Fallout 3: Basic Leveling Guide

Level 5

At this point, there's not much left for me to tell you. There are 20 levels total, but on normal difficulty, you can beat the entire main questwithout leveling past 12 (I did it in 8 hours, go ahead, beat me if you want). So by Level 5, you shouldn't have much to worry about. Youcan pursue the main quest, or take on just about any of the side quests.

Keep working on your primary combat skill, and train up another one, because who knows when you'll run out of ammo or your weapon will break and you'll have to switch to a less familiar one. You should have been focusing on either Science or Lockpick, and if you feel confident with your progress, keep going, or spend a little time on the other one. Don't forget about repair and medicine, andif you're really set on being a ninja, keep on dropping points into sneak.

Remember to take the Comprehension perk before you read any books. Otherwise, take Intense Training or another perk. If you're unsure of what to take, I'll leave you with my perk recommendations, all the way to level 20:

Recommended Perks:

  • Intense Training - There areten levels of this sucker, which means ten extra S.P.E.C.I.A.L points. It's worth taking this several times, in my opinion.
  • Black Widow/Lady Killer - Not the best perk, but it can be helpful. Unfortunately for the dudes, Black Widow is a bit more useful than Lady Killer, because the wasteland has a greater male population.
  • Educated - Always take this at level 4, always.
  • Comprehension - Take this before you read any books.
  • Gunslinger - Increases your hit chance in V.A.T.S. with one-handed guns, and is a worthwhile choice if you like pistols.
  • Toughness -+10 to Damage Resistance... There is no reason not to take this.
  • Commando - Same as Gunslinger, but for two-handed guns (hunting rifle, laser rifle, etc.).
  • Scrounger - Increases your chance of finding ammo in boxes, desks, cabinets, etc.. More ammo? Why not!
  • Strong Back - This one gives you the ability to carry 50 more pounds of equipment. I'm not big on carrying stuff around (I enlist followers for that!) but if you like wearing heavy armor and grabbing everything you find, this could be very useful.
  • Mister Sandman - But only because it's cool. This perk allows you to instantly kill any sleeping adults. Okay, it's not often that this will be useful, butsome of the perks are just fun.Also, if you're the cheatin' type, I've seen a little glitch that'll make your leveling a bit easier. I haven't testedit yet, but apparently if you use the skill on a sleeping child, you'll gain experience as if you killed him, but the kid won't die (none of the kids in the game can be killed). So you can just keep doing it and gainingexperience all night long.
  • Mysterious Stranger - Once again, because it's cool. Now and then, a Humphrey Bogart lookalike will join you in V.A.T.S. and take some shots at your opponent. Neat!
  • Nerd Rage! - Definitely take this if you have a high Science skill. When your health is at less than 20%, your Strength will raise to 10, and you'll gain 50 Damage Resistance. Then it's revenge time.
  • Fast Metabolism - Increases the health you receive from a Stimpak by 20%.
  • Life Giver - Well, who wouldn't want an immediate bonus of 30 HP?
  • Silent Running - Removes the effect movement has on your ability to stay hidden - for the ninjas out there, this is invaluable.
  • Sniper - Increases the chance of hitting an opponent's head in V.A.T.S. by 25%. If you already took Gunslinger and/or Commando, this'll make you an unstoppable head exploder.
  • Cyborg - Adds 10% to Damage Resistance, Poison Resistance, Radiation Resistance, and Energy Weapons. Totally a good idea.
  • Action Boy/Girl - Adds 25 extra Action Points, which is about equivalent to one more attack in V.A.T.S.. If you use V.A.T.S. often, this is for you.
  • Better Criticals - Increase the damage done by Critical Hits by 50%, and is useful for the stealthy types.
  • Tag! - Allows you to tag another skill, instantly increasing it by 15 points. If you're tired of sucking at lockpick or science or whatever, use this for a quick fix.
  • Paralyzing Palm - If you use unarmed combat, this is a must, as it freezes opponents for 30 seconds (meaning they're totally dead).
  • Ninja - Plus 15% chance of performing a critical strike, and plus 25% damage on critical sneak attacks. For the slinky killer, this is it.
  • Grim Reaper's Sprint - Turns you into Max Payne... er, sort of. If you kill an opponent in V.A.T.S., all of your action points are restored, meaning you can clear a whole room if you're careful.
  • Solar Powered - Increases your Strength by 2 and gives you slow health regeneration in direct sunlight - brilliant for explorers.

Maxed out!

Want a 100% absolutely maxed out character of doom?Well, it is possible (kind of). I haven't done it, but here's how I'd suggest you proceed:

Start with an Intelligence of 9, and immediately after you exit the vault, run to Rivet City and find the Intelligence Bobblehead. Take the Educated and Comprehension perks (of course), and all levels of Intense Training.Find all of the books, Bobbleheads and such.

You'll never be able to increase all of your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats to 10 permanently, even with allten levels of Intense Training and every Bobblehead, but with the help of chems and special armor/weapons, I'm sure you can (at leasttemporarily) max out every S.P.E.C.I.A.L. and every skill.

Nov 11, 2008

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Associate Editor, Digital at PC Gamer