Those of you who have checked out my Mastering the Mojave thread over the course of the past few weeks will have noticed that I have been updating it. As with Fallout 3, there are two types of builds: Critical and Low Critical. Both can attack out of or in stealth. Critical builds depend on criticals to deal the majority of their damage. Non-critical builds focus on damage per second by increasing their attack speed. I have plans for various combinations. All builds have several variants, whether or not to use VATS, Wild Wasteland, low intelligence, more than one, or all three. I've written down in my notes all the variants for male and female in the following categories: w/o VATS VATS Wild Wasteland w/o VATS Wild Wasteland VATS Imbecile w/o VATS Imbecile VATS Wild Wasteland Imbecile w/o VATS Wild Wasteland Imbecile VATS Critical builds have two sets of the above, one using light armor if they use Light Touch to get an extra few points of critical chance, and those without who plan to wear Elite Riot Gear. Both critical builds wear the First Recon Beret for further critical chance increases. Many will wear the Lucky Shades for an extra point in luck. Most will have max luck by the end of the game, others won't, it all depends on the critical modifier of their endgame weapons. Critical builds using weapons with a modifier of 2 or more also use Comprehension and Voracious Reader, doubling the bonus to critical chance from reading True Police Stories, and to craft an unlimited supply of the magazine. VATS can add a flat bonus to the final critical chance modifier, as can Light touch, 5% for both, for a total of 10%. Obviously, Light Touch builds have the potential for the highest chance for critical hits. Their weapons deal high damage per shot and deal high critical damage. However, this type of build won't have as many empty perk slots left for further customization, especially if they use Light Touch and VATS. Critical builds that do not use Light Touch and its synergizing perks or get VATS perks will have more perk slots available for investing in perks for other combat styles such as melee or explosives. Non-critical focuses more on using automatic weapons or powerful single shot weapons that either have a low critical chance modifier of 1 or less, or deal very low critical damage, or cannot deal critical damage at all. Automatic weapons, shotguns, explosives, and certain rifles and pistols are best used with this type of build. These builds have the widest range of customization as they don't need all that many perks to maximize the effectiveness of their primary combat skill, nor do they inflict criticals. They can still use VATS, but if not, they'll have even more empty perk slots left. So they'll have no problem expanding into using other combat skills and investing in their perks. These builds can maximize the strength of long range combat, melee combat, and explosives. In fact, due to your allies, enemies, and many others using both melee and ranged weaponry, it is recommended that you build your character to do the same, but only focus on one specific combat style to focus on primarily. For example, taking Laser Commander should limit you to using mainly laser weapons, Pyromaniac should use fire weapons exclusively, etc. Since melee or unarmed combat isn't as effective or practical against stronger foes, and that some foes are too dangerous to fight in melee range, use primarily long range combat for these types of foes, melee is primarily used for ammo conservation or dealing with weaker foes. As I have in other Fallout games, I am building my characters to use both long range and melee range weaponry to deal with any situation. The best melee ranged perks are Slayer, Super Slam, and Piercing Strike. Ninja isn't as effective as it was in Fallout 3 and it's harder to sneak up on something in melee range. Stonewall only protects you from melee attacks, but some enemies hit too hard in melee range for it to be of any protection. Most of the enemies affected by Purifier aren't too tough and deathclaws are too dangerous to fight in melee range. The best VATS perks are Grim Reaper's Sprint, Nerves of Steel, and Math Wrath. Plasma Spaz is great if specializing in plasma weapons. Concentrated Strike, Gunslinger, Commando, and Sniper aren't as effective and can be easily skipped by increasing your combat skill more. With this in mind, I can use those specific perks in builds as long as I have enough perk slots. If I still have enough perk slots left, I can get explosive perks such as Demolition Expert, Hit the Deck, and Splash Damage. I have the following builds planned: Critical -Guns -Cowboy -Grunt -Energy Weapons -Laser -Plasma Low Critical -Cowboy -Grunt -Automatic Grunt -Guns -Automatic Guns -Energy Weapons -Automatic Energy Weapons -Lasers -Automatic Lasers -Plasma -Automatic Plasma -Pyromaniac These are all specialty builds. So for example, if I take Laser Commander, all my primary weapons need to be laser damage. If I take Plasma Spaz, VATS is absolutely necessary due to it having effect only in VATS. Pyromaniac needs to use fire weapons. Guns use guns. Melee and unarmed is primarily used to save ammo or deal with weaker opposition as some enemies are too dangerous to fight in melee range. All builds focus primarily on either guns or energy weapons, though they will carry weapons from other combat skills to use when the situation calls for it. For example, using automatic weapons can be impractical against weaker opposition, so carrying a sidearm can help. All builds can also use explosives to deal with crowds, though grenades are the best endgame choice due to carry weight concerns. Pistols are good for sneaking into casinos and the Fort. Rifles and other single handed two handed guns can be good for all purpose. I'll have to limit the number of weapons I carry on me all the time due to carry weight concerns, especially when playing hardcore. All builds will also carry either one heavy weapon, fast firing semi-automatic weapon, or a shotgun for dealing with the toughest foes, such as the legendary creatures, deathclaws, marked men, etc, depending on what their stength and whether they use guns or energy weapons. Builds specialized around the usage of automatic weapons as the primary weapon focus on increasing their damage per second as high as they can through perks, taking Thought You Died instead of Ain't Like That Now and Trigger Discipline instead of Fast Shot since increased attack speed does not affect them. I'm not making any Jack of All Trades characters because there wouldn't be enough perk slots available for such a character. What I would like to know is if I have the right idea with how to make a character. If anybody has some suggestions or would like to share their knowledge, it would also be greatly appreciated!