"Fallout" veterans probably don't need much if any guidance when it comes to "Fallout 4," but if you're new to the series you'll probably make your fair share of mistakes. You'll learn as you go along, but there are a few things you should know before you start playing.

Don't waste your starting stats. You get 21 points to spend while you’re creating your character, on any of seven available stats. You could, theoretically, place seven points in three stats and ignore the rest, but that would only make life difficult. The perks in "Fallout 4" require various stat levels before you can even unlock them, but they're also place behind character level restrictions -- you might have 10 Charisma at the beginning of the game, but you won't be able to touch the level 10 Charisma ability, "Intimidate" until your character level reaches 50. Give yourself balance and freedom at the start, so you won’t be particularly weak in any column and you'll be able to unlock perks at a fairly steady rate.

Allocate your level points wisely. You don’t level up very often, and you only get one point to spend each time. If you can plan out what you want in advance, you’ll avoid wasting points on abilities you’ll never use. For example, if you like using rifles and other long-distance weapons, there’s no need to spend points on the "Brawler" perk, which increases the amount of damage you do empty-handed. Also, put points into the actual category stats only when you need to, to unlock abilities, with the exception of charisma. You’ll need that for dialogue choices, unless your idea of a solution is to just shoot everyone. 

Fallout 4 logo Bethesda officially announced its next game, "Fallout 4," on June 3, 2015. Photo: Bethesda Softworks

Become a packrat. You’ll pick up a lot of garbage around the wastelands, but it’s more useful than it seems. Pieces of steel, cloth, and rubber amongst other things are the keys to improving your arsenal. You can’t expect to continually find newer and better weapons, so your best bet is to upgrade and modify what’s all around you. You’ll be surprised what you can turn a standard rifle into, with the right mods. The same goes for armor: You might look a bit silly wearing a reclaimed baseball helmet, but if you stuff some metal plates inside to deflect bullets, you’re going to have a better chance of staying alive.

Finally, learn the intricacies of VATS, the assisted targeting system "Fallout" is known for. Sure, you can handle enemies without touching it -- and sometimes it’s better that way, if you know you can hit them -- but it’s often the key to exploiting weaknesses. Plus slowing down time to shoot an enemy in the face might buy you enough time to run away and recover.

There’s a lot to discover in "Fallout 4." You’ll have to experiment to figure out exactly what works for you, but at least you’ll have the basics down before you jump into the wastelands.