This guide shows what to pick for a critical hits centered character, as well it has a ton of general info that you’ll want to know about what to pick for your perks, equipment, and SPECIAL. It allows for user variation too.
This character build assumes you have all DLC (well you don’t need GRA/Courier’s, but there’s a perk called vigilant recycler that greatly benefits from GRA), and you’re not going to take the trait logan’s loophole, that limits your character level to 30. However even with the level 30 cap, Logan’s Loophole is still a good trait.
Note: Also some of the glitches I talk about might not work if you’re using a community patch.
After editing and doing so much research, this guide has changed quite a bit. I’ve learned so much and realized that there are many variations and optimizations, so I’ve tried to give the player as much choice as possible in creating their own character variation. You must realize that some sections I wrote were for version 1, but as I’m writing this I’m about to introduce version 4. Each version is just a refinement, I’ve kept the previous version so that you can see how it evolves. So there might be some dissonance between some sections.
This spreadsheet[www.nexusmods.com] is extremely useful for planning your character. I use it and so should you.
I primarily focus on guns/unarmed/melee for damage in this build, but this guide will help you find replacement perks so that you can optimize for Energy/Explosives if you want. Energy weapons got better in a patch because the ammo got buffed, but on release they plain sucked. Some important explosives perks were bugged which threw explosives into the back of the bus (get it? threw?).
Version 4 changes my build with my discovery that tri-radii oscillator from Old World Blues acts like glasses and give +1 END + (small) hp regen and +4DT, I decided it would better to invest the lonesome road SPECIAL point into luck. This means I can replace the lucky shades with the tri-radii which gives some nicer benefits, the only thing you end up losing is an implant. However the monocyte breeder isn’t that good so you can afford to lose it. The tri-radii actually has the same effect but better. Some might say that you should the monocyte anyway because of the syngery, but there are other, better ways of hp regen from the sierra power armor, to the rad child perk.
*Dead Money allows you do a glitch to get infinite and permanent “fake” agility which functions similiarly to a bottle of alcohol, making you get all the benefits of all agility, but you won’t meet the agility perk requirements because it acts as a temporary (like alcohol) boost rather than permanent (intense training/implants). Similiarly, the +2 STR from OWB acts like a temporary buff meaning you can’t select higher STR perks.
Because we’re going for critical hits the obvious armor equipment is –
Elite Riot Gear
Its an awesome medium armor that gives +5 crit chance which is what we’re looking for. Also gives +1 charisma, which is nice. Gives +10 guns which isn’t that amazing because chances are you have 100 guns. With jury rigging you can repair it with combat armor and the cheaper recon armor.
1st Recon Beret
You can get this item fairly early in the game. It gives no DT and doesn’t degrade at all. It gives +5 crit chance which is what we want. Also gives +1 perception, which is nice.
Atomic Valence Tri-Radii-Oscillator
What’s this? An item that doesn’t give crit chance? Well as explained above, using this item means replacing your lonesome road SPECIAL into Luck to replace Lucky Shades.
If you don’t like the Tri-Radii (it’s pretty rad so I can’t understand why you don’t like it), you’ll have go for the classic-
These babies give +1 Luck, and + 3 Perception if you have the four eyes trait, but its the worse trait in the game so don’t bother. It has no DT, and it doesn’t degrade.
I’ll talk about getting these things later in the discussion section if you side against the legion. This thing was pretty mandatory for optimizing SPECIAL points and getting max Luck, but as I’ve discovered the tri-radii + putting the lonesome road SPECIAL point into luck is ultimately a better deal.
Note: Last time I checked the Elite Riot Helmet is glitched and will work with 1st recon beret but
clipping issues will happen.
Built to Destroy – +3 crit chance, but weapons degrade 15% faster, because of Dead Money’s endless repair kits this isn’t an issue, and having Raul as a partner gives a perk that counters this pretty well. Alhough Raul isn’t the best companion, I just make him wait at his house while partnering up with him to get the perk benefit.
Skilled – +5 to all skills at the cost of reduced XP? sign me up
Small Frame – you really only need 7 AGI, so you can redistribute a SPECIAL point
Fast Shot – Increases firing rate at the cost of accuracy. You may think that this is bad for sniper characters, but here’s the thing about that, sniper esque weapons typically have small sway anyway making the difference negliable. But that not to say the sway makes it harder to hit targets at further distances. Auto weapons typically have garbage accuracy anyway and you’ll want to use them close up too.
Kamikaze – if you want more AP this is good, the downside is extremely minor
What about other traits? Go to the discussion section, but for this character build nothing is more useful.
Guns – If you want rapid reloading at level 2, then you need 30 guns anyway
Lockpicking – There’s a lot of lockpicking to be done in this game…
Repair – Repair isn’t as important as in FO3, but I still find it important to have high repair percentages, even in early game.
(you can pick medicine/survival if you want to replace lockpicking/repair for early game)
Low Intelligence Variant
this is currently being edited so if you see it come back at a later time to find out more.
As ScottishBirdman] user who keeps changing his steam nickname in the comment section points out, having high intelligence becomes worthless by late. Why is this true? Because you don’t need all skills at 100. In particular having 100 speech, science and lockpick is rather worthless when you have skill magazines with comprehension.
What do you get extra from going low intelligence? Well.. not much. You get to reinvest SPECIAL point from your Intelligence at the cost of losing a few skills being at 100. You can compensate a lot with skilled though.
Also if you maintain below 3 intelligence you ocassionally get a silly dialogue option because you’re so dumb. I don’t know how this affects the game I never cared for going low intelligence. The implant doctor also gives you a discount when you have 3 or lower intelligence which is a plus.
The reality is that you can take out 3 intel points and reinvest them into Agility and Luck.
So lets Respec this
Having 9 luck in the beginning gives you the +5 skill points to everything which helps prevent accidentially giving a point or two in the wrong skill.
