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Fallout has been using the SPECIAL stats system since the very first game, with each letter representing a different core stat. These stats would then be combined with separate skills and perks to make up any given build.
With Fallout 4, Bethesda completely reinvented the formula for how your starting stats operate. In Fallout 3 and New Vegas, you had a total of 40 points to distribute across all seven stats, with extra sources of stat points being incredibly limited. In Fallout 4, however, you only get 28. To combat that, it’s far easier to level up your SPECIAL points post-intro, thanks to the Intense Training perk.
This perk allows you to forgo choosing a perk to increase one of your stats by one. Given that Fallout 4 doesn’t have a level cap, this makes maxing out each SPECIAL stat a viable option for longer playthroughs.
Each SPECIAL stat also doesn’t carry as much significance as it used to. In Fallout 3 and New Vegas, your stats directly influenced your skills, allowing you to maximize certain damage types earlier. There are no skills in Fallout 4, so your SPECIAL points instead serve the primary purpose of giving you access to an increasing range of perks that make up the entirety of your build.
The best starting stats in Fallout 4 is a lot more fluid than in previous 3D Fallout games. Each individual stat is easy to increase later on down the line, and none of them hold any particularly game-breaking effects. Instead, your best starting stat options are entirely influenced by what perks you need access to for your build.
So, feel free to play around with any of my recommendations. Take some points away and add them somewhere else if you feel like it. Character builds in Fallout 4 are dynamic, so never feel locked into one specific style of play.
Bottom Line Up Front
These are the best starting stats in Fallout 4:
- Strength: 3.
- Perception: 4.
- Endurance: 3.
- Charisma: 2.
- Intelligence: 9.
- Agility: 5.
- Luck: 3.
Fallout 4 Stats Overview
Strength dictates your carry weight as well as your melee damage in Fallout 4. Each point gives you ten extra carrying capacity and 10% extra melee damage. For 90% of players, this will be the least important SPECIAL stat out of the seven. The Strength perk tree primarily revolves around melee damage, heavy weapons damage, and modifying armor.
In previous Fallout games, Perception did a range of things, from affecting how far away you could see enemies to your skill with energy weapons. In Fallout 4, all of that functionality has been stripped back. Instead, each point gives you 10% bonus accuracy in VATs up to the 95% cap.
The Perception perk tree revolves around non-automatic rifle damage, technical skills like lockpicking and pickpocketing, and enhancing your VATs combat abilities.
Endurance stat points increase the multiplier that determines your total hit points, as well as how many you gain per level up. Endurance is applied retroactively, meaning you will gain any hit points you should have for previous levels when you level the stat later on in the game. Endurance also affects how much AP is used while sprinting. The Endurance perk tree revolves around decreasing damage taken and decreasing your radiation intake.
In Fallout 4, Charisma has effectively replaced the Speech and Barter skills from previous Fallout games. It directly influences your ability to make persuasion or intimidation checks, the prices you’ll get in shops, as well as the happiness of the Settlers in your settlements. The Charisma perk tree revolves around enhancing settlements, dictating your follower playstyle, and increasing your speech and barter capabilities.
Each point in Intelligence increases your total XP gains from all sources by 3%. It also decreases the number of options that appear while hacking a terminal. The Intelligence perk tree revolves around modifying weapons and getting better benefits from your chems.
Agility is an incredibly simple stat. Each point increases your total Action Points by ten and adds 1% to any pickpocket attempt. The Agility perk tree revolves around stealth, pistol damage, and VATs-based combat.
The only inherent mechanic affected by your Luck stat is how many shots are needed to recharge your critical hit meter. The Luck perk tree revolves around increasing the loot you find in the world, critical-meter effectiveness, and includes other unique percentage-based chance effects.
Fallout 4 Best Starting Stats
Strength – 3.
Unless you plan on using a melee build, Strength is almost entirely useless. Its passive effects don’t influence non-melee players, as well as any players that plan on using power armor. However, the Strength perk tree does have Armorer. This is the perk that allows you to modify and improve your armor, making it essential for more or less every single Fallout 4 player, especially on greater difficulties.
Having Strength set to three gives you access to Armorer, which is the only reason I’ve chosen to spend any of our starting stat points here at all. If you want to use heavy weapons, you can pull some points out of Intelligence and boost Strength up to five to get access to Heavy Gunner, or if you’re a melee user, it’s worth considering completely maxing out Strength.
Perception – 4.
My motivation for investing in Perception up to level four is threefold. First, having the bonus accuracy in VATs is particularly great for newer players that might rely on the VATs system over regular combat. Second, it unlocks the Rifleman perk. This perk is arguably the single best one in the entire game and covers the majority of the weapons you’ll be using in your playthrough.
Lastly, it allows us to access Locksmith. Your Locksmith perk level determines your ability to pick locks, making it an essential pick for every single player regardless of their build or playstyle.
