Fallout 76: Your Questions Answered on Bethesda's Online Survival Game
Where the last three Fallout games were set in Boston, Washington, and Las Vegas, Fallout 76 brings players to West Virginia earlier in the timeline when the first vault opens 25 years after nuclear fallout from the great China-US war. It's 2102 now and the main story arc sees players follow the trail of breadcrumbs left behind by the Overseer of Vault 76.
As the first online multiplayer game in the main Fallout series there are lot of questions to be had about Fallout 76, especially given its place in the lore. Here are the answers to key questions about how multiplayer, building, progression, and griefing are handled in Fallout 76 alongside details on how familiar Fallout systems have been adapted for the online experience.
How is Death handled in Fallout 76?
When taking damage in-game, players are first 'downed' like in many other shooters before being completely killed off, giving allies a change to revive you.
If a player isn't revived, death gives them an option to respawn on a party member or a campsite. The ability to continually respawn on allies lets players take on the larger, higher level creatures of Fallout 76.
Death is rather forgiving and upon meeting your end, you don't lose your weapons or gear, but death does damage their durability and may force you to repair. Players do lose "unprocessed junk" which can be prevented by "breaking down and storing in your mobile campsite" - Polygon.
How are Griefing and Trolling is Handled in Fallout 76
The most interesting dynamic Fallout 76 is bringing to the franchise is the social aspect and the uncertainty surrounding encounters with other players. Will they attack, ignore you, try to trade, or perhaps join you?
More often than not, especially in the early days, expect everyone to attack everyone - even just to try it. While that freedom is core to the experience, Bethesda has implemented measures to forcefully deter this type of behavior.
If a player attacks another player for instance, damage is severely nerfed if the target doesn't fire back. This is a weird one since just ignoring incoming fire makes you partially invulnerable in what's essentially a PvP world. Still, it may be necessary to stop campers from benefiting from ambushing/trolling high-traffic spots on the map.
Another deterrent is that if an attacker succeeds in killing another player who isn't fighting back, they earn the infamous label of "Wanted" murderer and earn no rewards for that kill. The label means they get marked on the map with a red star (and they lose the ability to see others on the map) and a bounty is placed on their heads with reward money coming from that player’s own pool. Additionally, should a player be killed, they will only lose any junk they’ve collected.
What Are the Level Cap Restrictions in Fallout 76 and How Does Progression Work?
The traditional level cap of Fallout 76 is 50 but the goal isn't to stop players from leveling up so it doesn't end there. Level 50 is just where players will stop earning points in the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system - the same system found in all Fallout games that's based on the seven traits (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck).
Each upgrade to a particular trait allows the player to assign a Park Card and there are hundreds of cards, including special Gold variants of the perks, that can be collected and applied. Perk card packs are rewarded every two levels until level 10 and after that, every five levels.
You can still choose whether to get stronger or smarter as you level up, but the new card system seems to make your character much more malleable, as you can easily move around cards based on the situation at hand. - The Verge
For example, the more points you have in Strength, the more Strength Perk cards you can equip. Perk cards can be equipped and unequipped at any time. You collect Perk cards by choosing one on each level up, and through randomized Perk Card packs that you earn at level up milestones. Perk cards feature returning favorites like Bloody Mess, and dozens of new Perks including new team-focused ones that utilize Charisma.
When you have duplicate Perk cards, you can even combine them to increase their level and the bonuses attached to them. These higher-level Perk cards will require more S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points, but it will be worth it for increasing important things like your First Aid skill or your ability to drink dirty Wasteland water.
The overall player level however, does have an impact on player loadouts too. Some weapons and armor have a level restriction according to Bethesda's Pete Hines so if you find one of those valuable items, maybe hold onto until later (or for a high-level friend).
How Trading Works in Fallout 76
There are no NPCs in Fallout 76 therefore no villages, camps, merchants, or blacksmiths to talk to like in other Bethesda RPGs. Instead, players must trade with other players which is an incredibly risky experience since when in the trade menu, players remain vulnerable to attack. And of course, just approaching or trying to communicate with strangers (other players) is inherently risky itself.
There are however, some non-player vendors in the game according to Pete Hines.
Who or what are you fighting against in Fallout 76?
Given the time period of Fallout 76, years before all of the other games, there aren't cities or settlements - nor are their NPC humans or ghouls. There are only other human players which provide the most lethal threat.
The world however is populated with AI wildlife and other various monstrous beasts (like the Grafton Monster, Scorchbeast, and Mothman). The most notable of these are the hive-like Scorched, a new take on the familiar Ghouls. They can use weapons, gear and utilize cover during combat.
Where do you get quests from in Fallout 76?
With no NPC humans in the world of Fallout 76, this poses a concern about how the storytelling aspect works. Fallout has its wonderful lore, but the previous main games in the series are beloved for their rich characters and storytelling too.
