Fallout 3 Weapons Guide: Explosives And General Tips
by: M.S. Smith
; edited by: Eric Stallsworth
; updated: 5/2/2012
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Throwing a grenade at a Super Mutant can net some great and gory results, but Explosives are more complex than simply making things go boom. This final article of the Fallout 3 Weapons Guide addresses the finer points of blowing things to pieces, and offers some more general tips.
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Armed To The Teeth: Fallout Weapons Guide Part 5
Here we are - the last article of the Fallout 3 Weapons Guide. All the major weapon types have been covered, except for explosives. The format for explosives is largely the same, but there is one major difference, and this the way damage is described. Rather than using a DPS format, which makes little sense with grenades, this final portion will simply list the AOE damage and AOE range of each weapon. Explosives are not complex, and they're not really suitable for more than occasional use, but there are important differences in damage between various types of Explosives.
This last article also includes a few basic tips meant to provide guidance for all types of weapons. Picking the right weapon for a given task is more difficult than it seems; if it was simple, there wouldn't be a need for guides such as this. The general tips at the end of this article, when combined with the opinions given on each weapon in the game, will help guide your hand to the appropriate weapon. With the right gun in your hands, your life in the Wasteland will be much easier.
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Pulse Grenade/Mine - AOE 1+10 Radius 450 - The pulse grenade does very little damage against biological enemies, but it receives a +200 damage bonus against machines. This makes it much more powerful than most mines and grenades, and ideal for use against robots. There is one exception to this however; if used to level up the Demolition Expert perk, Plasma Explosives do more damage against machines than Pulse Explosives. This is because the bonus from Demolition Expert doesn't seem to affect the bonus damage that Pulse Explosives do against machines.
Frag Grenade/Mine -AOE 1+100 Radius 450/192- The most common form of Explosive in the Wasteland, these handy and plentiful devices do significant damage to enemies, particularly when they are bundled up. Frag Explosives are not deadly enough to be real boss-killers, but they are very good at weakening or slaying a tight-knit group of moderately powerful enemies. The biggest downside to these is that they become heavy when carried in bulk. Note that the Mine version of this Explosive has a smaller AOE than the grenade.
Plasma Grenade/Mine - AOE 1+150 Radius 450/192 - More expensive and far less common that Frag Explosives, Plasma Explosives up the damage by 33%. Obviously, this makes Plasma Explosives much more deadly than their Frag counter-parts, but it still isn't always enough to crack really tough targets. This - combined with their relative rarity - make Plasma Explosives less useful than you'd expect. They are great at clearing out groups of enemies, but you encounter these Explosives so rarely that you never seem to have one when you need it. Note that the Mine version of this Explosive has a smaller AOE than the grenade.
Nuka Grenades - AOE 1+500 Radius 450 - The Nuke Grenade is kind of like a hand-held Fat Man. If that sounds deadly, that's because it is. These are an extremely good grenade to use if you need something to die, and die quickly. On the downside, these are schematic built, which means you'll have to conserve them for use against difficult enemies.
Bottlecap Mine - AOE 1+500 Radious 256 - Bottlecap Mines are kind of like the mine equivalent of the Nuke Grenade. They do the same amount of damage, and they are also built from schematics. That said, the Nuke Grenade and the Bottlecap Mine tend to shine in opposite situations. Nuka Grenades are great outdoors, where their tendency to bounce, their mid-long range, and their higher blast radius are useful. On the other hand, Bottlecap Mines are better indoors, where having a big blast radius and an unpredictable flight pattern are downsides. A Bottlecap Mine can be laid down exactly where you want it, and since you're indoors, you don't have to worry as much about an enemy going around it.
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General Tips For Great Victory
Even if you know how powerful each weapon is, there are still other factors which must be considered when choosing the right gun for the situation. Speed, damage per hit, accuracy, and ammo availability are all things that must be considered. The usefulness of these traits can change at the drop of a hat. Go indoors, and suddenly your ideal weapon may become suicidal.
When outdoors, it is best to pick weapons that have a high accuracy and which use plentiful ammo. Accuracy is an obvious benefit, as it makes the difficult task of hitting a far away opponent easier. But plentiful ammo is a equally crucial but less obvious trait that should be remembered. Long-range fights, even with accurate weapons, tend to see many missed shots. This means it isn't a good idea to use a powerful, ammo-starved weapon, as more of your precious rounds will be wasted. When indoors, or at close ranges, the opposite becomes true. Accuracy becomes less important than the amount of damage done in a hit, because you'll be ducking in and out of cover. Also, ammo starved weapons become a better idea, because you're far more likely to actually hit your target.
Choosing the right weapon for the difficulty of an opponent is also important. It makes little sense to waste your Fat Man ammo on a couple Super Mutants who could be easily wasted with a 10mm Pistol. Even at high levels, ammo is not unlimited, and there are some surprisingly difficult enemies that can arrive with little warning. It is always a good idea to try and keep a few rounds available for your most powerful guns, just in case.
Lastly, be sure to coordinate your weapons with your overall character development. Merely adding points to your favorite weapons Skill may make you competitive, but to become powerful, you'll need to coordinate the weapons you use with the Perks that can add value to them. For example, those using Unarmed weapons will want to look into perks that add to their Unarmed damage or give a higher chance to crit, like Iron Fist or Ninja.
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This concludes the Fallout 3 weapons guide. The first article covered Unarmed And Melee Weapons, the second covered Big Guns, the third covered Small Guns, and the fourth covered Energy Weapons. You don't have to become intimate with the weapons used by every weapons Skill in the game, but it is important to at least know the ones in the Skills you are using. Picking a good gun can be the difference between a hard fight and a cake-walk, and there is no reason to make things more difficult on yourself. The Wasteland is harsh enough without bad weapons dragging you down.
So, you have the best perks, your skills are high, and you think you're ready to take on a thousand Deathclaws at once. But wait - you're missing perhaps the most important part of survival. Your Weapon.