Fallout 2 Heavy Handed. Why Heavy Handed is great + How/Why it works

Discussion in 'Fallout RPG Gameplay & Tech' started by Aaron Wieland, Oct 20, 2021.

  1. Aaron Wieland

    Aaron Wieland First time out of the vault

    17
    Aug 4, 2021
    QUOTING THE MANUAL on Heavy Handed: "...you ALWAYS do more melee damage". ALWAYS.
    But there is so much more to it than just that.


    With Heavy Handed your melee damage ALWAYS increases for your critical hits, and the critical chance remains the same, but the CRITICAL EFFECT is reduced. So, more damage. Same chance. Reduced critical EFFECT opportunities like blindness, knockouts, and crippled limbs.

    IMPORTANTLY. You wont be beating your enemies with critical effects so much as you will be killing them with pure blunt force trauma. Study my work, and see me deal massive blows to Deathclaws very reliably, while still consistently getting positive critical effects on them such as "Blindness", and "Lose turns". It works great, and I'm able to defeat dangerous enemies faster than non-Heavy Handed builds.

    Lets look at some facts backed up by countless hours of testing by myself (Examples assume identical accuracy, weapons, and aimed shot):
    -Heavy Handed ALWAYS does more melee damage than non-Heavy Handed builds.
    -Heavy Handed + Better Criticals will ALWAYS do more Melee damage than Better Criticals alone.
    -Heavy Handed kills bad guys faster.

    Bad arguments that distract people:

    -"Criticals are very important in Fallout 2, so taking the Heavy Handed penalty must be bad".
    REBUTTLE: Eye Shot Criticals with Heavy Handed do more damage than eye shot criticals without Heavy Handed.

    -"It makes the game harder"
    REBUTTLE: Heavy Handed simply makes the game easier, and more fun.

    -"It would be trading off significant late-game damage for a relatively small amount of early-game damage".
    REBUTTLE: Heavy Handed increases early/mid/late game melee damage progressively, and significantly as the melee weapons increase in both power, and special weapons perks like piercing.
    REBUTTLE: Nearly all people beat the game by using Sgt. Granite's men + Turrets for assistance. This large group of players will NEVER feel a drop in late game performance, because the Player cannot lose the fight.
    REBUTTLE: Just make eye shots with 95% with a Mega Power Fist, and your Heavy Handed damage will be incredible.
    REBUTTLE: Watch my runs, and you will see that Heavy Handed builds absolutely crush opponents when properly equipped.

    -"Heavy Handed is a Flat Penalty to all crits".
    REBUTTLE: New players will not understand what your talking about.
    REBUTTLE: Even seasoned players have extraordinarily low confidence/understanding of the critical hit table, so this argument is just badly worded.
    REBUTTLE: Half True. You are partly right about a "Penalty". There is a -30% modifier to the critical hit table with Heavy Handed. But every body part has it's own critical hit table, unique modifiers, and critical effects.

    -"Melee fighters rely on criticals"
    REBUTTLE: What is your point? You'll be scoring just as many critical hits with Heavy Handed, as you would without it, plus you'll be scoring more damage with each swing. And THAT is what Melee fighters really "need".

    Lets look at some examples. (ALL EXAMPLES ARE EYE SHOTS CRITICALS)

    WITHOUT Heavy Handed
    4 times damage. X 1 Melee Damage = 4 Damage
    4 times damage. X 1 Melee Damage = 4 Damage
    6 times damage. X 1 Melee Damage = 6 Damage
    6 times damage. X 1 Melee Damage = 6 Damage
    8 times damage. X 1 Melee Damage = 8 Damage
    8 times damage. NOT APPLICABLE

    WITHOUT Heavy Handed + Better Criticals
    4 times damage. NOT APPLICABLE
    4 times damage. X 1 Melee Damage = 4 Damage
    6 times damage. X 1 Melee Damage = 6 Damage
    6 times damage. X 1 Melee Damage = 6 Damage
    8 times damage. X 1 Melee Damage = 8 Damage
    8 times damage. X 1 Melee Damage = 8 Damage

    WITH Heavy Handed
    4 times damage. X 5 Melee Damage = 20 Damage
    4 times damage. X 5 Melee Damage = 20 Damage
    6 times damage. X 5 Melee Damage = 30 Damage
    6 times damage. NOT APPLICABLE
    8 times damage. NOT APPLICABLE
    8 times damage. NOT APPLICABLE