I consider four Perception to be mandatory for all characters, meaning you can’t afford to pull points away from it. The only reason to ever go above four is if you want to build specifically into VATs. For the other 99% of players, though, four Perception is going to be a build staple.
Endurance – 3.
Endurance is arguably the weakest SPECIAL stat in the game. The bonus hit points don’t make too much of a difference, and its perk tree is incredibly lackluster. You could reasonably play through Fallout 4 with an Endurance of one, and you wouldn’t suffer too greatly for it.
However, I personally like to recommend three Endurance for newer players because it gives access to the Life-Giver perk. Each rank of Life-Giver increases your max hit points by 20, with the final rank granting you a passive health regeneration effect.
The extra health that the perk gives you is fantastic in the early game and will help new players survive encounters they typically wouldn’t.
Charisma – 2.
Personally, I tend to boost my Charisma to six whenever I play through Fallout 4. However, that’s only because I enjoy taking full advantage of the settlement system. If you’re of that same mindset, feel free to invest in your Charisma. Otherwise, two points are all you need.
The first rank of Charisma gives you access to the Cap Collector perk, which is essentially Fallout 4’s version of the Barter skill. The second rank gives you Lady Killer/Black Widow.
Both of these perks give you a 5% damage buff against enemies of the opposite sex, up to a max of 15%. A flat 15% damage bonus against 50% of all human enemies in the game is great to have regardless of what build you’re running.
Intelligence – 9.
Intelligence is widely considered to be the best starting stat in Fallout 4, and I find it hard to disagree with that assessment. The extra XP gains makes leveling, especially in the early game, incredibly fast, and its perk tree is full of fantastic utility that every build can take advantage of.
In fact, the only reason I’m not maxing it out is because the Intelligence Bobblehead will do that later on in the game.
Every single perk here is worth picking up, but in particular, Medic and Gun Nut are must-haves. Medic increases the effectiveness of your Stimpacks and RadAway. These two are the most important consumables you’ll use in Fallout 4, but both are fairly weak without Medic, so make this perk a priority.
Gun Nut is the firearm equivalent to Armorer. It gives you access to ranged weapon mods, which I’m assuming the majority of players will be using. If you’re an energy weapons user, the Intelligence tree also has the modification perk for that weapon type in the form of Science.
Agility – 5.
Agility is a very strange stat. The extra Action Points are great and are actually why I’ve invested in level five in this build. However, its perks aren’t great for the majority of builds. For stealth gameplay, however, it’s by far the best stat in the game and should be boosted up to level nine.
For non-stealth players, level five gives you 50 extra Action Points as well as access to the Action Boy perk. Each rank of this perk increases your Action Point regeneration speed by 25%, up to 75%. Again, I am assuming that newer players will be relying heavily on VATs, making this an invaluable perk option.
Luck – 3.
Lastly, I’ve chosen to level Luck up to three for this best Fallout 4 starting stats guide. In general, Luck has a gimmick perk tree outside of critical-hit builds or Idiot Savant builds, both of which are far from beginner-friendly.
For our purposes, having Luck 3 unlocks Bloody Mess. This perk, aside from having the hilarious effect of making some enemies just explode when you kill them, will give you a flat 15% damage buff in combat. It’s essentially a better version of Lady Killer/Black Widow, and you really can’t go wrong with perks that outright increase the amount of damage you deal.
Alternative Fallout 4 Builds: Melee Build
Strength – 9.
Strength goes hand in hand with melee builds, obviously. The only reason I’m not pushing it up to 10 is because of the Strength bobblehead, and the fact that Pain Train isn’t a necessary melee build perk unless you plan on using power armor.
Aside from the damage buff, nine strength gives us access to Big Leagues for up to 100% extra melee damage, Blacksmith so that we can mod melee weapons, and Rooted which can give you up to 50DR and 50% more melee damage while you’re standing still.
If you feel like power armor is going to be a major part of your early-game playstyle, take a point out of Agility and add it in here to get Pain Train. You’ll be missing out on a perk in another stat, but it will give you an extra 10% melee buff once you get the bobblehead and boost Strength to 11.
Perception – 4.
Just like with more or less every other build (except stealth), I’m advising a Perception of four so that you can invest perk points into Locksmith. This is especially crucial in this build as we’re sacrificing Intelligence in the name of Strength, so we don’t have access to Hacker, making lock picking our only way to get past any locks in the game.
As a melee character, you shouldn’t be relying on VATs at all. Therefore, the majority of the perks in the Perception tree, especially the high-cost ones, are completely redundant, so don’t waste points investing in Perception any higher than four.
Endurance – 1.
You might think that Endurance would be an important stat for a melee build, and that would be a fair assumption. However, the fact that we’re not investing a single point into it speaks volumes as to just how weak its perk tree is.