In Fallout 76, many of the previews coming out about the game note that the world can feel lonely and lifeless at times and a big part of that is due to quests coming from robots, notes, or holotapes - not the best of storytelling techniques in 2018, even compared to previous Fallout experiences. It's through these devices and the player's own journey that the "story" is formed, but as a live service game, we can only hope for world-affecting events and content add-ons as time goes by to keep players invested.
How Player Customization works in Fallout 76
The mysterious new additional in-game currency is called "Atoms" and players can use this (and acquire more via real-money microtransactions) to purchase cosmetics, like clothing. And this clothing can be worn over armor to make them stand out, hide your armor, and to show off your real-money look-at-me purchases.
Attire and cosmetic items can be found in the world or purchased through saving in-game currency too, but the biggest note is that it in Fallout 76 cosmetic apparel appears on the player characters above everything else they're wearing, as opposed to hidden under the armor like in the other games. Funny how monetization reverses how gearing up works!
In Fallout 76, we allow players to wear whatever armor pieces are optimal for survival, but they can choose to wear an outfit on top of that. So you can look how you want and not sacrifice survivability. This freedom also means your fellow 76ers can look wildly different – so you’ll still see combat armor, Raider armor, and the friendly blue of Vault 76 – but you’ll also see people wearing clown costumes, park ranger outfits and more.
Note: Power Armor is the exception but we expect there to be plenty of cosmetic options on this front too.
Page 3 of 3: Fallout 76 Settlements, Map Details, Nukes, and Mods
How Building (and Moving) Settlements Works in Fallout 76
The rough and seemingly pointless building system in Fallout 4 really did have a purpose, having paved the path for a key system in Fallout 76. Building settlements, with defensive turrets, with the help of allies will be a big part of Fallout 76. It's where you'll be able to rest, heal up, store loot and materials, defend areas, and see the fruits of your labor.
Maintain yourself and your equipment for peak efficiency. Collect bonuses by staying Well Rested, Well Fed, Well Tuned and Hydrated, but be careful to avoid catching Diseases and Mutations in the process by avoiding radiation, sleeping in safe beds, eating cooked food, and drinking clean water. Your equipment breaks down with use, encouraging both the periodic repair of your favorite items as well as the motivation to try out new ones you find. All items have weight, including ammunition, so careful management of carry capacity becomes important. All these survival elements combine to provide a variety of gameplay decisions to find the right balance of what to collect, what to consume, and when.
The C.A.M.P. system (Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform) lets players quickly build up their home or fortification and replicate it anywhere else on the map. From the preview event, it seems placing assets into the game world is much improved over Fallout 4 and it's easy to move the main base around the map.
What we're most curious and excited about is how deep this system will go (and needs to go). Given that Fallout 76 takes place in a world where there are no NPC human settlements and cities, can players eventually build the types of towns seen in future games?
How Big is Fallout 76's Map And What Makes It Different?
Fallout 76's map is called Appalachia and it's four (4!) times larger than the Fallout 4 game world, pictured above. Click here for the full-size version. It's set in West Virginia.
In the Pip-Boy, the world map display gets an upgrade over previous Fallout games and will be displayed in full color with additional new options (social features and Photomode). It also displays locations of other players. From this map, players are able to access fast travel options.
You can Fast Travel to discovered locations for a nominal Caps fee that increases with distance and player level, but Fast Travel is always free for travel to teammates, your C.A.M.P. and the Vault 76 entrance.
Another all-new feature for Fallout 76 is Supply Drops, something taken from other survival and battle royale games. If you are able to locate a US Government Supply Requisition holotape, you can use it at a radio tower to call in a Supply Drop. Supply Drops attract the attention of AI units and other players of course, so be weary!
How do get Nukes and what do they do in Fallout 76?
In addition to following the main Overseer through-line of Fallout 76 and looting/battling with pals, one of the big goals of many players will be to create a fallout of their own. Through an extensive process, players can gain the ability to deploy a nuclear warhead anywhere on the Appalachia map.
This process involves collecting launch codes and can't be done quickly, but when you eventually do pull off this feat, it's the ultimate accomplishment. A successful nuke launch creates a temporary but large irradiated zone with vastly increased threats and rewards. Suit up in a Hazmat outfit or Power Armor and grab as many RadAways as possible!
How (and when) Mods Will Work with Fallout 76
Mods have always been essential to the Bethesda open-world RPG experience, adding endless content and replayability to titles in the Fallout and The Elder Scrolls franchises, allowing them to live on to this day. There are still amazing mods dropping for Morrowind and Fallout 3.
In recent years, Bethesda made the move towards monetizing these mods through their own service, bringing mods to consoles and while that hasn't been met with too much enthusiasm (because free, better versions are available on PC) it's still core to the long-term experience. With that in mind, Bethesda has promised from the get-go that Fallout 76 will support mods but not for a while. In fact, the absolute earliest they could be implemented is a year after launch (November 2019) and they will only work on private servers.
Sources: Bethesda, Destructoid, Gamespot, Polygon, The Verge
Header art made by Borrecat.