One of the very first features announced for Fallout 76 was that players had the capability to launch their own nuclear missiles. Initial reactions were that it was ridiculous and players would use it to simply engage in PvP, but thankfully that’s not the case. Nukes are seriously hard to get and require a good few hours of planning, along with the capability to take down some high level enemies just to reach the launch silos. And when you’ve detonated one, killing other players will be the last of your concerns.
How do you launch a nuke in Fallout 76? Well, you first need to discover the Enclave faction and enlist in their ranks. Once you earn the title of General, you can hunt down eight different nuke code pieces, then use a code decrypter to solve the actual code. After you’ve done that, you need to obtain a Nuclear Keycard, then infiltrate one of three nuclear bunkers and kill the army of robots inside, all while completing side objectives to progress to the end of the bunker.
When you reach the nuclear missiles, you’ve got to defend some friendly robots while they prepare the nuke, before entering the code and selecting the area you want it to blow to smithereens. Done all that? Prepare for some incredibly high-level enemies inside the blast radius, including the ultimate end-game boss, the Scorchbeast Queen.
Don’t forget, setting off a nuclear missile is end-game content, so you really don’t need to worry about doing this until you’re competent with all of the game’s mechanics and you’ve reached about level 30. Check out our Fallout 76 leveling guide to reach this milestone rapidly, or if you need some help acquiring endgame-quality gear then we have a guide to finding some rare Fallout 76 weapons.
If you’re still confused, let us guide you through the steps.
Discovering the Enclave
The first step to finding the Enclave and gaining access to their bunker can be found in the Mire region on the far eastern side of the map.
Head to the Abandoned Waste Dump, south of Dyer Chemical, east of Berkeley Springs, and north of Valley Galleria. When you get here, be prepared for a fight because there are two Deathclaws that have made the cave inside their home. One of them is usually patrolling while the other is asleep, so we’d recommend grabbing the attention of the one wandering around then baiting it back to the entrance. It can’t hit you if you’re inside the doorway, so you can cheese the fight, then move on to fight the next one.
When both Deathclaws are dead, head to the left-most side and search for a dead Enclave Agent. Loot the quest items and listen to the holotape, then use them to get inside and travel in the elevator. This will take you down to a secret bunker; follow the simple quest objectives to get to the next phase.
You’ve now opened up the main Enclave bunker. It’s found by the Whitespring Resort, so follow your quest marker and head inside, where you’ll be introduced to MODUS. You’re well on your way to becoming part of one of the most powerful factions in the Fallout universe.
Ranking up in the Enclave
Your next objective is to achieve the rank of General. To do this you need to embark on the One Of Us quest, which involves heading to Sugar Grove, a facility in the Savage Divide region. Everything is fairly self explanatory here: head inside, kill all the robots, follow the quest markers, and interact with everything the game tells you to. When you’ve done all that and returned back to the Whitespring Bunker, MODUS will ask you to go and establish a communication uplink with a satellite. Do that and you’ll receive a nice care package full of goodies.
After that, you need to go to Camp McClintock to complete the Back To Basic quest. This is a fun little quest which has you register with the Master Sergeant Gutsy and complete a series of training exercises. In no particular order, you need to deduce which boy is secretly a communist, shoot enough targets within the designated time frame, and complete an obstacle course. Finally, you have to kill an onslaught of low-level robots, dressed up to look like Red Army enemies.
Earning Enclave commendations
The next stage is where the bulk of climbing the Enclave ranks comes in. You’ll be given the quest “Officer On Deck”, which explains that you have to earn 10 promotional commendations. How do you do this? By killing the toughest enemies the game has to offer, of course.
Well, kind of. Killing Scorchbeasts is one way to earn promotional commendations but if you’re not a high enough level or if you’re playing solo, that’s a very tough ask. There are two other ways to earn commendations: complete Enclave Events, or kill other “epic” enemies. Starting with the former, there are a number of Enclave Events that will appear like normal events on your map of Appalachia. They tend to be around Cranberry Bog, The Mire and the Savage Divide, so they’re not easy your character is a low level. Mouse your cursor over an event to see if it’s an Enclave one, then fast travel there.
When you complete an Enclave Event, you’ll be awarded some promotional commendations depending on the difficulty – we didn’t find any of them to be particularly difficult at around level 40, but your mileage may vary. If there are no Enclave Events available when you’re yearning for those commendations though, then consider hunting down some epic enemies.
Epic enemies are the ones who have more than one star next to their name. This means they’re basically “extra legendary”, since one star indicates it’s a legendary foe. It’s tough to find these enemies consistently – you may have even reached this stage without fighting a single one – but we do know of one location where three are guaranteed. A stone’s throw east of the Whitespring Resort is Blackwater Mine. The event that starts here – Uranium Fever – has you kill hordes and hordes of Mole Miners. Once you get to the end of the mine and you need to defend the machines, three epic Mole Miners will spawn periodically. Kill them and you’ll be well on your way to earning all 10 promotional commendations.
Getting a Nuclear Keycard in Fallout 76
When you’re promoted to the rank of General, MODUS will bring you back to the Enclave and teach you everything you need to know about nukes in Fallout 76. You’ll have to listen to some spiel then interact with one of the terminals to obtain your next objective. If you haven’t already obtained a Nuclear Keycard, select that option and a Cargobot will be marked on your map with a quest marker.
