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The general rule with Fallout 4 is that if you can’t see an immediate benefit by scanning the levels of the perk - it’s not worth it.  A lot of these perks don’t really shine until later levels.  Some are good enough with a one perk investment to leave alone after the first whilst some shouldn’t even have one perk point wasted on them, ever.  So I’ve created a quick reference guide for you.  If you want some expanded knowledge on the other bits of the game, see my Fallout 4: No Frills, Quick and Dirty Guide.  While a lot of people were, well quite frankly, p***ed off with the changes to perks (among many other things) in Fallout 4 - I became quite fond of them quite quickly.  The perks will be listed by their attribute then by the perk name, next to the perk name will be the levels at which the upgrades to the perk become available, e.g. the second rank of Iron Fist is available at character level nine, the third rank at character level eighteen and so on.  There won’t be any images in the below - this is meant to be used primarily as a reference guide for your gameplay!

NOTE:  I got a lot of feedback when I posted this for review, people were shocked about two things.  So let me state them clearly here for those who have just picked up the game.

ONE:  You do NOT need to invest points into S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes to “Unlock” a perk tree.  Every single tree is available UP TO the number of the attribute you have in that perk.  For example, right at the start of the game, if you have 10 intelligence you can choose any intelligence perk STRAIGHT AWAY without another point to “unlock” the perk tree (not that you could since it caps out at 10).

TWO:  There are Bobbleheads for EVERY SINGLE attribute in the game and there’s a SPECIAL book (raise any one attribute) right at the very start of the game (you can reach it within two minutes flat).  So never, ever put a perk at 10 from the start - yes even if it means you have to miss out on that sweet perk ’til you find the Bobblehead.

Strength

Iron Fist (1, 9, 18, 31, 46)

  • Punching attacks do 20% more damage to your opponent
  • Punching attacks now do 40% more damage and can disarm
  • Punching attacks now do 60% more damage - Unarmed Power attacks have a chance to cripple one of your opponents limbs
  • Punching attacks now do 80% more damage.  Unarmed Power Attacks have an increased chance to cripple one of your opponents limbs.
  • Punching attacks now do double damage.  Criticals in V.A.T.S. will paralyse your opponent

Is it worth it?  If you’re going an unarmed build (note; not a melee build) then yes, you’ll want to focus on Power Fists and other things that add on to your normal unarmed damage rather than your melee damage.  Other than a pure unarmed build this perk is useless - well except that Monk palm paralysing attack right at the end there - but a five point investment for that?  No, thank you.

Big Leagues (1, 7, 15, 27, 42)

  • Do 20% more melee weapon damage
  • You now do 40% more melee weapon damage and gain a chance to disarm your opponent
  • You now do 60% more melee weapon damage and gain an increased chance to disarm your opponent
  • You now do 80% more melee weapon damage and hit all targets in front of you
  • You now do double damage with a melee weapon and gain a chance to cripple your opponent or grand slam their head clean off

Is it worth it?  Unless you’re going a pure melee build (note, not unarmed) then it’s a waste - the first decent ability in this perk comes at your fourth pip investment and that’s just a little too high to warrant the previous ones.

Armorer (1, 13, 25, 39)

  • Access to Rank One armour mods
  • Access to Rank Two armour mods
  • Access to Rank Three armour mods
  • Access to Rank Four armour mods

Is it worth it?  It’s a level 3 perk meaning a one point investment and a bobble head or a SPECIAL book and a bobble head.  However, it is an extremely useful skill tree even when you’re focusing on other abilities.  For example - you will one hundred percent want to take this tree if you are a Power Armour wearing junkie.  This will dramatically increase the protection and abilities of your Power Armour mods.  If you never intend to wear power armour - you MAY still find it useful. I’m looking at you ballistic weave.

Black Smith (1, 16, 29)

  • Access to Rank One Melee mods
  • Access to Rank Two Melee mods
  • Access to Rank Three Melee mods

Is it worth it?  You would only take this if you’d already invested points into Big Leagues - they’re essentially one and the same in terms of necessity.  A nice little bonus to this tree, however, is that the final point comes at 29 rather than after 40. Bonus.

Heavy Gunner (1, 11, 21, 35, 47)

  • Heavy Guns do 20% more damage
  • Heavy Guns now do 40% more damage and have improved hip fire accuracy
  • Heavy Guns now do 60% more damage, and hip fire accuracy is increased even more
  • Heavy Guns now do 80% more damage and have a chance to stagger
  • Heavy Guns now do double damage

Is it worth it?  Alright, this one’s a bit of a fickle one for me.  I say; Don’t ever touch any big gun other than the missile launcher.  Why?  Between heavy ammo usage, heavy carry weight and ridiculous inaccuracy they’re just not worth the trouble.  However, if you’re going for a test build or you just really, really want to be a minigun wielding maniac - take this feat as the fifth point will do you wonders.

