Fallout 76: What to Do When Playing For the First Time

Fallout 76: What to Do When Playing For the First Time

If you don't know what to do, we can show you the first steps to take when playing as a beginner.

When starting Fallout 76 for the first time, it's easy to be intimidated by the scope, possibility and isolation of it all. We're here to help with that and show you what to do first when playing Fallout 76.

On this page:

What to Do First in Fallout 76

After creating your character, you'll be able to explore the vault itself and experience the debris of the party that happened the previous night. You also won't be able to find any other human beings; they've all left to continue Vault-tec's glorious work. However, the immediate steps are still pretty simple, even with nobody else to inform you of them:

These quirky little displays hold useful items and info. | Joel Franey/USgamer, Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks
  1. Follow the path indicated by the Vault Boy cutouts. If they're pointing for you to go somewhere, follow them until you reach the next one.
  2. Along the way you'll start encountering Mr. Handys (the floating British octopus robots) by display stands. These show items you can take that'll help along the way, including healing Stimpaks and a C.A.M.P. that you can use to set up bases later. Don't worry if you don't understand them all fully yet, the game will explain them later at certain moments.
  3. At the end of the displays, there'll be a screen on the wall displaying the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes. Select and interact with that to level up for the first time and put a point into one your stats. The game will give a brief summary of what they do and what skills they're linked to, so now's a good time to think about what kind of character you want to start building.
  4. After that, press on to see the giant mechanical vault door, a final Mr. Handy standing by to wave you out. It'll open as you walk down the gantry towards it, allowing you to enter the wasteland for the first time. This'll also begin a new quest: "First Contact."

Where to Go in the Wasteland

Technically you can go anywhere the moment you leave Vault 76, but that's probably not the smartest thing to do if you're still confused and vulnerable. You won't even have a gun yet. Instead, check the compass at the top of the screen and follow the objective markers for "First Contact," which functions as a kind of tutorial to introduce you to crafting, resource management and exploration throughout the game.

How to Complete the First Contact Quest

The objective of First Contact is to locate your Overseer, but that isn't going to happen. However, you can follow her trail and use the equipment and resources left behind to equip yourself better and work out what happened to her. To do so, follow these basic steps:

Follow the objective markers to complete the quest. | Joel Franey/USgamer, Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks
  1. From the Vault, head down the stairs, following the objective marker. This'll take you down a country road and across a bridge with a crashed truck.
  2. Give any creatures or robots you see a wide berth; you likely won't win in any fight with them until you have a weapon.
  3. The objective marker will lead you to the Overseer's Camp, a small circle of workbenches, tables and storage chests around a cooking pot. Loot the chests and try interacting with all the different workbenches - you'll get a mini tutorial with each one.
  4. There's often some Scorched in the nearby area, humanoid enemies similar to the ghouls in regular Fallout games. Now you have weapons, try killing them for experience and additional items. This'll also complete little challenges that'll get you a starting pool of Atoms (see more on those here).
  5. After you're done here, you'll be told to follow the Overseer's trail towards Flatwoods down the road, the objective marker moving to show you the way (it's basically just a straight path down the road on the right).
  6. Once at Flatwoods, you can find a message holotape in the church on the right-hand side. There's also a robot in there who acts a shopkeeper to buy and sell with.
  7. The tape tells you to volunteer for the Responders in the bar opposite. Simply go into the building and you'll see some computer terminals directly opposite. Interact with those to complete the quest, getting 20 caps, 150 experience, ammo and numerous other useful items. Now you have the basics of gameplay down, as well as the basic equipment to match.

Where to Get a Weapon Early in the Game

There's several options for getting your first weapon in Fallout 76, but we'll cover the easiest and most straightforward below. These are your options:

You can always craft your own weapons if you can't find anything. | Joel Franey/USgamer, Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks
  • Pick one up from the storage lockers at the Overseer's Camp.
  • Craft one at the workbench using materials harvested from junk (early in the game it'll be one of the variations of pipe pistol).
  • Scavenge one off defeated enemies. Mole rats and swarms of bees are unlikely to be holding firepower, but the humanoid Scorched enemies dotted around usually have some kind of weapon, even if it's a basic one.
  • Buy one from the robot at the Flatwoods church. His selection isn't great and you won't have many caps yet, but if you offload enough typewriters and old pens into his pocket, you might be able to scrounge enough for a machete or pistol.

Where to Get Caps and Treasure Early in the Game

Caps are pretty rare early on, and the best way to get a small amount is either to sell to Flatwoods 'bot shop or complete the First Contact quest. However, there's also a nearby secret that'll get you extra caps. Head to the tavern where you sign up for the Responders and check the kitchen. The rightmost fridge is locked. If you can unlock it with a bobby pin, you'll see the body of a Responder who unfortunately died inside. However, he does have a tape on him detailing the details of a small cache of money and loot. You can find it by following these instructions.

The Responder's treasure is stuck into a tree trunk halfway up the hill behind Flatwoods. | Joel Franey/USgamer, Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks
  • Head back to the church, and go around the back to the cemetery (it's basically one line of simple gravestones).
  • Go to the grave at the far right and look in the direction of the river. You should see a hill on the other side.
  • Go across the river (don't stay in it long, you'll start contracting radiation sickness) and go straight up the hill until you find a tree stump slightly shorter than a person.
  • Circle around it until you're looking back at the town, and you'll see a storage box! It has caps, a 10mm pistol and a small selection of resources and ammo.

The result of all this is that you won't be a bottlecap billionaire or a power-armored powerhouse, but you'll have the knowledge and tech to start your way there. The rest is all down to your skill and ingenuity.

USG's Fallout 76 content is always getting new additions. Check out Mike's review of the game here, or see Hirun's piece on the Wasteland's strangest new commodity.

Joel Franey

Guides Writer

Joel loves books, games, comics and drinks that make a person feel like they just got kicked in the head by a mule. He has a Masters in writing from Sussex, which he somehow got by writing about Superman. He is absolutely NOT three children in a long coat, so please stop asking.

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