You realize that all of those places together around New Vegas (and not even counting the Strip) are more lively than all the big settlements from Fallout 3 grouped together too? The Gun Runners are more than just a robot and a guy, they have their compound with many Gun Runners inside and plenty of loot and stuff to steal (not to mention 2 quests). That robot is actually one of the best weapon vendors in the entire game, will sell Honest Hearts DLC weapons when the player beats that DLC and it is also the best for buying weapon mods from. McCarran has soldiers fighting Fiends nearby and sentinels outside, inside it is a better and way more busy military HQ than the Citadel in FO3 and contain many named NPCs (and there are more than 15 quests there), also contains 3 unique weapons and plenty of loot and stuff to steal. The sharecropper farms has several named NPCs (5 IIRC) with actual dialogue in them, they also allow for looting (including a skill book and a star cap IIRC) and stealing plenty for maize and honey mesquite (not to mention two quests). The Fiends are very close to Camp McCarran, just around the corner and are also close to the New Vegas walls. And yes, you should have specified, because what you said was outside of New Vegas walls, the walls are quite large and there are many things all around them. But didn't you realize that most of the locations I mentioned were on the East side? Lets take a look at the New Vegas East side outside the walls: Gun Runners are on the east side and I already mentioned them. Freeside is on the East of New Vegas Walls (and Freeside even has an East Side Entrance). The Sharecroppers farms are also on the East side of New Vegas. I already mentioned them. The Crimson Caravan compound is on the east side of New Vegas walls too, I already mentioned them. The Followers Clinic is on the East side of the New Vegas Walls, I already mentioned them. You say that the east side is not lively and the first impression people will have is that it is empty? I have the feeling you forgot most of the game map by now, because arriving close to New Vegas and seeing a clinic that offers implants, a large crimson caravan walled compound, Freeside, large farms with farmers and NCR troops and the best gun shop around didn't gave me an empty sensation when I first played or in any other times.