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Time to Get Started
Each of us has a personal version of our own wasteland wanderer, and each has different ways that we want to play. In this guide of Fallout New Vegas Perks, I'll go through all the perks available and let you know what ones are great for every character to take, and the ones that you should stay away from for one reason or another.
All of the names of each Trait or Perk is bolded, with their requirements in square brackets. This particular article concentrates on the Traits and Perks you can aquire till your at Level 6. Other articles in this series will cover the middle levels, advanced levels, as well as Perks that have alternate ways of gaining them like Challenge and Companion perks.
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Built To Destroy [-]: The Built To Destroy trait affords the bonus of a +3 percent chance to Critically Hit, but your weapons will decay 15 percent faster. Only take this Trait if you’re prepared to repair your weapons a lot, or have someone do it for you. Also keep in mind that a gun that you’re using to repair another is a gun that you’re not selling for caps.
Fast Shot [-]: While using Guns and Energy Weapons you will be able to fire 20 percent more quickly but at the same time are 20 percent less accurate. If you like to get into a closer range where your aim doesn't matter quite so much then this Trait could be for you. It’s suggested that you take the Rapid Reload Perk later on however as you'll be putting yourself in positions where you'll need to reload your weapons quickly.
Four Eyes [PER < 10]: This lowers your base Perception by one point and gives you the benefit of a +2 Perception while wearing glasses. While the added Perception is always good, the lowering of your base Perception score does limit what perks you will be able to take later on, so keep this in mind when choosing this Trait.
Good Natured [-]: You immediately gain +5 percent to your Barter, Medicine, Repair, Science and Speech scores, and lose 5 percent to your Energy Weapons, Explosives, Guns, Melee Weapons, and Unarmed scores. This is a trait that you will always want to take. You will definitely use all of the non-combat skills, but will likely specialize in just one or two combat weapons. The overall tradeoff is well worth it.
Heavy Handed [-]: This Trait causes your Melee and Unarmed attacks to do more damage, but do less critical hit damage. This will allow you to have more consistent damage overall. If you’re concentrating on close combat and not counting on stealth or Luck to help you, this is definitely a trait to consider.
Kamikaze [-]: This Trait allows you to gain 10 Action Points for use in VATS, but your Damage Threshold is now lowered by 2. If you were looking to lower your Agility and raise your Endurance up for more Hit Points, this would be a viable option to help balance things out. Wearing heavier armor can certainly lessen the negatives of this Trait as well.
Loose Cannon [-]: When throwing weapons you sacrifice range for speed with this Trait, throwing weapons 30 percent faster but cutting the distance by 25 percent. If the Heave, Ho! Perk is looking tempting for you; this is a great companion to go with it.
Small Frame [AGL < 10]: Your body type becomes lighter and a little more fragile. You gain a point to your Agility, but your limbs will be damaged or crippled quicker. Not a bad Trait, but if you’re thinking of using the Adamantium Skeleton perk to lessen the effects of this trait, you should just take Intense Training instead and choose another Trait.
Trigger Discipline [-]: Both Guns and Energy Weapons will fire 20 percent more slowly, but are also 20 percent more accurate. Time is relative in VATS, and the extra accuracy will generally be a greater benefit especially if you are attacking enemies at longer range.
Wild Wasteland [-]: If the desert has you feeling too serious you can take this Trait and your adventure will be a lot more interesting. This Trait is designed to throw a lot of silly things at you, so you might want to take this on a second play through rather than your first one.
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Level 2 Perks
Confirmed Bachelor/Cherchez La Femme [-]: This is a gender specific perk that grants you a 10 percent damage boost to characters of the same sex. As there are more males in the game than females, it’s better to take Confirmed Bachelor.
Intense Training [10 Ranks]: This Perk allows you to add one additional point to any of your SPECIAL stats. This is very useful if you intend to either make another perk available to you when your current SPECIAL score is not high enough, or to raise something that will have secondary effects like Intelligence which will allow you to raise your skill percentages higher.
Lady Killer/Black Widow [-]: This is another gender specific perk that grants you a 10 percent damage boost to characters of the opposite sex. Black Widow is the more useful of the two options.
Rapid Reload [AGL 5, Guns 30]: This perk allows you to reload your weapons 25 percent faster than you could originally. Although the minimum requirement is to have a Guns skill of 30 percent, this perk will work on all weapons that have a reload, including Energy Weapons.
Retention [INT 5]: Retention allows you to retain the bonuses you get from Skill Magazines for three times as long. Much more useful when combined with the Comprehension skill, only really useful for combat purposes.
Swift Learner [INT 4, 3 Ranks]: Each rank of this perk will grant you a 10 percent bonus to all experience that you earn in the game. Given the length of this game you are provided with more than enough experience to get you to the highest level so it’s not truly necessary.
Friend of the Night [PER 6, Sneak 30]: The effect of this perk is identical to that of the drug Cateye, but functions for as long as the sun is down, not necessary when you’re in dark or underground conditions.
Heave, Ho! [STR 5, Explosives 30]: After taking this perk all of your thrown weapons will fly both faster and further. A great perk to take if you’re interested in lobbing a lot of explosive weapons around.