You can go to the SPECIAL Distribution pages for dicussions on what to invest to, but this is a general guide. In summary though, 8 strength allows 95% of all weapons to be used without penalties, but you simply drink a beer to boost to 10. Perception is worthless except for Better Criticals, it doesn’t improve VATS hit chance and only increases range at which you can detect enemies, in the past I put an extra point in here, but putting that point back into intelligence offers a higher quality of life improvement, especially if you don’t plan on taking Logan’s Loophole. Endurance is at 8 because the monocyte implant is worthless, even though its comboes nicely with tri-radii it’s simply not worth having an extra point of END for negliable heal rate, especially with tri-radii giving the same benefits. Charisma is low for obviously reasons, get the implant just for some damage bonuses with allies. Intelligence is at 4 because with the implant you have just you get an optimal amount of skill points with 4+1, plus you don’t need to rush intel implants to get comprehension by level 4. Agility is the biggest benefactor ecause its the only SPECIAL that offers long lasting bonuses with +3 AP/ +% reload speed per point. High luck because we’re a critical hits character and it helps with gambling.
NOTE: If you plan on going 3 Intel remember that you need the intel implant before level 4 to get comprehension
Almost all 102 with some skill points to spare
- Barter = 63
- Energy Weapons = 55
- Explosives* = 55
- Guns = 32
- Lockpick = 30
- Medicine = 57
- Melee = 47
- Repair = 42
- Science*** = 37
- Sneak*** = 39
- Speech = 21
- Survival* = 53
- Unarmed = 49
*6 skill books
***9 skill books
So you’ll get 102 skill points in every skill except for:
Lockpick = 92
Science = 90
Speech = 60
Melee = *98
Melee gets +4 from OWB perk, but it doesn’t affect meeting the requirements for perks
Skill points Left: ~31
You can shave off 5 points off lockpick by using the Vault 3 Utility Jumpsuit. However with 92 lockpick you can easily boost to 100 lockpicking by boosting perception from using mentat , coyote tobacco, and Absinthe, and wearing perception boosting hats like 1st recon beret.
Science Can by bumped lower.
For science, you can wear Dr Mobius’ Scrubs which will give +19 science from a +15 science boost on top of the +2 Intel boost, then you just have to drink some black coffee for a +4 intel boost, then you get 76+19+8= 103 science. However Dr mobius’ scrubs weighs 6 and programmer’s digest weighs nothing. In a pinch you can wear the follower’s lab coat for +10 science.
There are VERY few situations where having 100 in either is necessary, usually you will need 100 lockpick/science to back door a quest, however this was more present in fallout 3 than NV.
100 lockpick is needed a few reasons, the gobi campaign sniper rifle is most notable, however the regular sniper is arguably better due to the mods. Also Christine’s COS sniper is better (but it has exceptionally high AP cost) than both. So gobi’s is irrevelant in a post DLC NV. Most Very Hard Lock have a key anyway or just guard Casino registers which I’ve never found valuable. Another notable case is getting vance’s 9mm gun, you need 100 lockpick or 55 speech. Considering there are far better weapons, and by the time you get this gun you’ll probably be swimming in the neat gear that you can get for free around the wasteland, I don’t see it as a valuable weapon.
100 science is just needed for very hard terminals (which are almost non-existant) and the auto inject super stimpacks recipes. 90 science is needed for super stimpacks and nuka cola recipes (with nuka chemist) and 85 science for the ECP max charge. So you’re pretty safe not having 100 science 24/7.
Speech is easily boosted. In fact you could all the way down to like 50, however I keep it at 60 because then I only need 3 things to boost 100, party time mentants, naughty nightwear, and the meeting people magazine.
These 3 skills do not need to be at 100 all the time, you can predict when you need them and as such you can use skill boosters to save yourself some skill points.
You can forgo some points in other skills like sneak and barter if need be, but skills like survival and medicine are better off at 100 for maximum effect, otherwise you’ll always be popping a skill mag to get the maximum effect which is a waste of time.
If you take advantage of the Dead Money glitch to get infinite agility however then you can take out 2 points from agility and the lonesome road special point and put into something else.
After playing this build for a while I didn’t like it as much as my original build, primarily because you lose so many skill points. In comparison my normal build would give you an extra ~60 skill points by level 30.
Enjoy your extra 9 AP / +30% reload speed and see enemies on your radar slightly earlier you optimizing hipsters!
SPECIAL Distribution Part 1
Note: Implants are perks you can buy to increase a SPECIAL point by 1, you can only increase each SPECIAL only once. This is dicussed more in the upcoming endurance talk, there are two perk implants besides the SPECIAL ones too.
Also I elaborate more on some of this stuff in the Discussions sections.
In Old Worlds Blues you get a perk that gives a “permanent temporary” boost to strength. What does this mean? There’s no specific word to describe the perk’s effect. Basically it gives a +STR bonus the same way a bottle of beer does. Meaning you cannot select a perk that requires 9 Str, but you always have the benefits of 9 STR otherwise, from carry weight, bonus melee dmg, and weapon requirements. Initially this perk gives +1 STR, but at the end of OWB you can change it to give +2. Thankful there aren’t a lot of strength perks. Unstoppable force and heavyweight are the only perks that need 7 strength, but they are not that great, every other STR perk requirement is 6 or less.
Strength is the same as in FO3, but however as the fallout wikia explains it’s slightly better now because of implementations of calculations and DT and DR. Strength is also needed to determine whether you suffer from a penalty from using certain weapons. If you don’t meet the strength requirements, then you 1) lose accuracy or 2) lose swinging speed. Because of implants and OWB strength will be at 8 (6+2) which is enough to cover almost every weapon in the game. There are a few weapons that need 9, and only two that need 10.
These weapons are
9 STR Weapons:
- ballistic fist -plenty of alternatives, although its the main reason for getting 9 strength because its AMAZING and top 3 of all unarmed weapons.
two-step good byte – annoying to use (to me) but otherwise same as above
- FIDO – A .44 magnum minigun essentially, again not that great to me, too much spread for such powerful ammo.
- blade of the east worthless, you don’t get a lot of time to use it which is sad because its pretty baller.
- blade of the west its meh, plenty of other options
- nuka breaker – if it had better crit damage and crit multipler then it would be ok, but its not that great.