Strong Back (1, 10, 20, 30, 40)

  • +25 to carry weight
  • +50 to carry weight
  • When over encumbered you can fast travel
  • When over encumbered running costs 50% less action points

Is it worth it?  Yes and no.  Fast travelling is done so easily there’s just no need - you could finish the game on Strength 1 and never know any different.  However, this changes quickly when you enter survival mode.  Everything weighs more - even ammo.  So let’s say; normal leave it, Survival take it.

Steady Aim (1, 28)

  • Hip Fire Accuracy improved when firing any gun
  • Hip-Fire Accuracy is improved even more

Is it worth it?  Why are you not iron sight aiming or scope aiming?  Do you not like it?  Are you not friends?  There are so many better points to invest your pips into.  Give this one a wide berth.

Basher (1, 5, 14, 26)

  • Get up close and personal!  Gun bashing does 25% more damage
  • Gun bashing now does 50% more damage and possibly cripples your opponent
  • Gun bashing now does 75% more damage and has an increased chance to cripple
  • Gun bashing now does double damage and has an increased chance to cripple your opponent, it may also inflict a Critical Hit

Is it worth it?  Gun bashing, an absolutely redundant option, let alone skill.  Ignore completely.

Rooted (1, 22, 43)

  • While standing still you gain 25 damage resistance and your melee and unarmed attacks deal 25% more damage
  • While standing still you now gain 50 damage resistance and your melee and unarmed attacks deal 50% more damage
  • While standing still you automatically disarm enemies that use melee weapons against you

Is it worth it?  Unless you’re trying to impress that raider with the pretty blonde hair and the huge badunkadunk - let this one go - why are you standing still while in Fallout 4?  Move, son, move!

Pain Train (1, 24, 50)

  • While wearing power armour, sprinting into enemies hurts and staggers them (robots and oversized enemies are immune)
  • Sprinting into enemies while wearing power armour now causes severe damage and a more powerful stagger (robot and oversized immunities still apply)
  • Sprinting into enemies while wearing power armour now causes massive damage and a more powerful stagger (robot and oversized immunities still apply)

Is it worth it?  If you ignored Armorer, ignore this, if you didn’t ignore it, take this as it probably means you’re a Power Armour wearing bad ass.  Once you mod up your Power Armour this skill becomes even more useful as Stamina Drain and lack of speed become even less of an issue.

Perception

Pickpocket (1, 6, 17, 30)

  • Picking pockets is 25% easier
  • Picking pockets is now 50% easier and you can place a live grenade in the person’s inventory
  • Picking pockets is now 75% easier and you can steal equipped weapons
  • Picking pockets is now twice as easy and you can steal equipped items

Is it worth it?  Leave it UNLESS you want to be “that guy” yes, that guy.  The YouTuber who still thinks it’s hilarious to drop grenades in people’s pockets.  This skill has its uses, if you’ve got four free points and you’re already at Level 30 - go nuts - because the ability to steal weapons and armour that your foe is wearing - is hilarious.  However, there’s just so many better things to spend on in the Perception tree.

Rifleman (1, 9, 18, 31, 46)

  • Attacks with non-automatic rifles do 20% more damage
  • Attacks with non-automatic rifles now do 40% more damage and ignore 15% of target armour
  • Attacks with non-automatic rifles now do 60% more damage and ignore 20% of target armour
  • Attacks with non-automatic rifles now do 80% more damage, ignore 25% of target armour and have a chance to cripple a limb

Is it worth it?  Sniper?  Hell yes.  Combat Rifle/Combat Shotgun specialist?  Hell yes.  Ignoring target armour isn’t a small feat and the added damage and ability to cripple a limb from a distance are absolutely huge.  Note that it doesn’t matter whether you’re in or out of V.A.T.S for the damage bonus.  If you’re a pure sneak build - perhaps bypass this til later (for reasons discussed in the Gunslinger perk).

Awareness (1, 14)

  • You can view a target’s specific damage resistances in V.A.T.S.
  • 5% increase to hit chance and damage dealt to V.A.T.S. targets (Nuka World Only)

Is it worth it?  Nope.  You can learn damage resistances.  Waste of a perk.  Even the five percent to hit chance is redundant at higher levels (see 10 and beyond).

Locksmith (1, 7, 18, 41)

  • Advanced Locks
  • Expert Locks
  • Master Locks
  • Bobby pins don’t break while lockpicking

Is it worth it?  Always, without fail.  Never, ever, ever miss this.  Yes, that’s a double negative, yes that’s how important this is.  Look, if you hate the perception tree, fine.  Here’s what you do; Add one point (you’ll start at two) in Sanctuary head straight to the SPECIAL book (see the quick and dirty guide linked above for location) you’ll now be at three, then immediately head to Concord (or level up a bit first in Sanctuary - either/or) grab the Perception Bobblehead (See the quick and dirty guide) you’re now on four.  Done - in the first, what?  Half hour of the game?  Yes, the effort is worth it.  There are locks everywhere in Fallout 4.  On doors, on safes, on containers, on fences and you can bet your ass that picking these locks will result in goodies you just don’t want to pass up.  SOME times there’ll be a computer terminal you can access next to it - though few and far between.  Don’t underestimate how desperately important locksmithing is.

