Fallout 4 Character Build Guide: Best Starting Perks And Stats For Basic Play Styles

8.5
  • Playstation 4
  • Windows
  • Xbox One
  • RPG
2015-11-10

Fallout 4 can be overwhelming even for the most seasoned franchise players. There are a lot of perks to choose from and the iDigitalTimes staff is here to make your life a lot easier. We've created four different builds for general play styles that you will enjoy: Beginners (Phil), Intelligence (Zulai), Charisma (Nathalie) and Stealth Sniper (Mo). The Fallout 4 guide below will give you a good base for these play styles as we've collectively put 150+ hours of play time researching these builds for you. 

Fallout 4
You receive 28 stat points in the beginning of Fallout 4. Photo: Bethesda

Beginners Build

So you’re starting your first Fallout journey and the perks/abilities are a bit overwhelming to you. That’s ok, we got your back.

STRENGTH - 3

PERCEPTION  - 7

ENDURANCE - 8

CHARISMA - 1

INTELLIGENCE - 1

AGILITY - 7

LUCK - 1

For a beginner, you’ll want to focus most of your skill points in the PERCEPTION, ENDURANCE and AGILITY tiers. This is so you can maximize your HP and resistance to the dangers of Fallout 4.

PERCEPTION will let your character make the most out of your ranged weapons by making you more accurate using the VATS system as well as deal more damage.

Put your points in REFRACTOR to gain energy resistance and in AWARENESS to see the enemy's’ weak points easier.

ENDURANCE needs your most attention. This will help you survive the longest while you get acclimated to the controls and to the world of Fallout 4. This also allows for you to be able to spring for longer distances for those times you need to evacuate.

Put your points in the TOUGHNESS perk to gain resistance to all damage, LEAD BELLY so you don’t take radiation damage to food and water, allowing for easier health recovery, LIFE GIVER to increase your maximum health, AQUABOY/GIRL so you can swim in water with no damage and become undetectable while submerged. RAD RESISTANT is very important so you can keep on trucking through the radiation damage.

While these perks are the ones you should focus on in the beginning, you’ll want to invest your points on all the ENDURANCE perks.

AGILITY should be focused on so you can easily sneak around the terrain and your ranged weapons do more damage and you can fire quicker with this tier.

SNEAK perk is the one you should max out as soon as possible. This allows you to move in and out undetected. ACTION BOY/GIRL is great to regenerate your action points so you can run even further.

Put some investment in STRENGTH so you can deal a bit more melee damage if you find yourself fighting an enemy at close range as well as the ability to carry more items. More items equals more chances to recover health. STRONG BACK for the extra weight and ROOTED to decrease damage while standing still.

Intelligence Build

This character build is based on the Intelligence attribute and the supporting characteristics you’ll need to get the most out of this style of gameplay. Fallout 4 only offers 28 S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stat points to start. I’d recommend you start this character gameplay with the following stat setup:

STRENGTH - 2

PERCEPTION - 5

ENDURANCE - 5

CHARISMA - 2

INTELLIGENCE - 8

AGILITY - 5

LUCK - 1

Basically, you’re a socially-awkward genius. The first few hours will be a bit rough with this build. You’ll die a lot as you’ll have limited ammo and you suck at combat. Be patient; the perks will get better. I recommend scavenging as many healing aids as possible before venturing out in the Wasteland. Take your time searching inside and directly outside of Vault 111; you’ll find a lot of goods there.

Once you get the feel of the Wasteland you’ll want to quickly level out the Intelligence perk to 10 so you can unlock all 10 levels. Here are the Intelligence perks you’ll need to make The Scientist work in this order:

1. Science

2. Nerd Rage

3. Hacker

4. Robotics Expert

5. Medic

Science will help you to craft better armor and weapons, Nerd Rage will give you super strength in an ambush when you’re running low on HP and Medic gives your Stimpacks a healing boost- they are basic needs for your survival. Hacker allows you to bypass security and unlock doors you might not be able to pick. Now, Robotics expert is where it’s at. You’ll eventually encounter Robots that you can use against your enemies. You can program them to self destruct and kill a bunch of enemies without entering a room using your hacking skills. These perks are the must haves; the rest you can pick and choose to your liking. Happy hacking!

Melee Build 

So you want to play a melee build in Fallout 4? Smart choice. This style of gameplay is very fun, but also very risky. To get you started making the best melee character available, here are the SPECIAL stats and perks you should focus your upgrade points on.

STRENGTH - 10

PERCEPTION - 3

ENDURANCE - 4

CHARISMA - 2

INTELLIGENCE - 2

AGILITY - 2

LUCK - 5

Obviously, for a strong melee character you should give yourself points in Strength. Depending on how gung-ho you are, it’s easy to drop 10 points right into strength. Go for it, you’ll be knocking Supermutants around like nothing. Adding a few points to endurance is also smart, along with some agility points to round out your athleticism.

From here, the first two perks in the Strength column are the ones you want to focus on. These are the Iron Fist and Big Leagues perks. If you know you want to use your fists, go with the first one. If you prefer knocking people around with baseball bats or tire irons, go with the second.

You’ll also want to give yourself points in Blacksmith and Armorer. These will let you build better melee weapons and armor. You’ll definitely want great armor, since this play style means you are throwing yourself in front of enemies to knock their skulls in.

Lastly, if you want to use the Power Armor, you’ll definitely need points in Intelligence. This will allow you to get the Science! perk, unlocking new Power Armor upgrades. If you did drop 10 points into Strength, the Pain Train perk is also pretty fun.

