Fallout 4's extra hard Survival Mode enters beta today on Steam and Bethesda has provided a full breakdown of everything this new challenge mode changes.
First off, there's no manual saving or fast-travel. If you want to save your progress, you'd best find a bed clear of enemies and nap for at least an hour. This lack of a safety net should make enemy encounters something worthy of careful consideration. "Some fights you may deem above your level and decide to avoid. Other fights you may decide to go all in. Scouting and gathering information to make this decision can be fun in its own right. Also, when beds are your only means of saving, they become the Holy Grail," said the developer on the Bethesda Blog.
To crank up the intensity of enemy encounters, combat lethality had been boosted for both you and your foes. You deal more damage, but also take more damage. "Combat itself is also more strategic, because both you and enemies are more powerful; this means fights are about trying to use positioning and timing to get in your shots without taking enemy hits," Bethesda explained. "This has an even bigger effect on melee players, who will now need to use their block/parry to keep themselves from taking damage during fights."
You'll have to be more observant in Survival Mode as enemies won't show up on your compass, while the alerts to points of interest have been diminished so they only appear when you're closer to said location.
Survival Mode also comes with the Adrenaline Perk that provides a damage bonus for consecutive kills. Every five kills increases your Adrenaline, adding a five per cent damage bonus. This caps at 50 per cent after 10 ranks, though sleeping removes between two and all 10 ranks, depending on the time you've slept.
There's also a new Wellness series of factors to include such as Exhaustion, Hunger and Thirst. "Going for extended periods of time without food, water or a good night's sleep will begin to adversely affect your health, hurting your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats, adding to your Fatigue, lowering your immunity, and eventually even causing physical damage to you," the developer explained.
Another new stipulation to hoofing it in the wasteland is Fatigue, which decreases your maximum Action Points if you're tired, hungry or thirsty. Think of it like Radiation, only for AP instead of HP.
There's plenty of smaller changes Bethesda has made too, such as slower healing and bed types influencing how much sleep and recovery you can get from them. Now you'll actually have a reason to gather materials for a fancier place to rest.
There are new illnesses too, with antibiotics that can be bought, found or crafted in order to cure them. Using too many meds to clear yourself of radiation can take its toll on your immune system. "By adding a negative effect to RadAway, we are pushing you to only use it when you really need it," the developer said of this change.
Crippled limbs will now stay crippled until you've found a place to rest. No more insta-healing Stimpaks for you!
As for Carry Weight - everybody's favourite Fallout feature - you can now carry more, but ammo will have its own weight attached to it. Different ammo will have different weight values, so shells are going to weigh more than bullets. Being over-encumbered isn't just bad for your gaming experience - as you'll move much slower - but it's bad for your in-game health too as it will negatively effect your Wellness.
You won't be able to rely on your companions as pack mules either as they'll head home if you don't heal them in battle. The same goes for Automatron's new robot companions, who will require regular Robot Repair Kits to stay by your side.
Cleared areas won't repopulate as quickly, for better or worse. So players are encouraged to explore new locations rather than stopping by the same digs for loot.
Some of these features may change based on feedback. That's why it's only in beta. But once Bethesda irons out a balance that works with the more hardcore masses it will launch Survival Mode on Steam proper, outside of beta, as well as let it loose on consoles.