This guide will help explain the very unique levelling system in Fallout 4. When you start out, you are vulnerable to pretty much everything that lives in the wasteland. One thing is for certain, you will die and you will die a lot. Everything from stingwings to super mutants pose an immediate threat to your existence, so it’s important to make the right choices when creating your character to ensure you have a fighting chance at survival.
First things first, you have to decide how your character will look. All of these choices are purely cosmetic so they won’t affect game play. Don’t worry about finalizing any of your looks or stats either, you’ll have the option to make any last minute changes before you finish the introduction.
Everyone is S.P.E.C.I.A.L.
Stats are divided into attribute categories called S.P.E.C.I.A.L. and each attribute has an associated perk tree. Depending on how many points you invest under each category determines what perks will be unlocked. To start, you are given 28 points to distribute across your base stats and each attribute has up to 10 perks in each column. Let’s take a look on how S.P.E.C.I.A.L. is broken down:
(S)trength: Measures your raw physical power. With higher strength, your melee attacks will be more effective and you will be able to carry more weight in your inventory. Also, your ability to craft specialized weapons and armour are determined.
(P)erception: Keep your wits about you by boosting your awareness in the wasteland. Perception improves your accuracy using V.A.T.S (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System), lock-picking skill and stealing attempts.
(E)ndurance: The overall fitness level of your character. Endurance controls your total health and how much sprinting reduces your Action Points. Allocate some points here and you can earn perks that give resistances to physical damage and radiation.
(C)harisma: Gives you that silver-tongued charm to talk your way out of a pinch. It allows you to barter lower prices with merchants and grants you a higher probability of successful persuasion attempts when in dialogue. With certain perks, you can also pacify lower level creatures to fight by your side.
(I)ntelligence: Intelligence is your character’s mental fortitude. It decides how much experience you earn but also increases your proficiency with technology. With a higher intelligence, you can hack everything from terminals to turrets and can even let you take control over robots.
(A)gility: Agility reflects your finesse in combat. Want more ability points to use while in V.A.T.S? How about faster reloading for your guns? Agility is your go-to attribute and on top of that it will make you more efficient in stealth.
(L)uck: In the unforgiving wastelands a little luck can go a long way. With points dropped into luck the recharge rate of your critical meter is increased, you have a better chance of finding rare loot, and can even have a mysterious hero appear to bail you out of tight spot.
Aside from your core attributes, you have up to 70 perks that will further develop your wastelander. Most perks can be ranked up to 5 levels which provide an additional boost to their effectiveness. Whether you want to play an eagle-eyed sniper, a heavy handed boxer or a smooth talking sociopath, your play style will ultimately determine what perks you invest in. Pick wisely because there’s no shortage of things trying to kill you and it might just save your hide. Now it can all be quite confusing at first so we’ve broken down the string for each of the perks for you to take a look at below:
STRENGTH – Strong like bull, smart like dump truck!
PERCEPTION – Nothing gets past me!
ENDURANCE – Run Forrest, run!
CHARISMA – Trust me baby, would I lie to you?
INTELLIGENCE – I am so smart, S-M-R-T!