So to begin with, most of the returning players know the basics of getting around, resource gathering, and crafting. The newer players may not be so familiar so I will go over this real quick.
Other Fallout 76 Guides:
- World Map.
- Quick Newbie Guide.
- C.A.M.P. Building Guide.
- All Power Armor Locations.
- How to Find Unique Excavator Power Armor.
New Player Guide
Before Leaving the Vault - Before you even leave the vault, you have a chance to nab a couple interesting items. There aren't alot, but it is a start that can help tide you over until you start on your own. Grab some food and meds, as well as your C.A.M.P and head outside into the new world. (Nothing in your room is available to be picked up with the exception of the pipboy and holotape.
Leaving the Vault - When you first leave the vault you will be surprised to see that there are a lot of trees, clear skies and fellow players. Ignore all of this. Lol just kidding. Take in the experience of joining the world on your first character. If you go to the right, you'll find a body! Looting this corpse will get you your first weapon and some ammo. You should also immediately come into contact with your first of many enemies in the game. The terror drones of the Red Menace, the Liberators. These are low level opponents that I wouldn't recommend wasting ammo on, but it's really up to you.
Combat - Combat can be approached in 1 of 3 ways. You can run and gun, mowing down enemies with firepower. You can take a more personal approach and melee from close distance. Or you can try and avoid combat altogether and sneak (generally impossible for progression) You can develop your own play style as you progress further in the game. V.A.T.S is still a game mechanic, albeit a bit difficult to grasp at first. It allows you to "auto-aim" with a hit rate tied to your Perception skill. A higher Perception, a better chance for a hit. In previous titles, time would "slow down" while you selected your target and fired. In Fallout 76, it is more of a live-action aim assist, with the percentage changing in real-time based on your, and your opponents movement. *Most effective with shotguns on charging feral ghouls*
Scavenging - Loot is important. There is a fun saying "Eat what you kill", but for this game we interpret it differently (at least until you get the right perks) Make sure to loot enemy corpses for weapons, ammo, food, and other things. Same with containers, there's always a chance you may find something interesting in a drawer, or stumble across a hidden safe that you actually can unlock. Mind your carry limit and be sure to scrap your junk often, as that will reduce your carry weight. *Look for ore deposits while walking around mountains and in the woods for quick scrap*
Crafting - Fallout 76 steps away from the traditional method of crafting, with a lot of things requiring plans in order to build. *Remember when I said to loot everything? Scrap duplicate weapons for mod plans* Crafting stations can be found just about anywhere on the map, usually around towns and small settlements or off the road barns and factories. Never pass up an opportunity to stop by even if to just scrap your junk. Craft often, but also in moderation. The goal is to limit your carry weight, while maximizing your exp earnings and saving more valuable junk like copper and aluminum for more useful builds later on. Food crafting is the most important, as it decides how long you survive out here in the wild. Collect water often and boil it for hydration, or make a water purifier to collect purified waters.( I went with a perk that allows me to drink and eat anything rad free, more on that in Perks)
Perks - The perk system in Fallout 76 is much like a trading card game, with cards representing different abilities for the given perk stat or S.P.E.C.I.A.L.
- Strength - Determines your carry weight as well as melee and unarmed attack power.
- Perception - Determines your weapon accuracy and chances to hit in V.A.T.S.
- Endurace - Determines your overall health and AP, Ability Points for sprinting and use in V.A.T.S.
- Charisma - Determines bartering prices with vendors. Previous titles would have this determine success rates in dialogue, but there are no conversation checks in Fallout 76.
- Intelligence - Determines your exp gain from performing different actions.
- Agility - Determines the rate at which your AP refreshes.
- Luck - Determines critical hit chance, and chances of finding good loot.
The perk system has different tiers for various cards, with like cards being able to be ranked up to the next tier, improving the status effect of the card. The amount of cards you can equip is based on the number of stat points you have for any given stat. In other words, if you have 5 points in strength, you can equip cards adding up to 5. Different perks give different effects, from reduced weight of items, to bonuses you get from items like food and chems. Some of these effects can be stacked, increasing their effect. *Perks that affect carry weight and food consumption are usually best in early game*
Bartering and Trade - There are some opportunities for trade in Appalachia, with Robot NPCs at various locations as well as a travelling Super Mutant merchant that I happened across one night. Trading with these vendors allows you access to some useful weapons, junk, food, and plans. It is recommended that you either scrap, or sell your unwanted goods for caps. Fast travel to known locations costs caps, and can get expensive depending on how frequent you use it. You can also trade with players that accept your trade requests. You can set your prices, or trade for other items.