Hunter [Survival 30]: As a Hunter your Critical Damage is increased by 75 percent against animals and mutated animals like Geckos, Coyotes, Rats, Lakelurks, and more. It does not work against abnormal animals that aren't mutated like Nightstalkers, nor will it work on insect types.
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Level 4 Perks
Cannibal [-]: When you come close to a corpse while in sneak mode you will have the option to consume it when you have this perk. This is considered a very bad thing and you will lose karma for it, and anyone that sees you doing it certainly won't be pleased.
Comprehension [INT 4]: When you have this perk you will double the bonuses from reading magazines and one extra point from reading skill books. This is an essential perk as you can leave your seldom used skills at a lower point but be able to bump them up by 20 percent after reading a magazine. For example, you could leave your Lockpick skill at 80% but still be able to open the most difficult locks after reading a magazine, but be able to put those skill points in other areas.
Educated [INT 4]: This perk should be taken as soon as possible. This perk allows you to gain an additional 2 skill points each level for a total of 52 by level 30 if you take this skill at level 4. It is by far the best perk to raise your overall skill point total.
Entomologist [INT 4, Survival 45]: This perk increases all the damage you do to mutated insects by 50 percent. Given how common these creatures are out in the wasteland and the damage threshold that some of them have this can be an invaluable perk in the long run.
Rad Child [Survival 70]: While normally radiation is a very big problem, this perk turns a problem into a solution. The more radiation you receive, the more you will regenerate health enabling you to explore even the hottest locations. There aren't any large swaths of radioactive terrain here however, so this might be of limited value.
Run 'n Gun [Guns 45 or Energy Weapons 45]: If you like to use single handed weapons and don't use VATS this is a great perk for you. It removes the accuracy penalty that is normally active when walking or running with these types of weapons. If you’re a big fan of rifles or VATs however, there are better perks out there.
Travel Light [Survival 45]: This perk allows you to move 10 percent faster when you’re wearing a light armor. This is usually a skill you should consider if your using Hardcore mode. Traveling to a location faster means you don't need to take as much food and water. You can also slip into some very light clothing before you fast travel and armor up when you get there for maximum benefit at minimum cost.
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Level 6 Perks
Bloody Mess [-]: This perk allows you to do an extra 5 percent of damage, but that’s not why you take this perk. Enemies will explode every time into little pieces for your visual pleasure. Like Wild Wasteland, it’s a personal choice if you want to have this happen all the time.
Demolition Expert [Explosives 50, 3 Ranks]: Each rank of this perk allows an additional 20 percent of damage to be added to any of your explosive weapons. This includes normal explosives like mines and grenades, but also applies to missiles and the Fat Man.
Ferocious Loyalty [CHR 6]: When your health is less than 50 percent your followers’ damage threshold suddenly increases dramatically. If you like to have your followers do the fighting for you, this is a great perk to take.
Fortune Finder [LCK 5]: This perk will let you find a lot more bottle caps when searching through items but you can generally find better ways to make money. Waiting for the Scrounger perk will net you more money by selling the extra ammo you find too.
Gunslinger [-]: This perk increases your chance to hit in VATS by 25 percent when you’re using any one handed weapon, including energy weapons.
Hand Loader [Repair 70]: With this perk you will unlock all of the different ammo types without requiring a schematic. You will also recover a lot more cases and hulls as you expend normal ammunition. While some people love crafting, some people find it cumbersome, so keep that in mind when looking at this perk.
Lead Belly [END 5]: Although this allows you to absorb 50 percent less radiation when you consume irradiated food and water, you can generally find a multitude of different ways to handle radiation in New Vegas, and there are an abundance of clean water sources which make this a less useful perk.
Shotgun Surgeon [Guns 45]: This perk allows you to bypass 10 points of a target's Damage Threshold when targeting them. However, this is applied to each pellet of the blast, which means that targets with a DT higher than 10 you should hit with something like the 12 gauge slug then a normal shell.
The Professional [Sneak 70]: When you damage an enemy with a pistol, revolver, or submachine gun, including energy weapons varieties, while in sneak mode the damage you do is increased by 20 percent. This sometimes does not include special variations of these weapon types like 'That Gun'.
Toughness [END 5, 2 Ranks]: Each rank of this perk increases your Damage Threshold by 3 points. There's absolutely no downside to taking this perk, every character should get both ranks.
Vigilant Recycler [Science 70]: This perk is best taken if you will be using Energy Weapons as your main weapon type. You will find more drained ammunition and when you recharge it the cost is lowered.
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Looking for More?
This is part of a series detailing all of the Fallout New Vegas Perks. If this isn't the level range your looking for please click on one of the other articles in this series to take you to where you want to go.
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All of the images in this article series are from the game Fallout: New Vegas and can be found by following the link to their official site.
Full List of Fallout New Vegas Perks
- Everything You Want to Know About Fallout Vegas Perks: Traits and Levels 2-6
- Full List of Fallout: New Vegas Perks for Intermediate Wasteland Wanderers: Levels 8 through 14
- Full List of Fallout New Vegas Perks for Advanced Wasteland Warriors: Levels 16-28 & Special Perks
- Full List of Fallout: New Vegas DLC Perks