Set to the backdrop of a world torn apart by nuclear war, the online multi-player game, Fallout 76, has an extensive open-world feel to it that has kept fans hooked and coming back for more as it heads into its third year of release.
With a tonne of locations to scout out, fun camp customizations to try, and an enemy waiting around pretty much every corner; there’s still plenty of fun to be had. With combat playing such a big part of Fallout 76; weapon upgrades and gear modifications are handy and basic skills to have—but mutations can also come in handy. With the world recovering from nuclear fallout; it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that radiation is a-plenty in the Fallout map and that that radiation can have a plethora of effects on your character.
It’s not all bad news though. Whilst you can’t pick which mutation you’ll acquire at any given time, each has its own virtues and vices. We’re here to help you work out how to get mutations, how to keep them, and give you a quick run-down on what each one will do for you!
How To Get (And Farm) Mutations
Mutations in Fallout 76 can be acquired a few different ways, from irradiated creatures to background radiation from former nuke sites. If you’re intentionally looking to obtain a mutation, however, the best thing to do is visit a location with high toxic waste (usually signposted by a nuclear symbol on the map.) This can range from radioactive containers to radioactive goo.
Another important thing you’ll need to have close-by is a decontamination center. Locations in the southeast of the map (such as the Emmett Mountain Disposal Site or West Tek Research Center) are pretty good places to check out; they both have plenty of radiation sources and both have decontamination arches on-site. You can, of course, decontaminate using RadAway but you don’t really want to waste all of it whilst you’re experimenting and the arches make things a lot easier for you.
You’ll want to be around level 31 before you start trying to play with mutations; this is because you’ll need a specific perk card in able to keep your mutations in place after you’ve decontaminated—otherwise they’ll simply get washed away. The card you’ll need is the Starched Genes card and you’ll want to try and upgrade it to level two as soon as possible. What this card essentially does, when it’s in play, is stop the decontamination process from cleaning away your newly-acquired mutation.
When you get to level 46 you can purchase another perk card called Class Freak; once this card is upgraded to its third level it reduces the negative effect of mutations by 75%.
Now, it’s important that even though you’ve purchased the Starched Genes card; you make sure it’s not applied before you attempt to acquire your mutation or it simply won’t work. Once this card is deactivated, you’ll want to go ahead and expose your character to radiation in however way is applicable. For example, standing close to radioactive barrels, swimming in toxic goo, etc. Make sure you keep an eye on your health bar and when it begins to get low, step away. If you remain close, and your health diminishes, you’ll die whether you’ve got a mutation or not.
It’s also important to keep in mind that exposing yourself to radiation isn’t guaranteed to give you a mutation every time—it may take a few attempts before one sticks.
Once you’ve stepped out/away from your radiation source it is imperative that you reactivate the Starched Genes perk card before decontaminating. This stops the process from cleaning away the mutation you’ve just gained; but still allows your health to regenerate.
Now, if you want to bulk-acquire mutations—you’ll have to exit the game and reload after each one as there’s a set, in-game time limit between each mutation gain.
The only other way to give your character mutations is through the mutation serums. These are purchasable from the MODUS science terminal at the secret Whitespring Bunker. Serums are different in that you can, obviously, choose which mutation you’d like—and the serum can hold off on the negative effects for a brief period.
What Are The Mutations?
Now that you know how to equip and find mutations for your character; here’s a brief list of all the available mutations in the game—as well as their positive and negative effects. Remember, once you’ve reached level 47 and activated the Class Freak card, all of these negative impacts can be reduced by 75%.
- Adrenal Reaction — Positive: When at low health, weapon damage goes up. Negative: -50 on max Hit Points.
- Bird Bones — Positive: 4 point agility boost and reduced fall speed (meaning less damage when jumping from high points.) Negative: 4 point deduction to strength.
- Carnivore — Positive: double hunger satisfaction when eating meat, restores HP and has no chance of disease. Negative: Eating anything plant-based does not meet hunger satisfaction or impact HP. Cannot be equipped at the same time as Herbivore.
- Chameleon — Positive: Invisible in combat if unarmed and stationary. Negative: You must be unarmed and stationary during an attack for it to work.
- Eagle Eyes — Positive: 4 point perception boost and 25% boost to critical damage. Negative: 4 point hit to strength.
- Egg Head — Positive: 6 point intelligence boost. Negative: 3 point hit to endurance and strength.
- Electrically Charged — Positive: Gives you the chance to shock melee attackers. Negative: Very small amount of damage to the player.
- Empath — Positive: Good for team play as teammates take 25% less damage. Negative: You take 33% more damage.
- Grounded — Positive: 100 point boost in Energy Resistance. Negatives: A 50 point hit to Energy Damage.
- Healing Factor — Positive: Health regeneration when you’re not in combat—goes up by 300%. Negative: Chemical Effects are down by 55%.
- Herbivore — Positive: Eating plant-based foods provides double hunger satisfaction with no chance of disease and gives HP restoration. Negatives: Eating meat does not meet hunger satisfaction or restore HP. Cannot be installed at the same time as Carnivore.
- Herd Mentality — Positive: Good for team play as you get +2 points for all SPECIAL stats. Negative: Take a 2 point hit to all solo SPECIAL stats.
- Marsupial — Positive: Increases jump height and carry weight by 20 points. Negative: a 4 point hit to Intelligence.
- Plague Walker — Positive: Poison aura scaling, meaning when you have a disease you can poison enemies. Negative: Diseases cannot cure themselves.
- Scaly Skin — Positive: Damage and Energy Resistance get a 50 point boost. Negative: Action Points take a 50 point hit.
- Speed Demon — Positive: Movement and Reload Speed both increased by 20%. Negative: 50% drain on hunger and thirst whilst moving.
- Talons — Positive: Punching attacks carry a 25% increase in damage and bleed damage. Negative: Agility takes a 4 point hit.
- Twisted Muscles — Positive: 25% increase in Melee Damage and a higher chance of crippling limbs. Negative: 50% hit on Gun Accuracy.
- Unstable Isotope — Positive: A better chance at releasing a radiation blast when stuck in melee. Negative: Causes minor damage to you.
You can equip all of these, a handful or none at all—but they definitely add to the gameplay and help when it comes to combat, and, let’s face it, some of them are just cool!
Next: Fallout 76: 10 Things To Do After Launching A Nuke
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Irene is a recent Film and Media graduate finally putting a lifelong writing hobby to good use. An avid gamer ever since she received her beloved PS1 many moons ago; she’s spent years attempting to get better at it (jury’s still out on whether that’s worked or not.)
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