Making Energy Weapons work

Discussion in 'Fallout: New Vegas Gameplay & Tech' started by Felspawn, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. Felspawn

    Felspawn It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 15, 2010
    As a fan of energy weapons its a little sad to see them outclassed by Guns but NV isn't that a hard game and Energy weapons are still more then capable of getting your courier to the end game. Sure they are a little weak initially but with a little planing we can make it work. Here are a collection of tips and suggestions, particularly in the early game. Alot of it may just seem like common sense but it doesn't hurt to have a recap

    1) Walk out of Doc's house? forget that laser pistol and get a Recharging rifle. Yes its heavy, yes its not a powerful gun. But its got its advantages, it doesn't use ammo so you can feel free to spam a target and not worry about using up too many energy cells and it has a awesome .02 spread. That can help you vaporize folks quasi sniper like. You don't want to use the gun for very long but initially before you start to run into armor it'll serve you well .

    2) Get Vigilant Recylcer as soon as you can, sure at 70 science it might be a little much for some folks to get it at lvl 6 but if you use energy weapons you really really want it as soon as you can. It does 3 things for you. it makes you hold on you empty EW ammo more often, it makes recycling more efficient AND it give you better ammo. people often complain that energy weapons seem inefficent, like how the Gause rifle uses 4/5 rounds a shot or how the multi plas and the Laser RCW drain cells like a college student at a kegger. In reality its because its so easy to get energy weapon rounds. For example all those small energy cells u didn't use because you had the recharging rifle? you can make it into microfusion cells for your Q35 easily. Sure you can convert gun round but its a lot more of complicated with the primers and the casings then switching energy around. Sure the anti material rifle only uses 1 .50 round but I've always found those rounds to be a lot harder to keep in stock then Microfusion rounds.

    3) Energy weapons are very niche oriented there usually isn't a 1 gun fits all situation. Don't go into a laser rifle or plasma weapon thinking its going to be the end all be all. You'll just get disappointed. The laser rifle is actually pretty bad, a max repaired laser rifle does 15 damage, that's little more then the recharging rifles 9. its less then a Varmit gun. Honestly the only real use for that gun is when you get the scope. at that point i think of it as the energy equivalent of the scoped varmit gun, good for sneak attack sniping till armor shows up. Still its a valuable enough niche to want to carry one with you but know when to swap it out for a better gun. For example in the early game (pre level 15) that better gun will be the Laser RCW. Sure i dont like the way it looks either but its easily the best addition to energy weapons in NV. its a Gatling laser except lighter, with lesser stat requirements and available early in the game when its most effective. its not an end all be all gun but its as close as you get in Energy weapons.

    4) dont be afraid to use less conventional guns. some folks seem to think energy weapons are just lasers and plasma and forget that flamers and incenerators are energy weapons too (well at least in NV). hell you get a incinerator as early as primm and if you give it a chance you'll find that its a fantastic weapons to clear out critters (scorpions, ants and dogs etc) as well as groups of humans when clustered together.

    5) Repcon HQ should be one of your first stops early game. Im not saying to head there right after goodspring but i tend to do it as soon as i hit novac. Between the Q-35 (perfect gun to use when dealing with armor early to mid game) the two Energy weapon skill books and ample ammo its a great place to gear up.

    6) Grab Veronica Early. Shes voiced my Felicia Day so she an automatic win there but shes not just a pretty voice shes the perfect addition to the Energy weapon use for a few reasons. 1 shes a portable workbench. need to recycle all thoes empty cells? she can do it, running out on Overcharge or max charge cells and need to convert some regular ones? she can do it. Need access to the BoS bunker to start their quest line early for all the benefits it provides? she can do it. Not to mention the fact that shes a low maintenance death dealer (give her a ballistic fist and watch in awe).

    Thats all for now but if anyone has more to contribute feel free to add
  2. DasCryborg

    DasCryborg It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 2, 2010
    Energy Weapons are something you have to be smart with but you can make someone who is extremely deadly with them. Energy Weapons are Critical hit Ninjas, and there are numerous ways to capitalize on this.

    For Example a little Math ...