- rebar club – not good, but rebar club is easy to get early on
10 STR Weapons:
- CZ57 Avenger
In reality, ballastic fist, FIDO and the CZ57 are the only weapons from this list you’ll end up using in the long run, or unless you want to cheat for the blade of the east.
Perception is not that useful, most of the perception perks require only 6 perception. There are only two perks that require 7, infiltrator and hobbler. Infiltrator sucks and hobbler isn’t that amazing, its a cool idea but only really useful when fighting against melee enemies like deathclaws. Better Criticals needs 6 perception which is why I start with 5 perception and get the implant. The other perception perks are ok, just situational / build depend (like sniper).
There’s no other use for perception, you get a nice +2 to lockpicking/Energy/Explosives for each point, but that’s not that great. Simply put you just need the implant for better crits and then you’ll forget perception even exists. Perception increases range from when enemies show up on the radar too, but overall its not needed.
Endurance is more important in new vegas because it dictates how many implants you can get, you need 9 endurance to get all implants. Note that raising endurance through the implant does not grant an extra implant.
You can still get all implants with 8 endurance by putting a point into endurance with a intense training perk / the lonesome road SPECIAL point. However there’s probably an implant or two you don’t want, like charisma or the monocyte implant. The Monocyte implant is straight up the most useless, it regens 1 hp every 10 secs. Charisma is bad too, but you atleast get some skill points and its passive benefit to companions is pretty good.
This is why I get 8 endurance, I get all implants except the monocyte and with the endurance implant and the tri-radii I get 10 endurance.
Its up to you whether you want to ditch a point or two of endurance and skip some implants, but there’s not much to put those points towards. Strength? read above. Charisma? read below, and its something you probably don’t want anyway, Perception? No real benefits. Endurance? Well now we’ve gone full circle. Intelligence? You really don’t need extra skill points bro. Agility? I guess so, but having 7 is plenty, and you can get +3 permanent temporary from a dead money glitch. Luck? Well that’s probably the best so that you can use the tri-radii from OWB, otherwise well lucky shades covers it.
Rad Resistance and Poison resistance is relatively useless because rad-x greatly increases resistance to radiation temporarily based off of medicine. You can easily hit the +85% radiation resistance cap with Rad-x. On top of the numerous rad resistance armors… There is also a perk from old world blues to prevent poisoning and there are items to cure poison.
SPECIAL Distribution Part 2
Charisma retains its title of the most useless SPECIAL from FO3, charisma’s only new benefit is that it adds +5%DMG/+5DR for companions for each point. What does that mean? Companions become more OP. In Hardcore mode I can see why you would want this (because companions
die permanently rather than become unconscious), but you can just reload a save in all honesty.
Keeping charisma low is a good thing too because there are too many ways to increase it. Particularlly there’s something called a party time mentat which gives +5 charisma, and there are several ways of increasing speech and you don’t need 100 barter because of the faction system. This is discussed later on.
Intelligence is still important, however because you only gain half as much bonus skill points compared to FO3, it’s not as useful.
The +2 to repair/medicine/science isn’t as great too because 100 repair isn’t needed for 100% repair. However repair kits gives +30% when at 100 repair, compared to +25% at 90ish. Science is also pretty useless, there’s like 5 terminals in the game. Science is useful however for energy weapons because recipes require it especially with vigilant recycler. But they’re not the fantastic weapons that they were in FO3. Remeber the Metal Blaster? I still do… I missed you bebe 🙁
Main problem with energy weapons is that they can use multiple cells per shot and ammo is scarce early on, you’ll end up using guns or melee/unarmed more often. Very few merchants sell tons of energy ammo, the BoS and the silver rush are the main sources.
Although in patches since NV’s release, game devs made energy weapons better by giving inherit DT removal depending on ammo type.
There’s one quest where 9 int is useful to mess around with some intel speech checks, but guess what? MENTATS!!! They give +2 intelligence!
The only bad thing about 7 intel is having 13 or 14 skills to distribute during level ups because intelligence is at an odd number which why I like rushing for the intel implant.
Last time I checked 6 is needed just so that with the implant you can get the slayer and nerves of steel perks.
There’s a glitch in dead money to get infinite “permanent temporary” agility. Meaning if you don’t want any agility perks (and don’t really want to use VATS like I do) then you can ditch all agility points. Although having agility below 5 decreases the standard reloading time which will be painful. Every point of agility after 5 increases reload speed by 10% (from what I understand) and each point increases action points by 3, starting from a base of 65, so you’ll always have atleast 68.
Note: Rapid reload needs atleast 5 Agility, it acts better than 2.5 points of agility because its multiplicative with agility’s reload bonus.
Luck, because this character build is critical hits centered having high luck is important. Each point in luck increases critical chance by 1%, and having 9 luck (from the implant) gives +5 to all skills.
Note that you still get skill points from luck even if is it lower, 8 Luck gives +4 skill points to everything for example. Also luck makes gambling easier.
Because sections have so little space I keep having to split sections, as such things may not make sense because I haven’t edited the section to conform to the new information.
you have to should take these perks absolutely, except bloody mess if you don’t like its effects
- Comprehension – read the discussion page about it, it’s 100% better than educated
- bloody mess* – free unconditional +5% dmg and gibbage? Always
- finesse – +5% crit chance, HELLO NURSE!
- better criticals – +50% crit hit damage, am I dreaming?
- Ninja – CONTROVERSY, ninja isn’t as great as it seems, it adds +15% of your base crit chance as additional crit chance with melee/unarmed. So if you had 15% crit chance, it would be 15*1.15=17.25%. And the +20% sneak attack damage bonus only applies to melee/ unarmed, so if you aren’t going to be sneaking and/or using melee/unarmed you can skip this.
- Just Lucky I’m Alive – The last perk you can choose, because of its +50% crit damage this makes it the best choice for crit builds. HOWEVER, it’s other effect is useless, like even if take 6 luck its pretty worthless, how often are you going to go below 25% hp? So choosing to take one of the other two lvl 50 perks is fine too. But the +50% is multiplicative with better criticals which means you get +125% crit damage vs additive which would be +100%.
