Box art - Fallout 76

Fallout 76 Survival Mode | What is Survival Mode and when does it launch?

Fallout 76 is Bethesda’s bold experiment in creating an online Fallout game, but it didn’t necessarily meet everyone’s expectations. It had some significant problems in fact, but Bethesda is working hard to build the online Fallout that fans want to play. It’s started with the new Wild Appalachia season of content, and soon fans will get the Fallout 76 Survival Mode too.

Survival Mode is an exciting and dangerous new addition to Fallout 76, and is designed to challenge your skills while offering fewer restrictions on what you can and cannot do. But what is this Survival Mode, exactly? When does it arrive? How do you play it? Do you have to give up playing Fallout 76 normally? We’ve got the answers to all these questions below.

What is Fallout 76 Survival Mode?

Fallout 76 Survival Mode is the latest addition to the game, and is designed to offer a greater challenge, not to mention a bigger focus on Player vs Player combat. There hasn’t been much benefit to PvP combat in the main Fallout 76 game so far, as it’s either no challenge at all or too big a challenge, and with very little reward. Furthermore, players can avoid it entirely if they wish.

In the main game players only become marked as “Hostile” if they attack another player or their property, or do an action that makes them Wanted, and even then you can often opt out of PvP. You can’t in Survival Mode, however, and everyone is marked as Hostile immediately. You can still join a team, and those teammates will be friendly, but otherwise you can attack other players without restrictions or limitations — and of course, they can attack you too. Additionally, level scaling will be turned on, so all players at all levels pose a threat, even if they’re a much lower level than you.

When does Fallout 76 Survival Mode arrive?

Fallout 76‘s new Survival Mode launches as part of the game’s first season, Wild Appalachia. While the full mode may take a while to roll out, the beta mode will be ready for players to try very soon. In fact, the Survival Mode beta launches for Fallout 76 this coming Tuesday, March 26. Just be aware that it’s not for the faint of heart…

How do I activate Survival Mode?

Bethesda has made it as easy as possible to choose between the Survival Mode beta and Fallout 76‘s normal gameplay mode, which is being renamed Adventure Mode. As soon as Survival Mode is added to the game next week, you’ll be able to select it from the main menu. Just choose “Play” as normal, but this time instead of going straight into the game, you’ll see the screen above. If you’re serious about trying the harder challenge and dangerous gameplay of the Survival Mode, click on the card on the right and you’ll be taken straight in. But what if you want to change back?

Can I change between Survival Mode and Adventure Mode?

Of course the big question you probably have is, is Survival Mode a separate game mode from the regular Fallout 76 Adventure Mode? Do you have to start Survival Mode with a brand new character from scratch, or can you import your regular Fallout 76 Vault Dweller into Adventure Mode? And if you can do that, can you easily go back to Adventure Mode with any upgrades or bonuses you gained in Survival Mode?

While Bethesda recommends that you start a new character for Fallout 76 Survival Mode, there isn’t any particular reason to since you are completely able to import your regular Fallout 76 character into Survival. Likewise, if you get tired of the constant struggle to stay alive in Survival Mode you can flip back to Adventure Mode immediately, with no repercussions. In both cases, all you have to do is return to the main menu and select the mode you want to start in. You can transfer between modes as often as you like, and any items or weapons you’ve picked up or changes you’ve made to your character will be carried over too. This of course means that if you fire off all your ammo fighting other players, or they killed you and raided your gear, you won’t get it back if you return to Adventure Mode. It’s gone forever. That’s why Survival Mode is such a risk…

How does Fallout 76 Survival Mode play?

In essence, Survival Mode plays out exactly like Fallout 76 normally does. Everything you can do in Adventure Mode, such as quests, public events, exploring the world, finding loot, fighting monsters, and building your own personal C.A.M.P. site, you can do in Survival Mode. The big changes come in with PvP combat, how death and respawning are handled, and the XP you earn playing Survival Mode.

First off, as the risks are far greater, you earn 20% more XP from all activities than you do in Adventure Mode. This is good news, because as we mentioned, the stakes are far higher because all player characters (except for any teammates) are automatically flagged as “Hostile.” This means that any player you encounter could possibly attack you and kill you, and let’s be honest, in Survival Mode you should expect every player character to be out for your blood. Yes, even that person standing next to you now. Better kill them before they kill you.

Furthermore, unless a player is Wanted or one of the top three players on the new “Longest Life” leaderboard, they will no longer appear on your map. If you manage to kill another player, you’ll earn twice the Bottle Caps for it than you would’ve earned normally. Plus, of course, you’ll still be able to raid their stuff for any worthwhile items. As for the player who was killed, the “Seek Revenge” option no longer works, but instead they can spend Caps to put a Bounty on their murderer’s head. This will make them Wanted, and consequently they’ll appear on everyone’s map.

Additionally, Stimpaks have a cooldown timer, so players can’t spam healing items while fighting. While weapons are scaled to increase the threat of lower-level players, this also limits the ability of higher-level players to down others with a single shot. Finally, you can now only respawn at your C.A.M.P., Vault 76, and Train Stations. Perhaps more distressingly, fast travel is also now limited to these locations.

Are there any changes to PvP in Fallout 76 Adventure Mode?

With a brand new mode that has a focus on PvP combat, Fallout 76‘s original mode (now Adventure Mode) will receive changes to its PvP system too. Previously, if you attacked another player who wasn’t Hostile and didn’t accept PvP (by fighting back), you’d still do some damage to them, however minimal. Now this damage has been reduced to zero. As usual though, if you fight back you will then officially be in PvP and players can do full damage to each other. If you attempt to claim another player’s workshop, both players will become Hostile to each other.

Finally, previously if you attacked another player’s C.A.M.P. site, you would immediately become hostile and get a Wanted level, even if it was by accident. In an upcoming update, Bethesda is planning on changing this so a player’s C.A.M.P. only receives damage if they are hostile to other players, otherwise it won’t get hurt. Bethesda will make more changes over the coming weeks, including to Survival Mode, so there may be more surprises waiting for players.