We discussed the consolidation of skills in this game. This is a rare case where I like that some of the skills have been collapsed.
In a desperate wasteland with few tools and no sterilization, the difference between “first aid” and “doctor” is very, very hazy. Really, one is a sub-discipline of the other. So merging them was good.
As I said in the show, I thought merging “guns” and “big guns” was pretty good. Keeping them separate for reasons of logic was fine – I don’t expect practicing with a six-shooter to impart meaningful knowledge on the use of a rocket launcher. But from a gameplay perspective it kind of sucked. In Fallout, Using big guns without investing skill points in them was suicide, but it was really hard to put all of those delicious skill points into such a situational weapon. Especially since you’d need to be proficient with some sort of backup weapon for when foes invade your personal space.
As I said, I dislike that “unarmed” and “melee” are different skills. I know they’re not the same thing, but as with “first aid” and “doctor”, one seems like a specialization of the other. Brass knuckles are melee weapons, after all.
Maybe an alternate solution would be to have some sort of synergy bonus between related skills. Instead of just merging all of the different weapon skills, you can have them level together. You get a point of melee for every two points you put into unarmed, and vice-versa. The various types of guns could have similar relationships. Speech and barter might be more loosely related – one point gained for every four points gained of the other. (Or whatever.) Of course, this would unbalance the game so the skill point gains would need to be re-worked, which is a good reason for not doing it. But it’s fun to think about different ways to simulate these things.
In my own play-through, I always, always took the “Good Natured” perk. It takes away 5 skill points from all weapons skills, but gives 5 skill points to Barter, Medicine, Repair, Science, and Speech. Since I don’t use more than one weapon type, I’m just giving up 5 points in my main weapon skill to gain 25 points in a bunch of stuff that I do use.