Demolition Expert (1, 10, 22, 34)

  • Explosives now do 25% more damage and you can craft explosives at any chemistry station
  • Explosives now do 50% more damage and you gain a throwing arc
  • Explosives do 75% more damage and affect a larger area
  • Explosives now do double damage and shooting mines and grenades in V.A.T.S. explode for double damage also

Is it worth it?  Is it fun?  Yes, is it useful - not so much.  Ask yourself if giving up something like scrounger is more important than blowing stuff up.  Thought not.  If you’ve got points to spare - go nuts - the throwing arc is especially useful.

Night Person (1, 25, 37)

  • +2 to Intelligence and Perception between the hours of 6.00 pm and 6.00 am
  • +1 more to Intelligence and Perception between 6.00 and 6.00
  • 30 extra health between 6.00 and 6.00 (Far Harbor only)

Is it worth it?  There’s a particular build where you can utilise this perk extensively.  That being a mid-range to high-range intelligence high charisma character (The Iron Man Build) - note that in the build the perk isn’t present (I determined that the XP gain was enough - however if I swapped out say, Hacker for Night Person, I could potentially heavily increase my XP gain at night time.

Refractor (1, 11, 21, 35, 42)

  • +10 Energy Resistance
  • +20
  • +30
  • +40
  • +50

Is it worth it?  It sounds nice, but there’s clothing and armour that lets you do this and Power Armour that can be modded to do the same thing if that’s your shtick.  Also, energy isn’t heavily utilised until you start pursuing the main quest lines through to fruition (when you meet the Institute Synths for example).

Sniper (1, 13, 26)

  • Improved control - can hold your breath for longer when aiming with scopes
  • Non-Automatic scoped rifles have a 15% chance of knocking down your target
  • Non-Automatic scoped rifles gain +25% accuracy to headshots in V.A.T.S.

Is it worth it?  Obviously, this one’s build dependent to the sniper - however, a combat rifle wielding individual can benefit from it just as much.  It’s an extremely useful perk in either case.  The knockdown chance and the +25% in V.A.T.S. is incredibly useful.  Even more so if you’ve got the penetrator and concentrated fire perk.

Penetrator (1, 28)

  • V.A.T.S. can target enemy’s body parts that are blocked by cover with a decrease in accuracy
  • When you target body parts in V.A.T.S. that are blocked by cover, there is now no decrease in accuracy

Is it worth it?  The quick and dirty guide says build dependent and that’s mostly true.  However, you can make this perk work with any ballistic or energy weapon and it will still be effective.  Often enemies take cover ’til they take damage or pop up - forcing them to pop up may just be the headshot option you need.  You can almost nullify the penalty on Penetrator by combining with the Sniper and Concentrated Fire perk and aiming for the head.

Concentrated Fire (1, 26, 50)

  • V.A.T.S. attacks gain +10% accuracy when targeting the same body part
  • Increased to 15%
  • Increased to 20%

Is it worth it?  Yes, distance or behind cover - getting the 10% bump per targeted pip is pretty damn big - turning a 50% hit chance into a 90% hit chance with four shots.  Nice.  However, there are better perks you can take as a V.A.T.S.-based sniper/warrior.  So only take this if you need it - and note that the final bonus doesn’t kick in until level FIFTY.  That’s a huge wait.

Endurance

Toughness (1, 9, 18, 31, 46)

  • Gain +10 Damage Resistance
  • Increased to +20
  • Increased to +30
  • Increased to +40
  • Increased to +50

Is it worth it?  It’s a level one perk.  Level one.  A perk you can take at level one to gain 10 DR.  What.  Take it.  In your first run through of experience hoarding in Sanctuary - pop a point into this.  Get the rest while you’re waiting for your other skills to reach their next cap.

Lead Belly (1, 6, 17)

  • Take less radiation from eating and drinking
  • Take even less radiation from eating and drinking
  • Take no radiation from eating and drinking

Is it worth it?  Not even in the slightest.  Apart from the fact that RadAway and Rad-X are everywhere, the amount you take in is so negligible it’s not even funny.  A three perk investment to take no damage?  Hell no.  Maybe, MAYBE, if this were a one perk investment you might consider it.

Life Giver (1, 8, 20)

  • You instantly gain +20 maximum health
  • You instantly gain another +20 maximum health
  • You instantly gain another +20 maximum health and slowly regenerate lost health

Is it worth it?  Normal game?  Leave it - sure the +60 health is valuable - but you can survive without it.  Survival?  You’ll need all you can get so sink some points into this alongside a whole 10 Endurance as well.  Sixty points and the non-need to use Stimpaks if you can find a safe place is nothing to sneer at.

