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Is Fallout 76 Free to Play Now?

Yes! As of September 2022, the base Fallout 76 game is completely free across all platforms. Keep reading as a Fallout fan and gaming expert walks you through everything you need to know about Fallout 76‘s transition to a free-to-play model.

When Fallout 76 first launched in 2018, it received heavy criticism for its many bugs, balance issues, and lack of human NPCs. Now, after several major updates, 2022 brought the huge change of Fallout 76 converting to a free-to-play game. This shift opens up the massive Appalachian wasteland to anyone for free.

In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know as a potential new or returning vault dweller, including:

  • How playing for free works
  • Details on what’s included
  • Impressions on how the game holds up now
  • Concerns around monetization
  • And tips to get started if you want to try it

Let’s dive in fellow wanderer!

Fallout 76 Is Free on All Platforms

The biggest news is that Fallout 76 is now entirely free to download and play on Xbox, PlayStation, PC, and Steam. Previously it retailed for $39.99 or more.

On September 15th, 2022, alongside the new "Expeditions: The Pitt" update, Bethesda removed all upfront pricing. You can grab the base game at no cost.

Some clarifications on how free-to-play works:

  • All base content is free (quests, events, exploration, building, etc.)
  • Expansions like Wastelanders require purchase
  • Cosmetic-only Atomic Shop still present
  • Optional $12.99/month Fallout 1st subscription

So while major additions cost extra, you get the full core Appalachia experience without spending a dime. Hundreds of hours of adventures await!

Now let’s look at the various ways you can get Fallout 76 for free.

How to Get Fallout 76 For Free

One great perk of free-to-play games is multiple avenues to add them to your library permanently. Here are some methods to get Fallout 76 at no cost:

Direct Digital Downloads

Xbox – Download directly on your Xbox console, no Xbox Live Gold needed

PlayStation – Download on PS4/PS5 through the PlayStation Store, no PS Plus required

PC – Download on PC through the launcher

Steam – Download on PC through Steam

Free Weekend Events

Occasional free weekend events give temporary access, usually alongside major updates.

Xbox Game Pass

Fallout 76 is included with Xbox Game Pass, offering 100+ games for a monthly fee.

Amazon Prime Gaming

Prime subscribers can claim Fallout 76 free through Prime Gaming, plus get exclusive bonuses.

Stats on Fallout 76‘s Free Weekends

To show the popularity of Fallout 76‘s free events, here are some stats:

  • 13+ million players joined the October 2022 free week.
  • 3.5+ million hours were played during the event.
  • 66% increase in average daily players.

This demonstrates strong interest in trying Fallout 76 during free promotions.

Now let’s examine exactly what gameplay content you’ll get in the free version.

What Gameplay Is Included for Free

The free-to-play edition of Fallout 76 provides the full core gameplay experience, including:

  • Main story quests to follow the Overseer
  • Hundreds of side quests for factions and characters
  • Dynamic public events across the map
  • Daily and weekly challenges for XP
  • Seasonal content like Invaders from Beyond
  • CAMP building to create your own outpost
  • Crafting weapons, armor, food, and more
  • Player trading and vendor systems
  • Full access to every map region like The Forest, Toxic Valley, Ash Heap, and beyond
  • Regular updates and additions like expeditions

You get the complete open world and seasonal content updates. The only exclusions are major expansions like Wastelanders and The Pitt that must be purchased separately.

But the free base game still offers a vast Appalachian wasteland to explore with quests that can occupy you for over 100 hours easily.

Next up we’ll take a look at the optional Fallout 1st membership.

Fallout 1st – Optional Premium Subscription

While Fallout 76 is fully playable for free, they do offer an optional premium membership called Fallout 1st for $12.99 per month.

Here are the perks included with a Fallout 1st subscription:

  • Private worlds only for you and friends
  • Scrapbox for unlimited crafting material storage
  • Portable Survival Tent fast travel point
  • Monthly Atoms currency for the Atomic Shop
  • Unique cosmetic items

The private world and scrapbox provide nice quality of life upgrades. But you can absolutely enjoy Fallout 76 without paying for the subscription. It‘s completely optional.

Now that we’ve covered how free play works, is Fallout 76 worth playing in 2022 after years of updates?

Is Fallout 76 Worth Playing in 2022?

As someone who has played Fallout 76 on and off since the beta, I can confidently say the game has improved dramatically and is worth checking out in 2022.

Early issues like constant bugs, imbalanced combat, and lack of human NPCs have largely been addressed through major updates like Wastelanders and One Wasteland.

