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Old 10-22-2010, 09:56 AM   #1
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Post Fallout: New Vegas Starter Guide

This guide is intended for those looking for more information about New Vegas, so they can make more informed decisions when beginning a new game.

Quick Reference
There are 30 levels in New Vegas, with 88 perks, gained one per every two levels (level 2, 4, 6, et al). With 10 + 1/2 Intelligence skill points, you will have between 300-450 skill points by the end of your new vegas career; with average (5) stats, most of your skills will begin at 15 points each (23 for survival); tagging grants a one-time bonus of 15 points, and the educated perk, available at level 4, grants two additional points per level, for an additional 97 skill points (or between 397 - 547 points. Given the above, that's enough to max out six skills, without considering skill books (there are no skill-raising perks in New Vegas).

Difficulty may be set in the splah menu before starting the game. Difficulty modifies the damage you do (DD), the damage you take (DT), and the experience point total you receive for defeating enemies as follows:
Very Easy: 2x DD, 1/2 DT, 50% XP
Easy: 3/2x DD, 2/3 DT, 75% XP
Normal: 1x everything
Hard: 2/3 DD, 3/2 DT, 125% XP
Very Hard: 1/2 DD, 2x DT, 150% XP

Difficulty may be changed at any time in the in-game pause menu.

Hardcore Mode
Tracked separately from difficulty, you enable hardcore mode when you're leaving the doctor's house in the beginning of the game. This mode adds the following features:

Companions can permanently die, where otherwise they'd be marked Essential and only "knocked out" during combat, after which they stand up and auto-heal. Companions still auto-heal after combat.
Bullets have weight, which affects your inventory management. General consensus is that the weight isn't too drastic, but is still worth considering.
Health items heal over time, preventing the Fallout 3 tactic of pausing and healing in mid-battle. This over-time affect also applies to rad-reducing items. Healing mid-battle is still a viable tactic, provided you retreat to allow yourself time to heal. Combined with a low medicine skill, this alone may increase your difficulty considerably.
Crippled limbs may only be healed at a medical NPC, or with a doctor bag. This obviously drastically increases the value of doctor bags, which are somewhat rare early on.
You must eat, sleep and drink regularly. These are tracked similarly to radiation poisoning, with a score between 0-1000, and milestones at 250, 500 and 750 (with death at 1000). Stat penalties increase at higher milestones. The game will prevent you from sleeping or fast travelling yourself to death from these.
Sleeping in random beds no longer restores health. It just reduces your sleep score. Sleeping in your own bed does restore health, while also imparting the well-rested buff (Thanks KainGB). A similar effect occurs when your character sleeps with someone (M1dz)
Radiation is much more deadly.

It should be noted that the classic pack includes a canteen that automatically prevents you from becoming dehydrated by automatically "drinking" to reduce your H20 score at the milestone. This doesn't work if you sleep or fast travel in such a manner as to skip it entirely.

Additionally, drinking from in-game sources, such as faucets and toilets, will reduce your H20 stat while restoring health. (Again, KainGB)

You can choose up to two starter perks at character generation, typically accepting a penalty for some benefit. You do not actually have to select any or all of these perks, instead choosing none or one from the list.

The effects in-game are self-explanatory and won't be reproduced here unless by request, but the one that bears explaning is Wild Wilderness. This alters the entire game in minor ways that keep with the tone and attitude of previous Fallout titles; for example, you may find an alien blaster, rather than a plasma rifle, or a holy hand grenade, and your random encounters might be more whimsical in nature. Specific details are scarce at this moment, but if you prefer a slightly more serious Fallout: New Vegas experience, stay away from this.

Your companions also grant unique perks. Completing Challenges also unlocks special bonuses; for example, eating 25 corpses through Cannibalism grants you the Dine And Dash perk, allowing you to harvest human flesh for your on-the-go needs.

You also gain one perk per two levels gained, compare to a perk every level in FO3.


The available skills are as follows:

Energy Weapons
Melee Weapons

Of these skills, explosives, medicine, repair, science and survival are used for crafting, in order, explosives, health items, ammo, high-tech ammo, and food. You'll see some crossover in some skills, for example healing items out of survival.

Notably, several weapon skills have been combined. There is no "big guns" skill; any "big gun" that fires normal ammo is uses "guns," while those that explode now use "explosives." Flamers and incinerators and other such party favors use "energy weapons."

