Fallout 4

Fallout 4

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Vault Dweller's Introduction to the Commonwealth Wasteland
By Moggie
An introductory (and 99% spoiler free) guide to help you adjust to the broad sweeping changes introduced in Fallout 4. It's a heapin' helpin' of radioactive information.
Fallout 4 has introduced a number of broad sweeping changes to mechanics players of the modern Fallout titles have come to know and (possibly) love. It's quite the adventure and there are a lot of updated or entirely new mechanics to learn.

I'm hoping to avoid spoilers throughout this entire guide. Instead focusing on mechanics, systems, and observations I've made coming into this title with several hundred hours in both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas combined. It isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination- but it should get you up and running all the same.

It can also be helpful as a reference to certain perks (which are mentioned in later sections) for players who want to take advantage of particular crafting, healing, or survival bonuses.
Tips for first time players
Whether you're coming into Fallout 4 from either of the previous modern Fallout titles, or this is your first Fallout title, here's some general advice to help you get a good start.

Explore the Wasteland

This might seem a given in a large open world title like Fallout 4 but it's an incredibly important part of getting the best possible start. While not always unguarded, or readily accessible, there are small well supplied caches of loot dotted across the Wasteland.

Finding these and working on what you'll need to access these (such as your ability to pick locks or hack terminals) is a key part of staying ahead of enemies.

Collect ammunition and medical supplies

For a character using any kind of ranged weaponry ammunition is invaluable. It's also completely weightless (even Missiles or Mini Nukes) so there's never a reason not to pick it up. Even if you're playing a melee or unarmed character- this is free money sitting in containers.

You can either collect this ammunition to the extent of thousands of shells, bullets, or cartridges and keep it for later or you could sell it for extra Caps early on. Particularly useful if you know you'll never use a particular ammunition type if you're playing a character that only uses energy weapons for instance.

Medical supplies and the wide range of Chems in the game are also nearly weightless with most at <0.2 weight. Again, even if you don't intend to use Psycho or Jet- this is (an average amount of) free money sitting in containers.

Collect junk and use the Workshop

One thing you'll pick up fairly early on is that junk is now incredibly useful. However, unlike Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas, there are no longer lists of components you'll require in such a stringent fashion as before.

Now you'll find a lot of use from Steel, Screws, Plastic, Nuclear Material, and all other manner of assorted bits and pieces.

What the game doesn't make readily apparent to you is that the Workshop (located in every settlement) is a great place to store all of this. Simply highlight the Workshop, select Transfer, and then select Deposit All Junk to put all of your miscellaneous crafting materials away.

These materials can then be accessed by any of the Cooking Stations, Armour Workbenches, Weapon Workbenches, and so on within that settlement. They can't be transferred between settlements without you either physically carrying them or setting up a Supply Line between locations.

Identify useful items for your character

This could be considered a slightly more advanced tactic as you'll be limited to the kinds of weapons and armour you'll find early on. However, it's never a bad idea to get into the habit as soon as you can so it becomes a natural process.

Once you start to find more advanced weaponry (and/or invest in certain perks) you'll be able to get a lot more from scrapping weapons and armour. For instance, Pipe Pistols (unless heavily upgraded) rarely give more than Steel as a result of scrapping. But Laser Pistols/Rifles will often give a range of components (even without perks).

That said, the value of a weapon needs to be taken into account, and with some weapons like the Missile Launcher they're much better sold than scrapped. However, knowing what your character will get and can use from loot on enemy corpses is a great way to maximise returns on what you're carrying. Especially on low carry capacity characters.

Know when to retreat

Fallout 4 works slightly differently to the previous modern Fallout titles. Enemies will have their own specific level ranges, which, regardless of your level, will mean that certain enemies are simply too powerful for you at the moment.

Sometimes you'll stumble upon a location where a number of enemies will have a skull next to their name. This means they're several levels above your character and can be considered dangerous- but not impossible to kill depending on your gear- and so it might be a better idea to leave and return later when better armed.
You're S.P.E.C.I.A.L.
Fallout 4 has completely overhauled the S.P.E.C.I.A.L., perks, and skills system (with the latter being entirely removed). At character creation you're given 28 S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points compared to the 40 points you're used to if you've played Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas.

You can increase any of the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes whenever you wish as long as you have an available perk point to spend. Simply select the attribute you want (for instance Agility) from the top of the Perk Chart to invest an additional point.

