VATS, or Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting system, has been an integral part of Fallout since the birth of the franchise. From a mechanic for turn based combat in the first entries, to a magic time stopping limb targeting mechanic as a crutch to the iffy gunplay mechanics in Fallout 3 and NV, to a slow-motion targeting mechanic in Fallout 4, and finally as a practical aim-bot in Fallout 76, VATS has undergone quite a few changes along with the Fallout franchise. Many are of the opinion that VATS is useless in Fallout 76, but in this guide, I wish to show you how it works and how it can actually be useful to you.
To start off, VATS is available to use for every player. Just hit the bound key or button and off the bat your target will glow green with a percentage next to it, which is the chance you have to land a hit. Each hit over time (doesn’t have to be the same target) will slowly build up your critical meter. The rate at which the critical meter fills depends on your luck. The critical meter, when full, gives you the ability to land a critical hit, similar to how Fallout 4 worked in that regard. When in VATS, simply hit the critical hit button followed by the attack button, and you will land a critical hit on your target with bonus damage. In my opinion, this alone is an easy way to get extra damage on a boss. If you run around with a filled crit meter, you can use the critical hit on a tough enemy to help you out a little.
There are some perk cards that can boost the usefulness of VATS for you, too. The “Concentrated Fire” Perception perk, available at level 2, gives you the ability to target limbs, which can let you cripple opponents legs or decapitate them. “Awareness” lets you see enemy’s damage resistances and”Penetrator” lets you hit covered body parts. There are also other perks in the Luck category, giving you chances to immediately fill your critical meter in VATS, do more damage, or regenerate AP.
With the right cards, VATS can be a tool to do some serious damage to targets. Imagine you are running a level 70 lucky VATS build character, fighting a scorchbeast queen. You target its head in vats, but the head is hidden by something. No issue, you have a perk for that. You shoot its head with a critical hit you have saved, but some leveled up perk cards refill your critical meter, letting you land consecutive critical hits for an extra 40% damage as long as your luck and AP hold out. You kill other enemies with VATS, refilling your AP (because of your perk card, of course) giving you more fuel to land critical hits on the queen. before long, the beast is dead, and you have VATS to thank for it. For VATS to be this useful takes lots of patience and leveling focus, but when given the right perks, VATS can make your character an aim-bot GOD.