Watoga was founded by Watoga, Inc. on February 4, 2042, built at the site of an old ghost town[Non-game 1] in the state of West Virginia. Financed by Atomic Mining Services, the Watoga project aimed to create a "city of the future" and was designed to be fully automated. Civil services and municipal management were handled by a variety of carefully programmed RobCo Industries and General Atomics International robot models (mostly protectrons and Mr. Handies), operating the city cleanly and efficiently.
The only human element in governance was the mayor, chosen by the city's systems for a term of random duration. The system was intended to ensure that the mayor would not be hounded by special interests or bribes from corrupt enterprises. The Watoga Constitution also granted the mayor's executive orders to be the force of law, with the single exception that no such law could directly counteract that authority.
As the randomly-selected mayors likely would not have the governmental experience, the Watoga Municipal Center office was outfitted with the Mayoral Artificial Intelligence Assistant, or MAIA, an artificial intelligence intended to provide the mayor with the necessary expertise to help make executive decisions. Mayors in the office could tell MAIA their desires to draft the appropriate legislation or, if confused about a possible course of action, be provided with informative answers from her knowledge database of decades worth of curated news articles, court opinions, and legislature. Despite the founding company's intentions, the system of governance proved to be fundamentally flawed in practice. Mayors often had no regard for the public interest, instead abusing their position for personal gains, such as the banning of rock and roll music.
Watoga greatly suffered from elitism, with steep property prices excluding all but the richest Appalachians from purchasing real estate within the city. The elites had a vested interest in their city, voting against any measures that would endanger their status, including limiting emergency fire services to only the city's major districts and declining additional bus services so that the lowered cost wouldn't bring the "wrong kinds of people" to the city. Watoga also created its own periodical, the Watoga Times, which had existed by at least 2057. The newspaper advertised the Atomic Lottery, a lottery in which the winner would receive a decade's supply of various foodstuffs, with at least one winner emerging one month before the war, having played the lottery for over 20 years.
Operation Free Watoga
After Watoga's completion, the need for human workers dwindled, causing nearby towns to become abandoned and forfeit. When applying for Watoga citizenship, residents in the surrounding area were routinely rejected by RobCo's management, including full-time employees at the company. The dissatisfaction and rejection caused Scott Turner, a RobCo developer, to form the Free Watoga People's Party and sabotage the city and its robotic staff.
On October 22, 2077, Turner launched Operation Free Watoga, breaching Watoga's emergency service protocols and causing the city's robots to malfunction. To prevent others from fixing the machines, Turner broke the transmission sequencer and corrupted the software on update terminals throughout the RobCo Research Center, leaving the terminal in his office the only machine capable of creating updates. To restrict access, Turner locked the terminal and prevented any badge other than his own from accessing the office. While Turner had only planned to evacuate Watoga to make elites beg for permission to live in the city again, Watoga's emergency services massacred the citizens as they tried to evacuate. Any residents who were not evacuated from the city perished.
As a precaution in the event of her death, the mayor, Barbara Elizabeth, issued an executive order to instate anyone who entered her Watoga Municipal Center office as the new mayor for the day. Once evacuations were complete, Elizabeth had planned to negotiate a truce with the unknown saboteur, but succumbed to fatal injuries before she could do so. Watoga's robotic emergency services continued to remain hostile after the Great War, deterring survivors from taking refuge in the automated city's supply-rich environment.
Watoga is an expansive and dense city, featuring tall buildings, shopping plaza, an underground garage, two monorail stations, train station and transit hub. The unique spire of corporate headquarters of Atomic Mining Services towers over all other buildings in the city.
The administrative portion of town is centralized around the corporate obelisk, containing Watoga's municipal and civic centers. The tall buildings connect to those to the southwest, including the Watoga Estates via elevators and skybridges to and from the topside pool, municipal center rooftops, and monorail station to the northwest. The upper floors of the central buildings are also accessible via stairwells in the southeastern part of town. Across the street from the civic center, Watoga Emergency Services features an open lobby and roof access, containing a helipad and view of downtown Watoga.
The northeastern commercial portion of the is situated between the headquarters plaza to the west and high school to the south. The businesses of the shopping plaza are located throughout, including Super-Duper Mart, Watoga Real Estate, and Hubris Comics n' Toys store alongside Miller's Appliances and Stuart's Department Store. Along the northern perimeter, a long walkway overlooks the Cranberry Bog region, complete with garden terraces and a bandstand. The southern edge features Fresh Soil Restaurant, Slocum's Joe, Cranberry Heights, and a solitary Drumlin Diner. Circling back towards the center of town, a crashed vertibot and its detritus are scattered across the AMS plaza.
The city is inhabited by several varieties of robots, such as Assaultrons, Eyebots and Protectrons, created continuously via robot fabricators throughout the city. Wrecked vehicles, scorchbeast guano piles, and broken robots litter the roadways. Scorchbeasts have also constructed nests out of accumulations of wreckage, affixed to the walls and roofs of several buildings.
Split-flap display signs are installed throughout the city, actively rotating through their pre-War announcements, including the westernmost welcome sign that still monitors the population of the town in real time. The city's roadways are named after the city's tech companies, either by name or by associated verbiage, such as RobCo Boulevard, Innovation East, and AMS West streets.