- Jury rigging – hands down the best and most important perk in the game, weapon repair kits from dead money reduced its usefulness a bit, but armor still benefits greatly from this perk.
- GRX Implant x2 – This perk is essentially the chem Turbo without any of the downsides (besides being limited to a couple uses per day). I really wish VATS was just slow mo like this instead of a targetting system. Some may disagree with it being a perk slot (especially two perks for max effects). because it is just turbo, and using turbo gives a perk that increases its time, on top of chemist and day tripper. However because its a steady supply I find it quite useful.
- Chemist – affects GRX Implants and affects the buff effects duration of healing items like bighorner steak which gives +STR, meaning you can more easily maintain a STR buff for higher STR weapons. According to wikia its because anything that “wears off” is affected by chemist, so pretty much every consumable is affected by this perk. There’s also a perk called day tripper which gives +33% duration for chem and foods, this stacks multiplicatively with chemist, which means chem you take, from implant grx, psycho, stealth boys, and foods last MUCH longer than they otherwise would. All you need to do to get this perk is use 25 chems. Alcohols works too apparantly.
- Intense Training / Rapid Reload – go to dicussions for more info
- toughness X2 – + 6 DT? Sure why not.
- silent running – while not as godly as it was in fallout 3, its still a necessity when it comes to sneaking
- piercing strike – useful against high armor enemies for melee users
- hand loader – Get access to cool ammo types, its pretty good, especially for snipers for the .308 JSP.
- slayer – +30% swing speed, I’m going clubbing tonight boys!
- living anatomy – not really necessary, but really useful, can see HP and DT and get a small damage bonus VS certain targets.
- nerves of steel – +20% ap regen rate, awesome! Works especially well with action boy/girl.
Situational, but really good and worth the perk slot
- pyromaniac – I’m going to talk heavily about this perk. This perk made the shishkebob deadly as hell in FO3. In vanilla NV, there weren’t really any weapons that justified getting it. But with GRA and OWB there suddenly come an influx of weapons that pyromancer affected. The super heated saturnite fist becomes on par with the ballistic fist, hell it might even be better. GRA introduced the a couple of new flame weapons too, although they typically aren’t super godly variation of their common counterparts (looking at you geshanna…). I recommend taking a look at the list of the weapons pyromaniac affects.
These next two perks affect a wide varianty of weapons and turns some of them into godlike weapons
- cowboy – If you plan on using anything involving revolvers or lever action you need to take this perk, the list is incredibly long. The Medicine Stick from GRA with HP ammo basically becomes the strongest gun in the game.
- grunt – Mainly affects weapons from Honest Hearts, but it does affects a couple of other weapons from NV, like THE ALL-AMERICAN (INSERT JON CENA JOKE HERE). Take a look at the list, its pretty nice.
- viligant recycler – With GRA you get the optimized recipes, plus (I think) better recycling recipes. The optimized recipes are extremely good.
- super slam – one-hand/two-handed 15%/30% to knockdown enmies on melee/unarmed hit, its good enough for me.
Note: Chance’s Knife is affected by both cowboy and grunt, very interesting…Until I discovered that blood nap from lonesome road is better in pretty much every way with the cowboy perk.
Completely up to the player (organized by player needs)
- Hit the deck -reduce explosive dmg which is mostly good for lonesome road.
- fast metabolism -not the best due to med-x plus survival recipes can out do medicine. This perk is more useful in hardcore however, stimpacks are weightless too and they’re not that hard to come by. Take a look at them’s good eating if you’re thinking about taking this perk.
- action boy/girl – +15AP?! But it comes with small problem, read the wikia page
- grim reaper – Massively nerfed since its prime time in FO3, its still pretty good, but I think nerves of steel is better, especially with certain mods.
- math wraith – If you go for a more VATS style, then this is good.
- rapid reload – Increases reload speed by alot more than it says,
- quick draw – situational, NV & 3 have a funny quirk where switching weapons instantly reloaded weapons, so it’s an alternative to reloading.
- demo export – I don’t think exp weapons are good, they always seems to glitch and not do any damage, but do what you want
- splash damage -increase range of exp is cool, make sure you have the latest patch, earlier versions of NV had this perk do nothing.
- laser commander – fits thematically, initially I didn’t like this perk but I started to use some energy weapons and they’re pretty cool. This perk acts weirdly through because it adds crit chance flatly. This benefits energy weapons with a crit chance multipler below 1x, like the Laser RCW/Sprtel-Wood 9700/ Smitty Special. If an energy weapon has a 1x crit chance multipler then this perk works as it should. But if your weapon crit chance multipler is above 1x, then you unforunately lose crit chance and a lot of energy weapons have 1.5x-2x crit chance multipler.
- them’s good eating – pretty good, but you get it pretty late and it doesn’t affect food meter in hardcore.
- voracious reader – only get if you want to work in tandem with retention, on top of having comprehension, there’s a magazine called true police stories which will give +10% crit chance (w/ comprehension) for 3 mins (w/ retention). However as you can imagine its not that awesome to waste two perk slots for +10% crit chance for 3 mins and a study supply.
- retention – Increases magazine time to 3 mins, which is good, but becomes worthless later on.
- Rad Child – This is pretty good, it regens 2hp per sec that scales with rad sickness.
These Perks are second rate, but worth consideration.
Organized by player needs
- Adamantium Skeleton -reduce limb dmg, you get a lesser perk that does the same after breaking a few bones.
- stonewall -useful against the legion and big horns
if you want to use joshua graham’s armor/ulysses’ duster instead of elite riot gear these two perks are useful. But otherwise don’t bother. Note, ulysses’ duster offers 5 crit chance, along with light touch means you get 10%, which means you can trade DT from the elite riot gear for extra crit chance from a perk and lighter armor. Tunner Runner isn’t necessery, but OWB has an implant to improve sneak speed too.
- tunnel runner
- light touch
- plasma spaz – Not a lot of plasma weapons to chose and they are not that breathtaking like in FO3.
