Spoiler Warning S5E17: Best weapon in the Game

By Shamus Posted Tuesday May 17, 2011

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 152 comments

Link (YouTube)

Also: New credits. Yay.

I thought I was done with New Vegas. I really did. But I re-installed it this weekend and began yet another playthrough when I heard there was a vault that I’d completely missed.

One problem I’ve always had with these sandbox games is that I can’t take a break from them. If I take a week off, then when I come back I’m compelled to begin a new game instead of just piecing together what I was doing in the old one. As a result, I have many, many aborted play-throughs under my belt.

Yes, unarmed is still the most powerful weapon class (zuh?) in the game. With a strength of 8 and the bladed gauntlet (available in Primm) it’s impossible for me to hit a foe more than once without abusing a corpse. As a bonus, you don’t have to worry about ammo, which is a real boost to your income and your carry weight. With guns, you need your good gun, and its ammunition. Then you need a backup gun, and its ammunition. You might even carry a third. But if you’re a wasteland pugilist, you can walk away from every shopkeeper with minimal encumbrance. Also, I tend to use VATS with guns to save on ammo, but with fisticuffs I can just jump in and start swinging without bringing the game flow to a halt. It’s also less of a skill-point sponge in the early game. With unarmed, I’m one-shotting raiders with just 40 skill points. With guns, I usually need 60 skill points before I start to feel effective, and it’s not until the 70’s that you can one-shot mooks.

I tried playing as a gunslinger. Got myself the best sidearm I could find, spent a mess of skill points and perks, and wound up with a nice, reasonably competent gunfighter. As opposed to my unarmed game, where I can kill guys faster for half the skill points and without using any perks. I think it was an odd decision to give so much power to the melee skills in a game with such a heavy western theme.

Then again… Ballistic Fist!



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152 thoughts on “Spoiler Warning S5E17: Best weapon in the Game

  1. Psithief says:

    The first thing I heard when I pressed play was Shamus letting go of the push-to-talk button too early.


    1. Josh says:

      “Hi everybody, I’m Shame.”

      Yes, yes he is.

      1. Factoid says:

        I think we should put together a donation fund to get better mics for EVERYONE. The video editing on Spoiler Warning has come a long way, but I think you’re a little handicapped by the 10 dollar headsets everyone is using.

        In a perfect world everyone’s audio would be locally recorded and mixed together after the fact, but that’s probably more than double the amount of work. Just having better mics would go a long way to improving the audio quality of the recording.

    2. Zukhramm says:

      It’s tradition. If I eve hear and introduction where everyone manages to say their complete names I’ll stop watching.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Josh should start using his full name so he could join the interrup par.

  2. Josh says:

    As an aside, I apologize for how over-amped my audio sounds in this episode. I have no idea what happened to it – it’s a new mic but I thought I had it balanced right before recording.

    On the other hand, Rutskarn, Shamus, and Mumbles sat through an hour and a half of it and didn’t say a word, so I’m fairly confident that this is pretty much everyone else’s fault.

    1. rrgg says:

      You guys keep complaining about bad audio but to be honest I’ve never really noticed anything wrong.

      1. BenD says:

        It’s true. The audio is exactly as good as I’d hope for from a recording of a bunch of people sitting around talking about a video game. It’s way better than that of many other LPs out there – though the fact that all four of you are fairly clear speakers helps. (It always bugs me when I’m watching a LP and it sounds like the player is eating chips.)

  3. Vect says:

    If you actually blow up the Securitrons and tell Yes Man about it, you get one of the most hilarious lines of the game. You basically give him an aneurysm and is all “Oh… WOW… You blew it up… That’s gonna make everything more… Challenging! Yeah…”

    I was actually pretty bad with caps. I only managed to get maybe two implants and spent most of the rest of the game with just enough to get by. Never went to the casinos though…

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Before I watch it,I have to correct you:Unarmed is not the strongest combat skill,melee is.With melee you have longer reach,plus stronger weapons.

    1. Josh says:

      Unfortunately the God-King Melee Weapon of Doom Incarnate (otherwise known as the Shiskebab) was made incredibly difficult to get, despite being buffed to be even more powerful than it already was.

      Why the hell did they have to take all of the interesting items out of the crafting system and replace them with bullet recycling?

      1. Piflik says:

        The Thermic Lance is also quite neat…and easier to come by…but I still prefer Unarmed…nothing beats a Ballistic Fist…DONK!

        1. Vipermagi says:

          Use both :D They both work very well with just 50 points or so anyways. Piercing Strike is ridiculously strong.

          1. Deadpool says:

            Btw, Honest Hearts jsut came out and White Foot are carrying Shikabobs everywhere…

            1. James says:

              FUCK DAMIT the PlayStation Store is still down an i cant go immieditly spend £8 on content i’d avoid till im high level (starting again, again, again, again cus i left FalloutNV for a long ass time to play SCII, among others) <– not something i do with Fallout 3 oddly, maby i kinda like the start of NV but dont like 3's start (post escape) maby ive played it too much.

