================================================ Fallout: New Vegas (PC): Unarmed/Melee Character Guide, by Erik Fasterius erik.fasterius@hotmail.com Copyright 2010 Erik Fasterius ================================================ --------------------- 0.0 TABLE OF CONTENTS --------------------- 1.0 INTRODUCTION Just the basics of this guide, who I am, and so on... 2.0 UNARMED OR MELEE? They're actually quite different! 3.0 TACTICS General outlines on how to fight in close quarters. 3.1 Using Your Weapons 3.2 Armour 3.3 Leveling and Difficult Opposition 4.0 S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Two styles demand two different arrays of attributes. 5.0 SKILLS This is where the builds don't differ much at all. 4.1 Essential skills 4.2 Useful skills 6.0 TRAITS Actually very helpful, at least most of the time! 7.0 PERKS So many too choose from, but which are actually worth it? 6.1 Common Perks 6.2 Unarmed Perks 6.3 Melee Perks 6.4 Perks to stay away from 8.0 WEAPONS Again, a plethora to choose from! 7.1 Fist weapons 7.2 Melee weapons 9.0 TWO SAMPLE BUILDS One for Unarmed, one for Melee - just to get you started. 10.0 CREDITS, VERSION HISTORY, ETC Last but not least... 10.1 Credit Where Credit Is Due 10.2 Version History 10.3 Who's allowed to use this guide ---------------- 1.0 INTRODUCTION ---------------- Hey there, and welcome to the guide! I'm Erik, just some guy from Sweden who happen to enjoy making the occassional guide for GameFAQs. It's always these "character building" guides, since that's one aspect of gaming I've always immensily enjoyed. Tinkering with stats, experimenting with different feats and perks, it's almost as much fun as experiencing a good storyline! This guide is about playing an Unarmed or Melee type of character for the game Fallout: New Vegas. I've tried to compile all I've learned playing the game, but keep in mind that just because I've written it down it doesn't mean everything is infallible. If you find a mistake concerning an aspect of the build, or maybe you feel that you have a better solution, feel free to send me an email about it! You can find my adress at the top of this page. I've written this guide with the mindset that it is just that, a GUIDE. Not a set-in-stone way of building your character. It's meant to highlight some of the thinking in creating this type of character, what you can choose from to get the most out of it, but it's also meant to help you to make your own, unique build. Keep this in mind! To find a section you're looking for, just press Ctrl + F, type in the text you want to find (the name of a section, for example) and your browser will find it for you - no need to scroll through the entire thing! This guide is written with the hardest difficulty in mind, but it's equally viable in the lower ones as well. Hardcore mode doesn't really increase the difficulty as much as the tediousness (or realism, if you prefer) of the experience, so you can more or less have it on whatever you want. (A little more detail on this later in the guide.) If you liked the guide, feel it needs some changes or just want to give me some constructive criticism, just send me an email about it! With all that done, let's get on with it! --------------------- 2.0 UNARMED OR MELEE? --------------------- If you've looked at the perks available in New Vegas (and Fallout 3 as well, for that matter) you can easily be misled in believing that unarmed and melee go hand in hand (pun intended!), and while that may be true to a certain extent, if you really want the most out of your character in regards to fighting prowess you really need to choose one or the other. Here's why: 1) Crits: Fist weapons work really, well with critical hits. Most have a decent critical multiplier (how often you crit) and quite a few have a very good critical damage (how much damage is added), some an amount equal to or even MORE than the base damage! Sneak is very good with unarmed for this reason. Melee weapons, on the other hand, are not as good with criticals. The critical damage is more often than not lower than on an equivelant fist weapon, and quite a few melee weapons can't even crit to begin with! ("Oh, Baby!" and the Chainsaw, to name two) 2) VATS: Whenever if go inside VATS and hit something, that hit will get a flat addition of 5% critical chance. This is good for unarmed for the above mentioned reasons. Most melee weapons still have a special attack that you can use inside VATS. Some weapons even have special attack work outside of VATS! This all means that VATS is something unarmed should aim to use ALL