Despite the bad press it had on release Fallout 76 is a great game for the Fallout junkie. If you've never picked it up before, the following are some tips that any new player will find useful.
Power Armour - Two Crucial Milestones
As in Fallout 4, Power Armour is a big part of 76, but it’s not available from the start of the game and the quality of the armour you can can equip and/or build depends on your character Level. In the early game there are two crucial Level milestones you need to be aware of: 15 and 25.
Level 15 is the first Level at which you can wear Power Armour of any kind*, and your first suit will be Raider armour, which is pretty weak compared to other suits, but looks gnarly. A more-or-less guaranteed drop for Raider Power Armour is an old Raider Camp called The Crosshair. To find it, look for the yellow cow on the map (above Vault 76) then draw a line due north till you reach the hills.
*You can wear a Power Armour chassis (aka frame) from day one, however, and this boosts your carry weight and eliminates fall damage.
Level 25 this is the point at which you can build Excavator armour (the yellow armour pictured above). This is a really tough suit that has a superb carry weight. To get the plans for Excavator Armour you need to complete the Miner Miracles quest. There’s a number of places you can pick this quest up, but one is The Rusty Pick a roadhouse to the south of Charleston (just follow the road that leads down into the Ash Heap). Go to the Rusty Pick and read the posters on the outside walls. One of these will trigger the quest.
Be warned that, aside from screws, steel etc, you will need plenty of Black Titanium to make this armour. A level 25 suit needs 36 units; Level 35 needs 42; and Level 45 needs 54. You can mine Black Titanium at the Gorge Junkyard and Mount Blair Public Workshops, but another great source is the suit scrap dropped by dead Moleminers.
Feel the Power - Invest in Strength
Whatever your ultimate character build, put a few points in Strength at the start of the game. Even low-level enemies will grief you and many (like Liberators and Molerats) are fast-moving and hard to shoot. Guns don’t work well at close range (even in VATS), but melee is very effective and pretty powerful if you can put some muscle behind it. If your preference is for two-handed weapons you’ll want to invest in the Slugger perk, but there’s a wider range of faster, one-handed weapons in the early game, so Gladiator might be a better bet. Another factor is carry weight, as you start to pick up equipment your capacity to lug around junk, armour and weapons will rapidly become an issue, so it pays to beef up a little.
You need to invest in Regenerating Armour
Well, you don’t need to, but it’s handy. There are eleven kinds of special armour to be found in the game, one of which is prefixed ‘Regenerating’. Wearing a piece of Regenerating armour will trickle back your health as long as you’re not in combat. Passive health regeneration is a real boon as it means you won’t constantly have to keep topping up your health with sleep, food, drink or drugs. You only need to wear one item of Regenerating armour to get the effects so if you find a piece, hang onto it.
Farm Workshops for Plans
Keep an eye-out for Plans. They’re all over the game but can be easy to overlook if they’re out in the open rather than inside a container. Plans allow you to craft different types of weapons and armour and the building items and accessories you’ll want for your base. Plans are also sometimes offered as quest rewards and many can be purchased (often for huge amounts of money) from Vendors. Plans are almost always offered as a reward when you take over a Public Workshop. If you come across an unclaimed Workshop, complete the quest to take it over (this involves killing any local enemies) and collect the reward. A minute or two later a Defend quest will appear where you’ll have to defeat one or more waves of enemies who swarm to attack your workshop and take it for themselves. You can build some turrets to help you take them down and once they’re defeated you’ll get more rewards. if you come across an unclaimed workshop my advice is: Take it Over, Defend, then Scoot.
Tips on locating your C.A.M.P.
It’s fun to try and incorporate your build into an existing structure, but be aware that the game prohibits you from building too close to any location that you can fast travel to. However any un-named structure you might find in the wilderness is fair game and some of these have crafting stations incorporated in them, which means you don’t have to use your build-budget to create them. Another factor to consider is how close you are to a Vendor. Ideally you want to be in easy travelling distance of at least one Vendor to make trading as easy as possible. Remember also that fast travel to your CAMP is free, as is fast travel to Vault 76. To make the most of the savings this offers it helps to keep your build and Vault 76 separated as far as possible.
Stock up on Ballistic Fibre
Ballistic Fibre is needed to make and repair a lot of the better armour and weapons in the game, but it’s a rare resource, so take every opportunity to build up your stocks. In the game, Ballistic Fibre is found in Military Grade Duct Tape and Military Ammo Bags (and less commonly as random scrap and in Piezonucleic Liner). Any Army facility or location with a military presence is likely to have some lying around so look out for abandoned army bases, military convoys, roadblocks and temporary camps. One of the best early game locations for Ballistic Fibre is Camp McClintock, to the north-west of the dried-up Summerville Lake. However this is a popular looting location so be prepared for disappointment. Clancy Manor is another early game location for this material. Just find the yellow cow on the map (above Vault 76) then head north till you hit the main road.
Visit a Vendor every day
Caps can be hard to come by in the early game and you’ll need plenty if you want to buy Plans (see above) rather than wait to find them through random drops. To build up your bankroll try to visit at least one Vendor every day and clean out the caps in their till by selling them stuff. Vendors belong to different factions and each faction has 1,400 caps in the till every 24 hours. So, if you visit the Raider Vendor at ‘Pleasant Valley Station’ and take their 1,400 caps, you can’t then go to another Raider Vendor at, for example, ‘Sutton Station’ and expect to get anything as they’ll have no caps to give you.
As you travel about, keep an eye-out for things to sell to Vendors. Chems are a good choice as they’re light and get a good price. Clothes are another best seller (especially unusual stuff like straight jackets and top hats). Purified water and some cooked foods also offer a good deal all of which you can make yourself if you want. You’ll soon get a feel for what sells.
Ponder Your Perk Choices
As you level up in the game you’ll be given chances to spend points on Perks that will boost your skills in certain areas. Some Perks come in three Ranks of three Levels (so nine Levels in total). However, you get more bang for your buck by investing only in the first Level of each Rank. One example is Rifleman, this comes in:
Rifleman Rank (Level 1, 2 and 3)
Expert Rifleman Rank (Level 1, 2 and 3)
Master Rifleman Rank (Level 1, 2 and 3)
If you want a rifleman build it’s obviously a good bet to put one point in Rifleman as it will increase the damage of your rifles by 10%. However, if you then take a second point in Rifleman that will boost damage by only 5%, and taking a third will only boost it by another 5%. So you’ve spent three points for 20% damage (10% + 5% + 5%).
A better bet might be to put a single point in Rifleman, then wait till Expert Rifleman becomes available and put your second point into that as it will boost your damage to 20% (10% + 10%). Then wait till Master Rifleman becomes available and put a point in that to boost your damage to 30% (10% + 10% + 10%).
As you can see it’s most cost effective to put a single point in the first Level of each Rank. But if you decide you really want to max out this Perk, there’s nothing to stop you collecting each Level of each Rank. If you put a point into Rifleman, then put a point into Expert this doesn’t lock-out the Rifleman Rank. You’re free to go back and put a second then third point into Rifleman at any time you like.
That’s it for now. It’s great game with plenty to enjoy. If you want to see some gameplay check out my YouTube channel.