Useless Skills

Discussion in 'Fallout RPG Gameplay & Tech' started by Ramen, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. Ramen

    Ramen First time out of the vault

    Oct 30, 2012
    After getting into Fallout 3 a few years back I decided to try Fallout and Fallout 2. I was surprised how meaningless some of the skills were. Skills like Sneak, Outdoorsman, Traps, Throwing, Gambling, Melee and Unarmed don't really do much. What's really odd is that Fallout 2 did not do anything to add value to these skills. Was this ever explained or did the creators rely on players looking back at their Fallout 1 experience to know enough what skills to stay away from?
     
  2. pyroD

    pyroD Still Mildly Glowing

    Aug 26, 2012
    Honestly, I wouldn't know anything about that. I'm just warning you that you might get flamed for this.
     
  3. Yamu

    Yamu Unfit For Titles Moderator Orderite

    Jul 26, 2003
    Yeah, SPECIAL was famously unbalanced in the old days, and even in the Bethesda era it could still use a few tweaks. This is widely acknowledged, though pumping certain less useful skills can make for interesting playthroughs, if you're the type that really enjoys squeezing every drop of novelty out of the game (giving yourself a high Gambling skill and luck and breaking the game's economy even earlier than usual, for instance, can be pretty fun, especially if your rich, well-equipped character is flawed in some other way).

    I would make a few changes to your "useless" list, though, although in general you seem to have zeroed in on most of the throwaways. First off, Melee and Unarmed are actually both quite useful if you've built your character for them. The Super Sledge and the (Mega) Power Fist are devastating weapons, and a lot of fun to use, and with a well-built unarmed monster (in FO2), you can have a good go of it entirely empty-handed and shred your opponents like tissue. Sneak can come in really handy for that kind of character, as well as non-combat-savvy types and those who just prefer to be able to get around without having to kill everybody.

    As to your specific question, for Fallout 2, they never came out and said "If you tag Traps you're throwing your skill points away" because, well, it would just kind of look lazy to draw attention to weaknesses in design rather than fixing them. They attempted to fix the situation and bolster the usefulness of a lot of the crappier skills by adding more situation-specific uses for them (special quest paths and the like), but on the whole they're still sub-optimal choices.
     
  4. Ramen

    Ramen First time out of the vault

    Oct 30, 2012
    I read that if you really decide to invest in some skills it pays off at some point in the game, if you make it that far. But it seems like you would already had to have knowledge of that moment.

    I can't see a ninja type character (sneak/melee or unarmed) working in Fallout. By the point of contact with melee or unarmed the burst weapons in both games are likely to rip apart the player regardless of the armor. How much sneak do you need to end combat in a random encounter?
     
  5. Buxbaum666

    Buxbaum666 Heterostructured Nanorod oTO Orderite

    Dec 5, 2003
    To avoid fighting in random encounters, the outdoorsman skill is actually quite useful. Push it high enough and you can basically choose if you want to have an encounter or not. But you are right, of course. If you play it for the first time it is entirely possible to completely ruin a character because there is no real way of knowing what skills are important and what kind of build is feasible.
    I'd say the flaws in the SPECIAL system where not much improved upon mainly because Fallout 2 was so rushed. It was a buggy unfinished mess on release, it is virtually unplayable without patches.
     
  6. woo1108

    woo1108 Vault Senior Citizen

    Sep 27, 2012
    Sneak is quit useful to avoid lots of situation.
    only useless skill I know is first aid but it can reduce healing time and gain some exp and easily raised by skill book.
     
  7. woo1108

    woo1108 Vault Senior Citizen

    Sep 27, 2012
    Sneak: avoid some situation.
    Outdoorsman: avoid random encoter and met unique encounter( even high level, combat encounter is harsh sometime)
    Traps: avoid trap(
    Throwing: granade( pulse granade is powrful to robots)
    Gambling: money and some event
    Melee, unarmed: only uses 3~4 ap while shooting uses 5~6 ap.

    for special while 1,2 are unbalanced but its better than 3.
     
  8. SnapSlav

    SnapSlav NMA's local DotA fanatic

    Jul 1, 2012
    The major gripe I have with these criticisms (the author's) is that "Not as good as" is NOTHING like "Useless". All of the skills have their use. Some of them are just not nearly as important as others. You can't screw yourself over in FO2 unless you go out of your way to lose special items that the game (by its NPCs) went out of its way to tell you was important. If you had shitty combat skills, you would have to have invested TONS of point into everything that avoided many other skills which would be helpful to you. The final conflicts have a multitude of different ways that you can resolve them, and you'd likely be no lower than level 20 before attempting them, at which point you'd have spent so many skill points, the likelihood that you have crappy statistics in a feasibly helpful skill is nigh-impossible.