    Laser Pistol Pew Pew ... 75 DAM 15ECells per Shot 1 Shot per clip with 2.5xCrit Multiplyer

    9 Luck: 9%Crit Chance
    Luck Implant: 10% Crit Chance
    Built to Destroy: 13% Crit Chance
    Finess: 18% Crit Chance
    Laser Commando: 28% Crit Chance
    Boones Beret: 33% Crit Chance

    *Addition to First Post*
    +2 and +4% crit chance for 1 handed laser weapons due to in game perks ... thus bringing the total to 37% base crit chance...

    37x2.5 = 92.5% chance oh wait you just used VATS so bring that up to a 97.5% Chance to Crit ...

    Now lets do some Math ...

    75 Base DAM
    +11.25 Laser Commando
    +3.75 Bloody Mess
    +56.25 Energy Cell MAX Charge
    +18.75 Psycho
    +18.75 Slasher
    =184DAM Rounded up

    I am unsure if these Additional Damages go into Critical Damage Lets say they do not and you have Better Criticals That will be an additional 112.5 Damage

    Take that with Meltdown

    Anything you kill will do 184 with a 82.5% - 97.5% chance to do 296.5 DAM and ALL the damage you do to whatever it is you just killed is set off in the Meltdown so make that a 296.5 DAM ultra mini nuke which will set off another 296.5 DAM and another and another and another.

    I cleared the spot in Deathclaw Promatory by shooting a single silenced round at the far ground then like 5 Young Deathclaws 5 Deathclaws 2 Alpha Male Deathclaws and a Mother Deathclaw all went to investigate it ... I shot a young deathclaw in the back critically hit it and then it was like the area got carpet bombed and every one of them either turned into ash or blew up into chunks. So if you think Energy Weapons suck they have the highest damage potential in the game!

    If you take energy weapons as your main weapon choice I would probably get a secondary weapon choice to 100 as well especially with MELTDOWN being so dangerous up close!

    A pretty Beastly build would be:

    Enclave Shock Trooper
    7 Str
    5 Per
    7 End
    1 Cha
    6 Int
    5 Agi
    9 Lck

    Built to Destroy
    Heavy Handed

    Intense Training AGI
    Vigilant Recycler
    Piercing Strike
    Better Criticals
    Laser Commando
    &Two Freebies (Silent Running and Super Slam)

    Get Implants in
    you'll Have an additional Implant to get

    Get Power Armor Training or if you want Light Armor go 8Str and 6END

    Armor of your type
    Main Weapons Ballistic Fist and Pew Pew

    Either Way with Gear, Implants, and Intense Training you should end up with these Stats

    9 Str
    7 Per
    7/8 End
    1 Cha
    6 Int
    7 Agi
    10 Lck

    This Build is Costly So Caravan is your friend so is gambling. If you wanna be a cheap ass ... Then Caravan up 10-30k Bottle Caps and then bet 200 on slots and save/load till you get all oranges for 32k Bottle Caps ... May take some time but it will help keep you rich enough to buy things and repair. Getting repair up to 50 to make weapon repair kits would be a good idea to help cut costs.

    So much for that boring ass Sniper Build you thought was the end all be all of Fallout New Vegas ...

    This build will waste ANYTHING as you can clear out Dead Wind Caverns with Unarmed and Chems alone without even taking a hit. The Energy Weapons is there for your Range and the Unarmed is there to back you up when things get in close and would be too Dangerous to Meltdown yourself and allies!
  3. Felspawn

    Felspawn It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 15, 2010
    defiantly a good min/max write up :) thanks for contributing. though didn't they nerf VATS so it only gives you 5% crit instead of 15%?
  4. DasCryborg

    DasCryborg It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 2, 2010
    I am unaware if they did, however if they did then so be it ... I am pretty sure youll crit every time you shoot that pistol or you can always get the sneak attack critical for even more damage!
  5. Jet1337

    Jet1337 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Aug 27, 2009
    Energy weapons kinda pale in comparison to Guns. I have both maxed to 100, but I can't really tell a difference between using my fully repaired AM Rifle and YCC/186.

    The Q-35 looks pretty cool, but it feels underpowered. I end up using the multiplas rifle over it and I end up using the All-American over that most of the time.

