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Category Archives: New Vegas

The House Just LOST (strategy)

Never judge a book...

One of the coolest things about New Vegas is the variety of factions in which you can place your allegiances. You can become anything from a lawless Powder Ganger to an upright soldier of the NCR, all the while fleecing every other faction in-between. You can only play Yojimbo for so long, however, and eventually you WILL have to start making permanent enemies.

My main allegiance was quite simple: the NCR. They seem to be the only alternative for bringing stability to New Vegas that, though totalitarian, isn’t competely INSANE. But before I sided with them during the Main Quest, I worked everybody else for just about everything they were worth, starting with Mr. House.

If you didn’t already know, Robert House is the 250+ year old autocratic asshole responsible for keeping the New Vegas Strip in its current encapsulated utopia (gee… sort of like a snowglobe). He’s basically a twisted combo of Walt Disney and Howard Hughes. You’ll learn quite a bit about him when you first visit his penthouse at the Lucky 38, initiating the multi-faceted quest “The House Always Wins.” You may go ahead and choose to side with House, doing his bidding like a bitch. If that’s the case, you’ll be able to immediately reap all the benefits provided by the Lucky 38 Casino. However, if you’re like me, you’ll want to put an end to his nostalgic charade of post-apocalpytic denial. The good news is that if you destroy House, you can still get most of the benefits of the Lucky 38.

First and foremost, 12,000 caps await to be deposited in your bank account… err, backpack… whatever. There are seven snowglobes to be found around the Mojave Wasteland, and to Mr. House they’re worth 2,000 caps apiece. So why then just settle for 12,000 caps instead of 14,000? Well, unfortunately, one of the snowglobes resides in the Lucky 38’s exclusive Cocktail Lounge, accessible only when you decide to buddy up with Mr. House and set his plans into motion. But that’s okay. We’re not greedy. Just make sure you exchange the other six with Jane, House’s Securitron sex companion (guess it would have to be virtual sex… you’ll see for yourself why I say that).

Secondly, after House is… taken out of the equation… you’ll STILL gain access to the best safehouse of the game, the Lucky 38 Presidential Suite! Neither the Prima Guide nor the Fallout Wiki seem to mention this little tidbit, but it’s true. The suite is yours, and you do not have to side with the wack job. Not only is it a pretty cool pad, but it’s the only upgradable safehouse in the game!

And after the geezer is gone, even the Securitrons will acknowledge you as the new boss (sort of)… because just when you thought you were finished with the Lucky 38, there’s a hell of a lot more. If you’ve already taken care of Benny, go back to his room on the 13th floor of the Topps Casino and talk to his former Securitron, Yes Man. This will start you on potentially a whole new course of action for taking New Vegas with a couple massive quest lines.

So what are you waiting for? Put the old bastard out of his misery and claim your domain in New Vegas!

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Posted by on February 18, 2011 in New Vegas, Strategy

 

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The Walking Supposed-to-Be-Dead (strategy)

Ripe for the picking.

After being dug up from a grave and deposited in a warm bed in the Mojave Wasteland, where does one begin? Well… start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. And that very good place would be Goodsprings. So don’t go running off into Hell’s creation until you’ve thoroughly explored this quaint little shithole.

Before you exit to Doc Mitchell’s porch, you should have already procured a good amount of useful items. Because if you took the time to notice, you would have seen that EVERYTHING in his place is up for grabs (no stealing, no bad karma). Some of the better items include a doctor’s bag, weapon repair kit, pair of reading glasses (if you took that awesome Four Eyes trait), laser pistol, broken 9mm machine gun, and a couple stimpaks and med-x. I think there was a medical magazine or skill book in there, too, but I can’t quite remember. Anyway, search the place thoroughly with your Pip-Boy light, and whatever you can’t use you can always sell.

Once outside, check every mailbox in town. I guarantee you’ll find some caps and at least a skill magazine or two.

Next stop, the Goodsprings General Store. Now is a good chance to sell all of that extra shit to Chet for some caps and store credit. He has a copy of Salesman Weekly. Buy it. NEVER pass on buying a skill magazine. Unlike skill books, skill magazines weigh nothing and they will surely be needed sometime down the road (and I suggest you at least take the Comprehension perk before using any of them). While here, you can also negotiate for the silenced .22 pistol. This will serve as a decent hold-out weapon (one that you can smuggle into a casino) should you decide to go after Benny early in the game. Oh… and go ahead and purchase a shovel as it will come in handy further along.

