Fallout: New Vegas: Character Creation FAQ

       123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012
o======================================================================o
|								       |
|			    Fallout: New Vegas			       |
|			     					       |
o======================================================================o
Version 1.01
Written by: Nathan Garvin
Email: Theendbringer (at) Hotmail (dot) com.
If you're going to email me about this guide, make sure you put
"FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS" in the title, or I'll probably end up deleting it as 
junk.

I have no affiliation with Bethesda, Obsidian, Fallout: New Vegas, or 
any other parties involved with this game. This is a not-for-profit fan-
made guide. If you wish to post, mirror, or quote this guide, feel free 
to do so. Credit would make me happy, an email would make me feel good. 
Let your conscience be your guide, just like all good people.

Now, I know this is a not-for-profit FAQ, but FAQ writing is time
consuming work. If you wanted to show your appreciation for this FAQ 
and/or support for future FAQs by donating to my PayPal account, that
would be an above-and-beyond gesture. If every person who downloaded
my FAQs donated a penny.. well, it would help out immensely. Now,
without any more PBS-style solicitation..

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=delirious
devil%40hotmail%2ecom&lc=US&item_name=HaeravonFAQs¤cy_code=USD&bn
=PP%2dDonationsBF%3abtn_donateCC_LG%2egif%3aNonHosted

This FAQ was made in Notepad, and is best viewed in a simple text
editor. The default text is Lucida Console at size 10 font, but any
fixed-width font will work.. if not with the intended aesthetics intact.

Table of Contents
o======================================================================o
I. Introduction				{INT001}
	1. Hardcore Mode		{INT002}
II. S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Attributes		{SPC001}
	1. Implants			{SPC002}	
	2. Strength			{SPC003}
	3. Perception			{SPC004}
	4. Endurance			{SPC005}
	5. Charisma			{SPC006}
	6. Intelligence			{SPC007}
	7. Agility			{SPC008}
	8. Luck				{SPC009}
	9. My Personal Build, Attributes{SPC010}
III. Skills				{SKL001}
	1. Base				{SKL002}	
	2. Tag!				{SKL003}
	3. Leveling			{SKL004}
	4. Books			{SKL005}
	5. Breakdown of Skill Points	{SKL006}
	6. Barter			{SKL007}
	7. Energy Weapons		{SKL008}
	8. Explosives			{SKL009}
	9. Guns				{SKL010}
	10. Lockpick			{SKL011}
	11. Medicine			{SKL012}
	12. Melee Weapons		{SKL013}
	13. Repair			{SKL014}
	14. Science			{SKL015}
	15. Sneak			{SKL016}
	16. Speech			{SKL017}
	17. Survival			{SKL018}
	18. Unarmed			{SKL019}
	19. Skills I Tag! (and why)	{SKL020}
	20. Skill Point Allocation 	{SKL021}
IV. Traits				{TRT001}
	1. Built to Destroy		{TRT002}
	2. Fast Shot			{TRT003}
	3. Four Eyes			{TRT004}
	4. Good Natured			{TRT005}
	5. Heavy Handed			{TRT006}
	6. Kamikaze			{TRT007}
	7. Loose Cannon			{TRT008}
	8. Small Frame			{TRT009}
	9. Trigger Discipline		{TRT010}
	10. Wild Wasteland		{TRT011}
V. Perks				{PRK001}
	Level 2 Perks			{PRK002}
	Level 4 Perks			{PRK003}
	Level 6 Perks			{PRK004}
	Level 8 Perks			{PRK005}
	Level 10 Perks			{PRK006}
	Level 12 Perks			{PRK007}
	Level 14 Perks			{PRK008}
	Level 16 Perks			{PRK009}
	Level 18 Perks			{PRK010}
	Level 20 Perks			{PRK011}
	Level 22 Perks			{PRK012}
	Level 24 Perks			{PRK013}
	Lever 26 Perks			{PRK014}
	Level 28 Perks			{PRK015}
	Additional Perks		{PRK016} (!Under Construction!)
	My Personal Build, Perks	{PRK017}
VI. The New Vegas Medical Center Run	{IMP001}
VII. Books				{BOK001} (!Under Construction!)

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|			Introduction {INT001}			       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
Hello, kiddies! Another Fallout game, another Fallout Character Creation
FAQ. If you read my previous FAQ for Fallout 3 you'll have a good
understanding of how this FAQ will be laid out, and what it'll try to
do. If not, then read on. This FAQ is designed to help you create a
characters with the best chances of surviving in the Wasteland, or at
least to give you an idea of how the SPECIAL stats, perks, and skills
work so you can make an informed decision on how to best build the
character you want. It's mostly informational, but I do have my own
opinion on the best way to do things and what works best. Follow it or
not, but most of all, I hope you come out with a better idea of how you
want to play the game. If that's the case, Whether you do things my way
or not is irrelevent. I'm fairly power-gamey, and I focus more on a
general build, rather than specialization.. or rather, I try to focus
on making the most powerful character I can. After all, a character who
is good at talking his way out of a fight is fine, and a gunslinger has
its uses.. but a character who can do both is obviously better. Right?

All that said, this is a FAQ written relatively close to the game 
launch, and I'm sure I haven't found everything the game has to offer,
so what I have proposed should all be viewed as tentative, and hence,
subject to change. Also, if you followed the previous Fallout FAQ I
wrote you'll notice that it gradually gained more and more information
that wasn't strictly character-build related until it evolved into a
full FAQ/Walkthrough. We'll see how that goes this time around.

Hardcore Mode							{INT002}
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
With New Vegas comes the addition of Hardcore mode, which adds
significant gameplay changes. These include weight for ammo, the need to
mind food (FOD), dehydration (H20), and sleep deprevation (SLP) meters,
as well as a host of other tweaks, like the need to use a Doctor's Bag
to heal crippled legs, or to go find an actual doctor. This makes the
game a much more tedious experience, and in my mind it exists more for
challenge and realism than for any sort of story benefit. On that note,
when I played Hardcore mode it made me rush through the story more, and
explore less. I ignored most sub-quests and side-areas, and I really
wouldn't recommend it for a first play-through. If you do, however, play
Hardcore mode, save before you go out exploring and when you find new
areas, assess their resources and decide whether it's worth your time to
run out there. If not, reload.

As far as Hardcore mode affects my build.. It mostly changes perk and
skill point allocation, rather than affecting SPECIAL stats. It also
means I have to be more picky when it comes to buying Implants. I would
rather have Sub-Dermal Armor and Monocyte Breeders than many of the
SPECIAL stats, and since I wasn't running out and killing Super Mutants
for gear, and by extension, Caps, I was a little more conservative with
my spending. If you're lucky enough, however, you can gamble at the
various casinos in the Strip to rake up some Caps without wasting time..
that's right, time doesn't flow in the gambling mini-games. Other than 
that, I stand by my general build as Hardcore friendly. The only thing 
I suggest changing are a handful of Perks, and the priority of skills. 
Obviously Survival as a skill is more important in Hardcore Mode

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|		S.P.E.C.I.A.L Attributes {SPC001}		       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
Your seven attributes are cleverly formed into the anagram 'SPECIAL',
which stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, 
Intelligence, Agility, Luck.

Attributes do a number of things for you-depending on what the actual
attribute is, but they all give a 2 point bonus to their related skills
for each point in that attribute. For example, if your Strength was 5
your base Melee Weapons skill would get a 10 point bonus. Luck is the
exception, which gives a 1 point bonus for each two points in Luck to
all your skills. This also means that when determining your skill
points, each skill starts out with at least a +2 bonus (for your
minimum of 1 in each attribute.) But.. more on that later.

I will give you a brief description of each attribute, as well as list
what bonuses it gives. Below the chart listing the nuances of the
effects of that attribute will be my build choice when it comes to that
attribute, and a grade following it. The grade is somewhat arbitrary, as
it 'grades' the attribute in measure of importance. You can get a feel
for the grade an attribute will get just by looking at the number of
points my build requires.

Implants							{SPC002}
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Instead of Bobbleheads, in New Vegas you have Implants. Again, anybody
who played Fallout 1 or 2 shouldn't be surprised by the concept of
shelling out caps to have your character surgically augmented. You can
get one Implant per point of Endurance you have (not counting points
gained from gear worn or from getting an Endurance-boosting Implant).
Naturally, this means you shouldn't use Endurance as a dump stat, at
least, and at most, if you're a power gamer, you should strive to have
a high Endurance to get as many Implants as possible. The Implants are
listed below, along with the Caps they cost, and the bonuses they give.
Note that buying an Implant rewards you with a perk corresponding to
that Implant, which is how I will identify the Implants listed below.
Also, to my knowledge there is no significant down-time associated with
these surgeries. You shouldn't starve to death or dehydrate from having
a surgery, even though it does fast-forward time by three hours.

o====================o======o=====================o
|      Implant       | Cost |       Effect        |
o====================o======o=====================o
|Agility Implant     | 4,000|     +1 Agility      |
o====================o======o=====================o
|Charisma Implant    | 4,000|    +1 Charisma      |
o====================o======o=====================o
|Endurance Implant   | 4,000|    +1 Endurance     |
o====================o======o=====================o
|Intelligence Implant| 4,000|   +1 Intelligence   |
o====================o======o=====================o
|Monocyte Breeder    |12,000|Regenerate Hit Points|
o====================o======o=====================o
|Luck Implant	     | 4,000|      +1 Luck        |
o====================o======o=====================o
|Perception Implant  | 4,000|   +1 Perception     |
o====================o======o=====================o
|Strength Implant    | 4,000|    +1 Strength      |
o====================o======o=====================o
|Sub-Dermal Armor    | 8,000| +4 Damage Threshold |
o====================o======o=====================o

Obviously these Implants differ in potency.. the Sub-Dermal Armor 
Implant is better than a Toughness perk, and for Hardcore players, how
can life get much better than health regeneration? On the other hand,
for a build like mine that uses Charisma as a dump stat it might seem
mindless to bother getting enough Endurance in order to boost Charisma.

You can buy the Implants from Doctor Usanagi at the New Vegas Medical
Clinic. Check the {IMP001} section to see how to reach this area with a
new, low-level character.

Strength 							{SPC003}
o======================================================================o
Skills: Melee Weapons

Strength is a measure of your raw physical power. It affects how much
you can carry, the power of all melee attacks, and your effectiveness
with many heavy weapons.

"Strength'll tell you how easily a cowboy totes his saddle, and those
bigger firearms, or how much help he's gonna be for ya in a saloon
brawl."

Strength has a more important role in New Vegas than it previously had.
If you played Fallout 1 or 2, you'll remember that weapons in those 
games also had a minimum Strength requirement. So too, for New Vegas.
Strength also increases your melee damage, carrying capacity, and gives
a bonus to your Melee Weapons skill. In my mind, however, the most 
important thing it does is it effectively limits what weapons you can
use. If you don't have enough Strength to use a weapon, your aim will
wobble, and you'll have a laughable to hit rate in VATS. For melee
weapons, it may slow down your rate of attack. Now, as far as unarmed,
melee, and explosives are concerned this is only so much of a
handicap. Most of the time you don't need a great deal of accuracy
with, say, a Fat Man. The increased spread hurts, but with an 
explosive or Minigun, some inherent inaccuracy is built into the
weapon anyways. But with a Sniper Rifle, accuracy is a much greater
concern, and considering that higher damage weapons give a much
better damage return over high Damage Threshold than lower damage
weapons, you're going to want to use the bigger, badder guns. You
will be able to just scrape by with a six Strength, but if you really
want the good guns, you'll need a way to get up to eight (for example, 
the Anti-Material Rifle.) Above this only the super-heavy weapons
will confound you, and I'm willing to ignore them.

o=====o============o=================o======o==========================o
|Score|Melee Damage|Carrying Capacity|Skills|       Description	       |
o=====o============o=================o======o==========================o
|  1  |      .5    |       160       |  +2  |Wet Noodle 	       |
|  2  |     1.0    |       170       |  +4  |Beached Jellyfish         |
|  3  |     1.5    |       180       |  +6  |Doughy Baby               |
|  4  |     2.0    |       190       |  +8  |Lightweight               |
|  5  |     2.5    |       200       | +10  |Average Joe               |
|  6  |     3.0    |       210       | +12  |Barrel Chested            |
|  7  |     3.5    |       220       | +14  |Beach Bully               |
|  8  |     4.0    |       230       | +16  |Circus Strongman          |
|  9  |     4.5    |       240       | +18  |Doomsday Pecs             |
| 10  |     5.0    |       250       | +20  |Hercules' Bigger Cousin   |
o=====o============o========================o==========================o

My Build: I put *FOUR* points into Strength.. decidedly low, but hear
me out. With the Implant my Strenght will raise to five, and if I
slap on some Power Armor (T-51b or Remnant Power Armor, ideally)
my Strength will increase further. If I grab the Weapon Handling
perk, I will effectively bring my Strength up to eight for the
purposes of weapon handling.. or rather, bring the requirements down
to six. Either way, this just barely satisfies my Strength needs.
Considering that I don't have any Strength-dependent perks, I don't
care to specialize in Melee Weapons or Unarmed, so the damage doesn't
concern me one bit, and since you can stash loot on NPCs, the extra
carrying capacity doesn't worry me either-even on Hardcore mode. By
the time I need the heavier damage-dealing guns, I'll have them.

Grade: ***

Perception							{SPC004}
o======================================================================o
Skills: Explosives, Lockpick, and Energy Weapons

A high Perception grants a bonus to the Explosives, Lockpick and Energy
Weapons skills, and determines when red compass markings appear (which
indicate threats).

"A perceptive cowboy always knows when there's a lit stick of dynamite
nearby... or when a varmint's sneakin' up on him."

