Season 1 is a post-apocalyptic grinding experience
[Update: Bethesda has since made adjustments to The Legendary Run from when I originally began writing this. They’ve now increased the amount of SCORE rewarded and the number of daily challenges each day. So, pretty much disregard the math hyperlink down below. Reaching Rank 100 by simply doing daily and weekly challenges is much more manageable. There is also going to be a double SCORE weekend event during this season as well!]
Fallout 76 is a game with multiple currencies and an established endgame grind for those currencies including Gold Bullion, Scrip, Atoms, and Caps. Well, Bethesda has introduced a whole other grind and currency to go along with it in the form of its very first “season.” Introduced with update 20 on June 30, Season 1 takes the Fallout 76 meta and progression into not-new and not-at-all-exciting territories.
You’ll immediately notice The Legendary Run on the main menu when you start up Fallout 76. Once clicked, it’ll bring up a mock game board that also acts as the roadmap for progression. You can click on various places on the board to see what awards are available (which we’ll get into later).
Progression is spread across 100 ranks, each of which requires a set amount of “SCORE,” the new currency used exclusively for ranking up. Each rank you achieve adds 25 more to the required amount for the next rank. So, for example, rank 2 requires 1025, rank 3 requires 1050, and so on.
Seasons in Fallout 76 will reportedly last 10 weeks and they’re free for players to participate in – the keyword being “participate.”
According to Bethesda, “If you want to jump ahead on the board, you may choose to spend 150 Atoms to gain individual ranks in the order they appear. This is completely optional and will be available starting two weeks after the season kicks off.” (In this case, July 14, 2020).
Now, for those of you curious how to go about earning SCORE, here’s where the new daily and weekly challenges come into play. Each day, you’ll get roughly four to five challenges. These can range from straightforward objectives like eating a specific type of food or killing particular enemies to slightly more grindy challenges like leveling up or completing public events. The same applies for weekly challenges, but they lean in a grindier direction. These goals could be leveling multiple times, collecting mass amounts of resources, or bringing down several legendary enemies.
At their worst though, these daily and weekly challenges can sometimes include playing the Nuclear Winter mode – the battle royale component for Fallout 76 that has barely received any updates.
During the launch of Season 1, there was plenty of confusion regarding public events and if they rewarded SCORE or not. Bethesda has since chimed in and clarified you can complete daily or weekly challenges that may involve completing public events to earn SCORE, but clearing public events outside of this won’t. But, fear not, grinding is still absolutely on the table. There’s a repeatable weekly challenge all season long that rewards 100 SCORE for every 10,000 XP earned.
On that note of grinding, folks have already been doing some math to see if it’s even possible to reach Rank 100 by just doing daily and weekly challenges for SCORE – and to be brief, it isn’t.
If you’re like me and have no interest in grinding daily, then chances are you’ll have to spend Atoms to unlock the rest of the game board and the rewards that go with it. Keep in mind, these new daily challenges for SCORE are replacing the previous daily challenges that earned you Atoms.
Lifetime challenges will remain as is, though. As Bethesda says, “We haven’t changed any of the Lifetime Challenges and they will not be updated with each season, so you’ll still be able to complete them and earn their one-time Atom reward.” On a more positive note, the ranking board’s various rewards include Caps, Scrip, Gold Bullion, and Atoms. Outside of currency awards, all the seasonal stuff you earn is account-wide and available for different characters you may have.
Let’s go over the very mixed bag of rewards and things you can unlock by progressing in Season 1.
First up, Lunchboxes! Lunchboxes are a new consumable item that gives a +25% XP boost to you and all nearby players and a random social buff. These buffs can include +15% bonus damage to certain enemy types, 50% reduced hunger or thirst, and my personal favorite, enemies exploding into confetti similar to the Bloody Mess perk.
This update also includes Vault-Tec Supply Packages. These are small bundles of crafting materials that will help give your scrap collection a little boost.
Following that are Fireworks. These are pretty self-explanatory and were most likely included to coincide with the Fourth of July and can be used anywhere out in the open world.
Up next is one of the things I was genuinely anticipating: the Ammo Converter. It unlocks at Rank 5 and was pitched as “allowing you to exchange your unwanted ammo for ammo that you actually need!”
Now, on paper, this is a no-brainer – a great feature to include in a game with a plethora of ammo types. I have thousands of .38 ammo stored away and sitting in my trade post waiting to be sold. So when the Ammo Converter was announced, I was excited to convert my stockpile into 5.56 ammo or possibly even Plasma Cores. Instead, we got something that is an incredible waste of time.
Right off the bat, the Ammo Converter menu is an absolute clusterfuck, to put it lightly. You have to navigate bizarrely-named menus to even select the ammo you want to convert into points only to then repeat that process to spend those points on the ammo you wanted all along.
Worse yet, you can only convert a ridiculously small and set amount of ammo each time.
If that wasn’t enough, say you decided to sit down, put on a podcast, and convert the thousands of .38 ammo you have on-hand. You then pain painstakingly navigate through the menus and convert 18 rounds at a time for 20 points each in the hopes of eventually converting all of it…only to discover you can’t. There’s a cap of 2000 points. If navigating through multiple menus and pointless conversions wasn’t bad enough, this point limit had me just asking “why?”
