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Fallout 76 – Perks, Mutations, and Everything We Learned at QuakeCon
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 04:55pm 15/08/18 | Comments
At QuakeCon 2018, Bethesda Game Studios was on hand to talk at length about its next release – Fallout 76.

As the first multiplayer game in Fallout’s long history, there was still a sense of confusion surrounding the post-apocalyptic survival game - even after its extended E3 debut. Where we admittedly learned quite a bit about Fallout 76. With its launch scheduled for November 14 of this year though, Chris Meyer (Development Director), Jeff Gardiner (Project Lead) and Todd Howard (Game Director) were on hand in Dallas, Texas to dive a little deeper into – well – how it will all work. Focusing on leveling, the Perk Card system, and the Fallout 76 method on how to deal with trolls and griefers.

Below is summary of everything we learned.

You Can Be S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Too

As with all titles in the Fallout series, character stats will once again be broken down into S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats - covering Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Where leveling up increases one of these core stats by a single point. As an online title this means a few differences too, with accuracy in the new real-time V.A.T.S. being tied to Perception. As with previous entries there won’t be a hard level-cap in Fallout 76, but any progress made after 50 will result in no more stat points being rewarded - instead players will continue to earn and unlock Perk cards. Which is where the majority of character customisation takes place.

Perk Cards, Points, and Opening Card Packs

The Perk Card system being implemented in Fallout 76 sees another revamp to the Perk system as found in Fallout 4 and the almost complete removal of the separate skill-point system as found in Fallout 3 and earlier games. Instead perks and skills are tied directly to Perk Cards which can be equipped and assigned to any of your current available S.P.E.C.I.A.L points. In fact, Perk Cards are tied directly to these points, so if you were to add a point into Strength after leveling up that means you would now have another point for an additional Strength-based Perk Card to fill the slot. This adds a layer of deck-building to character customisation with Perk Cards themselves coming in various flavours, rarity, and costs. Every five levels players earn a card pack too, one that comes with actual in-game bubble-gum that can be chewed, containing random Perk Cards.

Re-Spec Anywhere, Anytime

With the deep and layered Perk Card system players will be able to re-spec and re-build their character anywhere and at any time. Of course, you’d want to make sure you weren’t out in the open and susceptible to danger.

PVP Begins at Level 5

Speaking of danger, Fallout 76’s multiplayer and competitive PvP side only becomes available once players reach Level 5. This was the limit set by Bethesda Game Studios to ensure that players have a basic grasp of the new progression system, general combat, and exploration, before entering into combat with other survivors. A secondary reason was also given, in that limiting PvP to Level 5 and above this also has the added bonus of solving the problem of griefers camping outside Vault 76 to shoot all survivors as they emerge.

Trolls and Murderers

Killing an unarmed or survivor that doesn’t retaliate brandishes a player a Wanted Murderer. Once given this branding, the hunted player has a bounty added to their life and will appear on the map for all to see. The inverse to this is that Wanted Murderers will no longer be able see other players on the map. As a bonus to ward off griefers, any claimed bounties will be taken directly from the Wanted Murderer’s own cap stash. How this ties into the PvP is intuitive too, as all damage prior to reciprocal combat is minimal - meaning that until another player fires back at an aggressor, damage is limited. Even with the above Fallout 76 will offer players increased rewards for seeking revenge on those that best them in combat, in addition to more caps and stuff for taking out higher level survivors.

Weapons vs. Monsters and Humans

To keep a proper balance when it comes to PvP whilst not impacting general PvE combat, damage against other survivors will be normalised to ensure a fairer fight. Which is the right way to do it because we’d hate to see weapon crafting and general combat suffering due to weapon nerfs and balancing for PvP.

Junk Piles, Respawning, and Fast Travel

The penalty for death in Fallout 76 is that players will drop all the Junk they were carrying at their point of demise – or, death. This means that after re-spawning, players will have the choice to go back to pick up their Junk pile or simply leave it where it lay and move on. In PvP Junk piles will be loot-able objects, with Junk in general playing a major role in Fallout 76 crafting. Outside of Junk, all inventory and caps will carry over after each death. But, re-spawning nearby and fast travel will cost more and more caps the further out from Vault 76 you are.

The Sea of Thieves Connection – Area Chat and Musical Instruments

Taking a page out the Rare book, comes word that in addition to the non-audio-based communication tools that takes on the form of several intuitive emotes, area and proximity chat will be a part of Fallout 76. As seen in Sea of Thieves, if you’re near another random survivor you’ll be able to speak to them via the in-game chat if you’re within earshot. Also, survivors will be able to play instruments and music in Fallout 76 – with Bethesda’s Todd Howard noting an instance where someone would play a large tuba to lure survivors into a false sense of security before they realise he was surrounded by hidden turrets.

Music Everywhere

On the topic of music, during the panel we also learned that Fallout 4 composer Inon Zur is back on board to provide the original music for Fallout 76, plus word that the in-game radio stations will feature more music than ever before.

Strike a Pose, Take a Picture

To further play up the social aspect of Fallout 76, a detailed photo mode is also shipping with the game that will come equipped with all manner of filters and tweaks.


A new gameplay mechanic coming with Fallout 76 is the ability to mutate based on how irradiated you become, with some being curable and others providing permanent traits and abilities.

Mods and Private Servers are Coming, But Steam is Out

And finally, we got a recommitment from Bethesda that mod support is coming in addition to private servers. But as an online experience, both the when and the how are still being worked out internally – in that the technical capacity to support mods still needs to be sorted out. Another small but major reveal from the panel was confirmation that Fallout 76 on PC at least will be limited to the Bethesda Launcher and will not be sold on Steam – a first for the series.

The full Bethesda Game Studios Fallout 76 QuakeCon Panel can be found below

Read more about Fallout 76 on the game page - we've got the latest news, screenshots, videos, and more!