Perception's big draw is that it increases the distance as which you
notice threats-red marks on your compass. Granted this is only useful
for avoiding said threats, or ambushing/sneaking up on them. Still, if
you are a ranged fighter, this is useful for letting you know where your
enemies are before you engage. Yep, that's right out of the old FAQ, and
it holds true in New Vegas. There are, however, a few changes in New
Vegas that diminishes.. or rather, replaces.. the use of Perception in
New Vegas. First, you can just toggle VATS to spot enemies far outside
of your range to locate them, so long as you have a line of sight. With
one side kick you get a perk that highlights enemies when you aim, and
with another you get a perk that vastly increases your detection range.
Both of these perks make having a high personal Perception score rather
moot. Add into this the fact that with the new iron sights you can 
effectively snipe outside of VATS much easier.. you don't need a high
Perception to find-and kill-enemies. It still has its tactical uses to
be sure, and more importantly it is a requirement for some perks, but
you don't need nearly as much Perception this time around. In fact,
with the larger range of Perception you'll get from one companion, you
will see enemies on the compass much earlier than is useful. It doesn't
really do you much good to know that there are hostiles on the far side
of a mountain, does it? Especially not until you find a way to reach 
that side of the mountain, in any case.

o=====o======o====================o
|Score|Skills|    Description     |
o=====o======o====================o
|  1  |  +2  |Deaf Bat		  |
|  2  |  +4  |Senile Mole	  |
|  3  |  +6  |Squinting Newt	  |
|  4  |  +8  |Unsuspecting Trout  |
|  5  | +10  |Wary Trout	  |
|  6  | +12  |Alert Coyote	  |
|  7  | +14  |Big-eyed Tiger	  |
|  8  | +16  |Monocled Falcon	  |
|  9  | +18  |Sniper Hawk	  |
| 10  | +20  |Eagle with Telescope|
o=====o======o====================o

My Build: I start out with a base of *FIVE* Perception.

Grade: **

Endurance 							{SPC005}
o======================================================================o
Skills: Survival and Unarmed

Endurance is a measure of your overall physical fitness. A high 
Endurance gives bonuses to health, environmental resistances, and the
Survival and Unarmed skills.

"You can't keep a good cowboy down, not if he's the endurin' type...
and not if he's got a six-shooter the size of all tarnation."

As the description says, Endurance increases your Health and some
resistances. Presumably your resistance to poison is the same as in
Fallout 3, as your radiation resistance remains unchanged. Since you
only receive five Hit Points per level in New Vegas (as opposed to 10
in Fallout 3) Endurance plays a more crucial role. Most importantly,
however, in New Vegas your Endurance determines how many stat-boosting
Implants you can receive. There are a total of nine Implants, and you
can get one for each point of Endurance you have.. not including an
extra Endurance you may get from an Implant. If you want as many 
Implants as possible, you're going to want a high starting Endurance.
Since this attribute also boosts your Survival, it's a good pick for 
people playing in Hardcore mode.

o=====o=========o=====================o======o================o
|Score|Hitpoints|Poison/Rad Resistance|Skills|  Description   |
o=====o=========o=====================o======o================o
|  1  |   120   |        0%/0%        |  +2  |Basically Dead  |
|  2  |   140   |        5%/2%        |  +4  |Crumbly         |
|  3  |   160   |       10%/4%        |  +6  |Do Not Bend     |
|  4  |   180   |       15%/6%        |  +8  |Handle with Care|
|  5  |   200   |       20%/8%        | +10  |Stain-resistant |
|  6  |   220   |       25%/10%       | +12  |Hardy           |
|  7  |   240   |       30%/12%       | +14  |Tough-as-nails  |
|  8  |   260   |       35%/14%       | +16  |Flame Retardant |
|  9  |   280   |       40%/16%       | +18  |Bulletproof     |
| 10  |   300   |       45%/18%       | +20  |Unstoppable     |
o=====o=========o=====================o======o================o

My Build: The more the merrier in Endurance, I start out with a whopping
*EIGHT* Endurance. This allows me to get all the Implants in the game,
save the Charisma Implant.

Grade: *****

Charisma 							{SPC006}
o======================================================================o
Skills: Barter and Speech

Having a high Charisma will improve people's disposition of you, and
give bonuses to both the Barter and Speech skills.

"You'll find there are some smooth-talkin' cowboys out there that got
themselves a voice that sounds like an angel's harmonica."

Charisma isn't any better in New Vegas than it was in any other Fallout
game. I use it as a dump stat and let Speech and Barter get me through
the conversations.

o=====o======o==================o
|Score|Skills|   Description    |
o=====o======o==================o
|  1  |  +2  |Misanthrope       |
|  2  |  +4  |Old Hermit        |
|  3  |  +6  |Creepy Undertaker |
|  4  |  +8  |Peevish Librarian |
|  5  | +10  |Substitute Teacher|
|  6  | +12  |Cheery Salesman   |
|  7  | +14  |Diplomat          |
|  8  | +16  |Movie Star        |
|  9  | +18  |Casanova          |
| 10  | +20  |Cult Leader       |
o=====o======o==================o

My Build: I start out with *ONE* point in Charisma. There's really no
great reason to start out with more. If you want to be a silver-tongued
devil, get a high Intelligence and just use Speech instead.

Grade: *

Intelligence 							{SPC007}
o======================================================================o
Skills: Science, Repair, and Medicine

Intelligence affects the Science, Repair and Medicine skills. The
higher your Intelligence, the more Skill Points you'll be able to
distribute when you level up.

"A smart cowboy's good at most anything, from suckin' the poison out of
your rattler bit to fixin' your broken wagon axle."

Intelligence is again a solid attribute.. and even though it has been 
reduced in potency, the fact remains that a character with higher 
Intelligence will have higher skills, which does all kinds of good 
things. Not only will you pass more [Intelligence] checks, but more
skills means you'll pass more skill checks, too, and in New Vegas,
there are alot of them. Simply put, a more Intelligent character is
a more versatile, stronger character. And yes, half-points do carry
over to next level, so with a 9 Intelligence, you'd get 16 skill
points to distribute on one level, and 17 on the next.

o=====o=====================o======o=============o
|Score|Skill Point per Level|Skills| Description |
o=====o=====================o======o=============o
|  1  |         10.5        |  +2  |Sub-brick    |
|  2  |         11          |  +4  |Vegetable    |
|  3  |         11.5        |  +6  |Cretin       |
|  4  |         12          |  +8  |Knucklehead  |
|  5  |         12.5        | +10  |Knowledgeable|
|  6  |         13          | +12  |Gifted       |
|  7  |         13.5        | +14  |Smartypants  |
|  8  |         14          | +16  |Know-it-all  |
|  9  |         14.5        | +18  |Genius       |
| 10  |         15          | +20  |Omniscient   |
o=====o=====================o======o=============o

My Build: I start out with *NINE* Intelligence. My first priority, as
in Fallout 3, is to bring this nine up to a ten.. and this involves 
heading to the Emergency Service Railyard, through Primm Pass (if
possible), and north until I find the New Vegas Medical Clinic. The 
lower my level when I do this, the better my character will end up over 
all, so I take pains to avoid getting experience until I have the 
Intelligence Implant, after which I play the game more or less 
normally.. Normal for me, anyways.

Grade: ****

Agility 							{SPC008}
o======================================================================o
Skills: Guns and Sneak

Agility affects your Small Guns and Sneak skills, and the number of
Action Points available for V.A.T.S.

"When a fella's in a gunfight and shoots the other guy six times before
they can get off a shot, it's cause that fella is agile."

Agility is more of a mixed bag in New Vegas than it was in Fallout 3.
Action Points are still good and all, but since VATS doesn't make you
more-or-less invincible anymore, it can be a liability. It's often
better to use VATS sparringly, when you have time to pull off some safe
shots, rather than spam VATS relentlessly. Being able to use VATS more
often is better than taking more shots in VATS. Also with the new iron
sights, you can kill enemies more effectively at a distance.. again,
lessening the need for VATS this time around. 

o=====o=============o======o================o
|Score|Action Points|Skills|  Description   |
o=====o=============o======o================o
|  1  |      67     |  +2  |Walking Disaster|
|  2  |      69     |  +4  |Accident Prone  |
|  3  |      71     |  +6  |Oaf             |
|  4  |      73     |  +8  |Butterfingers   |
|  5  |      75     | +10  |Under Control   |
|  6  |      77     | +12  |Catlike         |
|  7  |      79     | +14  |Knife Thrower   |
|  8  |      81     | +16  |Knife Catcher   |
|  9  |      83     | +18  |Acrobatic Marvel|
| 10  |      85     | +20  |Walks on Water  |
o=====o=============o======o================o

My Build: I grab *SIX* point of Agility to start with, raising it to
seven with the Small Frame trait. It will eventually reach eight when
I get the Implant, which is plenty as far as Action Points and reload
speed is concerned.

Grade: ***

Luck								{SPC009}
o======================================================================o
Skills: All skills

"Some folks claim not to believe in luck, but when they lose in a duel
you'll hear them say, 'That lucky son-of-a-gun!'"

Luck is a great skill, especially with poor Intelligence suffering.
From Luck you will get a half-point bonus to all your skills (rounded
up), which tops out at +5 once you have nine Luck, making nine really
the terminal score for Luck. Considering this, Luck can potentially
give you the highest skill bonus of any attribute, and the fact that
each point also translates to your critical hit chance makes it a very 
nice attribute indeed.

o====o===============o======o====================o
|Luck|Critical Chance|Skills|    Description     |
o====o===============o======o====================o
|  1 |       1%      |  +1  |13 Pitch-black Coats|
|  2 |       2%      |  +1  |Broken Gypsy Mirror |
|  3 |       3%      |  +2  |Sickly Albatross    |
|  4 |       4%      |  +2  |Spilled Salt        |
|  5 |       5%      |  +3  |Coin Flip           |
|  6 |       6%      |  +3  |Stacked Deck        |
|  7 |       7%      |  +4  |Lucky 7             |
|  8 |       8%      |  +4  |Leprechaun's Foot   |
|  9 |       9%      |  +5  |21-Leaf Clover      |
| 10 |	     10%     |  +5  |Two-headed Coin Flip|
o====o===============o======o====================o

My Build: I start out with *SEVEN* Luck, and with the Implant and a
level 2 Intensive Training perk I bring it up to nine, which is as high
as it needs to be. Even the critical-hit happy builds should be
satisfied with this, and I really cant see stripping a point from
another S.P.E.C.I.A.L. state for one measly point of critical hit 
percentage.

Grade: *****

My Personal Build, Attributes					{SPC010}
o======================================================================o
I will purchase all the Implants, and most likely end up wearing Power
Armor. I disdain to call my character a 'sniper', as there is just as
much fun to be had with Shotguns, but I'd be a fool not to take
advantage of the new iron sights. Besides, now that you take damage in
VATS you might as well stay well away from Deathclaws and use the range
advantage of your weapons to win your fights.

Overall the build can be described as a Gun-using skill-junkie. I will
have the skills to handle many different situations in the game, but
this character will excel in direct confrontations. The plain number is
my starting score, the number in parentheses is my ending score, with
Implants and traits considered.

Strength	4 (5)
Perception	5 (6)
Endurance	8 (9)
Charisma	1 (2)
Intelligence	9 (10)
Agility		6 (8)
Luck		7 (9)	

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|			    Skills {SKL001}			       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
Skills determine how good you are at various activities, anything from
picking locks, hacking computers, attacking with various weapons,
sneaking, interacting with NPCs and so forth. Your skills are every bit
as important as your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes and your perks.

Base 								{SKL002}
o======================================================================o
You start out with two points in each skill, and get an additional two
points per S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attribute in related skills with the
exception of Luck, which gives .5 point for each point of Luck
(rounded up).

Tag! 								{SKL003}
o======================================================================o
You select three skills to tag after being tested early in the game.
Unlike the first two Fallout games, this doesn't double your rate of 
skill point increase, it merely adds a 15 point bonus to those skills.

Leveling 							{SKL004}
o======================================================================o
You gain 12 skill points per level plus half your Intelligence score.
Getting the bobblehead from Rivet City early earns you extra skill
points.

Books								{SKL005}
o======================================================================o
In addition to perks, leveling, and intelligence, you can get skill 
bonuses from books throughout the game. Unlike in Fallout 3, you no 
longer gain one point for each book, you now get three (or four, with
Comprehension). Of course, with bonuses like this you can't expect to
find quite as many of them.. but even if you find three or four, that's
a significant number of skill points.

Breakdown of Skills Points					{SKL006}
o======================================================================o
There are 13 skills in the game, each of which can be raised to a score
of 100, for a grand total of 1300 possible points in the game. Because
of several factors, namely the lack of Bobbleheads and a reduction in
the number of skill points per level, you will likely not reach 100 in
all of your skills.. but you can certainly reach 100 in many of them.
Here's a breakdown of where our skills stand with this build at level
one.
	
		Base	SPECIAL	Total	Implants	Total
			(+Luck)		(+Luck)		
Barter		2	2  +4	8	1		9
Energy Weapons	2	10 +4	16	3		19
Explosives	2	10 +4	16	3		19	
Guns		2	14 +4	20	3		23
Lockpick	2	10 +4	16	3		19
Medicine	2	18 +4	24	3		27
Melee Weapons	2	8  +4	14	3		17
Repair		2	18 +4	24	3		27
Science		2	18 +4	24	3		27
Sneak		2	14 +4	20	3		23
Speech		2	2  +4	8	1		9
Survival	4	16 +4	24	3		27		
Unarmed		2	16 +4	22	3		25	

Now that we've got that, lets figure out how many points we can expect
to get from leveling and Tag! skills, and see where that leaves us.

					271 Base Skill Points
				       + 45 Tag!
				       +493 17 Skill Points/29 Levels
                                       ----
					809 Skill Points at level 30

With 809 skill points we can get an average of 62~ in each skill..
Simply put, that doesn't really cut it, so obviously we're going to
have to specialize a bit and play favorites. Of course, to do that
effectively, you're going to need some nice FAQ-writer to tell you
about the skills...

Barter (Charisma)						{SKL007}						
o======================================================================o
The Barter skill affects the prices you get for buying and selling
items. In general, the higher your Barter skill, the lower your prices
on purchased items.

The higher your Barter, the more Caps you'll get when you sell things,
and the less Caps items will cost when you buy them. In addition to
this useful bonus, Barter often acts as a Speech substitute.. allowing
you to haggle for better deals and rewards. However, Barter may not be
worth picking for everyone. Barter will not cover all your Speech
checks (and vise versa), and Repair may actually do better at saving
you money. In Hardcore mode you typically have to find things to sell to
make Barter effective.. which means exploring or hunting/killing
enemies, which takes time, and hence, resources. It's a fine skill if
you have the points to spend, but I typically leave it alone.