Traveling and C.A.M.P - It gets rough in Appalachia, and it's important to take shelter when you aren't actively playing. Since it is an online game, there is no pause button (Mom) and the only way to ensure you don't get taken out during a bathroom break is to shelter somewhere safe. You get a C.A.M.P before you leave the vault, and if you follow the questline after leaving the vault, you should come across an example of how not to setup a campsite as left by the Overseer. She leaves you some plans for some buildings and crafting benches so we forgive her terrible example. Securing your new base is essential, as you can be raided by hostile NPCs as well as other players. Take time to prepare defenses and lock your belongings up to prevent unwanted entry and theft. New to the game are resource collectors. Building one on an ore deposit will gradually collect resources over time for you while you explore Appalachia. *Moving your camp before collecting will lose your materials* (I think it's a bug but not sure) Don't get to ahead of yourself while travelling. The map is divided into leveled areas, where the level of the hostile NPCs can rise dramatically, posing a challenge for even the most seasoned veteran. Take care to level up and prepare yourself when travelling to new areas. *Scouting enemy levels from a distance is best*
Questline - Whether you follow the quest or not is up to you. I recommend it for a while, until you sign up for The Responders. This gives you access to several different questline branches that you can follow at your leisure (or not). There is a limitless abundance of places to explore, random quests, and events to bring players together. That being said, quests give you various loot which can help your progression a great deal.
My Personal Advice - My number one recommendation is to get the Lead Belly Perk as soon as possible. This brings the radiation you could get from food and water to 0, which is great since you can drink straight from any water source instead of carrying around a bunch of waters, and you can eat raw food in case you can't stop by a crafting station.
General Play Style
Personally speaking, I believe regardless of what SPECIAL build you are planning, there are two "ways" of playing the game that dictate your style even more than your build. It's whether you are spending more time playing alone or with some else you know (either online buddies or friends in real life, not just strangers you team up with randomly). If you often find yourself playing alone, either because your friends are busy or you simple prefers to be alone, it’s better if you get perks that boosts solo experiences (unless said perks belong to attributes that you are not leveling). Similarly, if you play with friends very often and are investing into attributes like Charisma, it’s worth it to equip perks such as Inspirational. Keep in mind, as you level up more and have more spare points to flesh out your collection of perks, you will eventually be able to accommodate both play styles. For starters however, weigh your styles and pick one.
Open World, Open Minded
As soon as you exit the vault, you are actually free to explore where ever you want without following any of your current quest line (I’m level 14 now and I still haven’t finished the "craft a weapon” observer quest). This means you could explore level 30 or even level 50 zones as level 6, provided you can survive and navigate your way around. This also means that, with careful planning, come up with strategies, and playing to your advantage, players can tackle enemies that are more than twice their level and still have chances to win in the end. This is especially true (and more fun) when you are playing with your buddies. You will find yourself feeling satisfied with your kills and being rewarded with good loot and experiences. So the next time you see a Level 30 Sentry Bot on the road while you are only level 12, don’t shy away, use your brain! Granted, sometimes you end up cheesing the enemy, but, hey, as long as you are having fun either solo or with friends, it’s all that matters in the end, right?
I don’t think I need to explain what hording is, but here’s a tip that may or may not be useful. You cannot sell ammo to vendors, so try to keep only ammo that you think you will use and also heavy/exotic weapon ammo due to their rarity. For example, I use shotguns only, so I keep shotgun shells, give rifle ammo I found to my friend and just drops all the other ammo. I also keep missiles and energy cells that I find along the way just in case I use heavy/exotic weapons in the future. Ammo may seem light in weight, but they stack up in large quantities, so it’s best not to horde the ones you don’t use when the current 400 lbs. stash is not changed.
Creating Mods for your Weapons
It seems like weapons are level locked in multiples of 5. So, if you are level 14 and still using level 10 weapons, consider not hastily installing mods on your level 10 weapons, because you will soon move onto level 15 weapons. There are several occasions in which my friend spent some harder to come by resources modding his rifles, only to remember that he’s a few exp from leveling and his mods are kind of wasted.
Stimpak and Born Survivor
The agility skill Born Survivor uses stimpak to auto heal you whenever your health drops below 20% every 20s. While this skill sounds awesome on paper (and it is), I quickly came to the realization that not every fight requires me to pop a stimpak like that. My stimpaks burned like fodder when I had this perk equipped and I ran out really fast. So, lesson learned. I would suggest those who play a tank role character use food and manual heal during easy & stress-free fights and only equip Born Survivor during boss fights where you are willing to throw all your stimpak into the fight.
Using Your Teammate
Finally, here’s three random tips related to effectively utilizing your teammate:
- Instead of all of you fast travel to a far-off location and spend the caps, find out who’s willing to spend caps at that moment. Let that person teleport first. Then the rest of the team can fast travel to the teammate for free.
- Similarly, during a fight, if teammates are downed and no one wants to waste resources reviving, it is actually possible to spawn back onto your teammates and quickly join back into the fight. Provided, at least one person should stay alive at the scene for this to work. And there also seems to be a respawn cooldown timer to prevent spamming this respawn method (but it’s not a long cooldown).
- Vendors seems to sell different things to each individual at any given time (tested between me and my friend). The item listed may be affected by the trading player’s level as well. So, it is worth it to let every single person in your party interact with a trader to see if each person has something worth buying (either for self or for other teammate, pool your resources together and get the best deal out of all the listed items, don’t forget to share hard bargain perks, too, if available).