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Level 16 Perks
Better Criticals [PER 6, LCK 6]: If you have a high Luck, or like sneak attacks, then this is the perk for you. This increases the damage you do from a critical hit by 50 percent. This perk goes especially well with the Finesse perk to increase the damage you do.
Chem Resistant [Medicine 60]: For those of you that like to use a lot of different chemicals on a regular basis, this is a great perk to have. This lowers your likelihood of developing an addiction to the different chems by 50 percent.
Meltdown [Energy Weapons 90]: If you’re an Energy Weapons expert you should seriously consider this skill. When you kill an enemy with an energy weapon they will emit a corona of harmful energy. This explosion can create a chain reaction and cause critical hits and sneak critical hits against anything nearby. Keep in mind that you will hurt companions and yourself too if you're too close.
Tag! [-]: This perk grants you an extra Tag skill, which in turn will allow you to boost one of the skills you haven't already identified as a tag skill by an extra 15 percent.
Weapon Handling [STR < 10]: A lot of the best weapons out there require a certain amount of strength to use properly. This perk makes a wide variety of weapons more accessible by setting their minimum strength requirement 2 points lower.
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Level 18 Perks
Computer Whiz [INT 7, Science 70]: With this perk you get a second chance to hack into any computer if you get locked out the first time. It’s highly recommended that you don't take this perk however, as you can stop before all your tries are up and try and hack a terminal again so you never should be locked out.
Concentrated Fire [Energy Weapons 60, Guns 60]: When you target a single body part multiple times in VATS your chance to hit that particular part increases by 5 percent for each additional attack. These bonuses stack, so while your first shot might be normal accuracy, your fifth one would have a 25 percent bonus. Given the Action Point cost of some attacks, you would likely be better off with another accuracy perk.
Infiltrator [PER 7, Lockpick 70]: Locks that were once broken will let you take a second whack at them with this perk. Given that it’s never required that you force a lock, this isn't really necessary to take. Just invest in a few extra bobby pins.
Paralyzing Palm [Unarmed 70]: When you are using Unarmed attacks in VATS you will sometimes attack with the Paralyzing Palm attack. This attack will incapacitate an enemy for 30 seconds, allowing you to take them down whenever you want. If you use Unarmed weapons, this is a critical perk to take for your survivability.
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Level 20 Perks
Explorer [-]: This perk will immediately expose all locations to you on the map. Given the availability of online maps and the fact you can't fast travel to any of these locations until you discover them for yourself, it's recommended that you don't take this perk.
Grim Reaper's Sprint [-]: This perk will grant you an immediate 20 Action Points if you kill an enemy during VATS. If you like using VATS a lot, this is one of the Fallout: New Vegas perks I'd highly recommended, even though it is quite different from its counterpart in Fallout 3.
Ninja [Melee Weapons 80, Sneak 80]: If you like to sneak up on your opponents and hit them with an up close and personal attack, then this is the perk for you. Not only do you gain an extra 15 percent chance to do a critical strike on normal attacks, but you do an additional 25 percent damage on your sneak attacks with Melee and Unarmed weapons.
Solar Powered [END 7]: When you’re Solar Powered you gain both the ability to regenerate health and a 2 point boost to your Strength when you’re outside during the daylight hours. At night and when you’re inside, this boost is not active, so it can be of limited use.
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Level 22 Perks
Laser Commander [Energy Weapons 90]: If you’re a big fan of Energy Weapons this is a great perk for you to take. When you use Laser weapons you do an extra 15 percent damage and have an extra 10 percent critical hit chance.
Nuka Chemist [Science 90]: If you’re really into your Nuka-Cola, this isn't a bad perk to take. You will be able to turn normal Nuka-Cola into Victory, Quartz and Ice Cold varieties for their unique bonuses when you drink them. Once a Nuka-Cola is converted into another type it cannot be changed.
Spray and Pray [-]: This perk allows you to do 25 percent less damage to your companions, allowing you to be a little more care free with how you use your arsenal. This can definitely be a good perk if you prefer your companions to be the up close and personal variety.
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Level 24 Perks
Slayer [AGL 7, Unarmed 90]: This perk increases the speed of both your Melee and Unarmed weapons by 30 percent. This doesn't increase the speed of your attacks in VATS or your speed when your hands are completely empty.
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Level 26 Perks
Nerves of Steel [AGL 7]:This perk will boost your AP regeneration, but it is only good if you like to use VATS and take on enemies that require more than one round of VATS to defeat. Otherwise you'll be fine with something like Grim Reaper's Sprint.
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Level 28 Perks
Rad Absorption [END 7]: The last of the Fallout: New Vegas perks is the ultimate in Radiation management. Every 20 seconds your Rad level will go down by one point. This includes time spent either sleeping or fast travelling so you can get your Rad levels down by quite a lot. By this level, it's very likely that you are able to deal with Radiation in a multitude of ways, making this perk questionable.
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When you have companions they offer you additional useful perks in your travels. While you have them actively in your party the following effects are possible:
Better Healing [Arcade Gannon]: This perk gives you a 20 percent boost to healing from all sources of healing, from food to stimpaks.
Enhanced Sensors [ED-E]: With Enhanced Sensors you are able to detect enemies at a much greater range than normal, usually further then you can see. You are also able to detect and target cloaked enemies.
Regular Maintenance, Full Maintenance [Raul]: Depending on the version of this perk, your weapons and armors will decay 50 percent (Regular) or 75 percent (Full) slower. This is a great way to overcome the downside of the Built to Destroy trait.
