Fallout III: Viable Archetypes (As I Await Europe's Unlock of New Vegas...)

Yes, it's actually me. Usually I don't have time enough to do more than skim, but dude, there's this new Fallout that all of them Americans are talking about and in the meantime I'm looking at Fallout III and doing some thinking...

Back in Fallout II, it was really a viable option to be maxed out in Charisma and Intelligence, and to have a very different game.

Call me "gun shy" (pun intended) but I really only played two sort of archetypes for Fallout III: your basic rogue type, and your basic "Merc Who Bashes In The Front Door with his Big Gun"

So for the rogue, all of my points/special-ness, went into sneaking, lock picking, small guns, and science (with repair getting any extras). Later in the game I slowly transitioned to energy weapons. Sneak at 100% and that A31 Android gun did make things almost silly late game. Lots of piles of radioactive goo.

For the "tank who doesn't melee" character, it was all the guns (big, small, energy) and repair. Which I found overpowered, once I had repair > 50. And flat-out funny with repair >90.

Things I never tried and I'm really wondering about, if you did:

All Strength and Melee: Don't you die before you actually get close enough to Shishkab or Power Sledge their asses?

Super Social Guy: All that Charisma/Speech/Barter stuff maxed out. Is it fun? How does it change the game? Are there really enough situations for this? Can you talk your way out of getting whacked by Raiders or Super Mutants?

Super Brain Man: So the stimpack heals alot more damage, being the Med/Science Guy, and you have access to...5 more computers than I did as a rogue. What else can you do with maxed int?

What other sort of archetypes/maxed out extremes are there to play that "work" and that you found to be very fun?

I've got time before New Vegas unlock and some nostalgia playing through Fallout III, and I'm wondering what cool things I missed out on, sticking to the fairly straight-forward 2 guys I played all the way through. Ironically, the rogue was angelic and sneaking up on bad guys, while the merc was the one who town-wiped and collected all the nifty ears...

I found that you don't have to make many compromises in Fallout 3, character-wise. If you feel like min-maxing, you can pretty much have everything at once: armor, stealth, melee, guns, everything. It was one of my few real disappointments with the game: it cuts down on replay value when there really isn't more than one equally viable build.

hbi2k wrote:

I found that you don't have to make many compromises in Fallout 3, character-wise. If you feel like min-maxing, you can pretty much have everything at once: armor, stealth, melee, guns, everything. It was one of my few real disappointments with the game: it cuts down on replay value when there really isn't more than one equally viable build.

You can have everything but your not the best. Jack of all trades master of none type of deal.

Now the gap isnt as wide in FO3, but i loaded up on science/lockpick/guns one play through and science/lockpick/melee. Wasnt able to max out all 3 at the same time along with all the other stuff available.

I don't believe you can make it through New Vegas without either fighting a lot or running away a lot and leaving a lot of stuff undone. There are quests that require you to clean places out. There are people (and things) in those places that will attack you on sight and will not speak to you, period. There are places where the smooth-talking speechmaster will have a lot of success but those places are unfortunately surrounded by huge open areas of "not here."

ranalin wrote:
hbi2k wrote:

I found that you don't have to make many compromises in Fallout 3, character-wise. If you feel like min-maxing, you can pretty much have everything at once: armor, stealth, melee, guns, everything. It was one of my few real disappointments with the game: it cuts down on replay value when there really isn't more than one equally viable build.

You can have everything but your not the best. Jack of all trades master of none type of deal.

Now the gap isnt as wide in FO3, but i loaded up on science/lockpick/guns one play through and science/lockpick/melee. Wasnt able to max out all 3 at the same time along with all the other stuff available.

Yeah, this is one of the things I was curious about. How is it to be mostly melee in FO3? Honestly, I was just too chicken to try.

As for the other builds...
I assume for any build, you have to specialize in one weapon type. It's what you do with the rest that I'm wondering how effective it is have high stats/skills for non-combat (social/int) and be just okay at killing things. Is there something really fun about having Speech 100, Barter 100? The times I've played through, I only upped these through finding books and the double book points perk (whatever that's called). Really the same for Medicine.

Back in Fallout 2...which I played through more times than I should, not only could you survive with one good weapon skill and maxing out something really non-combat (int/cha) but you had a very, very different game experience. Fallout II almost encouraged you to find out what happens when some stat is 1-2 and one stat at 10, and another at 8/9. I still remember playing the guy who wasn't intelligent enough to actually make words....and the max INT guy who had many, many more options for getting through situations in cities/towns.

Barter is useless: all it does is get you cheaper prices at the store, and money's never so tight that you can't make up whatever you need with a little extra scavenging. Speech mostly just lets you skip past combat in certain places (not that great: combat is how you get experience and progress through the game after all) and occasionally lets you negotiate double caps for quest rewards (not that great: see Barter above). You're better off putting your points elsewhere.

Playing as a melee specialist is okay if you're looking for some variety. It can be effective if you mix it with stealth and some good armor in order to be able to close to melee range without dying. The thing is, you're likely to have to use guns a bit at first until you get the Pyromaniac perk + Shishkebab combo that lets you do good damage, and then in the late game when you've got skill points coming out the yin yang you're likely to start putting them into one of the ranged weapon skills just for lack of any better place to put them, so even if you specifically build your character to max out melee there's still only this relatively narrow midgame window where it's the best option. Also I personally don't find the game's melee combat system (which has you running wildly around fencing the air like a shirtless George Takei) as satisfying as the ranged combat, but that's just me.

Roo wrote:

Super Social Guy: All that Charisma/Speech/Barter stuff maxed out. Is it fun? How does it change the game? Are there really enough situations for this? Can you talk your way out of getting whacked by Raiders or Super Mutants?

Super Brain Man: So the stimpack heals alot more damage, being the Med/Science Guy, and you have access to...5 more computers than I did as a rogue. What else can you do with maxed int?

These were my favorites to play in the original games. If anyone can attest to their viability in FO3, I'll reinstall.

I went for intelligence on FO3. With all the extra skill-points, it meant I could max out skills in anything I wanted. The initial couple hours were a bit tougher, but past that I was using explosives, lasers and sniper rifles with full science/lock picking/repair skills as well. It kind of felt like cheating.

I've seen full stealth melee just exploit the hell out of the game. You can walk right up to an enemy, they can't see you, and always hit with a undetected strike for a critical. Throw in those death-thing gauntlets and you can pretty much walk up to anything and 1-shot it while his buddies stare blankly into space.