Recently, I got the itch to go back to try some older games including Fallout: New Vegas. A friend, who is an experienced gamer, decided to help me out with some hints on how to get started with Fallout: New Vegas. Over several days he provided hint after hint. My list of hints grew to a considerable length! With his permission, I’ve decided to share those hints for anyone else who is thinking about getting started with Fallout: New Vegas.
Fallout New Vegas Hints For Beginners
The fallout games are open world games with fast travel. They are as close to Skyrim an earlier year Beth game can be. You go where you want and do what you want. You choose which quests to do and when to do them. I played them with no mods but there are a ton of Nexus mods for both.
When you start the game, if you take your time and explore the VERY near by area of Goodsprings, you will not only find enough loot to sell for a couple thousand caps but you will get enough XP points to level up twice which will give you several points to add to your skills and one perk point.
New Vegas basics
- There are two main factions you can choose to side with. The NCR Republic or the Legend. In my 2 1/2 play-throughs, I have never sided with the legend and know nothing about their quest line. As you progress through the game, there are forks in the road that you can take where you are not totally on the side of the NCR. Because of that, there are 4 ways to finish the game.
- You use the Z key to pick up objects and place them. You have much better control over the objects than you do in Skyrim. Still have to do the menu save thing for things to stay put. Sometimes if you place usable ingredients, food or drugs on a table or shelf, one of your companions might pick them up and pocket them.
- In this game, by doing a quest one way, it will cause you to fail another quest or not even get the quest to begin with.
- Just so you are aware of it before you setup your character and assign your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points, there is gambling in New Vegas [gee, there’s a surprise]. As I said before, it will not be easy to decide what to put your precious few points towards. The “L” is for luck. It affects only a few things, most of which make little difference. Yet, it has a big effect on whether you win or lose when you gamble.
- Your weapons, armor and clothing will need to be repaired often. There is a perk you can get once you fill the per-requisites that allows you to fix one weapon or armor with a totally different kind of weapon or armor. YOU NEED that perk. 50 levels in the game, total of 25 perk points you will be able to apply. Choose wisely.
- There is another perk that makes everything that weighs 2 pounds or less weigh half as much, and even another perk that makes the very large heavy guns weigh half as much. I always get those perks also, but it’s up to you.
- Once you find one or buy one, NEVER travel the wasteland without a radiation suit or two! They also will need to be repaired. Having one helps a lot to save on Rad X and Radaway, which are the drugs you use to prevent and cure radiation sickness. If your radiation level gets too high, you die!
- You will find a shit load of what seem to be useless items. There are a few, but very few useless items in the wasteland. Most all are used for crafting. There is a work bench and reloading bench in the game. I suggest you take a look at their ingredient menus right after you finish the short intro that happens in Goodsprings [town]. There are benches between the Saloon and the store there.
- Until you have played for a while, be careful who you shoot at from a distance. There are traveling merchants, mercenaries, NPC’s in general and even a few mmmm? two legged creatures that are not your enemy. Example 1. You may have been killing off a type of two legged creature as you encountered them. Then you come across one that does not attack you on sight and has a quest for you. 2. My first play through, I killed a valuable traveling merchant from a distance simply because he was armed and I thought he was part of the group of thugs I was shooting at. OOPS!
- So as to keep you from going nuts like I did the first time, there will be one or two map markers that are in the same general area that will appear on your map fairly early in the game that you cannot go to until you get the quest that takes you there.
- When you get as far as the town of Novac, make sure you rent a room at the motel. You only pay once and the room is always yours. You will need the containers inside to stash extra gear and the bed to sleep in.
General Advice on Starting the Game
- As much as I think this is a great game, it is not for everyone. Some FPS players don’t like it, as well as some RPG players.
- There is no right or wrong way to setup your S.P.E.C.I.A.L.. I’m posting the way I did it for this play through just to give you an idea of how I start the game. S-9 points, P-5, E-7, C-7, I-5, A-4 and L-3. You may want to give more or fewer points to each attribute.
- At the start of the game, Doc Mitchell gives you some tests that are to setup your starting skills and such. Once these are done, you can review your 3 improved/higher starting skills he gives you and click the reset tab to change which 3 skills start out higher. I always do. I picked Guns, Lock picks and repair. In the early game these are the three that I have found I want to improve first.
- The last test the Doc gives you is “Medical History”. That’s when you pick 2, 1 or zero special traits. I only choose Wild Wasteland to get the extra things that you see and find in the game. All the other traits you can choose come at a price to your other abilities that I don’t like sacrificing.
