During the final moments of the Fallout 76 beta, a player managed to launch what seems to be the first nuke of the game. A Twitch streamer by the name of FrenchTomahawk put in hours of work and managed to complete all the steps required to launch a nuke. Check out this Twitch clip which shows the nuke being launched.
So how was this player able to complete all the steps required to launch a nuke during the beta? To unlock the launch codes, players must complete the lengthy Overseer quest line. The short intervals of the Fallout 76 beta sessions made this a very difficult task, which is probably what Bethesda wanted as they have yet to explain how nukes are balanced. After you complete the main quest line, you’ll still need to find nuclear launch codes which are hidden around the map. This process can be shortened by joining a faction, which is what FrenchTomahawk did by joining the Enclave. The player will then need to take part in a gruesome murder session involving Ghouls and Scorched officers to get their hands on all eight combinations.
It doesn’t end there, however, as you’ll still need to obtain a nuclear keycard. For this, the player will have to search cargo bots which are guarded by ‘vertibots’. When you have found both the combinations and the keycard, you’ll have to decipher the codes. It’s a fairly lengthy process, but this guide made by Hashbringer explains it pretty well. After completing all the prerequisites, the player can aim and launch the nuke via the corresponding silo.
Aside from being obliterated and burnt to a crisp, the target area is hit with mass amounts radiation. Improved loot and tougher enemies will begin spawning in the area, too. As the nuclear launch codes expire after a period of time, launching nukes is a repeatable activity. There’s probably more to it than that, but we’ll have to wait for Bethesda’s word on this topic, as these results were based on the beta test, and not the final version of Fallout 76.