Fallout

Theory Crafting – Sneaking, Stealth Fields, and Power Armor

fallout 8 - Theory Crafting - Sneaking, Stealth Fields, and Power Armor
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Hi All,

You may have noticed my other recent post asking for help with stealth boy power armor mod mechanics. Stealth is a very complicated stat in Fallout, I’m noticing, and I’ve searched around for detailed, quantitative breakdowns of the stealth system to no avail. So, I ran my own experiment and wanted to report the results. A BIG caveat – I’m not a theory crafter in any serious sense of the word, and I don’t know anything about modding, which I suspect would have been a big help if I did. Really, I’m hoping this helps me find people who know Fallout 4 / Fallout 76 mechanics much more thoroughly than I do.

Some background, I’m intrigued by the stealth boy mod for power armor. It seems really useless, considering how loud armor is. I had also heard that when you put on PA it negates your stealth perk card if you have it equipped. However, when I looked at a list of perks not compatible with power armor on the Fandom wiki, I noticed Sneak wasn’t included, and instead Escape Artist was – something I thought WAS compatible with PA. I know Escape Artist makes you go invisible for a moment when it activates, so I wondered if the Stealth Boy mod for PA has the same effect. So I tested these.

In essence I ran a few very simple, somewhat flawed tests in two scenarios. First, I looked at how the Stealth perk, Escape Artist perk, the Chinese Stealth Suit, and Power Armor stealth boy mod affect visual detection. Second, I did the same thing but attempting to isolate the sound component of stealth.

I did this by going to Sugar Grove and clearing out enemies in the lobby, leaving only the turret overlooking reception. I wanted a stationary enemy with a blind spot behind them, and isolated so as to not confuse my Hidden rating with another enemy’s line of sight. The first set of tests I did in front of the turret. The second set I went behind the turret, outside of its line of sight.

For the visual test, I first stood naked and without Stealth or Escape Artist equipped. I took note of how big my Hidden indicator was. I stood and triggered the turret, and crouched to try to break stealth. I also walked back and forth in front of it to see when Caution and Danger would trigger. Next I ran these same actions with the Stealth Perk only, then with the Escape Artist perk only, then again with the Chinese Stealth Suit only. Then I put on power armor and did the same actions in three conditions: no mod or perks, Sneak perk only, Escape Artist perk only, and stealth boy mod only.

For the audio test, I walked back and forth behind the turret in all eight situations again (naked, naked with Sneak only, naked with Escape Artist only, Chinese Power Suit only, power armor only, PA and Sneak only, PA and Escape Artist Only, and PA and Stealth Boy mod only).

Lastly, I did both sets of tests again this time around with overlapping variables (i.e. stealth perk + Chinese Stealth Suit, escape artist + power armor, stealth perk + Stealth Boy PA mod, etc.).

My results I’ll try to sum up quickly. I noticed that both Sneak and the Chinese Stealth Suit expanded my Hidden meter compared to standing there without them, and obviously made it easier to walk in front of the turret. I also noticed, without surprise, that both CSS and Escape Artist both seemed capable of breaking Danger when I’d crouch in combat. Sneak, however, did not. When wearing PA, though, neither Sneak nor Escape Artist seemed to have any impact when standing still, moving in front of the turret, or crouch to break combat. The stealth boy mod did greatly expand my Hidden indicator when I swapped to it while standing still, and did allow me to move undetected better but specifically only when I would approach and stop over and over, relying on the stealth field from the mod to trigger and reduce the hidden or caution indicator. Disappointingly, the stealth boy mod didn’t seem to work as an alternative to the Escape Artist perk – even when the turret had to reload and the stealth field triggered the turret was still able to see me and resume shooting. My results for audio stealth also indicated the stealth perk, escape artist perk, and stealth boy mod didn’t seem to impact my sound output. Trying to test this naked wasn’t possible, though, as my AGI of 15 or having no gear on whatsoever likely rendered me all but totally silent – I wasn’t able to lower my Hidden meter while behind the turret naked.

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My conclusions are a three fold: First, sneak and escape artist seem to turn off when in Power Armor or have such negotiable effects that I couldn’t detect them. Second, PA stealth boy mods seem to improve the visual component of your sneakiness but not your auditory, and only when standing still. Third, PA stealth boy mods don’t seem to break combat, or at least not as effectively as Escape Artist. This means the stealth animation we see from the perk card isn’t the only mechanic in play that breaks Danger – there seems to be some other behind the scenes buff. This is backed up by Chinese Stealth Suits also not effectively breaking combat.

Not proven, but suspected: Stealth Fields, whether by the Chinese Stealth Suit or the Stealth Boy Power Armor mod, likely give the user a max VISUAL stealth rating, but have no impact on sound levels. This is because I didn’t notice any increased benefit when combining the Sneak perk and the Chinese Stealth Suit. I was still able to break Hidden through the same actions whether it was one, the other, or both. If I knew modding I might be able to tell how this works – perhaps it reducing line of sight numbers, or maybe the lighting level on your character.

What this all means: Most likely a sneaky Power Armor build is strictly limited to stationary snipers. The stealth boy mod does lower your chance of being spotted by enemies even after you shoot, but moving breaks the invisibility. Interestingly, even moving a tiny bit so the invisible animation stays there, you still impact your Hidden meter. Because the stealth boy mod doesn’t also act as the Escape Artist perk would, and because the Escape Artist perk seems to be disabled (along with the Sneak perk), it makes disengaging mid-fight very difficult, though still somewhat better than not having the mod on. Additionally, I believe the Chinese Stealth Suit is most likely redundant for very sneaky character builds. It doesn’t seem to stack with the sneak perk, meaning you are probably just as sneaky with the Sneak perk, high Agility, and sneak-modded legendary armor as you are when in Chinese Stealth Armor. The only difference may be if you are stealthing in brightly lit situations. This makes me think its not really as useful as it seems, outside of PvP or to help non-stealth characters get through dungeons faster.

And there it is. I guess I can’t make an infiltrator power armor build after all 🙁

Perhaps it would be overpowered, anyway, as you are trading lower sneakiness for increased resilience once you get caught and dragged into combat. My concern is just how little the stealth boy mod seems to improve your sneakiness. Perhaps if it didn’t break when you moved, so long as you stayed crouched.

If anyone read this far, let me know your thoughts. Has anyone found a use for the Stealth Boy mod?

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