Your goal is to basically shoot down the Cargobot carrying the Nuclear Keycard. The problem is that it’s being escorted by three Vertibots. We’d recommend equipping the Bunker Buster – the legendary Missile Launcher you get for completing the first stage of the Enclave questline – to take them all down since it has a lock-on function. No matter how you get it done though, once you’ve looted the Nuclear Keycard, head back to the same terminal and select one of the options to find part of a nuclear code.
Obtaining a Fallout 76 nuke code
There are three nuclear silos in Fallout 76: Site Alpha, Site Bravo, and Site Charlie. Across the map are Scorched and Feral Ghoul Officers carrying one piece out of eight for one of the three silos, meaning at any one time, there’s 24 different nuke code pieces out there. The terminal in the Enclave bunker will help you track them down. Once you have all eight nuke code pieces, you can solve the puzzle by decrypting them. We need to point out that each week, the nuke code pieces reset and disappear from your inventory on Tuesdays at 12am UTC.
It’s really quite tricky to solve by yourself, even if you have all eight nuke code pieces. If you do want to do it manually, Reddit user /u/SaukPuhpet posted a great guide on how to decrypt the codes once you know the keyword. If that’s too much effort for you though, you can head to NukaCrypt and enter the letters and numbers you’ve found to help solve it yourself. Still too much work? NukaCrypt has a page that details the weekly codes for each of the silos, as it’s the same code for everybody in the world, no matter the platform you play on. If it’s not listed on that page yet then you’re out of luck; either solve it yourself or come back later in the week to see if it’s been solved.
Launching a nuke
You’ve almost done it! The nuke is within touching distance, all you need to do is infiltrate one of the nuclear silos. Head to whichever one you have the complete nuke code for and descend into the bunker.
As soon as you step out of the elevator, you’ll encounter some very hostile robots. Your goal is to kill all enemies and bypass some red lasers by finding an old Biometric ID Card and erasing it on the nearby ABIS Biometric System.
Next, you need to acquire some fresh biometric data. Go to one of the two red capsules and interact with it. You’ll step inside and the machine will scan you before adding your biometric data to the wiped ID card. Head back to the ABIS Biometric System and register the card, which will turn the red lasers blue, signalling that it’s safe for you to progress to the next area.
This is where it starts to get really tough. You’ll come across a few very high-level Mr Gutsy robots, some Assaultrons, maybe a Robobrain or two, along with a bevy of ceiling turrets. You need to stop the nuclear reactor shutdown by interacting with the terminal at the other side of the room and then fixing all of the broken pipes in under three minutes. If you’ve completed the Powering Up Poseidon event at the Poseidon Energy Plant, it’s very similar to that, so it may be worth putting some practice in.
Before starting the timer, it’s recommended that you run through the room and clear out as many robots as you can first. This will allow you to mostly just search for the pipes, without worrying about being shot in the back.
The next area you enter will require you to destroy all of the Mainframe Cores – machine parts inserted into the large workstations. This is simply a case of running to each machine and interacting with every individual Mainframe Core to destroy it. There’s a hell of a lot to get through and some of them are locked behind level three doors, so make sure you have someone with the Master Picklock perk to ensure you can get through.
When you’ve done all that, the red laser grid will disappear and you’ll eventually come across a locked security door that you can’t open until you’ve replaced all of the Damaged Mainframe Cores. This isn’t too tricky; simply interact with all of the cores on the machine to the side of the door, then as long as you’ve been looting junk off the robots you’ve been killing, you’ll have enough materials to go to the Tinkers Workbench nearby and repair them all. If you don’t have enough junk, you have to find 15 new Mainframe Cores dotted around the area. Interact with the terminal when you’ve replaced all 15 and you can open the security door.
You’re now minutes away from launching a nuke. This final area is right by the nuclear missile itself but before you can interact with it, you need to kill the rest of the high-level robots. Robobrains, Assaultrons, Sentry Bots; this room has it all so stack up plenty of meds. When you can enter safely and access the terminal, begin the Launch Prep routine. This will start a defence objective where five friendly robots will slowly emerge from side rooms and interact with different workstations in the centre of the room, simply keep them all safe. Thankfully, they each have a lot of health, making this part of the quest possible even as a solo player.
When they’ve finished their task, approach the nuclear missile terminal and enter your Nuclear Keycard to the left. Now move to the keypad on the right and enter the nuclear code for your specific site. If you input the eight digit number wrong, you will be locked out and your Nuclear Keycard will be wasted. When you’ve entered the code, it will flash green and you can use the Targeting Computer to select where you want the nuke to land.
If you want to fight the Scorchbeast Queen – the main end-game boss that requires a number of people to take down – launch the nuke directly on one of the many Fissure Sites dotted across Appalachia. If you’re not ready for that just yet then you can place the nuke wherever you want. A popular place is on the Whitespring Resort as the friendly robots will help kill all of the high-level Feral Ghouls and Scorched that spawn, but part of the fun with Fallout 76 nukes is experimenting.
When you’ve launched the nuke, kill any remaining enemies then fast travel to a location just outside of the blast zone to watch the bombs drop. Don your Hazmat Suit and Power Armor then venture in to obtain plenty of rare loot from the newly spawned high-level enemies that can only be found inside blast zones. Expect to see a couple of Scorchbeasts, some buffed Deathclaws, a plethora of Feral Ghouls, and countless other irradiated hell beasts.