Now you should head next door to the Saloon. Your first quests can be initiated here. But before you start getting involved in all of that, talk to the barkeep, Trudy. She, too, has a couple skill magazines for sale. Buy them or trade for them (or steal them, if that’s your thing).

Head up to the Gas Station. About half of the items here are not owned and up for grabs, including another doctor’s bag, a skill magazine, and a safe that can be easily picked (all of the ammo on the shelves belongs to Ringo). You can use this place as your first base of operations since the safe offers you a place to stash your extra shit and an old lice-infested mattress will let you sleep.

Next I would either explore the Schoolhouse or take a little stroll to the cemetery at the top of the hill. You’ll encounter some mantises inside the Schoolhouse on your way to finding some minimal loot (can’t quite recall what’s there). At the graveyard, after taking out some rad scorpions and blowflies, there are a couple items of note. First, there’s your dug-up grave with some cigarette butts scattered about. Those butts belonged to Benny, the prick who shot you in the face. Wouldn’t you like to catch up to him? Pocket one of those butts as potential evidence later on. Now walk to the northern most headstone. Somewhere thereabouts should be a rare and elusive snowglobe. It’s worth a shitload of caps to a certain party. Take it. Did you purchase that shovel? Any freshly covered grave can be dug-up for random loot. And there’s no bad karma for graverobbing…

So there you have it. All this, and you haven’t even stepped foot outside the first town. Within just an hour or two of play, you can also complete ALL of the Goodsprings associated quests as a good way to ally yourself with the people and/or gain lots of experience right at the outset.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2011 in New Vegas, Strategy

 

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Nine-Inch Nails (strategy)

Eh... good luck with that.

Perhaps no other abominations in the game can be as difficult and as maddening as Deathclaws. Only a couple other creatures can boast having more hit points, and Deathclaws hang about in groups to make things even better. So if you’re not packing the firepower (and the XP to use it), your best bet is to avoid them altogether. But if you have to rock n’ roll, here a few pointers that I’ve learned the hard way:

1) Sneak-attack from above. Scoring criticals against these beasts is the best way to take them down without draining your ammo supplies, and the easiest way to do that is to catch them off-guard. Problem is, only the most powerful weapons in the game can actually kill a Deathclaw in one shot, so you better be ready for a counterattack. But if you engage them from an unreachable perch, you can turn an otherwise very dangerous situation into a shooting gallery. Depending on your perks, plasma rifles, sniper rifles, and any kind of explosive always work best against them.

2) Use your companions. I never travel anywhere now without ED-E and Lily, and sometimes I even call on an NCR trooper to better my odds in a battle. If ever you need companions in a Fallout skirmish, it will be against a pack of Deathclaws. ED-E provides my ranged cover fire (hardly ever missing with the upgraded laser), while Lily goes in as my tank, smashing shit with extreme prejudice using the Super-Sledge, Oh, Baby! (AND she also happens to add +10% damage to crits I score while sneaking). Unless you’re in Hardcore mode, your companions never die but merely get knocked-out during a fight. That could still spell your doom when things get harry, so you should still do your own fighting from a perch when it comes to Deathclaws (as it will only take a few moments for them to slash you to bits while your companions are incapacitated).

3) Blow them up! Characters with a high Explosives skill shouldn’t have too much trouble. Frag grenades and missiles will make easy clean-up. However, if your Explosives is low (which is usually the case with my characters), now would be the perfect time to use a skill magazine (or two). The Comprehension perk will allow you to add 20, and anything putting your skill above 50 will greatly increase your accuracy and effectiveness with everything that goes BOOM.

Another very deadly creature (new to New Vegas) is the Cazador. If these giant hornet-like pests swarm you, chances are you WILL die. I was going to save this tip for another post, but what the hell. Unless you’re packing a flamer, your best bet here is to AIM FOR THE ANTENNAE. This will cause the Cazador to frenzy and take on some of its fellow swarm. Times that by three or four, and your chances of taking these things out will have increased ten fold. And if all else fails, aim to cripple their wings and RUN. Otherwise, these vicious bastards will make a poison-seeping pin cushion out of you.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2011 in Fallout 3, New Vegas, Strategy

 

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Speak Easy (strategy)

We really need to stop meeting like this...