Grade: ***

Energy Weapons (Perception)					{SKL008}						
o======================================================================o
The Energy Weapons skill determines your effectiveness with any weapon
that uses Small Energy Cells, Micro Fusion Cells, EC Packs, or Flamer
Fuel as ammunition.

A bit of a weapon shakeup here, Flamers now belong to Energy Weapons,
and not to the now-defunct Big Guns category. Still, Energy Weapons are
in direct competition with Guns as a primary arms. Explosives might 
have their own niche, but if you're using a ranged weapon, it's either
Guns or Energy Weapons. Most conventional Energy Weapons are either
Laser Pistols, Laser Rifles, Plasma Pistols, or Plasma Rifles, which
are by default short to mid-ranged weapons. There are weapons that
function like shotguns, the Gauss Rifle takes the place of a Sniper
Rifle, and there's even a cannon-type weapon. There are fewer types of
ammo.. which is a blessing and a curse. You won't get Armor-Piercing
ammo, and more powerful weapons tend to burn through their ammo quickly
(the Gauss Rifle, for example, takes five 'rounds' of ammunition per
shot.) Overall I prefer to go with Guns, which just seem to have a
better selection of ammo and higher relative damage. Not to mention
the fact that they are more readily available. Still, you can't argue
with the havoc caused by a damage-boosted Gatling Laser with the Laser
Commander perk, and a Multiplas Rifle kills enemies with satisfying
speed.

Grade: ****

Explosives (Perception)						{SKL009}						
o======================================================================o
The Explosives skill determines the ease of disarming any hostile mines
and the effectiveness of any explosive weapon (all mines, all grenades,
Missile Launcher, Fat Man, etc.)

You will certainly notice the delay you get when it comes to disarming
mines, but that's not a reason to raise a skill, right? No, it's the
fact that Explosives now govern all weapons that.. you know.. cause
explosions? Now it's a skill worth considering, since Explosives are a
wide and often powerful variety of weapons, easily able to overcome the
Damage Thresholds of enemies. Of course, it is still a limited-use and
often expensive collection of weapons.. and certainly not one for use
against most enemies. Frankly, I'd rather shoot a Deathclaw with an
Anti-Material Rifle, rather than stock up on heavy and expensive 
Explosives. In fact, I'd rather use Guns to do everything Explosives
can do, which is why I ignore it.

Grade: ***

Guns (Agility)							{SKL010}
o======================================================================o
Guns determines your effectiveness with any weapon that uses
conventional ammunition (.22 LR, .357 Magnum, 5mm, 10mm, 5.56mm, .308,
.45-70 Gov't etc.).

The Guns skill consists of a stupidly wide variety of weapons with an
equally stupid wide variety of ammunition. Including such mainstays as 
the 9mm Pistol, Hunting Rifle, Assault Carbine, Light Machine Gun, Riot 
Shotgun, Sniper Rifle and.. Anti-Material Rifle?.. It is a truly
diverse and powerful weapon skill set. It is in direct competition with
Energy Weapons for your primary ranged arms, and which you prefer is
mostly a matter of choice. There are a few weapons, however, that
stand head and shoulders above the rest. The Riot Shotgun can absolutely
decimate enemies with the Shotgun Surgeon perk, and it has truly
enviable reload and firing rates. And the Anti-Material Rifle is one of
the strongest single-shot weapons in the entire game. The fact that its
.50MG ammo comes commonly in Armor Piercing rounds just makes it that
much more wonderful for ripping Radscorpians, Super Mutants, and
Deathclaws to shreds. And since sniping is much more rewarding in
Fallout: New Vegas, guns like the Brush Gun, Sniper Rifle, and
Anti-Material Rifle can really shine. Of course, most of these weapons
require a very high Guns skill to use effectively, meaning you can't
just dabble, you have to max the skill to get the most use out of it.

Grade: *****

Lockpick (Perception)						{SKL011}
o======================================================================o
The Lockpick skill is used to open locked doors and containers.

It's a brief description for a rather straight-forward skill. You'll
find locked boxes, doors, crates, etc. of various degrees of difficulty.
Obviously you're going to want to get into them, and this requires 
your Lockpick skill to be at different levels. This is a pretty useful,
if not obligatory skill for everybody to have. Thankfully, however, if
you get Comprehension you can just get your score up to 80 and just
use a Locksmith's Reader Magazine for when you encounter a [Very Hard]
lock.

o==============o===============o
|Lockpick SKill|Lock Difficulty|
o==============o===============o
|       0      |   Very Easy   |
|      25      |      Easy     |
|      50      |     Average   |
|      75      |      Hard     |
|     100      |   Very Hard   |
o==============o===============o

Grade: *****

Medicine (Intelligence)						{SKL012}
o======================================================================o
The Medicine skill determines how many Hit Points you'll replenish upon
using a Stimpak, and the effectiveness of Rad-X and RadAway.

This skill, for all its apparent worth, can be ignored. There is always
another way of handling a situation, from donning an Environmental Suit,
to visiting a doctor, to just using more Caps. It's more useful in
Hardcore mode to be able to ignore these inconveniences, but in a normal
game you don't really need a high Medicine score.

Grade: **
Grade: *** (Hardcore Mode)

Melee Weapons (Strength)					{SKL013}
o======================================================================o
The Melee Weapons skill determines your effectiveness with any melee
weapon, from the simple lead pipe all the way up to the high-tech Super
Sledge.

Melee Weapons is again in competition with Unarmed, and it again loses.
Paralyzing Palm might not be as awesome in New Vegas as it was in 
Fallout 3, but it does give Unarmed an edge. Also, many of the better
perks the two share (Piercing Strike, Slayer) require you to have a
large number of points in Unarmed. To its credit, Melee Weapons does
control the Ninja, Unstoppable Force, and Super Slam perks, but it does
seem to be the loser in this competition, nonetheless. It's also hard
to compare a Super Sledge to a Displacer Glove or Ballistic Fist. Your
natural inclination is to specialize in one or the other, but
unforunately New Vegas requires you to pay attention to both, whereas
with Guns and Energy Weapons you can get by just fine with one or the
other.

Grade: **

Repair (Intelligence)						{SKL014}
o======================================================================o
The Repair skill allows you to maintain any weapons and apparel. In
addition, Repair allows you to create items and Guns ammunition at
reloading benches.

Repair is still good in New Vegas, for many of the same reasons. There
has, however, been one significant change to how the skill works. You
no longer need to get your Repair skill up to 100 to repair an items
condition to 100.. the higher your skill the more you repair when you
combine an item, but if you have enough of them you'll be able to fix
an item to your hearts' content. Also, some weapons and armor are
prohibitively rare, making fixes with Repair difficult. In fact, most
armors are easier to simply repair by going to an NPC and paying them
to do it, rather than hunting down some armor with which to repair your
own. That brings us to weapons. The best way to repair weapons in my
opinion is to simply make Weapon Repair Kits, which is much cheaper and
simpler than other methods. This makes the terminal skill level for
Repair 50, as far as I'm concerned.

Grade: ***

Science (Intelligence)						{SKL015}
o======================================================================o
The Science skill represents your combined scientific knowledge, and is
primarily used to hack restricted computer terminals. It can also be
used to recycle Energy Weapons and ammunition at workbenches.

Again, like Lockpick, you'll encounter terminals with varying 
difficulties which you'll typically want to hack. Also like Lockpick
you will be able to get your Science skill up to 80 and just fill in
the last 20 points with a Programmer's Digest for the [Very Hard] hacks.
The crafting is somewhat moot, as Stimpaks require a score of 70 and
components that are more annoying to find than simply paying the Caps
for the Stimpak. Everything else that's useful, like ammo recycling or
Doctor's Bags, typically have a much lower requirement.

o=============o===============o
|Science SKill|Hack Difficulty|
o=============o===============o
|       0     |   Very Easy   |
|      25     |      Easy     |
|      50     |     Average   |
|      75     |      Hard     |
|     100     |   Very Hard   |
o=============o===============o

Grade: *****

Sneak (Agility)							{SKL016}
o======================================================================o
The higher your Sneak skill, the easier it is to remain undetected,
steal and item, or pick someone's pocket. Successfully attack while
undetected grants an automatic critical hit.

Sneak is a nice skill that allows you to steal loot, score sneak attack
criticals, and move past enemies when you'd rather avoid (or at least
delay) a fight. Most items can be stolen by being patient and waiting
for potential witnesses to leave, and sneak attack criticals are more
easily to score than ever, now that you have iron sights and don't need
to approach as close. Both of these factors mean you really don't need
a Sneak score that's terribly high, although if you want to sneak
anywhere near an enemy, much less past one, you're going to want the 
Silent Running perk.. which requires an obligatory minimum investmet of
50 Sneak. To be fair, however, you will need a Sneak score of 70+ to
really be any good at sneaking, and since enemies are typically more
mobile in New Vegas, you probably won't often be sneaking up to a
hostile foe in order to get a melee or unarmed sneak attack.

Grade: ***

Speech (Charisma)						{SKL017}
o======================================================================o
The Speech skill governs how much you cna influence someone through
dialogue, and gain access to information they might otherwise not want
to share.

There are many quests that can only be solved-or that can be more easily
solved-through Speech. This skill largely eliminates the need for
Charisma, so long as you're willing to invest points into it. Your 
ability to get alternative solutions to quests is priceless and 
frequent, and a character build that doesn't include at least 80 points
of Speech is really missing the point of a Fallout game, in my opinion.
Once at 80 you can suppliment your score with magazines for when you
need a higher Speech check.

Grade: *****

Survival (Endurance)						{SKL018}
o======================================================================o
The Survival skill increases the Hit Points you recieve from food and
drink. It also helps you created consumable items at campfires.

The usefulness of this skill depends wholly on one thing; are you 
playing in Hardcore mode? If so, you're really going to want this skill,
as it will increase the usefulness of consumables, and allow you to 
create better, more wholesome consumables at campfires. If you don't 
play on Hardcore mode, you don't need to eat or drink anyhow and might 
as well just use a Stimpak to heal. Seriously, 15 points of Survival
makes Purified Water restore 15 more H20, so 100 points of Survival..
well, it makes you need half as much food and water, which is a good
thing indeed.

Grade: *
Grade: ***** (Hardcore Mode)

Unarmed (Endurance)						{SKL019}
o======================================================================o
The Unarmed skill is used for fighting without a weapon, or with weapons
designed for hand-to-hand combat, like Brass Knuckles, Power Fists, and
Displacer Gloves.

The other melee skill, Unarmed has a bit more going for it than Melee
Weapons. For one, a high Unarmed skill is required for both the Slayer
and Piercing Strike perks, both of which are obligatory for melee-type
characters. Power Fists can be found pretty readily at Camp Golf, and
even Spiked Knuckles tend to out-perform low-end Melee Weapons. Also,
the fact that most builds call for high Endurance plays into the
Unarmed skill right from the start. On the other hand, New Vegas 
requires you to have both skills high in order to get the full range 
of useful perks, so you'll either have to suck it up and waste a good
number of skill points for Ninja, or go without. Still, if push comes
to shove, I'd rather have Unarmed than Melee Weapons.. not to mention
that Unarmed Weapons typically weigh less helps, too.

Grade: ***

Skills I Tag! (and why)						{SKL020}
o======================================================================o
Now that Repair isn't as vital, I generally decide to Tag! Science,
Lockpick, and Speech to start out, which allows me to complete quest
and explore places right from the get-go. In Hardcore mode, Survival
replaces Speech as a tagged skill.


Skill Point Allocation						{SKL021}
o======================================================================o
I prefer to start out with Lockpick and Science in the early levels,
just so I have access to more areas and have to do as little back-
tracking as possible. Companions can, for the meantime, pick up the
combat slack. While playing in Hardcore mode I focus on Survival until
it's 80 or so, and just rely on Wasteland Survival Guides to do the
rest. Either way, I typically get Lockpick and Science up to 50 before
switching off to Speech, Sneak, and whatever weapon I am specializing
in. Once those are up to 50, I generally put another level into all of
the previously-mentioned skills to bring them up to 65 or so. Then I
let books do the rest of the work for Science, Lockpick, and Speech
while continuing to build on my specialty weapon. Below I've listed
several sample builds, all using the same SPECIAL stats, but with
differing skills to reflect different focuses.

Guns Build
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Barter:			8
Energy Weapons:		19
Explosives:		19
Guns:			100
Lockpick:		80
Medicine:		27
Melee Weapons:		17
Repair:			50
Science:		80
Sneak:			50
Speech:			80
Survival:		27
Unarmed:		25	
		      ------
Total			582
Skill Points Remaining:	227

Note that with this build I can make a somewhat sneaky sniper who can
handle any lock, hack any computer, and succeed at any Speech check.
With 277 points left over BEFORE any books are calculated, you can
further improve them, perhaps by brining their Sneak up into the 70's.
Raising their Medicine will make them more hardy in combat and giving
them Barter will allow them to harvest Caps more efficiently. You can
even add to Explosives to make them more versatile in combat, although
I wouldn't suggest Melee Weapons or Unarmed, as both require a high
number of perks in order to make them good. Also note that there are 
plenty of points left over for this build to be used in Hardcore mode.

Energy Weapons Build
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Barter:			8
Energy Weapons:		100
Explosives:		19
Guns:			23
Lockpick:		80
Medicine:		27
Melee Weapons:		17
Repair:			50
Science:		80
Sneak:			50
Speech:			80
Survival:		27
Unarmed:		25
		      ------
Total			586
Skill Points Remaining:	223

Not much of a change this time, just switching out Guns for Energy
Weapons doesn't really change much.. at least not on the skill point
end.

Melee Build (full melee)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Barter:			8
Energy Weapons:		19
Explosives:		19
Guns:			23
Lockpick:		80
Medicine:		27
Melee Weapons:		80
Repair:			50
Science:		80
Sneak:			80
Speech:			80
Survival:		27
Unarmed:		90	
		      ------
Total			663
Skill Points Remaining:	146

This is a more drastic change, obviously, and if you go for a full
melee build you really should cater to both Melee Weapond and Unarmed
to get the best perk picks. You won't have nearly as much wiggle room
for skills or perks, and with my build you're settling for Displacer
Gloves unless you raise Strength, perhaps with an Intensive Training
or two, or you lower another attribute.

