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Fallout Shelter Online Beginner’s Guide: Tips, Tricks & Strategies to Build the Perfect Vault

Fallout Shelter Online, the official sequel to the massively popular Fallout Shelter, is the latest entry in the post-apocalyptic Fallout franchise.

The Vault management features that hooked players to Fallout Shelter returns, but Fallout Shelter Online takes the simulator to the next level by allowing players to exit the Vault as they search the Wasteland for their former overseer. Along the way, they will recruit characters from the Fallout series, travel to locations from Fallout 4, and battle against various kinds of enemies.

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Fallout Shelter Online also introduces a PvP multiplayer mode, which will pit players’ teams against one another in the Combat Zone as they try to climb the leaderboards. This feature adds a new dimension to the game, as in addition to trying to build the best Vault, you are also forming the best team possible to win against other players.

Players who pick up Fallout Shelter Online will be immersed in an engaging story set in the harsh Wasteland, as they try to lead their Vault dwellers in their fight for survival. With that said, let’s get started with our Fallout Shelter Online beginner’s guide, as we share with you loads of tips, tricks and strategies to build the perfect vault!

1. Hoard Resources

Resources form the backbone of Fallout Shelter Online. To survive in a post-apocalyptic Wasteland, you will need to accumulate enough resources, namely Electricity, Food, Water, Caps, and upgrade materials. These resources will be used to build your Vault and train your dwellers.

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One way to build up your inventory of Electricity, Food, Water, and Caps is to use the Rush feature of the rooms that produce them, which are the Power Generator, Diner, Water Treatment Plant, and Recycling Center, respectively. The feature may only be used a limited number of times per day, but they should be maximized as they provide a huge boost in production at no cost. There is a chance that you’ll set the room on fire, but that can be easily fixed.

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Another way to find resources is to be on the lookout for shining indicators and treasure boxes when exploring outside the Vault. You will sometimes get items that may be used in combat, such as items that remove radiation or items that provide immunity to it, but there are times when you will get resources instead. To properly see the shining indicators, it is best to zoom in while exploring.

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The indicators may also appear whenever you kill enemies, so don’t rush out of the room and into the next one after slaying the last one. Meanwhile, there may be treasure boxes in rooms behind boss fights, so don’t choose to leave immediately after winning.

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The Radar Room, once unlocked, provides another source of resources. There are two ways to acquire resources from the ruins that the Radar Room finds, namely by sending dwellers to spend time on salvaging resources, or by sending a team to fight against enemies to gain resources as a reward.

For materials, another way to acquire them is through the Minutemen Outpost, where players can trade Caps for different kinds of materials. The offered materials are random though, and they need time to replenish.

Related: Fallout Shelter Online Tier List: The Best SSR and SR Dwellers in the Game

However, you should keep in mind that there is a limit to the resources that your Vault can hold. The whole point of hoarding them is so that they can improve your Vault and dwellers, so before reaching the limit, use them to make sure that there is enough space for incoming resources. To increase your Vault’s capacity, you will have to upgrade the rooms corresponding to those resources.

2. Boost Your Power

Your Vault may be stocked up to the brim with resources, but in Fallout Shelter Online, your dwellers will also have to go out and explore in the Wasteland. To make sure that they survive so that you can progress the story and earn rewards, you will have to boost the Power of your dwellers by spending Food on them in the Training Room.

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The Power stat of each dweller reflects, well, their overall power. Generally, the higher the Power, the more useful the dweller is to your team. Before exploring areas, the game will show the Power of the enemies that you will face. This will give you an idea if your team is ready to take them on, or if they need to spend more time in the Training Room.

fallout shelter online training room

The Training Room should always be running whenever possible, focusing first on your team for exploring, before spending Food to keep other dwellers at the maximum possible level.

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While the Training Room is the most prominent method of increasing a dweller’s Power, it is not the only way. You may also upgrade the equipment of your dwellers. Each dweller holds three pieces of equipment, which are their special attack, their weapon, and their armor. To increase their levels, you will have to spend Caps and a variety of materials. In case you are short on certain materials, tapping on them will reveal the areas you can visit to try to search for the missing components.

fallout shelter online dweller attributes

Another method of boosting Power is through Attachments, which may be crafted by spending Caps or Nuka Cola, a resource obtained from completing quests and winning in the Combat Zone, in the Workshop. Attachments do not give a significant increase in Power, but they provide bonuses that will boost dwellers’ combat capabilities. Attachments also come in Sets, and if dwellers equip two or four Attachments from a Set, they will gain extra effects.

In Fallout Shelter Online, there is no such thing as too overpowered. Whenever you get the chance to increase the Power of your team, take it. You may be breezing through areas and enemies now, but if you skip the Training Room for a while, you may soon find your team facing creatures that they could not beat.

3. Choose The Right Perks

Perks are what the Fallout franchise calls the proficiencies of dwellers, and taking advantage of the benefits that they may provide is one of the most important things that you should learn in Fallout Shelter Online.