      2. I have no clue – they made such a big deal about crafting so I figured there’d be schematics everywhere, but there’s just a list of really basic stuff, and the only schematics I found were the powder charge, and the other nuka cola recipes and that was from a perk.

  5. Factoid says:

    Which vault was it that you missed? I was curious and went to look up the list of vaults in the game and was surprised that I missed one as well. Vault 19.

    So now I have to play the game again too! I think I might try an unarmed character as well. Never tried that one before.

    1. acronix says:

      Fun fact: My gunslinger ended up using the ballistic fist even though he had something less than 30 points in the skill.

    2. Mumbles says:

      Vault 11. I wouldn’t shut up about it before we recorded this week.

  6. Archaic says:

    speaking of the bladed gauntlet i was only able to get it once in my first play through, the second time i played through he had a different weapon called the mantis gauntlet and even with low strength and unarmed skills Im finding it to one of the funnest weapons in new vegas. aside from the Tesla beaton prototype which while it drains energy ammo like crazy its still fun to use it on death claws… from several feet away at a safe running distance.

  7. james says:

    That part of what really upsets me about this game. I’m not saying that unarmed should be underpowered but its unbalanced. My fist with a spiked glove is doing more that some pristine condition’s plasma canon to the face. I played a energy weapons specialist in my first play through, moded my weapons to the tenth degree, got every perk for it and after a while I was doing pretty good with my amplified, beam splited scoped laser rifle. Than on my next play-through i try pugilist thinking it might be harder, but the combat got 10 times easier with less effort. I’m sorry but with the exception of like the ballistic fist I think my laser gun or plasma gun of doom should do just a bit more more damage.

    1. Khizan says:

      If you played it when it first came out, energy weapons were ludicrously underpowered compared to anything else because they had no way to deal with DT. Even the handguns could get AP ammo.

      Also, unarmed/melee has a TON of perk support when compared to other modes of combat. Hell, at L12 you get a flat -15 DT to all the unarmed/melee attacks. The only ammo with that kind of reduction is AP .306 and AP .50, and that’s sniper rifle ammo that can’t really be spammed into enemies easily.

      The next closest ammo is max charged energy weapon ammo, which is newish from a patch and converts from regular ammo at something like a 4:1 or 3:1 ratio.

      With damage being so easy to tank and instant-healing on stimpaks in normal mode, it’s not surprising at all that unarmed is the beast that it is.

      1. Klay F. says:

        Add that to the fact that Antivenom is weightless and can be made with a campfire, and yet another potentially lethal threat in the game is made toothless.

      2. james says:

        Yah but I have never played normal mode, ever.

  8. Deadpool says:

    To be fair, melee/unarmed weapons were pretty beastily in the original Fallouts too. Getting closer to enemies was harder without a level or two of Bonus Move, but the high damage coupled with low AP cost and knock down abilities made them pretty awesome, just better suited on a sneak specialist…

    1. John R. says:

      Maybe, but they only got really awesome toward the endgame, by which time you could be awesome with anything, and super-premium-awesome with the Turbo Plasma Rifle/Gauss Rifle.

  9. Mark says:

    Could be a Fist of the North Star reference.

    1. Klay F. says:

      Its a good thing I’m not the only one thinking how awesome a Fist of the North Star game could be when combined with VATS and a ballistic fist.

  10. Entropy says:

    SHAMUS. Hold down the talk button for longer when you say Shamus. I swear every episode you’re saying ‘I’m Shame’

    Edit: oops. looks like someone else already pointed this out.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Maybe he actually is ashamed to be a part of this group.

  11. kanodin says:

    This vault is slowly killing me with radiation and I have no rad-x or radaway, I’d better stop to loot the lockers and all the robots for energy cells.

    1. Hitch says:

      Be fair. He was carrying Rad-X.

      Not that he bothered to use any.

      (Then again… maybe he didn’t want to risk getting addicted.)

      1. Klay F. says:

        Its not like RAD-X does any good when you are only getting 1 rad/sec anyway.

        1. Vipermagi says:

          Actually, yes, it does help. The display rounds, but the actual rate does not (well, it does, but not to a whole number).

      2. Raygereio says:

        It’s just 1 rad/s, so it’s not like he’s going to die from it unless he spends a couple of decades in there and he immediatly went to a docter to remove his rads anyway.

        So why would Josh waste that Rad-X when he can sell it instead and work towards getting some caps together for stimpacks?

        1. Dys says:

          Why would you waste chems when you can just soak up all that lovely, lovely radiation? Am I the only one who thinks it’s not a proper game of fallout unless you end up near dead of radiation sickness at least once?

    2. Joel D says:

      … energy cells I don’t need because I’m just punching everything.

      1. Johan says:

        He can sell the energy cells for stimpacks.

        1. bit says:

          But he probably wont.

          1. Jarenth says:

            Well, of course not. What if he runs out?

  12. Dovius says:

    I think Rutskarn is just mad at Josh for the ‘Housecall’ pun because he wanted to make it himself.