Versatile Combatant Build
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Barter:			8
Energy Weapons:		19
Explosives:		100
Guns:			100
Lockpick:		80
Medicine:		27
Melee Weapons:		17
Repair:			50
Science:		80
Sneak:			70
Speech:			80
Survival:		27
Unarmed:		90	
		      ------
Total			748
Skill Points Remaining:	 61

A versatile combatant is a character who is good at ranged (Guns or 
Energy Weapons), Explosives, and melee (Unarmed, in this case). The
perks will be tight, as well the as skill points, and as you can see you
have just enough left over to bring Survival into shape for Hardcore
mode. I can't really think of a more combat-focused build, at least, not
a more versatile one that also allows you to handle story elements. In 
this case the build is probably overly general, but if you're willing to
use a Displacer Glove and settle for doing all your sniping out of 
V.A.T.S., this is as good of a combat-only oriented build as I can
imagine. Of course, a great deal of patience will also be required
for this build to mature.

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|			    Traits {TRT001}			       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
Traits are back in Fallout: New Vegas after a brief absence in the last
Fallout title. They are essentially bonus perks that have both
positive and negative effects on your character. You may choose up to
two when you create your character, but you can choose to pick less if
you prefer.

Built to Destroy						{TRT002}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

The Flamer that burns twice as bright burns half as long. All weapons
have +3% chance to Critically Hit, but equipment condition decays 15%
faster.

Three percent critical rate doesn't sound that great at first, but it
is equal to three points of Luck, and over the course of the game you
will be scoring lots of hits.. On the other hand, 15% weapon 
degradation kind of sucks. Here's the rub, however. Early weapons will
be relatively plentiful, allowing you to just recombine them and fix
them at will. More expensive weapons, like the Riot Shotgun, could end
up costing several thousand Caps to fix.. which is not a good thing.
You can, however, create Weapon Repair Kits at a Workbench, allowing
you to repair weapons for a handful of Caps using a variety of items
that can be purchased from most any merchant. This will save you
thousands of Caps, and makes the downside of this trait negligible.

Grade: ****

Fast Shot							{TRT003}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

While using Guns and Energy Weapons, you fire 20% more quickly but your
shots are 20% less accurate.

Accuracy and shooting speed are both important factors, and I cant see
myself happily sacrificing either. There are better traits out there.

Grade: **

Four Eyes							{TRT004}
o======================================================================o
Req: PER < 10
Ranks: 1

While wearing any type of glasses, you have +1 PER. Without glasses you
have -1 PER.

Glasses are plentiful and cheap.. but the fact that you can also just
wear a hat for the same bonus makes this trait less useful. Oh, and the
fact that Perception isn't terribly useful in this game.

Grade: **

Good Natured							{TRT005}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

You're Good Natured at heart, more prone to solving problems with your
mind than violence. You gain +5 to Barter, Medicine, Repair, Science,
and Speech, but have -5 to Energy Weapons, Explosives, Melee Weapons,
and Unarmed.

If you really want to play a pacifist, this is for you. Overall, it's
bonuses equal its penalties, making more of a 'roleplaying' option than
anything else.. which is a nice way of saying it's not worth picking.

Grade: **

Heavy Handed							{TRT006}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

Your melee and unarmed attacks do more damage, but less critical hit
damage.

If you want to use this trait.. well, you have to get Unarmed and 
Melee Weapons, which seems bad enough to me. You also have to choose
between damage per hit, and critical hit damage. It seems pretty simple
to me that you're going to score more normal hits than critical hits,
so that's probably not a bad option. However, if you then go ahead and
get Finesse, Better Criticals, and Ninja, you're just gimping yourself.

Grade: **

Kamikaze							{TRT007}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

In the grand scheme of things, two points of Damage Threshold isn't a
huge deal. With Power Armor and Toughness you'll easily gloss over this
deficiency. On the surface it might seem like it's saying you're taking
two more points of damage per hit.. but if your Damage Threshold is
still higher than the enemies' damage with Kamikaze slowing you down,
you're really not suffering at all. That said, many enemies like 
Cazedors and Deathclaws will easily surpass your Damage Threshold. At
the end of the day the two-point penalty is fairly unnoticable later on
in the game, but the ten point bonus to your Action Points boosts a
VATS system that is nowhere near as strong as it was in Fallout 3.

Grade: ***

Loose Cannon							{TRT008}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

From Frag Grenades to Throwing Spears, you can throw weapons 30% faster
at the cost of 25% less range.

What do Frag Grenades and Throwing Spears have in commmon? They're not
decisively powerful. This trait allows you to waste more of them, while
sacrificing range. Granted, you'll still lob thrown weapons pretty far,
but this whole trait just stinks of who-gives-a-crap.

Grade: *

Small Frame							{TRT009}
o======================================================================o
Req: AGL < 10
Ranks: 1

Due to your small size, you have +1 AGL but your limbs are more easily
crippled.

First lets look at the bonus. Agility is a fairly useful attribute,
governing two skills and influencing your Action Points, draw speed,
and reload speed. And what is the downside? More frequently crippled
limbs? If you're not playing in Hardcore mode, this is a no-brainer.
Who cares about crippled limbs? Beds and Stimpaks are plentiful. If
you're playing in Hardcore mode.. who cares about crippled limbs? You
can buy Doctor's Bags at every doctor in the game. It seems like a
small price to pay for a better SPECIAL stat.

Grade: *****

Trigger Discipline						{TRT010}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

While using Guns and Energy Weapons, you fire 20% more slowly but are
20% more accurate.

Accuracy and shooting speed are both important factors, and I cant see
myself happily sacrificing either. There are better traits out there.

Grade: **

Wild Wasteland							{TRT011}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

Wild Wasteland unleashes the most bizarre and silly elements of post-
apocalyptic America. Not for the faint of heart or the serious of 
temperment.

Seriously. What good fallout game doesn't have abundant references to
Monty Python and alien encounters? This perk might not do anything for
your build, but it should read "Remember the old Fallout games? Pick
this trait to make New Vegas more like them." Nostalgia makes this an
interesting choice, indeed.

Grade: ***

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|				Perks {PRK001}			       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
In Fallout: New Vegas you gain a perk every even level (starting at 
level 2). Perks are seperated by thier level prerequisite, with every 
even level opening up more perks. Prerequisites for perks may also 
include S.P.E.C.I.A.L attributes or skill points. (For example, the 
Entomologist perk requires that you be level 4, have Intelligence 4, and 
Survival 45.) Since there are fewer perks you can pick in New Vegas,
you should probably be more conscious of what Perks you pick. I have
retained my rating system from the old FAQ for this one, although there
are less useless perks in New Vegas (getting rid of all the skill
perks will do that). Your perk choices should follow your build, and
should help you specialize in certain areas depending on your skills.
I will note where the grade of a perk varies from normal mode to 
Hardcore mode.

Note that some perks are also rated by availability.. for example, 
Lady Killer isn't a very good perk. But the fact that it's one of the
very few perks that actually do anything worth mentioning at level 2,
it is rated a bit higher than it otherwise would be. And yes, if the
same values applied to perks in Fallout 3 that apply to them in New
Vegas, I copied the description right from my old FAQ. Some perks,
like Night Person, are just as horrible and for the same reasons, 
there's really no need for me to restate the information arbitrarily.

*	Horrible	Nobody should pick this perk.
**	Bad		Generally this is a low-end perk. Sometimes
			they provide just enough of a benefit specific
			to a character to be worth it, but most
			characters will not find this perk useful.
***	Average		This perk is good simply because of the
			lack of competition, or there is a good, but
			not overwhelmingly good reason to pick it. It
			might look good on its own merit, but compared
			to truly great perks, it doesn't measure up.
****	Good		A good perk for anybody to pick, or a perk
			that is absolutely essential to a specific
			build.
*****	Great		A perk everybody should get. Period.


Level 2 Perks 							{PRK002}			       
o======================================================================o
Black Widow/Cherchez La Femme/Lady Killer
Req: Level 2
Ranks: 1

In combat you do +10% damage against male/female opponents. Outside of
combat, you'll sometimes have access to unique dialogue options when
dealing with the opposite sex.

You wont use this perk much in dialogue.. it just doesn't have all that
many uses. And what few it has, you can get the same results from other
methods. Still, the +10% damage to the opposite gender is.. well,
something, which is more than can be said for the other level 2 perks.
Note that only 'human' enemies have a gender. This does not include 
Feral Ghouls, Animals, Insects, Robots, or Abominations. Since most of
the affected enemies are either NCR Troopers, Caesar's Legion Soldiers,
Raiders, or Gang Members, it should be noted that there is a clear
plurality of male-gender enemies that will be affected by this.

Grade: ** (vs. females) 
Grade: *** (vs. males)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Friend of the Night
Req: Level 2, Perception 6, Sneak 30
Ranks: 1

You are a true friend of the night. Your eyes adapt quickly to low-
light conditions indoors and when darkness falls across the wasteland.

First, you can use Cateye to duplicate this effect. Second, you have a
Pip-Boy light. Third, it never gets too dark to really need night 
vision, three, you have allies that can illuminate enemies for you. 
Useless perk.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Heave, Ho!
Req: Level 2, Explosives 30, Strength 5
Ranks: 1

Quite an arm you've got there. All thrown weapons fly farther and
faster for you.

Or you could just use a Grenade Gun or Missle Launcher. Seriously.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Hunter
Req: Level 2, Survival 30
Ranks: 1

In combat, you do +75% Critical Damage against animals and mutated
animals.

Note that this category doesn't include Ghouls, Insects, or 
Abominations. But if Big Horners and Geckos are kicking your ass.. well,
quit playing. Once you get decent guns you'll pop off Golden Geckos
before they get anywhere near you, +75% critical damage or not.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Intense Training
Req: Level 2
Ranks: 10

With the Intense Training perk, you can put a single point into any of
your S.P.E.C.I.A.L attributes.

Beyond equipment and Implants, this is the only way to raise an
attribute, and it is arguably a worthy choice for a level 2 perk. If 
you don't care for a gender-perk, get this instead.

Grade: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Rapid Reload
Req: Level 2, Guns 30, Agility 5
Ranks: 1

Rapid Reload makes all of your weapon reloads 25% faster than normal.

This.. well, it's mostly junk, but weapon reloads can be a problem.
The faster you reload, the faster you're firing, and it might be a
consideration if your Agility is a flat 5. If you have a higher Agility,
like, say you were actually following my build advice, you'll reload
fast enough.

Grade: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Retention
Req: Level 2, Intelligence 5
Ranks: 1

With the Retention perk, the bonuses granted by skill magazines last
three times as long.

As far as I'm concerned, skill magazines are meant to be used in order
to pick a lock, hack a computer, or succeed at a skill check. This can
typically be done just before interacting with the object or character
that requires the check. There is absolutely no reason to require your
skill magazines to last three times longer. They weigh nothing, and they
are pretty cheap to buy, too. You don't need this perk.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Swift Learner
Req: Level 2, Intelligence 4
Ranks: 3

With each rank in the Swift Learner perk, you gain an additional 10% to
total Experience Points whenever Experience Points are earned.

In New Vegas there are tons of quests, and many enemies give 50 XP,
which was reasonably rare in Fallout 3. Add in the challenges, which
give you bundles of experience, and you'll find that you're leveling up
even faster in New Vegas than you were in Fallout 3! You don't need to
speed up the process and in so doing waste one of your precious perks.

Grade: *

Level 4 Perks 							{PRK003}
o======================================================================o
Cannibal
Req: Level 4
Ranks: 1

With the Cannibal perk, when you're in Sneak mode, you gain the option
to eat a corpse to regain Health. But every time you feed, you lose
Karma, and if the act is witnessed, it is considered a crime against
nature.

If you want to be truly despicable, you can go ahead and get this
perk. I would deride this perk more.. but in Hardcore mode it just 
might come in handy. Might. If it actually feeds you as well as
restores your health. Either way, I'm not going to bother to find out.
If you're not in Hardcore mode, it's absolutely useless.

Grade: *
Grade: ** (Hardcore Mode)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Comprehension
Req: Level 4, Intelligence 4
Ranks: 1

With the Comprehension perk, you gain double the bonus from reading
magazines and one additional skill point  whenever a skill book is read.

I was hesitant about this perk at first, and put it off for a long time
on my first character. With skill books giving three points per book,
Comprehension's one point increase wasn't as outstanding as it was in
Fallout 3. Later into the game, when I had found perhaps a dozen books,
I decided that Comprehension was indeed worthy of selection. But more
than just the skill points from books.. the magazine bonus is what
really makes this perk worthwhile. Very Hard terminals and locks are
fairly rare in this game.. rare enough that you can just keep a
magazine on hand for when you really need to pop a lock, or pass a
Speech check. With the Comprehension perk, you only need to be within
twenty points of 100 to pass such rare checks. This led me to the
conclusion that checked skills like Barter, Speech, Lockpick, and
Science could just be left at 80. Most of their benefit is there all
the time, but when you REALLY need more than 80 to pass a check, you
can just pop open a magazine. This effectively saves you scores of 
skill points that you can put into skills that need to be high all the
time.. like Sneak, or Guns.

Grade: *****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Educated
Req: Level 4, Intelligence 4
Ranks: 1

With the Educated perk, you gain two more skill points every time you 
advance in level. This perk is best taken early on, to maximize its
effectiveness.

Sure, it's not as good as it was in the last game, but now that there
are less skill points to go around, it actually becomes more important.
I look at it this way. If you get it at level four, you will have 26
levels to reap the benefits. That's 52 skill points.. enough to bring
up a single skill. That's one more thing your character can do well,
whether it's Barter, Energy Weapons, Guns, Explosives, Lockpick,
Science, Sneak, Repair, or what have you. I don't know about you, but I
like my character being able to do things.

Grade: *****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Entomologist
Req: Level 4, Survival 45, Intelligence 4
Ranks: 1

With the Entomologist perk, you do an extra 50% damage every time you
attack a mutated insect, like the Radroach, Giant Mantis, or 
Radscorpian.

Giant Radscorpians suck in this game, but not enough that I can really
suggest picking this perk. Later on you'll have weapons that can handle
their Damage Threshold, and they're just never become the same level of
threat that Deathclaws become, although the extra damage against 
Cazedors is somewhat welcome. It doesn't come high on my list of
potential perks, but if you're just getting wasted by bugs later in the
game.. and you have good weapons and armor, maybe it's worth a look.

