Fallout 76: Everything you need to know

Fallout 76 is the newest entry in Bethesda's post-apocalyptic role-playing franchise and set to be one of this year's biggest releases. Although its surprise reveal raised countless questions, its full E3 unveiling has broken down what makes it such an ambitious title. Here we wrap up everything we know about Fallout 76, all of the updates its recieved, and what new things might be coming.

If you're a fan of Fallout 76, make sure you pop in on occasion to see what information we have for you.

While Fallout 76 embraces existing lore of the wider franchise, there's one big difference – a focus on multiplayer. Despite retaining the role-playing elements that defined earlier titles, Fallout 76's formula is reworked as a shared-world online experience. Within the world, players will embark on quests, build settlements, and survive in the wasteland, with mechanics comparable to Rust, DayZ, and other online survival games. Embracing the recent "games-as-a-service" trend, the game will see regular free content updates supported by microtransactions.

Under the hood, Fallout 76 inherits mechanics from Fallout 4, originally prototyped as its multiplayer mode before becoming a standalone project. Bethesda Game Studios' Austin team was tasked with integrating Quake netcode into the Fallout engine and rebuilding a the single-player franchise around multiple heroes. The project also saw new rendering, lighting, and landscape technologies introduced, reportedly allowing for 16 times the detail of previous games.

Fallout 76's multiplayer focus makes it an entirely online experience, requiring a constant connection to game servers. The game can be played solo despite online ties, though Bethesda claims its best experienced with up to four other players.

Bethesda's "softcore" approach to survival gameplay encourages player exploration and flexibility, without loss of their character upon death. Players can jump between sessions without the worry of punishments through seamless migration of progress between game instances. And despite its vast world, sessions will only house dozens of players to maintain the barren feeling of the wasteland. While cross-platform multiplayer was considered for Fallout 76, Bethesda claims Sony's stance against cross-play makes this unachievable.

A breakdown of what we know about Fallout 76

Fallout 76 news: What's new about Fallout 76?

June 10, 2019 — Bethesda announces battle royale mode

Bethesda took to the stage at E3 2019 to announce a 52-player battle royale mode coming to Fallout 76 along with a new free update called Wastelanders, which is set to bring back human NPCs and add new quests. No matter your thoughts on how Fallout 76 initially launched, you can't say that Bethesda isn't working hard to get its fans back.

May 21, 2019 — Fallout 76 gets a new area

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There have been tons of new updates to Fallout 76 since its initial release. On May 21 Patch 9.5 dropped and it brought a whole new area and event quest called Project Paradise. Here you can explore the basement of Arktos Pharma for a new dungeon-esque quest with other players around the world. In a previous patch, Bethesda also released a few small areas to the map that revolve around Vault Tech University and the introduction to Nukashine. Completing this quest unlocks a new crafting table called a Brewing Station for you to be able to ferment your own beers, wines, and mixed drinks!

Aside from all this, there have been a number of general improvements to Fallout 76.

  • Vending Machines that players can build on their C.A.M.P.S. This allows players to sell their unwanted goods at better prices than bots will buy them.
  • "Unknown" messages now appear next to the Recipies and Plans you don't know. You don't need to take a chance of buying a blueprint you think you didn't have, you'll know before you pick it up!
  • Cash boxes now hold 800 pounds of gear
  • Legendary Exchange Machines buy your unwanted Legendary items in exchange for a new currency called Legendary Scripts.
  • Legendary Scripts can be traded to The Purveyor for other Legendary items in exchange.

Finally, the most exciting update is the Survival Mode server that's currently in beta. This is a PVP (player vs player) based server with stronger mobs, better loot, 20% increase in experience gained, and a leaderboard on the start menu for who can get the most kills and survive the longest. There is no passive mode available for this server and that makes it the easiest way to experience a horrendous apocalypse. You're not just fighting against mobs and the occasionally PVP player, everyone is out to get you.

Fallout 76 setting: Take me home, country roads

Fallout 76 takes place in post-war West Virginia, with players assuming the roles of "Vault 76" members. Although vaults were pitched as shelters to American citizens, Vault-Tec and the U.S. government mostly used them to perform immoral experiments on select groups of the population. Among the tests was exposure to viruses, drugs, and cloning, with data gathered under the "Societal Preservation Program."