Chem Resistant (1, 22)

  • You’re 50% less likely to get addicted when consuming chems
  • You are completely immune to chem addiction

Is it worth it?  Combine with Chemist and use an intelligence/chemist type build?  Definitely.  Chem’s are ridiculously handy in almost all circumstances - especially the modded up ones you can make at Chem Stations.  Do not underestimate their value in both Normal and Survival modes.  They can turn a difficult battle into a cake walk.  You decide - but if you get this you’ll obviously need to take Chemist.

Aquaboy/Aqua Girl (1, 21)

  • You no longer take radiation damage from swimming and you can breathe underwater
  • You become totally undetectable while submerged

Is it worth it?  As I said in the Quick and Dirty guide this requires some backstory.  This perk gets so much hate and is universally slated as useless by the Fallout 4 community.  However, I love it as a perk.  There are some sneaky caches in the oceans (not many but a few) and the ability to breathe underwater is great for escaping.  However, level 21 is where this perk shines - especially in a Sneak build.  Pop into the water, disappear, pop out again.  There’s enough water in Fallout 4 to make this perk valuable - despite the hate it gets.  What I would love to have seen is an increase in speed while swimming (Why is that still not a thing?).

Rad Resistant (1, 13, 26)

  • +10 Radiation Resistance
  • +10 increase to Radiation Resistance
  • +10 increase to Radiation Resistance
  • +10 increase to Radiation Resistance (Far Harbor only)

Is it worth it?  Don’t you dare.  Nope.  No.  Rad Resistance, not even once.  You can find clothing within an hour of starting the game that provides more benefits for you than this perk.  That and RadAway RadX being in absolutely abundant quantities.

Adamantium Skeleton (1, 13, 26)

  • Reduce limb damage by 30%
  • Increased to 60%
  • Limb damage completely eliminated

Is it worth it?  Normal, leave it, Survival, take it.  Certainly handy not to have to spend a Stimpak just to fix that vision blur from a crippled head.  However, there are better perks out there for sure.  Give this one a miss.

Cannibal (1, 19, 38)

  • Eating human corpses restores health
  • Eating Ghoul or Super Mutant corpses also restores health
  • Eating human, Ghoul or Super Mutant corpses now restores a significant amount of health

Is it worth it?  Nope.  Stimpaks that restore 100% health with one use?  Now that’s worth it.  This is, well, just a bit weird.  Also eww at Ghoul flesh.

Ghoulish (1, 24, 48, 50)

  • Radiation now regenerates your lost health
  • Radiation now regenerates even more of your lost health
  • Radiation now regenerates even more of your lost health and some Feral Ghouls will be friendly
  • Rad Damage will now begin to slowly heal, restoring health in the process (Nuka World only)

Is it worth it?  Nope.  Better perks to take, better times to take them.  Additionally exactly how you restore health is dependent on how much radiation you’ve taken - making the perk slightly redundant based on the situation at hand.  The heal is also far too slow to make being radiated worth it.

Solar Powered (1, 27, 50)

  • Between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm you gain +2 strength and endurance
  • Sunlight slowly heals your radiation damage
  • Sunlight slowly regenerates your health

Is it worth it?  In a melee build you may- want to invest one point into the perk, however beyond that you wouldn’t touch it.  There are other perks that do the same thing better and faster.  Also the need to be out in daylight hours only for combat bonuses doesn’t mesh as well as handing in quests at night time only.

Charisma

Cap Collector (1, 20, 41)

  • Buying and Selling prices at vendors are better
  • Buying and Selling prices at vendors are now much better
  • You can invest a total of 500 caps to raise a store’s buying power

Is it worth it?  Millionaire-build dependent - that is a character who is non-violent - working on building up the most amount of caps just to say they did so.  However, the first pip in this perk is actually pretty damn valuable to any character build.  So don’t be afraid to sink one while waiting for other skills.

Lady Killer/Black Widow (1, 7, 22)

  • Men/Women now suffer 5% damage in combat, they’re easier to persuade in dialogue
  • Men/Women now suffer 10% damage in combat, even easier to persuade in dialogue and they’re easier to pacify with the intimidation perk
  • Men/Women now suffer 15% damage in combat, much easier to persuade in dialogue and are now even easier to pacify with the intimidation perk

Is it worth it?  Leave it.  The damage increase can be obtained via other methods and the intimidation perk isn’t worth it in comparison to say Wasteland Whisperer.  It’ll get you some places sometimes but there are better ways.

Lone Wanderer (1, 17, 40, 50)

  • When adventuring without a companion, you take 15% less damage and carry weight increases by 50
  • When adventuring without a companion you now take 30% less damage and carry weight increases to 100
  • When adventuring with a companion you do 25% more damage
  • When adventuring without a companion you have 25 more action points (Far Harbor Only)

Is it worth it?  Stupidly worthwhile, on one condition.  That you only travel with Dogmeat.  See, Dogmeat doesn’t count as a “Companion” for the purposes of this perk - meaning you still get a gear carrying attack buddy - but you still qualify for this perk.  Also, can we just say how much we love not being judged every two seconds by Dogmeat?  The loveable mutt loves you for you - nothing else.  Every pip point in Lone Wanderer is valuable - though the last two come a little late and the last/fourth is only Far Harbor.

