Getting a Fallout 76 mutation is a mixed blessing. You'll get some sort of useful buff or power but at the expense of some sort of negative side effect. What you do with your new power all depends on if you can take the bad side. Something like Egg Head, for example will make you more intelligent, but also weaker. While Chameleon, on the other hand, will make you invisible when you're not moving but only if you're not wearing any armor.
Perhaps the biggest issue with getting a mutation is that that need to absorb a lot of radiation to do it. That obviously reduces your health: for each 5HP you lose to rads, there's a 5% chance you'll get a random mutation. You can, however, use a Starched Genes perk to remove the radiation but keep the mutation if you're lucky.
With that all in mind here's how Fallout 76 mutations work, how to get them, use them and more.
How to get Fallout 76 mutations
To obtain mutations in Fallout 76, you essentially need to irradiate yourself. This can be from any radiation source, such as a pool of water in the Toxic Valley region, a nuclear blast zone, irradiated creatures like Glowing Ones, or irradiated consumables like spoiled meat. For every 5 HP of radiation you get, you have a 5% chance to gain a mutation. This can be any mutation from the list below, and a character can have multiple mutations at once as long as you accumulate enough radiation.
The only guaranteed way to cure a mutation is to use a contamination chamber, such as the one in the Whitespring Bunker. This isn't always an easy option though, so using RadAway has a chance to cure one random mutation at a time. If you want to reduce the chances of getting a mutation, simply wear radiation protection gear such as a Hazmat Suit or a Gas Mask.
If you want to cure your radiation but keep a mutation, the only way to do this is by equipping the Starched Genes perk at rank two. This removes the chance of RadAway curing any mutations alongside the radiation. You can also gradually remove radiation - but not all of it - by allowing yourself to be killed, since mutations persist through death, and dying removes a small amount of radiation.
Fallout 76 mutations list
- Adrenal Reaction: Increases weapon damage at low HP/maximum HP -50
- Bird Bones: Agility +4 and you fall from heights slower/Strength -4
- Carnivore: No disease from eating meat and double the food bonus from eating meat/eating fruits & vegetables doesn't satisfy hunger
- Chameleon: Invisible while not moving/have to be unarmored for it to work
- Eagle Eyes: Critical damage +25% and Perception +4/Strength -4
- Egg Head: Intelligence +6/Strength -3 and Endurance -3
- Electrically Charged: Chance to shock any enemy that deals melee damage to you/deals a small amount of damage to yourself
- Empath: Teammates take 25% less damage/you take 33% more damage
- Grounded: Energy Resistance +100/Energy Damage -50%
- Healing Factor: Health regeneration +300%/chem effects -55%
- Herbivore: No disease from eating fruits & vegetables and double the food bonus from eating fruits & vegetables/eating meat doesn't satisfy hunger
- Herd Mentality: All teammates get +2 to all SPECIAL stats when grouped/you get -2 to all SPECIAL stats when solo
- Marsupial: Carry weight +20 and increased jump height/Intelligence -4
- Plague Walker: Gain a poison aura that increases in damage the more diseases you have/you need to have multiple diseases for it to be worth it
- Scaly Skin: Damage and Energy Resistance +50/Action Points -50
- Speed Demon: Movement speed +20% and 20% faster reload/50% extra drain on hunger and thirst while moving
- Talons: Punching attacks deal +25% damage and bleed damage/Agility -4
- Twisted Muscles: Melee attacks deal +25% damage and you have a better chance to cripple limbs/gun accuracy reduced by 50%
- Unstable Isotope: 10% chance to release a blast of radiation when hit with a melee attack/the radiation blast affects the player too
How to get mutation serums in Fallout 76
When you've levelled up considerably and you've joined the Enclave, you can actually purchase mutation serums for 5,000 caps each. This is a considerable amount so you'll need to save up before going for one, since caps are harder to accumulate in Fallout 76 compared to the previous single player instalments.
You'll find the mutation serums in the science wing of the Whitespring Bunker, from the MODUS science terminal vendor. Every time you visit, the serums available are random so you may have to come back a few times before you find the one you want.
If your goal is to craft your own mutations, then you better get grinding for caps. You can purchase mutation serum recipes from the same place, but they cost 20,000 caps each - four times the amount of a single serum. They're rare too, so there's a good chance the vendor won't even have one when you visit.
The best Fallout 76 mutations
The big question is which Fallout 76 mutations are the best though? All of them have their upsides, but depending on your play style, you need to weigh the positives against the negatives. Our favourite mutation has to be Marsupial, because the increased jump height means you can actually access areas of the map you wouldn't otherwise be able to. Having an extra 20 carry weight is also very useful, and the -4 Intelligence isn't as severe as something like Strength or Agility.
Carnivore is another decent mutation to have, as long as you haven't decided to make your character a vegetarian. Cooked meat often has better effects than some of the non-meat options, so as long as you've got enough wood and boiled water to keep cooking the limbs of your fallen enemies, you'll be satiated for days.
Finally, if you're a melee character - which is incredibly strong in Fallout 76 - you're going to definitely want Twisted Muscles. You'll hardly be using any guns anyway so the -50% accuracy won't come into play, and you'll be dealing increased damage with every single swing. Seriously consider re-speccing your character into melee. It's so powerful in Fallout 76.
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