Perks are pivotal to Fallout 3, as they shape how you play and give you diversity in play styles. While it is recommended that one test it out themselves, as to which perk fits them best, it can still be annoying to know which to pick over which. And how important some can be. Before I get into ranking some of the better perks, it’s optimal to realize that you should always invest in perks that benefit your playstyle. So, for example, if you’re going for a fist only run, you will benefit significantly from the “Iron Fist” perk, which is arguably useless otherwise.
Secondly, while it seems intimidating at first, as to pick which perk over the other, you will soon realize how unnecessary some perks are. So while it’s impossible to get every perk on a single character, you can get all the good ones.
Thirdly, resist the urge to get skill-related perks. Instead, start the game with nine intelligence and then whenever possible, grab the Intelligence bobblehead from Rivet City. This will give you 10 Intelligence, which will provide you with the most amount of skill points. With this, you can potentially max your character skills by the end of the game.
And lastly, this list is in no particular order. Just the most superior perks that should be considered optimal for any playthrough. With that said, let’s get into it.
11. Black Widow/Lady Killer
Let’s start with the most obvious ones. “Black Widow”/”Lady Killer,” are perks that allow you to deal 10% extra damage to the opposite sex, while also enabling some new dialogue options. Fallout 3 is first and foremost an RPG game and having this perk let allows you to receive unique dialogue options which make the game better for you.
Black Widow is for females, and Lady Killer is for males. Simultaneously, the “Child At Heart” perk is also considered optimal. Similarly to what the perk above does, the “Child at Heart” perk allows you to have unique dialogue with children. While it’s very limited in what it offers, you can get a nice laser rifle from this.
Next up you’ll want to invest in the “Educated” skill as soon as you can. Perks that give you more skills are baits meant for the player (not saying they are wrong if you want the easy way in) but generally are unadvisable. Instead, the “Educated” skill is recommended. It works wonders with the aforementioned Intelligence strategy and gives you 23 skill points per level.
Another skill that works well with this is “Comprehension,” as it allows you to get an additional skill point by reading a book. Some people consider these skills to be overrated, but that’s only if you’re going for a specific build. There are a lot of skills and dividing where you want to invest can be a bit of a hurdle, so it’s better to simply have more skill points to spread around.
9. Grim Reaper’s Sprint
Next up is a skill that is broken, in the sense of how overpowered it is. Unlocked at level 20, the “Grim Reaper’s Sprint” allows you to dice through enemies with minimal efforts as long as you remain in V.A.T.S. This perk will enable you to regain all A.P. if you kill an enemy using V.A.T.S., use this with a powerful weapon and mobs are no longer an issue.
Definitely, a recommendation if you don’t want to waste much time with random encounters or the fighting in general. Especially so if you’re playing on the Very Hard difficulty.
8. Fortune Finder
Next is the “Fortune Finder” perk. This perk allows you to find bottle caps in more numbers. Bottle Caps are the currency of the Wasteland, and it’s a necessity to have them in abundance. This perk gives you more of this money, making it necessary if you need to purchase a lot of items like stimpaks.
Another perk that works similar to this is the “Scrounger” perk, which gives you more ammo from containers. It’s debatable, which is superior to the other however at least one of these will be beneficial to your journey.
7. Mysterious Stranger
Then there is the “Mysterious Stranger” perk, one of my favorite perks in the game. The Mysterious Stranger is, well, mysterious, for lack of better word. During battles, it’s possible that (with this perk enabled) a random man in a trench coat will come and help you with the fight, finishing off enemies before disappearing as quickly as he appeared.
There really is no explanation for who he is or how he travels so fast, but this perk can help with fierce battles. Of course, it’s up to chance if he appears or not, but its better than nothing.
6. Strong Back
The next perk is almost always recommended to any players. Face it, the only reason you’d want to invest in Strength is for the more carry weight you receive. Otherwise, who fights with fists except for challenge seekers? This perk, titled “Strong Back,” gives you +50 Carry Weight, which is very necessary especially for early games. There are so many items in the game, and without this perk, you’d be stuck going back and forth between areas especially if you’re a hoarder (like me) as you try to sell/store some to make way for more space.
5. Bloody Mess
“Bloody Mess” is a debatable perk. For one, it’s for the gore seeking like yours truly, as it makes every battle more gruesome as blood bathes you for every kill. But it also gives you 5% damage increase on every weapon which can be pretty useful.
Definitely, a helpful perk if you want to hit more and have a far more entertaining experience exploring the Wasteland.
You’ll also want to invest in the “Finesse” skill as it allows you to deal 5% more critical damage. Critical damage is associated more with the Luck stat (which is quite underrated in any RPG), so chances are you won’t that much invested into it.
But a high Luck stat + this perk will allow you to one-shot most things as the chance of a critical hit will be astronomically high. Alongside the “Critical Hitter” perk which will enable you to deal 50% damage with each critical hit. So if you’re a Luck-oriented build, you’d want to invest in these perks.
3. Almost Perfect
Once you reach Level 30, the most recommended perk to gain then is the “Almost Perfect” perk. This is on the case that you have only one stat raised to 10 or none at all. This perk increases all your SPECIAL stats to 9, meaning you can get an easy 10 in all if you haven’t picked any SPECIAL bobblehead yet.
This perk can be pretty useful as max SPECIAL stats make you a stronger character, so a wise investment as your final perk. Especially because level 30 is the level cap and you can’t level anymore.
Another perk to look for is the “Commando” perk. Chances are you’ll be playing with a two-handed weapon (assault rifles for example), and this perk gives you 25% more accuracy with such weapons in V.A.T.S., combine this with the “Grim Reaper’s Sprint,” and you have a deadly weapon in the making.
1. Animal Friend
A perk that I wouldn’t recommend but is worthy of mentioning anyway is the “Animal Friend” perk. This perk allows you never to be targetted by animals again. It has two levels to it, meaning with each level you will be protected from that many monsters.
Not only that, but they also aid you in the battle against other animals. This perk also enables unique dialogue in the Oasis, so it’s an exciting perk to take, but your choice. Of course, there are some creatures exempt from this perk. Sadly, Deathclaws fit that category.
Well, that’s it for this list. Which perk do you often go for? Just remember that you should try to go for a proper build more than randomly taking perks. For example, the “Commando” perk alongside “Grim Reaper’s Sprint” and the Critical hit ones will allow you to be an absolute beast in battle. Combine this with “Bloody Mess,” and you’re a monster already.
Also just for fun’s sake, try using a Mini Nuke with the “Bloody Mess” perk on.