Vault 76 was one of seventeen control vaults which didn't house experiments, instead used as a baseline for comparing other data. Opened in honor of America's 300th anniversary, the preselected inhabitants were patriotic and among the best for rebuilding the country. These survivors will explore, build settlements, craft upgrades, and fend of hostiles through their journey.

Vault 76 was designed to open 20 years after the "Great War" began, which falls 200 years prior to the events of Fallout 4. The earliest existing Fallout game was set in 2161, so we'll receive our freshest look at the world over half a century prior to previous installments. The consequences of recent nuclear fallout will be more prominent, making for vastly different geometry and world contents.

The world of Fallout 76 is supposedly four times the size of Fallout 4, packing varied terrain across six distinct regions. These house wetlands, mountains, toxic wastelands, and other biomes, each with their own atmospheres. Settlements and cities are spread across this landscape, alongside crazier landmarks like missile silos and crashed space stations. A dynamic weather system also spans the map which seamlessly changes conditions on the fly.

Similar variety can be seen in West Virginia's inhabitants, with strong radiation causing crazier creatures than before. The Grafton Monster, Flatwoods Monster, Mothman, and other legends of local folklore have been reimagined as creations of the remaining fallout.

Fallout 76 also abandons human non-player characters (NPCs) for its barren wasteland, instead populating its world with unpredictable human players. New factions like the intelligent, gun-wielding "Scorched" ghouls fill the gap in combat that raiders once occupied, though allies and foes will much less defined.

Fallout 76 gameplay: What goes up must come down

With Vault 76's focus on rebuilding the world together, this plays a major role in core gameplay. Capitalizing on base building mechanics first introduced with Fallout 4, crafting and design have an even larger presence in the sequel.

Players have the ability to build wherever and whenever assuming they have the resources to do so. Using the Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform (C.A.M.P.) it's easy to craft structures, weapons, and gadgets, and establish a home in the wasteland. Walls, doors, stairs, turrets, traps, defenses and lights are all among the confirmed categories to furnish and protect your outpost. And with the return of weapon degradation, you'll need to maintain your arsenal throughout your journey.

Fallout 76 also features increased destructibility improving upon the mostly static world of previous Fallout titles. Structures are now much less permanent and can be destroyed by players and creatures. Structures can also be disassembled and moved to new locations as you progress across West Virginia.

For the first time in the series, nuclear warheads bring a new level of destruction to the world too. Previous Fallout titles explored what remained after the bombs fell, though Fallout 76 takes place in an era when active nuclear missile sites still remain. Launch codes can be found scattered across the world, which unleash widespread havoc if activated. Not only will this change the world and gameplay, the subsequent nuclear fallout unearths rare limited-time materials.

How to launch nukes in Fallout 76

Fallout 76 progression: You're still special

As with previous Fallout games, perks make their return under the iconic S.P.E.C.I.A.L. ruleset. S.P.E.C.I.A.L. is an acronym of the game's seven assignable skill attributes – Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. Players can invest points into their chosen skill categories as they progress, building a unique skillset based around their playstyle.

"Perk cards" are a new addition for Fallout 76, which are earned and equipped to gain gameplay advantages. Cards fall under the seven perk categories, granting upgrades to specific actions. Only a limited number of perk cards can be equipped at a time, so you'll need to plan for the situation at hand.

A more dynamic approach is introduced with perk cards, now allowing players to tune skills as they play. Progression is offered within each card, with several ranks granting increased effectiveness. Finally, perks can also be shared among your squad to further encourage teamplay.

How to play Fallout 76: Ordering, pricing, beta

Fallout 76 was released for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Bethesda.net-exclusive PC on November 14, 2018. Both physical and digital versions of the game are now available, along with special editions containing additional content.

