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Orpheus
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Viable builds for tale of two wastelands

  Hello,

 

 The DC wastelands can be a challenge. A lot of monsters (mirelurk, radscorpions, super mutant, enclave soldiers) have very high damage threshold making them hard to kill with most of weapons of Fallout 3. The most powerfull weapons of fallout 3 tend to rely mostly on high damage per second but poor raw damages.

 Only a few builds seems in that context to be viable in Vanilla :

 The mercenary : Shotgun build. Probably one of the easier to play :

  I got as soon as level 8 a hunting shotgun from the talon mercs, however the best is still to get the combat shotgun. You can buy one on flak & schrapnel store. The combat shotgun ammo is more common because used by the raiders for the single shotgun and more rarely with the sawed-off shotgun. 

  Tag skills :

Guns, Repair, whatever you want (I used speech)

 Special : Strength 6 Agi 5 End : 8 Int : 9 Cha : 2 Per : 5 : Luck : 5 

Perks 

Level 2 : rapid reload

Level 4 : educated

Level 6 : shotgun surgeon

Level 8 : toughness

Level 10 : And stay back

After that, whatever you want, more criticals and better criticals can be interesting but you must use 2 special training perks to get enough or take implants in new vegas. 

I am using this one right now, it's very efficient.

 

My next to test is 

The barbarian : 2 handed fighter 

Special : Strength : 7 (get an implant or the strenght perk of those! to get 8 for the super sledge), Agi : 6 (to raise to 7 to get slayer at level 24), End 8 Int : 9 Per : 1 cha : 8 luck : 1

 Tag skills : Melee weapon, medecine, whatever you want

 Level  2 : confirmed bachelor/black widow

 Level 4 : educated

 Level 6 : toughness

 Level 8 : Superslam (melee weapon 45) 

 Level 10 :  toughness

 level 12 : piercing strike (note that you need 70 unarmed for this one)

 Level 14 : toughness

  When you can : Purifier, Slayer

 About companions : You must keep a neutral karma until you can have Sergent RL3. He is the one who will kill the targets you can't reach.

 About weapons : You can find a guarantee super sledge in Satcom array NN 03.

 Quests : Oasis, those, waters of life are must have.

Some other interessant possibilities : fire samurai (shishkebab with pyromaniac, better critical, more critical, piercing strike is still highly necessary), snipers are rather easy to make and are efficient, cow boys seems to have good potential too : you have many guarantee 44 magnum located aswell, hand loaded 44 ammo are quitte good at dealing with ennemies with high DT and blackhawk is not too hard to get.

 The hardest build would be to rely on energy weapons. There is few ones available with high damages and good fire rate. Plasma rifles are rather poor weapons. Smuggler end have good potential but is very hard to get, the same for wazer wifle.

 Only mothership zeta offer very good energy weapon. It means to complete Mothership zeta very early, I should test that too. Did anyone tried ? 

TTW Version Compatibility: 

v2.9

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Nostalgia
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I don't know about energy

I don't know about energy weapons specialist being the hardest build, but, it is what I usually shot for in the vanilla game. Using a gatling laser like Vengeance with max charge ammo and the laser commander perk can mow down normal enemies like grass and harder ones with a few more bursts. I recently gave the Sprtel-Wood 9700 with over-charged ammo to Veronica and I almost think a tear of joy came to her eye. She no longer cared about a new dress it seemed or "punching" things. Of course I gave her the Paladin Toaster as well and now we're engaged to be married in the near future!

Orpheus
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 The problem of energy weapon

 The problem of energy weapon is their rarity and partly their problems of dealing with high DT at early level.  They're otherway fabulous weapons.

jlf65
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If you're having trouble with

If you're having trouble with DT early in the game, there are two sniper rifles that are relatively easy to get: one in the hidden rock outside Megaton, and Arkansas' sniper rifle in Minefield. Arkansas will have extra .308 ammo as well. I usually get one or the other almost immediately, and save the condition and ammo for those hard targets, like super mutants.

Decker
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TTW Energy Weapons build can

TTW Energy Weapons build can fairly easily get by with a Laser Rifle (scope it for sniping if you like), and after combining moderate to high Luck with the Finesse perk and Laser Commander, acquire the Protectrons Gaze and/or Metal Blaster unique laser shotguns to deal with higher level enemies like Albino Radscorpions (Use these laser shotguns outside of VATS for maximum effectiveness on the targets). Interim weapon between the unique laser shotguns and laser rifle is the Tri-Beam Laser Rifle, which is powerful but uses 3 times more ammo per shot.

Plasma Spaz perk synergises well if you also want to keep a plasma weapon handy for those close encounters (basic Plasma Rifle is nice, best plasma weapons in the game being MPLX Novasurge and A3-21's Plasma Rifle. Using Novasurge with maximum charge energy cells can be quite OP, it's almost like heavier hitting alien blaster with a lower rate of fire.)

Alien energy weapons, like Alien Blaster or Firelance can be extremely effective in the hands of a high luck/finesse energy weapons character (almost every hit is a critical), but these weapons rely on non-recyclable unique alien power cells, availability of which is limited.

Main benefit of energy weapons IMHO is ammo recycling however; Get the Vigilant Recycler perk for improved recycling and Optimized Charge cells. Also worth noting in Hardcore mode is that drained energy weapons ammo has zero weight - Only recycle an amount that can be easily carried but is sufficient for a few fights, and keep the rest (most) of the energy weapon ammo weightless/drained.

That said, I do often prefer guns builds instead. (For a melee/unarmed build I would also use high Sneak and perks like Silent Running and Ninja.)