- Paralyzing Palm – I think its the same as in FO3, in case its op with low AP items. But NV offers some new toys that can replace it.
But what about the accuracy perks? Well take them if you want, they’re OK to me, I just don’t like using VATS because it takes forever to target something.
- unstoppable force – too situational, most melee enemies that block are legion only. Although if you’re going pure melee/unarmed then get it, because melee/unarmed fights are lame in this game unless you VATS past them.
- heave ho -if you want to use thrown weapons this helps a lot.
- the professional -glitch in base game makes this affect all criticals from its list, not just sneak criticals, fits thematically
If you use shotguns then these two are good, although I’d say that shotgun surgeon is really only worth investing in.
- shotgun surgeon – makes shotguns viable vs armored enemies
- and stay back – Note that great unless you use shotguns all the time
- meltdown – problematic, you can’t turn it off, and its really powerful causing some headaches when it comes to looting
- strong back – you can cheat on PC to get more carry weight.
- pack rat – Inventory management, you can cheat for more, not necessary,
- old world gourmet – better for hardcore players, effects aren’t that fantastic, addiction chance isn’t a big deal because of how addiction works
- nuka chemist – only reliable way to get the better nuka cola, but nuka cola is scarce anyway.
- heavyweight – clear some weight from the heavy weapons
- Cannibal – Interesting but disgusting (and I’m not sorry for that judgment), its not bad, but it seems like you’d be wasting a lot of time just for 25hp, the karma loss is neglicable. Meat of Champions is interesting, but it only lasts a minute.
- Entomologists – it was good in FO3 because of albino radscorpions, but in NV there are the more terrifying Cazadors. But in OWB you get perks that lead to +30% damage to cazadors, and a perk that renders you immune to poison. Cazadors are really weak to bullet-time+automatic weapons so this perk really isn’t that great. Unless you really hate rad scorpions for glitching into the mountains 24/7.
- Animal Friend – only useful for OWB because of night stalkers, but in NV most of the enemies that are on this list aren’t that big of a deal. I mean its dogs, night stalkers and almost every geckos, these guys aren’t real threats like deathclaws.
- Robotics Expert – Completely worthless in vegas, there are barely any robots and there are plenty of pulse grenades, mines and the pulse gun to deal with them. I guess in OWB its a good, but are you really taking a perk just to deal with one DLC?
- Light Step – Just memorize trap locations after triggering them. In dead money switching to God from Dog will give an identity companion perk. Seriously there aren’t that many traps in NV, you can just reload a save too. Most traps aren’t even that deadly.
- Chem resistant – Its 50 caps to cure an addiction, all this does is slow down how often you have go to a doctor.
- Weapon handling – if your going for a low str character sure (and I mean like <4 STR), but you can drink alcohol/eat bighorner’s steak to get a temp boost.
- Explorer – To all the people who say get this perk, do me a favor, google fallout new vegas map.
- Rad Absorption – Its -1 rad every 20 seconds, this perk is completely worthless I don’t even remember why I put it on my list a few months ago! Rad away costs 20 caps at lowest value, just buy it!
Most other traits aren’t that good, but some are interesting, lets take a look.
Fast Shot / Trigger Discipline – reciprocals of each other, you’re either getting better or worse accuracy or fire speed. Nothing else in the game really does this, except steady which sets weapon spread to zero. You can counter most of trigger’s negative effects with ain’t like that now, a level 50 karma perk, however you need evil karma to get it and its the last perk you can it, meaning you have to deal with trig’s negative effects through most of the game. These perks also affect AP costs. These two traits are incredibly interesting, but new vegas is light on combat situations.
Also don’t take both at the same time, the net result is negative.
Four eyes – Worse trait in the game. The bonus perception you get isn’t added correctly, its added as it if its a boost from a beer or a mentat, meaning you actually lose 2 perception when it comes to perk selection which drastically affects your perk selection.
Kamikaze – Can be countered with Toughness, and some perks from OWB, along with an item from honest hearts that gives +1-3DT based on survival. There are plenty of chems/foods however that increase AP. Not a bad trait, just overshadowed by in game items, namely jet.
loose cannon – Thrown weapons aren’t that great (although I really love them), and you can counter most of this traits negative effects with heave ho.
Small Frame – To me this was one of the top 3 traits in vanilla new vegas, especially if you were a sneak character. There’s an item called hydra which is way better than doctor’s bags, which really helps deal with the downside. Although its hard to get a steady supply of hydra. The 25% extra limb damage is almost completely negated by the tough guy perk, which you get by getting crippled 50 times. I know its completely weird how a perk given to you almost for free (have fun with the pain), can almost negate the trait’s negative effect. There’s also that skeleton perk, but who wants to waste a slot on that? 2spooky4u. One main problem is that explosives easily cripple limbs and one of the earliest possible enemies to face are the powder gangers who love explosives.
Good Natured – More useful in vanilla new vegas, the reality of new vegas’ system was that you can could get away with maxing threeish attack skills and still have some play room for the utility skills, so overall this wasn’t a bad trait, but losing 5 skill of one of your main attack sources early was problematic. Also skill magazines made good natured less useful, 5 points isn’t gonna make or break anything either in late game.
Heavy Handed – if this build wasn’t critical hits centered, then this trait would be a top contender. Surprise it is a top contender! With new perks from all the dlc you can negate much of the critical damage loss, especially with melee. Unarmed is a different story. With Better Criticals and just lucky I’m alive, melee/unarmed criticals do 90% critical damage. . Upon further investigating, anything that gives affects bonus crit chance stacks multiplicatively, which means that -60% for crit damage is desvastating. There are three perks you can get that increase crit damage, better crits, just lucky i’m alive, and elijah’s ramblings which only affects melee crit damage. Melee crits will do +337.5% damage, unarmed crits will do 225%. As a note the base crit damage for weapons is not necessarily the same as the base damage, it could be more or less.
