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Fallout Shelter: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets for Growing Your Vault!

Want to truly be the best Overseer for your hapless dwellers in Fallout Shelter? Check out these neat tips, tricks, and secrets to building a happy and productive Vault.

For such a simple game, Fallout Shelter has proven to be remarkably popular and engaging, with a surprising amount of strategy and complexity. If you haven’t already, check out The Soapbox Lord’s awesome guide for a thorough explanation of the game and its mechanics – if you’ve already read through that and want to know more about how your dwellers work or how to get the most of out of your vault, check out our list of tips and tricks for maximizing your growth, caps, and happiness!

Happy and Productive Dwellers

  • Keeping your dwellers happy is important, and might seem complicated at first, but Fallout Shelter makes it easy for you. If you’re not sure where your dwellers should go (like if they have multiple high stats), you can drag them over the various rooms in your vault – when you find the best fit for your dweller the outline of the room will turn green.
  • Not all dwellers are created equal! The dwellers that arrive at your vault or are born there can have decent SPECIAL, but if you want a really exceptional dweller then you’ll have to find them in lunchboxes. Every lunchbox has a chance for a rare or legendary dweller – you might want to consider restarting your vault until one of your free lunchboxes gives you one!
  • Always arm and outfit your dwellers! Radroaches can appear anywhere, so don’t be a casualty!
  • Training is a great way to boost your dwellers’ effectiveness, but it can be time consuming – save time by having multiple dwellers in the same room. Be aware that SPECIAL attributes are exponentially more difficult to raise with each point, so raise your lowest attributes first.
  • Pregnancy is the best way to grow your Vault, so try to match up dwellers with good attributes to create better children. Don’t get carried away though – children can’t work, but they do take up resources. Be careful about having too many pregnant dwellers – a baby boom can overwhelm your vault and make it impossible for you to recover!
  • While all of your SPECIAL attributes are worthwhile, Luck affects the chance of getting bonus caps from collecting resources, so it’s a good idea to upgrade your Game Room and keep it full at all times.
  • Keeping your dwellers happy isn’t rocket science – assigning them to the right room will boost their base happiness to 75%, so make sure everyone is working where they’re most useful. If you  want your dwellers to be even happier, you can boost this further by successfully rushing a room (which adds 10% happiness), having the dweller procreate (50% increase in happiness), or building a Radio Room, which adds 1% happiness for each 10 charisma.
  • Unsurprisingly, being hurt or irradiated reduces your dwellers’ happiness, so keep them healthy, and failing a rush will reduce their happiness by 10% (but only temporarily). If one of your dwellers happens to die from a radroach infestation or a raider attack, make sure to revive or remove them quickly – it turns out that working in a room with a dead body makes people really unhappy.
  • Managing a big vault can be a hassle, but you can make it easier – tap the icons at the top of the dweller list to sort by happiness, SPECIAL, or job.

Wild Wasteland!

  • Don’t be intimidated by the Wasteland! It’s a great source of experience and caps and, aside from lunchboxes, your only source of weapons and outfits.  As soon as you start your vault, send your toughest dweller out to explore – even unarmed, they can survive for an hour or so and will likely come back with some salvage!
  • All of your SPECIAL attributes affect your dwellers success in the Wasteland – there are challenges based off of all of them. Don’t think that just because your dweller has high intelligence and charisma but low strength and agility that he’s not well suited for an expedition.
  • That being said, Endurance is probably the most important SPECIAL attribute for Wasteland wandering because it directly affects the amount of radiation damage you take – at 10 Endurance, your dweller won’t even take rad damage and won’t need to carry Rad-Away at all.
  • Luck is also very important for dwellers in the Wasteland – it directly affects the number of caps your dweller finds. Finding or training a dweller with 3 endurance and 3 luck makes for a very good baseline explorer.
  • Quality over quantity! The longer your dweller is in the Wasteland, the higher their chances are of finding rare and even legendary gear. If all of your dwellers at home are well equipped, then you’re probably better off sending a small number of high-quality dwellers to explore than having a higher number of low-value dwellers wandering the Wasteland.
  • Having storage issues? Did you know that you can sell off your excess gear from returning dwellers without having to drop it off first? Before hitting the “Collect” button, you can select each piece of gear and indicate that you want to sell the item for caps (the icon should change to a picture of a cap with a “10” beneath it). You can also tell if your dweller is carrying too many items to store – items over your storage limit will be highlighted in red.
  • Wasteland wandering is random, but there is a pattern to it. If you pay attention to your dweller’s log, you’ll see that there are events that occur at certain milestones  in the Wasteland – for example, every fifteen minutes your dweller has a chance to find caps (based on their luck), and every hour they have a chance to find gear.  There are also special events at 20, 30, and 60 hours out that have a higher chance to award rare and even legendary gear!

Efficient Vault Layout

  • If you can, plan your Vault as far ahead as you can – a big part of using caps and dwellers efficiently is good placement of various buildings. Try to know where you want all of your production and training facilities to be ahead of time so you don’t get stuck with a useless or inefficient room.
  • Definitely try to plan your double and triple rooms out ahead of time – it costs 25% more caps to upgrade two single rooms over a double room and 33% more to upgrade three single rooms instead of a triple. You can save an awful lot of caps over time if you upgrade intelligently.
  • Power Plants and Nuclear Reactors are actually more efficient as double rooms than as triple – you’ll get more out of your dwellers’ hard work if you keep them small at first, though you may still want to upgrade to triple rooms later.
  • Having tough dwellers guard your Vault Door is a good way to stop raiders from stealing your resources, but they’ll be idle most of the time, and if they’re just standing around they’re not generating resources or caps (or babies!). Instead, put a busy room (a Power Plant is a good choice) right next to the Vault Door and keep it full of six high-level and well-equipped dwellers. The Raiders will charge right through the door and into the next room, where your combat squad can dispatch them.
  •  Having the right attribute for the room your dwellers are working in is important, but it is possible to overdo it. Each point of the right SPECIAL attribute reduces production time by a certain percentage, but you only need 20 total to reach 95% speed reduction.  More than that is helpful (up to 60 SPECIAL points) but once you get some dwellers with high attributes you can start to spread them out a little more without sacrificing speed.
  • If you happen to be lucky enough to have a dweller with a very high SPECIAL attribute, don’t be afraid to push them over 10 – even though you can’t see it on the bar, attributes over 10 continue to contribute to resource generation. A dweller with 10 in an attribute and the right Legendary outfit can handle almost all of the work for a resource room themselves!
  • Depending on how you play, you might want to set up your Vault differently – for example, dweller skill doesn’t affect the output of your resource rooms, just the time it takes for the room to produce, so if you only open up Fallout Shelter every half-hour or so to collect resources then you don’t necessarily need to max out the attributes in all of your rooms.

So there you have it, Overseer! Follow these tips and tricks and you’ll be on your way to having a happy and productive Vault in no time.

Published Jul. 18th 2015

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