How to use VATS in Fallout 76

Learn all about V.A.T.S., how it works, and how to target limbs in the online-multiplayer world of Fallout 76.


With the introduction of an online, always active world, things had to change in Fallout 76 and one of those things was how V.A.T.S. works. Players can no longer enter V.A.T.S. to slow down the rest of the world, because there are other people there, but this doesn’t mean V.A.T.S. has been removed.

What is V.A.T.S.?

Standing for Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, V.A.T.S. was first introduced in Fallout 3 as a means of automating the killing process. When activated, it would calculate its chances of hitting a monster’s limbs and display this as a percentage. The player could then select what part to shoot and the system would take the shot.

V.A.T.S. basically allowed players to pause the game and then shoot specific parts of their enemies, disarming them or decapitating them to hilarious effect. Though the system was automated, it could still miss, though the percentages displayed gave a good indication of the chance of success.

How to use V.A.T.S.

To use V.A.T.S. in Fallout 76, players will need to find an enemy to shoot and then press the V.A.T.S. button. On PC, the Q key activates the system, on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, it is left bumper and L1, respectively.

In Fallout 76, V.A.T.S. has undergone a slight change in that it no longer slows down or pauses the game. This means that while the targeting system is activated, everything is moving at the same speed. The system has also been disassembled in order to make use of the perk card mechanic.

When using the standard V.A.T.S., players will be unable to target specific body parts, but the system will still automatically target the enemy. A percentage will be shown, indicating the chance the automated targeting system has of making the shot. It might be controlled by a computer, but it's not infallible!

How to target limbs with V.A.T.S.

To target limbs with V.A.T.S. in Fallout 76, players will need to unlock and equip the correct perk card, Concentrated Fire. Though this card doesn’t return it to its fully-functioning self, it does make it a little more helpful in that players will be able to target specific limbs (like arms and the head) instead of just the whole body.

To further improve V.A.T.S., players will need to increase their Perception stat, as this has a direct effect on the accuracy of the targeting system. The other attribute to increase is Agility, as this will increase the number of Action Points available for use in while the targeting system is active.

The way V.A.T.S. works in Fallout 76 is a little different to the last two Fallout titles. The automated targeting system no longer offers limb-targeting straight out of the box, and it also no longer slows down time. While the time slowdown is no longer available, players can at least upgrade their V.A.T.S. to target specific limbs.

Be sure to check out the Shacknews Fallout 76 guide and walkthrough for more general tips and tricks.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler is relatively new to the industry, getting his start a few years ago as a writer-for-hire. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and finding his feet, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 

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