Attack Dog (1, 9, 25, 31)

  • Dogmeat can hold an enemy, increasing your chance to hit in V.A.T.S.
  • Now when Dogmeat holds an enemy there’s a chance he’ll cripple the limb he’s biting
  • Now Dogmeat may cause them to bleed
  • When adventuring with your dog, you take 10% less damage (Nuka World only)

Is it worth it?  Useless if you’re not taking the above and deciding to travel with another companion - otherwise quite handy.  If you’re not a V.A.T.S. fighter, though - you might find this perk a bit redundant until the bleeding/taking less damage pips.

Animal Friend (1, 12, 28)

  • Aim your gun at any animal below your level and gain a chance to pacify
  • You can now incite your friend to attack
  • You can now give specific commands

Is it worth it?  Nope.  Animals are useless in Fallout 4 - walk away.

Local Leader (1, 14)

  • You can establish supply lines between workshop settlements
  • You can build stores and workstations at workshop settlements

Is it worth it?  Same as Cap Collector - the Millionaire will find this worthwhile.  However, please note if you do take it - taking the skill isn’t enough, you have to actually open the supply line as well (something a LOT of people miss).

Party Boy/Party Girl (1, 15, 37)

  • No chance to get addicted to alcohol
  • The effects of alcohol are doubled
  • Your luck is increased by 3 while you’re under the influence of alcohol

Is it worth it?  Strength/Luck build - yes.  Strength/Agility build …..sort of yes.  There’s a lot of solid bonuses to taking this perk - especially as a melee character and considering the bonuses alcohol gives you.  Even better when doubled.  Luck increase of 3 is certainly nothing to sneer at - and remember, alcohol is everywhere in the Wasteland.

Inspirational (1, 19, 43)

  • Your companion does more damage and cannot hurt you
  • Your companion resists more damage in combat and can’t be harmed by your attacks
  • Your companion can carry more items

Is it worth it?  Leave it, even if you’re not taking Dogmeat you can clear the game without dipping into this perk as a charismatic character.

Wasteland Whisperer (1, 21, 49)

  • Aim at any wasteland creature below your level and gain a chance to pacify it
  • When you pacify a creature you can incite it to attack
  • You can now give specific commands to a pacified creature

Is it worth it?  Yep.  Yep again.  Aside from the fact that the equivalent leveled creatures of the wasteland are almost always more powerful than their human or animal counterparts - there’s just nothing more bad ass than waltzing around with a Deathclaw to do your bidding.  Yes, a Deathclaw.  Get onto this straight away if you’ve taken your Charisma tree all the way through.

Intimidation (1, 23, 50)

  • Aim at any human opponent below your level and gain a chance to pacify it
  • When you pacify someone you can incite them to attack
  • You can now give specific commands to a pacified person

Is it worth it?  Nope, Wasteland Whisperer has so many more benefits to it than this one as almost all Wasteland creatures have some form of special ability or unique attacking method to make life hell for the human populace.

Intelligence

VANS (1, 36)

  • The path to your closest quest target is displayed in V.A.T.S.
  • Gain +2 to perception (Only in Nuka World)

Is it worth it?  Probably the most redundant perk to ever be designed by any maker of Fallout ever.  Really?  The path to the quest target?  We have maps and radars for a reason.  Why would you need the exact path?  This and the pathing system has been known to have frequent bugs and errors, leading players to walls and inaccessible areas.  The +2 to perception is just odd.

Medic (1, 18, 30, 49)

  • Stimpaks restore 40% of lost health and RadAway removes 40% of radiation
  • Stimpaks restore 60% of lost health, and RadAway removes 60% of radiation
  • Stimpaks restore 80% of lost health and RadAway removes 80% of radiation
  • Stimpaks and RadAway restore all health and radiation and work much faster

Is it worth it?  Worth it - it’s only number two on the Intelligence perk list so it’s worth an investment at any level even as an offsider - however, our advice is to focus on it since knocking 100% back onto your health at any given time gives you a ridiculous advantage.  That’s the fourth pip point though and it’s level fifty essentially, so take note.

Gun Nut (1, 18, 30, 49)

  • You gain access to base level and Rank 1 gun mods
  • You gain access to Rank 2 gun mods
  • You gain access to Rank 3 gun mods
  • You gain access to Rank 4 gun mods

Is it worth it?  Take it.  Fallout 4 is a First Person Shooter (FPS), yeah it’s also a Role Playing Game (RPG) but really, it’s an FPS - the ability to make your guns better is an absolute must - even if you don’t also take the Science perk later - Gun Nut is a must have unless you’re a melee build.

Hacker (1, 9, 21, 33)

  • Hack Advanced Terminals
  • Hack Expert Terminals
  • Hack Master Terminals
  • When hacking, you never get locked out

Is it worth it?  Worth it but not as valuable as Locksmith.  If you need to make the choice, take Locksmith - if you don’t then take both.  Terminals come in extremely handy for both terrain control (turrets and robots) and also container access when a lock might be too high a level.

