Fallout 4: 10 Tips for Beginners

We share the 10 best and most crucial tips for beginners starting a new character in Fallout 4, perks, companions, healing, and leveling!

10 Tips for Beginners in Fallout 4

Fallout 4 can confuse beginners and players unfamiliar with the Bethesda open-world survival genre games. During our playthroughs, we discovered many helpful tips for beginners on their path of exploring the wasteland.

Here are ten essential tips and tricks when you start the new game in Fallout 4; we discuss them in detail below:

  1. Loot Everything – scrap items at settlements, grab and store everything that is useful.
  2. Settlement – use as a storage dump, fast travel point, and crafting hub (pick one main settlement).
  3. S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Stats – determines your effectiveness in various aspects and available perks.
  4. Bobbleheads – permanent passive bonuses to stats, weapons, and utility.
  5. Perks – ways to increase your character’s effectiveness that cannot be undone once chosen.
  6. Ammo & Melee Weapons – save ammo by killing weak creatures with melee weapons.
  7. Companions – Dog Meat and other companions aid you inside and outside combat.
  8. Healing – create a sustainable source of healing with water purification and purified water.
  9. Sneak – the easiest way to increase damage and dominate combat is sneaking.
  10. Leveling & Experience – Get the well-rested bonus for 10% additional experience.

1 Loot Everything

In Fallout 4, every single item has some use, value, and purpose; looting and storing everything is essential.  You will need a lot of tape, glue, screws, and aluminum for various crafting upgrades for both weapons and settlements.  Therefore, get in the habit of looking around and looting everything.  Bethesda stores items in surprising spots, including Nuka Cola dispensers, containers, picture frames, etc. Fallout 4, number first of 10 Tips for Beginners, is a lot everything, but there’s more!

One of the biggest tips for starting Fallout 4 is stripping Sanctuary clean of any material.  Upon leaving the vault during the tutorial, you will encounter Sanctuary settlement.  This area serves as your starting zone and home point.  Sanctuary is littered with valuable items to scrap (deconstruct) for materials.  Each small room can be scraped, giving you a massive boost to crafting items rather than hauling them back from the field.

2 Settlement

The main purpose of your settlement is to give you a safe place to store items, craft, and rest.  Regarding storage, approach the red workshop and sort your inventory by “my junk.”  Then, all junk is stored in one storage area.  Your settlement(s) do not have a weight limit, so expect to make frequent trips back using fast travel to dump junk, which is the lifeblood of crafting.

In Fallout 4, fast travel is free and doesn’t cost anything, but the game will change the time based on how long it takes to walk there physically.  However, you will not have fast travel on Survival mode difficulty, so be aware.

Additionally, Settlements can be connected via a Charisma Perk Local Leader.  Local Leader establishes supply lines, thus allowing your workshops to connect and recognize all the items within your settlements.  Settlement development and gameplay can send you throughout the game to liberate, secure, and build up forces at many settlements throughout Fallout 4’s wasteland.  If you are this type of player, consider investing in Charisma to obtain the Local Leader perk. 

3 S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Stats

Fallout 4- SPECIAL Stats ( S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Attributes) Ranked

S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Stats are more important than you realize when you create your first character in Fallout 4. You cannot respec them; they determine what perks you can unlock later. Whether boosting your lockpicking skills, hacking terminals or becoming a master of melee combat, tailor your character to survive the harsh realities of the wasteland.

Below is a general outline of S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Stats and which type of build focus you should employ:

  • Strength (S): recommended for melee builds, heavy weapons, and armorer crafting.
  • Perception (P): Boosts range damage, thus a perfect stat for sniper and long-range shooting.
  • Endurance (E): boost survivability with little emphasis on crafting, though helpful in survival mode.
  • Charisma (C): influencing players, traveling alone, and settlement building; Charisma is for you.
  • Intelligence (I): stat required for the highest-end crafting, armor, weapons, and settlement items.
  • Agility (A): increases movement perfect for sneak build.
  • Luck (L): recommended for players who enjoy critical hits and burst damage.

You can check our builds page here for recommendations, however if you like crafting still with Intelligence. Suppose you enjoy settlements and dialogue, Charisma if you like a sneak, Agility, luck for a gunslinger, perception for a sniper, and strength for melee.

4 Bobbleheads

Fallout 4 Perception Bobblehead location tooltip

Bobbleheads in Fallout 4 are collectibles that can grant stat boosts and other perks to your build. These bonuses can be divided into three categories: S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stat bobbleheads, Weapon boost bobbleheads, and Utility improvement bobbleheads.  These are a passive way to increase your damage, survivability, crafting, and SPECIAL stats.