The Fallout 76 standard edition is most common and stocked by a majority of video game retailers. With this, you'll be getting the base game, alongside any pre-order benefits. Both physical (opens in new tab) and digital versions (opens in new tab) are up for grabs, priced at roughly $40 and $60, respectively

For those looking for a higher-tier package, the Fallout 76 Tricentennial Edition grants access to various in-game cosmetic items for a further $20. Among its contents is Tricentennial Power Armor customization for the T-51, T-45, T-60, and X-01 Power Armors, and skins for the 10MM Pistol, Hatchet, and Laser Rifle. Other bonuses include a Vault Boy head, Uncle Sam outfit, emote, poster, and photo frame. This version of the game is available from $79.99 both in physical (opens in new tab) and digital formats (opens in new tab).

Amazon frequently holds deals for Fallout 76 for as low as $25 for the standard edition and $46 for the Tricentennial edition.

Finally, the Fallout 76: Power Armor Edition is the ultimate package for diehard franchise fans. Alongside the base game and Tricentennial Edition bonuses, this edition packs an assortment of exclusive collectible goodies. The centerpiece is a wearable T-51 Power Armor helmet, featuring a voice modulator speaker, LED headlamp, V.A.T.S. sounds and West Tek canvas bag. This version also includes a 21"x 21" glow-in-the-dark world map and 24 figurines.

Those who pre-ordered Fallout 76 recieved an exclusive access to the Break-it Early Test Application (B.E.T.A.), providing an opportunity to get hands-on with multiplayer before launch. The test wias a preview of the final product, granting access to the complete game. Furthermore, all progression will transfered to the full version.

Check out this awesome Fallout 76 gear

We all love Fallout. Here are some amazing products to upgrade the display of your gaming gear and decorate your room!

Fallout 76 Variant Cable Guy (opens in new tab) ($20 at Amazon)

The perfect addition to your nightstand, desk, or entertainment center. This clever Vault Boy will hold your phone for a hands-free experience or display your controller when you're not using it.

Fallout 76 - Tricentennial Limited Edition Charging Stand (opens in new tab) ($46 at Amazon)

Charge your controllers in style with this Fallout 76 Tricentennial themed Xbox One controller stand. Its officially licensed for Xbox One to be compatable without any issues and will look amazing on your entertainment center.

Fallout LookSee Box with Nanoforce Figures (opens in new tab) ($60 at Amazon)

A little bit of everything to enjoy! This Fallout-themed loot box includes figurenes, a bottle of Nuka Cola, a Fallout 76 Variant Cable Guy to hold your phone or controller, Fallout Trading Cards, a metal poster, and a Fallout 76 Tricentennial mug!

Updated June 2019: Updated with the latest details on Fallout 76.

Essa Kidwell

Essa Kidwell is an expert in all things VR and mobile devices who can always be found with an Oculus Go, a Pixel 2, and an iPhone 7+. They've been taking things apart just to put them back together for quite some time. If you've got a troubleshooting issue with any of your tech, they're the one you want to go to! Find them on Twitter @OriginalSluggo or Instagram @CosmeticChronus.