We still get access to Toughness for the extra damage resistance, and it’s not worth moving two more points into it to get Life Giver. So, unless you’re playing survival and need your consumables to work better, leave this at one and use your points elsewhere.
Charisma – 2.
I’ve decided to keep Charisma at a simple two here, once again, so that we get access to the 15% damage boost from Black Widow/Lady Killer. Just like before, feel free to allocate more points here if you want to focus on settlement building. It’s one of the more flexible starting stats in Fallout 4 so don’t be afraid to change my choices to suit your own playstyle.
Intelligence – 2.
It might seem counterintuitive to have what is arguably the best stat in the game sit at level two, but that’s the sacrifice we’re making so that we can pump Strength up to 9. That’s not my only reason for investing to little into Intelligence, though.
Given that we’re opting for a melee playstyle with this build, a lot of the perks in the Intelligence tree become obsolete. Staple perks like Gun Nut and Science are useless since we’re not using ranged weapons, same with Nuclear Physicist and Scrapper to a certain extent.
The only perk that might be useful that we miss out on is Chemist, but I don’t think an additional five starting stat points are worth getting access to stronger chems.
Agility – 7.
Yes, Agility revolves around pistol and stealth based gameplay, neither of which are this build’s specialty. However, I’ve chosen to make the investment up to rank seven for Agility because of one specific perk: Moving Target.
While it directly contrasts with the effects of Rooted, the two actually work in perfect unity. Rather than giving you DR while standing still, Moving Target will give you 50 damage and energy resistance while you’re sprinting, with the third rank of the perk decreasing the cost of sprinting by 50%.
You’re going to be doing a bunch of running as a melee character given that you need to close gaps between you and your enemies, so any perk that makes that process easier is a must have for this build.
Moving Target is unlocked at Agility rank six. The extra point here is leftover, so you can put it wherever you like. I chose Agility because it unlocks the Ninja perk which you can use to transition into a stealth/melee build.
Alternatively, you could find two more points to put into Agility to get the Blitz perk. This perk massively increases the VATs range at which you can melee attack and a lot of people consider it essentially to melee builds. I’m not one of those people, but it certainly is strong enough to be worth considering.
Luck – 3.
Lastly, I’m treating luck the same as Charisma in this build. It’s levelled to three strictly to get an extra 15% damage from Bloody Mess and no other reason. If you wanted to build a critical hit melee character, you could bump it up a few ranks, but that’s not a build I would advise most people try to play.
Idiot Savant/Luck/Critical Hit Build
Strength – 3.
This build is remarkably similar to a generalist build, with the exception of decimating our Intelligence stat in favor of Luck. Meaning, we’re boosting Strength to three so that we can put points into Armorer for armor mods.
I’ve centered this Idiot Savant build around ranged damage, but if you want to use melee weapons, instead, pull a point out of Intelligence, use the one left over point that this build has, and pull Agility back to get up to the Strength rank you need.
Perception – 4.
Just like with most other builds, I’m leaving Perception at four so that the Locksmith perk becomes accessible. This is even more important than other builds, however, as we need our Intelligence to be as low as humanly possible, so getting access to Hacker is a complete no-go.
Endurance – 1.
Endurance; useless in 99% of builds, including this one.
Charisma – 2.
Again, Charisma is at two to get that 15% damage bonus against humans of the opposite sex. Spec harder into it if you want to run your settlements more efficiently.
Intelligence – 3.
This is the biggest difference between this build and a generalist build. We pull Intelligence all the way back to three for two reasons. First, it frees up the points we need for the Luck tree. Secondly, Idiot Savant works better the lower the Intelligence of the player.
I would have it at one if possible, but I consider Medic to be a non-optional perk for every single build, and Gun Nut non-optional for any kind of ranged build.
You could mash this build up with my melee one to create a hybrid that gets you down to two Intelligence, but I would strongly advise against using a critical hit melee character. If you want to go that route, pull Luck back to six and put the extra points into Strength.
Agility – 5.
As a critical hit specialist, you’re going to be using VATs a lot more than a conventional player. Having high Agility, therefore, is important for both the bonus AP, as well as getting Action Boy for 75% faster AP regeneration.
It’s certainly worth considering bumping Agility up a little bit more to get access to more of those VATs-based perks, but I couldn’t find the stat points to do so. If you can, then more power to you.
Luck – 9.
Lastly, we have Luck, the mechanic around which this entire build functions. While we’re working towards optimising criticals in combat, the actual point of this build lies in a non-combat perk: Idiot Savant.
Idiot Savant is a saving grace for players that don’t put too many points into Intelligence. It helps to mitigate the lack of XP low Intelligence brings by relying on Luck for an XP boost, instead.