Scrapper (1, 23, 40)

  • Salvage uncommon components like screws, aluminium, and copper when scrapping weapons/armour
  • Salvage rare components like circuitry, nuclear material and fibre optics - Containers and items with favourited components are now highlighted
  • You get more from salvaging (Far Harbor only)

Is it worth it?  Worth it.  Screws and aluminium are hard to come by, but circuitry and fibre optics even more so.  The ability to get these just by scrapping weapons and armour?  Ridiculously useful.  If you’re already up in the Intelligence trees business - there’s no reason not to take this perk.

Science (1, 17, 28, 41)

  • Access base level and Rank 1 high-tech mods
  • Access Rank 2 high-tech mods
  • Access Rank 3 high-tech mods
  • Access Rank 4 high-tech mods

Is it worth it?  Depends.  If you’re going to focus on high tech guns - grab it.  If you’re going to be heavy on the Power Armour?  Grab it.  Otherwise, walk away.  Melee builds and Melee sneak builds have no use for this skill.  Others will find it extremely useful - especially those that want their Power Armour to do fun things (Jetpacks anyone?).

Chemist (1, 16, 32, 45)

  • Any chems you take last 50% longer
  • Any chems you take now last twice as long
  • Any chems you take now last 150% longer
  • Any chems you take now last an additional 200% longer

Is it worth it?  Chems are stupidly useful in a lot of situations, not just combat.  So we’re going to run with, take it - but keep in mind that addiction is a real thing that can occur and the trade off in the withdrawal isn’t fun.  Thus, you’ll need to also invest in the Chem Resistant perk from the Endurance tree.

Robotics Expert (1, 19, 44)

  • Hack a robot, power on or off, or initiate a self-destruct mode
  • When you successfully hack a robot you can now add an incite to attack option
  • When you successfully hack a robot you can give specific commands

Is it worth it?  Leave it.  Unless you’ve got the DownLoadable Content (DLC).  Robots in Vanilla are just too few and far between.  However, once you get the DLC, then go nuts as they’re everywhere.

Nuclear Physicist (1, 14, 26)

  • Radiation weapons do 50% more damage and Fusion Cores last 25% longer
  • Radiation weapons damage doubled and Fusion Cores last an extra 50% longer
  • Fusion Cores can be ejected from Power Armour like Nuka Grenades with no arc and Fusion Cores last twice as long

Is it worth it?  Useful in all situations.  You can find Power Armour within an hour of playing the game, it’s common, it’s upgradeable and repairable.  Fusion Cores aren’t half as rare as you think they are however doubling their usage is absolutely ridiculous - I think the most we’ve had at any one time is around the eighty something mark.  Without trying.

Nerd Rage (1, 31, 50)

  • When health drops below 20% time slows down and you gain +20 Damage Resist and do 20% more damage while the effect lasts
  • You now gain 30 more Damage Resistance and do 30% more damage
  • You now gain 40 more Damage Resistance and do 40% more damage - any kills you make while enraged will restore some lost health

Is it worth it?  Fun, Role Playing enjoyment.  However, pretty redundant since you have to almost die to trigger it and the risk of getting that low and taking just one too many shots is a risk we’d rather avoid.  The damage bonus is nice though so it’s certainly not the worst perk in the world.

Agility

Gunslinger (1, 7, 15, 27, 42)

  • Non-Automatic Pistols do 20% more damage
  • Non-Automatic Pistols now do 40% more damage with increased range
  • Non-Automatic Pistols now do 60% more damage and their attacks can disarm opponents
  • Non-Automatic Pistols now do double damage, attacks gain a better chance to disarm and they may even cripple a limb

Is it worth it?  Sneak builds, yes, specifically for the weapon that you’ll want to run and grab from the Railroad main quest line.  Which is a perfect “Sneak Build” affiliation anyway since it also leads to Ballistic Weave, one of the most amazing armour mods for sneak builds in any stage of the game.  Regardless of whether you follow the quest through to Ballistic Weave, make sure you at least follow it to get the modification part for the quest weapon.

Commando (1, 11, 21, 35, 49)

  • Automatic weapons do 20% more damage
  • Automatic weapons do 40% more damage with improved hip fire
  • Automatic weapons do 60% more damage with hip fire accuracy improved even more
  • Automatic weapons do 80% more damage and gain a chance to stagger
  • Automatic weapons do double damage and have a greater chance to stagger

Is it worth it?  Spray and Pray.  That’s the only reason you’d run down this path.  Spray and Pray (a weapon you find in the game quite easily) is your sole reason for taking this perk.  Automatic weapons, to me, feel inferior to their single shot counterparts.  Combat rifle trumps assault rifle any day of the week.