Grade: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Rad Child
Req: Level 4, Survival 70
Ranks: 1

You truly are a rad child. As you go through the increasingly 
devastating stages of radiation sickness, you will regenerate more and
more health.

Yeah, there's an Implant for that now, and frankly, it's better to
avoid becoming heavily irradiated.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Run 'n Gun
Req: Level 4, Guns 45 OR Energy Weapons 45
Ranks: 1

The Run 'n Gun perk reduces accuracy penalties with one-handed Guns and
Energy Weapons while walking or running.

Lets think about this critically, shall we? Most one-handed guns aren't
very strong, at least not against armor, and certainly not compared to
rifle-grip guns. And there's another way we can negate this penalty..
by stopping and aiming. Yeah, that defeats the purpose of the whole
thing, but if you are running around shooting wildly at an enemy with a
one-handed gun, then there's something you did wrong at some point in
the encounter.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Travel Light
Req: Level 4, Survival 45
Ranks: 1

While wearing light armor or no armor, you run 10% faster.

Light armor or 'no armor' is not very good armor, and 10% isn't a huge
speed boost. I gotta say, even for Hardcore mode folks, I wouldn't
pick this perk.

Grade: *

Level 6 Perks 							{PRK004}
o======================================================================o
Bloody Mess
Req: Level 6
Ranks: 1

With the Bloody Mess perk, characters and creatures you kill will often 
explode into a red, gut-ridden, eyeball-strewn paste. Fun! Oh, and
you'll do 5% extra damage with all weapons.

Okay, the aesthetics are cool, but that's no reason to get a perk. 5%
damage against everything is nice, though. Considering the fact that
other damage increasing perks only affect certain weapon types, or
certain enemies, a pure, honest, damage boost is special. There's also
the nostalgia factor, for us old school Fallout players.

Grade: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Demolition Expert
Req: Level 6, Explosives 50
Ranks: 3

With each rank of this perk, all of your explosive weapons do an
additional 20% damage.

Guess what? This perk isn't so useless anymore. Explosives now 
encompasses all the weapon types it originally should have, and 20% is a
huge damage bonus, that goes a long way. Make your Explosives even more
spectacular or.. if I may.. get more bang for your buck with the
Demolition Expert perk. That said, if you don't consider Explosives a
big part of your build, you shouldn't consider this perk a priority.

Grade: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Ferocious Loyalty
Req: Level 6, Charisma 6
Ranks: 1

The power of your personality inspires die-hard loyalty from your 
followers. When you drop below 50% Health, your companions temporarily
gain much greater resistance to damage.

Three problems with this, well, four, really. First, you have to rely
on your companions to make the most of this perk. Second, if you drop
below 50% of your health, the enemies are clearly attacking you, and
not your companions. Third, it's a duration effect, so you can't even
strategically keep your health below 50% so your allies reap the
benefits. Fourth, it requires six points of Charisma, which is just
about a waste of five S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points, as far as I'm concered.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Fortune Finder
Req: Level 6, Luck 5
Ranks: 1

With the Fortune Finder perk, you'll find considerably more Nuka-Cola
caps in containers than you normally would.

More caps. Yay. You'll get plenty of caps killing things and selling
thier loot.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Gunslinger
Req: Level 6
Ranks: 1

While using a pistol (or similar one-handed weapon), your accuracy in
V.A.T.S. is significantly increased.

If you plan to use one-handed ranged weapons-and V.A.T.S.-you should
definately pick up this perk. Now that V.A.T.S. is less useful and
perks are more precious, I just can't bring myself to buy this perk.

Grade: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Hand Loader
Req: Level 6, Repair 70
Ranks: 1

You know your way around a reloading bench and don't let good brass and
hulls go to waste. When you use guns you are more likely to recover
cases and hulls. You also have all hand load recipes unlocked at the
Reloading Bench.

If you are just nuts about making your own ammo, sure. It has a steep
Repair requirement though, and frankly, you can just buy most cases for
free from merchants! In fact, I have to say it's probably just as easy
to convert a form of ammo you don't use later in the game, like 5.56,
9mm, or 10mm rounds and get the raw materials for creating better,
rarer ammo. Or you can just buy it. I really don't see a point for this.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Lead Belly
Req: Level 6, Survival 40 OR Endurance 5
Ranks: 1

With the Lead Belly perk, you take 50% less radiation every time you
drink from an irradiated water source.

*Sigh* Okay, if you're not playing Hardcore mode, this perk is safely
useless. If you are playing Hardcore mode.. there has to be a better
way to reach water, right? I mean, you can create quantities of 
Purified Water.. You can drink alcohol, other beverages? Still, I can
admit that there might be the need to do this once in a while.. but
still, you can surely get to a doctor before you die of radiation
poisoning and just pay the 100 damn caps. In fact, it's cheaper to
drink irradiated water and just pay a doctor to fix you than it is
to buy purified water! Still.. this perk allows you to drink twice 
as much.. If you choose the Rad Absorption perk along with this one,
you're pretty much all set for water, but I have to think that there are
plenty of water sources out there that aren't irradiated in the first
place.

Grade: *
Grade: ** (Hardcore Mode)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Shotgun Surgeon
Req: Level 6, Guns 45
Ranks: 1

Your precision with a scattergun is something to behold. When using
shotguns, regardless of ammunition used, you ignore an additional 10
points of a target's Damage Threshold.

If you use Shotguns, you need this perk, period. Shotguns function
something like automatic weapons, firing numerous, low-damage shots
at a time. This makes the Damage Threshold reduction absolutely
crucial for Shotguns, and the fact that SMGs and Assault Rifles 
don't have a perk like this really argues for the supremacy of the
Shotgun. Combine this with Slugs, and you've got a good combination.
I've managed to kill a Deathclaw in three shots with this perk and a
Riot Shotgun, which is a pretty nice feat. That said, you can probably
just use a Brush Rifle or an Anti-Material Rifle, which, although they
don't have any perks designed for them, do enough damage to negate an
enemies Damage Threshold anyways.

Grade: ****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
The Professional
Req: Level 6, Sneak 70
Ranks: 1

Up close and personal, that's how you like it. Your Sneak Attack 
Criticals with pistols, revolvers, and submachine guns, whether Guns or
Energy Weapons, all inflict an addiational 20% damage.

The high Sneak requirement on this is somewhat accounted for by the fact
that you'd need a decent Sneak to get within range for these weapons. I
have to be honest, this isn't a great perk. It's a 20% damage bonus that
only applies to sneak attack criticals, and only to a variety of guns
that aren't really suited for sniping (or for doling out huge amounts of
damage, in any event). Surely perks like Finesse and Better Criticals
put this to shame.

Grade: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Toughness
Req: Level 6, Endurance 5
Ranks: 2

With the Toughness perk, you gain +3 to overall Damage Threshold. This
perk may be taken twice, with the second rank granting an additional +3.

Here's how Damage Threshold works. If an enemies weapon can't overcome
your Damage Threshold, you only take a small fraction of that weapons'
damage. Many enemies use fairly typical weapons and thus do fairly low
damage. A suit of Power Armor (typically granting you 20 some Damage
Threshold) is about the best you can shoot for. With two of these perks,
the Implant, and Remnant Power Armor and Helmet, you can aspire to the
upper 30's. Many enemies, however, will do much more damage than this.
A Deathclaw, Cazedor, Giant Radscorpian, or an enemy with a high-end
gun will still do plenty of damage to you, regardless of your Damage
Threshold. This perk will help you mitigate a bit of damage from 
every attack, but three points off a 50 damage attack is less impressive
than Fallout 3's base 10% damage resistance.

Grade: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Vigilant Recycler
Req: Level 6, Science 70
Ranks: 1

Waste not, want not. When you use Energy Weapons, you are more likely to
recover drained ammunition. You also have more efficient recycling
recipes available at the Workbench.

Just like the Hand Loader perk, but for Energy Weapons. Eh. There's a
quest you can do which will net you a good bit of free Energy Weapon
ammunition that respawns over time. Also, there are fewer types of
Energy Weapon ammunition, and less need to convert such ammo. I don't
suggest picking this perk, even if you love Energy Weapons.

Grade: *

Level 8 Perks 							{PRK005}
o======================================================================o
Commando
Req: Level 8
Ranks: 1

While using a rifle (or similar one-handed weapon), your accuracy in
V.A.T.S. is significantly increased.

V.A.T.S. might not be the prime-and-only combat solution in this game, 
in fact, as often as it's a godsend it's a liability, but it does have
its uses. In New Vegas, rifle-grip guns are by far the dominant branch
of weapons. One-handed weapons typically lose the damage battle by a
wide margin. While this was excusable to some extent in Fallout 3, you
really need that damage this time around, and no, being able to run
faster with a one-handed gun doesn't make up for their lack of power
(especially not with the Agility this build calls for.) The bottom line,
V.A.T.S. may not be king, but it has its uses, and if you use V.A.T.S.,
and use two-handed weapons, this perk is calling to you. It's better 
than Gunslinger, in any event.

Grade: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Cowboy
Req: Level 8, Guns 45, Melee Weapons 45
Ranks: 1

You do 25% more damage when using any revolver, lever-action firearm,
dynamite, knife, or hatchet.

Promising on paper, as 25% is a big chunk of damage, there's just one
catch. Most of the weapons this applies to are so weak that they still
won't be better than other guns you can just buy. You can go ahead and
have your cowboy. I'll keep my Anti-Material Rifle.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Living Anatomy
Req: Level 8, Medicine 70
Ranks: 1

Living Anatomy allows you to see the Health and Damage Threshold of any
target. It also gives you a +5% bonus to damage against Humans and non-
Feral Ghouls.

Ah, another pre-Fallout 3 perk that makes its return in New Vegas. First
lets dicuss the damage. 5% isn't much, and the fact that it applies only
to humans and non-feral Ghouls means you can safely ignore it, as it's
only as effective as, say, Black Widow. On the other hand, being able to
see an enemies Health and, more importantly, their Damage Threshold is a
huge advantage, especially on your first playthrough. When you see a
that a Super Mutant Master has a 20 Damage Threshold, or a Giant 
Radscorpian has a 36, you begin to understand why your Cowboy Repeater
wasn't hurting it. Once you've played the game a bit, however, you start
to understand this intuitively, especially after playing with this perk.
Anybody knows that a Deathclaw is going to have a high Damage Threshold,
and even without knowing the exact number of hitpoints, you can always
see an enemies health bar in V.A.T.S. For veteran players, this perk 
becomes much less useful, although anomalies exist, and once you have 
played the game more you'll realise that getting a bigger, stronger gun
is always the answer.

Grade: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Pack Rat
Req: Level 8, Intelligence 5, Barter 70
Ranks: 1

You have learned the value of careful packing. Items with a weight of 2
or less weigh half as much for you.

At first this perk almost seems silly, and it does have some flaws. For
one, if you're not playing in Hardcore mode, it's a complete waste of a
perk. If you are playing in Hardcore mode, however, it still requires 
what can be a brutal and potentially wasteful amount of points in 
Barter. On the other hand, anything that weighs less than a pound will
weigh, well, half as much. This comes with an important implication for
Hardcore mode players; most of your vital food, ammo, and crafting
components will weigh half as much, allowing you to stock up and carry
around twice as many, which is worth its weight in gold. Worth more,
really, gold isn't very good for drinking. Right Crassus? With this
benefit you have to weigh it against the Strong Back perk.. if you're
not going to carry more than fifty pounds of supplies, you might as 
well get that perk instead. Also if you have some allies, you can just
load them up full of gear. So, this perk does have its issues, but if
you just want to be sure you are carrying as much gear as possible..

Grade: *
Grade: ** (Hardcore Mode)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Quick Draw
Req: Level 8, Agility 5
Ranks: 1

Quick Draw makes all of your weapon equipping and holstering 50% faster.

With the base of five Agility this perk calls for.. maybe.. but with
anything higher you're going to be doing just fine on your own. And,
since this game allows you to be the sniper more successfully and from
a safer distance, chances are you'll have your gun out before the enemy
anyways. Don't waste your perk.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Rad Resistance
Req: Level 8, Survival 40, Endurance 5
Ranks: 1

Rad Resistance allows you to -- what else? -- resist radiation. This
perk grants an additional 25% to Radiation Resistance.

25% is a fairly large amount of radiation resistance, but there are
plenty of enviromental suits in the game, and of course.. Rad-X. You can
take a perk to permenantly gain resistance, or take a pill to get the
resistance when you need it. Even if you get irradiated, it only costs 
100 Caps or some RadAway to fix you up. If you're the Hardcore mode
survival type, just wait for Rad Absorption.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Scrounger
Req: Level 8, Luck 5
Ranks: 1

With the Scrounger perk, you'll find considerably more ammunition in
containers than you normally would.

Buy your ammo, instead. Problem solved.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Stonewall
Req: Level 8, Endurance 6, Strength 6
Ranks: 1

You gain +5 Damage Threshold against all Melee Weapons and Unarmed 
attacks and cannot be knocked down in combat.

Sure, +5 isn't a big deal when it applies to only melee attacks.. but
honestly most of the enemies that will blast through your Damage 
Threshold are things like Cazedors, Deathclaws, Radscorpians, and to
some extent Nightstalkers and Geckos, all of which use.. you guessed it.
On the other hand, five damage probably won't slow most of them down
much (especially the poisonous ones), and I've yet to be knocked down
in combat.. save from an explosive.

Grade: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Strong Back
Req: Strength 5, Endurance 5
Ranks: 1

With the Strong Back perk, you can carry 50 more pounds of equipment.

It was in my build for Fallout 3, but with half the perks there's no way
this one is getting back in. Sure, carrying extra stuff is nice (perhaps
even vital, in Hardcore mode), but otherwise it's not a big deal. If you
are playing Hardcore mode and having the ammo-weight blues, give this
and Pack Rat some consideration. 50 pounds of equipment can go a long
way.

Grade: *
Grade: ** (Hardcore Mode)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Super Slam
Req: Level 8, Strength 6, Melee Weapons 45
Ranks: 1

All Melee Weapons (except thrown) and Unarmed attacks have a chance of
knocking your target down.

