Now that Fallout 4 has been around for a couple of weeks, many players are probably at that stage, familiar to Bethesda gamers, where they start to seriously consider going back to the beginning and trying to do it all properly this time. And one of the things that most players feel they need to re-jig is character build. In most Bethesda games, and certainly for the Fallout series, a handful of decisions very early in the game will, to some extent, mould and shape the playing experience. In Fallout 4, this is even truer than for previous instalments. The skill tree that you configure at the very beginning of the game will totally define your playing experience for a significant portion of the game. For those gamers who are just starting, and for those of us who are Bethesda perfectionists, here’s a quick guide to SPECIAL characteristics and how they match various playing styles.
STRENGTH: Strength will determine your melee damage and also how much you can carry. Regardless of whether players wish to run around the Fallout 4 world punching everybody in the face, various character builds will require at least a couple of points in Strength in order to avoid having to constantly run back to base.
PERCEPTION: Perception affects the distance at which you can perceive the enemy and will also have a significant impact on the efficiency of VATS. For those characters who like to steal, this is also an important skill. Perception will also lead to perks that improve performance with rifles (not assault rifles) and explosives.
ENDURANCE: This is very much the survivability trait. Health and Action Point regeneration are governed by this skill, as well as resistance to radiation and damage. Whatever your character build, you will need to invest some points in this.
CHARISMA: This skill is arguably one of the most important for those players who wish to have the richest possible Fallout 4 experience. Charisma affects interactions with other characters, the likelihood of addiction, and the resources that you can acquire for your settlements. Not only will a low Charisma score result in many of the game’s side quests remaining locked, at least six charisma points are required for the Local Leader perk — an absolute must if you’re interested in building settlements.
INTELLIGENCE: Intelligence governs the player’s facility with crafting and computers. An Intelligence heavy build will be very hard work at the start, with a lot of running away and repeatedly dying in combat. This doesn’t last long, however, as high Intelligence will significantly ramp up the players accrual of XP and will also grant access to some of Fallout 4’s best weapons and armor.
AGILITY: Agility is mostly concerned with Action Points in the VATS system and skill with pistols and automatic weapons. High Agility is an absolute must for any kind of gunslinging character and anybody who relies heavily on the VATS system in combat.
LUCK: The degree to which Luck can be used is probably one of the freshest things about Fallout 4. A build that is weak on combat skills will benefit from salting a few points away in this characteristic, as critical hit chances increase dramatically, and perks like the Mysterious Stranger will help you clear the battlefield no matter what your other skill levels. Luck also has a huge effect on the quality and quantity of finds in the wasteland, including currency.
As the game only gives you 21 points to distribute, it’s important to know which characteristics to jack up in order to be the kind of Fallout 4 player you wish to be. Here are some recommendations for a few broad categories of build.
ONE SHOT ONE KILL
If your idea of a perfect Fallout 4 experience starts with a sniper rifle and VATS amputations, then you’ll need to put most of your points into Agility and Perception. In order to ensure that you’re not completely useless at every other aspect of the game, we recommend juicing Agility and Perception up to 7 or 8 and then distributing the rest more or less evenly. Also, don’t forget to put some point in Luck for critical hits. When progressing through perks, as well as all the rifle related ones, it’s very important that you don’t miss out on Awareness, a perk that allows you to target armor soft spots and recognise enemy vulnerabilities.
If you wish to wander the world of Fallout 4 punching enemies in the face, then we would recommend a Strength of 10. It’s important, however, to salt some points away in Endurance for combat survivability, and Luck for critical hits. We’d recommend a four or five for each of these, depending on which secondary skills you wish to develop. Alternatively, a small investment in Agility is also a good idea. It should be noted that with this build a lot of lockpicking and complex crafting simply isn’t going to be possible for quite some time. And remember that you’ll need some Intelligence if you want to use the Power Armor. Perks to watch out for include Blacksmith and Armorer to help with building better melee weapons and armor.
THE CHARISMA BUILD
If you want to hear everything every character might possibly say, then it’s best to invest the bulk of your points in Charisma. We recommend bumping this skill up to at least eight. Remember also to put points in Intelligence and Perception (a four on each should do) in order to best take advantage of the perks that will arise. In terms of these perks, it is vital early on to focus on gaining every possible combat-related perk, whether it be damage multipliers like Lady Killer or the various perks that increase the combat effectiveness of your companions.
Of course, these are just the heavily specialised builds. If you’re a workmanlike, soldierly type player, a more or less even distribution of SPECIAL points, with emphasis on Agility, Strength, Perception, and Luck should get you through quite nicely indeed.
[Image via Bethesda]