Fallout 4 overhauls how Perks work - oh, and there are now 275 of them | PCGamesN

Fallout 4 overhauls how Perks work - oh, and there are now 275 of them

Fallout 4 perks

Bethesda have announced a big revamp to the way you beef up your character with Perks in Fallout 4. There are now ten Perks for each of the seven SPECIAL stats you distribute across your character build when creating them. Plus, those perks are ranked, so they'll do new and exciting things as you rank up.

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Don't you just love Todd Howard's voice? He makes the new Perk system sound like conclusive proof that everything's going to be alright forever in the new Perk system trailer. I'd be just as happy listening to him read lines of code from the game engine. What the Fallout 4 game director's explaining is this: your character has seven SPECIAL character stats, as in previous Fallout titles: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck.

Bethesda's releasing a video series which explains each SPECIAL stat, one by one. You can watch the Endurance episode here.

Each one of those stats has a Perk tree associated with it, with ten Perks for each SPECIAL stat (check out the poster image below for all the perks). Fallout 4's new spin on the system is that you can walk out of the vault with the level 10 Perk if you spend your points heavily on one SPECIAL. The example Howard gives is gaining the Intimidation Perk, the level 10 Perk in the Charisma tree, right off the bat. You can start getting other poor saps to do stuff for you right at the start of the game. You'll also get the chance to re-spec your character after playing for a little while, if you like.

As you progress through the game though, you'll be able to rank up those Perks, which will gain you new skills and abilities. That brings the total number of Perks up to 275, which is going to make character progression a pretty involving process.

Having such ostensibly powerful Perks from the off sounds like it might unbalance the game for certain character builds, but Bethesda's on it. The lowest rank of each SPECIAL stat's level 10 Perk really homes in on a particuar playstyle, so it's less about outright power and more about options. Bethesda say they've been working hard to get the balance of each perk combination right. 

Levelling itself will occur at a faster pace than in Fallout 3, the developers say on Fallout 4's official site, paced more like Skyrim's. There'll be no level cap, either.

Fallout 4 Perk poster

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llubtoille avatarAnAuldWolf avatarWhiteCrow avatar
AnAuldWolf Avatar
2 Years ago

This is basically the system Elder Scrolls Online uses. I am a supporter. Why? It is basically the 'everything is a choice' system. It makes sense.

Truth be told, I've been a nerdly player of roles through the medium of pen & paper for aeons now. I might've been drawing up character sheets since before some of you were born. And the wisdom I've accrued is that when you have a decent group of people whom you can trust, rules only get in the way of unbridled creativity and the joy that brings.

With each passing year, I've found my particular leaning to be towards rules-lite, with my raison d'etre as a world maker being the responsibility of draining away those numbers and replacing them with concepts, ideas, and abstracts. I have so much more fun now, as the player explains their logic and thinking. We're all able to have a bit of a chat how this would go down, and it's just a more satisfying experience for everyone.

I think this translates well to video games. ESO, for me, is proof positive that it does as it has one of the most genuinely enjoyable progression systems I've seen in anything. You are unchained, unbound, you are the master of your own destiny! Skills and prerequisites be damned!

If I am a master baker of delectable doughy delights, and the numerical deity governing a world dictated that I were to have 17 skill to bake a certain candied cake, 24 to craft a tasty bread snack, and then 30 to weave a beauteous patisserie into being... what do those numbers mean?? If I have 18, am I any better at making candied cakes? If I've 29 can I not make an ever so slightly less wonderful patisserie??? I understand the gatekeeping of progression, but this gatekeeping makes no sense at all. It is most illogical, Captain.

I need 100 to cronut, you say??? I only have 62! Oh, this cruel world that won't allow me to attempt a cronut with the level of skill I already have. How sadistic it is! Oh, the humanity.

I'm not a fan. Did you guess that? Clever you.

I would rather simply have points and my levels (need they be there) ultimately meaningless other than to be a figurative mail man of those points. With these points I have lines of tiered skills which I may put points into as I desire, based upon very relevant limitations. If I am not Intelligent enough to acquire a skill, then I'll be able to accept that.

This is what ESO does, you see? And it makes me so happy! If I want to be a werewolf and I want to put all of my points into being a werewolf, then I'll bloody well do just that and I'll deal with the consequences myself!

And this even one-ups ESO (in my opinion) by removing the limitation of the levels, so that ultimately you can become all the you you could ever be! This, of course, doesn't mean that you can become an Everything Person, as what's available to you is still limited by your SPECIAL stats. So you just become a better you.

This sort of rules-lite I like! It is the making of a person through tiered concepts. I can much more easily accept a tiered system of 1-3 for my baking habits than I could one that's 1-100. That way, if I've a point, it means I tamper at home. If I've two, then I've elevated my hobby into something that I could use as a profession. And were I to earn that final point? I would craft all of the patisseries! Cronuts for everyone! With brands even for ghouls and super mutants alike! I'm sure Steve the Super Mutant probably misses delicious baked goods, so I'd make a mint.

The possibilities!

The question now, of course, is whether Fallout 4 will actually allow me to open my own bakery and realise my dreams. Likely not, which is one of the limitations of video games versus pen & paper of course. But still, this is the closest they're going to get to the pen & paper I like, I think.

And I think I'm happy. I think I'm very happy. I like this. This is for those who've had the years to grow out of numbers and realise what's really important to roleplaying: CROISSANTS.

Footnote: Yes. You got me. I just want to make friends with all the weirdos -- the super mutants, robots, ghouls, and even the deathclaws capable of arithmetic. The way to any critter's heart/compassion subroutine is through their stomach/fuel supply. I'm just a big old softie. And I'd get to do all this whilst wearing a really big hat. What more could I want?

WhiteCrow Avatar
2 Years ago

Bravo sir. Insightful and kinda' hilarious. I'm becoming a fan of your posts! As for opening a bakery, perhaps the modding community could assist with that? I wouldn't rule it out, as there are some pretty bizarre mods out there for Bethesda games.

llubtoille Avatar
2 Years ago

Oh, it's stats and talents, a bit like the skyrim trees in a way.

AnAuldWolf Avatar
2 Years ago

Exactly! Though it seems like they haven't used the silly gating system from Skyrim.

'You need to have X and Y (which are slightly relevant) and Z (which has no relevance) to pick this!"

That was the one thing that stuck in my craw. ESO removed that but kept it otherwise the same. Seems like they're following the ESO approach, which makes me super happy.