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Fallout 76: Tips for Fun and Profit

Red Thomas Posted:
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Fallout 76 servers are finally live, so you jump right in and immediately find it doesn’t work anything like you’d expected.  No worries.  I know that the new-player curve is a little wonky in this game and I have a few suggestions to help you get more established.  A little knowledge will help you enjoy the game a whole lot more.

Cash Money

Fallout economy runs on caps, but they’re not totally easy to come by early in the game.   Right after I created my character and started working through the storyline quests, I seemed to have a fair surge of caps.  It felt like things were going pretty well, and then it all came to an abrupt halt.  Caps were suddenly much harder to find.

Not to worry, though.  Those financial frustrations leveled out for me around level 12 or so.   I ended up going to Grafton where mutants were more common.  Mutants drop a few caps each, so that immediately helped my cash accumulation.

Another option for increasing cash flow is to sell clothing.  You find various sets of clothing as you explore the map.  It’s cool because the clothing is just cosmetic without impacting any stats, but I tended to deconstruct it all for the cotton.  It wasn’t until much later that I realized clothing has a much better sell price than much of the other stuff you get in FO76 as loot.

If you use NVIDIA GeForce Experience to take your screenshots, rebind your keys. ALT+F1 and you’ll toss a grenade. Key-bindings in this game are so weird…

When you deconstruct all your junk, the clothing is left behind.  Since it didn’t give armor bonuses of any sort and I had clothing I liked, I thought it was best to deconstruct it all.  Then as I was in Grafton, I noticed some of the cloths I’d looted had a value of 100+ caps.  That made it more valuable than just about anything else I’d looted.  You still only get about 10% of the suggested value, but that adds up when you’re lower level.

Setting C.A.M.P.

The C.A.M.P. system in Fallout 76 is one of the highlights of the game and a core system, but you can easily waste resources if you’re not careful.  The first time I moved my camp, I got each of the floors separately to place.  Each time after that, house part of the camp has come as a single set piece.  I’m not sure which is the bug, but I’ve learned two things from that.

Break your camp buildings up a little so they’re easier to place at new sites.

Place your crafting stations so that they sit over a single floor square.  Even if my first move being a floor tile at a time was the bug, treating each floor tile as a separate segment is still a good idea.  You’ll often be in a position where you need to re-arrange your base of operations a bit.  Having each tile be a self-contained component makes moving around easy.  If you have furniture spanning multiple squares, it’ll cause problems when you try to move things around later.

Since I’ve now moved my camp twice and had the entire “house” move as a single piece, that seems to be the correct functionality for the game.  The problem is that placement is really hard unless the terrain is very level and open.  Neither of my large buildings could be placed in the new camp sites on even moderately rough terrain.   I’m going to start breaking my facilities up and compose my camp of several smaller buildings dedicated to specific functions.

Another key component of camping is agriculture.  Not only does it provide fruits and vegetables for cooking meals and drinks, but cooking three corn, three mutfruit, and 3 tatos with a bottle of purified water will make starch.  Starch can be scrapped to make adhesive.   This stuff is gold in FO76.  It’s not a rare resource, but it’s used in everything and you’ll constantly be short of it.  Get that production up and going as soon as possible.

The last thing about setting camp is also one of the first things.  One of the very first recipes you learn is to make a raised bed.  Make it and use it.  It’s tempting to just use the mat on the floor but sleeping on the ground increases your chances of catching a disease.  Sleeping off the ground in a raised bed mitigates that risk. 


Crafting in Fallout 76 was something else that kept me confused for a while.  I had the Gunsmith perk up to rank three and didn’t seem to be able to build any more weapons than what I could build at the first rank.  The problem I had was that I’d out-ranked the weapons around me, so I wasn’t finding new recipes.  Be aware that even if you loot a recipe, you have to manually read it to get it.  You don’t get it otherwise.

Things a little dark for you? Hold TAB to turn your flashlight on and off.

You learn mods for weapons and armor by picking things up, equipping them, or scrapping them.   That’s why I scrap every gun I pickup rather than selling them.  Most guns when scrapped give me modifications for that sort of gun, and there are a ton of weapon mods in FO76.  As I moved on to harder stuff, I started finding different types of guns and getting the mods for them when scrapping them and I was also able to find better recipes from the vendors in the area.

One thing that I’ve found is that even poor weapons can be modified to be pretty decent in a given situation.  The more mods I’ve gotten, the more I’ve been able to customize a handful of firearms for specific situations.  I think it’s a great system because it creates diversity in the player-base when it comes to weapons.  It also means you have to start thinking about whether you want to keep that new rifle or not because it may mean you have to start carrying another ammo type.

By the way, if you know the recipe for something and just can’t make it (which does happen), that item will be listed when you look through your recipes in the workbench, but will be greyed out with a message telling you what you’re missing.  I know the recipe for fragmentation mines, but can’t make it.  In the top right corner of the menu, it tells me I need Demolition Expert before I can use the recipe.

Those are some of the first things of value I learned while playing Fallout 76.   If I’d known that I had to find recipes, I would have waited until I had some that needed Gunsmith 2 and better before picking more of those cards.  The wear prevention is nice, but there are a few other perks that I think I would have chosen instead.  I also wouldn’t have wasted all those resources having two houses with crafting stations stored in my camp menu had I known how hard it’d be to place them in a new location.

The new-player experience in FO76 could be a little better, but it’s also kind of nice to play a game where all the answers aren’t just right there and waiting on you, too.  It can still be a challenge getting past that low-level slog, so hopefully these tips help you on your way a little.  At the very least, they should save you a few resources and a little time.


Red Thomas

A veteran of the US Army, raging geek, and avid gamer, Red Thomas is that cool uncle all the kids in the family like to spend their summers with. Red lives in San Antonio with his wife where he runs his company and works with the city government to promote geek culture.