It’s just over a month until Reclamation Day, when we wake up, open the Vault, and start to build the New American Dream in whatever’s left of the Shenandoah Valley, West Virginia. I mean, that’s what’s in the Vault-Tec manual, anyway. More realistically, nobody’s even going to exit the character creation screen for, like, at least a week, but in the meantime, here’s what you need to know about dog meat dealership opportunities in Fallout 76 that we haven’t already discussed.

It’s the same, but different

It’s a first-person shooter. It has a Pip-Boy menu. It’s got a colour palette predominantly comprised of browns and browns. And, for the first time in the series, Fallout 76 post-apocalypse includes real people. You can play solo or team up with other players, or nuke everybody else. But you know that already.

What you might not know is how the distribution and acquisition of junk – one of the game’s most important features – works this time. Loot is apparently spawned randomly, and instanced so each player gets their own stuff and nobody can help themselves your irradiated box of Cheezy Poofs. It’s also spawned on a timer, so sorry, you can’t exploit it by logging out and back in and you’re not super clever for thinking of that.

Perks and the franchise’s idiosyncratic S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system are back in, but have been somewhat reworked – you can now have a limited number of perk cards active in each S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stat category at a time, designated with a star rating. So, for example, if you have a Charisma stat of five, you can equip one corresponding five-star perk card or three one-star perk cards and one two-star perk card, or a mix in between. You can upgrade perk cards when you level up, but this also increases its star rating and cost. Perk cards are randomly awarded when you level up, there are “hundreds” to collect, and you can swap them with other players.

With the introduction of the Vault-Tec Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform, you can also establish bases anywhere on the map. And, awkwardly, so can everybody else. Uh-oh?

As a persistent online game, Fallout 76 won’t use regular saves, with player progression saved on the server instead.

Welcome to the atomic wasteland

The rad-like-rads Fallout 76 Power Armor Edition has a game map as one of its bonus extras, but you can totally save your bottle caps because here’s a copy, in your browser, for your convenience.

The Break-it Early Test Application

Bethesda has confirmed that Fallout 76’s beta will go live on Tuesday 23 October on Xbox One, and Tuesday 30 October on PS4 and PC. Unlike most other betas, this one will be available only at certain times of the day, to be provided closer to the date. Access is restricted to pre-order purchases, and obligatory joke about the public beta starting on 14 November when the game actually launches, lol.

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