Fallout 76 offers a new take on the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Perks from the previous games, introducing a new card-based progression system that distributes attribute points through card packs. Leveling up your skills and attributes can be a bit unclear at first, so we’ll go over how the new Perk Card leveling system works in Fallout 76 as well as how to level up the cards themselves so that you can adjust your character’s abilities accordingly.

S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Attributes 

The leveling system in Fallout 76 is known by the acronym S.P.E.C.I.A.L., which stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. These are the available attributes for your character, and each Perk Card represents one of these attributes. Here’s what each S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attribute category represents:

  • Strength: Affects the maximum carry weight and melee attack damage.
  • Perception: Increases the hit chance of V.A.T.S. and the range in which enemies appear on the compass.
  • Endurance: Pertains to Action Points, Health, and preventing disease.
  • Charisma: Pertains to your relationship with others, allowing you to share perks and rewards from group quests, as well as barter with vendors.
  • Intelligence: Involves the durability of crafted gear, makes hacking easier, and increases yield from scrapped items.
  • Agility: Responsible for sneaking and the efficiency of Action Points in V.A.T.S.
  • Luck: Helps with critical hits and the quality of looted items

How Leveling and Perk Cards Work

Leveling up in Fallout 76 works like a standard RPG in that you need to complete quests and various tasks to earn XP. Once you fill your XP bar to reach a certain level requirement, you will gain a level. Bring up your Pip-Boy and press the Level Up button to open the leveling interface. 

Upon leveling up, you will be able to choose which attribute you’d like to improve as well as a Perk Card to unlock for that attribute. Once you have selected a new Perk Card to unlock, it will appear in your card collection. Each Perk Card comes with a bonus effect that can improve your character’s capabilities and make life in Appalachia a bit easier. 

Perk Cards must be equipped to enable their effects. On the Perk Card screen, you will see two rows: the top row displays your equipped cards, while the bottom row shows all the cards that are left in your collection. Since the cards are tied to specific attributes, they can only be equipped into that specific attribute slot. 

There are several features on each Perk Card that you must consider when equipping them to your character:

  • The color and letter in the lower left corner indicate which attribute the card pertains to. 
  • The description on the card explains the bonus effect you will gain upon equipping it. 
  • The number in the upper left corner of the card illustrates the card’s rank, as do the stars.

When a lock symbol appears, it means the attribute for the card must reach a certain level before the card can be equipped, which is indicated in the lower right corner below the stars.

Leveling up each attribute category will increase the number of perk points you can have equipped for that attribute, which are determined by the rank of each card. For example, if you have Endurance 3, this means you can equip up to two Endurance Perk Cards, one with a rank of 2, and another with a rank of 1. A Rank 3 Perk could also be equipped by itself in that category as well.

The current level cap in Fallout 76 is level 50, which means there are only 50 points total that can be put toward your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes. Once you’ve reached the level cap, you will be offered a series of Perk Cards to choose from each time you level beyond this point.

How to Rank Up Perk Cards

The stars in the lower right corner of each card pertain to the card’s rank. Each Perk Card can be ranked up individually to provide better bonus effects when equipped.  

To rank up a Perk Card in Fallout 76, you need to have at least two of the same Perk Card. Keep an eye out for duplicates each time you open a new card pack. To do this, select the card you wish to rank up and press the Rank Up button. 

The two cards will combine to create a higher-ranked version of the Perk Card, causing its point value to increase in the upper left corner. Make sure your attribute level is high enough to equip the card before ranking it up, otherwise you’ll have to wait before using the new card.

The Perk Card system in Fallout 76 can be somewhat abstruse at first, but as long as you are monitoring your attribute levels and are ranking up Perk Cards accordingly, you should be able to construct your character how you want to in Fallout 76. 

If you’re looking to answer more burning questions about Fallout 76, such as what happens when you die and how to save the game, visit our Fallout 76 coverage for more.