    Even if Guns are better, I still like using EW because I like that shit.
  6. DasCryborg

    DasCryborg It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 2, 2010
    Q-35 does the same damage as a Plasma Rifle for 1 less ammo and faster fire rate. I agree though a little weak ... most of the weapons do have problems with DT so why make a unique plasma rifle not pack some extra punch to rip through Higher DT mobs. However like I stated earlier 15 Max Charge Cells can take out 15Deathclaws if they are in close enough proximity, which is gangster.
  7. chewie

    chewie Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Dec 3, 2005
    Good work with this summary guys :)

    I also have the impression that energy characters just need a different strategy instead of rebalancing patches. Unlike it was back in Fallout 1 and 2, New Vegas allows you to have energy weapons from the very beginning. Thus you don´t have to use a second skill for combat to compensate the lack of gear. (although DasCryborg´s approach about mixing melee & energy weapons is a nice variant, too)

    Before I came to that conclusion, I tried to find a balancing solution via GEEK - which always resulted in a broken late game - as even tweaking lasers to have e.g. 1-2 points additional damage is devastating (even with normal ammo!). I also tried to make the Gattling laser better then the RCW (raising damage to 17, 18, 19, 20), result was that you can kill 3 Deathclaws with one magazine - and all other enemies simply have no chance against that weapon. So far, I´m out of ideas on how to repair that weapon and can only mark it as "useless" - as it has no benefits comparing with the RCW (or did you guys happen to have an application for it?)

    I´m playing on very hard btw, so all my positive experiences with energy weapons include the damage malus for the player due to the difficulty setting.
  8. Lexx

    Lexx Testament to the ghoul lifespan
    Moderator Modder

    Apr 24, 2005
    One solution could be to higher the amount of ammo needed per gattling laser shot. I. e. one "bullet" doesn't use 1, but 10 energy cells, etc.

    This way you can make the weapon stronger, but eat really lots of ammo.
  9. DasCryborg

    DasCryborg It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 2, 2010
    Edited Math in my first Post and you still end up with a 97.5% Crit chance in VATS and a 92.5% out of VATS using Pew Pew which is even better by 10% out of VATS.
  10. cronicler

    cronicler Lurksalot

    May 31, 2006
    Actually, the main problem with the energy weapons are caused by the absence of "AP ammo" due to DT mechanics.

    As it stands now, in damage calculations, every damage multiplier is applied after DT is subtracted from the base damage (Which is modified only by skill) (Ironically this also means that on low end of the spectrum, you don't actually loose much damage due to difficulty settings)

    This makes overcharge and max charge ammo virtually useless and leaves you helpless when facing high DT enemies.

    The only exception occurs on critical hits while you are using weapons with high critical damage and multipliers, which manage to deliver enough "base damage" to overcome DT and produce enough basis for the multipliers to work.

    I think either tweaking the damage formula by modifying damage by the ammo type multiplier before DT reduction or giving most of the Energy weapons some -DT will be the simplest and most stable solution.

    Edit: Some intresting tidbits:

    -Due to its massive damage per ammo, Plasma caster is among the best EWs in the game. However, thanks to the plasma bolt mechanics, it is a nightmare to use in a hectic figt outside Vats.

    -Pulse Pistol is the best anti-robot weapon in the game, One shotting any robot for a measly 5 EC

    -For the most optimum load, your best option is to use a combination of Recharger Pistol, RCW, Pulse Pistol and Gauss Rifle, preferably the unique variant.

    - With its 1 MFC per shot, Quad damage on crit and medium base damage, Q-35 Matter Modulator is also a contender but without crits, it is best used against medium armored targets which are not really numerous compared to radscorpions (or was it Tankscorpion?) and Deathclaws.

    IMPORTANT: IF you can manage to drag yourself to level 16, the equation changes (a bit) abruptly. The Meltdown perk (coupled with one shottable enemies) allows you to clear groups with just 1 hit. This really helps in "some" story missions but while wandering, you still suffer from the above problems.

    .................And on the other side of the ring (Guns), compared to all those headaches, you can just carry Ratslayer (5.56, x5Crit, Silenced, Night Scope) and a fully kitted Sniper Rifle (.308, x5Crit, Silenced, Scoped) to deal with nearly any foe you face. Add "That Gun" to your kit for close quarters headshot spams via Vats and you are good to go.
  11. chewie

    chewie Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Dec 3, 2005
    That´s basically why an energy character must go for a high critical chance. Also, looking at the way the energy weapon skill is calculated, this seems to be intended by the game designer(s).