However, before you decide to max out an attribute, Bobbleheads have made a return and function similarly to the ones in Fallout 3. Any Bobblehead related to a S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attribute will increase that attribute by one permanently.

Skill related Bobbleheads (Speech, Barter, Lockpick etc.) also make a return but function entirely differently as the skills they relate to have been removed. They will often give a particular bonus to an activity related to that skill.

Skill magazines make a return as well and they too function quite differently. Now you collect different issues of each magazine, which, again, give a unique benefit or bonus to an activity related to that skill. These magazines also cover things like hairstyles, Holotape games, or even facial reconstruction options.

Perks are the meat of the character customisation and the choices are quite broad.

Accessing the Perk Chart will give you a plethora of options which allow you to develop your character in several different ways. Many of the perks in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas have been merged together, or improved significantly, giving a much more potent list of choices.

Some of these perks are highlighted later in this guide (relating to those specific sections) allowing you to get a taste for the diversity- and potency- of the perks.
Surviving, healing, and cooking
Staying alive in the Commonwealth Wasteland is a slightly trickier task than it appears to be.

The first major change is that becoming irradiated reduces your maximum health. It's a mechanic that was present in Fallout Shelter and rolls into Fallout 4 as part of rebalancing healing mechanics.

Every 10 Rads will reduce your health by 1% (approximately). This means that enemies that deal radiation damage (almost all of them) will reduce your maximum health, however, quite oddly, that seems to be the only penalty present for being irradiated.

What this does mean is that Rad Away is incredibly more useful than it once was. That said, Rad Away has received an overhaul of its own. It now only recovers 30% (300 Rads) by default.

Stimpaks function in much the same way. Default healing is 30% of your maximum health over time- making them significantly less useful earlier in the game compared to food. There is a perk which increases the effectiveness of both Stimpaks and Rad Away, though.

Food provides a flat health bonus, however. It's also a lot cheaper earlier in the game than Stimpaks would be. With a default bartering modifier Stimpaks cost 120+ Caps, whereas some meat, like Squirrel Bits, cost relatively less (10+ Caps). These Squirrel Bits can be cooked to provide 45 healing over time.

(Cooking can be undertaken any time you're near a Cooking Station.)

In an example, if your character has 120 health, a Stimpak would recover 36 health (at 30%) whereas the Squirrel on a Stick would recover 45 health.

While there is a perk to upgrade the effectiveness of Stimpaks and Rad Away, there don't seem to be any perks gained by level to improve how much health cooked food recovers.

Notable Perks

  • Rank 1 - Req. Intelligence 2
    Stimpaks heal 40% of maximum health and Rad Away cures 40% of Rads.

  • Rank 2 - Req. Intelligence 2, Level 18
    Stimpaks heal 60% of maximum health and Rad Away cures 60% of Rads.

  • Rank 3 - Req. Intelligence 2, Level 30
    Stimpaks heal 80% of maximum health and Rad Away cures 80% of Rads.

  • Rank 4 - Req. Intelligence 2, Level 49
    Stimpaks heal 100% of maximum health and Rad Away cures 100% of Rads while working much faster than it previously did.
Building, upgrading, and scrapping items
Fallout 4 features a rather diverse crafting system which allows you to turn (almost) any item into something else entirely. This is quite a broad system with lots of different components (few of which are explained well in the tutorial stages).

First and foremost- equipment in Fallout 4 no longer features durability and so there's no need to repair any of it.

Weapon Workbenches are where you will upgrade your various weapons. Any weapon you find (be it a melee weapon, an energy weapon, or a conventional gun) can be upgraded. The range of upgrades is usually specific to the base item you're building upon. For instance, Pipe Pistols can be repurposed into automatic rifles or sniper rifles or even a scoped pistol if you should so wish.

Some of the higher damage, later game, and more advanced weaponry will require additional perks.

Armour Workbenches work in the same way (only you're dealing with armour and not weapons).

Those who plan to do a lot of crafting and repurposing of weapons should peruse the Perk Chart as there are some good perks to get rarer resources earlier.

To get the components to upgrade weapons you'll need to collect all kinds of junk in the Wasteland- everything from desk fans to conductors have the parts you'll need and you'll need a lot of them.

You won't break them down yourself, however. Or have the option to at any of the workbenches. They will break down into the components you need as you need them. It's a little confusing at first but just know that your spare telephone will be a reflex scope before you know it.

