Fallout 76’s massive Steel Dawn update is finally here, and Xbox players accidentally got it early

It came out around 10PM ET last night

We don’t really know what the future holds for Fallout 76 beyond more microtransaction-laden seasons and the “Fallout 1st” subscription service: but for now, we have the new highly anticipated free Steel Dawn update.

Yes, after much ado since its May unveiling, the Brotherhood of Steel is stomping along West Virginia’s country roads. Funnily enough, there was a classic Bethesda error when it was rolled out that ended up working in Xbox owner’s favor.

As revealed in a separate news post on Bethesda’s blog, Steel Dawn was rolled out to Xbox users “ahead of schedule.” Although the update wasn’t playable, it actually fast-tracked the expansion, as Bethesda decided to “not roll back the update and make everyone wait another week.” Instead, they made the call that it was good to go, and did it live. Last night after 10PM ET, the expansion was unleashed.

So what’s new? Well the Steel Dawn questline is the crown jewel here, which allows players to start a new journey at Fort Atlas. Bethesda says that level 20 characters can start the questline immediately, “even if you haven’t completed any prior Fallout 76 content.” Anyone eligible will get the quest “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” which, in classic Fallout fashion, will kick the storyline off.

Shelters are also a go, which allow players to craft their own instanced homes and rooms away from the limitations of the open world C.A.M.P.s. That mechanic is tied to the “Home Expansion” quest, which you “must complete” to unlock shelters. You need to read the shelter posters in “train stations throughout Appalachia,” or “find a key in the northern forest region for the Claim Center.” Yeah, the posters seem better.

A bunch of quality of life tweaks (less punishing hunger and thirst mechanics!) and bug fixes (the latter are too robust to sum up in a timely manner, as is customary with every Fallout 76 patch) are also a part of this update, but dynamic bundles won’t be in until the “original date” of December 1. Fine by me! You can keep your microtransactions, I already paid for this game.

You can find a rundown of the two most important elements of the expansion below: the Steel Dawn storyline, and the shelter mechanic. The full patch notes can be located here.

Steel Dawn Update Notes [Bethesda.net]

New Steel Dawn Questline:

The Brotherhood of Steel has returned to Appalachia on a mission to reclaim the region for humanity, to preserve any tech they can find, and to find out what befell Paladin Taggerdy and her crew. Starting today, you can begin your journey with the Brotherhood of Steel and work toward a brighter future for Appalachia in the all-new Steel Dawn questline.

  • Complete New Quests: Meet the new Brotherhood arrivals and begin your journey through the Steel Dawn questline by heading to Fort Atlas (formerly ATLAS Observatory) in the Savage Divide region of Appalachia.
    • Your level 20+ characters can begin the Steel Dawn quests immediately, even if you haven’t completed any prior Fallout 76 quest content.
    • When you log in with an eligible character, a quest called “Welcome to the Neighborhood” will prompt you to visit Fort Atlas.
    • Please note: You can now Fast Travel to Fort Atlas for free. However, if you had already discovered ATLAS Observatory before to today’s update, its icon will no longer be visible on your Map. You will need to revisit the area to discover Fort Atlas, which will cause its Map marker to appear.
  • Meet New Faces: Get acquainted with new characters, like Paladin Rahmani, Knight Shin, Scribe Valdez, and many others who have arrived in Appalachia with the Steel Dawn Update.
  • Explore New locations: We’ve added several new locations and updated a number of existing ones that you’ll delve into during your journey with the Brotherhood.
  • Gear Up with New Rewards: Progress through the Steel Dawn questline and complete Daily Ops to earn a host of cosmetic, C.A.M.P., and item rewards, including the following new weapons and armor straight from the Brotherhood arsenal:
    • Crusader Pistol
    • Plasma Cutter
    • Hellstorm Missile Launcher
    • Brotherhood Recon Armor
    • You can purchase a variety of mods for these new items from Regs in Vault 79 using Gold Bullion, including mods that can alter each weapon to deal various types of elemental damage.
  • Main Menu Updates: The Brotherhood has taken over the game’s Main Menu with an all-new background video and music.

C.A.M.P. Shelters

Head underground with C.A.M.P. Shelters, which are instanced interiors that you can add to your C.A.M.P. and customize to flex your creativity as a builder.

  • We’ve added a brief new quest, called “Home Expansion,” to the game that all players must complete in order to gain access to the C.A.M.P. Shelters feature.
    • Begin the “Home Expansion” quest by reading a Shelters Claim Center poster in Train Stations throughout Appalachia. Or, find your way inside the Claim Center by locating a key in the northern Forest region.
  • With today’s update, we’re introducing our first three C.A.M.P. Shelters, which each offer a different sized space to build in, and feature their own layouts and styles.
    • Vault Utility Room: After completing the “Home Expansion” quest, all players can claim the Vault Utility Room for free in the Atomic Shop.
  • Please Note: Since we decided to release Steel Dawn early, only the Vault Utility Room will be available on November 24. The Vault Lobby and Atrium described below will arrive at a later date.
    • Vault Lobby: Fallout 1st Members can claim this medium-sized Shelter this month in the Fallout 1st section of the Atomic Shop. In the future, it will be available to all players for Atoms.
    • Vault Atrium: The largest of our first three Shelters, the Vault Atrium can be purchased using Atoms.
  • Once you’ve claimed a C.A.M.P. Shelter, you can access its interior by building the associated Shelter Entrance in your C.A.M.P.
    • Your C.A.M.P. can contain one of each type of Shelter that you own, and you can build multiple Entrances to the same Shelter.
    • Find your available Shelter Entrances by scrolling to the new “Shelters” category in the C.A.M.P. Build Menu. Select the Entrance you’d like to build, and then head inside.
  • Every Shelter has its own build budget that is separate from your main C.A.M.P., as well as any other Shelters you’ve built.
    • Your Shelter interiors will be saved as you build, so you won’t lose anything if you relocate your C.A.M.P., move your Shelter Entrances, or if your Entrances get destroyed.
    • Since they are instanced, Shelters are able to offer sizable build budgets. Currently, each of our first three Shelters have larger budgets than your main C.A.M.P.
  • We’ve relaxed certain build restrictions inside Shelters by introducing a “Toggle Snapping” option that you can turn off to place objects anywhere you’d like, or turn on to snap objects to each other or the build grid.
    • Additionally, use the Shelter Control Panel inside of each C.A.M.P. Shelter to quickly scrap or repair everything you’ve built so far.
Chris Carter
Reviews Director, Co-EIC - Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff!