave you traits, which would buff or debuff aspects of your character in specific situations. This time around, Radiation is high and you can acquire a Mutation, that has both beneficial and negative status effects. Understanding mutations will be key to optimizing your build, as you might want to indeed become a mutant to dominate Appalachia.

  • Become mutated by idling near hazardous waste or within radiated or gas areas, eating radiated food, or by swimming in or drinking wasteland water. You can also contract mutations from certain enemies such as Feral Ghouls.
  • Mutations can override each other: If you have Speed Demon but drink a bunch of radiated water, you could instead change to Unstable Isotope.
  • You can cure a Mutation by taking Radaway, or prevent them entirely with Rank 2 of the Starched Genes perk.
  • Equally if you get a Mutation you like and you don’t want it overridden, the Rank 2 Starched Genes perk will prevent you from removing it with Radaway.

Bobbleheads & Magazines are now Temp Buffs

In previous games, you gathered Bobbleheads to unlock special, permanent buffs to your character. No longer, now you gather these items and “consume” them to give yourself a 1 hour boost of some kind. If you find another of the same Bobblehead and use it, the effects do not stack, instead REPLENISHING (not extending) the timer.

  • Bobbleheads & Magazines seem to be fixed spawns
  • The effects of Bobbleheads and Magazines seem to stack.
  • The perks Percepti-bobble and Pannapictagraphist play a sound whenever you’re near a Bobblehead or Magazine.
  • The Curator perk makes Bobbleheads and Magazines last twice as long!

Main Quest, Side Quests, Daily Quests & Events

Questing got a lot more mmo-esque, with the Main Quest also giving way to repeatable Daily Quests and Public Events. All of these have useful rewards and can help you earn Atoms by completing Challenges (Fallout 76’s version of in-game achievements).

  • The Map is no longer in your Pip-Boy, and you can use it to navigate the vast Wasteland much more effectively than in previous games.
  • Public Events happen in specific locations, but some spawn randomly around an enemy
  • PvP seems to be disabled around these activities, so it’s safe for everyone to participate. There are PvP events of course – but they are optional.

C.A.M.P, Crafting & Survival

Fallout 76 is a survival game. If you want to thrive in Appalachia, you have to focus on establishing your CAMP, covering your necessities such as food, water and rest, and essentially setting off to build a good foundation for re-population.

Multiplayer & PvP

Both cooperative and PvP play are optional in Fallout 76. If you want to go it solo you can have your own, private server and be left in peace to conquer the wasteland on your own. If you only want to coop, you can also join friend servers where pvp isn’t a thing. And even if you join randoms, PvP is mostly optional until you fight back.

  • Anti-Griefing: You are immune to player damage until Level 5
  • Remaining Passive: If you don’t fight back, other players attacking you won’t do much damage, and even if they kill you will get a nasty “wanted” status that makes them the target of the entire server
  • When in multipayer, you will be able to talk to others via voice (there’s no in-game type chat as of yet), but you can disable this if you want from your options so you won’t hear other players even within proximity.
  • You can also use Emotes, which are gestures to communicate non-verbally. Gather them by completing activities or buy them from the Atomic Shop
  • Reviving: Other players can revive you by using a Stimpak when you’re down.
  • Perk Sharing: when in a group, if you have 3 points into Charisma, you can share active perk effects with your group. To do so, you need 3 times more points in Charisma than the perk’s cost.

Enemies & Loot Respawn, And Nukes change them

As is necessary for any continuous world, enemies respawn in Fallout 76. Loot also respawns, meaning that visiting specific locations regularly can yield new items and results. Fusion Core Generators, for example, will give you Fusion Cores every so often.

  • The enemy respawn timer seems to be rather fast, so if you’ve cleared an area and have some hacking or lockpicking to do make sure to get on with it quickly!
  • Enemies have tiers of difficulty, and their levels don’t adapt to the player. Of course the XP they yield varies accordingly. Higher level and more difficult enemies may require a group, but give you extra XP.
  • Enemies will attack your CAMP, so you need to fortify them with turrets.
  • There are special enemies with Stars and Crowns, these are not confirmed to be Legendary enemies, but are thought of as Elites instead. Any enemy type can get a crown.
  • If you decide to Launch a Nuke, the area you nuked spawns difficult and high level mutated enemies. These enemies should yield Unique Weapons and Armor, although the exact drops are not yet confirmed

Factions & Reputation

Bethesda announced the existence of Fallout 76 Factions in a series of introductory tweets. However, as players interacted with the Beta, we found all the members of those factions had been killed or had fled long ago.

Regardless, you can still join these Factions to complete special quests, for access to special equipment or if you want to Launch a Nuke (requires joining the Enclave).

  • There are ranks within these Factions, for example, you must earn Commendations to rank up in the Enclave.
  • Since there are no NPCs to chastise you, you can join all of the Factions in game. Quests and logs are found through Robots that act as NPCs.

Mods & Mod Support

Fallout players love modding, and it is coming to Fallout 76, but not yet. Once modding gets here, it is important to know these key things:

  • Modding is expected to arrive at some point after November 2019 – according to Peter Hines.
  • Modding is only available in upcoming special Private Servers – as per the developer: “You’ll be deciding what sort of mods you’re including and running, and everyone playing on that server is playing with those mods.”
  • Once you join a special Private Server – you cannot take that character to a Public Server
  • There’s no information on availability of paid mods, but you can buy special cosmetics from the Atomic Shop.


Fallout 76 launches on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC on November 14th.

If you want more Fallout 76 content be sure to check out our Fallout 76 Guides, including the Fallout 76 Best Perks Guide. Or you can check out news articles such as  Bethesda Admits Some Fallout 76 PC Hacks Are True And Vow To Fix and Fallout 76 Has Preventative PVP Griefing Measures.

If you’re traveling into the wasteland of Appalachia be sure to check out our Fallout 76 Wiki.

MMO raider by day and guide writer by night, Fex enjoys multiplatform gaming, good books and animes, and streaming with a cold beer.

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One comment on “Fallout 76 Beginner Guide: Tips, Tricks, Mechanics Explained”

  1. Lancer21 says:

    Thanks for the input; I’ve started playing a couple weeks ago, but I still find the article appropriate and interesting.
    And I don’t know why the game’s getting blasted so much on social networks and on the internet in general, it isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s far from being a bad game either, I mean, I do have fun playing it…

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