Perception: Determines when red markers appear on your compass(which are threats) and it affects the skills Explosives, Lockpick, and Energy Weapons. You need a perception of 6 to receive the Friend of the Night perk, the Sniper Perk, the Light Step perk, the Better Criticals Perk, and the Infiltrator perk. You need a perception less than 10 but greater than 1 to take the Four Eyes Trait and a perception less than 10 to take the perception implant.
My view: Perception affects some good skills, but that's not what you look for in a attribute. You look at the things that it affects that you can't raise in game, and its perks. For perception, this is the red markers appearing on your compass. Now this isn't overly useful since with the new iron sights you don't need to get that close to get a sneak attack outside of VATS, and if you want to know if there are any enemies nearby in a certain direction just press the VATS button like crazy. That being said, Perception affects some good perks, namely Sniper and Better Criticals.
Final verdict: I'd start out with a perception of 5. All the good perks in perception require at least 6 points in it, and you can raise it by one point with the Perception implant. If you really like seeing those red markers then just put on a hat. Perception can be raised temporarily more than any other attribute in the game.
Endurance: Determines how many implants you can receive, your initial health, how much health you gain per level(however, this is retrospective, meaning if you raise your endurance by one in game, you'll have the same amount of health you would've had if you started out the game with that level in endurance), your poison and rad resistance, and your total fatigue(Fatigue is nonfatal damage. If your fatigue reaches 0 you will become unconscious. It's an invisible stat so I can't give you the numbers,however some weapons like boxing gloves affect fatigue more instead of health.) Endurance also affects the skills of Survival and Unarmed. You need at least 5 points in endurance for the perks Lead Belly, Rad Resistance, and Strong Back. You need 6 points for the perks Stonewall, Life Giver, and Long Haul. Finally, you need 7 points for the perks Solar Powered and Rad Absorption. You need an endurance less than 10 to receive the endurance implant.
My view: Since Endurance affects the number of implants you can get(there are 9 total implants so don't start the game with an endurance of 10, and the endurance implant does not raise the number of implants you can receive) putting a point in endurance is like getting an extra attribute point somewhere else or to improve other things. Add the fact that it affects your total health, your poison and rad resistances, and fatigue, and there is absolutely no reason not to start with a high endurance. Anyway, if you still need convincing, here's a chart of the differences in health and poison and radiation resistance per point in endurance.
Points in Endurance|Hit Points|Poison/Rad Resistance|
1 | 120 | 0%/0% | 2 | 140 | 5%/2% | 3 | 160 | 10%/4% | 4 | 180 | 15%/6% | 5 | 200 | 20%/8% | 6 | 220 | 25%/10% | 7 | 240 | 30%/12% | 8 | 260 | 35%/14% | 9 | 280 | 40%/16% | 10 | 300 | 45%/18% |
Final verdict: Unless for some reason you like Charisma, I'd start out with an endurance of 8 so you can receive every implant, except the charisma implant.
Charisma: Affects companion nerve(which is the percentage bonus to armor for a follower and damage inflicted by a follower) and the skills barter speech. You need at least 6 points in charisma for the perks Ferocious Loyalty and Animal Friend. You need a charisma less than 6 for the charisma implant.
My view: Charisma is the most worthless, piece of trash attribute. Now that may sound harsh, but hear me out: If you're using this guide I assume you're planing to make the ultimate character, therefore you don't need strong companions to carry your weight. Why make companions stronger when you can instead improve yourself? Besides that the perks it affects suck. Barter and Speech are good skills, but +2 points in each of them is just not worth an attribute point. Finally, add the fact that there is a drug called Party Time Mentats that raise charisma by 5 and it makes charisma even more worthless. Anyway, if you're wondering how much Charisma affects your companions nerve(in other words armor and damage) here's a chart:
Points in Charisma|Companion Nerve |
1 |Armor and Damage +5% | 2 |Armor and Damage +10%| 3 |Armor and Damage +15%| 4 |Armor and Damage +20%| 5 |Armor and Damage +25%| 6 |Armor and Damage +30%| 7 |Armor and Damage +35%| 8 |Armor and Damage +40%| 9 |Armor and Damage +45%| 10 |Armor and Damage +50%|
Final verdict: Start out with 1 point in Charisma, since you can't lower it any lower. End of discussion.
Intelligence: Determines the number of skill points you gain per level and the skills medicine, repair, and science. You need 4 points in intelligence for the perks Swift Learner, Comprehension, Educated, and Entomologist. You need an intelligence of 5 for Pack rat and Nerd Rage!. Finally, you need an intelligence of 7 for Computer Whiz. You need an intelligence less than 10 for the intelligence implant.
My view: This is arguably the best attribute in the game. The reason why: It affects the number of skill points per level. Now the affect isn't as pronounced as it was in the old Fallout games because you only gain half a skill point per point in intelligence(Those half points carry over to the next level meaning that if you gain 10.5 skill points per level that you will gain 10 skill points one level and then 11 the next), but it is definitely still worth putting some points in intelligence. Intelligence also affects good skills and 3 of them at that, not to mention the perks Comprehension and Educated are some of the best in the game. On the more humorous note, intelligence also affects some conversation, although the effect of playing as a stupid character isn't as pronounced as it was in Fallout 1/2. Anyway, if you're still not convinced here's a chart of the number of skill points you gain per level with the respective intelligence and how many skill points you would gain by level 30:
Points in Intelligence|Skill Points Per Level|Skill Points By Level 30|
1 | 10.5 | 315 | 2 | 11 | 330 | 3 | 11.5 | 345 | 4 | 12 | 360 | 5 | 12.5 | 375 | 6 | 13 | 390 | 7 | 13.5 | 405 | 8 | 14 | 420 | 9 | 14.5 | 435 | 10 | 15 | 450 |
Final verdict: Start out with 9 points in intelligence. Why not 10? The reason is because it's possible to get the intelligence implant without leveling up once. The way how will be discussed later in the guide.