Sneak (1, 5, 12, 23, 38)

  • 20% harder to detect while sneaking
  • 30% harder to detect while sneaking and no longer trigger floor-based traps
  • 40% harder to detect while sneaking and no longer trigger enemy mines
  • 50% harder to detect while sneaking and running no longer adversely affects stealth
  • Engaging Stealth causes distant enemies to lose you

Is it worth it?  The quick and dirty guide says build dependent.  It’s almost not.  Almost.  Sneak in Fallout is so overpowered as to stop being humourous and running into ‘broken’ territory.  Shoot a Raider in the head, hide, he can’t find you and begins to trope his way into obliviousness and goes back to his day job.  Happens often with a high sneak rating - but even more so with Underwater boy/girl and the fifth pip point in this perk.

Mister Sandman (1, 17, 30)

  • You can instantly kill a sleeping person (must be adjacent), your silenced weapons do 15% sneak attack damage
  • Silenced weapons do an additional 30% sneak attack damage
  • Your silenced weapons now do an additional 50% sneak attack damage

Is it worth it?  Sneak build dependent as getting close enough to a sleeping character isn’t as easy as you’d think with no Sneak investment.  However, it’s a great skill as it gains you bonus XP and it improves your sneak attack silenced weapons damage.  Jump back to Gunslinger to understand why this is so amazing.

Action Boy/Girl (1, 18, 38)

  • Action Points regenerate 25% faster
  • AP now regenerates 50% faster
  • AP now regenerates 75% faster (Far Harbor only)

Is it worth it?  Critical V.A.T.S. warrior dependent - be it melee or ranged.  You don’t need AP for anything other than V.A.T.S. so if you spend all your time OUT of V.A.T.S. don’t waste your time here.  However, for a Critical based character this perk is invaluable.

Moving Target (1, 24, 44)

  • +25 Damage Resistance and +25 Energy Resistance when sprinting
  • +50 Damage Resistance and +50 Energy Resistance when sprinting
  • Sprinting Costs 50% fewer AP

Is it worth it?  So ridiculously useless as to be laughable.  While sprinting not while moving.  So you have to be holding down sprint, using AP/Stamina to get the bonus - but then it’s capstone pip is that it costs fewer AP, which you’d only use in V.A.T.S. while doing what?  That’s right, standing still.  Unbelievable that they even left this perk in.

Ninja (1, 16, 33)

  • Ranged Sneak attacks do 2.5x normal damage and your melee sneak attacks do 4x normal damage
  • Ranged Sneak attacks do 3x normal damage and your melee sneak attacks do 5x normal damage
  • Ranged sneak attacks do 3.5x normal damage and your melee sneak attacks do 10x normal damage

Is it worth it?  Combine with Mister Sandman, the weapon from Gunslinger and high AP?  You can clear a room before anyone even knows you’re there.  Extra bonus points for the chaps who choose to use this perk in conjunction with Blitz and make a teleporting ninja warrior.

Quick Hands (1, 28, 40)

  • Reload all guns faster
  • Reloading guns costs no AP in V.A.T.S.
  • +10 AP (Far Harbor only)

Is it worth it?  Not at all.  Reloading doesn’t take that long anyway and the decrease in time is so minimal as not to be noticeable.  The +10AP is nice, but requires DLC and level 40.  Too deep down the path to bother.

Blitz (1, 29)

  • V.A.T.S. melee distance is increased significantly
  • V.A.T.S. melee distance is increased even more and now the further the distance from your starting point to the enemy - the greater the damage

Is it worth it?  Hilarious.  Not especially useful in long range firefights for obvious reasons but absolutely hilarious taking down a whole plethora of enemies from in Sneak mode with a big ass sword and running between the enemies.  Style points galore.  Utility, not so much.  Fun.

Gun Fu (1, 26, 50)

  • Do 25% more damage to your second V.A.T.S. target and beyond
  • Do 50% more damage to your third target and beyond
  • Instant Critical Hits to fourth target and beyond

Is it worth it?  A lot of people seem oddly confused by the title.  Asking regularly if this also applies to melee.  No.  Of course, it doesn’t.  It’s Gun Fu, not Sword Fu or Kung Fu, you foo’.  But seriously, great perk.  At this level of agility you’ll have a high AP regardless, so getting to that fourth target with a quick-fire weapon won’t be a problem - Insta-Crits are absolutely amazingly overpowered if you chain your way through weaker foes and use the fourth and onward targets for the Criticals.  Insane DPS.

Luck

Fortune Finder (1, 5, 25, 40)

  • Find more bottle caps
  • Find even more bottle caps
  • Find even more bottle caps
  • Find even more bottle caps and chance enemies explode in a shower of caps when you kill them

Is it worth it?  Caps are always worth it - in this case, it’s lucky enough that this and it’s also useful perk companion Scrounger are at such a low level.  Fill in any “perk gap” you have while waiting for future perks with this and Scrounger.  The final pip is especially fun.

Scrounger (1, 7, 24, 37)

  • You find more ammunition in containers
  • You find even more ammunition in containers
  • You find even more ammunition in containers
  • There is a chance to gain ammo when firing the last round in your clip

Is it worth it?  Ammo isn’t “scarce” per se, however, you can and will run out if you’re not careful (or if you’re not a good shot) some ammo is rarer than others.  This perk helps to counteract that.  Definitely a worthwhile investment.