  13. Hitch says:

    I got so excited when Josh said he could carry an extra 20 pounds. I was thinking, “Yay! Second incinerator. Can you dual-wield those?”

    1. Raygereio says:

      I think I have a new mod idea.

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I think the workd you were looking for is muling around.

    Wow,disarming a glove?Thats a pretty amazing feat.

    A question springs back to mind:Why did you pick the wild wasteland perk if you arent going to comment on any of the wild locations?

    1. X2-Eliah says:

      You mean one of the four or five ‘wild’ locations throughout the whole game? Face it, there’s barely anything to comment on anyway, except how that perk is quite the letdown.

    2. acronix says:

      The only reason I can think of is that they didn`t like any of the other perks, so they got the most inconsequential one.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well they didnt have to pick the second perk at all.

        And they already stumbled upon one of the locations,and didnt even say anything about it.

        I like the cave of rouses yself.But yes,there arent that many wild locations,which is sad.

        1. Ringwraith says:

          Wild Wasteland tends to be more sutble than you might think, as it tends to change people’s dialogue to make references to stuff more often than not.
          Try charging the Strip’s front gate with it, and you’ll see what I mean (provided you know the thing it’s actually referencing).

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            You mean the robocop and the dalek ones?Sure,those are nice,but still there are too few instances of wild things happening,and they are far apart.

            1. Dude says:

              It would be too much to expect them to provide an entirely new experience to the game for just one perk that people may or may not ever take. We’re not in the old days when these things were monetarily feasible, or in the near future when these things will be computationally free to implement.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                But they couldve made it affect gameplay as well,like they did with black widow for example.Like you get more potent criticals,but also receive more potent criticals too.Or all luck rolls are doubled,both for you and against you.

  15. Dovius says:

    Also, since you have high rads, and the place is irradiated, WHY DONT YOU TAKE THE RAD-X YOUR CARRYING.

  16. Deadpool says:

    Btw, episode like 3 or 4 I remember this conversation:

    “I never understood the point of the LONG fuse dynamite.”

    Then proceed to spend the entirety of the game planting dynamite and people’s pockets and getting cripled because they explode too quickly…

  17. Johan says:

    I think the reason you went to “shunned” and “hated” after you were “vilified” in Cottonwood Cove is because you were wearing Caesar’s Legion faction armor (the Centurion’s getup). I seemed to have the same thing happen to me with the NCR. I think I was Idolized, but in the next to last mission I got to loot some NCR ranger armor, I put it on, and then when I sided with them for the final battle my reputation went to “liked.”

    I’m not sure if that is a bug or a feature.

    There’s a doctor in the Old Mormon Fort who sells and heals. She’s got spikes in her hair, which I sort of found cool, but then I thought “wait a minute, how does anyone here get the hairgel for that?” because some raiders also have wacky hairstyles like that.

    1. Jeff says:

      The disguises are a feature. There are lots of armor that are tagged with this feature, which will set your faction reputations to a set amount depending on the armor.

      1. Johan says:

        I know the disguises themselves are a feature, but any rep you get while IN disguise is supposed to transfer to your rep OUT of disguise, as a loading screen says, but it doesn’t seem to.

        1. Alexander The 1st says:

          Well er…That wouldn’t make much sense. The disguise is meant to get around it, isn’t it?

          1. Johan says:

            Well that’s what the loading screen says, IIRC.

            Could be wrong though.

            All that the disguise does is hides your current reputation, “setting” it to neutral. But if you don a Legion disguise, kill Caesar, and then take it off again your reputation with the Legion should still be hit. What it looks like is that that isn’t happening, it’s applying the rep hits he takes while in Legion costume to his Legion costume, that means that if he wears the Legion disguise again, he can’t walk by passing Legionnaires on the road, making the disguise useless. By the inverse in my example, it meant that it was applying all my good deeds to my NCR disguise, that means that if I had done ALL the NCR quests while wearing a disguise, I would take it off again and the NCR would be all “meh, who the hell are you.”

            Again, I could be all wrong about this, but that’s what it looks like to me.

            1. Jarenth says:

              This would make sense.

    2. Raygereio says:

      “wait a minute, how does anyone here get the hairgel for that?”
      Well, you can easily make hairgel’esque products from stuff lying around in nature.
      A better question would be: “Why did the punk style survive the great war?”

      1. kanodin says:

        For that matter did Fallout ever even have a punk movement?

        1. Johan says:

          I think all the Followers should wear their hair punk-style. It would set them apart and give them a unique “look” that people will immediately trust.

          Although I think the fiends also wear punkish styles… tell you what:
          Punk+Doctor’s Coat=Awesome people, trust them
          Punk+Raider Armor=bad people, avoid them.

          1. It’s totally canon considering Fallout 2. The Tanker was inhabited by punks mainly.

            1. Michael says:

              Punks who, I should note, offer to have a threesome with you and a man who just received his spleen.

