Fallout: New Vegas Official Strategy Guide Blog — Crafty Beggars: Living off the Land, and on the Lam

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David Hodgson, author of the Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide, returns this week to discuss Survival — the new Skill your character can take advantage of in the Mojave Wasteland.

Heeeeeere’s David….

Adventuring across the sandstorms of the Ivanpah Dry Lake, or the rocky terrain around Bitter Springs can be arduous. Partly due to the vicious critters — ranging from packs of Coyotes to lolloping Alpha Deathclaws – but mainly because you need to keep a constant check on your health, especially in Hardcore Mode. Although it’s certainly possible to live off Stimpaks on the easier difficulty modes, real wasteland explorers expend their tag skill points on Survival, a brand-new Skill that enables you to enjoy the natural (and mutated) wonders of the stark, rugged Mojave and then exploit those resources for fun and profit. Welcome to the world of Crafting.


Geckos are highly prized; not only is their meat delicious when cooked as a steak, but their hides can be tanned and sold to merchants for considerable Caps. That is, if you’ve focused on Survival and Crafting.

Crafting doesn’t involve making papier-mâché Vault Boy heads; this is all about hunting and scavenging, and then combining items to create much more potent food, drink and equipment. Indeed, the official strategy guide goes to extended lengths to provide you with the most helpful information to get you tracking down the tastiest morsels and most delicious beverages. Or the most potent poisons with which to coat your melee weapon, and charge head-long into that Fiend encampment you’ve been wanting to ransack. There’s a mind-snappingly large number of items you can craft over a Campfire after collecting various wild plants, pieces of meat you’ve sliced off a dead animal, and other accoutrements. You haven’t lived until you’ve tasted Rose’s Deathclaw Omelet; a special recipe only given out to those who’ve returned triumphantly with a “special” egg or two. And of course, you don’t want to run across the monstrosity that laid those eggs…

Of course, there’s a more violent, anarchic point to Crafting too. With the introduction of Reloading Benches, you (and your associated Skill) can spend time searching for any type of ammunition – including bullets you normally would never use – and break them down into their component parts. Then, with a modicum of talent, you can craft variations of your standard bullets, shells, and clips to suit a variety of (usually blood-soaked) situations. Naturally, the official guide details all the bullet types, how to create them, and their strengths (and weaknesses), so let’s focus on one example of a common bullet type: the 9mm.


Pistols (such as the unique offering on show here called “Maria”) can manage to deliver devastating blows – even to armor-clad entities – as long as you’ve loaded up the correct bullets for the job.

You should have shot at Raiders and Centaurs throughout the Capital Wasteland armed with a weapon that fires these bullets. But as battle-scarred Mojave wanderers will tell you, they tend to be pretty feeble against anything more than a lightly-armored target. With low damage, but common availability, this ammo type used to be a stop-gap measure until something better was found. Not anymore! With some Reloading Bench hijinks, a Hollow Point variable can be created. This increases the damage you inflict by 75 percent, which makes combat 75 percent more satisfying. However, it also triples a target’s DT (Damage Threshold, which is the amount of absorption a foe’s armor can take before the strike hits soft, squishy flesh). So this is much more of a lethal strike, but only if your foe isn’t armor-plated. Time then for the “+P” variant; this increases your damage by 10 percent, but it also reduces a target’s DT by 2, effectively letting more damage pass through armor — until your weapon disintegrates, as there’s 20 percent more wear on the firearm with these bullets, too. Naturally, you can counter-act that with Weapon Repair Kits, or a Ghoul with some exceptional tinkering abilities…

Now factor in the dozens of ammunition types, balanced out by Weapon Upgrades, Unique Weapons, and Followers – all of which can negate certain shortfalls of Crafted ammo variants and play up to the ammo’s strengths — and you’ll start to understand how much additional depth Fallout: New Vegas has to offer the veteran explorer. But which set of ammunition is the best? And what are the top ten Craftable Items? And how  do I stop dying in Hardcore Mode? And is there one place where I can check the statistics of every weapon in the Mojave Wasteland against every other one? And who is this Mr. House guy anyway? Well, those answers (and several thousand more) are all revealed in the Official Game Guide.

Come back next time when we reveal some of the breathtaking vistas, and filthy Fiend alleyways of the New Vegas and Mojave Wasteland landscape.

Stay tuned for another post from David. In the meantime, for more details on the Fallout: New Vegas Game Guide, visit Prima’s website.