Scribe Assistant [Veronica]: When you talk to Veronica you can choose a dialogue option that will allow her to substitute as a Workbench. This is especially useful if you're using Energy Weapons, as you can perform recycling of your drained electrical ammo everywhere you go.
Search and Mark [Rex]: This perk causes any container that has food, chems, weapons and/or ammo to become highlighted when you zoom in from a short distance away. If there are other items of another category in the container, it will not be highlighted.
Spotter [Craig Boone]: Whenever you’re actively aiming your weapon, all of your targets will be highlighted making them a lot easier to see in low lighting conditions or when they're blending in with the background.
Stealth Girl [Lily]: With Lily in your party, any time you use a Stealth-Boy its duration will double and sneak attack criticals will have a 10 percent boost to damage.
Whiskey Rose [Cass]: The side effects of alcohol, including addiction, will no longer have any sway over you with this perk. They still technically happen, but they just don't affect you as long as Cass is with you. In addition to the normal benefits of alcohol, your Damage Threshold will be increased between 2 and 6 points when you drink whiskey, depending on your Survival skill.
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Challenge Based Perks
Abominable [3 Ranks]: At the milestones 50, 100 and 150 kills of abominations, you will do an additional 3, 6 or 10 percent extra damage to these creatures.
Animal Control [3 Ranks]: At the milestones of 50, 100 and 150 kills of mutated animals, your attacks will do an extra 3, 6 or 10 percent damage to these creatures.
Beautiful Beatdown [-]: First, kill 42 people with unarmed weapons, then do an additional 10,000 damage with unarmed weapons. Once that’s achieved Action Point costs for Unarmed attacks are reduced by 10 percent.
Bug Stomper [3 Ranks]: At the milestones of 50, 100 and 150 kills of mutated insects, your attacks will do an extra 3, 6 or 10 percent additional damage to these creatures.
Camel of the Mojave [-]: After drinking 100 water items you have become accustomed to the desert and water items will heal and hydrate you 15 percent better.
Day Tripper [-]: After using 25 addictive chems you will find their effects will last a full 33 percent longer for you.
Dine and Dash [Cannibal Perk]: After eating 25 corpses you will have the option to take your meal on the go and eat that person later.
Free Radical [-]: After using RadAway 20 times, the effects of it will be improved by 20 percent.
Friendly Help [Mysterious Stranger or Miss Fortune]: After 15 visits from one of your mysterious benefactors the chance that they will appear increases. Having both does not increase your chances further though.
Lord Death [3 Ranks]: At the milestones of 200, 700 and 1000 kills of any enemy type you will do an extra 1, 2 or 4 percent additional damage to all enemies.
Machine Head [2 Ranks]: Although it’s listed at having 3 ranks, only 2 ranks are possible and later patches show only two ranks. At the milestones of 50 and 100 kills, you will do an additional 3 and 6 percent damage to robots.
Meat of Champions [Cannibal]: In order to get this perk you are required to eat four specific corpses. Mr. House, Caesar, The King and Aaron Kimball. After eating all four, eating from a corpse directly will then offer you a one minute bonus to Luck, Strength, Charisma and Intelligence
Melee Hacker [2 Ranks]: First, kill 125 enemies with melee weapons, then for the first rank you need to deal 10,000 damage with one-handed melee weapons. The second rank requires 10,000 damage with two-handed weapons. This will give an additional 5 or 10 percent bonus to your attack speed.
Mutant Massacre [3 Ranks]: At the milestones of 50, 100 and 150 kills of Super Mutants, you will add an additional 3, 6 or 10 percent damage to Super Mutants.
Power Armor Training [-]: By completing either the Still in the Dark or For Auld Lang Syne quests, you gain this perk. This will now allow you to use any Power Armor.
Set Lasers for Fun [2 Ranks]: First, kill 64 enemies with any type of energy weapons. For the first rank, inflict 25,000 damage with energy weapon rifles, and for the second rank do 16,000 damage with pistol energy weapons.
Tough Guy [-]: After becoming crippled 50 times, you will take 20 percent less damage to your limbs. If you decided to take the Small Frame trait, if you've suffered from crippled limbs for long enough this perk all but eliminates the downside of that trait.
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You may receive implants from Doctor Usanagi for a specific number of caps that is not influenced by your Barter skill.
Agility Implant [4000 caps]: Increases your Agility by 1
Charisma Implant [4000 caps]: Increases your Charisma by 1
Endurance Implant [4000 caps]: Increases your Endurance by 1
Intelligence Implant [4000 caps]: Increases your Intelligence by 1
Monocyte Breeder [12000 caps]: This perk will allow you to regenerate health over time at the rate of 1 HP every 5 seconds. This perk does not regenerate your limbs however, those must be healed manually.
Perception Implant [4000 caps]: Increases your Perception by 1
Strength Implant [4000 caps]: Increases your Strength by 1
Sub-Dermal Armor [8000 caps]: This perk increases your Damage Threshold by 4 points.
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Special Unarmed Perks
Khan Trick [-]: By completing all the drug runs in the Aba Daba Honeymoon quest, you will be able to learn this special unarmed attack.
Legion Assault [Unarmed 50]: By talking to Lucius in Caesar's Tent you can acquire this special unarmed attack. You do not need a permanent Unarmed skill above 50, just boost it long enough for the check.
Ranger Takedown [Speech 30]: After talking to Ranger Andy you can learn this special unarmed attack by passing a Speech check.
Scribe Counter [-]: After giving either Formal Wear or White Glove Society clothing to Veronica, she will teach you this attack.
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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 you're 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 information and screenshots from Fallout: New Vegas
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