- Before leaving Doc Mitchells house talk to him and click all his speech options. He has info that you need to know. You can also buy and sell a few things from and to him. Go through his house and pick up everything that is not nailed down. Some things you will want to keep, but there are several things like food, cigarettes, baseball glove, books[not readable] and even a toaster that you don’t need right away and can sell for a few bottle caps each.
- Hit “Tab” to open your Pipboy interface and familiarize yourself with it before going outside. While you are in the Pipboy screen, you have extra starting gear that comes with the add-on packs that you don’t get with the base game. You will be wearing a Vault 21 jumpsuit, change into one of the armors you have by clicking apparel and clicking on the armor type. Also go to weapons and equip one. You have several that don’t come with the base game.
- One of the things you will find in the Docs house is a “Pre-War Hat”. Wear it. Hats and sunglasses give you a small boost to your perception attribute.
- You will find a few Stimpaks [health] and a bottle of Rad X [prevent radiation sickness] in the Docs house. After you go through all of Goodsprings and sell off some loot, you will have enough caps to go back to the Docs and buy extra Stimpaks and Rad X if you want to. You find a lot of both in your travels but you may want more in the beginning of the game.
- As soon as you go outside, you will get several popup notices on the screen. Most are your DLC map markers. I strongly suggest you don’t do any of the four DLC’s until at least level 15 and that is probably WAY too soon. At lower levels you will die, die, and die a lot!
- When in Goodsprings at the start of the game, check out the work bench and reloading bench to get a sense of the ingredients needed to craft items. At the beginning of the game, you won’t have the skill to do much crafting, but you really need to know what all that junk you will find is for.
- The first time you level up to level 2 you will get a perk point. Before you use it, take the time to look through all the different perks and their requirements. There’s a ton of them and you will want to pick some of the ones you want and work on filling the requirements for them. In the beginning of the game you will only have a few perks available to you. In this play through, at level 2 and 4, I chose to use my perk points to increase my Intelligence in my S.P.E.C.I.A.L.. One thing a higher intelligence does is it increases the number of skill points you will get when you level up.
- Check all mailboxes in the game. Many have loot in them.
- At the beginning of the game this won’t matter, but later it will. When you are exploring/searching the inside of a building to find the available loot, sometimes the loot is in or under an upside down crate or other object. Use the Z key to pick up objects and shake the loot out of them.
- Quick save often! Besides all the things that will kill you, you may get a few CTD’s when entering buildings or just wandering the wasteland. Hopefully that has been patched since I played last. If you get a CTD outside, it usually always happens in exactly the same spot where you are walking and you can walk around that spot to avoid it.
- BUY A SHOVEL at the store right away. There are graves that have loot you will want and need.
- It is a bit of a pain but, when you pickup/loot more than one of the same weapon or armor it helps to use one to repair a second item of the same type. It increases the effectiveness of it and the value if you want to sell it. Plus it reduces the weight you are carrying.
- When you talk with the main NPC’s in the game world, make sure you scroll down through all the speech options. Many have side quests that their speech will activate. Sometimes as a result of a speech option you choose, you will be closed out of speech and the NPC will start to walk away. RE-engage in the speech to make sure there is nothing new to talk to them about. Some NPC merchants don’t look like they are merchants. Always double check to see if they have a “What do you have for sale” option.
- When selling to a merchant, if you are going to be in that town or area for a while doing a quest, keep in mind that the merchant has a limited amount of caps to pay you for loot. Sell heavy items first and low weight or weightless items last. The merchant’s caps and items for sell will increase after time, but not in one day. Merchants inventories in this game change and they will have new items from time to time.
- In the town of Primm you will find a small round robot lying on a counter top and it is in need of repair. When you find it, you will probably have to repair it by finding the needed parts that are in the town. The robot is called ED-E. It has a related quest that you can do as you travel. It is a side quest that involves several different locations that you will be traveling too. ED-E is also a follower that will fight with you and carry some of your gear. It helps to havee the extra packer early game. You can have ED-E wait so he does not enter battles with you if you wish to go it alone. If you dismiss him HMMM? at least later in the game, he goes to the Lucky 38 hotel until you recruit him again. He does NOT count as a companion, so you can have one regular companion following you and him too.
- When you are in a town, Primm for example, you will get side quests that send you to a different area. You may want to finish exploring the town before leaving to do the quest.
