Bethesda has shared a lengthy explanation of Fallout 4’s leveling system, outlining major details of the SPECIAL and perks system, as well as releasing a new video taking a look at the character system.
You’ll start the game able to assign 28 points to SPECIALs, with each maxing at 10 points. If you decide after a little play time that you want to change your values, you’ll be able to reassign the points once you leave the Vault.
Leveling with be XP-based, and paced more like Skyrim than Fallout 3, meaning you’ll move faster through the levels earlier on, and have more chances to customize sooner. As we already knew, there is no level cap.
When a Fallout 4 character levels up, they can choose one of the 70 perks from the perk tree, as long as they have the prerequisite SPECIAL rank. Perks in descending levels become available with each rank in the corresponding SPECIAL. Perks farther down the tree are more “exotic” and powerful. For example, the first Agility perk, Gunslinger, offers 20% more damage with pistols. The Agility 10 perk, Gun Fu, causes your 2nd target in V.A.T.S. to take 25% more damage regardless of weapon.
Each perk also comes with its own “mini-tree,” and can be upgraded to access different abilities. “Gun Fu above allows even more damage the more targets you select, increasing to instant Critical Shots. Gunslinger has ranks that up the range of pistols, add a chance to disarm enemies, and even instant limb crippling shots.”
Perks from previous Fallout games will make an appearance in Fallout 4 as well. Some will be found within the mini perk trees, such as with Paralyzing Palm. “We also pushed old Perks to do new things at higher ranks,” Bethesda said. “Strong Back doesn’t just up the amount you can carry; higher ranks of it allow you to fast-travel while encumbered or even run while encumbered at the cost of Action Points.”
The peripheral skill system of past games are now folded into the perk system as well, keeping the focus on leveling up SPECIALs and exploring the perk tree.
Lastly, some special perks will be awarded after collecting some of the over 100 in-game magazines. Some of these magazines will give their own perk, while others will rank up an already existing perk. “For example, there’s a 10-issue run of Grognak the Barbarian comics that each give you an additional rank of the Barbarian Perk, which raises the critical damage of melee attacks.”
Bethesda also revealed the full perk tree, picturing all 70 perks in one huge chart. They also shared that every physical pre-order of Fallout 4 will come with a poster version of the tree, perfect for all your Vault-Tec decorating needs.
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