In-depth

Fallout 76 free-to-play this week; get beginner’s tips here!

Bethesda ANZ's very own LoneVaultWanderer is back with Fallout 76 101.

Fallout 76 is free-to-play between now and 16 June, and Bethesda ANZ Community Manager Jonny ‘LoneVaultWanderer’ Roses is here to help with a handy Fallout 76 101 video packed full of beginner’s tips.

While LoneVaultWanderer does a spectacular job on his own, we’re helping Bethesda ANZ to break down the tips for you below.

Getting started

Fallout 76 is full of complex systems, and your (former) home, Vault 64, begins the process of educating you about them. Make you enjoy the creature comforts of a true Vault-Tec space before emerging into the Appalachian wastelands to continue your education. Just outside Vault 64, you’ll run into two NPCs named Lacey and Isela (thanks, Wastelanders update!), who’ll begin a new questline called “Wayward Souls”. It’s here you’ll learn how to build a C.A.M.P. and will meet Appalachia’s warring factions.

Related: Two years later, Fallout 76 is a whole new wasteland

LoneVaultWanderer has a couple recommendations to those starting off. First, make sure to explore Morgantown Airport early on in your adventures — a Small Backpack Plan can be found within and lets you carry more delicious loot. Next, don’t be afraid to explore — as you do so, you’ll begin to mark those points on your in-game map (and will also receive a small XP bump for doing so). Train Stations also contain maps that will help to pick out points of interest to then head off to.

All the map points you discover and collect not only provide fast travel access when you need it, but could also add new quests to your log. On the topic of quests, keep in mind that there’s no shame in backing out of one — temporarily — if you feel you’re overpowered. The quest will remain in your log until you’re feeling powerful enough to take it on. You can fast travel to your own C.A.M.P. and major faction headquarters for free, and the Charima Travel Agent Perk Card also reduces the cost of fast travel from level 26.

Fallout 1st limited preview

In addition to the general free-to-play experience, Bethesda is also offering players a Fallout 1st limited preview. Normally an addition subscription on top of the game itself, Fallout 1st provides access to private servers, and additional Atomic Shop items.

As part of the limited preview, players “gain access to the Scrapbox (which you can find in the Fallout 1st page in the Atomic Shop) and the Survival Tent, allowing for unlimited storage space for your crafting components and a handy forward operating base/ free Fast Travel point during your adventures, respectively,” Bethesda has advised.

“You will have access to both features until the Fallout 1st Limited Preview ends June 16. Once the Preview concludes, everything in your Scrapbox will persist, meaning you won’t lose any of those precious crafting materials,” Bethesda continued. “You can still remove scrap from the Scrapbox, though you will have re-up your Fallout 1st membership to add anything new.”

S.P.E.C.I.A.L., C.A.M.P. and crafting explained

Fallout‘s S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system returns in its newest iteration and stands for each of the seven categories that can be tweaked to build your own unique character. You’ll gain points and Perk Cards as you level up, and at level 25, you can build a Punch Card Machine to reallocate your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points should you wish to try something new. The more perk points you put into a category, the more Perk Cards you can use within it. Finding Bobbleheads and Magazines within the world will also provide temporary buffs when activated — or you can simply hoard them and put them on display in your C.A.M.P. if you prefer.

While you can find all the essentials for survival out in the wasteland — including Stimpacks and other medicines like Rad-X and RadAway alongside weapons and armour — you can also create those same items after building Cooking, Chemistry, Weapons, Armor and Tinker’s Workbenches within your C.A.M.P. If you make too many items to possibly use yourself, you can also place a Vending Machine at your place to sell whatever you’d like to fellow players for in-game Caps.

Related: Fallout 76 Locked and Loaded update brings huge, community-led changes

If you’ve found you’ve run out of supplies to craft items, you’ve got a couple options. First, consider heading to a Workshop to take it over for new plans and resources. Second, you can tag items you’re looking for in your Pip-Boy and they’ll be highlighted by a magnifying glass item when you encounter them within the world. Armor and weapons that don’t suit your playstyle can also be scrapped at a Workbench to offer up both supplies and mod plans that you can apply to other gear.

Get social!

Despite his handle, LoneVaultWanderer wants you to group up in order to take on Fallout 76‘s wasteland together. Players can team up in Normal and Public teams, letting you remain with your actual friend group or jumping in with newfound wanderers. Public Teams let you set your own goals and find those with matching ones, and players receive a buff depending on what that is. Daily Ops Public Teams are quite useful for tackling the daily challenge, and those in a team will receive an XP bonus for joining. Everyone wins!

If you decide you’re liking the group thing, you can move on into Public Events including “Scorched Earth”, in which you’ll take on the menacing Scorchbeast Queen. While that particular Public Event needs to be triggered with the drop of a nuclear bomb — and yes, you should team up with a group and do that — others will simply appear on the map, one at a time, and in a random rotation. Take it from LoneVaultWanderer (and us too): if you decide to go after the Scorchbeast Queen, make sure you’ve got some Power Armor… or at least a TON of Rad-X and RadAway. Limited-time Seasonal Events and special Double XP weekends are also offered; a calendar details those here.

Things like Daily Ops and Challenges — easier done in a group — feed into your S.C.O.R.E. which in turn can open up Atoms, Fallout 76‘s currency of choice in the Atomic Shop. You can also unlock cosmetic items and C.A.M.P. objects at the same time.

Like what you saw? Consider a purchase!

All good things must come to an end; should you find yourself digging Fallout 76 by the end of your free-to-play window, you’ve got a couple options to continue on. First, remember that Fallout 76 is part of the Xbox Game Pass program on both Xbox consoles and PC, providing access to the base game to subscribers.

If you don’t have Xbox Game Pass — or do but want some extra goodies on top of the base game — Fallout 76 and its paid bundles will be discounted as follows until 17 June:

  • Fallout 76: 66% off base price
  • Fallout 76 Steel Dawn Deluxe Edition: 60% off base price
  • Fallout 76 Brotherhood Recruitment Content Bundle: 60% off base price

Any progress you’ve made during your free-to-play time will carry over into the game proper.

Fallout 76 is currently available on Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S & X, PS4 and PS5.

This post was sponsored by Bethesda.


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About the author

Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for the past ten years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.

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