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First and foremost, Perks determine the best dwellers to occupy and operate the resource-generating rooms. While these rooms will continue to churn out resources for your Vault no matter who you put in them, they will be more efficient when operated by dwellers with the appropriate Perks. The Nuclear Physicist Perk, for example, boosts Power output, so dwellers with this Perk should be assigned to the Power Generator.

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Dwellers with rarities of R and up, known as heroes as they represent characters from the Fallout franchise, also come with combat-related Perks that grant them different abilities when facing off against enemies. Bonuses include extra damage, additional attacks, health recovery, and boosted stats. When creating teams, at the very least, have one dweller with a health recovery Perk so that they will last for a while as they explore and battle enemies.

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Similar to dweller’s levels, Perks may be upgraded through the Shooting Range, which uses Water generated from the Water Treatment Plant. However, you should not upgrade all the Perks of all your dwellers, as you might spend Water on Perks that will not improve your Vault and your teams. For dwellers assigned to operate resource-generating rooms, the focus should be on upgrading the Perks that boost output, and not on combat-related Perks, if they have any. Consequently, dwellers that you have assigned to your team for exploring outside in the Wasteland should have their combat-related Perks upgraded, instead of resource-related ones.

4. Upgrade The Right Tools

Once you gain access to the Tool section for your dwellers, upgrading them will further make them more efficient in acquiring resources. Tool upgrades will require materials, which is another reason to tap on all the shining indicators and treasure boxes you see while exploring.

fallout shelter online tools

However, unlike most other aspects of your dwellers, you don’t have to upgrade everyone’s Tools, and not all of the Tools for each dweller. You should only focus on upgrading the Tools for dwellers working in the resource rooms, and only on the Tools related to the resource that they are collecting for you. This ensures that you don’t waste your hard-earned materials on upgrades that will not benefit your Vault in any way – similar to how you choose which Perks to spend Water on.

5. Keep Recruiting Heroes

While every dweller has its purpose in the Vault, the heroes of Fallout Shelter Online, which are the dwellers with rarities of R, SR, and SSR, should form the backbone of your team. Players should take every opportunity to acquire posters, which are the materials for recruiting heroes to your Vault. It takes 10 posters to complete the recruitment of an R hero, 30 posters for an SR hero, and 80 posters for an SSR hero.

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Players will be able to acquire posters if they come across rare lunchboxes while exploring. Posters may also be purchased from the Shop with Nuka Cola and Pre-War Money, both of which are hard to come by in Fallout Shelter Online unless you are willing to pay real-world money. Starting players will receive a stock of Pre-War Money though, which they may spend in the Super Duper section of the in-game Shop to roll the dice on random heroes. Players will also get Pre-War Money from completing achievements, though you will have to keep checking as you may not realize that there are rewards already waiting for you.

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One of the more reliable sources for posters is the Memory Den, which pits players’ teams against other teams. Rewards for completing the Memory Den’s so-called Memory Points are Caps and Memory Shards, with players able to exchange the latter for posters.

Posters that you acquire for heroes that you have already recruited are not a waste though. You can use them to increase their rank and further improve their Power, up to five stars.

fallout shelter online hero abilities

Which heroes are worth recruiting? Generally, players should aim to recruit, and hope for, SSR heroes. Desdemona’s sheer damage output and The Silver Shroud’s AOE damage are a lethal combination that will make your team very lethal. It might be difficult to get these two dwellers right away due to their rarity though.

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At the start of the game, there are two relatively easy to acquire heroes that players should focus on. The first is MacCready, who deals massive damage for an SR dweller, and Zeke, another SR dweller whose defensive capabilities, paired with a healer, will keep your team alive for a long time.

6. Move Up In Combat Zone Rankings

The Combat Zone is Fallout Shelter Online’s PvP mode, where you can move up the rankings by beating the teams of other players. Matches in the Combat Zone play out automatically. Unlike when exploring the Wasteland, you will not have to manually activate your team’s abilities.

fallout shelter online combat zone ranking

In the Combat Zone, you may choose the team to challenge, and it would be wise to only take on teams that have lower total Power than yours. If you beat the team that you chose to fight, you will acquire that team’s rank.

Creating a team for the Combat Zone will require a different approach compared with creating a team for exploration. Radiation is not an immediate concern, so if you will add healers, they do not have to be able to clear the status effect. Alternatively, instead of healers that do not deal much damage, players may choose to include heroes with abilities or attachments that steal life, to maximize damage output.

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The higher your ranking in the Combat Zone at the end of each day, the more Nuka Cola you will receive as your reward. Nuka Cola, a hard resource to come by compared with others that you can generate from your rooms, is used for a variety of purposes, such as instantly finishing rooms and buying items at the Shop.