The perk is relatively straight forward: At rank two, you have a random change to get 5x, or 500%, times the normal XP you would obtain for completing any action. The chance of this occurring is increased proportionally to how low your Intelligence is.
This buff can trigger on literally anything from building something in a settlement to completing a quest. You don’t need me to tell you why getting five times the normal amount of quest XP is so strong.
Rank three of the perk is optional, but it adds an extra low-Intelligence Luck roll any time you get your bonus XP to grant triple kill XP for a short period of time.
With the right playstyle, Idiot Savant characters can massively out-level even an Intelligence 10 character, hence why you see so many people using it.
Given that you need six points in Luck to unlock Idiot Savant, you might as well take advantage of that natural stat distribution to build for criticals. Four Leaf Clover, Critical Banker, and Better Criticals are three perks that all do that in droves and are mandatory for any critical hit builds, not just Idiot Savant ones.
Strength – 3.
Nothing non-standard with our Strength choice for a chem-based build. Rank three gives us Armorer and that’s all we need from the perk tree.
Perception – 4.
Some goes for Perception. Our combat gameplay revolves entirely around the buffs we’ll be getting from chems, so grab Locksmith and don’t bother with any of the other Perception perks.
Endurance – 4.
Endurance is where we start getting technical. This is one of the only builds that calls for an investment into END, granted it’s only up to rank four. This rank gives us access to the Chem Resistant perk.
The perk does exactly that: makes us resistant to chems. At rank one, it’s a 50% decrease to our chances of becoming addicted. At rank two, it completely removes addiction altogether.
Needless to say, that’s important when your entire gameplay loop revolves around pumping your body with as many foreign substances as you can find.
Charisma – 7.
Charisma is a funny one with this build. I’ve ranked it up to level seven so that the Party Boy perk is unlocked. This perk doubles the effects of alcohol. These effects aren’t as potent as chems, but they are extra buffs that you can stack while you’re in combat.
However, that’s a lot of investment for a perk that doesn’t make or break this build, so if you would prefer to build a hybrid chem/weapon type build, feel free to pull back on Charisma to get any of the weapon-based perks you might need.
Intelligence – 7.
Intelligence seven is mandatory for this build and is the only other non-negotiable stat next to Endurance. Rank seven unlocks Chemist. This perk will increase the duration of your chems by 50% per rank up to 200%. The importance of this is fairly self-explanatory and it’s what makes a chem-reliant build viable in the first place.
Agility – 1.
Nothing in the Agility tree is needed to make this build work, hence I’ve left it at the default one. If you wanted to work towards a stealth hybrid playstyle, you could take a bunch of those Charisma points and invest them in here without any major drawbacks.
Luck – 3.
Lastly, I’ve put two additional points into Luck for access to Bloody Mess, again, for that 15% damage increase.
Question: What is the Best Build in Fallout 4?
Answer: The definitive best build in Fallout 4 is the Infiltrator. The Infiltrator build is a hybrid VATs/Stealth/Pistol build that makes use of the Deliverer to take advantage of all three categories. When fully optimized, the build allows you to take out entire rooms of enemies in a handful of shots, all from the comfort of VATs.
Question: Is it Possible to Max Out All Stats in Fallout 4?
Answer: Yes, it is. The combination of Fallout 4 having no level cap combined with the Intense Training perk and SPECIAL bobbleheads makes having a maxed-out character a viable option. However, it will take you a lot of time to do so, and you will lose out on a lot of potential perk choices.
Question: Can SPECIAL Stats Go Above 10?
Answer: Yes, they can. If you level a SPECIAL stat up to 10 at the start of the game, it is possible to boost it to 11 permanently by picking up its related bobblehead. While the effects of your SPECIAL stats do stack above rank 10, you do not gain access to any extra perks.
Therefore, it is far more beneficial to never max out a stat at the start of the game instead of leveling it to 9. You can then collect its bobblehead to boost that to 10 while using the extra stat point to gain access to more perks.
Fallout 4 Best Starting Stats: Conclusion
That’s my take on the best starting stats in Fallout 4. Some people might disagree, but ultimately, it doesn’t really matter. Your SPECIAL stats are far less important than your perk choices, although what perks you get access to is determined by your SPECIAL.
With this build, I’ve gone for a very general, non-specialized stat distribution. I’ve given players access to key perks like Medic, as well as general damage boosting perks that aren’t dictated by playstyle in Bloody Mess and Lady Killer/Black Widow.
This build is perfectly suited to carry anyone, regardless of difficulty or skill level, through a complete playthrough of Fallout 4, especially if they scale it by using the Intense Training perk later on in the game.
I’ve also left room to maneuver in terms of your weapon choice. I’ve gone for a Rifleman setup here, but you can easily move some points around to get access to Heavy Gunner or Demolitionist. Commando and Gunslinger are already unlocked by default with this stat distribution, making it extremely versatile for 99% of players.