    As I already tried to describe with my post, it doesn´t work to just apply gun mechanics to the energy weapons (ap ammo for breaking DT) - as you´ll end up with an critical throwing, armor breaking Uberchar. Emphasis is here on late game - it really breaks the balance even on very hard and is boring as hell. In other words: If you introduce AP ammo for energy weapons, you have to reduce / edit / disable all perks (including challenge perks) as all this stuff is geared towards to give energy weapon chars a high critical chance.



    That might be an idea - at least it already was used for all other damage dealers (Gauss & Plasma) and seems to work there.
  12. cronicler

    cronicler Lurksalot

    May 31, 2006
    chewie: There is already energy "AP" ammo types present in the game; the overcharge and max charge.

    (Over Charge x 1dt x 1.25dam x 1.50cond crafted from 1.5 regular ammo)
    (Max Charge x 1dt x 1.75dam x 2.50cond crafted from 2.5 regular ammo)

    If their effect (and only their) applied before the DT reduction from base damage, "some" of the energy weapons would be acceptable solutions (damage per cell spent) to the High DT enemies which is the main problem with the whole weapon family...
  13. chewie

    chewie Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Dec 3, 2005
    Aye, I hear you :D Or in other words: I´m also following some threads about energy weapons in general and this one in particular. Actually, they motivated me to look for solutions myself by using the GEEK. By doing so, I learned the mechanics / intentions behind energy weapon characters. Or at least I think I do - because I didn´t have to use my "corrections" anymore, instead build my character accordingly.

    My experience is, the first half of the game (lvl-wise) is a lot more interesting then other builds - as you really have to earn your kills. Passing lvl 16 / getting 100 % on your weapon skill and gain access to advanced gear is an amazing boost for energy chars - and the next stage is reaching lvl 22 for laser commander. You end up cutting through your enemies - and even Deathclaws go down more easily.

    That´s why I´d say we don´t need those formula fixes. I mean - passing lvl 18 I crit a bunch of young deathclaws with my lousy laser rifle - a few levels earlier, I had to use the unique gauss in order to do damage at all.

    So to sum it up, there are certain styles for playing NV (IMO):
    - guns: grab whatever weapon you loot, shoot & win. But don´t forget your sniper for rare occasions - and don´t waste ammo / caps for big guns
    - unarmed: buy spiked knuckles and kill everything. If you meet cassadors or deathclaws, eat some drugs. If you get bored, exchange your knuckles with some fancy stuff like powerfist, ballistic fist or pushy...
    - melee: (not tested yet)
    - explosive: (not tested yet)
    - energy weapons: duck´n cover until ~ lvl 15, then say hello to all those guys you used to run from.
  14. cronicler

    cronicler Lurksalot

    May 31, 2006
    Side note: Unlike other 4, Explosives are not a first line combat skill. It is more of a supplementary skill that you put a bit in it for occasional uses (a grenade here, a mine there or a disarm somewhere...).
    *You need about 50 for quests and 55 or 60 for end game disarms

    As far as I know when you crit, the game applies at least some of the damage multipliers (+bonus damage to the base damage and bonus crit multiplier that some guns have) which can also causes unbalanced outcomes like killing mature deathclaws with ratslayer or extreme laser damage (especialy in triple shooters) or similar weird damage output.
  15. DasCryborg

    DasCryborg It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 2, 2010
    I think every combat type has their uses Guns and Energy Weapon have a high versatility. Guns come from 9DAM up to 110DAM with a pretty wide mixture in between. Energy Weapons are pretty much the same, with a Higher MAX DAM 12-147?

    Also Remember if you only have 1 Energy Charge Pack it will still fire full DAM out of the Tesla Beaton Prototype. I do forsee this being a fix in a patch somewhere down the road. It is kinda a pain to just carry around 1 ammo and go to a compainion to pull out more ammo but so far its a quick 1 HIT super kill for sneak attack crits with meltdown that can explode other entities close by dealing around 500 DAM.

    Not sure if YCS/186 cause the meltdown effect however a full on sneak attack with that does 525DAM More than enough to kill anything in 1 shot on Very Hard. Legendary Deathclaw 900 HP Head = 450 HP ... Head goes pop!

