7 tips to get you started in Fallout 4’s Wasteland (and a few bonus hints)

Not got Fallout 4 yet, struggling to get started, or just daunted by how much there is to do? Well our seven hints will have you mastering the Commonwealth wasteland in no time.

1) Learn your lessons

Okay, lets be honest, Fallout 4 does not have a great tutorial. It introduces things quickly and it doesn’t go out of its way to explain. This is good because it keeps the pace moving but, if you miss one of the many important tool tips that pop-up, it can become a problem. Each of these impart some vital information about the game’s systems, but can easily be skipped if you are clicking around the screen doing something else.

On the plus side, if you do get stuck, Fallout 4 offers a comprehensive “Help” option from the pause menu. This provides explanations to all of the game’s systems which may not otherwise be instantly apparent. If you are stuck – or feel you are missing something – a quick read of this will surface otherwise hidden gems of information… like how long you have to wait for that guy to forget you stole all his food.

2) You’re S.P.E.C.I.A.L – make a character to reflect that

Considering how many hours you will lose to Fallout 4 it is important that your character lets you play how you want to. The removal of a level-cap certainly helps with this, letting you eventually earn every skill you could want, but early on you are not as capable.

The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats (strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility, and luck) all start with one point in them and you receive a further 21 to divvy out how you please. Also, it’s worth noting, that within an hour of exiting Vault 111 you can find one further point from the “You are S.P.E.C.I.A.L.” children’s book found in your baby’s room, and a Perception point from the Bobblehead located with the Minutemen in the Freedom Museum.

How does that help? Well, if you want to focus on ranged attacks you will want Perception, or if you are like me and prefer to talk your way through conversations its Charisma you need… plus a little luck. Read the descriptions, think of how you want to play, build around that, and don’t be scared to leave some attributes at level one. Of course, if you really can’t decide, just having three points in every stat is a balanced start.

3) Feeling Perky

This is not the end of your S.P.E.C.I.A.L.’s importance. Just after you receive the Pip-Boy you get a chance to re-attribute the 21 starting points, and this is useful because it is the first time you get to see all of the available Perks.

Be warned, it took me seven hours to figure out that the “Perks” tab on the Pip-Boy could scroll down and realize that each of the 7 stats have 10 skill attached. That´s 70 specialization options, each with multiple stages.

Bottom line – before finalizing your S.P.E.C.I.A.L., check which 10 of the 70 skills you want to unlock first, and ensure you character has the stats to do so from the start. In my case, having started with low luck, I needed to reallocate my points so I could quickly unlock my favorite Perk the Mysterious Stranger.

4) Home, sweet home

The new settlement feature of Fallout 4 can feel clunky at times – like it was designed for consoles, or some such nonsense – but it does deliver some useful advantages.

If well defended, these safe havens give you a reliable place to abandon weighty equipment, while also playing home to the various workstations you need to upgrade your armor and weapons. Workstations also have options to help your organize all the junk you have collected.

A tap of the T key automatically dumps all of your resources into the selected storage. Also, quick taps left and right on your inventory screen switches you between different collections of gear (apparel, weapons, aid, etc.) and a search option to find a specific item quickly. Best of all, items in your workbenches are synced between active settlements – so you can always have your resources close at hand.

This means that, even if you are not a fan of settlements, it’s still worth having a few nominally maintained bases around Boston’s wasteland. Just make sure their defense level is higher than that of their resources, or you will be called in to protect them a lot.

5) Leave your Power Armor at home… but keep the keys

Fallout 4 has accelerated the rate at which you unlock its various toys, most notably the Power Armor. There is a trade off though, as this devastating piece of equipment’s use is now limited by the need to fuel it with Power Cores.

When your run out of power your suit can still move but it can’t run and its attacks are limited. So, when you are out of gas, it is best to drop it off at home. Here you can safely store it, repair, and upgrade it.

The one thing the game doesn’t mention is that anyone can come along and walk off with your armor. But there is a simple solution, take the Power Core out. Once removed the armor is rendered inert and safe from theft.

6) Save, save, and save again

Yes, we all know that the saving is an essential part of the Fallout series. It allows for quick restarts after death, preservation of a point in time before – or after – a big event, or, in Fallout 4, the chance to make sure conversations go your way.

If you are trying to persuade, intimidate, or otherwise talk your way through a given situation, it’s worth knowing that you can now save mid chat. That’s right, just before you embark on one of those colored coded conversation options you can save and ask the same question as many times as you need to.

7) Diamond City – oddly – focuses you

Fallout 4 is massive and it can easily be overwhelming. But you are a character on the hunt for their missing child, and if you don’t focus that can easily forgotten as the main story quest is buried under a sea of side missions.

To avoid this don’t let the trail go cold, after you meet up with the Minutemen and Mama Murphy tells you to go to Diamond City, do it! Don’t hang about doing every little quest you can find first.

And you do not have to worry, those missions will still be there when you come back later.

A few bonus hints…

You have lots of ammo at the start right? Well, keep it that way! Radroaches, bloatflies, and even wild dogs can be handled with melee weapons, saving much needed munitions for later. Do keep some guns on your quick select keys though – just in case a radscorpion appears unexpectedly.

Talking of weapons, how are you liking that old pipe-rifle with a sniper-scope you found? It would be nice if you could just move it over to that hunting-rifle you use all the time wouldn’t it? Well, it turns out you can. Oddly though scraping the weapon just destroys these valuable extras, so you have to replace it with a alternative first to unequip it. So, in this example, replacing the pipe-rifle’s scope with a standard sight will result in the sniper-scope being freed up for you to reuse.

I love dogs, but no matter how much your heart brakes to hear his whimpers, Dogmeat will be fine and automatically heal after battle! And for the record so will all your other companions. Keep your stim packs for yourself.

Companions bring their own side quests and great dialog to keep you entertained – but they can also carry items for you when you overdo it. Even Dogmeat can lug stuff back to your homestead, allowing you to fast travel back with everything you have collected.

Finally, if you are overloaded, it is important to know what is valuable. Check what scraping an item gets you and prioritize – screws, aluminum, oil, gears, fiber optics, and nuclear material tend to be the hardest things to find.

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