Wild Wasteland – does some funny stuff, but you can youtube most of its effects. The big thing it does is replace the YCS 186 with the alien blaster. The alien blaster is OP, but very limited ammo. The YCS is only slightly better than the normal gauss rifle. You also get a unique BB gun or something.
lets start with the mediocrity.
Claustrophobia – You’re outside 90% of the game and apparantly many areas count as outside, but +1 to all SPECIAL isn’t fantastic in the grand scheme of things, +1 isn’t gonna make or break anything and some SPECIAL don’t really benefit from it.
Early Bird – Do you really want to have certain times of the day impact your gameplay? Didn’t think so.
Hoarder– +25 carry, but you need 160 of weight or get a -1 to all SPECIAL. If this negative effect is temporarily like beer, then its not that bad, but who wants to waste a trait and then carry 160 pounds? If you use heavy weapons alot this is good, oh weight! There’s a perk called heavyweight which reduces 10pound weapons weight in half. Sorry for the pun. Not impressive, maybe if it was +100 this could be cool. Plus PC players can cheat easily.
Hot blooded – +15% damage and -2 perception and agility while below 50% hp. No.
Now we get to the good OWB traits.
Logan’s loophole – It’s pretty good, chems lasts twice as long and you can’t get addicted, but char locked to level 30. If you wanted a level 30 char then this trait is completely awesome.
Skilled – Ah the trait everyone would of killed for in vanilla new vegas. +5 to all skills and only downside is -10% which can be negated temporarily by sleeping in an owned bed or wasting a perk slot. Most people see the -10% XP as a benefit because of pacing.
The Short List of worthwhile Traits
Skilled – tons of extra points for marginal exp loss
Logan’s Loophole – lvl 30 cap, but chems lasts twice as long and you can’t get addicted
Small Frame – + 1 AGI and there’s a free perk that mostly negatives the downside
Built to Destroy – Raul as a companion negates downsides, crit chance is hard to increase permanently.
Fast Shot – Most automatic weapons suck, and most slow firing weapons have super small spread anyway which is why this perk is good.
kamikaze – The downside is almost non-existant by mid game, and it gives like 3 points of AGI AP.
Wild Wasteland – trade the unique gauss rifle for an alien pistol
Heavy Handed – If a melee char not speccing into crits go for it
Loose Cannon – for all you throwing weapon masters out there
Skill Point Distribution + Skill Books
In previous versions I wouldn’t count all skill books because it was such a hassle, however since I decided to forego skilled because its not necessary for 100 skills, in this new version I distribute skill points so that the last skill book per skill go make you go to 104. Why do this? Because the game keeps tracks of everything past 100, although you don’t get anything. The benefit however is that losing SPECIAL points through effects like addictions you won’t go below 100, I.E if you have 104 guns, and lose 2 points of AGI then you still have 100 guns.
This also assumes you get the intel implant at level 2.
As of My lastest version without Skilled and all* Skill books
for 100 for all skills
- Barter = 61
- Energy Weapons = 53
- Explosives* = 57
- Guns = 36
- Lockpick = 38
- Medicine = 49
- Melee = 53
- Repair = 34
- Science** = 45
- Sneak** = 47
- Speech = 61
- Survival* = 51
- Unarmed = 47
*6 skills books
**8 skills books
Total = 658
for 104 skills
- Barter = 65
- Energy Weapons = 57
- Explosives* = 61
- Guns = 40
- Lockpick = 42
- Medicine = 53
- Melee = 57
- Repair = 38
- Science** = 45
- Sneak** = 47
- Speech = 65
- Survival* = 55
- Unarmed = 51
*6 skills books
**9 skills books
total = ~ 676 /
From leveling up you’ll get ~685 skill points, so there’s basically 9 skill points for error when it comes to skill books and leveling for 104. So make sure you keep track of what you use on skill points.
If you get the intel implant at level 2 then you get ~25 extra level up skill points. If you were to get the intel implant at level 50 (!) then you would only get 6 extra skill points from the intel boost. However with 104, you need to get the intel implant fairly early on. Preferable before level level 3, however because of the intel skill point works each intel point gives +1 skill point on either even or odd levels. So if you miss level 3 you’ll be fine not having the intel implant at level 4,but you’ll want it before level 5.
One last thing to note is that I don’t count the +4 melee from OWB because its considered temporary, so you’ll end up with 108 melee. So if you mess up badly you can skip 4 melee points if need be and still have over 100 melee.
With all DLC each skill has ATLEAST 6 skill books, on average there’s 7 skill books per skill.
The notable exceptions are:
- Wasteland survival guide – Only 6, the lowest because dead money doesn’t have a skill book for it
- duck and cover – Dead Money’s explosive skill book is glitched into Dean’s bed, watch a youtube video to get it out, or download a community patch.
- Tumblers day – has 8 * fixed in a patch
- Science – has 9 this is because there’s two in old world blues and a 5th in new vegas from quest reward
- Chinese army – has 9, three in old world blues
One of the repair skill books is locked in the Abandoned BoS bunker which requires Dead Money to access. So there’s only 3 repair books in vanilla new vegas.
The fallout wikia has more info on how to get them.[link]
After realizing that you can still get 100 in everything without skilled, I redid pretty much everything, to my surprise everything still works out because there’s still extra skill books to fill in the gaps that I didn’t want to get initially because it’s a hassle waiting to do a dlc to get a skill book.
The real issue one might encounter is not having enough skill points while in the Mojave to get a perk while waiting to start a dlc for the extra skill books. By using 104 skills, you have a better chance of getting the perk you want while still in the Mojave. Most notably, the jury rigging and slayer perks avoid this problem (88 w/ 100 skills vs 92 w/104).
YOU CAN GET UP TO 16 SKILL BOOKS IN HONEST HEARTS,
BUT GETTING ANY AT ALL IS RANDOM AND RARE
DO NOT RELY ON THIS
Discussion – Educated vs Comprehension / Boosting Speech / Your Level 2 Perk
Comprehension vs Educated
You get + 2 skills points per level starting at level 4 which means you get 46×2 = 92 skill points extra.
