INTRODUCTION - Exploring The Commonwealth
The Commonwealth is a vast and deadly place that can be daunting to those entering it for the first time. Luckily, here's a few tips that should allow you to boost your chances of survival and make the most of your wanderings.
- Become a gun nut/ armourer - One of the most useful perks (especially early on) is gun nut. Even two levels of this perk will allow you to double the damage, range, capacity, reload speed, firing rate and accuracy of your weapons via crafting. This makes each shot more effective, saving you ammo which is essential on higher difficulties early on. All of the equipment upgrade perks which unlock crafting levels improve your equipment quite a bit, so taking the time to craft more advanced weapons and armour can easily make the difference between life and death in the Commonwealth. You also gain small amounts of experience when upgrading weapons and armour, which does add up. Another added bonus is that most companions like you crafting equipment (Codsworth, Preston, Danse and a few others), so you'll be helping your ally relationships as well.
- Bring a friend along - Companions are often essential to have in a firefight and can be used as storage containers, cover, damage sources and even just someone to talk to as you traipse around the Commonwealth. Each companion that offers to join you (there are 13 in total in the initial release of the game) offers a distinct play-style and has different benefits and weaknesses. Strong for example is a melee damage super mutant with high hit points. While not good for defending you directly, his melee attacks often disrupt the enemy lines allowing you to fire at the distracted enemies. Dogmeat pulls enemies to the ground, making them easy for you to finish off. While Danse on the other hand usually stands in place while he fires, acting as a meatshield and portable cover for you. There's plenty on offer here, so pick a companion that suits your style of play.
- Dress allies for success - One important thing that starting players usually don't know about is the fact that you can change the armour of your companions and even equip them with power armour. To equip normal armour to a companion, simply enter the trade screen by talking to them and place a piece of armour in their inventory. Highlight it and the equip prompt should appear at the bottom of the screen (on Xbox press Y, on PS press triangle). Keeping your allies decked out will save you a lot of stimpacks. Power armour on the other hand requires you to order them into it by entering command mode (where the arrows appear and you can select where your ally moves). Then aim at the power armour and confirm to have them enter it. Keep in mind you will have to keep the armour repaired like you would your own, but allies don't use up fusion core power and it also increases the amount of loot they can carry which is quite handy! Plus it's pretty funny having what looks like your own Brotherhood of Steel swarming Sanctuary.
- Permaperks - Maxing out relationships and romancing with your companions gives you two major benefits. Firstly if you sleep in an unowned bed with a companion you have romanced accompanying you (you don't have to order them into bed or anything, it just happens automatically), you will get the temporary perk: lover's embrace which increases your experience gains for the next 12 hours by 15%. This replaces the temporary perk: well rested you get for sleeping in a bed. The other major benefit is when you max out a companion that you permanently obtain a special perk from each one. Each one of these perks is quite useful, with some being extremely good for certain play-styles (for example Deacon giving the cloak and dagger perk that increases sneak attack damage by 20% which works well with sniper and stealth builds).
- Rads are bad - Most animals, water sources, food and even just the environment in Fallout 4 do radiation damage to the player. In previous games you suffered extreme stat penalties and even instant death from soaking up too much radiation, but Fallout 4 deals with it in a different way. Taking in radiation now reduces your maximum hit points at a rate of 1% for every 10 rads you absorb. And yes you can still die of radiation poisoning if you absorb 1000 rads. Obviously you want to avoid these effects so here are a few tips: Don't enter bodies of water unless you have the Aquaboy/ girl perk, take the time to complete the third story mission early so you can use the doctor in Diamond City Markets to remove all radiation for 40 caps, carry/ use radaway to remove excess radiation in a hurry, if possible use the 10 END perk solar powered (2) to passively remove radiation during the day, kill and cook mutant hounds to remove 50 radiation by eating mutant hound chops.
- Difficulty should affect your S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats distribution - While it is possible to go through any difficulty with any combination of stats, the game becomes much easier if you choose stats that increase your chances of survival (such as endurance). Choosing stats that allow you to access perks that make you tougher or let you improve your weaponry and armour will also increase the chances that you will emerge victorious in any encounter you run across. Players on higher difficulties should definitely consider putting at least 9 points into endurance or 10 if you don't want to find the endurance bobblehead. This increases your health point pool dramatically (especially when supported by good armour) and allows you to gain access to the perk "Solar Powered," which increases your strength and endurance by an additional 2 during daylight hours, and then slowly removes your radiation passively during the day when it reaches the second level of the perk. This saves you caps and keeps the radiation from chewing away your maximum HP total.