Charisma build 

STRENGTH - 3

PERCEPTION - 4

ENDURANCE - 3

CHARISMA - 8

INTELLIGENCE - 4

AGILITY - 3

LUCK - 2

With Fallout 4 being fully-voiced, there’s a lot of satisfaction to be found in exploring the Charisma tree, with many opportunities to relish your Vault Dweller’s witticisms. Here’s a run-down of the most useful perks in the Charisma tree.

Summary: I skipped all pacification perks, cutting out 3 of the 10 perks. In my play-through, I found combat bonus and settlement perks the most useful in addition to simply maxing out Charisma itself.

Note: I skipped the “Party Girl” because I did more of an Agility/Perception build, but if you’re doing a Strength build, you’ll want that perk.

Cap Collector: If you’re into settlements, you want this perk, which only requires CHR 1. You need Rank 2 (level 20) to access the option of building more advanced Stores. If you’re really into settlements, Rank 3 (level 41) will allow you to spend money to make money and diversify the inventory of your stores.

Black Widow/Lady Killer: A build with tons of charisma will need all the combat bonuses it can get. Only requiring CHR 2, rank 1 provides +5% damage in combat to the game’s other gender and makes them easier to persuade in dialogue. At rank 2 (level 7), the combat bonus is +10% and makes the Intimidation perk work better on the other gender. At rank 3 (level 22), the combat bonus increases to 15% and the Intimidation perk is even better. Max this ASAP.

Attack Dog: Requiring CHR 4, If you find yourself traveling with Dogmeat often (I can’t blame you; he never judges you), then you’ll want this perk to increase his effectiveness. Rank 1 enables him to hold enemies so your V.A.T.S chances increase; Rank 2, at level 9, gives Dogmeat the chance to cripple the limb he’s biting; and at Rank 3, at Level 25, Dogmeat also has the chance to inflict bleeding.

Local Leader: Requiring CHR 6, if you’re interested in settlements this is a requirement. It enables you to establish supply lines between your workshop settlements. At Level 14, it enables you to build stores and workstations. You should at least get the first rank.

Inspirational: Requiring CHR 8, this perk increases your companion’s damage. Rank 1 makes you immune to them as well as increasing their damage; at level 19/Rank 2, they resist more damage and are immune to you; at level 43/rank 3, they can carry more items. I would max this ASAP.

Stealth Sniper Build 

VATS is the stand-out feature in Fallout 4’s combat system and you would be wise to exploit it. Not just wise, but thoroughly entertained. Unless the idea of slow-mo .50-caliber decapitations isn’t entertaining to you, in which case you should find another game. Because exploiting VATs for all its worth, combined with some key stealth perks, will turn you into a lethal shadow cast across the wasteland. First, your starting stats:

STRENGTH - 3

PERCEPTION - 8

ENDURANCE - 3

CHARISMA - 1

INTELIGENCE - 3

AGILITY - 7

LUCK - 3

High perception and high agility will give you greater accuracy in VATS, more shots to take too. Plus the agility will make you harder to detect while sneaking. Of course, the perks are what really help this build get going. Here’s what you want to invest in early.

Perception Perks:

Rifleman - Non-automatic rifles do 20% more damage, then increase by 20% with each level. There are a lot of non-automatic rifles in the game and many of them use high caliber bullets. Plus, rifles have excellent range which allows you to hide far away and use VATS to target headshots or, even better, manually aim those shots and get bonus damage while sneaking.

Sniper - The first level increases the length of time you can hold your breath while targeting, which reduces the jumpiness of your crosshairs while aiming. The second level adds a chance to knock enemies down, which may not seem too useful until you encounter aggressive melee attackers or super mutant suicide bombers, both of which charge at you and deal heavy damage up close. Being able to knock targets down buys you time to focus on other threats, or you can just pump them full of lead while they recover on the ground. The third level really pays off, adding a 25% accuracy bonus to headshot in VATS.

Awareness - A one-time perk, this analyzes each enemy in VATS and shows you their weaknesses. This is really important early in the game when ammo is scarce. Why dump tons of regular ammo into a foes who has pathetic energy resistance when a few well-timed laser shots will do? Avoid wasted ammo with trial-and-error combat and become a knowledgeable foe on the battlefield.

Agility Perks:

Ninja: The most important perk for stealth sniper builds, Ninja perk adds 2.5x damage to ranged sneak attacks at first, then does 3x and then 3.5x. If you incorporate melee this perk really pays off, adding 10x damage to sneak attacks at max level.

Mister Sandman: Instantly kill sleeping enemies, which will include a lot of feral ghouls that look like corpses on the floor. It also adds 15% more damage to silenced weapons during a sneak attack. Level two adds 30% more sneak damage and level three does 50% more. Add that to your ninja bonuses and you can see why this build becomes a late-game powerhouse.

Sneak: Obviously you need to sneak if you want to be stealthy. Get a 20% bonus to sneak on the first level, but the real benefits come at levels two and three, which grant immunity to floor-based mines and traps while sneaking. The first time a landmine ruins a perfect run through an enemy lair you’ll realize why you need this perk.

Luck Perks:

Bloody Mess - Not only does this result in awesome gore-tastic explosions it adds 10% more damage at level two and 15% more at level three.

Intelligence Perks:

Gun Nut - Get to level two on this perk as fast as you can because it’s what allows you to build silencers for your weapons, a key component of being a lethal ghost in Fallout 4.

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