In the years since Fallout 76’s release, multiple content drops have shifted the game’s narrative. Since it can be hard to keep up with which update alters what, we’ve put everything together for you. As of 2024, the beginning of the Fallout 76 timeline has moved back multiple years.
Since the other Fallout games have a general universe that’s so complex and in-depth, we’ll only cover the events that matter most in Fallout 76. Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the in-game Appalachia.
The Great War comes to an apocalyptic head on October 23, 2077, when the first bombs drop. Needless to say, this fateful day is the last this world sees of tidy suburbs and skeleton-free Pulowski Preservation shelters. This event is the catalyst for the entire Fallout 76 timeline.
Members of the Enclave — a secret, pre-war group of high-ranking military leaders, government officials and businessmen — receive an early warning and head to a secure bunker under the Whitesprings Resort for shelter.
In an unrelated series of events, the general manager of the Whitespring Resort orders the building to be sealed. The few remaining workers and stragglers begin to prep for the unknown and the life inevitably awaiting them outside their walls.
Roger Maxson creates the Brotherhood of Steel once he discovers the horrors of the FEV project and experiences the initial devastation of the bombs. He and his team decide to be a beacon of hope and protect the people of the United States in a way the government failed to do.
In the same year, a handful of emergency responders and helpful citizens officially create the responders and attempt to help Appalachian residents. Instead of focusing on weapons and power armor like the Brotherhood of Steel, they lean on medicine and survival training.
The bombs from 2077 create more than a newly irradiated landscape — they cause a nuclear winter. Survival becomes extremely difficult and many don’t make it through the colder months.
At the same period in the Fallout 76 timeline, vault experiments begin. While the Vaults in Appalachia are tame compared to those you find in other games, they still have dark histories.
By the end of 2078, the irradiated snow melts and the harsh nuclear winter comes to an end.
Although renovations on the Whitespring resort began in 1775, the latest update — the Modern Heritage project — requires a total hotel lockdown. After all, guests can’t stay in rooms that are under construction. The few hundred robots running the resort kick out the Whitespring survivors.
The Appalachian Brotherhood of Steel officially begins offering assistance to those in need.
At this point in the Fallout 76 timeline, Thomas Eckhart — the president of the Enclave — assumes control of the Whitespring bunker following a rigged election.
Eckhart ultimately kills those who don’t vow to rid the world of communism with him. He seals them in an enclosed room and uses an air-based toxin on them.
The Enclave creates a biochemical weapon that would later cause the mutagenic infection known as the Scorched Plague — the canonical reason why no human non-playable characters existed in Fallout 76 at first.
Eckhart accidentally discovers the Scorched Plague. Bats inadvertently get exposed to the Enclave’s experiments, receiving biochemicals and high radiation levels simultaneously. As a result, they turn into Scorchbeasts.
Eckhart intentionally unleashes the Scorched Plague onto Appalachia by releasing Scorchbeasts.
Major Ragnarsdottir — an Enclave officer — revolts against Eckhart’s brutality. During the complex, drawn-out battle, members of the coup attempt to destroy the Whitespring bunker’s custom artificial intelligence known as MODUS.
MODUS — heavily damaged but functional — retaliates by sealing the Whitespring bunker and leaking a toxin into the air supply. Ironically, it’s the same chemical Eckhart used in 2083. At this point, every human present dies and the Enclave unceremoniously ends.
The Appalachian Brotherhood of Steel — having officially established Fort Defiance in the ruins of an old mental asylum — attempts to destroy all local Scorchbeasts.
The Appalachian Brotherhood of Steel falls in the battle at Fort Defiance on August 18, 2095. Although the faction’s members believe they had wiped out the local Scorchbeast population in 2093, they were wrong. The final, brutal attack lasts until the very last fighter falls at their post.
On November 7, 2096, Scorchbeasts attack the Morgantown Airport. The Responders fight back as well as they can, but they ultimately fall and their faction ends with them.
Exactly 25 years after the bombs fell, the player character wakes up in Vault 76 on Reclamation Day — at least, that’s how the game began originally. Now, additional content has retroactively adjusted this.
In the Wilds of Appalachia update, creatures like the Sheepsquatch and purveyor Murmrgh become established in the lore.
Drawn by rumors of treasure and safety, human NPCs — er, survivors — finally make their way to Appalachia on October 23, 2103. The Wastelanders update gave fans what they had long waited for and pushed back the Fallout 76 timeline start date one year.
The Settlers and Blood Eagles come into existence as part of the Wastelanders update.
In the Steel Dawn update, the Brotherhood of Steel returns to re-establish themselves in Appalachia. Also, they seek to lend aid to those in need in the irradiated wasteland.
October 23, 2104 is the latest start date for the Fallout 76 timeline — you can look at the time on your Pip-boy if you want to double-check. Technically, the game’s opening now begins here.
The Steel Reign update sees the Brotherhood of Steel’s story conclude. Since the narrative progresses from the first update that took place in 2103, the world moves forward one year.
In the Night of the Moth update, Mothman and its cultists enter Appalachia.
The Pitt update sees the Responders make a bold return to Appalachia. Having secured a Vertibird, they make their home in the Whitespring Resort while traveling to Pittsburgh to lend aid.
The Ogua and the Blue Devil creatures appear in the Once in a Blue Moon update. Simultaneously, the Blue Ridge Caravan company expands to Appalachia.
Nuka-World — a traveling carnival with prizes, rides and new NPCs — arrives in Appalachia.
As a result of the player character’s actions, MODUS reactivates the Enclave and acts as its head.
The player character’s actions cause the Scorched Plague to end. You ultimately inoculate most residents of Appalachia. However, the mutagenic infection still technically exists in those previously infected.
Although the Fallout 76 timeline technically ends on October 23, 2104, it will likely continue to shift as future content updates come out.
The Current Fallout 76 Timeline
Heading into 2024, the Fallout 76 timeline still technically begins in 2104. However, there’s no telling how future content updates might alter things even further. If you’re a hardcore fan of the lore, it’s best to pay close attention.
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