7. Maximize Bonds

Heroes fall under one of five factions, namely the Commonwealth Allies, Goodneighbor, Sole Survivor, Institute, and Brotherhood of Steel. Your team will receive escalating bonuses if you have two or five members of the team from one faction, and if all five members have rankings of a least three stars.

how to maximize bonds in fallout shelter online

In the initial quests of Fallout Shelter Online and in clearing out the blocked portions of the Vault, your team will mostly encounter Animals. This makes the Goodneighbor bond a valuable asset, as it adds 15% damage to Animals when two heroes of the faction are in the team.

fallout shelter online bonded dwellers

Your team also sometimes encounters Raiders, which are humans, and in the Combat Zone, most of your opponents will be humans. For this, the Institute bond is recommended to be equipped, as it adds 15% damage to Humans when two heroes of the faction are in the team.

8. Build Your Vault Wisely

When building out the rooms of your Vault, you should plan ahead. While you may place the rooms wherever you like within the space, there are some rules that you should follow to keep your Vault looking clean and running as efficiently as possible.

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Among the first things that you should do is to clear out the spaces that are occupied by creatures so that your plans for the Vault will not be limited by them. You will not be able to remove all of them in one go though, as some will require teams with high Power that you would only reach later in the game, but always remember to check if you there are any spaces you can clear as you upgrade your team’s Power.

The Elevator, which only costs 100 Power, allows you to access the lower parts of the Vault. It is recommended to lay down as much as you can right away, as this will provide you with as much space as possible when building out your Vault.

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When building the resource-generating rooms, you should place them side by side. Up to three blocks of the same room will combine into a larger, more efficient room for generating resources. It is also recommended to place the resource-generating rooms close to each other so that you will not have to scroll much through your Vault when tapping the rooms to acquire the resources.

One of the most useful features of the Vault may be accessed through the Overseer’s Office. The Reorganize function allows you to switch around the rooms in your Vault at no cost, so you can correct mistakes in the placement of rooms. This also allows you to rethink the layout of your Vault as you clear spaces previously occupied by creatures.

9. Listen To The Radio

The Radio Studio expands the reach of your Vault’s dwellers, as it unlocks areas to explore. Additionally, it also receives messages from other people that are surviving in the Wasteland.

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Most of the messages that you will receive provide a glimpse of how life works in this post-apocalyptic world, with bits and pieces of stories from other survivors. However, some messages come with requests, such as dealing with enemies, for example. Players who choose to complete these requests will receive Nuka Cola as rewards for the trouble.

10. Actively Participate In Guilds

The Guild feature, once unlocked, allows players to join a Guild that they choose. Each Guild may house a maximum of 30 players.

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Joining a Guild comes with several benefits, including the chance for other Guild members to send dwellers to your Vault to help generate resources. Both you and your fellow Guild member will receive the output bonuses, and your assigned dwellers will not actually be gone from your Vault, so there is no harm in sending out help.

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Members may also assign some of their dwellers as a Mercenary for the Guild. When Guild members face difficult challenges, they may hire a Mercenary to help them out. At the end of your dweller’s tenure as a Mercenary for the Guild, you will receive rewards depending on how often they were hired. Similar to sending them to other Vaults to help with resources, dwellers assigned as a Mercenary do not actually leave your Vault, so there is no downside to this.

11. Eliminate Idle Time

There is a lot of waiting time involved in Fallout Shelter Online, such as when building rooms, upgrading dwellers, and training their perks. Some activities are also limited daily, including fighting in the Combat Zone and moving through the challenges in the Memory Den.

To progress quickly in the game, you should eliminate as much idle time as possible. After logging in and collecting resources, you should check what upgrades you could start. While those are in the works, you should either do the activities that are limited daily, or complete quests to progress the game’s story.

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When logging off from Fallout Shelter Online, try to start a lengthy upgrade first, so that even if you spend some time away from the game, there are improvements happening to your Vault.

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Additionally, if you should be eliminating idle time, the same should apply to your dwellers. Everyone living in the Vault should earn their keep, so dwellers should always be doing something, whether boosting the output of resource-generating rooms, protecting the Vault door, or building themselves up in the Training Room or Shooting Range.

It should be noted that when building rooms, and when upgrading rooms and dwellers, the process may be accelerated by tapping the Free icon that appears when it takes less than two minutes, or when the countdown reaches the two-minute mark. Because your Vault starts out with only one builder, and because the space in the Training Room and Shooting Range are limited, taking advantage of the Free icon will help you build rooms and finish upgrades as fast as possible.

12. Enjoy the Story

Unlike most free-to-play games, Fallout Shelter Online comes with an engaging and well-written story that provides a great backdrop to its gameplay. It is possible to progress through the game while skipping through the plot scenes, the game feels much more alive when you are involved in the story.

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The world created by the Fallout franchise is beautifully preserved in Fallout Shelter Online, so players will miss out a lot if they do not try to enjoy the game’s story. And with that we end our Fallout Shelter Online beginner’s guide. If you happen to know more tips or tricks or just want to share your thoughts about the game, feel free to drop us a line in the comment area!


Tuesday 23rd of June 2020

What is the best way to do to those SR fighter dwellers if you already have more than 5 of them. They are not pretty much that helpful for resources because they do not have those resource perks.