When you first setup your character at Doc Mitchels house, you will have an option to pick up to two unique attributes. You do not have to pick any. All but one of them comes at a high cost to one of your other attributes. I only pick the FUN one that has no bad side effects. It is called “Wild Wasteland”. It adds things you will see and find in the game that you don’t get without it. When you come across something it adds, you will hear a ooooo,ooooo sound and a symbol will flash on the screen. I highly recommend you choose Wild Wasteland.
You can remove pre-placed points from one attribute and place it on another. IT AIN”T GOING TO BE EASY TO DECIDE WHAT ONES TO MAKE HIGH! I recommend making Strength one of the high ones. Your attributes are called your S.P.E.C.I.A.L.. Choose them wisely!
- E-Endurance [needs to be high]
- C-Charisma [helps when dealing with women]
Once you have a whole lot of extra bottle caps [money in the game], you can go to the “New Vegas Medical Clinic” just east of Freeside and for 4,000 to 8,000 caps you can improve an attribute. There are also bottle caps that you will find called “Star Bottle Caps” Yes they have a visible star on them. These you save up until you have at least 75 then you turn them in for the prize. You will know where to take them long before you collect 75.
You will have a Reputation in the game with all the different groups of NPC’s. Depending on your decisions; the groups like you, idolize you, dislike you or vilify you. Also you have Karma in the game. Good karma for helping people, bad karma for stealing or killing friendly people.
To improve the most early in the game you will need gun, lock picking, repair, and speech skills. Speech is important when trying to deal with NPC’s and getting them to do what you want.
When you find a skill book [there are not many in the game] and put it in your inventory, you have to go into your pipboy misc Catagory and click on it to use it. Do that right away because each of them weighs 2 pounds and you will be very limited as to how much weight you can carry when first in the game.
You definitely want to go through the training intro with Sunny Smiles at the Saloon. Doing so adds map markers, a rifle, more bullets and you make a few caps. When you go hunting with her, try and keep up. As you kill critters you can loot their bodies. Wait until the hunting part is over and then go back and loot the critters. The reason is that if you lag behind a female NPC may get killed.
Using V.A.T.S. in Training
In the training portion, you will get a popup message telling you to hit the V key to go into V.A.T.S.. You must have something in your sights that you are aiming at to use VATS. Otherwise the V key does nothing. You can aim at a friendly NPC to see what VATS looks like, just don’t shoot them.
Using V.A.T.S. in General
You will have a thing called V.A.T.S available to target certain areas of the enemy’s bodies. You hit the V key while aiming to send you into V.A.T.S. I think you get extra XP points for making a quality hit and XP points are how you level up in the game. When you use that to aim, you use up the type of energy it requires and have to wait until it regenerates before you can use VATS again.
After you have progressed a short way in the game, you will have better and better weapons. That will allow you to sell off the inferior ones and you can also sell extra ammo you don’t need. Sell ammo last because it has no weight so it won’t overload you. Plus some ammo is used for a variety of weapons. NEVER sell 5mm, 5.56mm, .50mg or .45cal. You will need all of those you can get. In one of the DlC’s I used several thousand rounds of 5mm and 5.56mm.
First, there is more than one type of sniper rifle in the game. The one that kills all is called an “Anti-Materiel Rifle” and uses 4 types of .50mg rounds. Regular .50, armor piercing, explosive and incendiary. It will take some time in the game before you get to where you can buy one. If I am remembering correctly, the first and maybe only place you will find one for sale is at the “Gun Runners” gun shop just outside the east gate of the town of Freeside, which is just outside Vegas. Also, I think you have to be at a certain level for the gun to show up in the [LOL] merchant’s inventory. Merchant, lol, yeah right. Wait until you see this guy. I don’t think the level you need to be at is very high. I also seem to remember finding one of the Rifles in the Wasteland, but I don’t remember where.
Following the quests as you get them it will take quite a while to get to the Gun Runners to buy one. You will need to have leveled up several times and may need your gun skill raised some before the rifle is made available from merchants. As a new player to the game, I don’t recommend you take any of the shortcut paths to get to Vegas and that rifle
When you first start using the anti-materiel rifle and guns in general, you will notice that your aim is wobbly and it will be hard to steady your aim. That is because you need the appropriate skills to use the guns. There are many, many different skills and perks in the game. Each time you level up you get several points to use towards your different skills and every TWO times you level up you get a perk point to use. You can also improve your skills by finding skill books and magazines along your travels. The magazines are only VERY temporary points added to your skill that the Magazine is for. So, save the mags until you need a temp. 5 points added to say open a locked chest that requires a skill of 75 and your skill is only 70. The skill books add a permanent 2 points to the skill they are for.
