Apologies ahead for the looong post (I hope at least one person will read it :D) and englishisnotmyprimarylanguage.
Howdy guys. I see oftentimes shotgun builds a bit ragged on here in Reddit as weak, not viable etc. and I worry it may drive some newbies away from these wonderfully fun guns for no real reason.
I know shotguns are not meta and for all of the time I’ve been playing this game, they never have been (past ~6 months). But with a proper build and play style, they are IMO 100% viable in the sense that outside of endgame bosses like Earle, Imposter Sheepsquatch & SBQ, you can pretty comfortably solo all the other PvE content. I have never struggled to put out enough dmg to get my share of loot from these bosses either.
For this reason I would just like to share my build (both early and endgame variations), where you really do not need to worry about other meta elements either if you don’t want to: No low health, no addictions or the like. Just a tanky af full health build, capable of still blasting some serious ass. You will mainly be using VATS & crits against mobs, though against some larger sized bosses it can sometimes be more efficient to just hipfire it.
This is approximately how I started before adding any Legendary Perks:
I think it’s quite straightforward. Stuff like Demo expert is of course mainly beneficial in case you already have found some explosive shotguns at this stage (btw, that moment will be your first HUGE power spike), otherwise just replace it with Gunsmith (though weapon condition decay is so slow nowadays, this is really not necessary anymore). If you don’t want to join public groups, just use the Lone Wanderer instead of Inspirational and knock a point off of something else (though as this is a fairly low INT build, the extra exp is always nice).
I know that many people prefer not to use White Knight outside of repairs, but trust me, this guy takes a lot of hits. It is very nice to have that 60% slower breaking of armor, especially when ballistic fiber is still an issue early on. And thanks to how Four Leaf Clover works with shotguns (each pellet has the same chance to proc the effect) you will have a crit available pretty much at all times.
This is approximately what I’m working with right now, just before lvl ~300:
You can see that there are four legendary SPECIAL perks maxed. This is definitely not necessary, three is easily enough (for example you could skip Adamantium Skeleton and Suppressor perks entirely – at this point they are just to overkill your tankiness) and you could make do even with just two. But IMO for a non-PA shotgunner, there just simply isn’t anything else more worthwhile available. The other legendary perks as well, pick whatever feels best for you. For me both What Rads and Master Infiltrator are just too nice QoL improvements to pass up on. I maxed out Legendary Luck first, just to start using mutations asap.
As for gear “requirements”.
Armor: Just get as tanky as you can, for full health builds of course Vanguard legendary prefix is among the best options. As my own current late game gear I have a full set of buttressed SS armor: Four Vanguard pieces and one Autostim piece for absolute emergencies. My DR/ER are both around 500ish.
Weapons: Well, the best shotguns you can come up with. I keep the Gauss shotgun around, but find myself using it not that much and it definitely is not "the only viable shotgun". I’m a huge fan of the Double Barrel, I actually came up with the Doomguy moniker just recently while running repeatedly through Westek, blasting the Demons' (Mutants') faces in at full speed & close range with my trusty V/E/250 Double Barrel. 😀
Regardless of which shotgun you prefer, the Vampire’s prefix is anyway the best for keeping you nice and healed at all times and the explosive secondary for damage and general badassery. Shotguns really have a huge overall benefit from the Scattershot perk as you can easily carry even 5+ different guns around for different situations and basically without any strain to your carry weight.
That’s about it. If you made it this far, thanks for your time and I really suggest you'll give shotguns a shot! Happy for any comments on improvements or questions too.
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