You know, sitting here and crunching the numbers, a hard level cap of 76 (Because 76 is our good number in this game) almost feels like it makes more sense than 50 for this game…
Hear me out!
Older Fallout games, besides Fallout 4, gave you 40 points to allocate to your SPECIAL stats. Meaning you could average all your stats across the board at 5-6 for each stat. Fallout 4 was an exception, giving you only 28 points to work with (So an average of 4 per SPECIAL stat) due infinite leveling bring introduced. It allowed you to continually boost your SPECIAL stats until they were maxed out. These games also had two other MAJOR factors:
- SPECIAL stats capped at 10 in terms of point investment (You could technically go past 10 with meds/equipment, but only Fallout 4 saw benefit from that.)
- There were far less perks with "multiple ranks," prior to Fallout 4, meaning you didn't need to spend 3-5 perk points to make a perk feel worth it.
Conversely, in Fallout 76:
- SPECIAL stats are capped at 15 in terms of what you can invest, and can go all the way to 30 through other effects!
- There are MANY perks, with most having several ranks.
In Fallout 3's base game, you had a total of 19 points (Level cap was 20) you could invest in perks, and 85 total points to choose from (Intense Training, which is an option we don't have in Fallout 76, contributed 10 points alone, and could provide 10 more SPECIAL points.)
Fallout: New Vegas gave you 15 points (Level cap was 30 in the base game), and had a total of 101 points to choose from (And again, "Intense Training" was 10 of those).
Fallout 4 had no limit to perk points due to the leveling up system, but also introduced every perk having multiple ranks instead of a wider option of perks.
Fallout 76 hybridizes the two systems of older Fallouts and Fallout 4. Infinite leveling means we can technically get all of the perks, but the perk card system means we are effectively limited to a hard number that we can have active. We start with 7 points in our SPECIAL and keep gaining until level 50, resulting in 56 points worth of space for perks. This means we can have 56 points worth of perks, but have 539(!) points to pick from.
In terms of perk options, let's look at percentages:
Fallout 3: 19/85 perk points = 22% could be used. Fallout NV: 15/101 perk points = 15% could be used. Fallout 76: 49/539 perk points = 10% could be used.
The ratio for 76 is only 2/3 that of New Vegas, and less than half of Fallout 3!
BUT! Say we had 82 points of SPECIAL allocation (Base 7 + 75 from leveling up) to pick from? 82/539 perk points = 15% can be used.
That at least brings it up to New Vegas and is MUCH more reasonable! Plus 82 points of SPECIAL results in an average of 11-12 out of 15 per SPECIAL stat across the board. Which is pretty in line with the SPECIAL distribution ratios of Fallout 3 and New Vegas!
Fallout 3: 40/70 SPECIAL points available (So a base 57% is achieved) with no investment. 47/70 (67%) SPECIAL with the 7 Major Bobbleheads. 63/70 (90%) SPECIAL with "Almost Perfect" perk. And a full 70/70 (100%!) with both the perk and waiting to get the Bobbleheads until after taking the perk. 90% and 100% are a little overkill, but it required a bit of planning and a LOT of playing.
Fallout New Vegas: Again 40/70 SPECIAL (57%) with just the base aspects. 47/70 (67%) with Implants. 48/70 (69%) with Implants & Completing Lonesome Road. And the max 58/70 (83%) with the above and all ten ranks of "Intense Training."
Fallout 76: 56/105 SPECIAL available, meaning a lower 53% of available distribution. Plus, unlike ALL older Fallout games, there is no way to permanently increase your SPECIAL besides leveling. If the Hard Cap for Leveling became 76 instead, you'd get a total of 82/105, which is 78%. Which is a little high, but still quite a bit lower than the maximum for 3 and New Vegas at max investment.
Another factor for that number is that a LOT of points are used on "Weight Reduction" and "Maintenance" perks in virtually all builds. These were not really a thing in the older games, outside of a single perk or two. Some people use 9 perks just to make weight manageable for chems, junk, and food. AND, as mentioned before, the "multiple ranks" design wasn't really used that muchin older games, outside of maybe a half dozen perks in each game. Whereas Fallout 76 uses it almost exclusively, to a bizarre and middling effect.
Here's a good example:
The perk "Better Criticals"
In Fallout 3 and New Vegas, it was a single point and gave you 50% more critical damage flat (You could achieve Critical Hits outside of VATS with no extra effect needed).
In Fallout 76, THREE ranks of Better Criticals gets you only 40% and, according to the description, ONLY in VATS (It's possible that it affects Criticals outside of VATS when triggered with Overdrive, but I can't confirm that.)
Conversely, Fallout 4, the game that introduced every perk having multiple ranks, ALSO had three ranks, but the default rank gave you 50%, with the second getting you to 100%, and the third having a total of 150% more Critical Hit Damage!
Using the Fallout 4 multi-rank system but scaling the numbers EVEN LOWER than Fallout 3's and New Vegas' systems is absolutely bonkers to me.
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