    WITH Heavy Handed + Better Criticals
    4 times damage. X 5 Melee Damage = 20 Damage
    4 times damage. X 5 Melee Damage = 20 Damage
    6 times damage. X 5 Melee Damage = 30 Damage
    6 times damage. X 5 Melee Damage = 30 Damage
    8 times damage. NOT APPLICABLE
    8 times damage. NOT APPLICABLE

    The math speaks for itself, which supports the Game Manuals claim that "...you always do more melee damage" with Heavy Handed. And indeed even the worst Heavy Handed eye shot critical outperforms the best NON-Heavy Handed eye shot critical by a hefty amount in terms of pure damage output.

    EVIDENCE critical four.png

    In closing:
    -Heavy Handed is always the best choice for Melee builds as a general rule of thumb.
    -Power fists unlock Heavy Handed's true potential, because of the "Weapon Penetrate" perk.
    -Heavy Handed + Better Criticals is a crucial for beating Frank Horrigan 1v1 unarmed
    -Heavy Handed and machine guns are the perfect combination.
    -Stick to Eye Shots with Heavy Handed builds in virtually every situation to include ranged attacks.
    -With a proper Heavy Handed build you will be killing bad guys faster than a non-Heavy Handed build, because odds are more favorable that you'll beat enemies with pure damage BEFORE any "Instant Death" critical would have a chance at happening.

    FEI
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 5
  2. LunarWrens

    LunarWrens First time out of the vault

    2
    Aug 7, 2020
    Fallout Entertainment Industries forever, amazing in-depth essay
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  3. SharkClub

    SharkClub Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Dec 6, 2008
    Informative post, I think a lot of people lump Heavy Handed in with Bruiser more often than they should. Bruiser is one trait that doesn't hold up under any proper scrutiny.
     
  4. Timez

    Timez First time out of the vault

    67
    Feb 12, 2019
    You math is slightly off.
    Besides, you also forgot two things.
    • Melee damage is added to high end of damage range and, therefore, contributes only half to average damage. In case of this trait: 2 exactly.
    • Critical table damage multiplier is divided by 2 in calculations as described here.
    With that in mind let's compute exact numbers taking your man eye attack as an example.

    Average critical damage multipliers without and with the trait:
    Code:
    average critical damage multiplier (normal) = (40 * 4 + 40 * 6 + 20 * 8) / 100 / 2 = 2.8
    average critical damage multiplier (trait) = (70 * 4 + 30 * 6) / 100 / 2 = 2.3
    
    Using the below formula for average damage without and with the trait:
    Code:
    average damage (normal) = <base damage> * (1 - <critical chance>) + <base damage> * <critical chance> * 2.8
    average damage (trait) = (<base damage> + 2) * (1 - <critical chance>) + (<base damage> + 2) * <critical chance> * 2.3
    
    If we subtract first from second to see how much more damage on average trait gives:
    Code:
    average damage increase with trait = 2 * (1 + <critical chance> * 1.3) - <base damage> * <critical chance> * 0.5
    
    As you and everyone else can clearly see, the first positive term is more or less constant throughout the game and depends only slightly on critical chance. Even with 100% critical chance it maxes out at 4 * 2.3 = 9.2. Whereas, second negative term grows as PC uses stronger attacks and weapons and as their critical chance increases! Obviously, because the trait impacts critical success only. This is a well planned catch 22 for this trait. One would definitely want to increase their base attack and critical chance by all means but this in itself diminishes effect of the above trait and eventually turns it to a liability rather than a bonus. The lower your critical chance the more beneficial this trait is.

    Besides, it does not grant anything magnificent. Just about +2 average damage early game and then just declines as base damage grows.

    For numeric hungry reader the even out point is reached when base damage this:
    Code:
    even out base damage with and without trait = 4 * (1 / <critical chance> + 1.3)
    
    For some average 5% critical chance this point is reached at average base damage of 80. With 3 more critical perks (+15%): 25. With slayer perk (100%): 10.
    Oops, it seems that this trait is badly compatible with higher critical hit chance. Q.E.D.
     
  5. kokeeby

    kokeeby First time out of the vault

    46
    Jul 4, 2019
    Heavy handed is somewhat interesting in F1 with supersledge and 10+ attacks/round. In F2 I'd rather go for knockouts + disarm, than for pure damage.