I think the skill you need to raise for the Rifle is called “Big Guns”, but I’m not sure. When you view the skills in your pipboy [It's your inventory and map gadget you wear on your wrist], it tells you what each skill is for. You have a limited amount of skill points each level up, so I recommend putting more towards the skill for the Anti-materiel Rifle and lock picking than you do towards the other skills. YOU NEED MOST of the available skills to be high. Guns, lock picking, energy weapons, computers [intelligence] and some medicine are the skills you will use most at first. No matter what you do, you won’t be able to unlock some doors and boxes until you have leveled up several times. So, write down the locations of the things you can’t open and go back to them later.
Oh, and you don’t really need any of those high priced weapons. Once you have enough extra caps to check some out, they really are not that more powerful than the standard versions.
You will find mini nukes fairly early in the game. You can buy a “Fat Man” nuke launcher from the “Gun Runners”. You can find a Fat Man in a pond at the Rock quarry and a mini nuke on an upper tier of the quarry.
When you go to Nellis Air Force Base, you can get more than the 8 nukes that are available in the original game. Once you have been accepted at the base, there is an NPC there that has them. Every two or three nights you can pick pocket her to get a mini nuke she has in her inventory. It will cost you a bit of bad karma to do the pick pocketing, but it won’t affect your overall karma by much.
Some of the Add-ons will add guns and armor to your beginning inventory.
Repairing the armor and weapons just seems to be a natural thing to do in the game and is usually pretty easy even in early game. In the Novac motel room, just stash a couple extra of each weapon and armor you use, strictly for repairs. Plus there are repair kits that you will find and can sometimes buy. Once you meet the requirements, get the perk that allows you to repair one item with a different kind of item and then none of your gear will ever get to the point where you can’t use it.
Some gear you pick up or buy will be almost useless when you get it. Either use it for repair right away or drop it from your inventory so you don’t get over encumbered with crap you can avoid carrying around.
Once your repair ability is somewhere around 75, 90 or maybe its 100, you can craft repair kits. You need a very high repair level to get the perk to repair one item with a different type of item.
In New Vegas the gambling is fun to do and if you have 6 points of Luck [max is 10 points] you can win a fair amount of the time. You don’t need the gambling to get enough caps [money] to buy what you want. Just selling some of the extra weapons and armor, plus the caps you find will be enough. There is an exception to that. One of the add-ons you have is called “The Gun Runners Arsenal” and it adds Special/higher grade versions of some of the weapons in the game to vendors’ inventories and those weapons cost a fortune. You will be way into the game before you have the caps to buy them.
In New Vegas there are Mohave Snow globes you collect. Can’t remember how many are in the original game [4 DLC's add 1 each]. In the Lucky 38 hotel there is a display for them. The original games Snow globes MUST be sold to MR. House in order to have them placed on the display!!! I did not know that the first play through and I screwed up by not selling them to him. His female robot buys them from you. The added 4 from the DLC’s are automatically placed on a shelf above the original display as you find them.
Science vs. Lock picking Early in the Game
Start the game with a low Science skill, which you need to hack computers that open up things like safes and later in the game doors. In almost every case you can pick the locks to open the same things. In early game, Lock picking is needed more than computer skills. You will find and can buy Bobby pins to pick locks with. When you find some, they look like a box of stick matches and are sometimes hard to see when lying on a floor or shelf. You need to acquire all you can.
I always play on medium difficulty, so unless you play on high difficulty the perks for eating and drinking aren’t needed. On medium you don’t have to eat and drink to survive. Because you will only get 25 perk points [1 every two level ups] I suggest not wasting any on the survival perks.
Leveling Up and Perks
When you level up every two times and get a perk point to use, there are per-requisites for each of the perks. You should review them all [there’s a ton of them] when you get your first point and write down the skills and attributes you want to improve to get the perks you want. Also, in order to get most of the perks, you have to be at certain levels before they are available. At level 20, I highly recommend you get the “Explorer” perk. It places all remaining undiscovered locations onto your map. At level 20 there will still be many places you have not been yet and knowing where they are will help a lot. You still will have to discover them in order to fast travel to them.
Some will be ok, but if you get house mods, make sure you still rent a motel room in Novac and Stay in the suite at the Lucky 38 hotel. You really need to do that.