Agility: Determines the number of action points you have, how fast you run, how fast you equip/holster your weapon, and the Small Guns and Sneak skills. You need 5 points in agility for the perks Rapid Reload and Quick Draw. You need 6 points for Silent Running, Sniper, Light Step, and Action Boy/Girl. Finally, you need 7 points for the perks Slayer and Nerves of Steel. You need an agility less than 10 for the Agility Implant and the Small Frame trait.
My view: The usefulness of agility all hangs on basically one question: How much do you use VATS? With the addition of iron sights there are probably more people who will say that they can get by without VATS, especially if you play shooters. However, if you're not accurate outside of VATS than you may want to put some extra points here. Agility also affects some good perks, namely Slayer(a must have for any melee or unarmed user) and Nerves of Steel, and it also affects 2 useful skills, so even if you're some bad ass FPS king, you're still going to want to have some points in Agility. Here's a chart of the differences in action points per point in agility:
Points in Agility|Action Points|
1 | 68 | 2 | 71 | 3 | 74 | 4 | 77 | 5 | 80 | 6 | 83 | 7 | 86 | 8 | 89 | 9 | 92 | 10 | 95 |
Final verdict: The average person will want to start out with 6 points in agility because most of the perks that require it are good, and to raise it to 7 for the Nerves of Steel and Slayer perks you can just get the implant. If you really suck at aiming than maybe you'll want it higher, but for everyone else 6 is a good number.
Luck: Determines the chance of a critical hit and improves all skill by half a point, rounded up(In other words, if one person had 9 Luck and the other had 10 they would both gain +5 to all skills), enemies being unlucky, and your chances to win at gambling. You need at least 7 points in Luck to have any decent chance at winning money. You need a luck of 5 for the perks Fortune Finder and Scrounger. You need 6 points for Miss Fortune, Mysterious Stranger, and Better Criticals. You need a luck less than 10 for the luck implant.
My view: Luck is very useful. First off, the amount of skill points you receive from having a high luck is higher than any other skill. You gain 65 skill points with a luck of 9! Even the attributes like intelligence which give you +20 in 3 skills only give you 60. Therefore, if you care about maximizing skills it is very important that you have a high luck.Secondly, Luck affects your chance of a critical hit. Without Better Criticals and without sneaking, most weapons do close to double damage on a critical, which is very good. Let's take the Anti-materiel Rifle for example: On a regular attack with 100 Guns, 8 strength, and fully repaired an Anti-materiel Rifle inflicts 110 damage. On a critical it inflicts 190! Now an extra point in Luck may only give +1% in critical chance, but this adds up, especially with the full-auto weapons. Then add the fact that fighting in VATS increases your critical chance, some weapons have modifiers to critical chance, and the perk More Criticals raises your critical chance by +5% and it adds up. Thirdly, the higher chance of enemy mishaps will sometimes save your life or at least make it a little easier because enemies will fire slightly later, their grenades will detonate slightly earlier, they might hit each other, and they'll have a slightly wider aim among other things. Finally, a higher luck increases your chances at winning at gambling. You can gain quite a bit of money from betting, in fact, the total money you can earn in the base game if you get kicked from gambling at every casino is 41,500 in bottle caps! That's enough money for every implant and almost makes the barter skill defunct. Ring, a ding, ding, baby! Anyway, here's a chart for critical chances and the amount of skill points you gain in each skill per point in luck:
Points in Luck|Critical Chance|Skill Points |
1 | 1% |All Skills +1| 2 | 2% |All Skills +1| 3 | 3% |All Skills +2| 4 | 4% |All Skills +2| 5 | 5% |All Skills +3| 6 | 6% |All Skills +3| 7 | 7% |All Skills +4| 8 | 8% |All Skills +4| 9 | 9% |All Skills +5| 10 | 10% |All Skills +5|
My starting attributes:Strength:4 After Perks and implants are accounted for:Strength:5(Implant)
Perception:5 Perception:6(Implant) Endurance:8 Endurance:9(Implant) Charisma:1 Charisma:1 Intelligence:9 Intelligence:10(Implant) Agility:6 Agility:8(Implant, Small Frame trait) Luck:7 Luck:9(Implant, Intense Training)
Other notes: Once I get Power Armor Training I will always wear some sort of power armor so my strength will be 6 or 7 in-game. I will also get the Weapon Handling perk so I can use every weapon save the Miniguns. If I ever need to make a charisma check I'll just take Party Time Mentats which raise your Charisma by 5, your Intelligence by 2, and your Perception by 2. If I need to raise my Charisma any higher I'll just take some sort of alcoholic drink and wear my T-51B Power Armor Helmet. That lets me pass any charisma check. With Perception I'll just wear hats and/or take Mentats, and again I can pass any perception check. Power Armor and alcoholic drinks to raise Strength for its checks. Naughty Nightwear for luck and Coyote Tobacco Chew and Pre-War outfits for agility. I can now pass every single attribute check in the game.