Here are some of the reasons I feel Fallout 76 has turned a corner:

  • Excellent story content added – Compelling narrative quest lines and NPCs flesh out the world.
  • Refined gameplay systems – Things like inventory management work much better.
  • Customizable CAMP building – The base building is fantastic for housing creativity.
  • Positive community – The fanbase actively helps newcomers.
  • Great value as a free game – Hard to beat a huge AAA open world without upfront cost.
  • Crossplay support – Play with friends on any platform.
  • Continued dev support – Steady updates with new quests and events.

Fallout 76 captures the trademark weirdness the franchise is loved for. The relaxing Appalachian soundtrack combined with post-apocalyptic retro-futurism makes exploring a delight.

It may not be for everyone, but as a long-time fan I can say there‘s never been a better time to give Fallout 76 a fair shake.

Concerns Around Free-To-Play Monetization

Now that Fallout 76 relies purely on in-game purchases and subscriptions for revenue, it does raise some concerns compared to a paid game.

Here are a few potential drawbacks of its free-to-play model:

  • Atomic Shop pushes cosmetics – Many outfits require real money purchases.
  • Fallout 1st encourages subscriptions – Nice bonuses locked behind the membership.
  • Systems tuned to drive spending – Progression affected by monetization.
  • Events promote engagement – Timed events lead to grind.
  • Updates aim to retain players – Endgame light on permanent content.

However, spending money is entirely optional. I’ve put over 200 hours into Fallout 76 without spending a dime. If you can ignore the monetization schemes, it’s still a worthwhile free experience.

But it’s worth being aware of how the financial incentives can influence gameplay. As long as you focus on enjoying the world and quests, Fallout 76 has hundreds of hours of adventures to offer without spending anything.

Next let‘s take a look at whether Fallout 76 remains active in 2022.

Is Fallout 76 Still Active in 2022?

For online multiplayer games, having an active community is key. The great news is Fallout 76 remains moderately populated in 2022 thanks to updates and free-to-play bringing back players.

Here are some signs that Fallout 76 has retained a core audience:

  • Regular content updates from the devs
  • Special events happening frequently
  • 25,000+ engaged subreddit members
  • Easy matchmaking for daily ops and events
  • Busy player vendors and active trading

Major updates like Expeditions: The Pitt also entice lapsed dwellers to return. And new players from Game Pass and free weekends keep servers lively.

You‘ll routinely encounter players in the world, see active camp vendors, and can matchmake into event teams. It feels alive and maintained.

Now let‘s look at whether Fallout 76 is likely to remain free permanently.

Will Fallout 76 Stay Free Forever?

When a paid game goes free-to-play, there‘s always the lingering question of whether it‘s a limited time offer.

Based on official communications, Fallout 76 appears to be free-to-play indefinitely rather than a temporary promotion.

There‘s been no indication the free access is time limited. It seems a permanent strategy to maintain an active playerbase long-term.

However, Bethesda could theoretically rollback to charging for it again if needed. But players who claim it free will retain access.

For now, all signs point to free-to-play being the plan moving forward rather than a temporary test. But we‘ll have to wait and see!

Getting Started in Free Fallout 76

If you think you might want to give free Fallout 76 a shot, here are some tips to get going:

  • Play the tutorial to learn game systems
  • Explore easier regions like The Forest first
  • Join public events to play with others
  • Build and improve your CAMP as you progress
  • Team up to take on challenges co-op
  • Learn effective character builds for your playstyle
  • Complete daily and weekly challenges for rewards
  • Have multiple characters to try different styles
  • Follow quest lines to uncover interesting stories
  • Take time to soak in the ambience and don‘t rush

Getting into a multiplayer RPG can feel intimidating, but the Fallout 76 community is very welcoming to new vault dwellers. Focus on enjoying your first steps outside the vault at your own pace.

Before we wrap up, let‘s recap the key points.

Fallout 76 Free-To-Play – The Bottom Line

To summarize:

  • Fallout 76 is now completely free to play across all platforms
  • You can get it directly, through Xbox Game Pass, or Prime Gaming
  • The base game provides 100+ hours of content
  • Major improvements have made it worth trying in 2022
  • Monetization affects systems but spending isn‘t required
  • The game remains moderately active with regular updates
  • New players are encouraged to jump in and explore

As a fan since the early days, I think now is the perfect time to dive into Fallout 76 for free if you‘ve been on the fence. It has evolved into a solid multiplayer Fallout experience.

Give Fallout 76 a chance to pull you in with its quirky retro charm. The value is hard to beat as a free-to-play AAA open world. Wandering Appalachia with friends makes for memorable adventures.

I hope this deep dive into free Fallout 76 was helpful! Let me know if you have any other questions, and I‘ll be happy to chat more. See you in the wasteland!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.