    There is the extremely handy Pulse gun which is great vs Power Armor and Robots.

    Biggest issue is ammo weight, if you do not play hardcore then you do not have this issue, if you do play hardcore then Pack Rat might be something to invest in or strong back is also a good one and if you basically want massive energy munitions stored on your player then get them both!
  16. chewie

    chewie Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Dec 3, 2005
    Mmh.. reading the perk description, I had the impression that all kills with energy weapons trigger the meltdown effect. If there are some exceptions (e.g. Gauss, Flamer, Incinerator?), that would be great. I never took that Perk because I thought using energy weapons in "civilized" areas is a no go then... (e.g. helping a NCR patrol fighting fiends might become a desaster reputation-wise)
  17. ramessesjones

    ramessesjones It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Oct 27, 2010
    I played as fairly low strength energy weapons character my first time through and I got by fine. All the energy pistols have very low strength requirements which is nice. Another thing you can do with pistols is take lots of shots in VATS, especially if you take perks like Plasma Spaz, Math Wrath and Action Boy (Plasma Defender sucks outside of VATS, but its a very effective in VATS). I also played with high sneak and took things like Professional and Better Criticals, so I could sneak kill someone in VATS and have plenty of the AP left for the next guy. Lots of aimed shots in VATS was also good for crippling legs of the things like Deathclaws or arms of guys with guns.

    For situations when that strategy didn't work, there were more specialized weapons available. Laser RCW isn't a pistol, but it is a good low weight crowd control weapon. If you play with Wild Wasteland, Alien Blaster can be used against the strongest enemies like Lanius and the higher ranked deathclaws. Pulse Gun obviously shreds robot.
  18. DasCryborg

    DasCryborg It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 2, 2010
    Aye, energy weapons are great for people with a lower STR as they don't have much of a requirement however the build I posted was for energy weapons + unarmed. I have a guy who uses the Plasma Defender mostly with the Plasma Spaz Math Wrath and Fast Shot for a total of -40% and he only has a max of 5 STR and hes got 135 Base AP which I generally bring that up to 240 (thats 20 attacks in VATS) when I am going to fight a whole lot of baddies if there are Heavy fighters then I'll bust out the Pew Pew
  19. NurglingSlayer

    NurglingSlayer First time out of the vault

    Nov 20, 2010
    Guns and Unarmed/Melee are definately the stronger weapon specializations available from my experience, but Energy Weapons are much easier to make viable than specializing purely in Explosives. Trying to hunt deathclaws even with mines, c-4, grenade launchers and rocket launchers at my disposal was rough on very hard :( but I digress.

    Like previous posters have said, I found my two most usefull weapons to use with my energy charecter to be the Gauss Rifle and Laser RCW. Better criticals and a healthy crit chance definately help, Meltdown is just loads of fun once you get access to it. A gauss rifle with max charged ammunition is capable of knocking down adult deathclaws in one headshot. I don't know if it's necessarily as good as the sniper rifles available to guns, but what conventional weapons reward your marksmanship with dazzling green explosions :D

    I also have to make a shoutout for the apparently unused Incinerator and Flamer. The pyromaniac perk is a bit of a reach but for me the entertainment value was well worth it. The Flamer in particular is just loads of fun, efficient and really effective mid-game, and remains usefull lategame to conserve on your pricier ammo. I tend to find myself swimming in flamer fuel and it helps take the strain off of my Microfusion Cell supply.

    I also don't see why so many people are so intimidated by backfire from the meltdown perk, I've even used it with Flamers even at minimal risk. I think on my last playthrough with an energy weapons charecter I've only gibbed myself with meltdown 3 times in total, and the first was on purpose just to find out what if 8-)
  20. chewie

    chewie Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Dec 3, 2005
    I´m not worried about my character at all - I´m more concerned what happens to Veronica (EW-guy´s best friend ^^) or allied npcs as soon as meltdown is triggered.

    Just imagine you are doing some quests in Freeside, a thug shows up and you kill him with your laser pistol. A nearby King gets hit by the meltdown, his friends don´t like that and a mini fight evolves into amassive battle - including reputation drops.

    *That* is what I´m afraid of :P One perk just changes the characteristics of this weapon category from "surgical" to "smart bombs" and completely alters the way you have to play your character.