I’ve noticed while playing New Vegas that the Speech and Barter skills come much more into play than they did in Fallout 3. In fact, it seems as though one or the other (or both) grant potential dialogue choices in damn near every conversation, especially in regards to the Main Quest. With Barter, it just comes down to squeezing out more caps from a deal. A good Speech skill, however, can usually mean completing a quest in half the time it would take otherwise. One of the best examples of this would be when you first go to meet Benny at the Tops Casino. A Speech of 60 or higher can make this quest short and sweet, whereby you convince Benny to accompany you back to the Presidential Suite without his goons. Then you can take him out with minimum fuss and it’s done. Any other path you take with this meeting will either cause you a lot of trouble, or draw out the quest a hell of a lot longer. Thus, I highly recommend making Speech your fourth tag skill (either figuratively or literally), and pump at least five points of every level-up into Speech (or every other level, alternating between Speech and Lockpick).

Happy persuading!

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2011 in New Vegas, Strategy

 

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A Big Iron on His Hip (strategy)

The good, the bad and the ugly are now ONE.

We all know there are several character archetypes you can go with when starting your campaign. But for some reason, I’m always tempted back to the good ‘ol gunslinger. I guess it’s just too ingrained in my nostalgic American psyche. Oh well, fuck it. Here are some tips on how to creat a kick-ass cowboy (or girl) with the big iron on his (her) hip.
 
Agility and Perception – These have to be big out the starting gate. Agility should be set at a solid 7 or 8. Perception also needs to be high; however, tons of head gear items around the Mojave Wasteland will lend you Perception bonuses. Additionally, if you choose the Four Eyes trait (granting a +2 to perception while wearing any pair of glasses), your gunslinger should always be walking around with a +3 to Perception. So when choosing your stats at the outset, you can afford a Perception of 6 instead of 7 at creation. (Note: In order to have access to all the Perception perks, you will still have to train later in the game for +1 to your base Perception.)
 
Strength – And that extra point or two saved from Perception should go to Strength. For light armor and light weapons characters, this stat is often overlooked. But not only does it contribute greatly to how much weight you can carry, it also contributes to the effective use of certain weapons. For example, in order to get the most accuracy from the powerful pistol That Gun, you need a Strength of 6 or higher (and 7 or higher for the 12.7mm pistol).
 
Endurance – Since you’re not going to be wearing power armor, you’re going to need some additional hit points for those close encounters. Setting this stat at 5 or 6 should suffice, but definitely do not fall below 5.
 
Intelligence – Having those additional skill points and dialogue options are nice, but not essential to your gunslinger role. I’d keep this one at 5, bearing in mind that you can always make strategic use of those new skill magazines to satisfy any important science challenges.
 
Charisma – Five. You sure as hell aren’t going to be known for your eloquence.
 
Luck – Stay at 5. We make our own luck.
 
Here were my intial stats:
S – 6
P – 6
E – 5
C – 5
I  – 5
A – 8
L – 5
 
Skills are another matter entirely. As a small guns aficionado, it will be tempting to tag both Guns AND Energy Weapons for your primary combat skills. However, one of the best new perks available to gunslinger-type characters is Cowboy, which requires a 45 skill for Guns and MELEE WEAPONS. Yes, folks, the wiser decision is to have that Plan B if your enemy gets past your gun’s Plan A. So having a good melee weapon at your dispense is, well, indespensible. This is another reason to give yourself a little more base strength at the outset. As your third tag skill, you may automatically think Repair is the best way to go (and such was the case in Fallout 3). But New Vegas offers additional options for repairing and maintaining items, such as Weapon Repair Kits (both to find and to make) and the fact that you can now repair weapons and clothing on a cumulative rather than a threshold basis. So an extremely high Repair skill is not near as vital as previous. I’d recommend either Medical or Lockpick as your third tag skill. Neither of these have changed much, especially for the latter, and both are still crucial for serious adventuring.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2011 in New Vegas, Strategy

 

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