Fallout New Vegas Special
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Fallout New Vegas – Best skills to level up first

Perfect your build by choosing the best skills.

Creating a character is one of the hardest parts of starting a new Fallout New Vegas playthrough. Choosing your initial set of stats and Traits is hard enough, but then you need to decide which skills are worth leveling up during the early hours of the game.

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The first few hours of Fallout New Vegas (one of the best Fallout games) can make or break your build since there are so many easy quests that reward you with a ton of XP, and you can earn a surprising amount of skill points before you even leave the starting town of Goodsprings. If you want to be overpowered by the time you reach the titular city of New Vegas, you’ll need to have a good understanding of how each of the game’s skills works and which ones are worth investing in.

All Skills in Fallout New Vegas Explained

There are 13 skills in Fallout New Vegas. Each of them determines your character’s proficiency with certain weapon archetypes or social skills.

SkillAffected AbilitiesSPECIAL Stat
BarterAffects buying and selling prices at vendors. Can also be used to negotiate better quest rewards.Charisma
Energy WeaponsAffects proficiency with weapons like Laser Rifles and Plasma Rifles.Perception
ExplosivesAffects proficiency with explosives like grenades and missiles.Perception
GunsAffects overall proficiency with firearms with the exception of laser, plasma, and other nonstandard guns.Agility
LockpickAffects your ability to pick locks.Perception
MedicineAffects your proficiency with medical items like Stimpaks and Doctor’s Bags.Intelligence
Melee WeaponsAffects your proficiency with melee weapons like bats and swords.Strength
RepairAffects your proficiency at repairing weapons and armor and also crafting ammunition.Intelligence
ScienceAffects your proficiency at hacking computer terminals, crafting energy ammunition, and crafting chems like Hydra and TurboIntelligence
SneakAffects your ability to remain hidden during combat and steal without being detectedAgility
SpeechAllows you to persuade others to receive better rewards, avoid combat, and achieve alternate quest outcomes.Charisma
SurvivalAllows you to cook new recipes and craft unique consumablesEndurance
UnarmedAffects your proficiency at fighting with your bare fistsEndurance

Which Skills Should You Level Up in New Vegas?

Before we get into the best Fallout New Vegas skills, there are a handful that you should definitely ignore unless you have a very specific build in mind. Unarmed is useless outside of very specific scenarios, and the same goes for Survival since you rarely get the opportunity to cook your own meals and craft at campfires and the stuff you can buy from vendors tends to be more effective anyway.

Speech is widely agreed to be the best overall skill in Fallout New Vegas since you can talk your way out of some of the game’s toughest fights and get access to special gear and quest rewards just by picking special dialogue options. Guns is also a strong best since you do a lot of shooting in New Vegas. If you prefer laser or plasma weapons, then Energy Weapons is a solid alternative.

Fallout New Vegas Player Attacking Robots1

Lockpick and Science are also typically involved in most Fallout New Vegas builds since you’ll find locked containers and terminals in basically every building in the game. Science tends to be a safer investment since there are more dialogue options associated with it and it has more uses than just hacking terminals. Plus, quite a few locked safes have terminals connected to them that you can hack, bypassing the need for Lockpick entirely.

By the end of your Fallout New Vegas playthrough, you’ll have a ton of points in every major stat so you won’t be locked out of too many things based on your early game choices. Once your New Vegas playthrough comes to an end, though, you’ll need to move on to another game in the series. If you just watched the Fallout show, there are some great games to play after watching it.

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Diego Perez
Currently serving as a Senior Staff Writer at PC Invasion, Diego Perez has been writing about video games since 2018, specializing in live service games like Destiny and Final Fantasy XIV. His work is featured at publications like Game Rant and Attack of the Fanboy (where he served as Associate Editor), but PC Invasion is home to his best work. When he's planning content or writing guides, he's yelling about Ape Escape or grinding Lost Sectors in Destiny. Plus, he has a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunication Media Studies for Texas A&M University.