How to launch nukes in Fallout 76

Fallout 76 marks a new direction for Bethesda's post-apocalyptic role-playing franchise, abandoning its single-player roots in pursuit of a shared-world multiplayer experience. Dropping dozens into the harsh lands of West Virginia, players are tasked with exploring, building, and fighting for survival.

While the vast world of Fallout 76 can be daunting, the game provides opportunities to harness menacing tools. Several nuclear missile launch sites are scattered across the wasteland, primed to unleash their destructive payloads. Ahead of its release this fall, we've compiled everything we know about the game's nukes so far.

Fallout 76: Everything you need to know

The power of the atom

Active nuclear missile silos are spread across Fallout 76, ready for players to explore and leverage. Bethesda envisions the journey to nuclear weaponry as an endgame activity, requiring teams to solve puzzles and uncover launch codes. Like raids in other shared-world games, players must band together and scour the wasteland.

Firm details on Fallout 76's nuclear weapons are currently limited, though Bethesda briefly detailed core mechanics at its E3 2018 showcase. Firstly, it recommends pursuing nukes as a team rather than following the trail solo. As an "endgame" activity, don't expect to launch nukes the minute you start – your party will likely need to level up and obtain high-level gear.

What nukes can do in Fallout 76

It's rare that games provide players with such impactful tools, yet nuclear missiles present a range of player-driven possibilities. Bethesda hopes its emergent gameplay could bring further endgame depth, from power-crazed groups, tense nuclear standoffs, or all-out war.

The obvious application of nukes is their destructive capabilities, delivering unrivaled destruction to the map. The nuclear blast can impact a sizeable area, wiping out players and settlements instantly.

A more significant element of this is ensuing nuclear fallout, drastically changing map sectors for a period of time. Spawning rare drops and legendary tier items, you'll find the game's best items here. Nukes terraform land into pools of valuable resources, housing new vegetation, deadlier mutated creatures, and coveted crafting materials. The outcome of the fallout will vary based on where the bomb fell too, creating variation between fallout zones.

Before stepping foot in the fallout, you'll also need to obtain Power Armor. This high radiation zone will kill anyone unshielded, making the suit's radiation resistance capabilities ideal. Beware that areas will only be fully irradiated briefly, making it crucial to take advantage of them fast.

How to launch nukes in Fallout 76

Before embarking on your hunt for nukes, players will likely be provided with some form of guidance via a quest. With independent objectives to obtain each launch code piece, the lead-up will be broken into multiple stages. For example, the E3 showcase features players attacking a group of weapon-wielding "Scorched" ghouls, before killing the "feral ghoul officer" for one code piece. This piece, "Silo Alpha Code Piece R-8," provides two characters for the Alpha missile silo code. Multiple nuclear launch sites will be stationed across West Virginia, though it's unclear how many are planned for release.

After collecting the code pieces, teams can make their way to the correct missile site. Combating foes and other security measures may challenging, though skilled squads will have the means to break past.

You'll eventually find the main control room, where inserting the code and keycard initiates the launch. An overview of West Virginia will be displayed, allowing players to choose a target using the on-screen reticle. Shortly after, havoc should rain down on unlucky foes.

Prepare for war

As Fallout 76's release nears, we'll be sure to update this article with the latest details. In the meantime, Fallout 76 is now available for preorder starting at $59.99, ahead of its November 14 release for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PCs.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.