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A Brief Introduction
The Wasteland is a hard place to make a living. But with the right equipment, the right skills, and a few good perks, you can carve out your own kingdom in the wilderness. So what Perks are the best, and what can be forgotten? Well, that is exactly what this guide will tell you. This article covers level 1-8; other articles will cover other levels and give general tips on how to best use perks. I have no rating system here, but my comments on each perk will clearly indicate my opinion on it. So without further ado, lets get to it.
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Level 2 Perks
Daddy's Boy/Girl Requirements: 4 Int - Your dad was a scientist and doctor, so this increases your medicine and science skills by 5 points. If you're a intellectual character, this is a perfect perk for levels where you can't find any other perk that is interesting or useful. Brute-force characters should skill it.
Gun Nut Requirements: Int 4 Agi 4 - This is a really good perk for combat characters because not only does it increase skill in Small Guns by 5, it also increases skill in Repair by 5, a skill that combat characters often for get about but which is essential to surviving long journeys in the wasteland.
Intense Training Requirements: None - This is a bread-and-butter perk. Attributes are very important to everything you do, and using this max out endurance on a character that started with only 5 or 6 points in that stat can turn a relative wimpy sneak-based character into a ninja that can spring from the shadows and then wrestle a Supermutant to the ground. If you don't see any other perk that you just HAVE to have, then give this one a very close look.
Little League Requirements: Str 4 - Increases Explosives and Melee. Considering how rarely you'll be using explosives, this isn't a very attractive perk.
Swift Learner Requirements: Int 4- If you feel the need to level up as quickly as possible, then get this. However, remember this: if you spend a perk on this, you'll be getting on less perk that is actually useful to your character's overall effectiveness once you reach maximum level.
Thief Requirements: Agi 4 Per 4 - Increases your Sneak and Lockpick skills. If you're playing a sneaky character, this is an obvious filler perk for levels where nothing seems like a good choice.
Lady Killer/Black Widow Requirements: None - Gives you extra dialogue options with the opposite sex. This is fun at times, but not very useful.
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Level 4 Perks
Scoundrel Requirements: Cha 4 - Gives you five points in Speech and Barter. A very meh perk overall, due to the fact that barter is nearly useless. You're essentially spending a perk for 5 points in speech, and that isn't efficient.
Iron Fist Requirements: Str 3 - If you're going for an unarmed character, this is one of several perks that can make your surprisingly deadly. The additional 5 points of damage it adds is good, and even better when you consider you can stack this three times. That is 15 points of additional damage that you won't need to every buy ammo for.
Entomologist Requirements: Int 4 Science 40 - Increases damage against mutated insects by 50%. This is basically worthless, because mutated insects are almost without exception very easy to kill.
Educated Requirements: Int 4 - This increases the amount of skill points you gain per level by 3 if you have an average intelligence score. You should absolutely get this at level 4. Skills are important this allows you to level them up more than you would be able to otherwise.
Comprehension Requirements: Int 4 - Doubles the amount of skill points you receive from reading books, which means you get two skill points instead of one. This is much more useful than it sounds. The only flaw with this perk is that educated allows you decide exactly where your extra points are put, while Comprehension forces you to simply gain the skills available in whatever book you are reading. This is fairly large flaw, but if you're a skill-hog, take both Comprehension and Educated.
Child At Heart Requirements: Cha 4 - Gives you extra dialogue options with children. Sometimes interesting, but for the most part this isn't valuable.
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Level 6 Perks
Bloody Mess Requirements: None - Makes your enemies explode in a burst of blood and gore. This is a lot of fun, and makes this a staple Fallout perk. You also do 5% more damage with all weapons, which isn't terribly useful.
Demolition Expert Requirements: Explosives 50 - With each rank of this, your explosives do 20% more damage. Since you can rank this up 3 times, you can gain up to 60% more damage with explosives. That is a lot. But the fact that explosives are heavy to carry around and not useful at long range remain limitations. If you're one of the few who actually use explosives routinely, then this is a must have, but for most people this can be passed by.
Fortune Finder Requirements: Luck 5 - Allows you to find more money than you would otherwise. Not very useful, because by level ten you'll probably be rolling in caps anyway.
Gunslinger Requirements: None - This increases your accuracy with pistols in VATS. However, pistols are one of the worst weapons in the game, so this isn't a useful perk.
Lead Belly Requirements: End 5 - This halves the amount of radiation you receive when drinking from radiated water sources. Since you probably don't do that very often, and Rad-away isn't that hard to come by, this perk is lackluster.
Toughness Requirements: End 5 - Increases your damage resistance by to 10% to a maximum of 85%. It sounds good, but there is a problem - the game isn't very clear about how the DR rating on a set of armor translates into a percentage. That said, a dead character does nothing so this is probably worth taking.
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Level 8 Perks
Level 8 Perks
Strong Back Requirements: Str 5 End 5- Allows you to carry 50 more pounds of equipment. If you're a Heavy Weapon nut, this is very useful. Otherwise, you can skip it.
Size Matters Requirements: End 5 - This gives you 15 points in the Big Guns skill, which makes this a very good skill for anyone using Big Guns. In fact, the strength of this perk is such that I recommend anyone looking for a secondary offensive skill pick up Big Guns. This can be ranked 3 times for a total of 45 skill points, which means it is very easy to max out the Big Guns skill.
Scrounger Requirements: Luck 5 - This helps you find more ammunition in containers than you normally would. If this was a level 2 perk, it would be great. At level 8 it isn't that good, since you're probably having a fairly easy time stockpiling ammo at this point.
Rad Resistance Requirements: End 5 - Gives you 25% rad resistance. Not very useful, considering how easy it is to buy Rad-away and Rad-X
Impartial Mediation Requirements: Cha 5 - Gives you 30 points in speech if your alignment is neutral. The problem is the game makes it difficult to make sure you are of any particular alignment, so its anybody's guess if you'll actually get to use the 30 points. Stay away from this one.
Commando Requirements: None - Increases VATS accuracy with two-handed ranged weapons like rifles. For anyone who is using Small Guns or Energy Weapons, this is an absolute must-have.
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More Perk Tips
This is the first article in a series. The other articles will cover the other perks in Fallout 3, and the final article in the series will provide general tips about how to best allocate your available perks. Together, these articles will provide a comprehensive overview of all the perks available in Fallout 3.