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A Fallout Power Armor helmet.

Hard to believe, but the Fallout 76 beta is up and running, with Bethesda taking to social media with an official schedule to help Vault dwellers prepare for the upcoming apocalypse. This beta won't be running 24/7, so you'll want to take a few notes and plan accordingly if you want to get the most out of next week's trial period.

As you can see from the above schedule, the Fallout 76 beta will roll out in two-day increments, presumably for adjustments to be made between each session. Bethesda has opted to align itself with Microsoft this console generation (similar to Call of Duty and Destiny and even Red Dead Redemption 2 on the PlayStation 4), so the Xbox One crowd gets exclusive dibs on the first session. Bethesda is clearly trying to change up the schedule a bit throughout the beta to make sure everyone can find at least one session that aligns with their own schedule.

If you're gaming on the Xbox One, then you can enjoy the beta from Oct. 27-28. The first day will be live for a two-hour block on Oct. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m., with an earlier session on Oct. 28 from 12 to 2 p.m.

After a two-day break, everyone will be able to enjoy the beta's second session beginning Oct. 30, running from 7 to 11 p.m. November kicks off with a slightly longer session, running from 2 to 7 p.m. After another two-day break, the whole thing comes to a close with a Nov. 3 session from 5 to 9 p.m. and an extended Nov. 4 session from 2 to 9 p.m. If you don't get an opportunity to jump in during one or more of these trial runs, your next opportunity to explore the wasteland won't come until the game finally launches on Nov. 14. That's only a week before Battlefield V goes live and a little over two weeks after Red Dead 2's launch this past week so, yeah, it's something of a crowded holiday season for games.

In case that schedule seems a bit odd, more and more developers seem to be going this route, limiting play sessions to just a handful of hours per day. The idea is that it helps create a better work schedule for the staff and, with a limited window of play, it helps guarantee the servers get bombarded with as many players at one time as humanly possible.

As for Fallout 76 itself, this is certainly going to be a unique take on the storied franchise. This is the series' first trip online, with players taking on the role of the first group of vault dwellers to emarge from underground vaults following a devastating nuclear war. That means there are no NPCs on the map, and players will have to learn to work together, or in opposition to each other, on their own.

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