Welcome to a new series on my blog where I dive into each SPECIAL attribute from Fallout 4. There are seven attributes from which to create and design your character. I’ll be dissecting and analyzing each perk related to a specific attribute. I’ll also be sharing my opinion on the best perk set and if they are needed, and what type of character would benefit most from each attribute.
Strength. This attribute is the character’s power. It’s related to carry weight, melee and unarmed damage output, heavy guns such as the missile launcher, and the Armorer and Blacksmith perks, Rooted and the power armor specific Pain Train perks. You can also find perks related to gun bashing and hip-fire accuracy for all guns, big or small.
Although, the Strength attribute looks sexy on the surface it is mired with bad perks and perks that aren’t necessarily essential. And I’m directly referring to the Armorer perk. The one and only time the Armorer perk is essential in Fallout 4 is the use of ballistic weave. Otherwise a player can pick up all variants of armor throughout the gameplay. And if a piece of armor comes with a specific modification like muffled for example, it can be return to an unmodded version thus storing the muffle mod in your inventory to be placed on a different piece within a same armor set. Metal to metal, combat to combat, synth to synth. And you can do all this without the Armorer perk. You aren’t able to transfer muffle for metal armor to synth armor. And you cannot transfer legendary modifications from one piece to another. Besides, you can get a fantastic suit of armor early in the game at Hubris Comics. Just take the Silver Shroud armor to Kent in Goodneighbor. Once you agree to be the Silver Shroud, turn off the radio. Start the Silver Shroud quest around level 23 and you’ll get armor upgrades in the mid-twenties -thirties -forties levels providing you save Kent. You’ll need 10 Charisma to do that so go prepared.
Before I get too far off track I’ll jump back to the first perk in Strength which is the Iron Fist perks. You automatically have access to this perk as each attribute requires the first level be the default. Iron Fist along with the second tier perks, Big Leagues, add to the damage output of either unarmed and punching weapons or melee weapons. Each perk point invested adding 20% more damage than before and maxing out at double damage. The Iron Fist perks have different specialties than Big Leagues. Most notably in Iron Fist is the last rank where a critical hit in V.A.T.S. will paralyze an opponent. And if you’re using a lot of V.A.T.S. for your melee character you would be better served with high Agility (Blitz and Ninja perks) and Luck (Critical Banker, Better Criticals, Grim Reaper’s Sprint, and Four Leaf Clover perks). Whereas rank four in Big Leagues all enemies in front are struck. Important note concerning Big Leagues rank four: this perk is NOT settler friendly. If a settler is in the line of fire damage to the settler is a distinct possibility. In one of my playthroughs I killed both Connie and Lucy Abernathy with Grognak’s Axe when I attacked a raider they were engaging.
The next perk is Armorer which I’ve already discussed and then the Blacksmith perk. Much like the Armorer perk this isn’t an absolute need. Again you’ll often find the weapon mods during the gameplay. And to use some of the mods you’ll need the Science perks anyway. So, I would skip this perk altogether unless you’re building a power armor based melee/unarmed build, which is important to note you cannot use punching weapons in power armor.
At Strength level 5 you’ll find the Heavy Gunner perks. These perks increase the damage output of heavy guns the same way as Iron Fist and Big Leagues. The trouble with the Heavy Gunner perks are twofold. The high investment cost into Strength and the heavy guns themselves. Fundamentally, I find the heavy guns to be lacking. Unlike semi-automatics, snipers, and full auto weapons, heavy guns aren’t diverse. Sure there are some specialty weapons like the Cryolator and the Striker, but these weapons have extremely rare ammo types much like the Fat Man, which I would argue is one of the worst weapons in the game due to its high ammo price and rarity coupled with a poor area-of-effect damage compared to other explosive type weapons like grenades. You can easily launch a mini nuke at three enemies in close proximity to each other and only kill one. I think grenades are much, much better than mini nukes. And much like the Blacksmith perk you’ll need to invest in the Science (and Gun Nut and Demolition Expert) perks to maximize some of the Heavy Guns if you lack the patience for one to drop in the game.
Next is rank 6 in Strength and here you’ll find one of the more unnecessary perks in Fallout 4, the Strong Back perks. These perks are simply not that valuable. “But what if I’m a settlement builder and I’m a big hoarder?” you ask. Well, there’s a better solution for material management called Scrapper under Intelligence, and it costs fewer perk points overall. And with Scrapper you can collect one automatic assault rifle and you’ll get almost a shipment worth of aluminum and various other options. This frees up space for something else. Sure being able to fast travel while over encumbered is handy but there are better options to collect building materials. Skip these perks.
On to Steady Aim perks at 7 Strength. These perks aren’t worth the high investment to get. Some improved hip fire accuracy from all guns sounds great but is more a waste of perk points.
This also goes with level 8 perks Basher. Seriously? Melee weapons already do more melee damage than bashing does. And at level 8 Strength you’ll have plenty of power with a gun bash without these ridiculous perks. If you have your gun with you why do you need to pistol whip the enemy too? Just shoot them.
Rooted is a great situational perk and its rewards bear this out which is why it takes 9 Strength to get it. At the first rank you’ll get plus 25 damage resistance and you’ll also be inflicting 25% more melee or unarmed damage. The next rank gets 50 for each and the final rank may let you automatically disarm any enemy using melee attacks against you. Not sure if the final rank is worth the perk point though. Of course there’s a catch, you cannot be moving, and must be standing still, for this perk to work. But it will work with the fabulous Blitz perk from Agility. If you wanted to be a melee god combine Rooted with Blitz.
And finally Strength rank 10. This is another poor perk. I don’t want to say bad because it works well, but the exceedingly high cost and the situational nature of Pain Train just isn’t a good investment. Yes the perk offers some comic relief to the clunky power armor and it can get you out of sticky situations, but then again, you are in power armor. To make the most of this perk you’ll have a high investment in Intelligence as well to get the Nuclear Physicist perks so your fusion cores last longer because to use Pain Train you’ll need to sprint, which depletes the fusion core at a much accelerated rate. Notable unarmed and melee weapons: Pickman’s Blade (Pickman’s Gallery), Furious Power Fist (Boston Common), Grognak’s Axe (Hubris Comics), 2076 World Series Baseball Bat (Jamaica Plane), Deathclaw Gauntlet (Devil’s Due quest), Rockville Slugger (Diamond City), and Kremvh’s Tooth (Dunwich Borers).
Overall. I belief the Strength attribute the least useful in Fallout 4. You will almost always find better perks under other attributes. So unless you have a specific need (non-sneak, non-VATS characters) for Strength-related perks, save them for late game options.
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