Bethesda’s upcoming online multiplayer shooter-RPG, Fallout 76, is in its final week of beta testing before it launches on November 14. Thursday marked the last beta event before the servers go down in preparation for launch, giving players just one more opportunity try Fallout 76. But the beta tests have also given players a better idea as to how some of the systems in the game work, like the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Perk system.
In Fallout 76 players’ character progress comes via the SPECIAL system and its card-based Perks. Each letter in SPECIAL stands for a category of perks that can be used. As players explore and adventure through Fallout 76 they earn experience and level, a familiar RPG system. With each new level earned a point can be invested into a category of SPECIAL, unlocking the opportunity for new Perks to be used. The higher the level of a character, the more powerful the Perks they can use.
The Perk system, befitting for a card-based progression system, is unconventional and rather confusing. Players aren’t simply provided with every Perk they may want, they have to get the card first. And while most cards are accessible just through leveling, there’s still an amount of randomness to it and very little clarification in-game as to how everything works.
Here’s what’s currently known about the Perk system, as well as how to earn Perks and Perk Packs – packs of four randomized Perk cards. With each level, Fallout 76 players earn both a point to put into a SPECIAL category as well as a Perk card from that category. Players start at level 1 and the max level cap is 50 for the time being. Note that Perk cards have a level requirement, so only certain cards will initially be available and more will unlock as the player’s overall level increases.
Perk Packs are less common but plentiful early. Players will earn a Perk Pack at level 4, 6, 8, and 10, followed by another pack every 5 levels afterward. Players will continue earning Perk Packs even after level 50, as they gain experience and earn faux-levels past the cap. There are currently no other ways to earn Perk Packs but to sate any worries, Bethesda has previously said players can’t buy Perk Packs with real money, though that may or may change in time.
Perk cards, once chosen upon a level-up or earned through a Perk Pack, will remain permanently available to the player. Of course, if you earn a Perk card in a pack that has a high-level requirement it won’t be available until you reach that level. For example, players can unlock tier one hacking at level 4, tier two at 22, and the final tier at 38. And once chosen or earned, there’s no going back without making a new character.
Understanding how to earn perks is just the first step in making the most of Fallout 76‘s unique SPECIAL system. An even more important part of putting together the perfect build is knowing all of Fallout 76‘s Perks and their level requirements. After that, Fallout 76 players will truly have the potential to be a fearsome force in the wasteland of the post-apocalyptic Appalachia.
Fallout 76 releases November 14 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.