This is yet another guide I have written for newbies from a former newbie. Since I now feel I have mastered the game, I would like to share some wisdom. In my opinion, this is the best Fallout game so far. It's also my favorite. Maybe because there are so many different types of characters you can make. Thanks to all the unique perks that benefit certain combat skills and the use of certain weapons, there are so many builds to make, all depending on certain factors. All combat skills now have powerful weapons that can be used endgame for specific builds. This means that you can actually stick with Guns the whole game instead of making the switch to a more powerful combat skill. The same applies with melee weapons, meaning that you can now make a character using them instead of making the switch to unarmed. Since most weapons now have a much higher durability than those in Fallout 3, you don't need to carry a big arsenal to deal with any problem. New Vegas feels much more like a Fallout game than Fallout 3 due to the return of traits, a reputation system, more low intelligence dialogues, and a setting closer to the original setting where the franchise began. Thanks to the fact that you can join one of four endgame factions, this game has incredible replayability. In my notebook, I have notes on ten archetypes of builds. They are: Cowboy - Gun user specializing in weapons that gain increased damage from the Cowboy perk. Grunt - Similar to Cowboy, but specializes in weapons that are affected by the Grunt perk. Guns - Any build that specializing in guns, but not taking either cowboy or grunt. Energy Weapons - Any build that uses energy weapons. Lasers, plasma, you name it. Pyromaniac - Uses weapons that gain increased damage from the pyromaniac perk. In other words, uses fire weapons. Melee - Uses melee weapons. Unarmed - Uses unarmed weapons. Demolitionist - Uses explosives. Wild Wastelander - Takes the Wild Wasteland Trait and uses weapons that only appear if you choose the trait. Unarmed is the best choice due to the unique weapon for this skill being the only one of practical use. Imbecile - Intelligence is less than 4. For playing the game for a laugh. Due to not meeting the requirements for Pack Rat which reduces the weight of ammo in hardcore mode, you'll be specializing in unarmed or melee weapons. When deciding what kind of character you will make, first choose one of the above. Then decide whether you want to depend on criticals or not. If you choose to build your character around criticals, do you want to focus on attacking from stealth or not? If you choose not to focus on stealth, will you use light or medium armor? The best choice for either increases your chance to make critical hits. Regardless of your choices above, do you want to make heavy use of V.A.T.S? Although not as strong as it was in Fallout 3, it can have it's uses such as increasing your accuracy, chance of critical hits, or slightly reducing the damage you suffer from enemies. It also increases your damage with melee weapons. As in Fallout 3, depending on your build, the only stats worth maxing endgame are Strength, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Strength for melee damage and carry weight, intelligence for skill points, agility for action points used in V.A.T.S, and luck for criticals. It's not worth maxing luck if all you want to do is win big at the casinos and you're not going for criticals. When setting your SPECIAL stats, here is how to do so according to my notes: Strength - minimum of 4, maximum of 6. Low critical builds can set it to a maximum value of 7. Melee or unarmed will want either 6 or 7 and get it maxed by endgame for more damage. Perception - 5 or 6 for critical builds. 1 for low critical builds. Endurance - minimum of 5. You can set it higher if you want more implants. Charisma - varies. All leftover points go here. If you don't plan to have any companions, you can keep it at 1. Intelligence - minimum of 6 for critical builds that do not focus on stealth, minimum of 4 for all other builds, except for the imbecile for which you should set it to less than 4. You may also choose to set it to 9 for more skill points. Agility - minimum of 5 or maximum of 7 for builds that focus on either V.A.T.S or stealth, or minimum of 5 for all other builds. Of course, V.A.T.S builds who want to maximize their Action Points may want to max it by endgame, starting at 9. More agility is also good for increasing reload speed. Luck - minimum of 7 or maximum of 9 for critical builds, 5 or 6 for stealth builds, or 1 for low critical builds. You can get implants to raise a stat, how many you get depends on your endurance stat. 5 allows you to have five implants for example. You can also get a free point in Agility if you take the Small Frame Trait. Finishing Lonesome Road grants you an extra stat point that you can put into any of your stats. For critical builds, you can wear lucky shades to increase your luck, but you need to have a high reputation with the Legion in order to get them. You can also raise your strength by two points during Old World Blues, but those two points are not taken into consideration when qualifying you for perks. After setting your stats, choose your traits. Some are more worth taking than others. They are: Small Frame - increased agility at the cost of more fragile limbs. Kamikaze - more action points for use in V.A.T.S at the cost of two points of damage threshold. Fast Shot - increased attack speed and reduced action point cost in V.A.T.S at the cost of reduced accuracy in V.A.T.S and out of it. Doesn't work for thrown weapons, melee, or unarmed. Trigger Discipline - the opposite of Fast Shot, increased accuracy in and out of V.A.T.S at the cost of reduced attack speed and increased action point cost in V.A.T.S and doesn't work for thrown, melee, or unarmed weapons. Loose Cannon - increased attack speed with throwing weapons and reduced action point cost in V.A.T.S for those weapons at the cost of range. Skilled - increases all skills at the cost of reduced experience. Good Natured - increases all non-combat skills at the cost of reduced combat skills. Built To Destroy - increased critical chance at the cost of increased rate of decay for all weapons. Heavy Handed - increased melee damage but reduced critical damage. Wild Wasteland - adds lots of strange content to the game to change your gaming experience, but some weapons become unavailable as they are replaced by specific weapons found only when you take the trait. Here are the best combinations for builds: Critical V.A.T.S - Built to Destroy and Fast Shot Critical no V.A.T.S - Built to Destroy and Small Frame Low Critical V.A.T.S - Fast Shot and Kamikaze Low Critical no V.A.T.S - Fast Shot and Small Frame Machine Gun/Shotgun Traits: Trigger Discipline and Small Frame Stealth V.A.T.S - Small Frame and Fast Shot Stealth no V.A.T.S - Small Frame and Skilled Melee/Unarmed Low Critical No V.A.T.S - Heavy Handed and Small Frame Melee/Unarmed Low Critical V.A.T.S - Heavy Handed and Kamikaze Grenades no V.A.T.S - Loose Cannon and Small Frame Grendaes V.A.T.S - Loose Cannon and Kamikaze Critical Wild Wastelander - Built to Destroy and Wild Wasteland Stealth no V.A.T.S. Wild Wastelander - Wild Wasteland and Small Frame Stealth V.A.T.S Wild Wastelander - Wild Wasteland and Kamikaze Due to the Wild Wastelander needing Wild Wasteland for one of their traits, you cannot choose a combination of Built to Destroy, Heavy Handed, Small Frame, Kamikaze, etc. You can change your traits during Old World Blues if you find the update for the autodoc. At the start of the game, I recommend you choose Skilled and Good Natured for the skill boosts. The best amor in the game for specific builds are: Low Critical - T-51b Power Armor Light Armor Critical - Ulysses Duster Critical - Elite Riot Gear Stealth - Courier Duster The best helmet in the game for specific builds are: Low Critical - T-51b Power Helmet Critical - First Recon Beret Stealth - Elite Riot Gear Helmet All builds should get the following perks: Bloody Mess (increased damage) Strong Back (increase carry weight) Them's Good Eating (chance to find good food items on dead enemies) Living Anatomy (increased damage against humans and non feral ghouls. Reveals the health and damage threshold of enemies) Jury Rigging (easier repairs for equipment) Critical builds should get the following perks: Better Criticals (increased damage of critical hits) Just Lucky I'm Alive (further increases the damage of critical hits. Neutral karma required at level 50) Full Frontal Assault critical builds should get Finesse which increases critical chance. They should also get: Comprehension (doubles the bonus gained from reading magazines, especially True Police Stories which increases critical chance) Voracious Reader (allows you to craft an unlimited supply of True Police Stories) If you want and have enough perk spaces left over, you can also get Retention which increases the time which the effects of magazines have their effect. Assassins should get Silent Running to remove the running penalty when sneaking. Light armor is best used for assassins. For this purpose, assassins should also get: Educated (more skill points) Travel Light (increased travel speed when wearing light armor. Works with sneaking) Tunnel Runner (increased sneaking speed in light armor. Stacks with Travel Light) If you use Guns or Energy Weapons and want to use one handed weapons, take The Professional which increases sneak attack criticals when using those weapons. Low Critical builds shouldn't bother with perks that increase critical chance or damage. They should get Ain't Like That Now (requires evil karma at level 50) which increases attack speed which can also increase your damage, unless you specialize in explosives. Educated is also a good choice. If you choose to specialize your character in Guns, get Hand Loader which allows you to craft better ammo. If you plan to specialize in the usage of shotguns, take Shotgun Surgeon which allows you to ignore ten points of Damage Threshold (better for slugs) and And Stay Back which gives a chance of knocking your foe down when using shotguns (buckshot and magnum is better for this). Grunt or Cowboy is taken if you want to specialize in certain weapons affected by either perk. If you choose to build your character around the use of Energy Weapons, choose whether or not you want to use either lasers or plasma. If you choose lasers, get Laser Commander which increases your damage and critical chance when using them. Also, get Vigilant Recycler which allows you to craft better ammo. Another perk to consider is Meltdown, which is better for weapons that have very high damage per shot and can be good for damaging enemies very close to your target when it dies, but don't use melee companions if you do take it. Pyromaniac is for those who want to use flamers. If you choose explosives, get all three ranks of Demolition Expert which increases your damage. Hit the Deck increases your damage threshold against all explosives, including your own. Splash Damage increases your blast radius. Heave Ho increases the distance of grenades thrown by your hand or launched by grenade machineguns or fat men. Nuka Chemist and Mad Bomber go very well together if you choose to use grenades. Nuka Chemist allows you to craft nuka cola variants, one of which you need to make Nuka Grenades which is a recipe unlocked by taking Mad Bomber. Instead of Ain't Like That Now, get Thought You Died, which requires good karma at level 50. If you use unarmed or melee, get Super Slam for the chance to knock down enemies, Piercing Strike which ignores 15 points of damage threshold, Unstoppable Force which allows you to damage enemies