              After that, when you save the techie’s girlfriend, they instead wonder if she’ll watch their children. What, no love for the women on the Tanker? If a man who just underwent organ transplant surgery is A-OK, what’s wrong with this woman? Or maybe they just want her to watch their children while they go have that threesome.

              They have extremely strange priorities; I don’t know if I’d trust them.

              And don’t go making the gay joke that Fallout makes about San Francisco – I was playing a female character.

            2. Johan says:

              I just wish all the other Followers in NV had the style. I’m going to level with you, I just love the punk hairstyle, I wish it never went out of fashion.

      2. Klay F. says:

        An even better question would be: Why did punk survive pretty much every post-apocalyptic fiction ever? Its in Mad Max, Waterworld, Fist of the North Star, now the new Fallouts.

        There has to be a better way to give the impression that “These are unruly folk” than to give them all stupid looking mohawks.

        1. Michael says:

          Graham and Paul make the same reference in their Unskippable of Fist of the North Star.

          “We’re gonna level with you – Mad Max happened to the human race.”

          Seems you can just blame Mad Max, then.

    3. Stefano Marone says:

      ancient Celts used ash and urine

      1. Dys says:

        As do the modern ones.

        1. Soylent Dave says:

          Yeah, but they use it as currency now.

          1. Chris B Chikin says:


  18. Jeff says:

    You know, melee in real life tend to be more lethal as well. Police will rather be shot than stabbed, because you’re more likely to die from stab wounds.

    The problem is range. If you get gunned down before you can smack someone, then it doesn’t matter if you can OHKO them.

    Of course, that’s not really an issue because combat isn’t that lethal, which results in melee being “punch in chest, head explodes”.

    1. rrgg says:

      Not really, gunpowder is able to generate way more energy than can possibly be mustered out of a human arm allowing bullets to tear up flesh and shatter bones almost instantly (if you’ve ever seen a bullet being fired into ballistics gel). A lot of serious wounds are survivable if they get treated right away, but if you get shot odds are that you are on the ground wounded and no longer really contributing to the fight.

      1. It depends. Most of the energy of a bullet is wasted–it’s unusual (although certainly not unheard-of) for one shot to do a significant amount of damage. Most of them just pass on through leaving a considerable but not awful hole. Also a great many people with guns are not particularly good shots.

        And then you get the people who somehow manage to inflict lethal wounds on themselves with a plastic fork. Abstract “damage” does not mean much in real life.

        1. rrgg says:

          If someone with a knife stabs at somewhere serious like the heart or the jugular or is able to further agitate the wound and stab multiple times then yes they can produce pretty lethal wounds (though being shot in the heart will kill you just as fast as being stabbed there). Mechanically though bullets are still superior to arrows or a stab. The problem is that you have a dense object of some diameter moving at a high velocity and pushing the flesh out of the way to either side, the entry wound may be small but the inside is likely going to look more like this (http://www.handgunsmag.com/ammunition/HGcorbon_1209A.jpg). Additionally a gun always fires with full force, most blows from a knife fight or even swords, etc. are going to be light or shallow wounds that don’t really stop an attacker (or may not even penetrate if they are wearing tough clothing). In most instances a person with a knife wound is far more likely to keep moving or fighting than someone with a bullet wound.

          1. Jeff says:

            Police training indicates that you open fire on someone with a knife within a certain radius, whereas if the guy has a gun, you wait until he’s actually about to point it at someone.

  19. RTBones says:

    Me, while the Ballistic Fist (DONK!) is certainly powerful, I prefer taking bad guys out from a distance. If I do get in range for a Ballistic Fist (DONK! DONK!) to work, someones trousers usually have dynamite (or another suitable explosive) inserted into them.

    A recent game incident – there is town full or raider-types near Vault 19 (name escapes me at the moment). In any case, I had Cass with me, and I had one of the sniper rifles (a named one, again, name escapes me) with a scope. Crouching, inched forward until I could see a raider. Snipe. That brought a few out looking. Snipe, snipe, snipe. At one point, they saw Cass and started charging. She started firing. Grenade grenade. Boom. Snipe snipe snipe. Raider-types gone. None of the raiders got closer than a long toss.

    1. Von Krieger says:

      The two named sniper-type rifles that I’ve found thusfar are the Ratslayer (varmint rifle) and Gobi Campaign Scout Rifle (sniper rifle).

  20. bit says:

    My current melee playthrough has much the same gameplay style as Josh in this episode; I’ll engage the enemy at range, rush towards them like a madman, and punch them in the face until they have no face to speak of. Then ,I down a few of my 80 (literally) Sasperilla’s and be on my way.

    1. Johan says:

      I’ve noticed this too, in melee/unarmed playthroughs I do more damage, but I also take more damage, and after every fight I eat a couple of food items before moving on, whereas in my current gunslinger game I’m sitting on a huge pile of food and drink because I don’t use them as fast as they accumulate and I don’t want to waste them in case I need them.

