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Yes, Fallout 76 is Completely Free-to-Play in 2023

If you‘re wondering whether you can play Fallout 76 without paying a dime in 2023, the answer is yes! Fallout 76 is now a free-to-play game on Xbox, Playstation and PC. You can download and play through the entire base game and Wastelanders expansion without spending any money.

Bethesda shifted Fallout 76 to a free-to-play model in 2022, supported by optional microtransactions and a subscription service. This opened up the massive open world of Appalachia to new players at no upfront cost. Let‘s take a deeper look at what the game offers for free and how monetization works.

Immersing You in the Post-Apocalypse

Fallout 76 provides an incredibly immersive post-nuclear wasteland to explore with a sense of freedom and wonder. Here‘s a bit more detail on the setting and gameplay:

Welcome to West Virginia, 2102 – The game is set in an alternate universe where nuclear war between China and the U.S. took place in 2077. You leave Vault 76 in West Virginia twenty-five years after the bombs fell, in 2102.

Roleplaying a Vault Dweller – You take on the role of a resident of Vault 76, receiving your Pip-Boy and venturing out into the unknown wilderness. You can customize your character‘s looks, stats, perks and skills.

Sprawling Open World – The map encompasses the entire state of West Virginia and parts of surrounding states, over 24,000 square miles to explore. From the forests of the Mire to the Bog region‘s strange mutated creatures, there‘s so much to see.

Questing, Events, and Lore – Immerse yourself in Fallout‘s trademark dark humor and 50‘s inspired sci-fi as you take on quests for survivors, dive into unsettling lore, and take part in public events. Holotapes, notes, and terminals provide details on the haunting stories behind locations.

Base Building and Crafting – One of the joys of Fallout 76 is gathering scrap and coming up with the perfect CAMP site to build your home base. Customize it with crafting stations, resource collectors, defenses, and quirky decorations.

Trading Economy – Barter and trade with other players at train stations and CAMPs. Unique legendary gear can be sold for caps or traded for more rare items.

Party Up for Adventure – Join up to three of your friends seamlessly to take on quests, build together, and watch each other‘s backs against the dangers of the wasteland.

Core Gameplay That‘s Totally Free

While Fallout 76 offers purchasable cosmetics and convenience items, the core gameplay experience is completely free including:

Main Story Quests – The main questline includes finding the Overseer, activating nuclear silos, and establishing a foothold for civilization. This culminates in launching your own nuke!

Wastelanders Expansion – This massive expansion added human NPCs to Appalachia with new main quests to meet the raiders and settlers vying for control of the region. It really fleshed out the world and added depth to interactions.

Public Events – Take part in public events popping up on the map ranging from defending towns from attack to parades at the Whitespring Resort. Public events provide fast-paced chaotic fun with random groups.

Daily and Weekly Challenges – Earn Atom currency by completing the daily and weekly challenges like killing legendary enemies, gathering specific resources, and building certain CAMP items.

Nuclear Winter Battle Royale – This separate battle royale mode has 52 players competing for nuclear launch codes while dealing with the ring of fire closing in. Sneaking, building, and gunplay come into play.

Seasons and Major Updates – The content keeps flowing with new Seasons every few months that offer rewards like C.A.M.P. items, skins, etc. Major expansions like The Pitt in 2022 also drop as free updates.

Nearly everything you need to enjoy hundreds of hours of questing, crafting, building, and shooting is included free of charge. Only cosmetics, expansions, and convenience items require cash.

Monetization in Fallout 76

While the core content is free, there are some optional purchases available for those who want to speed up progression or customize their characters more deeply:

Atomic Shop – Cosmetic Items

The Atomic Shop allows you to spend Atoms earned through gameplay or purchased with real money to unlock cosmetic items like:

  • Weapon and Armor Skins – Unique looks for gear
  • CAMP Decorations – Furniture, wallpapers, floors
  • Emotes – Dance moves, poses, and reactions
  • Player Icons – Customize your player icon
  • Collectrons – Robots that auto-gather resources

This allows you to truly customize your style without affecting combat abilities. Everything is cosmetic. Atoms can be purchased starting at 500 atoms for $5.

Fallout 1st – Subscription Perks

For $12.99 per month, Fallout 1st provides some nice quality of life perks:

  • Scrapbox – Unlimited scrap storage for crafting materials
  • Survival Tent – Fast travel point with stash access
  • Private Worlds – Custom worlds to play alone or invite friends
  • 1650 Atoms per month to spend in the Atomic Shop

The crafting storage and custom worlds provide less hassle managing inventory and participating in events. But the content itself is still fully playable without it.

Expansions – New Quests and Gear

Larger expansions do require purchase, usually $15-$30 based on the scope. For example, The Pitt expansion offered new story quests, gear, and locations to explore. But expansions are optional – you already get a full game for free.

Fallout 1st versus Fortnite Crew – Battle Pass Comparison

To understand Fallout 76‘s monetization and premium subscription, it helps to compare it to the industry-leading example of Fortnite. Both games are free-to-play, sell cosmetics in a shop, and offer an optional subscription. Let‘s compare the Fallout 1st membership vs Fortnite‘s Crew subscription:

Fallout 1stFortnite Crew
Price$12.99/month or $99.99/year$11.99/month
Currency1650 Atoms ($16.50 value) per month1000 V-Bucks ($8 value) per month
Battle PassNo, must purchase separatelyYes, Battle Pass included
CosmeticsMonthly exclusive itemMonthly exclusive skin + gear
Private ServerYes, fully customizable Private WorldNo
Other PerksScrapbox, Survival TentSave the World PvE Mode

The subscriptions work a bit differently, but provide their respective games‘ communities with nice perks. The value comes down to how much you play and if the progression boost is worth it. But again, all core content is playable without ever subscribing.

The Verdict – Absolutely Worth Playing in 2023

Given all the improvements and the shift to free-to-play, Fallout 76 is absolutely worth trying out or returning to in 2023. The game faced some early criticism at launch in 2018, but has since grown into an impressive open world online Fallout experience.

Here are some key reasons Fallout 76 shines as a free RPG today:

Massive Open World – The incredibly detailed map of West Virginia begs you to explore every nook and cranny. Mountainous forests, eerie swamps, abandoned towns, and more offer exciting sights.

Build Your Dream Apocalypse Fort – The CAMP building system is incredibly flexible, letting you put together a impressive settlement complete with power, defenses, resource production, and Manchurian robot guards.

Memorable Lore and Quests – Investigate mysterious tales like the Cult of the Mothman, visit bizarre locations like the Palace of the Winding Path, and launch your own nukes!

Improved NPC Interactions – Wastelanders and subsequent updates have added many human NPCs and dialogue options that were missing originally.

Constant New Content – Special events, new quests and gear, optimizations and quality of life changes arrive regularly. The game is continuously improving.

Play Solo or Cooperatively – Play completely solo or join your friends seamlessly.DIFFICULTY Having companions along makes the dangers of the wasteland more fun.

Split Between Guided or Free Exploration – You can pursue story missions and events or simply wander, stumbling upon oddities and secrets. The choice is yours.

For Fallout fans or those seeking a fresh multiplayer RPG, Fallout 76 offers an impressive wasteland with hundreds of hours of content. The shift to free-to-play means you can dive in without worrying about the cost. Give Appalachia a shot!



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