This article will discuss the optimal Pistol build for Fallout: New Vegas, focusing on the main attributes, skills, and gear. By following this guide, you can make informed decisions and progress through the game in the most effective way possible.
NCR Ranger Build: A Background Story
Before diving into the build, it’s essential to establish some background and role-playing elements. These not only add depth but also enhance your immersion and overall enjoyment of the game.
You assume the role of an esteemed NCR Veteran Ranger, renowned throughout the NCR for your expertise in long-range and unarmed combat. This unique skill set allows you to handle various combat situations efficiently. Close-range encounters are no issue; a few swift strikes can incapacitate foes, allowing you to finish them off with your trusty firearms.
After the arduous battle at Hoover Dam, you decide it’s time to retire. Having witnessed countless senseless bloodshed, it all seems futile. Seeking a change, you find work as a courier, initially a perfect fit. However, a fateful encounter involving a mysterious package leads to an ambush by individuals associated with the notorious Great Khans, orchestrated by a man in a distinctive checkered suit.
Though you’re shot in the head, a kind-hearted doctor named Doc Michel manages to save your life. Unfortunately, the injury impairs your ranger skills and leaves you with little remaining. But the Ranger’s intuition remains intact. Driven by a desire for revenge against the individual responsible for your predicament, you reconnect with the NCR. Their access to top-tier equipment is an enticing incentive, but you commit to aid them solely in the defense of Hoover Dam.
As you embark on your quest to find the person who shot you, you inevitably become entangled in the ongoing conflict between the NCR and the Legion. Your unwavering dedication to the republic’s values fuels your disdain for the Legion, whom you regard as enemies. As you slowly regain your skills and senses, you take delight in making the Legionaries pay for the unnecessary bloodshed they have caused.
Starting the Game
Now, let’s delve into some recommendations for the Ranger build during the initial stages of the game. Remember, this section focuses solely on the early game. Read on for guidance on progressing through the game and creating the ideal endgame build.
Here’s how we recommend distributing your attribute points to maximize your performance and obtain the necessary equipment:
Strength: 6 – This attribute allows you to wield most weapons effectively, particularly the Anti-Materiel Rifle (GRA) and Ranger Sequoia. As a ranger, you excel in close-range combat, delivering substantial damage with your fists.
Perception: 7 – Sniping requires exceptional spotting skills. Though your injury may have affected your touch, your perceptiveness remains essential.
Endurance: 8 – Countless hours lying in deserts or surviving in isolated outposts have developed your endurance.
Charisma: 3 – Being talkative and persuasive has never been your strong suit. Tactical discussions with comrades are more meaningful than idle small talk.
Intelligence: 5 – Your education within the NCR military was decent but not extensive enough for clerical work. Combat has always been your true calling.
Agility: 6 – Although your injury slightly diminished your agility, it hasn’t hindered your ability to handle weapons.
Luck: 5 – Surviving a shot to the head undoubtedly qualifies as good fortune.
Choose the following three skills at the beginning of the game:
Guns: As an NCR Ranger Veteran, you excel in ranged weapon combat. Any firearm in your hands becomes a deadly instrument.
Sneak: Understanding the importance of stealth, you can silently eliminate opponents with your hands or dispatch enemy leaders from advantageous positions.
Unarmed: Close combat is another area where your training shines. Fearlessly engaging enemies at short range, you exploit their vulnerabilities, leaving them paralyzed.
Traits are optional but can significantly impact gameplay. Choose up to two from the following:
Skilled: A low intelligence score can be offset by this trait, which grants a +5 boost to all skills. It slightly diminishes XP gain, but pairing it with the Well Rested perk can compensate for the reduction.
Built to Destroy: This trait increases weapon damage but accelerates weapon decay. If you invest points in the Repair skill, you can easily maintain your weapons.
Wild Wasteland: This trait introduces unique and offbeat encounters in the wasteland.
Early Game Tips
Consider the following tips to ease your early game experience:
Use any available weapon: In the early stages, having access to any weapon is crucial. Don’t be picky; use whatever you find. The early Courier’s Stash DLC provides useful options like the Mercenary’s Grenade Rifle and Weathered 10mm pistol.
Main quest progression: Unless you’re exploiting game mechanics and prefer an authentic experience, we recommend progressing through the main story until you reach Novac. Along the way, you’ll acquire two companions, ED-E in Primm City (reconstructed using scrap parts found at Lone Wolf Radio) and Boone in Novac (after completing his quest and assisting him). These companions significantly enhance your gameplay, making it more enjoyable and manageable. Moreover, Novac provides you with a personal room for storing loot, streamlining scavenging activities throughout the game.
