Saturday, July 22, 2017

Fallout 4 on Very Hard Difficulty

Don't do it. Not without mods.

Difficulty in Fallout 4 is basically unrewarding because you don't get more XP for your kills. So these things happen and very quickly the game becomes really grindy-boring:
  • If you don't stealth, you die.
  • If you don't one-shot things, you will also probably die, unless you can get back your [Hidden] status through stealth. You will basically be sniping just about everything.
  • If your build doesn't emphasize stealth, it's no good.
  • You are missing out on un-stealthy things like Power Armor and certain encounters where you are meant to just rush in and be the hero. Also, your Companions are idiots and Stealth is hard with them. But at least they are unkillable and can take hits for you, especially if they were the ones that drew aggro on a Missile Launcher using Super Mutant.
  • Some encounters are designed to defeat stealth, such as mole-rats bursting out based on proximity, and Radscorpions immediately (literally, immediately no matter the distance) tunneling to your location when you snipe them and your hidden status becomes [Caution].
  • You will start avoiding encounters because the cost-benefit is too low. Coming out of a fight with four mongrels with crippled limbs and having to use stimpacks -- all for maybe 4 pieces of mongrel meat? Avoiding fights further reduces your XP gain and your rate of levelling.
You could just grind around low-level areas until your level goes up, but grinding is an MMO mechanic designed to keep everyone playing and feed the pockets of the devs through subscriptions. It has no place in a Single Player game.

If you really want to do Very Hard AND keep the game moving reasonably, you can do two things:
  • Have a decent build. Start with at least Agility 7 and Strength 2 (or Strength 1 and use the SPECIAL book to get it to 2) and get the Ninja and Big Leagues perks as soon as possible to help you one-shot as many things as possible.
    • They will serve you better than going for Blacksmith or Gun Nut because of the level limitations on the higher ranks coupled with stronger weapons needing higher ranks for the same modifications (such as the all-important Suppressor for a rifle).
    • As you level, you will find gear with mods and you can just cannibalize them onto your weapons without making your own with the perks. The perks make it more convenient, but the level requirement is too close to their random appearance on enemies and in stores.
  • If you like VATS a lot, start with Luck 10. Otherwise, Strength 2 (for Big Leagues), Perception 4 (so you can start opening Advanced Locks), Agility 10 (and focus on Agility gear) to survive with Stealth, maybe a bit into Luck for low-priority damage perks there, and the rest into Intelligence (at least 4 to work on Advanced Terminals, increase it toward getting Robotics).
  • Get an XP mod for more kill XP. This helps you keep up with the enemy difficulty and keep the game moving.
    • BUT, if you're going to do that to avoid grind, you might as well just play Normal Difficulty and customize your rate of Legendary Enemies showing up.
    • Also, with Ninja and damage perks, you can often kill enemies without substantially more work than Normal Difficulty. That said, if you lose stealth and have to slug it out, you'll probably die.

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