You get +1 skill point per skill book, skill books give +3 per book and at minimum you get atleast 6 per skill meaning you get 6x4x13 – 6x3x13= 78 extra skill points atleast. So why take comprehension over educated? Well you see skill magazines give a temporary bonus to said skill and some places sell them. This means you get a +20 boost to any skill temporarily, which allows you to get several skill checks easily, especially speech ones. Considering the fact that you’ll invest in speech last (for optimal styles, speech is really useless, there’s almost always a way to do something without a speech check), that extra 20ish points you get are going to waste on speech, plus as shown above you get more than enough points for skill points. If you get logan’s loophole comprehension becomes an better choice indefinitely.
Also in total there are something like 94 skill books total, so in the end you’ll end up being getting the same amount of skill points. Even if you mess up your skill point distribution a bit.
I’m talking about actual speech checks, not things like explosives or sneak checks. With 1 charisma and skilled you’ll get 13 base speech, pretty bad right? Yea, but the thing is that there are multiples way of increasing speech you can get atleast 40 speech from the items below.
Gives +5 to charisma, which means +10 speech. You primarily get these by crafting them.
- Science 50
- 1 honey mesquite pod
- 1 mentat
- campfire or hot plate
You can buy them from the Great Khan’s Jack after teaching him, however its glitchy when it comes to restocking.
Remember comprehension and 7 int? Well guess what, you get +24 science from a mentat and a science skill magazine, meaning you only need 26 science to do this.
+10 to speech, plus gives an extra point of luck, so if you still have +8 luck you’ll get +11 speech total.
Meeting People (magazine)
+20 when you get comprehension, pretty sweet right? Plus there’s a glitch for easy restock.
Survival increases the boost to charisma from alcohol, so low survival gives +1 charisma, but high survival gives +3. which translates to +2 – +6 speech
A flat +2 charisma bonus and last time I checked it is additive with regular alcohol.
Daniel’s Hat/elite riot helmet
There are like three hats that give speech bonuses, daniel’s hat/elite riot helmet are the best, but you ‘ll need to complete Honest Hearts/do most lonesome road respectively for either.
Really not worth mentioning, it gives +1 char, which leads to +2 speech, plus you need to know power armor training (I think) which takes a while to get. And most of items gives +char anyway so you might get the bonus.
the maximum speech boost you can get is
+ 5 + 3 + 2 = 20*
P-ments + Alcohol w/ max survival + moonshire
*18 actually because you’ll always have 1 charisma and you can’t get more than 10 in any SPECIAL stat
Meeting Ppl + Naughty Nightwear + daniel’s hat (HH) / Elite Riot Helmet (LR) + light switch 2 (OWB).
Let’s talk about this result. You always have 1 charisma, so you don’t get the maximum amount char bonus from using alcho+moonshine+p-ments, HOWEVER the +3 charisma from alcohol is from having a certain amount of survival, and because you’ll probably put points into survival later on, then the alcohol+moonshine is good early on.
After going back to OWB I remember the smart lights, turns out that smart light 2 gives a +5 speech/barter for 12 hours. It also gives a +2 charisma boost
There’s a way to get more charisma via the cannibal perk, but who wants to do that? And I’m sure there are others ways to get more speech too, but I’ve listed the major ones right here.
At the veryleast I recommend investing enough speech so that you can boost to 75 speech as that’ll cover the majority of situations in the game Although you’ll want 85 speech for a “best” ending for a character in dead money. anything above that is just to prevent violence in late
you can read about the speech checks at the [link] page, although obviously you’ll get spoilers.
Your level 2 perk:
Lets get one thing straight, level 2 perks aren’t that great, lets look over them.
Gender Perks – I don’t find them that useful, the + 10% damage isn’t appealing to me, NV is better when it comes to enemy genders (except Caesar’s Legion) than FO3, the speech checks aren’t that great, you essentially get free stuff and passes, not that useful in the grand scheme of things. True a majority of enemies are male, but you’re not gonna notice an extra 10%.
Swift Learner – worthless, you can sleep in an owned bed and get the same effects.
Hunter – While critical hits are centered in this build, it doesn’t cover the difficult enemies, only ones that are already easy to kill, plus you need 30 survival which means you’ll need to spend a couple of skill points on your first lvl up to get this.
Friend of the Night – Cateye anyone? Plus you need 6 perception and 30 sneak off the bat of the game.
Retention – this not a bad perk, just really situational and 3 mins is not that long of time. Even with true police stories giving +10% crit chance with comprehension I don’t find this perk to be that amazing.
Heave Ho! – if you like thrown weapons this is a must (to me anyway) otherwise useless, plus you need 30 explosives at lvl 1
Ok so let’s get to the perks really worth considering
rapid reload – pretty good perk! In fact its the ONLY perk really worth considering, however you can glitch to +10 agility which will decrease reload time by 50%. Rapid reload stacks multiplicatively, this means it decreases reload time by 87.5% (w/ 10 AGI). Rather than 75% if it were additive.
Intense training – having +1 SPECIAL admittedly isn’t that great, With my newest version you start with 8 endurance so you get 25 survival which means you can make gecko steaks which are pretty good early on. The +1 isn’t worthwhile anymore, but go to the SPECIAL sections to learn where to put your extra point if you really feel like you need it.
Discussion – Getting Lucky Shades when against the legion
It took me a damn long time to realize I hit the word cap in the previous discussion :/
Ok so if your not siding with the legion then you can still get it while doing NCR/independent quests. After confronting Benny and escaping the casino and learning the big picture you’ll be approached by a legion member outside the casino (just wait a second) and he’ll offer you can a coin or something and will get rid of any crimes committed against the legion, this means you go back to neutral. If you’ve already done this and gotten legion infamy again, then you’ve wasted your oppotunity.