THE TIME, while melee builds only need it in moderate doses. Unarmed should get VATS-centered perks, but melee could do without them, and focus on other perks instead. These are the two BIG differences. These, however, lead to much smaller (but more numerous) differences down the road: attributes, perks, weapons, etc. What you need to decide on is what type of character you want to play: a sneaky, crit-happy unarmed character or an immense powerhouse with melee weapons. These are generalizations, as there are exceptions, but they hold true for most of the weapons in the game. ----------- 3.0 TACTICS ----------- Before we go into more details about the builds themselves, let's touch on some basic tactics for close quarters combat. While just rushing into the fray, hacking and slashing away at everything that moves will work great a lot of the time, some enemies require some additional thought to take down effectively. 3.1 Using Your Weapons ---------------------- You're not the only one who (might) have a high Damage Threshold, quite a few of the enemies you'll encounter in the game are also heavily armoured! This means that you might not be able to get through their DT using your favourite knife or fist weapon, because it does too little damage. Here's where the distinction between damage (DAM) and damage-per-second (DPS) must be made. Damage is how much damage your weapon does in one of its hits. DPS takes the weapon's attack speed into account as well. This means that a high DPS but low DAM weapon won't be able to get through your enemies' DT. You might actually have to switch to a weapon with lower DPS! Even if it has lower listed DPS, it'll actually do more effective DPS to targets with high DT, since more damage gets through to it. You should always keep at least one weapon of each kind: one generic "low-DT" weapon with as high DPS as you can find, and one "high-DT" weapon simply to get through as much DT as you can. Sometimes those two types are the same weapon, though, and that's just swell! 3.2 Armour ---------- There are two schools of thought here, on whether to use light or heavy armour. See, even with a very high agility (which governs your movespeed) a heavy armour will still hinder your movements quite a bit. The tradeoff is that you'll get much higher DT yourself. If you wear light armour you'll be able to close the distance to your targets much faster, but you'll take more damage. The question is whether you prefer being more tank-like, wearing heavy armour and slowly plowing through your enemies while taking as little damage as you possibly can or if you prefer to be quick and nimble while more vulnerable. Since you'll be a melee artist in some fashion or the other, the question of how you close the distance to your enemies is not a trivial one. Being slower will increase the time it takes for your to get to your enemies initially, but ALSO make it harder to catch up to fleeing or enemies trying to reposition themselves somewhere else. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. In the end it's all up to you and what play-style you prefer, as each options is more or less equal. You can try out both of them, but there perks that work better with one of the setups than the other. Try out both, see which one you like best! 3.3 Leveling and Difficult Opposition ------------------------------------- While enemies in New Vegas scale to your level, it doesn't mean that you can go everything in the game at level 1. Leveling means you both increase your skills and gain more perks. Raising skills is a purely numerical increase while perks actually give you more abilities. While some perks, such as Toughness (more on specific perks later) just give a flat increase in some stat or attribute, other perks give you new tricks up your sleeve (Super Slam, for example). This means that leveling gives you more than just bigger number. And bigger numbers are never a bad thing, but a good complement of new abilities (or BETTER abilities you already possess) is also something to aim for. So when you try to run to Vault 34 at too low a level, while the enemies will be scaled to it, it doesn't mean you'll be able to take the whole thing on! You might need to come back later, at a higher level, where you'll have a bigger arsenal of both numbers and abilities. What I'm trying to say is that there's no need to try to tackle every single quest and area you happen to come across on your trip through the Wasteland on your first try if it feels too difficult for you. Just come back later! You'll more often than not find that