      1. Vipermagi says:

        I have never had a playthrough where I don’t end up selling foodstuffs. All you need is the billions of Sarsaparillas everywhere and maybe a few Stims :P

        1. bit says:

          Hell, Sunset Sarsaparilla heals 50 health. It’s all I ever need.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Plus its not irradiated like the rest of the stuff.

      2. Chris B Chikin says:

        Everyone is always talking about the foodstuffs in Fallout as healing items. Admittedly, I’ve only played Fallout 3 but I don’t think I ever carried food. They healed less than stimpacks; they had weight, and most of them were irradiated, so why not just take a whole lot of stims?

        (Also, once you found the outcast base and started trading tech for stims the game was pretty much broken forever. I had about a thousand stimpacks on me and, according to my stats, had only ever used about half that many in the whole game!)

        1. Vipermagi says:

          In NV, Stims are a little more expensive (but hardly significant), but more importantly, don’t appear in every. single. med box. They are notably rarer.

          But they replaced that with the Sarsaparilla, which is also not irradiated. Heal over time, sure, but generally enough to keep you going.

  21. Littlefinger says:

    One thing about my ranged weapon characters is that I keep hoarding weapons in case I need them, if my other weapons break, get disarmed, run out of ammo, or aren’t suitable to the gunfight. For example, in my first playthrough, I ended the game with the goby sniper rifle, a backup rifle (different caliber), a shotgun, an assault rifle, a pistol, and a submachine gun. And the liberator machete. And a dozen plasma grenades. And my companion was carrying a minigun, and Annabelle, and the nuke laucher. You know, just in case.

    (I never used them)

    Which meant that I have Josh’s inventory problem, but out of paranoia instead of “that’s cool”. I need to get myself checked someday.

    or, I’m crazy-prepared when it comes to guns. Like batman.

    1. BenD says:

      I see what you did there, and wonder if Mumbles saw, too.

  22. Gale says:

    With a strength of 8 and the bladed gauntlet

    Pretty sure Unarmed is linked to Endurance, not Strength. Still need high STR for those weapon requirements, ‘course.

    I’ve played Guns users almost exclusively. Close-range encounters aren’t always a breeze, but most enemies get picked off from sniping distance, with sneak-attack criticals. I don’t mind sacrificing a large amount of close-range power in the name of long range one-sided murder, especially when a melee focus means you spend a lot of time closing the distance to punching range, taking hits all the while. Besides, close range is what Veronica and her Ballistic Fist is for, if I’m not using Broken Boone and his all-range-massacre skills.

    1. Littlefinger says:

      Also, with some luck, you can kill giant radscorpions with a low-level ranged character (and lots of bullets). Try doing the same as a melee character. Good luck.

      1. Vipermagi says:

        But why would you when you can just run away as well? The exp gain is piddly, especially compared to the time and bullet investment.

        By the way: Cazadores. Ugh. Powerful poison, strong melee attacks, fast, evasive. The only character I didn’t absolutely loathe them on, was explosives based :p

        1. decius says:

          SMGs for cazadores. Go for a wing to knock ’em down, then the rest of the clip to the body. Take some hits while reloading, and repeat.

          Also, I had no trouble one-shotting mooks with the silenced, scoped varmint rifle. I got a little angry that I could set the render distance out farther than bullets would fly.

          Also, why no love for survival? High survival ups all the food boni, including beer’s strength and all the healing.

      2. bit says:

        Actually, fighting Radscorpions is remarkably easy. I accidentally ended up getting mobbed by them in El Dorado the other day as a melee character, including two giants. I decided I didn’t want to waste the ammo, and didn’t want to ruin my bladed gauntlet, so I unequipped it and fought two giant, eight medium, and two dozen small radscorpions barehanded, and lost only twenty health without getting poisoned. It’s all about the timing; jump in from behind and jump out before they strike, which is very slow.

      3. Dys says:

        As far as I remember the secret to radscorpion demise is a sledgehammer. You can dodge back to avoid their attacks, then land one or two solid hits. They do not like it at all.

      4. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Radscorpions are easy:Just walk backwards and hit them with your stick.Cazadors are the problem,which is why even with a melee build I use q35 on them.

        As for skills,endurance is for unarmed,strength for melee.You gain nothing for high strength with unarmed weapons.

    2. Shamus says:

      Wow. That makes it even worse. My END is only 6.

      1. Johan says:

        From what I thought I understood, Endurance is tied to the Unarmed stat (so if you raise your endurance your unarmed skill goes up), but Strength is tied to the actual combat, the stronger you are the harder you hit with both melee and unarmed weapons (arms for your unarmed skill yay).

        I believe that was how it worked in Fallouts 1 and 2 also.

        1. Gale says:


          Unarmed damage is only governed by the Unarmed stat. Endurance gives bonuses, but it’s not essential, Strength is completely uninvolved, except for weapon requirements. Although, you want a fair amount of endurance for close-combat builds in any case.

  23. Max says:

    Does anyone ever wonder how the Ballistic Fist doesn’t need any ammo?