Go to cottonwood cove (bottom rightside of the map) and talk to aureliuis of phoenix and with a barter check you can start turning in NCR dog tags, which you can get from stealing from NCR members or off their dead bodies. Ask to trade with ammo and supplies instead and you’ll see Decanus Severus, trade in 5 dog tags for food and you’ll get +12 legion fame. You need liked status to get the key to the safehouse to get the lucky shades. I think you need 60 faction fame for this (don’t quote me), so you’ll need to turn atleast 25 dog tags for food. Note this is due to bugs with Deverus’ dialogs, if you have a bug fix community patch see what it says about Deverus or the Arizona Scavenger unmarked quest. I recommend reading the wikia article to learn more about the exchanges. Take a look at the reputations page too if you can.
this is going to be a short list
- Joshua Graham’s Armor – 15DT / 8W / +3% crit chance
- Uylsses’ Duster – 13DT / 3W / +5 crit chance / +1 CHR
- Elite Riot Gear – 22DT / 23W / +5 crit chance / +10 guns / +1 CHR
- Armor of the 87th Tribe – 22DT / 35W / +3 crit chance / +10 AP / +1 CHR
- 1st recon beret – 0DT / 1W / +5 crit chance / + 1 PER
- Marked Beast Face Helmet – 3DT / 3W / +2 crit chance / +3 melee
- Salt-Upon-Wounds – 4DT / 3W / +2 crit chance / +5 sneak
Told you it would be a short list.
Anyway, I think uylsses’ duster is better than joshua, you lose 2DT, but get better crit chance, less weight, and get +1CHR. Oddly most crit chance armors give +1 CHR for some reason.
To me the best combo would be elite riot gear, lucky shades and 1st recon beret. In total you get +10 crit chance, 11% from luck. Although Nowadays I prefer getting elite riot/tri-radii/1st and then putting the lonesome road SPECIAL point into luck.
An alternative combo would be to get the light touch perk, and use uylsses’ and 1st. Light touch is programmed weirdly compared to everything else in the game, keep reading for more.
There are big asteriks when it comes using light touch/laser commander/ set lasers for fun/ninja perks.
Light Touch adds a flat +5% after your normal crit chance calculation of base crit chance * weapon crit rate multipler. This means light touch drastically increases automatic weapon’s crit chance, but we’re still talking like 5-6% crit rate.
This means if you have 28 crit chance with a 2x crit weapon multiplier then your final crit chance is (28*2)+5% = 61%. Both laser perks increase crit chance the same way, so that means you have a +14% crit chance with lasers weapons. Unforunately this isn’t that beneficial, most laser weapons have 1x+ crit multiple meaning you’re losing crit chance from this oversight. There’s a few weapons that benefits from this, and its the Laser RCW/arc welder/MF Alpha Breeder/Gatling Laser/Sprtel Wood 9700.
Ninja increase crit chance by 15%, not +15%, just 15%. So if crit chance is 28% then it becomes 32%. I’m not sure how weapon crit rate affects this.
Final Crit Chance Rate
10+5+5+5+3 = 28
Luck+elite riot+1st+finesse+built to destory
Melee Crit (from Ninja)
Lasers (laser commander)
28% + 10% +4% = 42% (1x weapon crit chance)
= 56% (1.5x weapon crit chance)
Numbers that are in brackets mean that they from equipments/perks/glitches, as such I don’t count them towards the calculation of how many skill points to spend.
BTW you better appreciate how hard it is to center this stuff, seriously steam?
After writing out the Strength discussion I realize that 10 strength isn’t useful unless
you want to use miniguns without chems or replace armor with something else.
Replace intense training at level 2 with rapid reloading (or preferred perk)
Can’t use minigun effectively natively (you can just drink alcohol)
I realized you can drop a point from intel and put it into endurance and then get the intel implant early in the game. Even if you get the intel implant later in the game it won’t matter much because you’ll only missing be ~25 skill points if you were to get it at level 50.
Skilled – +5 to all skills at the cost of reduced XP? sign me up
Heavy Handed – This trait is partially anti thetical to a crits build, however melee/unarmed are completely broken (google OP) in this game. Most of its negative effects can be negated with certain perks. In particular, with Dead money + lonesome road you can completely negate the effects for melee weapons and get a decent bonus. Although Unarmed is better DPS, some melee weapons have ultility VATS attacks that knockdown enemies. Although super slam can provide knockdown for unarmed.
Built to Destroy – +3 crit chance, but weapons degrade 15% faster, because of Dead Money’s endless repair kits this isn’t an issue, and having Raul as a partner gives a perk that counters this pretty well. Alhough Raul isn’t the best, I just make him wait at his house while partnering up with him to get the perk benefit.
What about other traits? Go to the discussion section, but for this character build nothing is more useful.
(you can pick medicine/survival if you want to replace lockpicking/repair for early game)
If you have the mercenary’s pack you get 40mm grenade launcher, you can get new vegas pretty quickly by heading north of Goodsprings by taking the path inbetween the road north and radscropion glutch. You can kill the cazadors pretty easily with the grenade launcher. Continuing heading north and follow the road until you hit Chance’s Map, then head east ignoring any incoming fire from raiders. Obviously you’ll have a choice of whether you want to head to Camp McCavern and then head to New Vegas or keep heading East until you reach Trading Route 88. I’ll have a video of this route sometime in the future.
When you get to New Vegas head to the Atomic Wrangler and start gambling until you get kicked out. You’ll have enough caps to pass the credit check (you don’t have to pay to get in). Don’t forget to cash your chips! Now you’ll have the incredibly tedious task of gambling until you get kicked out of 3 casinos! You should have plenty of caps to get most of the implants you’ll want.
Save some caps to buy the naughty nightwear from Ralph. Then head to the follower’s of the apocalypse and become buddy-buddy with them. With high reputation you can hit the 1:1 Barter ratio with only 45 barter. Do their quests and donate some chems to help out the cause. When you get inducted into the followers, you get use a speech glitch to get unlimited meeting people and other skill magazines. What you want to do is offer to donate a chem, but back out of the conversion, ask her what she has and she should of restocked her magazine supply magically!
Head east to the boulder city and help the great khans there, (50 speech) you’ll get fame with them and it’ll allow you to access to their shop which is pretty good because they may have a high end weapon in bad repair which you can repair for a major payout. Also it takes like 25 Barter and the boulder city quests to get 1:1 barter ratio.
More to come soon.