So I would like to describe a philosophy I tend to implement when playing Fallout games in general. This specifically is in regards to weapons selection. The system I use is essentially a breakdown of “bottle caps per shot spent ratio”. This largely is dependent on the ammo usage and type per bullet fired. Along with the quality of weapon this attack is coming from. For the sake of this post I will use Fallout New Vegas as my example. This system is what I have come to refer to as the “escalation system”. Balancing caps per shot with damage output.
Escalation 0: Fallout New Vegas is actually the only game in the series that possess weapons which fall into this category. As it is the only game in the Fallout series that has guns that do t use ammo. Specifically I am referring to the “recharger rifle”, “recharger pistol”, and it’s unique variant the “MF Hyperbreeder Alpha”. These guns fall into this special category because the only thing you need to pay for their usage is the decline in weapon condition. The repair costs of which can vary wildly depending on your perk investment and repair skill. While these weapons are invaluable to your energy weapon oriented builds. They may be less viable to a stealth which relies on going unseen and precision for its success.
Escalation 1: this is the traditional beginning of the escalation list. Typically what defines this class of weapon is firing your gun for the minimum cost possible. While still being able to pull out enough punch to take down low tier enemies (such as ghouls, raiders, fiends, etc…). Maybe the best example of this in the entire series is the Maria. A 9mm gun with a like named ammo type that can cost as little as 1 cap per shot and an extraordinarily light weight of less than 2 pounds. The Maria is the ultimate in cut rate fire power when it comes to Fallout New Vegas ballistic weapons.
(It’s worth noting that much of this list is up to opinion and personal interpretation. As for example “A Light Shinning in Darkness” could be argued as a escalation 1 or 2 due to its damage output and existing on the high end of bottle per cap ratio. This being said being strong does not necessarily make something any level of escalation and thus if its cheap enough to fire/maintain it may still fall into the list of escalation 1 or two)
Escalation 2: The name of the game here is cost effectiveness. This means that escalation 2 weapons pack a considerable punch but also wouldn't break the bank from regular use. A classic example of this weapons class would be considered the standard “Plasma Rifle” (though its unique variant the “Q-35 Matter Modulator” is certainly on the fence due to its low ammo consumption. It’s high damage per shot and cost of maintenance mean it remains an escalation 2 weapon. If only barely). As the cost per firing a plasma rifle is roughly 6 caps a shot. However, the raw oomph you get from is well worth the cost. Allowing you to combat nearly every mid-tier enemy in the game. From Caesars Legion to NCR troopers to Brotherhood of Steel members. The plasma rifle can handle most mid-level in a cost effective manner while not sacrificing power in the same way an escalation 1 weapons would.
Escalation 3: This is where you begin to head in the other direction when it comes to cap to power ratio. The point of these weapons are for facing powerful whom you must defeat quickly and convincingly. Lest you suffer the wrath of their considerable DPS (such as deathclaws or super mutant behemoths). The most quintessential weapons for this whether a stealthy crit sniper or a human tank brandishing power armor is the YCS/186. Designed with its extremely high damage per shot (140). This weapon on a normal difficulty level can one shot a deathclaw and blow the head off a super mutant behemoth. However, this is at the cost of 4 microfusion cells per shot (rounding up to 12 caps per shot) plus a considerable bill when the repair cost comes due. However, while an escalation 3 weapon might cost an insane amount of money to fire and maintain. It’s damage is absolutely needed to ensure your character’s superiority is maintained on the battlefield.
Escalation 4: This is the sort of gun you don’t typically carry with you on the regular. Often times due to its intense drawbacks (such as weight and cost to fire) and the extreme rarity of use. These weapons are defined by their firepower at all cost. The most classic example would be the Fat Man. The mini-nuke launcher weighs a ridiculous 30 pounds and costs 250 caps to fire (assuming you can find it). However, in situations like “deathclaw junction” it is hard to argue the necessity of such a weapon. Where even escalation level 3 weapons won’t carry the day. It is important to always have something in the back of your pockets that can kill groups of super powerful enemies in short order. But as earlier said, due to this being a trump card of sorts. Odds are very low that you will use these with any frequency and when you do. It’ll be out of a desperation to achieve whatever goal it is you have set out to accomplish.
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