Generally, weapon skills are less important as the skill doesn't prevent you from using a weapon outright. Science, repair and lockpicking each have skill threshholds at 25 /50 / 75 / 100 that, if you're one point under, will prevent you from even trying it flat out. The same applies for crafting, as each item has a minimum skill requirement to create. As such, depending on your playstyle, you might not bother with weapon skills until later levels.

You now gain conversational skill challenges based on perks, the speech skill, and possibly any other skill you possess. An early such challenge involves granting tactics based on your sneak skill. Different from Fallout 3 is that speech challenges now highlight in red if you will fail them. This allows you to not choose (and thus lose access to) speech challenges.

This is handled much differently than Fallout 3. Previously, you had fame and karma, and doing any negative action, even by yourself, would influence the overall stat.

Now, reputation is tracked per faction between good and bad deeds, and karma. Even though a message will appear each time you do something bad, unless an NPC witnesses it, it will not affect your standing with that faction. There are varying reputation ranks that accommodate most playstyles, from absolute heroism or villany, to heroic tricksters or villanous saviors.

Certain factions have a uniform, which when equipped will disguise you as that faction; the UI will announce this when you equip it and remind you as time goes on. Disguises cause NPCs to react as though you are a member of that faction, preventing attacks from your "new" faction, while inviting attacks from their enemies.

Things to remember:
-Guards will "see through" your disguise.
-Whatever you do while disguised is still attributed to you; don't expect to raid friendly towns and get away with it.

Similar to Fallout 3, these stats don't matter as much as the skills they're tied to. Again, depending on your playstyle you may choose otherwise, but most players tend to get alot of mileage of out Intelligence's bonus skill points. Strength's bonus melee damage, carrying capacity, and ability to meet weapon strength requirements also makes it desirable, as does luck's overall boost on all skills and crit chance. You get five bonus points at character generation to distribute among these stats. Unlike Fallout 3, there are no stat-increasing bobbleheads or their equivalents. You will eventually have access to expensive surgical modifications that can alter your stats, however.

General tips
-Repair is fairly useful for its ability to maintain your weapons, as well as its use in crafting ammo and repair kits. As early as I am in the game, repair has been used in several quests and in recruiting at least one companion.
-Survival starts higher than any other skill in the game, but seems to offer several nice crafting opportunities with stat-boosting food, healing items and poisons.
-You can learn new melee manoevers from various NPCs
-Armor now uses a "damage threshhold" in addition to "damage resistance." DT reduces incoming damage by a flat amount, sometimes reducing it completely to zero.
-For hardcore mode, expect to need one good (20-50pt) piece of food and water per day; sleep every other day, or catch catnaps and push through the night.
-Everything is used in crafting; this can make it difficult to decide what to sell and what to keep. Try browsing crafting stations before visiting vendors to lighten your load.
-Cycle through ammo types by pressing the "2" key; the ammo type will be displayed next to the condition indicator on the bottom right.
-Sneak, combined with disguises, will allow you access to places you'd have had to fight through previously. You can even silently kill your enemies, preventing them from being alerted to your true motives!
-Above all, good luck and have fun.

Last edited by Trodamus: 10-22-2010 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:22 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Trodamus View Post
This guide is intended for those looking for more information about New Vegas, so they can make more informed decisions when beginning a new game.

Quick Reference
Hardcore Mode

Sleeping in a bed no longer restores health. It just reduces your sleep score.
FYI, this isn't strictly true.

Sleeping on -any- bed will not give you back HP. Sleeping in your house will give you back HP. It will also give you "Well Rested" while sleeping in any bed will not.

Also, sinks/toilets/water fountains give back HP like they would on normal mode, not HP over time.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:27 AM   #3
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Thanks KainGB, I've updated my post and added your reference.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:45 AM   #4
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No problem.

I've only found 2 places with beds that give you HP and Well Rested so far...

Novac Motel Room.
Brotherhood of Steel Safehouse.

Novac one has the mailbox right outside, which is nice. BoS Safehouse has a water supply that is NOT irradiated!
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:06 PM   #5
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If you sleep with someone You get HP and well rested too ( you know z )
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:42 PM   #6
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M1dz, I've added your note to the original post. Nice find!
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:53 PM   #7
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While I knew everything in this article already, the usefulness of it is great. +rep!
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:53 PM   #8
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Nice work, +rep
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:45 PM   #9
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Thanks a lot +rep
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