Master Fallout 4’s wasteland with these essential starting tips

After years of anticipation, Fallout 4 is finally upon us. Much like its predecessors, the Commonwealth wasteland can be a really punishing place, especially right at the beginning when you’re a fresh-faced vault dweller with nothing but a 10mm pea-shooter and the jumpsuit on your back. You can always turn down the difficulty if the going gets unpleasantly tough, but don’t lose hope yet! These games are meant to be challenging, and a lot of the fun is figuring out how to survive against conditions that seem initially forbidding.

This guide will cover some basic tips and practices that will help you get up to speed, whether you’re a brand new player, or a seasoned veteran looking for a refresher. Let us know in the comments if and in what areas you would like us to expand it, and also please share any hard-earned wisdom that you yourself have found out in the Commonwealth.

Scavenge everything

Scavenge everything, junk is more useful than ever in 4. Items that contain screws and adhesive are especially critical if you’re going to be modding your weapons and armor. Many of the most rare and valuable items in the game, such as ability-boosting magazines and bobbleheads, are tucked away in obscure corners, so it always pays to take your time and thoroughly explore every location that you pass through. Remember the flashlight on your Pip-Boy as well for scanning dark rooms. There is rarely any kind of time pressure with your missions, so you don’t have to worry about the clock.

Stockpile your junk at home

With the addition of the crafting system, you’re going to want to hold onto a lot of that junk you’ve been scavenging for parts, rather than selling it. That means you’ll need somewhere to keep it. Fortunately you can stockpile junk indefinitely at any workshop. Rather than dropping everything off at the nearest workshop as you go, however, it makes much more sense to consolidate it in one home base. If you develop settlements and establish supply lines then the workshops share materials, but even then it’s still useful to pick one spot to keep all your extra items and send all of your companions when you’re not using them.

Fallout 4

Even if you don’t have any interest in developing settlements, it will pay off in the long run to take a little time and set up a base right at the fast travel point at one of your workshops. Sanctuary Hills is a great option since the fast travel point is right by a bunch of crafting stations already. There is a cooking station down the road and a chemistry station behind one of the houses that you can drag over. Otherwise, all you need is to build a container like a floor safe that can hold items and a bed nearby and you’ll be all set for efficient trips home between adventures. You can also build a new fast travel point to set up you base just right, if the default doesn’t work for you.

If you do want to dedicate time and resources to developing settlements, you will be rewarded. Excess resources that your settlement produces are stored in the workshop, so if you can afford to build the industrial water purifier early, even if you don’t have nearly enough people living there to justify it, you will end up with lots of free purified water ready for you to grab every time you swing by, which can be a great source of healing on the go. The same goes for caps from stores you build and food from crops you plant.

Leveling up: Invest in Intelligence early

Relative to previous games, you seem to gain levels at a much faster rate in Fallout 4. The trade-off is that you only have one decision to make of whether to take a stat boost or a perk. Rather than being oversimplified, like some people feared, the effect is a much more elegant, flexible, and responsive character progression system. Levels come fast enough that you can respond quickly to areas where you find that you need a boost. It’s important to note that you don’t have to spend perks right away if there’s nothing immediately useful to you, and can instead stockpile them for when you need something, or meet a level requirement that you haven’t yet hit.

Unlike in previous Fallout games, there is no level cap. Because of the cap before, many people considered it a waste of a perk to take the experience boost, since you would max it out soon enough anyway. Without a cap in place, it’s useful to invest heavily in Intelligence early, which affects how much experience you gain. Smarten up in the beginning of the game and you’ll burn through levels much more quickly in the long run.

Learn how to lockpick and hack like a pro

After rewards given to you from quests and the drops from legendary enemies, the best loot you’re going to find is usually behind locked doors and/or in safes. You need to invest perks into lockpicking or hacking in order to even attempt more advanced locks and terminals, so those are good early points to spend if you want to minimize remembering and backtracking to the locations of safes and doors you couldn’t open at first.

Fallout 4

If you’re going to invest in just one, go for lockpicking. Often doors or safes can be opened either way, and it’s much more commonly just by picking than just by hacking. The additional benefits of hacking are that you can take control of turrets and robots, which is nice, but less essential than entry. Don’t bother with the final level of either perk — if you’re a diligent scavenger, you won’t need to worry about running out of bobby pins, and if you’re careful with hacking, even the master terminals can be solved just with logic within the allotted tries.

When hacking, first scan for groups of letters that come up in multiple words, such as ing, ed, th, or oo. The longer and more frequently occurring the string, the better, since if you’re lucky you can eliminate lots of options at once if there is a smaller resemblance than the number of letters in question.

Next page: Four final tips for Fallout 4


Nintendo pulls the plug on making more SNES Classic, NES Classic systems

Nintendo extended production of the NES Classic and SNES Classic into 2018, but once the current supply of consoles is gone, the company won't be making more. Instead, you'll have to use Nintendo Switch Online.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Home Theater

Kill your cable and switch to streaming with our painless guide

If you're going to quit cable or satellite for a streaming TV solution, you're going to want to get it right the first time. We've outlined exactly how to get started, step by step. Follow our lead, and you'll never look back.

Conquer the cold season with the best heated clothing and outdoor apparel

If you're thinking about going outside this winter, heated apparel is a must. Luckily, we've rounded up some of the best heated clothing, whether you're looking for battery-powered gloves or heated insoles.

Fancy ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ PlayStation 4 Pro launches alongside game in January

A limited edition PlayStation 4 Pro bundle for Kingdom Hearts III will launch alongside the game in January. The system included has a special design on the side, as does the controller.

‘Fortnite’ removes the Infinity Blade weapon after player backlash

Following player backlash over the Infinity Blade weapon's inclusion in Fortnite's battle royale mode, Epic Games decided to remove the weapon from the game completely. It was not limited to a special mode.

Want to share your Xbox One games? Here's how to do it

Sharing games on modern consoles is possible, but it takes a few steps. Here's how to start sharing games on your Xbox One console, so friends and family can easily access your library.

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.

Want every suit in 'Marvel's Spider-Man' for PS4? Here's how to get them all

Marvel's Spider-Man features a whopping 33 different suits for Peter Parker to wear as he swings across New York City knocking out baddies. Here are all the suits and how to unlock them.

Everything about 'Red Dead Online', including its new microtransaction store

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.
1 of 2