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Fallout 76: An In-Depth Discussion On Whether Low Health Or Full Health Build Will Be More Advantageous
May 08, 2024

Source: MMOWTS

A debate that’s been going on since Fallout 76’s release is whether it’s better to play with low health for extra damage, or with high health for durability? I think it comes down to personal preference. But wanted to dig a little deeper into this and show you how each play style compares to one another.

In this guide, I’ll show you both scenarios in action so you can decide which one you prefer. I’m going to show you West Tek run because Super mutants there are some of the toughest enemies you’ll find in both normal gameplay and Daily Ops. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Fallout 76: An In-Depth Discussion On Whether Low Health Or Full Health Build Will Be More Advantageous

Gear Settings

On the low health side, I have a full set of Unyielding Covert Scout Armor with a Secret Service Armor. In terms of overall health, I have a full set of the same armor, but with Overeaters. The second and third stars aren’t as good, but there shouldn’t be much of a difference.

In terms of Power Armor, I have a full set of Overeaters Union Power Armor with Emergency Protocols mod.

My perks are pretty much the same as what I normally use. Ricochet and Dodgy will be active. Even in testing Nerd Rage, Action Boy, and Serendipity continued to run, but we couldn’t benefit from them. And of all the mutations I have, only Adrenal Reaction is affected by low health.

Key Factors Affecting Damage Output

What I’m using here is Anti Armor Plasma Caster. Normal armor’s full health and low health are very similar in combat. You need to shoot a few more times to kill super mutants, but the damage difference isn’t huge.

Fallout 76 Anti Armor Plasma Caster

For example, a Super mutant will die in three headshots while at full health. By comparison, two shots are required while low on health. For both cases, there’s one key: a good Fallout 76 Item actually has a greater impact than any low-health damage bonus.

In practice, Anti Armor weapons tend to perform almost identically to Bloodied weapons, especially against powerful enemies. But apart from the numbers, there are actually differences in how they are played. The biggest difference is Action Points. It’s an excellent test to show how your Action Points are affected.

At full health, my AP is just under 300. At low health, I have just under 500 AP. If you equip Dodgy and fight with VATS, the difference is noticeable. You have to pause or spam AP boosting food more often because you run out of AP more often.

It’s not a huge number, you’re just missing out on more opportunities than when you’re at low health, and you’re taking fewer critical hits.

None of them are huge drawbacks individually, but they do add up. More damage means you need fewer shots to kill an enemy, which means you use fewer Action Points. Best of all, you start with more Action Points so you don’t run out too often.

This isn’t a game-changing difference, but it does add to a smoother experience with a full Unyielding Set. Having said that, a full health Commando Build is also possible, especially if you’re not using VATS.

Full HP Power Armor vs Low HP VATS

But let’s go a little more extreme. Let’s do Daily Ops with full health Power Armor and low health VATS. As it happens, Daily Ops has a really bad set of mutations for low health builds. Savage Strike basically bypasses armor, so even if they’re wearing Power Armor, it only takes a few hits to kill them.

To make this example more extreme, I’m going to use Foundation’s Vengeance, which is a bloody weapon. At full health, the only damage boost comes from Explosive effect. Even against additional tank enemies, it’s still very effective.

At low health, Foundation’s Vengeance deals roughly double the damage per shot. It’s significantly more effective, but without the damage bonus, you’re still killing pretty fast.

How to get Foundation's Vengeance in Fallout 76?

Even though the last boss is slow to kill, it’s significantly more durable. Even with Savage Strike mutation, we can take any damage from the enemy. And you still do enough damage to kill it.

For low health, I used my Anti-Armor Railway Rifle. As you’d expect, the enemies disappear after a few shots. So it’s very easy to kill things, and usually the enemy doesn’t even have a chance to see you. The problem is to survive. Because it only takes one enemy, you haven’t spotted or a Nuclear Missile to knock you down.

I died at least three times while running Daily Ops. As I said before, I tend to die the most in Daily Ops when I play with low health. But with my powerful weapons and low health bonus, the last boss was easily dispatched.

For humans, full health Power Armor actually runs about 40 seconds faster than low health. Even though I intentionally used inferior weapons, not dying was the biggest factor.

Final Thoughts

Based on these test runs and my general solo experience, I’d say any style is possible. There is no obviously superior method, they just have distinct advantages that different people like. So, while people may be talking about dying more often, you don’t actually die that often.

On the other hand, a Bloodied Build does no more damage than a fully healthy character. You’ll definitely do more, but the most important factor is how good your weapons are. Get an excellent set of Anti Armor. It will be just as effective as a suitable weapon.

One condition where poor health is significantly better is VATS. These little perks can really make a difference in making for a smoother gaming experience. Therefore, if you rely heavily on VATS, it will be more convenient to run a low health Commando, while it will not change your life.

Outside of VATS, things are pretty much the same. So while there is a difference between low health Bloodied and full health, the difference is not huge. Things like Marsupial Mutation will actually have a greater impact on your gameplay.

Anyway, the point of all this is that you should play however you want. This isn’t a game about maximizing your character. As long as you’re having fun, everything will work.

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