- AMS corporate headquarters
- Watoga Civic Center
- Watoga Emergency Services
- Watoga Estates
- Watoga High School
- Watoga Municipal Center
- Watoga Station
- Watoga Towers
- Watoga Transit Hub
- Watoga Underground
- Watoga University
- Enola Walker's story, part 4 - Holotape, behind the red music pavilion, near a trash can.
- Key to Clara's box - In a locked toolbox (opened with the toolbox key) on the rocks at the creek bank just off the sidewalk near Drumlin Diner. Opens a wooden crate inside of the doghouse in Sutton.
- Two potential magazines:
- Northeast of Watoga High School, inside the transit bus (not any of the nearby school buses), on the seat just to the right of the entrance.
- On the suspended monorail car in the southeast corner of the city, just west of Watoga High School. At the front left side of the carriage, near the driver's controls.
- Two power armor chassis with T-series armor pieces:
- Next to the crashed vertibot in the central plaza in front of the AMS corporate headquarters.
- On the roof of the building east of the Watoga Civic Center near a vertibot. There are several access routes, one is the fire escapes on the east wall of the civic center.
- There are four more sets in or on:
- Watoga Civic Center - In the main arena.
- Watoga Emergency Services - One on the roof. There are stairs to the roof from the top floor.
- Watoga High School - One on the roof. There are outside stairs on the south side of the building.
- Watoga Transit Hub - One inside a Picklock level 3 locked room off the lobby.
- Potential workshop plan - Inside a trailer truck at the southwest corner of Watoga, on (or submerged in) a crate to the left of a dresser.
- Two Stealth Boys:
- Inside a trailer truck at the southwest corner of Watoga, to the right of a dresser.
- Inside a bus to the immediate north of the Watoga High School parked buses, to the left.
- Potential recipe - Inside the Drumlin diner, next to a cooking stove.
- The split-flap display sign at the town's entrance displays population updates in real time based on the number of player characters in the town.
- The city's 2042 founding date is displayed on the city's seal, included in a RobCo copyright on the municipal center's automated update beacon, and explicitly mentioned as February 4, 2042, in the mayor's terminal. A loading screen states that Watoga was built as a joint effort between AMS, RobCo, and the federal government, despite RobCo Industries being founded on June 25, 2042, four months after the city's founding.
- After Mayor for a Day is completed, all robots in Watoga will no longer attack the player character, even if attacked first.
Watoga appears only in Fallout 76.
Behind the scenes
Watoga being built over an old ghost town is likely a reference to a real world ghost town near the Greenbrier River Trail in southeastern West Virginia. The real-world Watoga, West Virginia, is classified as an unincorporated community in Pocahontas County, as some properties in the area are still privately owned. However, it is considerably smaller than the in-game city of Watoga.
- Vault Dweller: "Did you also become the mayor for a day?"
Maram Ayari: "Oh! Made your way up to see MAIA, did you? I'm impressed. Yeah. You can imagine my chagrin when I arrived at the promised robot utopia, only to get laser-beamed from every direction. But I wasn't gonna give up on my dream that easily. So I loaded up on Stealth Boys and scoured the place until I found MAIA. The rest is history."
(Maram Ayari's dialogue)
- Vault Dweller: "I'm the mayor of Watoga. The city of robots."
Captain Fields: " "
Sergeant Thompson: " "
(Captain Fields and Sergeant Thompson's dialogue)
- Watoga Municipal Center terminal entries; Mayor's terminal, Selection Committee Letter [Archived]
- Watoga city seal
- RobCo Research Center terminal entries; receptionist terminal
- Fallout 76 loading screens: "Watoga was built as a joint effort between the federal government, RobCo, and Atomic Mining Services to build a 'city of the future.'"
- AMS corporate headquarters terminal entries; CEO Kilson's terminal, Partnership Report: RobCo
- Watoga Municipal Center terminal entries; Mayor's terminal, List of Pertinent Executive Orders
- Watoga Emergency Services terminal entries; Emergency report terminal, File Fire Report, Minor Fire Incident
- Watoga Transit Hub terminal entries; Front desk terminal, New Bus Lines Proposal
- Survivor story: Willie Mae
- Goodbye dad
- Where now?
- RobCo Research Center terminal entries; HR terminal, Watoga Applications
- Abandoned Bog Town terminal entries; Encrypted Message 4.24.77
- Letter to Jennica
- Operation Free Watoga log 322
- Watoga Municipal Center terminal entries; Mayor's terminal, Mayor for a Day
- Letter to Jennica and Letter from Jennica
- Barbara Elizabeth: "I've failed. Whoever you are, you're mayor of a dead city. Those I couldn't evacuate have perished. There's no one... nothing left."
(Mayor for a Day)
- Last words
- Notes 11/77
- Non-game sources
- Fallout 76 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide p. 492: "28. WATOGA
This area was built at the site of an old ghost town. The titans of industry and robotics crafted this shining new center of commerce to be the jewel of southeast Appalachia—a fully autonomous city, where robots catered to your every whim. As the more cynical detractors pointed out at the time, there was likely to be a downside if these robots were to ever malfunction. Now Watoga is abandoned aside from a sizable mechanical population. Exercise extreme caution as you explore the rusting towers of the Cranberry Bog Capital; emotionless automatons and extremely long drops are just the start of the threats that abound in these parts!"
(Fallout 76 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide Atlas of Appalachia)