something you could barely survive at a low level is somehow transformed into a cake-walk at a higher level. ------------------- 4.0 S.P.E.C.I.A.L. ------------------- This is the first thing you'll get to choose when making a new character, and so we'll start here as well. You can find example builds at the end of the guide with attribute arrays you can modify yourself if you're not happy with them. Strength and Endurance ---------------------- are the two common attributes for both builds, as they help each of them in their own way. Strength increases both the Melee Weapons skill and the unarmed base damage of your character, while Endurance increases the Unarmed skill, overall health and the number of implants you can get. Both of these should therefore be high, regardless of build. Perception ---------- This is vital for Unarmed builds, simply because you need at least 6 to be able to take the Better Criticals perk at level 16. A good starting value would be 5, and eventually adding the implant for a total of 6. Melee-oriented characters need not bother. Charisma -------- Well, it's *mostly* useless in New Vegas. See, Speech (the skill) can be increased with just skill points just fine, even with just 1 in charisma, Barter is only moderately useful and your companions will still be just fine with low charisma. This is why Charisma is the dump-stat for quite alot of builds out there, including these. Intelligence ------------ Intelligence has lost alot of its edge since Fallout 3, it's no longer the must- have it used to be. While a high intelligence doesn't hurt, being slightly dumber in New Vegas doesn't hurt you as much as you'd think, you just have to be a bit more careful with your skill points. This is where we put all our remaining points after we're done with the essentials. (Try to always have at least 4 points here, so you can get the Educated perk at level 4.) Agility ------- Agility increases Sneak, your running speed and your Action Points in VATS, so it's clearly needed for Unarmed characters. An eventual total of 10 wouldn't be misplaced. Melee characters can still enjoy the faster speed, though. Luck ---- Here's the biggest difference in the two builds. Since Unarmed characters will want as high chance of critical hits as possible, they'll want a high luck, preferably 10 after implants. Melee characters can keep it at 1 without losing too much. Of course, they CAN still crit, and it'll lower their chance to do so when they can, but the points can probably be better spent at the other attributes for a better overall effect. ---------- 5.0 SKILLS ---------- As some of the best perks for both the Unarmed and Melee character require high skill in both areas, this section is the one least differentiated between the two builds. Regardless, there are some differences, both in allocation and in choices. 5.1 Essential Skills -------------------- Unarmed and Melee. To a (very small) varying degree, though. If you're a melee character, you'll still need 90 in Unarmed for the Slayer perk, for example. Unarmed characters only need 80 in melee weapons, though, as the Ninja perk only asks for that much. Sneak is also essential for Unarmed characters. You'll need at least 80 for Ninja, but you might even go so far as 100, if you really want to be able to sneak past whatever your heart desires. 5.2 Useful Skills ----------------- It's temptning to just write "the rest", but some are more useful than others. Lockpick and Science, for example, since they help you getting through those pesky locked doors and hacking terminals. Speech is actually quite useful in New Vegas, so consider taking that. Explosives also comes to mind, especially for melee characters, as they tend to have more perks free to spend than unarmed characters do in addition to already having bad crits. A nice flavour skills to have, I always find it enjoyable to watch my enemies blown intro smithereens, regardless of game! If you're playing on Hardcore, Survival is a very good skill to have. Medicine as well (though that can help on normal mode as well). The Repair skill never hurts, either! In essence, the only skills you really should stay clear of are the other weapon skills; Guns and Energy Weapons. ---------- 6.0 TRAITS ---------- There are a few that perfectly suits our character builds, and some are useful for both. You CAN create a character without any traits at all, but why would you want to? While they give you some kind of weakness, that weakness is usually more or less easily overcome, especially when you factor in their benefitial effects! Built