    1. Even says:

      Well that just about goes for all of the Power Fist weapons in both New Vegas and in Fallout 3. In Fallout 1 & 2 they used microfusion cells as their powersource. It’s still a good question. How DO they function at all?

      1. Ringwraith says:

        I’m guessing it’s a simplification due to having to code a melee-range weapon to use ammunition.
        Also, the power fists are more pneumatic fists now, which could explain the lack of ammo usage, not very well, but kinda.

        1. Max says:

          Decide what type of ammo the fist weapon uses. Write a line of code so that when the attack button is pushed the ammo decreases by 1. If the ammo type equals 0, do a weaker punch attack that consumes no ammo. Making a weapon consume ammo shouldn’t take amazing feats of coding. If that’s the actual reason they don’t use ammo, then that’s pretty sad.

          1. Shamus says:

            “Write a line of code”

            There is nothing more dangerous than a non-coder who designs software. :)

            See, weapons are most likely divided into classes, with each class having its own behaviors. This gives artists a nice “template” to work from. They can drop a new weapon into the game by just selecting a template and plugging in the details. “This is a melee weapon. It has the following weapon model, sound effect, damage, refire rate, etc.” This lets an artist drop new weapons into the game without needing to get the programmers involved.

            That’s great as long as everything in a class behaves the same way. If you suddenly want to go back and make one weapon behave differently from all other weapons in that class, you can either make a new sub-class or you have to add it to the base class and then alter every single instance of that class to not use the feature. So, if you add ammo usage to unarmed weapons, you have to go and change all other unarmed weapons to NOT use ammo.

            It’s actually something a good coder would discuss with a few other people on the team. Will we have other ammo-burning unarmed weapons? Is this a one-time thing? Should we make this same change to the melee weapon class, for consistency?

            It’s totally do-able, and not really difficult. But it is far, far from “write one line of code”. Not if you want to do it right.

            1. Max says:

              Okay, I should have known better considering that I’m in college for software engineering, but in my defense nothing we’ve worked on is really game related. One line of code was a slight exaggeration, but I was under the mistaken assumption that something like, make a number go down would be trivial to implement. I guess it was slightly more complicated than I had thought. Thanks for the explanation.

              1. Shamus says:

                Well, you WERE right that it’s not HARD.

                When you go out into the world as a software engineer, beware of anyone who proposes “one line of code” changes. They are preparing to torment you.

                1. krellen says:

                  We call this the “Standard Code Rant”.

                2. rrgg says:

                  I think a better question would be why on earth anyone would want a gun that can only be fired by punching.

                  1. Dys says:

                    Because their aim is really bad?
                    Can’t think of a better way to guarantee a point blank hit.

                  2. Ringwraith says:

                    Gives you punches a little more… punch, so to speak.

                  3. Simon Buchan says:

                    I’m… not sure I understand this question. Did you mean “that can *not* be fired by punching”?

            2. Steve C says:

              Wouldn’t unarmed weapons already have ammo for the template reason you already stated?

              For example I’d imagine the standard template for all weapons would include
              -special RNG effects
              -rate of fire
              -reload time
              -weapon swap time
              -clip size
              -ammo consumed per use

              The last one wouldn’t be a 0 1 yes/no binary variable. Something like an oozie would consume multiple ammo per button press. A double barrel shotgun would consume 2 ammo.

              A baseball bat would have all of those stats. “Ammo consumed per use” would just be 0 and clip size would be 1. At least that’s the logical way I’d create the original weapon template. It would be trivial to include ammo for a “Ballistic Fist” weapon if the template was properly designed from the start.

              1. GTRichey says:

                Most likely you’re most generic class would just detail what a weapon is (everything from unarmed to energy weapons to explosives all must have these variables).

                A ‘Weapon’ class could be as follows:

                Rate (not necessarily Rate of Fire since unarmed/melee don’t fire exactly… but this is just a matter of wording)
                Draw Rate
                Holster Rate
                Holdout (this would likely be 3 potential values say 0==cannot holdout 1==basic holdout 2==advanced holdout)
                Rate of Decay

                Reasons for not including things like range, ammo type and ammo used is because of the large number of weapons that wouldn’t use these. For example unarmed weapons having a value for range would be rather useless since they’re all identical in this respect. Màªlée weapons don’t need an ammo type because they don’t use any ammo. It would be fairly trivial to add a variable to some weapons but not others in code but odds are that due to the number of weapons this was streamlined by the creation tools. The creation tools may not account for the idea that you might want to have a màªlée weapon that fires 12/20 gauge cells. It could be that once you specify that a weapon is a màªlée weapon that the creation tools offer no way to alter the template that specifies what a màªlée weapon is (there’s no reason that it couldn’t but it’s entirely possible that they simply didn’t allow for this when they made the creation tools.

              2. ben says:

                do you mean “Uzi”? The Israeli smg designed by, and named after, Uziel Gal?

            3. RTBones says:

              ( shudders )

              “Write one line of code” is almost as bad as a program manager saying, “We can do that easy. It’s just software,” without having the slightest idea of what he just signed up to.