Choose your path: After reaching Novac, you have the freedom to decide your next course of action.
Progression and Final Ranger Build
Now, let’s dive into the progression of the build and how it should look once it’s completed. We’ll also offer tips and directions to optimize your performance and fully explore the build’s potential.
Here’s how your attributes should look once you’ve maximized them and obtained the best gear in the game:
Strength: 9 (+2 from Reinforced Spine in Old World Blues DLC, +1 from New Vegas Clinic implant)
Perception: 8 (+1 from New Vegas Clinic implant)
Endurance: 9 (+1 from New Vegas Clinic implant)
Charisma: 4 (+1 from New Vegas Clinic implant)
Intelligence: 6 (+1 from New Vegas Clinic implant)
Agility: 10 (+1 from New Vegas Clinic implant, +1 from Divide Survivor perk, +2 from Intense Training perk)
Luck: 6 (+1 from New Vegas Clinic implant)
Here’s the recommended skill progression for the NCR Ranger Build, ensuring you acquire all necessary skills. You can still allocate 3-5 points per level to other skills without any issues.
Guns: Maintain this skill at 90 (except science and lockpicking, as they are crucial for accessing valuable loot). Gain the additional 10 points from skill books in the Mojave Wasteland.
Repair: Reach a level of 70 to unlock the Hand Loader perk, a valuable asset.
Sneak: Maintain this skill at 50 initially, increasing it incrementally to enhance your stealth capabilities.
Lockpick: Aim for a skill level of 50 to unlock the ability to open average difficulty doors and containers.
Guns: Raise this skill to 70 to further boost your weapon damage.
Unarmed: Increase this skill to 60 to unlock valuable perks.
Sneak: Further enhance your sneaking ability by increasing this skill to 70.
Guns: Maximize your effectiveness with ranged weapons by raising this skill to 90.
Unarmed: Reach a skill level of 70 to unlock the Paralyzing Palm perk.
Lockpick: Elevate this skill to 75 to gain access to hard difficulty doors and containers.
Sneak: Maximize your sneak skill by reaching a level of 90.
Guns: Continue improving your weapon damage by maximizing this skill to 90.
Unarmed: Cap off your unarmed skills by reaching a level of 90.
After reaching this point, you’re free to allocate your skill points based on your playstyle and individual preferences.
Here’s a list of recommended perks and the levels at which you should acquire them. Keep in mind that players may choose to obtain these perks in different orders according to their personal preferences.
Level 2: Rapid Reload – Enables faster weapon reloading, particularly useful in the early game when enemies may require multiple shots to defeat.
Level 4: Educated – This perk is highly recommended at an early stage (level 4) as it provides two skill points per level up, accumulating significant benefits throughout the game.
Level 6: Hand Loader – This valuable perk, obtained early, increases ammunition recovery chances, allowing you to save resources.
Level 8: Lady Killer/Black Widow/Confirmed Bachelor/Cherchez La Femme – Select the perk that aligns best with your character’s personality and enjoy the bonus damage and dialogue options it offers.
Level 10: Finesse – Gain a +5% critical chance, enhancing your precision and overall effectiveness.
Level 12: Silent Running – This perk reduces the chances of detection while sneaking, enabling better positioning and surprise assaults.
Level 14: Intense Training – Boost your base stats by selecting the +1 Agility option, enhancing your overall weapon handling capabilities.
Level 16: Sneering Imperialist – As a seasoned NCR Ranger, you hold disdain for raiders and small-time individuals seeking unwarranted attention.
Level 18: Better Criticals – Increase your critical damage with weapons by 50%, delivering devastating blows to enemies.
Level 20: Strong Back – Your military background emphasizes the importance of carrying capacity, allowing you to haul an additional 50 lbs of loot.
Level 22: Paralyzing Palm – A 30% chance to paralyze enemies when using VATS attacks. Exploit this to immobilize foes before delivering decisive headshots.
Level 24: Super Slam! – Your melee attacks can now knock down enemies, incapacitating them effectively.
Level 26: Cowboy (optional) – If desired, this perk amplifies revolver damage, assisting in dispatching foes swiftly. Requires Melee Weapons skill level 45.
Level 28: Bloody Mess – Enjoy a 5% damage increase and a visually gory effect where slain enemies splatter their surroundings. Note that some players may find this too graphic.
Level 30: Light Step – Your combat experience enables you to spot amateurish traps, mines, and other dangerous devices with ease.