To Destroy - An excellent choice for Unarmed characters, as more crits never is a bad thing! The faster decay does hurt at times, and you'll have to repair more often. Good Natured - A decent pick for both builds, it mostly affects how you'll play in the early game - come late game it'll be the same. You could argue that you'll "gain" skill points by taking this trait, and I wouldn't disagree, but it depends on how useful you think the skills are and how much you're going to be using them. Heavy Handed - A must-have for melee characters! Your crits suck anyway, why not make your normal hits hit harder? Kamikaze - Can be useful for unarmed characters, if you know you're going to be using VATS ALOT. Small Frame - I love this trait, simply because the attributes are so good in New Vegas. Legs more easily crippled? Meh, I'll live. --------- 7.0 PERKS --------- There are quite a lot of perks in New Vegas, a bunch of which are new and some carried over from Fallout 3, though they changed a fair few of them. They also halved the amount of perks you get per level (one every second level instead of a 1:1 ratio), although we do get to level 30 instead. What you'll be looking for in perks is different for melee and unarmed; perks are probably the biggest differentiators between the two. Melee builds do have more leeway with which perks they can afford to take, since they don't need all those VATS and crit-perks that Unarmed characters need. Keep this in mind when building your character. If you want to play around a bit, melee is perhaps the way to go, because of this. It is, for example, very hard to do an unarmed build that includes explosives and still retain most of it's killing power. A melee build can do this relatively easy. You could even go for some sniping perks, to gain some long-ranged capabilities! (Perks are listed with their required level in (brackets) and the [requirements] below their name. Note that Ninja and Stonewall are currently bugged and does not work as described. Whether you want to abuse or ignore them because of this is up to you. Hopefully they'll patch this, but you never know...) 7.1 Common Perks ---------------- These are the perks that either are good for both builds or more of a general purpose usefulness that fits everywhere. Intense Training (2) - As there aren't a whole lot of good perks at level 2, IT is always a good choice. The anti-male/female perks have their uses, but getting another attribute a little higher is often better, in my opinion. Anti-male/female (2) - Includes the Black Widow/Confirmed Bachelor/etc perks. As good a pick as any at this level, you'll get 10% more damage to the same/opposite sex. While it only applies to humans it's still moderately useful. Plus, you sometimes get some alternate conversation options! Educated (4) - Two more skill points per level, at a level where you [INT 4] still haven't got all that many good perks to choose from? Yes, please! Comprehension (4) - It's not as good as in Fallout 3, but still very good. [INT 4] You'll get another skill point from reading skill books and it doubles the bonus from magazines. Travel Light (4) - If you like wearing light armours instead of big and [Survival 45] bulky ones, this perk might be for you. If you're going to aim for speed, why not go all the way? Bloody Mess (6) - It's gory, and +5% to all damage is never wrong. Toughness (6) - Gives you +3 to your Damage Threshold (DT). If you feel [END 5] you need more protection or simply haven't got another good perk at a given level, Toughness is always a good choice. Super Slam (8) - A life-saver at times! It's basicly a big stun that'll [Melee 45, STR 6] help you in either continuing to pummel your target into a pulp or some measure of crowd control. A very nice addition to any close quarters combatants arsenal! Stonewall (8) - Somewhat useful, seeing as you'll be in close quarters [STR 6, END 6] with your enemies all the time. Only if you have the perks to spare, though. (Note: this is currently bugged and does not work as described, you actually get +5 DT vs ALL as long as you use melee/unarmed weapons instead of just vs. melee/unarmed!) Life Giver (12) - A good way to increase your health. Very good as a perk [END 6] for levels you feel lacks any other good choice. Piercing Strike (12) - A must-have for both builds! Negate 15 of your targets' [Unarmed 70] Damage Threshold? Yummy... Unstoppable Force (12)- Somewhat useful, it's just that enemies aren't blocking [Melee 90, STR 7] very often, depending on the situation. Might be worth a perk, if you feel you can spare them. Jury Rigging (14) - Saves a lot of trouble, repairing your weapons with the [Repair 90] specific item needed. This perk will help you in just picking stuff up and repairing your equipment with whatever it was lying around. Purifier (14) - As it works on some of the more difficult encounters in the game, it's a decent choice. Dealing with Deathclaws can be a bitch, especially for a close-quarters combat character! Slayer (24) - More attack speed? 