          2. GTRichey says:

            It’s not just adding ammo. You need separate hit/miss logic for the projectile and since it’s a shotgun damage calculation is significantly increased. As illogical as it is, I can’t fault them for not making the thing use ammo. If it bugs you that much you can assume there’s some in game justification you’ve missed (easy to do… I doubt anyone will really see absolutely everything in the game) or you can find a mod that makes it take ammo (but probably makes the fist unusable without ammo).

            Like Shamus says as well, it is likely that every weapon is based on a generic class that allows for easy insertion.

  24. Vekni says:

    The Paladin Toaster, in Black Rock Cave, has been my “holy shit” go to fist weapon of choice.

  25. B.J. says:

    What’s annoying about melee is the good perks such as piercing strike, ninja, and slayer all require high skill levels in multiple disciplines (unarmed, melee, sneak, and several high stats), whereas a ranged player is pretty much all set with Guns.

    On the other hand, melee is still strong without those perks. So whoop-de-do.

    There are some battles where charging in through a hail of gunfire to punch the enemy *will* kill you unless you chug soda and shoot stims like crazy.

    From what I remember reading from the developers of Fallout when they were talking about Van Buren was that they wanted all the weapon styles to be more balanced and how they failed in Fallout 2. They added high level special attacks and weapons like the mega power fist with top-tier damage, but no matter what you still were pretty much toast charging at anyone with an automatic weapon. Thus with Van Buren they wanted to make guns more rare and melee combat more relevant again.

    That was years ago though so who knows. New Vegas certainly doesn’t skimp on guns at all, but they did succeed in making melee combat styles more than a novelty.

  26. Max says:

    The title “Best Weapon in the Game” refers to the 12.7 submachine gun he used briefly, and has nothing at all to do with the ballistic fist, right?

    1. Peter H. Coffin says:

      used briefly and to nearly no effect whatsoever….

  27. JPH says:

    Oh my god… Am I the only one here who had no idea about that whole implants thing before watching this episode?

    Damn, that would have helped on my first playthrough.

    1. Max says:

      I didn’t find out about implants until my second playthrough, and it really doesn’t make that big a difference. Although I guess it depends what difficulty you play on, but on normal, you can easily beat the game with no implants.

      1. acronix says:

        Me too! But since the economy is so broken, I ended up with tons of money and nothing to spend it on. Once I found about the implants, I suddenly became poor.

    2. Museli says:

      The implants are the reason I break the bank of all the casinos every time I play. I collect implants like Shamus collects Sugar Bombs.

    3. Hitch says:

      I ran into that doctor and found out about implants early on in my first game while I was still struggling to get enough caps for the Strip credit check. By the time I had any caps to spare, I forgot about her again.

  28. Rayen says:

    7:50 GEt mysterious stranger… screww finesse… NOOOOO!

    1. Hitch says:

      I can’t imagine Josh taking Mysterious Stranger. He doesn’t use VATS enough to make it worthwhile.

      1. Rayen says:

        true i suppose but i’m remembering season 2 and all the laughable crap the mysterious stranger did in that LP.

        1. bit says:

          Remember when Josh accidentally scored a critical hit on the Mysterious Stranger? That was fun.

          1. Peter H. Coffin says:

            And tMS’s music continued to play at appropriate times, while Stranger himself was dead for a while…. True class there.

      2. Yeah, this game really does have far less reason to use VATS than Fallout 3, where it was pretty much useful all the time. In this the guns are actually worthwhile and can hit things, so real time is way more viable. Because of that I’ve never gotten Mysterious Stranger or Miss Fortune, I don’t even know what the latter does.

        1. bit says:

          Miss Fortune doesn’t do a tonne of damage (a fair amount, but nothing instant-kill) but instead cripples and knocks down targets. Ultimately less useful than the stranger, but she shows up more frequently as a balancer. Also, her model is really cool.

          1. Johan says:

            Her strikes are also area of effect. I’ve had 3 deathclaws knocked on their asses from a single Miss Fortune.

          2. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Thats why you get them both early,acquire their perks that make them more frequent,and youre set.You can then go through the whole wasteland with the lowliest of weapons.

    2. bit says:

      I always get Miss Fortune first, myself. She’s not as useful (though more common) but her character model is cooler.

      1. TSED says:

        I actually used the console command to remove Miss Fortune.

        See, whenever she showed up, the freeze-frame ended up not ending for me, while ending for the enemies. In short, in the 7 or so times she appeared, it immediately resulted in a reload. I hated it.

  29. Klay F. says:

    I kinda wanna see a slugfest between a wasted Reginald and the Legendary Deathclaw.

    1. Ringwraith says:

      It would end with his death very quickly, as the deathclaw gloats over its one-hit kills.

    2. GTRichey says:

      He’s still far too low level even with the ballistic fist… I’ve been taking them on and while one is manageable once you’re 20+ there’s never just one.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Id like to see this one just for laughs.Though I know already how it will end.