even when they block, and Slayer for increased attack speed. If you are building your character around either criticals or stealth, take Ninja which increases your critical chance and sneak attack damage. Pyromaniac is for those who want to use fire based unarmed or melee weapons. Purifier is good for increasing damage against certain enemies such as super mutants, nightkin, and deathclaws. Stonewall is good for preventing you from getting knocked down in melee combat. If you want to build your character around heavy use V.A.T.S, get the following: Math Wrath (reduced action point cost) Nerves of Steel (increased action point regeneration) Grim Reaper's Sprint (replenishes twenty action points when you kill in V.A.T.S) Unarmed V.A.T.S users should take Paralyzing Palm which grants a chance of delivering a blow that temporarily stuns your enemies. Energy Weapon users specializing in plasma should take Plamsa Spaz which reduces action point cost of plasma weapons, stacking nicely with Math Wrath. If you want, you can also get both ranks of Action Boy/Girl which increases your total action point total. Guns and Energy Weapon uses can also get Concentrated Fire which increases your chance to hit per shot. If you've taken Fast Shot as one of your traits, get either Gunslinger (for pistols, revolvers, or any of one handed gun) or Commando (rifles) together with Sniper (for increased chance to hit the head). Low Critical builds who choose Fast Shot will also want Ain't Like That Now for further increased action point regeneration which stacks with Nerves of Steel. If you build your character around the use of light armor and criticals, get the following perks to supplement your critical perks: Light Touch (adds a flat 5% chance to hit to your final critical chance score) Toughness (increases damage threshold. More useful for light armor due to lower damage threshold) Travel Light (increased movement speed) Pack Rat is another great perk because it halves the weight of all items weight 2 pounds or less. In hardcore mode, this perk becomes even more useful as ammo has weight. Of course, if you are playing an imbecile, you won't be able to meet the intelligence requirements of Pack Rat, Educated, Comprehension, or Voracious Reader. Choose weapons that will benefit your build in terms of: Critical Full Frontal Assault - critical chance of at least 2 and both high damage per shot and and critical damage Stealth - high damage per shot and critical damage Low Critical - high damage per shot or damage per second for machine guns. Check the table at the Fallout wikia for New Vegas to get all the info you need on choosing the best weapon for your build. Even though you can max your skills by level 50, it is recommended you build your character around the use of one combat skill and style. Raise your combat skills to use the weapons you find during your journey. You'll want more powerful weapons to deal with stronger foes with higher damage threshold. Should you specialize in unarmed, there are four unarmed techniques you can learn, one from a NCR ranger in Nova, one from the Legion with a positive reputation, one from Veronica, and another from the Great Khans. Next, I will record what companions work best for specific builds. Arcade is not on the list because he doesn't fight in the final battle. ED-E : When you get all the upgrades for him in the Divide, you gain a bonus to V.A.T.S accuracy, damage with laser weapons, and damage threshold. He can also allow you to repair your weapon once a day or get energy cells and fuel once a day. He is the better choice of non-humanoid companion for builds that focus on V.A.T.S, lasers, or critical light armor builds. He is also the better choice if you focus on melee combat as you need the long range support. Rex : Not as useful as ED-E, but he is good for melee support if you focus on long range combat. Boone : Like Rex, he is more useful for builds that attack in melee range as you need the long range support. But only take him endgame if you are siding with NCR as he won't tolerate you working with the Legion, and completing a certain quest for Yes Man or Mr. House can cause him to leave you permanently. Therefore, use him if you are a melee character siding with NCR. Cass: Since you gain damage threshold when drinking whiskey without the negative loss to your stats as long as she accompanies you, she is the best humanoid companion for critical light armor builds. But don't part ways with her after being branded a terrorist by NCR, especially if siding with the Legion. Also, make sure you maintain neutral or good karma before level 50 while she is in your presence so you can complete her companion quest, and after level 50, don't talk to her if you have bad karma. Veronica : Like Rex, she is more useful for melee support when you fight from long range. Make sure you have a very high reputation with the Brotherhood of Steel if you destroy them later in the game if you intend to keep her endgame. Lily : Stealth Girl not only increases the length of stealth boys, it also increases your sneak attack critical damage, making her the best humanoid companion for assassins. Critical long range characters can also use her in case they do not have a high reputation with the Brotherhood of Steel when they destroy them. Raul : Both maintainence perks make him a great choice for characters who specialize in weapons that have low durability or high decay rates. He is also the best choice of humanoid companion for a melee ranged character that sides against NCR endgame. Lastly, like all RPG's, the farther you get from where you start, the tougher the enemies become. So follow Sunny's advice, follow the roads, don't stray too far away them them, do quests to level up in your area, and explore nearby locations. In the future, I'll post how to make each build for the various archetypes.