Level 32: Tunnel Runner – Move faster while sneaking, granting a tactical advantage in various encounters.
Level 34: Jury Rigging – Vast weapon knowledge allows you to repair items using similar counterparts, ensuring durability and versatility.
Level 36: Quick Draw – Swiftly switch between weapons, enabling adaptability and versatility in combat scenarios.
Level 38: Slayer – Your melee combat prowess allows you to strike enemies faster, significantly reducing their threat.
Level 40: Intense Training – As you regain your NCR veteran experience, increase your Agility by +1, further enhancing your weapon handling abilities.
Level 42: Grim Reaper’s Sprint – Though NCR Rangers rarely use VATS with sniper rifles, this perk proves effective in close-range combat against swiftly moving targets.
Level 44: Living Anatomy – Your extensive combat experience affords you knowledge of human anatomy, effectively increasing your damage output by 5%.
Level 46: Alertness – Stand still, and your Perception increases by 2. This perk aligns perfectly with the NCR Ranger roleplay.
Level 48: Toughness – Years of battle-hardened experience have toughened you against damage, reducing its impact.
Level 50: Thought You Died – This perk would be the optimal choice, but if unavailable, Just Lucky I’m Alive or Ain’t Like That Now serve as suitable alternatives.
Consider the following general tips to enhance your overall gameplay:
- Start the Old World Blues DLC at level 15: We highly recommend initiating this DLC for the valuable +2 Strength bonus upon completion. To begin, visit the Mojave Drive-in at night and trigger the associated quest. This approach allows you to bypass the Weapon Handling perk and allocate perk points more effectively.
Here are some gear recommendations tailored to the Ranger build:
For long-range combat:
Anti-Materiel Rifle (GRA): The most powerful sniper rifle in the game. While its ammo may be expensive, a sneak critical is usually enough to eliminate most enemies.
Gobi Campaign Scout Rifle: This high DPS sniper rifle serves as an excellent primary combat choice against ordinary enemies.
Christine’s CoS Silencer Rifle: This silenced sniper rifle excels in stealth-focused gameplay.
Ratslayer: An early-game sniper rifle that is relatively easy to acquire.
Ranger Sequoia: The most powerful single-shot pistol in the game. Not only is it an absolute blast to use, but it also fits perfectly within the narrative, as it is wielded by NCR Veteran Rangers as a reward for their loyal service.
A Light Shining in Darkness: Arguably the best pistol in the game. While it may not have the highest damage, its second-highest DPS and the ability to use .45 Super (Hand Load) ammo, which reduces enemy Damage Threshold by 4, make it a formidable choice.
Consider the following armor options:
NCR Ranger Combat Armor: The ultimate goal for this build, offering top-tier protection within the NCR faction (excluding power armor).
Elite Riot Gear: Although it lacks the “NCR” faction effect, it closely resembles NCR armor and provides impressive stat boosts.
Combat Armor, Reinforced Mark 2: The reinforced version of basic combat armor provides even greater defense.
NCR Ranger Patrol Armor: A mid-tier NCR armor that provides decent protection without any special effects.
Combat Armor: This faction-neutral armor provides reliable damage threshold.
NCR Trooper Armor: This base NCR armor offers some protection and activates the “NCR” faction.
Consider these helmet options:
1st Recon Beret: This is unequivocally the best helmet for maximizing DPS, granting the highest bonus of the three headwear options. Wear it during daytime explorations or outdoor activities.
Elite Riot Gear Helmet: Optimal for night operations, providing enhanced sight while sneaking, making it easier to spot enemies.
Combat Helmet, Reinforced Mark 2: A standard helmet with high damage threshold, offering additional protection.
Although optional due to roleplaying considerations, you may consider the following gear:
Atomic-Valence Tri-Radii-Oscillator: This piece of advanced technology grants health regeneration, +1 Endurance, and additional damage threshold. It requires the Old World Blues DLC.
Valence Radii-Accentuator: Similar to the Atomic-Valence Tri-Radii-Oscillator, this item grants health regeneration and +1 Endurance, but with a lower damage threshold. It is a less potent version of the Atomic-Valence Tri-Radii-Oscillator. It also requires the Old World Blues DLC.
Thank you for exploring the NCR Ranger build guide for Fallout: New Vegas. We’ve covered essential aspects such as the game’s early stages, perk progression, and optimization. This comprehensive guide aims to ensure you stay on track in this vast game.
If you have any questions or need further clarification, please feel free to leave a comment.