30%? That's just fine! A must-have. [Unarmed 90, AGI 7] 7.2 Unarmed Perks ----------------- These are perks that are good for an unarmed character, but not for a melee character. Finesse (10) - Another 5% critchance? Yes, please! Math Wrath (10) - VATS, VATS, VATS. You'll notice that alot of the perks [Science 70] listed here are to do with VATS, since unarmed works so well with that. None of them are must-haves, but very useful, this one included. Silent Running (12) - Sure, you COULD continue moving slow as a snail when [Sneak 50, AGI 6] you want to sneak properly, but this feat saves you both a lot of time and frustration. I know I couldn't live without it anymore! Action Boy (16) - If you like VATS (and you should, being unarmed!), this [AGI 6] is an excellent perk. Better Criticals (16) - THE reason you have 6 Perception, you'll get another [PER 6, LCK 6] 50% damage on your crits, this is a must-have for unarmed characters! Paralyzing Palm (18) - 30 second stun? Like. Even though the description says [Unarmed 70] you need to be completely unarmed it works just fine with fist weapons. Grim Reaper's Sprint (20) - While it's been nerfed from being an instant-win perk in Fallout 3 to merely very good New Vegas, it is still just that - very good. Now you have to actually be a bit more tactical with your use of VATS, not just aim and shoot everything that moves. Ninja (20) - It's a bit weird that you don't actually have to have [Melee 80, Sneak 80] unarmed skill for this, but there you have it. It's a must-have for unarmed builds, as another 15% crit- chance is simply too good to pass up on. (Note: this is currently bugged, and only gives you a 15% increase on your critchance, and not a flat +15%!) Nerves of Steel (26) - Might be overkill at this point, but if you really like [AGI 7] VATS combat this might be for you. 7.3 Melee Perks --------------- Perks that work well with a melee build, but not unarmed. As you can see, these are quite a lot fewer than for unarmed, and they're not even mandatory, mostly if you like explosives! You can play around with perks alot more with melee than with unarmed because of this. Heave, Ho! (2) - If you like explosions. [Explosives 30, STR 5] Demolition Expert (6) - Your explosives pack more of a punch now. There are [Explosives 50] three ranks of this perk, each at 20% more damage. Cowboy (8) - A good perk if you like to use knives, hatches and/or [Gun 45, Melee 45] dynamite. 25% more damage is nothing to be sneezed at, and even if none of the "best" weapons are in this category, his perk greatly increases their viability! Pyromaniac (12) - OK choice for melee, if you like to use the Shishkebab. [Explosives 60] Increases the damage of all fire-based weapons. Splash Damage (12) - Increases the radius of your explosions by 25%, which [Explosives 70] is very nice, if you like to use them. 7.4 Perks to stay away from --------------------------- These are perks that are bad, in one way or the other. Some are more obviously lesser perks, while some requires some deeper thought to decipher. I haven't included ALL of the other perks, obviously, but only those that I thought you might think are good. Swift Learner (2) - While this is level 2, there still are better perks [INT 4] than this. Don't worry, you'll get high enough level without this! Here And Now (10) - You'll get enough levels, don't worry about it, and taking this perks is a perk wasted. Adamantium Skeleton (14) - How often do your limbs become crippled, even with the Small Frame trait? Not all that often. 