Fallout 4 Perception Bobblehead Location
Perception Bobblehead Location

Each SPECIAL stat has a +1 permanent bonus throughout the map and does not require a DLC.  There are six weapon boosts and seven utility boosts.  You collect these bobbleheads for a permanent bonus and generally can store them in your settlements to show off your progress.  Be aware that the Fallout 4 max bonus for SPECIAL stats is 10, but you can increase the stat with Bobbleheads to 11.  Consider tracking down bobbleheads and being aware of their presence, which is crucial to boosting your overall power.

5 Perks

In Fallout 4, perks are special abilities or enhancements your character can acquire as they level up. These perks provide various advantages, such as improved combat abilities, better crafting options, enhanced dialogue options, and more.  You will receive one perk for each level, but you cannot change or receive perks. Thus, each selection is critical, starting at level 2.  You’ll need to have a high enough S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Stats to reach some perks, and you can scroll down to rank 10 in the interface.

For beginners and new players in Fallout 4, we consider three essential perks: Scrounger (Luck), Locksmith (Perception), and Hacker (Intelligence).  Scrounger helps find ammunition, which will be an issue starting the game.  Locksmiths and hackers both allow forced entry into locks or terminals.  Frequently, the best loot and ammo are placed behind these barriers and are very helpful.  Both Hacker and Locksmith have four ranks, but take only rank 3 to access the highest possible locks in Fallout 4.

6 Ammo and Melee Weapons

Finding ammunition is brutal during the start of Fallout 4, especially for beginners who are not used to looking and scrounging everywhere.  However, you can use melee weapons to kill easy enemies without wasting valuable ammunition.  A simple pipe, knife, or sword will save you precious ammunition needed for the harder fights in Fallout 4.

Moreover, the Big Leagues perk in strength increases damage with melee weapons.  Even one point in this perk early gives you a decent damage source when you have zero ammunition and are desperate.   Be aware that playing in melee range is often dangerous, so plan your attack accordingly.

7 Companions

Companions can do damage, act as a distraction, and carry items for you.  Moreover, you can increase their affinity through your actions, eventually leading to a quest and a permanent bonus.  For example, Cait likes using Chems, aggressive dialogue, and picking locks.  Once her personal quest is completed, she gains Trigger Rush.  You gain 25% faster AP regeneration if Hit Points are below 25% of the maximum.  Thus, you want to unlock max affinity for companions that fit your build.

However, one companion, Dog Meat, is the best of all!  Your dog doesn’t count as a companion for the Perk Lone Wanderer.  Once maxed out, this perk will have you take 30% damage, increase your damage by 20%, and give you 100 more pounds to carry. Dog Meat can still join you to spot chests, attack enemies, and create a distraction.  From a pure performance standpoint, consider Dog Meat and Lone Wanderer a must-have combination.

8 Healing

To heal yourself in Fallout, carry plenty of Stimpacks, consume food, and damage-reducing chems. Often, you can gain meat by killing wild animals in the open areas. However, these creatures have the downside of radiation. Rads or radiation lowers your overall max health, shrinking the possible total and weakening you.  Rad Away or a doctor in Diamond City can remove this, but it’s costly and difficult during the story quest.

Purified water, however, provides a decent amount of health without radiation.  These can be crafted at settlements with Water Purifies, giving you a flood of consumable healing without the Rads. Moreover, keep stimpaks on you for combat situations where you need a burst heal. Consider taking the Medic perk in the intelligence tree for increased healing.

9 Sneak

The easiest way for beginners to do more damage in Fallout 4 is Sneaking (stealth).  Like Skyrim, attacking while sneaking increases damage.  Moreover, you can take perks like Ninja and Mister Sandman to do even more sneak damage.  Once Ninja is maxed out, you receive a 3.5x multiplier for sneak damage!  Mister Sandman can increase your silenced weapon to 50% more damage, giving you the edge in combat.

Additionally, you can have armor perks that give a bonus to sneaking.  Chameleon’s legendary perk turns you invisible, similar to a Stealth Boy (one-time consumable).  Muffled and Shadowed can also help you stay undetected, as can the perk sneak.  Creating a sneak build is helpful, with our without perk investments, because the damage boots are very high. 

10 Leveling & Experience

Beginners in Fallout 4 can increase their experience by earning higher intelligence SPECIAL stats or through the perk Idiot Savant (Luck).  Idiot Savant randomly gives you 3x or more experience; the lower your intelligence, the better.  However, higher intelligence gives you a passive boost to XP earned and can have you fly through levels if you are in a hurry.

Another beginner tip is sleeping in beds before venturing out to get well-rested. Sleeping in a safe area for 8 or more hours gives you a +10% experience bonus for 8 hours.  Additionally, if you sleep in a bed with a romanced companion, you can receive Lover’s Embrace.  This gives you Experience gain, which is increased by 15% for eight in-game hours and replaces the previous Well Rested bonus. Overall, we suggest taking your time as a beginner in Fallout 4 and randomly exploring what interests you. With no level cap and seemingly endless content and DLCs, this game will keep you busy for many hours!

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