The icing on this cake of misery is that the exchange rates are all over the place but mostly lean toward being not worth it. The funny thing is, this wouldn’t be such a big deal for me if the process itself wasn’t insufferable to go through. If I could simply convert all my .38 ammo at once for 5.56 ammo – even if the exchange rate was awful – I’d still probably do it fairly regularly.
However, there is hope yet. Bethesda recently announced that its next major patch will include tweaks to the Ammo Converter that include options to buy and sell 10x and 100x the normal amounts of ammo (that way you can exchange larger stacks more quickly) as well as a rework to the menus and an increased points cap to 100,000. Nevertheless, until then, it’s not worth your time. Don’t bother.
Season 1’s Best Cosmetics and Power Armor Things
The Ammo Converter’s letdown aside, here are my thoughts on what I believe to be the most notable cosmetic items available in Fallout 76‘s first season.
Do you enjoy sneaking around and taking out your enemies from a distance? You can now look the part and live the post-apocalyptic American Sniper wet dream with the Ghillie Armor Paint. Notably, unlike paint/skins you can purchase in the Atom Shop that cover a wide range of armors, these are spread out the across the Season 1 board with the earliest being at Rank 6 for the Wood Armor variant and the last being at Rank 82 for the Secret Service Armor variant.
Next up and unlocked at Rank 8, we have the Atomic Onslaught Pip-Boy Paint. I’m not crazy about red and gold as a color combination. Still, I think the red being the most primary color looks nice on what I argue is one of the best-looking Pip-Boys in the Fallout series. It’s a chunky-as-hell wrist companion, and I love it. So, at least Fallout 76 has that going for it.
To go along with those mean Pip-Boy colors you can also unlock the Atomic Onslaught paint/skin for nearly every Power Armor variant as you progress through Season 1. The earliest is the T-45 at Rank 18, progressing all the way to the T-65 at Rank 76. Personally, as mentioned, I didn’t mind this color scheme on the Pip-Boy, but on the Power Armor side of things, the gold shines through a ton, and I’m not crazy about it. I’ll just keep rocking my Nukashine paint for the X-01.
Following that, we have the Glow in the Dark Stars and Glow in the Dark Stars and Planets wallpapers, unlocking at Rank 19 and Rank 56. I haven’t hung any wallpaper at my base yet because I prefer a trash-tier aesthetic for my wasteland. Still, imagine seeing a wood and metal shack in the distance late at night, ducking inside, and finding a room with a glow-in-the-dark wallpaper set. That’s how you know you’ve reached peak post-apocalyptic interior decorating.
Unlocked at Rank 50, we have the Hanging Raider Cage! This is easily one of the cosmetic items I’m most excited to try and earn because a wasteland home isn’t complete without one.
I’m telling you right now: for the next couple of hundred years, this will be the in-thing in post-apocalyptic home fashion. It’s also perfect if you’re role-playing a Raider or sided with the Raiders in the Wastelanders expansion. I’m hoping we see more Raider decorations and cosmetics in the future.
Unlocked at Rank 69 (nice), we have a ceiling lamp in the form of fireflies in a jar. This is both a wasteland fashion statement and a unique way of lighting up your home. Why light candles or scrounge together enough scrap for a convenient power generator? Now you can grind for XP for weeks on end to earn this instead! Laugh at your wasteland neighbors as the rain douses their candles while your home is lit with a beautiful combination of glow-in-the-dark wallpapers and fireflies.
Next up, we have the Chicken Coop. Unlocked at Rank 78, this unique item also generates fertilizer for farming. If you’re possibly role-playing a post-apocalyptic farmer, this unlock has you covered. Of course, both Settlers and the Raiders have farms at their encampments, so, why not you? Get that green thumb going, collect that fresh fertilizer, and start growing some mutfruit!
Arguably the most notable new cosmetic introduced in Season 1, the Captain Cosmos Power Armor paint/skin can be unlocked at Rank 88 (and also Rank 100 for the Dark Matter variant). I appreciate the sheer chunky factor on display here, and I’m all for it. It’s just a shame it’s so high up the ranking for this season since I’ll most likely never reach it. That goes double for the jetpack.
At Rank 98 you’ll unlock some additional Captain Cosmos fanfare with these alternate suit colors. I think they should be unlockable way before the Power Armor as it was already available previously as an Atom Shop item. Other than that, it’s okay, but it’s not something I’d personally wear.
Unlocked at Rank 99, the Fireplace Secret Door is just another seemingly oddly-placed cosmetic. It’s a neat idea, but it won’t match up with my wasteland-tier aesthetic, so I probably wouldn’t even bother even if I had the chance. That said, I certainly love the idea of a secret door. Here’s hoping this ends up in the Atom Shop in the future or shows up in future events.
Then there’s the Rank 100 prize. If you were this committed and you’re already rocking the glow-in-the-dark wallpapers, Firefly Ceiling Lamp, and Captain Cosmos Power Armor, the Planetarium Lamp and Framed Captain Cosmos Gameboard are trophies you should display proudly in that already crazy aesthetic you call home.
In closing, Fallout 76 had a hell of a rocky start, and unsurprisingly Bethesda’s first season isn’t off to that great of a beginning either. Long term, I hope they decide to extend this format to be somewhere in the ballpark of 16 weeks instead of the possible “10 weeks” floating around out there.
I think that would at least offer enough time for folks to earn a good portion of these rewards without needing to purchase their way to completion with Atoms. Hell, even just updating public events to reward SCORE (without a daily or weekly challenge assigned to them) could go a long way.