One of the biggest ways Fallout 4 differs from its predecessors is its focus on crafting and settlement building. Much like in past games, the junk found throughout the game world can be collected, but in Fallout 4 the parts can then be used to build and improve settlements created throughout the wasteland.
Managing settlements and raising the happiness of the settlers living therein is one of the more challenging gameplay elements of Fallout 4. Happiness is also important for players who want to unlock the “Benevolent Leader” trophy/achievement in Fallout 4, but as stated previously, it’s no easy feat.
This guide is for those looking to raise the happiness of their settlements with hope of unlocking the Benevolent Leader achievement/trophy, as well those that that just want tips on raising their settlements’ happiness levels in general.
This is truly one of the more daunting challenges that can be found in Fallout 4‘s post-apocalyptic Bostonian wasteland. So before attempting to raise the maximum happiness of a settlement, first focus on leveling and collecting bottle caps, perhaps until the main quest is finished.
While it’s certainly possible to accomplish this before finishing the main quest, getting that out of the way will likely put players in a better position to be successful. Also be sure to maintain the “chosen settlement” periodically while completing the main quest, so the work is spread throughout the game.
To improve the settlement, players should be adding food, water, beds, and other resources, while also building a recruitment beacon to attract as many settlers as possible. Settlers from other settlements besides the primary one can be told to travel there if the player character’s charisma is high enough, so keep that in mind if it’s a struggle to reach the 20 settler mark.
While leveling and going through the main quest, try to funnel skill points into Charisma, as Charisma is crucial to the later stages of maintaining a settlement. Two other perks that one should spend skill points on are the Local Leader and Cap Collector perks, as they will both come in handy later on, and are the most important out of Fallout 4‘s 275 perk levels for successful settlement building.
Fallout 4 has no level cap, so players that find themselves at the end of the main quest without the proper skills leveled can simply keep grinding by completing quests and defeating enemies until they do have the necessary skills.
Meet the Needs of the People
When ready to start truly trying to raise the settlement to maximum happiness, be sure to build a clothes store and a trading store, in addition to as many clinics and restaurants as possible. This is where the Local Leader and Cap Collector perks come into play, as the former allows players to open these shops in the first place, and the latter allows them to invest in the shops, raising their overall buying capacity as a result.
Opening these stores will require a significant investment of caps, which is one of the reasons why we recommend waiting until finishing the main quest to start. Unless players are using the infinite bottle caps glitch, it will take quite a long time to raise the necessary funds.
Players should also keep an eye on the basic needs of the people, which includes maintaining the food and water sources, as well as supplying enough beds and defense. Whenever one of these areas is lacking, their icons will be red, and a caution sign will be seen next to the name of the settlement in the Pip-Boy.
To have a decent supply of food in a settlement, pick an area to plant crops, and then assign settlers to maintain the crops. Build water purifying machines for the settlement as well, but keep in mind that they will need to be powered by generators. Make sure to build any beds under a roof, as that seems to have an effect on the happiness of the settlers.
Even if there is an adequate amount of these resources available to the settlers, when in doubt, just add more, as more of everything can improve the happiness stat. This is especially true for defense, so build as many turrets as possible, though don’t assign too many settlers to guard posts; assign them to crops and shops instead.
The only resource that does not appear to have any effect on the happiness stat is power. Power is necessary for things like traps and generators, so there wil be a lot of power in the settlement, but don’t stress too much about it as it is not hugely important to the task at hand.
Things to Consider
While the reviews for Fallout 4 praise it as one of the best games of the year, there’s no denying that the game definitely has its fair share of bugs. Unfortunately, this particular achievement/trophy and the process of raising a settlement to maximum happiness is not free from these issues, so there are some things players should keep in mind during the process.
First of all, some gamers have reported that it is impossible to achieve max happiness with a companion following the player. Others have disputed this claim, but those having difficulties may consider sending any companions to a different settlement, just in case.
Second, being away from the settlement tends to trigger an issue wherein the settlement is not properly registering all that’s actually in it. This means that even though more beds and food resources may have been recently added, the game may claim that there is a deficiency, and the happiness of the settlement will reflect that deficiency. Visiting the settlement again usually fixes this problem.
In fact, the best thing to do is to stay in the settlement when doing nothing but attempting to raise max happiness, as just standing around the settlement and spending time there seems to make the happiness stat rise. Alternatively, utilizing the wait function and sleeping in the settlement is also helpful in this regard.
Unfortunately, some players have reported being stuck at 99 happiness, which can be frustrating for obvious reasons. Those that are having difficulties bumping the happiness up to 100 should try the waiting trick, or filling the settlement with decorations.
Setting up trade routes to go through the settlement also helps, as does clearing out any debris or junk, such as destroyed cars or fallen trees, which is also a way to collect valuable crafting materials. Fill the settlement with as much resources, decorations, and shops as possible, and keep waiting or sleeping there to try to make the happiness stat rise.
Following this guide should prove useful to anyone going for the Benevolent Leader achievement/trophy in Fallout 4, and for anyone trying to raise the happiness levels of their settlements to maximum. If you have any additional tips that make the process a little easier, feel free to drop a comment below and let us know other methods for raising the happiness stat of settlements in Fallout 4.
Fallout 4 is currently available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.