We’ve done a whole lot of guides for Fallout 4, including one that give you tips for getting started. However, with the holidays coming up, and probably a whole lot of people taking their first steps into the Fallout 4 wasteland, we wanted to revisit the very beginning, giving you a straight beginner’s guide to Fallout 4. You can, of course, check out our other guides to get more in-depth info, but this will give just the basics to get you going.
To begin the game you’ll have to run through some quick story bits, and build your character. Here is where you’ll decide to play as a male or a female, and determine what that character will look like. None of the appearance stuff will impact the game, so just make them look however you want them to. Thanks to the new dialogue system, you’ll actually be looking at your character’s face quite a bit, so make sure you like what you see before moving on. You will get a chance to change it once you exit Vault 111, so if you just want to get started, rush through this and fix it then.
Here you’ll also get to decide how your first S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points are distributed. This is Fallout 4’s leveling system, and it actually is important for how your character will work in the game. Strength will give you more carrying capacity, and harder punches, Perception determines how you see the world including determining dangers, Endurance gives you more HP and general athletic ability, Charisma helps you pass dialogue checks and lowers prices, Intelligence has a lot of functions, Agility gives you more points for VATS, and Luck is sort of a random modifier, giving you more good things and random encounters.
Which is best really comes down to how you want to play the game, so just focus on what’s best for the type of character you want to have. You’ll level up pretty fast after this, so you can always adjust as needed, so don’t spend a ton of time worrying about this part.
Leveling up more beyond the intro is where Perks come in. Many people take a while to figure these out, but essentially, when you level up you can put a point into one of your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. perks, or pick a wholly new one further down the menu. These offer special abilities, like breathing under water, recruiting new settlers for your towns, or being able to modify your weapons and armor. Some of these are really important, and some are almost worthless. Just be smart about what you pick early on, cause later in the game it will take a while to level up and gain more Perks.
Of course, you have to meet certain qualifications for some Perks, so if they are grayed out, just see what you are missing. You might need to up your base stat in that category to unlock it, or you might have to reach a certain level. Many Perks also have extra levels of their own, some of which will be important, like the Science, Lockpicking, or Hacking perks. If you pick the wrong one a couple of times it isn’t the end of the world though. Fallout 4 has no level cap, so you can always grab the right ones later.
You don’t have to wander the Fallout 4 wasteland all alone, so why should you? The game has multiple companions, including Dogmeat, Codsworth, Piper, Cait, Paladin Danse, Curie, and many more. You can click here to see where to find a few of them. These characters act as the moral compass of Fallout 4, so keep one around that agrees with how you play the game. For example: if you are generally good, and pick a lot of locks, Piper will really love you.
Make the companion like you enough and you’ll be able to romance many of them, giving you an XP boost for a short time after sleeping near them. Even if you can’t romance them, getting a companion to max affinity will give you a special Perk that can be pretty useful.
Really, as we said in our first tips guide, if you’re just starting out you don’t want to worry too much about the Workshop. This feature allows you to gain the allegiance of various settlements across the wasteland, but many of its elements are not well explained. In fact, it isn’t really that useful until later on in the game, so aside from gathering and storing various resource heavy “junk” items, I would skip the Workshop stuff until you are more comfortable with the game as a whole.
Once you do feel more comfortable, just get ready to do a lot of Googling, or check out our other guides right here. The system needs a bit of work from Bethesda, specifically in the way supply lines work, and how you assign workers, so hopefully an update hits with some improvements before you get too deep into the system.
To start, try to stick to the main storyline for a few missions. This will eventually take you to Diamond City, where Fallout 4 really starts to open up. At this point you can probably feel safe exploring a little more, and trying out the side missions. However, you’ll sometimes encounter tougher enemies than you can handle, especially if you are lower level, or head too far to the south. Keep at the story missions and you’ll also unlock a few other locations and factions to deal with, which gives you more options when working on side missions, or just exploring the wasteland. Eventually you’ll reach a point where you’ll want to stop doing main story missions though, as many of them will cause you to become an enemy of another faction. Just save these for when you’re really ready to choose between them.
Power Armor is really, really different in Fallout 4 compared to how it worked before. Now you need to have a Fusion Core to power it, and it will deplete this power source fairly quickly. Later in the game you’ll have plenty of Power Armor suits, and Fusion Cores to power them, but starting out you’ll likely just have a few. Save your Fusion Cores for tougher missions at first, and try to gather more and more Power Armor suits and armor pieces before you start modifying it. There is a hierarchy to the Power Armor, with the X-01 Mk. III being the top tier. Here is our guide on how to find this rare piece of equipment, along with another guide to get you started with a few Fusion Cores (many more will appear later, but these should get you going).
As far as weapons go, there’s a few really good ones, but you won’t find them at the very beginning of the game. You’ll also only unlock the true potential of a weapon once you can mod it, but that comes way later on. To start, just stick with 10mm guns, or whatever you have ammo for. You don’t need to save the weapons you find, unless you’re planning way ahead and want the parts when you can scrap them later on. Just use whatever you find in your adventures and you should be OK until you start to stumble across much better stuff later on.
That should be enough to get you started with Fallout 4, but if you have any questions just check out our selection of other guides, or let us know in the comments below. Good luck out there!
- This article was updated on:April 17th, 2017