    You're really overstating the issue with the skills. Although it's true that the "fixes" some of the more-apparently-less-useful were indeed sparse and situational, they still gave those skills a USE. There's a particular area near the end of the game that would be very deadly if players had no competency in Traps, as well as the more popular Science and Repair. There are many different encounters and quests throughout the game that will put your Traps ability to the test. Throwing is "useless" as a skill only in the critical sense as Per expressed in his Nearly Ultimate Guide because it's "not very practical nor economical". It's still VIABLE, and there's not useless.

    Of course adding Sneak up to the list is just absurd. Simply because it was obscenely overpowered in FO3/NV and your experiences with it were that it SHOULD perform this or that doesn't mean what it did accomplish wasn't useful. Due to the original games' engines, it's absolutely true that the use of the skill was not very apparent (it was much more visually distinct and made more obvious by FOT), but these were games for different types of gamers, back then. You had to notice the importance in subtle differences in timing to appreciate whether something made any difference or not. You may not think any NPC who's programmed to initiate dialog with your PC at 10 hexes yet won't until within 8 hexes is much of a big deal. But in fact, when you're trying to avoid a massive shootout that's triggered by specific NPCs, and your path goes near them, Sneak IS invaluable! Not useless whatsoever.

    As already expressed, when it comes to problems with FO2 and how little differences there were in its core functionality, that was in no way an issue of laziness, and absolutely an issue with time. Black Isle wasn't given any real time to work with, and the game was extremely rushed.
     
  9. Ramen

    Ramen First time out of the vault

    Oct 30, 2012
    As far as combat goes the two dominate skills were Small guns and Energy weapons. Big Guns were heavy and expensive but also fun and satisfying. Throwing knives looked cool but were a complete let down and grenades were better spent traded for stimpack. I'm just a bit disillusioned that all the options for combat choices were not tailored to by the game.

    Traps? Okay so there were a few places that could make it useful. But, traps were rarely deadly, stimpack were always laying around somewhere and high Perception (that was very usefully) could help you spot most of them.

    I could barely notice any impact from sneak. It would be "sneak" if I could sneak behind my target, crit kill them with something silent without an npc a few hexes away finding out.

    I enjoyed Fallout enough to replay it a few times. That is how I learned which skills do and do not work.
     
  10. Yamu

    Yamu Unfit For Titles Moderator Orderite

    Jul 26, 2003
    It's true that sneak works better for avoiding fights than for gaining the upper hand in them, but, if I remember correctly, it is possible to pull off a stealth kill without drawing attention in Fallout 2 (and Fallout?) if you manage it in the first round of combat. Crits to the eyes are, of course, popular for this. It's been quite some time since I've played, though, so my memory may be faulty. Corroboration, anyone?

    (Also, this isn't a dig at you, Ramen, but I think gamers as a whole have become spoiled lately when it comes to Stealth skills. There's this commonplace expectation now for Sneak to equal invisibility and absolute immunity from trouble. No matter how good you are, someone's probably going to notice if they're just sitting around and you drop someone less than a room's breadth away. Video games were taking that into account as far back as the Commodore 64.)
     
  11. SnapSlav

    SnapSlav NMA's local DotA fanatic

    Jul 1, 2012
    I can confirm that it was the case. But like I said earlier, the Stealth mechanic from the previous games, while versatile, was not very transparent. It was at it best, as far as I'm concerned, in Tactics. You could tell when you were spotted and when you gave away your position, in FOT, whereas if you were noticed in FO1/2 while attempting an assassination (or just Sneaking in general) you might not know until someone finally goes hostile. I personally didn't make much use of this, but it was possible, and the feature existed.

    That's what makes FO2 such a remarkable game even still, today. The vast possibilities that were present and allowable in the game were WAAAAAAY beyond what you see in titles today. Players who either got comfortable with current games, or were introduced to gaming through newer titles simply wouldn't have the mind to utilize these features. The oldest (digital) RPGs, for example, had to have THOUSANDS of possibilities programmed into them, because the input from the player was typed words, and the game had to have those instances pre-programmed into them to recognize a creative suggestion from the player at solving a problem.

    About the only thing I could imagine would have been nice to see and made skills like Throwing "more useful" is making Throwing Daggers (and similar) inherently silenced weapons, so as long as you perform a kill out of LOS, no sentries would be alerted by sound. But really, that's about the only "let down" I could possibly think of...
     
  12. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    Throwing would have worked a lot better if there had been high-end perks for it.