This is pretty simple, knocking enemies down will buy you some breathing
room and allow you to score more hits.. and the biggest issue of melee
in New Vegas is easily the fact that enemies can retaliate more 
successfully (especially compared to a sniper-build). If you are making
an Unarmed, or especially a Melee Weapons build, you should consider
this perk.

Grade: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Terrifying Presence
Req: Level 8, Speech 70
Ranks: 1

In some conversations, you gain the ability to initiate combat while
terrifying a mob of opponents, sending them fleeing for safety.

Seriously? Do I even have to discuss this one? Ah, I guess there are..
uh.. some second generation mutants out there who might not understand
when suck rears its ugly head. Okay, how often will this help you 
against Cazedors, Super Mutants, and Deathclaws? What's that? Never?
Okay then. You don't need to scare off NPCs, they tend to be weak
enough.

Grade: *

Level 10 Perks 							{PRK006}
o======================================================================o
Animal Friend
Req: Level 10, Charisma 6, Survival 45
Ranks 2

At the first rank of this perk, animals simply won't attack. At the
second rank, they will eventually come to your aid in combat, but never
against another animal.

This perk was useless in Fallout 3, and it's useless in New Vegas.
There is simply no animal that is dangerous enough to need sanctuary
from it, much less aid.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Finesse
Req: Level 10
Ranks: 1

With the Finesse perk you have a higher chance to score a critical hit
on an opponent in combat, equivalent to 5 extra points of Luck.

An extra 5% chance to critically hit sure fits into my game plan. 
Actually, I can't imagine anybody not having a use for an extra 5%
chance to critical. I'd rather take a sure damage increase any day, but
this is still a good perk. Think of it this way, taking Strong Back is
good because it gives you the best part of having five points of
Strength. Finesse does pretty much the same thing, but with Luck, a far
superior attribute. Again, if you get perks like Better Criticals, this
perk becomes that much more useful.

Grade: *****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Here and Now
Req: Level 10
Ranks: 1

The Here and Now perk immediately grants an additional experience level,
complete with all the advantages that brings.

Or you could just level up like normal. If you're like me, you hit level
30 well before you finished the game. This is a waste of a perk.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Math Wrath
Req: Level 10, Science 70
Ranks: 1

You are able to optimize your Pip-Boy's V.A.T.S. logic, reducing all AP
costs by 10%

In Fallout 3 this would have been a killer perk. In New Vegas, V.A.T.S.
is less important. In any event, using more V.A.T.S. at once is risky.
I would shoot for perks that replenish or regenerate your AP, rather
than perks that reduce AP costs or raise your AP total. Sure, using
VATS in short bursts works just as well (for example, taking two or
three shots instead of five or six) but with more powerful, Damage
Threshold defeating weapons, you wont' get many shots off at once
anyways. Also, think about this. Most characters will have around 100
AP. In fact, the only way you'll get much more is by picking perks like
Action Boy/Girl or the Kamikaze trait. TO that end, having -10% AP costs
from 100 AP is like having 10 more AP.. which is patently inferior to
the Action Boy/Girl perk.

Grade: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Miss Fortune
Req: Level 10, Luck 6
Ranks: 1

Just when your enemies think they have the upper hand, Miss Fortune
appears to turn their world upside down. Appearing only in V.A.T.S., she
has the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Two things about this, and it applies to Mysterious Stranger; the only
'luck' I want to rely on in this game is critical hits. And the fact that
this perk only works in V.A.T.S., and then, unpredictably at that, makes
me pass on it for something more certain.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Mister Sandman
Req: Level 10, Sneak 60%
Ranks: 1

With the Mister Sandman perk, when you're in Sneak mode, you gain the
option to silently kill any human or Ghoul while they're sleeping. And,
all Mister Sandman kills earn bonus XP.

First, if they're sleeping, you can probably just shoot them from a 
distance anyways. Second, when enemies are sleeping, they seem to have 
a greater ability to detect you. Hell, half the time I get detected it's
by sleeping characters. Third, most enemies you'll want to kill wont be
caught sleeping, so this is mostly useful for assassinating NPCs. And
finally-how much XP are you really going to be getting from this in the
long run? Don't waste your perks.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Mysterious Stranger
Req: Level 10, Luck 6
Ranks: 1

You've gained your own personal guardian angel... armed with a fully
loaded .44 Magnum. With this perk, the Mysterious Stranger will appear
occasionally in V.A.T.S. mode to lend a hand, with deadly efficiency.

For the same reason that I won't use Miss Fortune, I won't use 
Mysterious Stranger. Sure, the extra damage in V.A.T.S. might be nice,
but it can be done other, more reliable ways.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Nerd Rage!
Req: Level 10, Science 50, Intelligence 5
Ranks: 1

You've been pushed around long enough! With the Nerd Rage! perk, your
Strength is raised to 10 and you gain +15 Damage Threshold whenever
your Health drops to 20% or below.

I've actually used this perk before in New Vegas.. more for novelties'
sake than for any good reason. It was fun to mess around with a 
character who stuck to mid-strength weapons, but once they got injured
whipped out a Minigun. It wasn't horribly effective, mind you, just
amusing for a spell. +15 Damage Threshold is pretty nice, but falling
under 20% of your health is cutting it awful close.. I wouldn't bother
with this perk.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Night Person
Req: Level 10
Ranks: 1

When the sun is down, a Night Person gains +2 to both Intelligence and
Perception (up to a maximum of 10). This perk directly affects your
"internal clock" and remains active both inside and outside.

The best part of this perk is the skill bonuses you'd recieve from the
stat increases. If you get the extra skill points from the Intelligence
when you level up at night.. maybe. But still, having a bonus half of
the time.. eh. I mean, it's not like it adds to your combat abilities,
it lets you see threats further (at night) and gives you some extra
skill points. There's better out there.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Plasma Spaz
Req: Level 10, Energy Weapons 70

You're just so excited about plasma that you can't (magnetically)
contain yourself! The AP costs for all plasma weapons (including Plasma
Grenades) are reduced by 10%.

You remember Math Wrath? Yeah, it worked for all weapons, and still 
wasn't that good. How is a perk that only works for plasma weapons
going to fare? Not so well.

Grade: *

Level 12 Perks 							{PRK007}
o======================================================================o
Fast Metabolism
Req: Level 12
Ranks: 1

With the Fast Metabolism perk, you gain a 20% Health bonus when using
Stimpaks.

Stimpaks are cheap enough to buy, you don't need this perk. If it
increased the healing and other drug benefits, (perhaps H20 recovery),
then it might be good for Hardcore players, but as it stands, it
sucks. Heh.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Ghastly Scavenger
Req: Level 12, Cannibal
Ranks: 1

With Ghastly Scavenger, when you're in Sneak mode, you gain the option
to eat a Super Mutant or Feral Ghoul corpse to regain Health. Every time
you feed, you lose Karma, and if the act is witnessed, it is considered
a crime against nature.

Much like the Cannibal perk, this perk is only remotely useful if you're
playing in Hardcore mode. Even then, this perk requires you to have
Cannibal-a perk with arguable value as it is-and only works on Super
Mutants and Feral Ghouls. Humans are more plentiful, and unless you're
just starving away on Black Mountain, Camp Searchlight, or Vault 34,
there's not really any widespread use for this perk.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Hit the Deck
Req: Level 12, Explosives 70
Ranks: 1

Your extensive familiarity with Explosives allows you to ignore a
portion of their damage. Your Damage Threshold is increased by 50% 
against any and all Explosives--even your own.

I don't suppose this applies to the explosive corona caused by the
Meltdown perk? Ah well. I can actually see this perk having its uses,
albeit dependant upon your love of Explosives and your base Damage
Threshold. If you use nothing but Explosives, and wear enough armor to
give you.. about 30 Damage Threshold, then the frequency of friendly
fire and the Damage Threshold bonus may well be worth the perk. If not,
you can ignore this perk.

Grade: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Life Giver
Req: Level 12, Endurance 6
Ranks: 1

With the Life Giver perk, you gain an additional 30 Hit Points.

Considering that you gain 20 hit points for a point of Endurance, this
perk is pretty much on the same level as an Intensive Training perk
spent on Endurance-minus the bonuses to resistances and the skills, and
the ability to grab another Implant. The fact that Implants call for us
to have such a high starting Endurance makes 30 extra hitpoints
dispensible, and although it's nice, I can't see it fitting into most
builds.

Grade: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Long Haul
Req: Level 12, Barter 70, Endurance 6
Ranks: 1

You have learned how to pack mountains of gear for the Long Haul. Being
over-encumbered no longer prevents you from using Fast Travel.

Sure, you might think this is nifty. After all, how wonderful would it
be to just grab up all the loot you can carry and fast travel back to
town? What about the implications for Hardcore mode? Hogwash. Crawling
around scavenging the last few items in a room or on some corpses and
then having to inch your way outside to fast travel is not a time 
saver. Just drop the excess and come back. Or store it on a companion.
This is an illusory time saver, and unless you stored an ungodly amount
of loot in a container, picked it all up, and then waddled outside to
fast travel, you wouldn't be doing anything. This isn't a good perk,
it's just procrastination disguised as convenience.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Piercing Strike
Req: Level 12, Unarmed 70
Ranks: 1

Piercing Strike makes all of your Unarmed and Melee Weapons (including
thrown) negate 15 points of Damage Threshold on the target.

Ignoring 15 points of Damage Threshold is huge, even ridiculous,
especially considering that many Unarmed and Melee Weapons already do
good damage. Combine this with the Purifier perk and you will be able
to deal with Deathclaws and Super Mutants as well as any weapon-bearing
character in the game. If you plan to fight Unarmed or with Melee
Weapons, you need this perk.

Grade: ****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Pyromaniac
Req: Level 12, Explosives 60
Ranks: 1

With the Pyromaniac perk, you do +50% damage with fire-based weapons,
like the Flamer and Shishkebab.

This is a huge damage boost that effects a small variety of weapons.
Still, the Heavy Incinerator can be fun. If you use Energy Weapons, and
really have the desire to use a fire-based weapon.. well, you might as
well get this perk. If you don't fall into this narrow niche, ignore it.

Grade: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Robotics Expert
Req: Level 12, Science 50
Ranks: 1

With the Robotics perk, you do an additional 25% damage to any robot.
But, even better, sneaking up on a hostile robot undetected and
activating it will put that robot into a permanent shutdown state.

This is still as good of a perk in Fallout: New Vegas as it was in
Fallout 3, but with a few notes on the gameplay. First, it's much
harder to sneak to within melee range of enemies in New Vegas. Second,
there aren't nearly as many robots in the Mohave as there were in D.C.,
which makes this a less useful perk.

Grade: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Silent Running
Req: Level 12, Agility 6, Sneak 50
Ranks: 1

With the Silent Running perk, running no longer factors into a 
successful sneak attempt.

Alright, lets be honest here. In order to Sneak effectively, you need
a fairly high Sneak score. However, in Fallout: New Vegas, you don't
need to get within most enemies' perception range to snipe them, making
Sneak less obligatory. However, if you want to sneak near an enemy,
much less sneak up to them, you're going to need to be quick about it,
as enemies wander around more regularly. To this end, you'll want
Silent Running. If all you want Sneak for is to get within the generous
sniping range, or to grab an item off a shelf, you probably don't need
this perk. If you want to get closer to enemies, or to sneak past them
at any decent speed, you need this perk.

Grade: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Sniper
Req: Level 12, Perception 6, Agility 6
Ranks: 1

With the Sniper perk, your chance to hit an opponent's head in V.A.T.s.
is significantly increased.

If it has a head, you probably want to shoot it there for the bonus 
damage. If you only stick to melee attacks, or never use V.A.T.S., you
can ignore this perk. If you play realistically however, this is a 
pretty good perk. Mind you it doesn't just cover 'sniping'. Popping a
Super Mutant in the face with a few rounds of Shotgun Shells at mid
range is also a good use of the Sniper perk.

Grade: ****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Splash Damage
Req: Level 12, Explosives 70
Ranks: 1

When you're deep in enemy territory, you just start chucking grenades
and hope for the best. All Explosives have a 25% larger area of effect.

I'm rather skeptical of all these area of effect perks.. first, it seems
just as likely to hurt you as not, and second, just how many enemies are
going to find clustered together? Three, or four at the most? I don't
know, I'd rather just take Demolition Expert instead.

Grade: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Unstoppable Force
Req: Level 12, Strength 7, Melee Weapons 90
Ranks: 1

Your martial might is truly legendary. You do a large amount of 
additional damage through enemy blocks with all Melee Weapons and
Unarmed attacks.

Just how many enemies actually block in this game? Human enemies that
use melee weapons, which are, as a rule of thumb, usually easy to kill.
Super Mutants, Cazedors, and Deathclaws won't be blocking your attacks,
so what use is this perk? And 90 Melee Weapons? Even a dedicated melee
fighter can ignore this perk.

Grade: *

Level 14 Perks 							{PRK008}
o======================================================================o
Adamantium Skeleton
Req: Level 14
Ranks: 1

With the Adamantium Skeleton perk, your limbs only receive 50% of the
damage they normally would.

Your limbs don't take much damage throughout the game, unless you step
on a mine or take a glancing blow from a missile launcher. You wont see
much in the way of hit point preservation with this perk, if anything,
you'll just get crippled less. Sure, it can be handy in Hardcore mode,
but doctors and Doctors Bags are not rare enough that this should be
an ever-present concern for you. The fact that I still perk the Small
Frame trait for Hardcore mode characters should say a lot about how I
will grade this perk.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Center of Mass
Req: Level 16, Guns 70
Ranks: 1

You don't fool around with fancy trick shots. Straight to the midsection
and down they go. In V.A.T.S., you do an extra 15% damage with attacks
targeting the torso.

15% is nice and all, but note the 'in V.A.T.S.' line. Also keep in mind
that headshots tend to deal more damage.. if you're close enough to
pull off a V.A.T.S. shot with some expectation of success, you're 
probably close enough to go for the head.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Chemist
Req: Level 14, Medicine 60
Ranks: 1

With the Chemist perk, any chems you take last twice as long.

There are few instances in the game when you will need to take chems,
in fact, the most useful chemical in the game is Rad-x. You'll find
plenty of chems in your travels, enough that you can just take two
instead of having this perk.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Jury Rigging
Req: Level 14, Repair 90

You possess the amazing ability to repair any item using a roughly 
similar item. Fix a Trail Carbine with a Hunting Rifle, a Plasma 
Defender with a Laser Pistol, or even Power Armor with Metal Armor. How
does it work? Nobody knows... except you.