Notable Perks

Gun Nut
  • Rank 1 - Req. Intelligence 3
    Gain access to first rank gun mods.

  • Rank 2 - Req. Intelligence 3, Level 13
    Gain access to second rank gun mods.

  • Rank 3 - Req. Intelligence 3, Level 25
    Gain access to third rank gun mods.

  • Rank 4 - Req. Intelligence 3, Level 39
    Gain access to fourth rank gun mods.

  • Rank 1 - Req. Intelligence 6
    Gain access to first rank high-tech mods.

  • Rank 2 - Req. Intelligence 6, Level 17
    Gain access to second rank high-tech mods.

  • Rank 3 - Req. Intelligence 6, Level 28
    Gain access to third rank high-tech mods.

  • Rank 4 - Req. Intelligence 6, Level 41
    Gain access to fourth rank high-tech mods.

  • Rank 1 - Req. Strength 4
    Gain access to first rank melee weapon mods.

  • Rank 2 - Req. Strength 4, Level 16
    Gain access to second rank melee weapon mods.

  • Rank 3 - Req. Strength 4, Level 29
    Gain access to third rank melee weapon mods.

  • Rank 1 - Req. Strength 3
    Gain access to first rank armour mods.

  • Rank 2 - Req. Strength 3, Level 13
    Gain access to second rank armour mods.

  • Rank 3 - Req. Strength 3, Level 25
    Gain access to third rank armour mods.

  • Rank 4 - Req. Strength 3, Level 39
    Gain access to fourth rank armour mods.

  • Rank 1 - Req. Intelligence 5
    You can now salvage uncommon components from any items you scrap.

  • Rank 2 - Req. Intelligence 5, Level 23
    You can now salvage uncommon and rare components from any items you scrap.
Using (and maintaining) Power Armor
Power Armor in Fallout 4 follows the history of the Fallout universe more closely than the Power Armor present in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. It's ancient pre-war technology that boasts insanely high defensive capabilities and fits onto a Power Armor frame for complete customisation.

There are two key differences to Power Armor in comparison to other equipment you will find, though. The first is that you require Fusion Cores to power it. What this means in gameplay terms is that while the armour itself is nigh invulnerable- it's not unlimited- so careful use of Fusion Cores for Power Armor heavy characters is key.

The second is that Power Armor actually requires repair. You'll need to hook it up to a Power Armor Station which you can find in most settlements, and, most conveniently, there's one in Sanctuary Hills. Here you can use Steel to repair the broken or damaged components.

This is something you'll need to do almost immediately after acquiring it.

The other semi-disadvantage is that it's quite an unwieldy beast to move around in. Which means, in most cases, you trade mobility for higher than average defences. There are a few perks you can acquire which make Power Armor or Fusion Cores much more effective.

Notable Perks

Nuclear Physicist
  • Rank 1 - Req. Intelligence 9
    Radiation weapons deal 50% more damage and Fusion Cores last 25% longer.

  • Rank 2 - Req. Intelligence 9, Level 14
    Radiation weapons deal twice as much damage and Fusion Cores last 50% longer.

  • Rank 3 - Req. Intelligence 9, Level 26
    Radiation weapons deal twice as much damage and Fusion Cores last twice as long. Fusion Cores can now be ejected from Power Armor like grenades.

Pain Train
  • Rank 1 - Req. Strength 10
    Sprinting into enemies while wearing Power Armour hurts and staggers them.

  • Rank 2 - Req. Strength 10, Level 24
    Sprinting into enemies while wearing Power Armour severely hurts and staggers them.

  • Rank 3 - Req. Strength 10, Level 50
    Sprinting into enemies while wearing Power Armour massively hurts and staggers them while knocking them down.
It's a big ol' world out there
Naturally one of the joys of something like Fallout 4 is the thrill of the unknown. Discovering ancient pre-war technology in some dusty office building, a murky damp cave, or a conveniently still intact (but locked all the same) safe.

It's not possible to cover everything in the game and to keep it brief at the same time. However, I hope this has helped for your first adventures in the Commonwealth Wasteland.

While criticism has been thrown around at the lack of RPG mechanics in this particular title, I believe there's still a wealth of customistation available. It might not be as readily apparent as it was in say Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas- but it's there. In different ways. Acquired through different means.

Enjoy the Wasteland, all!
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Plazma Penguin Jan 30, 2016 @ 6:12am 
good guide this is my first fallout game so i'll make sure to look on this when i need some help