Bloody Mess (1, 9, 31, 47)

  • 5% bonus damage and enemies sometimes explode into gore and blood
  • You now inflict +10% damage in combat
  • You now inflict +15% damage in combat
  • When an enemy explodes, nearby enemies may suffer the same

Is it worth it?  At first look, maybe not (So let’s break our rule in the first line of this article) - but then add in Sandman, Ninja, Better Criticals, Gunslinger….. and the damage really, really, really starts stacking up.  Then the chance for an enemy to randomly explode and take out others in the group with him?  Winning.

Mysterious Stranger (1, 22, 41, 49)

  • MS appears in V.A.T.S. sometimes to lend a hand
  • Appears more often
  • Appears even more often and when he kills an opponent there’s a chance your Critical meter gets filled (Nuka World Only)

Is it worth it?  No.  Too rare.  Too few and far between.  If it happened every third V.A.T.S. instance - sure.  However, it’s just far too rare.

Idiot Savant (1, 11, 34)

  • Receive 3x Experience randomly from any action that would gain XP - the lower your intelligence, the greater the chance
  • Receive 5x Experience instead
  • Randomly receiving the bonus triggers 3x Experience for all kills for a short period of time

Is it worth it?  Probably the most overpowered perk in random situations.  Check the Iron Man build - then build the opposite of that.  If you have a low intelligence, the second pip in this perk and you turn in a main quest and this triggers?  You can get ridiculous, ridiculous amounts of experience.  This is the perk that completely invalidates the need for intelligence at all.  Make sure you have the lowest intelligence possible so you can trigger the bonus more often.  Use base construction as a way to trigger the bonus regularly and catch up on levels.

Better Criticals (1, 15, 40)

  • Criticals do 50% more damage
  • Criticals do twice as much damage
  • Criticals do 2.5x extra damage

Is it worth it?  Criticals hurt already.  They’re painful and always mess an enemy up.  To then double up that damage, and go another step?  It’s overpowered.  However, it’s even more overpowered with the perks that follow it.  Take this perk if you’ve invested in the luck tree.

Critical Banker (1, 17, 43, 50)

  • You can save a critical hit
  • You can bank 2 critical hits
  • You can bank 3 critical hits and banking a critical has a chance to save an additional
  • You can save 4 critical hits (Far Harbor only)

Is it worth it?  Having three saved criticals to take down a tough boss is beyond invaluable.  Especially with a head shot.  You will almost always take them down in one V.A.T.S. round - and if you’re a sniper with a powerful weapon and the sniper perk tree then you’re gonna go nuts with this perk in combination.  Ridiculous.

Grim Reapers Sprint (1, 19, 46)

  • Any kill in V.A.T.S. has a 15% chance to restore all AP
  • Any kill in V.A.T.S. now has a 25% chance to restore all AP
  • Any kill in V.A.T.S. now has a 35% chance to restore all your AP and refill your Critical meter

Is it worth it?  Any kill in V.A.T.S. is worth noting - you have to kill the enemy and the first two pips only get you up to a 25% chance - that’s not a lot.  However, it is all of your AP.  The final pip is made worthwhile by the addition of completely filling the Critical meter.  Useful.  This one’s up to you but we advise no.

Four Leaf Clover (1, 13, 32, 48)

  • Each hit in V.A.T.S. has a chance of filling your critical meter
  • Each hit in V.A.T.S. now has an even better chance of filling your meter
  • Each hit in V.A.T.S. now has a very good chance of filling your meter
  • Each hit in V.A.T.S. now has an excellent chance of filling your meter

Is it worth it?  Note; Any HIT in V.A.T.S has a chance of filling your Critical meter.  Unlike its predecessor, Grim Reapers Sprint, this one is certainly worth it.  Every single hit you connect with in V.A.T.S. has a chance of filling your critical meter.  Combine with Critical banker and you could fill all three stored Critical meters with just one single group of enemies and a low AP cost use weapon.  Worth it.

Ricochet (1, 29, 50)

  • Any enemy’s ranged attacks will sometimes ricochet back and kill them.  The closer you are to death, the higher the chance
  • There’s an increased chance that an enemy’s shot will ricochet back and kill them
  • When an enemy’s shot ricochets back and kills them, there is a chance your Critical meter gets filled

Is it worth it?  There are better perks - especially for a ten point investment into Luck.  That being said, both Luck and Intelligence are good stats, so invest a ten into one or the other depending on your build.  The final pip is at level 50 for this perk - which is far too far down the tree for a three pip perk - additionally, it’s only a “chance” that your Critical meter gets filled.  Not worth it.

And there we are.  Done and dusted.  The end.  Fin.  This took me months longer than it should have, months.  I’ve had this half completed for so long now and just didn’t have the time to get back to it.  But there we are.  Did you agree with the list?  Is there anything you’d suggest taking?  Anything we got wrong in your eyes?  Did we miss something?  Let us know below!