  30. ProudCynic says:

    Personally, I prefer the All-American and a riot shotgun to the ballistic fist, although that may just be because I’m boring and always go with a small guns character.

    Also, I just had a fun image in my head of Caesar walking in to the clinic with his cape and armor and everything, followed by his solemn frat boy guards. He strides confidently up to the counter and then, his face blushing, quietly telling the doctor that “it” has flared up again. I’m sure they must do more than just sell cybernetics…

  31. CalDazar says:

    You need a reason to horde?
    My heaping mass of pre-war money is a reward all by itself.

    Anyway I think a lot of people are going around thinking “I’m so amazingly rich”, but the moment you start buying stuff you will realise that it takes a long time to build up money, and it’s very easy to buy all you can and still leave a shop wanting more.

    FNV makes it easy to meet your needs but hard to meet your wants.

  32. Dys says:

    My playthrough prior to my current one was a pure bruiser, melee and armour all the way. I basically walked through everything, cleared out each casino simply because I didn’t feel like giving up my weapons. Was laughably simple.

    Then I tried to attack Deathclaws. Bear in mind I had max rank toughness, Remnant power armour, implants, my DT was around 48, my health over 500. Oh, and I was using Med-X as well. I got brutally cut up, even one on one, and the Mother in the quarry actually managed to one shot me. Unarmed and melee may be op, but you try them on a Deathclaw and you are in for a world of pain.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I can kill a deathclaw 1 on 1 easily with my melee build.The prolbem is that theres rarely just one,and while I deal massive amounts of damage to the one,the second deals massive amounts of damage to me.So its always drugs all the way and a ranged weapon for good measure.

      1. GTRichey says:

        There’s nothing quite like punching a deathclaws face to watch it go flying back. If you use the unlimited companion it makes it trivial to clear out an entire area (I find it fun to use it because the combat really isn’t the biggest draw to me and it allows you to open up all their quests easier).

  33. Vect says:

    Oh and fun fact: Honest Hearts reveals Caesar’s real name: Edward Sallow.

  34. Andrew B says:

    The whole melee/unarmed vs ranged thing bothered me for aaaaaaaaages in games. Not just FO, but pretty much any shooter post Quake II era as well. What on earth, I thought, is going on when I can unload a whole clip of ammo from [default assault rifle] into [generic bad dude]’s face and he’s still standing, but if I club him round the chops with the butt of the gun he hits the deck like a sack of spuds? In the words of the internet, wtf?

    Thankfully, some kind soul pointed out that it’s a risk/reward balance and I’ve since been able to let it go. Basically, as others have mentioned above, it’s a lot harder (usually) to get into melee range without getting blasted to bits. (See any fiend attempting to rush a guns focused character.) Thus, any melee hit is given a greater power to compensate and produce a rough balance. However, at least in NV, getting in to melee range isn’t that hard for the player. Mooks tend to be dreadful shots and relatively weak melee combatants. Also, the player often gets to control the engagement distance to some degree or other, giving them an additional boost. All this shakes out to an impression of a broken melee system. I suspect that if you were fighting other players, however, the two would roughly balance.

    On a hydra note, I’m pretty sure it’s better than a doctor’s bag, at least on hardcore. A doctor’s bag will fully heal one limb or do minor healing to all limbs. A dose of hydra will, if I recall correctly, pretty much fully heal all your limbs. (Although it does it over time, rather than instantly.) As for it’s addictive qualities, I suppose whatever weird shit it does to your body to make you heal/regrow limbs must be physiologically addictive. Remember, it doesn’t have to be good to be addictive. I don’t think anyone’s ever said “gosh, I haven’t subjected my lungs to an interesting melange of cancer causing agents for a couple of hours and I’m desperate for a cigarette!”

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      There was one interesting show on…discovery I think…about the lethality of guns.Basically there was a fight between the police and two(or three?)robbers,and it lasted for quite a while,with the robbers sustaining heavy injuries(one even had a head wound),as well as the police.So bullets arent really insta-kills everyone thinks them to be.

      Then again,most players have trained themselves to shoot mostly in the head,which should be lethal 999 times out of 1000.But,like you said,its a balance thing.

      Also,this is a game where you have weapons that shoot super heated plasma,that can melt a ton of flesh that is deathclaw,so its even more ridiculous.But at least its fun.

  35. ShiveTheDestroyer says:

    OMG. I just came here from playing the Honest Hearts DLC. It has a tribal character named “Two-Bears-High-Fiving.” My day has been made. Just thought I’d share that with you all.

    1. Vect says:

      And funny enough, he even has a Yao Guai Gauntlet.

  36. BenD says:

    I found the regenerative implant to be useful on hardcore mode (I know, I know, I am not the first to say this, but I’m saying it anyway) – while it won’t do all of your healing for you, it does reduce the amount of healing stuff you have to use (and thus carry around). In Dead Money it is very helpful.

    1. Von Krieger says:

      Yeah, I got the Monocyte implant just before heading in and picked up the Solar Powered perk because I was quickly running low on HP from that friggin’ maze of a place.

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