Long-awaited return imminent!
- K7

Thursday, November 18, 2010

K7's Guides - Building a Sniper in New Vegas - Part 1

Well, after looking through some of the stats on the site, I noticed a bit of a trend with the searches that navigate here. It seems that many of them are searches looking for guides or how-to descriptions on how to be a sniper in a few games. I can’t really say I am too surprised at this given the site’s name, my name, and how I play many games. So, I figure that I could share some tips on how to be effective at sniping in a variety of different games! In all honesty, I was planning on doing something like this for a while now, but kept having to push it back due to a review of a game, or an MLB playoff match. But, I digress; let’s get into the first edition of K7’s “How-To” guide for sniping!

Disclaimer: The guide I will be providing is but one way to effectively build up a Sniper. Given the nature of New Vegas, and the playstyles of different people, I’m sure there are additional ways at creating one of these. Also, note that this guide is using the stats and attributes of a potential Max Level character. How you get to this point is up to your own discretion, as this is merely the guide for a final product. I will also do my best in this guide to bring you an effective sniper build while also allowing as much freedom as possible.

Not that that is out of the way, let’s dig in to creating and maintaining an effective Sniper for Fallout: New Vegas! Click the “Read More” link to proceed!

To begin, let’s take a look at what makes a Sniper effective in the New Vegas playstyle. Snipers can be broken down into a few areas in which they are effective, as well as being selective in the equipment they use. As many know, Snipers tend to work specifically in long range, and are known for their accuracy. Their weapons can vary, but the common theme is that they can hit their targets at a long range. In Fallout, there are a few different weapon classes available, though the only real long-ranged weapons are the specially-named Sniper Rifles, along with the weapons with scope attachments. Also with the VATS system of the game, people have the option to auto-aim for certain body parts and hope that luck rolls their way. So, to break it down, this guide will go into a few specific categories defining specific areas to consider, as well as throw some weapon suggestions to best suit the character itself.

- You are S.P.E.C.I.A.L, just like everyone else. - Baseline Stats -
Let’s go into the baseline stats in New Vegas. The primary stat a Sniper needs to be able to see targets from a distance, so Perception could be considered the #1 stat for a prospective Sniper. A Sniper in New Vegas would also use a Sniper Rifle, which falls into the Guns weapon category (and respective skill), and the stat that helps that category the most is Agility. Being that the Sniper also tends to aim for a critical hit; the third stat that should be focused on is Luck. Charisma, Intelligence, Endurance, and Strength could also be useful, though they are supplementary if anything else. However, Sniper Rifles tend to have a Strength Requirement of 6, so that could be useful unless you take a special Perk for the character which will be covered later on.

So, let’s throw together a sample SPECIAL build using the details that we have thus far. You are given 40 points to split between the 7 stats.
Strength: 6
Perception: 8
Endurance: 3
Charisma: 2
Intelligence: 4
Agility: 7
Luck: 7
3 Flex points

This sample build takes all 40 points and covers the three primary stats, while allowing the player some freedom with the Flex points. A Perception of 8 allows the player to see enemies form a pretty far distance, and the 7 in Agility and Luck will allow for a nice starting advantage in not only stats in general, but perk requirements as well. Being that a Sniper usually starts a fight well out of range, they should be able to drop an enemy before they even reach a range to attack back with any real effect, so Endurance isn’t really needed. Intelligence is a nice stat to have, as it supplements the skills due to the number of points given with each level. Charisma is alsoa nice supplementary stat, though it is not truly needed unless the character will be talking to a lot of people and avoiding fights. There are plenty of items in the game that can increase these stats, so it is a nice starting set, for example, most of the Glasses that you may find will have a +1 Perception bonus, as do many Hats that are strewn about. So, it’s up to you as to where the Flex points go, though my recommendation would be Intelligence for the skill point boosts.

- A dropout can defeat a genius through hard work – Skills –

New Vegas brings about an immense Skill system which allows the player to customize their character quite a bit. Skills play a major role in the game as not only does each Skill increase efficiency with a specific element of the game, but they also allow the player access to certain Perks, as well as unique communication options when conversing with other characters. Snipers are no exception to the Skill rules, and through appropriate distribution of Skill points, a character can give themselves quite an advantage through their chosen craft.

Initially, a player selects three Tag Skills, which increase each skill selected by 15 immediately. The player can choose a 4th one through a specific Perk that will be discussed later. There are also numerous ways to gain additional skill points throughout the game as well. Skill Points are normally obtained with leveling up, with the number obtained per level can vary depending upon a character’s INT stat, as well as the presence of any bonuses obtained via Perks. There are also numerous Skill Books in the world which permanently increase a specific stat by a set amount, as well as Skill Magazines which increase stats by a rather high amount, but for only a short period of time. So, being that the total number of Skill points obtained to 30 can vary by an extreme amount, I shall discuss only the important ones when constructing a Sniper, as well as provide recommendations as to the additional ones to boost. However, one of the best parts of being a Sniper is that it requires minimal primary stats, though it can be supplemented by many depending on playstyle and preference.

-- Primary Skills –
- Guns: Being that the player will be using Sniper Rifles the most, having a high Guns level is of the utmost importance. This stat increases both weapon accuracy, as well as weapon damage. Therefore, boosting Guns up is a priority, and possibly the #1 Primary Skill.
- Repair: Being that Sniper Rifles are rather rare and expensive in New Vegas, being able to repair them yourself is a major plus for any Sniper.
- Sneak: You are a Sniper, and as such, avoiding detection is definitely a positive attribute to have. Having a high Stealth score allows you to avoid detection as long as possible which gives you enough time to pick the best shot available.

-- Supplementary Skills –
- Lockpick: Given that Snipers tend to have a high Perception, the Lockpick Skill is quite useful to have. It allows you access to good areas, and it allows you access to a plethora of additional ammunition and equipment. In fact, the Unique Sniper Rifle can only be found in a Very Hard (Skill: 100) crate, so building this Skill up is quite useful.
- Energy Weapons: Another Skill that benefits form a high Perception stat. The Energy Weapons Skill allows the use of some high tech items, and it is definitely beneficial to supplement a high Guns skill. Having both allows the player to have some backup weapons in case an enemy gets close.
- Melee Weapons: The Melee Weapons Skill is useful as it gives the player some fallback options to be used in close range combat. While not the Sniper’s primary realm of effectiveness, it allows for a more all-around character.
- Speech & Barter: Another supplementary pair of Skills that just help the player navigate through the world a tad easier. Both can help the player get out of sticky conversation situations, and Barter is quite nice when it comes to purchasing weapons and ammunition, as well as when it comes to hiring people to repair weapons.
- Science: When lockpicking fails, many rooms can be accessed through hacking a computer terminal. While not overly necessary, it can be useful in getting access to locked rooms and ammo caches.

Overall Recommendation: Definitely take Guns as a Tag Skill as it is probably the most important out of all of the other Skills available. After that, it really is up to the player as all of the other Skills can be useful in their own way. However, that being said, Repair is quite useful as it allows the player to keep their own weapons in working order, and Sneak allows the player to get past certain situations unscathed. In terms of supplementary skills, Lockpick is useful as it not only grants access to rooms and ammo crates, but it also allows the player access to one of the best weapons in the game for a Sniper.

Expect Part 2 sometime over the weekend!

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