This can be an incredibly useful, Cap-and-bother saving perk. First off,
however, lets just say with a high enough Repair you can just make
Weapon Repair Kits with fairly common components that can be purchased
from most vendors (Duct Tape, Scrap Electronics, Scrap Metal, 
Wonderglue, and Wrenches), which, again with a good Repair skill, should
restore about 25% of a weapons' condition. This means you really don't
need this perk for any weapons in the game. Armor, however, has no easy
fix, and you'll really feel it when you want to repair your Remnant
Power Armor, or your Combat Armor, Reinforced Mark II. Still, if you're
not in Hardcore mode you can just kill some SUper Mutants and sell their
guns for the Caps you need, and even if you are in Hardcore mode.. wear
less expensive armor (humble Vault Security Armor has a respectable
16 Damage Threshold, is light armor, and costs under 200 Caps to fix.)

Grade: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Light Step
Req: Level 14, Perception 6, Agility 6
Ranks: 1

With the Light Step perk, you'll never set off an enemy's mines or
floor-based traps.

Land mines are pretty common. Fortunately, they're also obvious, they
don't do a huge amount of damage-in the grand scheme of things, and you
can disarm them with a simple button click. Not only that, you get
experience and the mine itself when you do! Be observant, and you wont
need this perk.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Purifier
Req: Level 14
Ranks: 1

As a purifier of the wasteland, you do +50% damage with Melee and 
Unarmed weapons against Centaurs, Nightstalkers, Spore Plants, Spore
Carriers, Deathclaws, Super Mutants, and Feral Ghouls.

If you are going to be using Melee Weapons or Unarmed, you MUST get this
perk. Deathclaws are bad enough, but capitulating and going toe-to-claw
with them in melee combat is insane. This perk helps even the odds.
Also, bonuses against Feral Ghouls and Super Mutants shouldn't be 
overlooked, especially not a damage boost of 50%, which can really add
up big with a Ballistic Fist, Displacer Glove, or Super Sledge. If you
are a hybrid character and have access to a decent gun, you can ignore
this perk, but for melee-specialized builds, this is gold.

Grade: ****

Level 16 Perks 							{PRK009}
o======================================================================o
Action Boy/Girl
Req: Level 16, Agility 6
Ranks: 2

With the Action Boy/Girl perk, you gain an additional 15 Action Points 
to use in V.A.T.S.

Action Boy/Girl has been split into two ranks, radically diminishing
the effectiveness of this perk. On top of that, you have LESS perks
with which to choose from, further exacerbating the situation. If that
wasn't enough, having a high Action Point total isn't as useful in New
Vegas. All of these conditions add up to one conclusion: you can look
elsewhere for your V.A.T.S. perks.

Grade: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Better Criticals
Req: Level 16, Perception 6, Luck 6
Ranks: 1

With the Better Criticals perk, you gain a 50% damage bonus every time
a critical hit is scored on an opponent.

Your critical chance is determined by your Luck-1 point of Luck equals
a 1% chance of landing a critical hit. This doesn't increase your chance
of landing a critical hit, instead Better Criticals improves the
damage you deal when you do land a critical hit. Therefore the
usefulness of this perk is directly related to how high your luck is.
With sneak attack criticals, the Sniper perk, or the Finesse perk,
Better Criticals becomes greatly useful, but it really depends on your 
build. No character is hurt by having high luck however, so it stands 
to suggest that most characters could benefit greatly from this perk.. 
And since you need a Luck score of 6 for this perk, if you can get it, 
you might as well. This perk is especially useful for players who have
the Laser Commander perk, for obvious reasons.

Grade: *****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Chem Resistant
Req: Level 16, Medicine 60
Ranks: 1

Having the Chem Resistant perk means you're 50% less likely to
develop an addiction to chems, like Psycho or Jet.

First, why you would ever need to use Psycho or Jet is beyond me.
Secondly, addiction isn't a big deal. You can always get your
addiction cured at a hospital, or you could just reload. If doubling
the duration of chems didn't appeal to you, this shouldn't either.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Meltdown
Req: Level 16, Energy Weapon 90
Ranks: 1

Meltdown causes foes killed by your Energy Weapons to give off a corona
of harmful energy. Note: this can cause a chain reaction. 

Another Energy Weapons perk, this one is more of a general perk, as it
applies to all Energy Weapons, rather than either lasers or plasma
weapons. I can't question the power of Energy Weapons, but I can and
will question the usefulness of this perk. Seeing enemies explode into
a corona of energy when they die is awful fun, but the explosion has a
fairly short radius, although it can do good damage. The bad part is
that you can catch yourself in this blast, making it a hassle any time
an enemy gets close to you in combat. Sure "Don't let them get close",
yeah, whatever. In any event, blowing yourself up is not fun, and this
perk doesn't make energy weapons exceptionally more powerful. On top of
that, there's not all that many situations in which you'll find enough
enemies close together to cause a useful explosion, much less a chain
reaction. It's slight usefulness is offset by the hassle of having to
keep away from enemies to avoid catching yourself in the blast.

Grade: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Tag!
Req: Level 16
Ranks: 1

The Tag! perk allows you to select a fourth Skill to be a Tag skill,
which instantly raises it by 15 points.

Skill points are good, I think we can all agree with that. But there is
a limit. A 15 point skill perk is arguably less useful than 
Comprehension.. even if you don't find 15 skill books, and it is
certainly less useful than Educated, which can give up to 52 skill
points. Sure, I like skill points, but I won't sacrifice a perk for
such a small return.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Weapon Handling
Req: Level 16, Strength < 10
Ranks: 1

Weapon Strength Requirements are now 2 points lower than normal for you.

Strength isn't a great attribute.. in fact, the only reason I both with
it is because you NEED to have Strength to use weapons effectively. This
perk gives you, essentially, two points of Strength. Or at least the
better benefits of having two Strength. This perk allows me to start 
out with four Strength, and let Power Armor and an Implant get me to
the equivilent of eight.. which allows me to wield all the weapons I
care to wield anyways.

Grade: ***

Level 18 Perks 							{PRK010}
o======================================================================o
Computer Whiz
Req: Level 18, Intelligence 7, Science 70
Ranks: 1

Fail a hack attempt and get locked out of a computer? Not if you're a
Computer Whiz! With this perk, you can attempt to re-hack any computer
you were previously locked out of.

Words can hardly describe how useless this perk is. Okay, yes they can.
This perk is damn near worthless. A 10 skill point perk seems fanastic
by comparison. Here's a way to get the benefits of this perk without
wasting your perk pick on it: before you hack a computer, save. If you
get locked out, reload. Bam, no need for this perk. And considering
90% of the computers you encounter in this game lock a door (which you
can pick) or disable turrets (which you can destroy) there's no great
fear of getting locked out of a terminal in any case. Dont waste your
perk.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Concentrated Fire
Req: Level 18, Energy Weapons 60, Guns 60
Ranks: 1

With Concentrated Fire, your accuracy to hit any body part in V.A.T.S.
increases slightly with each subsequent hit on that body part.

If you've been paying attention, you'll know that most of the time
taking more shots in V.A.T.S. at one time is a bad thing. You know, the
sitting duck thing? This isn't an issue if you're up on a ledge sniping,
but then again, you don't really need that much accuracy in that case.
Point is, you won't be taking as many consequetive shots in V.A.T.S. in
this game, meaning you don't need this perk, even if you use a fast
weapon.

Grade: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Infiltrator
Req: Level 18, Perception 7, Lockpick 70
Ranks: 1

With Infiltrator, if a lock is broken, and can't normally be picked
again, you can attempt to pick it again one more time. This includes
locks previously broken by a "Force Lock" attempt.

This perk sucks for the same reason Computer Whiz sucks. Why anybody
would be forcing locks in the first place is a mystery, and if you
are going to bother forcing locks, why wouldn't you save first? Save
and reload, and save a perk.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Paralyzing Palm
Req: Level 18, Unarmed 70

With Paralyzing Palm, you will sometimes perform a S.P.E.C.I.A.L.
V.A.T.S. palm strike for 30 seconds. Note that in order to perform the
Paralyzing Palm, you must be completely unarmed.

Paralyzing Palm was the great unequalizer in Fallout 3.. but that was
back when V.A.T.S. kept you safe from reprisal. In Fallout: New Vegas,
running into a pack of Deathclaws and hoping for a Paralyzing Palm to
even the odds is tantamount to commiting suicide.. but against one or
two enemies, it can eliminate one threat and let you concentrate on 
another, or put down an enemy quick-like for a coup-de-gras. It will
keep an enemy down longer than a knockdown attack, and it remains
useful.. unless you don't use Unarmed attacks.

Grade: ****

Level 20 Perks 							{PRK011}
o======================================================================o
Explorer
Req: Level 20
Ranks: 1

When you choose the Explorer perk, every location in the world is
revealed on your map. So get out there and explore!

You can find all the areas on the map by yourself. You even get little 
icons that will guide you to them when you're close. Along the way, 
you'll get to explore the wasteland, which is the meat of the game. 
You'll find skill books, get experience, and find loot. Also, it must 
be noted that this perk doesn't make your character stronger in any way. 
Download a world map and search for places yourself, save yourself a 
perk.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Grim Reaper's Sprint
Req: Level 20
Ranks: 1

If you kill a target in V.A.T.S., 20 Action Points are restored upon 
exiting V.A.T.S.

V.A.T.S. has been reduced in this game, and so has Grim Reaper's Sprint.
Still, it's not abyssmal. In the grand scheme of things it's better to
take fewer, safer, smarter shots in V.A.T.S. With this perk you can
finish off an enemy in V.A.T.S. and recharge your AP a bit. You'll do
most of your fighting outside of V.A.T.S., certainly, but popping an
enemy in the head with an Anti-Material Rifle at the right time can be
a very effective way to exterminate threats and thin the crowd.

Grade: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Ninja
Req: Level 20, Sneak 80, Melee Weapons 80
Ranks: 1

The Ninja perk grants you the power of the fabled shadow warriors. When
attacking with either Melee or Unarmed, you gain a +15% critical chance
on every strike. Sneak attack criticals do 25% more damage than normal.

Ah, how the mighty have fallen. First, lets just dispense with formality
by noting that if you had to choose, Ninja is better than Grim Reaper's
Sprint, especially with Sneak Attack Criticals being so much easier to
get. However, it only really shines if you're a melee character, whether
Unarmed or Melee Weapons. A +15% critical rate is huge, and with a high
Luck, Finesse, the 1st Recon Beret, and this perk your critical hit rate
can aspire to 35%. Of course, a gun-using character will almost 
certainly get more use out of the sneak attack critical damage, as.. 
frankly.. they can just pull them off easier. Which brings us to Ninja's
glaring problem.. it's skill requirements are outrageous. Sneak is a fair
skill, but 80 points is a huge investment, and Melee Weapons.. well,
they just kind of suck. This hurts a melee character enough, but it's
downright prohibitive for a ranged character. Still, if you can afford
it, it'll do good things for you.

Grade: ****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Solar Powered
Req: Level 20, Endurance 7
Ranks: 1

With the Solar Powered perk, you gain an additioanl 2 points to 
Strength when in direct sunlight, and slowly regenerate lost Health.

As tempting as two points of Strength are, I'd rather have two points
all the time from Weapon Handling, and just buy the regeneration 
Implant.

Grade: **

Level 22 Perks 							{PRK012}
o======================================================================o
Laser Commander
Req: Level 22, Energy Weapons 90

From the humble Laser Pistol to the might Gatling Laser, you do 15% more
damage and have +10% chance to critically hit with any laser weapon.

If you decided to use Energy Weapons, you might want this perk. Lasers
are generally weaker than plasma weapons, but the bonuses from this perk 
do a good bit to close the gap. Turn your Tri-Beam Laser Rifle into a 
destructive force! Okay, seriously, no laser weapon will become so 
strong from this perk that it will easily overcome the Damage Thresholds
of stronger enemies, but the bonuses are nice, nonetheless. Especially
with Gatling Lasers, which do little damage per hit, but fire fast..
the more chances you have of each little laser dealing critical damage,
the better off you're going to be.

Grade: ****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Nuka Chemist
Req: Level 22, Science 90

You have unraveled some of the greatest mysteries of Pre-War masters:
formulas for developing special Nuka-Colas! This perk unlocks special
Nuka-Cola recipes at the Workbench.

I've not been impressed by workbench-related perks yet, so why would I
be impressed by this? Simple put, I wouldn't. You can make Nuka-Cola
Quartz, Nuka-Cola Victory, and Ice-Cold Nuka-Cola.. all of which are
novelties, but not great items in their own right. There simply aren't
enough perks for this kind of profligacy.

Grade: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Spray and Pray
Req: Level 22

Your attacks do much less damage to companions, allowing you to 
liberally spray an area with reckless abandon.

I've frankly never had a problem with killing my own companions. Maybe
I'm just more careful? Or maybe I use long-ranged weapons that call for
precision, and not reckless abandon? If you're in Hardcore mode, there
is more call for this perk.. If you use tempermental weapons, anyways.

Grade: *
Grade: ** (Hardcore Mode)

Level 24 Perks 							{PRK013}
o======================================================================o
Slayer
Req: Level 24, Unarmed 90, Agility 7

The slayer walks the earth! The speed of all Melee Weapons and Unarmed
attacks is increased by 30%.

Ah.. Good old Slayer, returned to us in a different form in New Vegas.
If you use Melee Weapons or Unarmed, you must pick this perk. It
increases your damage output by 30%. What more is there to say? If you
don't use Melee Weapons or Unarmed attacks, ignore this perk.

Grade: ****

Level 26 Perks 							{PRK014}
o======================================================================o
Nerves of Steel
Req: Level 26, Agility 7

With the Nerves of Steel perk, you regenerate Action Points much more
quickly than you normally would.

As I've already stated, the best defense in New Vegas is a good offense.
Or failing that, high ground the enemy can't reach and a superior ranged
weapon. When using V.A.T.S. it's often better to take fewer shots as the
situation presents itself. To this end, regenerating more Action Point
is better than having more to spend at once, which makes Nerves of 
Steel a better perk choice than, say, Action Boy.

