Right from the game’s announcement, we all knew that Fallout 76 was going to be a departure from the typical Fallout games Bethesda had made before. Not only was it a multiplayer title, a first for the series, but also a set in a persistent online world that would continue to evolve and change over time. One thing that wasn’t clear until players got their hands on the game was that the leveling system had also undergone a major overhaul. They use the same terminology you’re used to, but Perk Cards can be hard to wrap your head around at first. Your Pip-boy can only tell you so much, so check out this complete guide to perk cards in Fallout 76.
Perk Cards and SPECIAL
Levelling up in Fallout 76 is done just like you would expect from any traditional RPG. As you kill monsters and complete quests, you earn XP that eventually results in a level up. Each level will grant you one point you can allocate to a S.P.E.C.I.A.L stat. S.P.E.C.I.A.L standing for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck.
Perk Cards are each attributed to one of these SPECIAL stats and are rewarded in different ways. The more points you have in that specific SPECIAL attribute, the more Perk Cards you can equip to it. For example, if you pumped five points into Strength you could equip five Perk Cards related to strength in your loadout. SPECIAL attributes max out at level 15, so choose where you spend your points wisely.
How To Get and Use Perk Cards
So, if you gain SPECIAL points by levelling up, how do you get Perk Cards? Aside from also getting a Perk Card whenever you level up, you can also get packs of Perk Cards every few levels, specifically at 6, 8, 10, and then every five levels. These will give you a random selection of four Perk Cards, which might sound great, but because they’re random you may not be able to use them all.
If, or more accurately when, you get duplicate Perk Cards you can use them to rank up that card to buff the effects it grants you. You can upgrade them again to rank three, but this will require two identical rank two cards, which effectively costs four rank ones, so it will take a while to get there.
But, don’t just go ranking up all your cards without thinking about it. Higher ranked cards have higher SPECIAL skill requirements. That may mean you have to wait until you level up again to increase your points in that SPECIAL attribute to use that card, or be forced to remove another card to make room.
Finally, going off that last point, always know that Perk Cards are meant to be interchangeable. Equipping one isn’t the same as permanently learning a skill in other RPGs. You can, and should, be experimenting with which Perk Cards you like, as well as which ones are best suited for the situation you expect to be faced with. It is a nice middle ground between fully respecing your character and locking you in.
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Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more Japanese game devs than his own neighbors, and has a way better knowledge of the game industry at large than anything going on in “real” current events. You can catch him defending the plot of Kingdom Hearts and geeking out over awesome combo videos in character action games any day of the week.
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