50% less damage might sound nice, but it's really not that good. There are plenty of Doctor's Bags out there, even for Hardcore mode. Tag! (16) - Would have been good at lower levels, now it'd just be a waste of a perk. ----------- 8.0 WEAPONS ----------- There are a plethora of weapons out in the desert, but some are better than the rest. I've listed some of them here, and where to find them. Remember, though, that just because there are weapons that are "best" it doesn't necessarily mean that other weapons are BAD, just not as good! 8.1 Fist Weapons ---------------- Ballistic Fist - Easily the best unarmed weapon in the game, both in VATS and outside of it. You can find this weapon either from Blake (he's at the Crimson Caravan Company) or from Torres (Hidden Valley Bunker). Pushy - While not as excellent as the Ballistic Fist, Pushy is still very good. You can find it on a dead Jackal gang member inside the Ruby Hill Mine. Mantis Gauntlet - The only unarmed weapon with a x3 critical multiplier, meaning that as long as you get above 33% critchange (which is not hard at all) you'll ALWAYS crit! It also ignores your enemies' DT, similar to the Deathclaw Gauntlet in Fallout 3. It's a rare find, but vendors at either the Hoover Dam, Crimson Caravan Camp or the Great Khan weapons dealers sometimes have them. 8.2 Melee Weapons ----------------- Oh, Baby! - This is a unique Super Sledge, and boy does it pack a punch! The most powerful generic melee weapon, hands down, although it requires a maxed out melee skill. It can be found in the Charleston Cave (which is north of Jacobstown) on a dead nightkin. Knock-Knock - A unique variant of the fire axe, almost as good as the Oh, Baby!, if you prefer a bladed weapon instead of smashing things to a pulp. It can be found in Camp Searchlight's fire station, in one of the bathroom stalls. Chainsaw - A staple weapon of generic FPSs, New Vegas sure is nice to give us this weapon! No crits AT ALL, but very reliable damage. Does more damage in VATS, which is odd enough, so it might not be ideal, but still very nice. It can be found in Vault 3, the Legion's blacksmith or Veteran Legionaries (random). Shishkebab - Ah, the burning sword. In itself it's merely good, but with the Pyromaniac perk it becomes truly deadly, even rivaling the Oh, Baby! as the best melee weapon in the game! You CAN use poisons on it, even though it's on fire, and it'll stack with the immolation damage. It can be bought from the NCR Supply Officer (Hoover Dam), the Great Khan armorer or from Mick & Ralph's at Freeside. --------------------- 9.0 TWO SAMPLE BUILDS --------------------- I hope you'll try to put together your own build, but if you're starved for ideas or just want something to start on, here are two builds: (Attributes in [brackets] are the final values, after traits, implants and Intense Trainings. Perks in [brackets] are "optional", you can easily replace them with something else more to your liking. Well, everything is optional, but it IS an example build, after all!) Unarmed Melee ------- ----- Attributes: ----------- 8 [9] STR 9 [10] 5 [6] PER 3* 7 [8] END 9 [10] 1 CHA 1* 4 [5] INT 9 [10] 7 [9] AGI 8 [10] 8 [10] LCK 1* *whichever you feel is most important Traits: ------- Small Frame Heavy Handed Built To Destroy Small Frame Perks: ------ [Intense Training (LCK)] 2 [Confirmed Bachelor] Educated 4 Educated [Toughness] 6 [Toughness] Super Slam 8 Super Slam Finesse 10 [Toughness II] Piercing Strike 12 Piercing Strike Silent Running 14 [Pyromaniac] Better Criticals 16 [Purifier] Paralyzing Palm 18 [Jury Rigging] Grim Reaper's Sprint 20 [Lifegiver] Ninja 22 [Bloody Mess] Slayer 24 Slayer [Purifier] 26 [Stonewall] [Action Boy/Life Giver] 28 [Unstoppable Force] [Toughness II] 30 [Lady Killer] --------------------------------- 10.0 CREDITS, VERSION HISTORY, ETC --------------------------------- And that's it, the end of the guide! I hope you've found it useful and that you learned something new. If you have any questions, comments, criticism or general feedback, feel free to send me an email. You'll find my adress at the top of this page. 10.1 Credit Where Credit Is Due ------------------------------- These are the people who have contributed to the guide in some way or the other, except myself, of course. If you have provided some info or corrected a mistake of mine through email, this is where your name will appear. Sean Johnson (irish cream) 10.2 Version History -------------------- ver. 1.01, 21st of November, 2010 - Added the "Tactics" section - Added more perks - Changed the description of some perks - Minor revisions ver. 1.00, 19th of November, 2010 - Initial release. 10.3 Who's allowed to use this guide ------------------------------------ If you wish to put up my guide on another page, you will need my permission to do so first. Simple send me a mail asking if it's alright to put it up on your page, and I'll probably say yes - I've yet to refuse somebody. Keep in mind that the guide need to be presented in it's entirety, un-altered and free. The following sites are allowed to use my guide: Gamefaqs.com SuperCheats.com Neoseeker.com And that's that, have fun playing your new character!