  • Minor question: Do you mean "half a century" when you said "half a decade"? It's 50 years earlier according to the dates you mentioned, but half a decade is only 5 years.
  • Hope VR will be an option too! (preferably Oculus Rift 😁)
  • That would be great. I was going to add my new usual "wen in VR". Actually, make that 'wen in VR on Steam for WinMR' !
  • If it is anything but single player, then I'll pass. It will be the first Fallout game I will not have played. Everyone I have talked to has said the same thing.
  • That's because you are a negative person who is not open to change you are the type of person who fears something different and not of your norm i think it would be very fun to be able to explore such a large world with another person as you are a fan i'm sure you have had those feeling of lonesomeness while playing and forcing yourself to continue and having an extra person can fill in that void. Don't give up on a game so easily because of a change like this always be open don't stop before you start, buy it play it hate it return it after you have formed a decision then form an opinion and talk about the game bec you never know it could be amazing.
  • Wrong. Well, I'm assuming you're wrong, I can't speak to the above poster's mindset. For me, I have never, ever, had a fun time with MMOs, with the past exception of Battlefield 1942 and Counter Strike (I no longer enjoy multiplayer FPS). I enjoy a story, I especially enjoy a story where I can make choices about who my character is. That is what games like Fallout and Elder Scrolls have afforded me. MMORPGs have always, with the games I've played, required me to rely on others to further the narrative, that's bs. I don't want to play a game that I need to rely on others to enjoy. I love my friends and when I'm in the mood and the stars align, we'll play together. More often than not I just want to loose myself in fantasy and/or my friends (who live in different time zones and have kids to deal with) aren't available. I do not want to deal with some random person just to enjoy a story. TL:DR No one should be forced to engage with others in order to enjoy an rpg video game that has historically been a One Player game. If its possible to play the whole game solo, cool, argument over. If not, this Player has zero interest.
  • Why does it have to be a MMO? Could be a normal online game where you can invite someone into your game session, like State of Decay 2 or Borderlands. No compromising single player experience.
  • For me, I don't have a lot of time to play games already, and the few people that 1) I know 2) have the same console and 3) are available at the same time.. well, those three things pretty much never happen.
  • I agree with this 100%.
  • Entirely 100% agree. Couldn't have said that better myself.
  • Yes, except think Call of Fallout, probably.
  • Or maybe its because he's played other online games and found (like I did) that most other players are ******** he'd rather not deal with at all.
  • The original FO3 was supposed to be a MMO, but Interplay canceled it. I'm sure it was more due to the technology at the time and cost though, rather than lack of interest. I would play it, but these have limited use for me. I Really wanted to play Star Trek online when it came to the XB1, but haven't even booted it a second time. Too many good SP or normal MP games to play with a story. I would rather even play Doom MP!
  • You do not have to play the game with anyone else and you can ignore them. It is harder to play without working with others from what I understand, but to me that makes it more challenging.
  • Honestly, I hope that the reports of it being a survival-style Multiplayer-enabled game are true. For me, the best parts of Fallout 4 were the stories and settlement building. Sadly, the settlement building seemed kind of shallow in that you couldn't really do much of anything other than build it up. Bethesda should not be "punished" for deciding to create a new SPIN-OFF game as long as they support it. They never said they wouldn't create another Fallout 5 someday...
  • Interesting... I thought the settlement building was boring AF, and it really felt like the rest of the game was compromised because they spent so much effort on that. Plus the endless "protect settlement" "quests" that kept coming up, its annoying. I do want the game to actually end at some point. And that's what I worry about with FO76; besides other players being jerks, there's not going to be some detailed story, just a bunch of "go fetch this," "protect that," "attack that place" quests.
  • I will be so angry if it's really going to be a multiplayer title...
  • it's definitely multiplayer shared world, but you are not required to group up and can go solo. this isn't Fallout 5
  • Cant wait for the new Fallout. Came across this analysis of the trailer and through it is worth a share https://www.sp-bx.com/fallout-76-what-we-know-so-far/
  • "As the creators of Fallout, we have been studying the players and how they play the game. What we have found is 87% of players do not start the main quest until they are already at level 99 or above. And a large percentage of that never finish the main quest. They do the side quests and then kinda get around to the main story at the end. Due to this, Fallout 76 will have only side quests and no main story. Kinda like waking up hung over in the morning. There's no real goal but to survive and go on small quests for water, food, or go find where you left your debit card and cell phone."
  • Do you have a source for that? I do a little of the main quest, then the side quests, because honestly once I finish the main quest, my motivation to keep playing drops, so I have fun doing all the side stuff before finishing the game.
  • I think that its a mistake to make this MMO only. Fallout is a popular franchise and has thrived as a single player game., rather than risking upsetting the core fans it would be better to offer the choice of single or mmo player options.
  • And prior to Fallout 3 the franchise was an isometric turn based(ish) RPG and also produced a couple of 'tactics' (think x-com) type games. Now it's going to be a shared world RPG with survival elements. Then it may evolve into something else. My guess is they are testing the waters here with a new Fallout platform which allows for shared stories/experiences to see if they can keep people engaged beyond the completion of a story arc. Post release content could cater to how people are playing and also how the mod community takes to the game (i.e single payer story driven missions/expansions). I'm definitely curious to say the least.
  • Looking forward to this game.