Grade: ***

Level 28 Perks 							{PRK015}
o======================================================================o
Rad Absorption
Req: Level 28, Endurance 7

With the Rad Absorption perk, your radiation level slowly decreases on
its own over time.

In normal mode, you have doctors who will clear up any Rad problems you
might have for a measly 100 Caps. In Hardcore mode, this saves you the
resource-wasting trip back to town. Even better, it allows you to 
safely eat any type of irradiated food and drink from any water source
you want. You'll simply heal over time. This opens up many options for
eating and drinking on-the-go, and makes the run a good bit simpler.
Too bad you have to wait until level 28 to pick it.. by now, you should
have already beaten the game or you should have plenty of resources
that starvation and dehydration aren't imminent dangers. Ah well, still
a good perk, even late.

Rating: *
Rating: **** (Hardcore Mode)

Additional Perks (!!!Under Construction!!!)			{PRK016}
o======================================================================o
Additional perks are quest-based or challenge-base perks that you get
for completing specific quests and challenges. Some quest-based perks
may be missable, and obviously if you don't buy a certain Implant, you
won't get the related perk. Challenge-based perks unlock automatically
when you meet the conditions.. usually killing so many of a certain
type of enemy, or inflicing a certain amount of damage with a certain
weapon.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Abominable

Kill enough Abominations (Deathclaws, Centaurs, etc.) and you'll get 
this perk, which increases your damage against this class of enemy.
There are multiple ranks of this perk.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Agility Implant

Buy the Agility Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to get a +1 
bonus to your Agility (4,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Animal Control

Kill enough Animals (Bighorners, Coyotes, Geckos, etc.) and you'll get 
this perk, which increases your damage against this class of enemy.
There are multiple ranks of this perk.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Beautiful Beatdown

Inflict 10,000 damage with Unarmed weapons to obtain this perk, which
reduces the AP Cost of Unarmed attacks in V.A.T.S.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Bug Stomper

Kill enough Animals (Giant Ants, Radscorpians, etc.) and you'll get 
this perk, which increases your damage against this class of enemy.
There are multiple ranks of this perk.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Charisma Implant

Buy the Charisma Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to get a +1 
bonus to your Charisma (4,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Endurance Implant

Buy the Endurance Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to get a +1 
bonus to your Endurance (4,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Enhanced Sensors

While ED-E is a companion, the player can detect enemies at an increased
range. Additionally, enemies will appear on the player's compass and can
be targeted in V.A.T.S. even when cloaked.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Intelligence Implant

Buy the Intelligence Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to get a 
+1 bonus to your Intelligence (4,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Lord Death

Kill anything. Alot of anything. You'll get a damage bonus against
everything. There are multiple ranks of this perk.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Luck Implant

Buy the Luck Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to get a +1 bonus
to your Luck (4,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Mutant Massacrer

Kill enough Super Mutants and you'll get this perk, which increases your 
damage against them. There are multiple ranks of this perk.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Monocyte Breeder

Buy the Health Regeneration Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to
get this perk (12,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Perception Implant

Buy the Perception Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to get a +1 
bonus to your Perception (4,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Ranger Takedown

In Novac you can find Ranger Andy, a retired NCR Ranger who is a down
on himself. Succeed at a Speech challenge and convince him he doens't
suck and he'll teach you this perk.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Regular Maintenence

While Raul is a companion, the Condition of weapons and armor decays
more slowly.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Scribe Assistant

While Veronica is a companion, the player can craft Workbench items 
through Veronica's dialogue.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Spotter

While Boone is a companion, hostile targets are highlighted whenever the
player is actively aiming.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Stealth Girl

While Lily is a companion, the duration of Stealth Boys is increased by
200% and all Sneak Attack Critical Hits do an additional 10% damage.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Strength Implant

Buy the Strength Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to get a +1 
bonus to your Strength (4,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Sub-Dermal Armor

Buy the Sub-Dermal Armor Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to 
get a +4 bonus to your Damage Threshold (8,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->

My Personal Build, Perks					{PRK017}
o======================================================================o
These builds correlate to the builds mentioned in the skills section.

Guns Build			w/Energy Weapons	w/Unarmed
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Level
2	Intensive Training (Luck)			
4	Educated					
6	Toughness (1)					
8	Commando					
10	Finesse						
12	Sniper						
14	Comprehension					
16	Weapon Handling					
18	Better Criticals				
20	Shotgun Surgeon*	Toughness (2)		Toughness (2)
22	Silent Running*		Laser Commander		Piercing Strike
24	Toughness (2)*		Grim Reaper's Sprint	Purifier
26	Grim Reaper's Sprint*	Nerves of Steel		Super Slam
28	Nerves of Steel*	--			Paralyzing Palm
30	--			--			Slayer

This build makes for a pretty proficient Guns-user, who is also adept
at sneaking. This can arguably be called the 'sniper' build, as it is
mostly designed to take advantage of the good range of Guns weapons, and
the ability to make shots from stealth using the iron sights.
Comprehension is taken late, as this build may not have Lockpick, 
Science, and Speech up to 80 before level 14, and certainly not by level
6, when it becomes sensible to pick it. The perk picks from level 20 on
are fairly optional, as they just make the character better are sneaking
and shooting.. although you can easily sacrifice this specialization and
pick up plenty of Energy Weapons perks if you so choose to make a
combined-arms build. You could also grab some Demolition Expert perks and
spend your skills in exposives instead, or even focus on Unarmed and
get a slew of perks to make you quite deadly in ranged and melee combat.
And these are, of course, merely the combat oriented versions. Note that
Rad Absorption is a good perk to tack on to Hardcore Mode characters, as
well as convenience perks such as Pack Rat or Strong Back. Obviously
this requires you to be more frugal with the skills, and practically
precludes dual-combat-focusing, especially on Guns and Unarmed.
Personally I favor more towards the Guns build, which is pretty easy to
get off the ground and flexible enough to accomodate some alternative
perks, as your whimsy demands.

Energy Weapons Build
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Level
2	Intensive Training (Luck)			
4	Educated					
6	Toughness (1)					
8	Commando					
10	Finesse						
12	Sniper						
14	Comprehension					
16	Weapon Handling					
18	Better Criticals				
20	Silent Running*	
22	Laser Commander		
24	Toughness (2)*		
26	Grim Reaper's Sprint*	
28	Nerves of Steel*
30	--	

The build doesn't change very much when we switch our focus to Energy
Weapons. In fact, the only thing we need to change out is Shotgun
Surgeon (which was optional anyways) with Laser Commander. It's very
easy to make a Guns-and-Energy Weapons build, but it is also pretty
redundant. Note that the Energy Weapons and Unarmed build works just as
it did with Guns.. just with Laser Commander instead of Shotgun Surgeon,
perhaps at the cost of a second Toughness.

Melee Build (full melee)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
2	Intensive Training (Luck)			
4	Educated					
6	Toughness (1)					
8	Super Slam					
10	Finesse						
12	Piercing Strike					
14	Purifier					
16	Better Criticals				
18	Paralyzing Palm				
20	Ninja	
22	Weapon Handling	
24	Slayer	
26	Intensive Training (Strength)	
28	Intensive Training (Strength)
30	Comprehension

You really don't have much wiggle room with perks if you want to make a
truly bad-ass melee fighter. I don't even bother with Unstoppable Force,
as everything else is really just better. If you want to get the most
out of your weaponry you'll get two Intensive Training perks for
Strength.. or perhaps just take a point from something else.. in the
long run you may just have to give up some Luck to this end so you can
reduce the number of Intensive Training perks you recieve. Still, this 
is how the build looks with the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes listed
earlier.

Melee Build (Strength +1 Build)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
2	Intensive Training (Strength)				
4	Educated					
6	Toughness (1)					
8	Super Slam					
10	Finesse						
12	Piercing Strike					
14	Purifier					
16	Better Criticals				
18	Paralyzing Palm				
20	Ninja				
22	Weapon Handling			
24	Slayer				
26	Comprehension			
28	Toughness (2)					
30	--

This is the full melee build with Luck sacrificed for Strength. The
starting stats in this case are shown below:

		Normal  STR +1		
		Build	Build	
Strength:	4	5	
Perception:	5	5	
Endurance: 	8	8	
Charisma:	1	1	
Intelligence:	9	9	
Agility:	6	6	
Luck:		7	6	

Versatile Combatant Build
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
This is where things get interesting, from a perk-choosing perspective.
Do you go with Energy Weapons' Laser Commander, or the Shotgun Surgeon?
Either? Both? Do you make any concessions for Explosives? It almost
seems like you have to sacrifice most of the melee perks to make
Unarmed work. Perhaps get rid of Commander and keep Purifier, Piercing
Strike, and Slayer? This build may be trying to do too much, but I'll
leave it up to you to settle the specifics, as your preferences and
play style demands.

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|		The New Vegas Medical Clinic Run {IMP001}	       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
My first goal is to make it all the way to the New Vegas Medical Clinic
as quickly as possible. This is in every way reminiscent of the Rivet
City run from Fallout 3.. except this time around we can score our bonus
Intelligence before we hit level two. We'll do our best to do so, at
least, and since this is a fairly important part of the guide, I'll help 
you get there as best as I can. For Hardcore players, you may as well 
postpone this journey and try to reach the New Vegas area by questing 
your way there.

Save your game before you head off. You never know what might happen,
so play it safe and keep a save of your character before you go 
running out into the Mohave. 

1) First step, follow the road south east out of Goodsprings until you 
find Jean Sky Diving. From here head east along I-15 until you find 
some railroad tracks. You may want to get off I-15 sooner to avoid any 
hostile Powder Gangers you see. The Bloatflies in the desert will mostly 
leave you alone unless you get too close.

2a) Get on the railroad tracks and follow it south a good distance until 
you reach the Emergency Service Railyard. From here you have two
options. If you go north east up the hills you can find Primm Pass.
This area is often guarded by a Blind Deathclaw, and if it catches you,
you may as well reload. If not, continue east until you find some roads 
heading north-south, and follow them north.

2b) If you are constantly finding Deathclaws in the pass and the game 
won't let it drop, you'll have to resort to the long route. Follow the 
railroad south past Nipton until it connects with a road running 
east-west. Don't follow along the road, as there are Viper Gangers set
up in ambush, instead head through the hills to the north of the road.
This will let you bypass the enemies. Once you reach the road continue
east until you find a road sign that directs you to turn north to find
Novac. You now want to continue north up these roads for the forseeable
future.

3) You SHOULD find a merchant caravan heading north here. They'll be
attacked by Caesar's Legion Recruits. Stay nearby but don't get
involved in the fight. Once the fight is over, loot the bodies. It
doesn't matter who wins, and none of this gear is going to be all
that useful, but it will sell for enough to earn you a handful of 
Caps with which you can gamble yourself a small fortune later. If
you want to play it safe, you can follow the caravan up to Novac,
letting them handle whatever baddies you may find.

4) Either way, follow the road with the railroad tracks running next
to it to find Novac. North of here you can also find the HELIOS One
power plant. Cross the desert to the east of the HELIOS One plant
and avoid any Fire Ants you find until you find another road running
north-south.

5) You'll find yourself on I-95, which will run north and connect to 
I-93 at a site wisely called the 188 Trading Post. Our journey is, 
surprisingly, mostly over. Continue past the 188 Trading Post and 
follow I-95 west, then north into the outskirts of New Vegas. When 
you're getting close you'll pass under a few underpasses and start 
seeing billboard signs promoting the casinos on the strip.

6) Once you start find numerous standing buildings.. well, you've
found the outskirts of New Vegas. Visual confirmation can be obtained
by checking to the west to locate the lights of New Vegas in the
not-so-distant distance. The New Vegas Medical Clinic is between the
Crimson Caravan Company to the west, and the Mole Rat Ranch to the
east. I managed to reach this area with a total of 60 experience.

Now that you're here you just need.. oh.. 4,000 Caps to get yourself
a shiney new Implant. There are two feasible ways of doing this.
Scavenging.. I mean, 'prospecting' and selling any and all loot you
find. This route seems the most sensible, but since you will most
likely have to discover new areas and/or kill things, it might be
somewhat counter-productive. The second way is to head west to
Freeside's East Gate. Enter Freeside and find the Atomic Wrangler.
If you are attacked by thugs, just run back to the entrance of 
Freeside and let the Bodyguards for Hire kill them. At the Atomic
Wrangler, save your game and play some slots, blackjack, or roulette
to get money.. what else? If you win, save, if you lose, reload. Is
there a better way to make money in a game called Fallout: New Vegas?
I didn't think so. Sure, there's a wait period for reloads.. 
anti-cheating measure indeed.. but it's a painless way to make money
without leveling up.. so long as you don't accidently complete too
many challenges, anyways. Within 20 minutes I was 4,200 Caps richer,
and off to get my Intelligence Implant.

Note: You can bypass the waiting period if you don't exit the game
in order to reload.

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|			      Books {BOK001}			       |
|			(!!!Under Construction!!!)		       |
o======================================================================o
In this section I will list the books I have found so far in this game..
which isn't many, really. By all means, feel free to report any books
you've found. I know these directions are rather vague.. or rather,
non-existent, but at this point I'm mostly just securing their general
location and keeping tabs of how many I find, rather than actually
attempting to describe exactly where they are.

Big Book of Science					
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Forlorn Hope

[ ]	Nipton

[ ] 	REPCONN Headquarters

Chinese Army: Spec. Ops. Training Manual
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Camp Searchlight

D.C. Journal of Internal Medicine
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Novac

Dean's Electronics
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Abandoned BoS Bunker

[ ]	Southern Nevada Wind Farm

Guns and Bullets
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Raul's Shack

[ ]	Vault 34

Nikola Tesla and You
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Old Nuclear Test Site

[ ]	REPCONN Headquarters

Tumblers Today
o======================================================================o
[ ]	The Prospector's Den

[ ]	Wolfhorn Ranch

Wasteland Survival Guide
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Lone Wolf Radio

[ ]	Matthews Animal Husbandry Farm

[ ]	Mosquite Mountain Camp Site

[ ]	Scavenger Platform

     
DEMOS
PATCHES - CHEATS
REVIEWS
GAME VIDEOS
NEWS ENTRIES
THIS WEEK'S MOST POPULAR DOWNLOADS