Reader Comments

  1. sweet info, thanks! the crafting stuff reminds me of the wacky fun to be had in Kingdom of Loathing. Ghost Pickle on a Stick, anyone? i hope there’s at least a few baffling, perhaps totally pointless (except amusing) things to craft.

    do reloading components need to be acquired, or is there simply a set of skills to use on an equipped bench? that is, do i have to find bullets, powder, primers, and brass (or pick up my old brass)?

    gosh, so will crafting be any different in Hardcore? i could use my standard .45 ACP load of 6gr Unique + 230gr plated RN bullet… man, i gotta get my reloading bench set up again.

  2. Nice!!! Can’t wait much longer.
    haha, with the little help of the Tesnexus,
    I’m fairly positive it’ll be available.

  3. Sounds unbelievable – I enjoyed the hunting and herb collecting in Red Dead, but New Vegas will just take that to a completely new level. It’ll be interesting to see how you switch between ammo types on the fly.

    Can’t wait to begin a Hardcore game on Hard difficulty, just so the wasteland will be a terrifying place where I could die at any given moment =)

  4. When I read this, well this confirmed the feeling I had that the Fallout team is stepping up to the plate to make their sequel fresh and exciting. I’m almost positive New Vegas will be stronger than FO3, an amazing thing to accomplish.

    Keep up the good work. I’m really glad to see the fallout team seems to have taken some suggestions from the gaming community for inspiration. It’s nice to see a positive communication between the gaming public and the industry.

  5. I for one will be going straight to Hardout mode.
    I can’t for the game! Will have the hope for best and will there be dogmet as a friend?
    WIll the Inclave from fallout 1 be back?

  6. @The Lone Wanderer, Seriously, why do you want to wait a year? You don’t want to right? Are you going to buy the game on console? Than it’s the easiest way to buy dlc’s. I am going to do this. Since Fallout 3 crashed sooo many times on my PC.

  7. A question about Hardcore Mode for anyone who might know.
    Will Hardcore Mode be effectively a dificulty setting, also dictating how hard enemys are to kill etc aswell as adding the extra ‘needs’ like ammo having weight and having to eat? Or. Will it to have it on, giving you those extra ‘needs’ and more of a challenge, but still allowing you to have the general difficulty settings on say medium if you so desired?

  8. @BeefyMeds, hardcore mode is not a difficulty setting. You’ll still be able to adjust the difficulty settings as you would be able to with Fallout 3. So technically, you could play hardcore mode on the easy difficulty setting.

  9. 277 people voted the dog as being their favorite companion? thats pretty dumb but i think if i craft a few types of every bullet, i’ll just kill all the companions in the game take their weapons for my museum of companion weapons. i won’t eat the dog meat if it has any, it’ll go in my museum as well. i think i’m gonna be a nice guy and when people trust me i’ll stab them with a machete and take their money.

  10. Hi, I’m just curious about this new card game “Caravan” I would really like to know the rules for this game..
    Well if you can’t say I’ll just have to wait untill October 22nd =)


  11. Really looking forward to the end of October. I hope there’s already some cool DLC in the works too. Nothing like a fresh weapon or cool trinket to renew one’s interest.

  12. Excellent question BeefyMeds, and thanks Gstaff for the answer!

    Are the updates coming weekly? Getting these were making Tuesday a little nicer!


  13. I really hope they don’t make the crafting and stuff too confusing and I don’t really want it to be like rdr because they’re too different of game. And I don’t want it to be a HUGE part of the game

  14. BeefyMeds
    I was wondering the exact same thing 🙂
    thanks for asking good information I’m glad that it can be normal difficulty while still being realistic.

  15. @ DogFan there was so much wrong with that post i dont know where to start
    First, its called HardCORE mode
    Second, it’s dogmeat, and hes a companion
    Third, it’s the ENCLAVE
    Fourth, I dont believe the enclave were in fallout 1

  16. @ DogFan
    There is so much wrong with that post i dont know where to begin
    First, it’s called HardCORE mode
    Second, It’s Dogmeat and hes a companion
    Third, It’s the ENCLAVE
    Fourth, I dont recall there being a mention of the enclave in fallout 1?

  17. @ Heyhey3 I cecked out the website for the guides and the difference is this

    “The Collector’s Edition guide concludes with a 32-page bonus section filled with concept art and behind the scenes information from the game developers.”

    And that hardcover sure is stylish!

  18. @mike
    there will be no Enclave in this game, just one Eyebot named ED-E, that’s it, quite disapionting, no Enclave Tesla Armor or Hellfire Armor. :/
    That’s the only flaw this game has :/
    Also don’t need a stradegy guide, I am the stradegy guide 😀

  19. I have just gotten into Fallout New vegas and already love it as much as Fallout 3,which, in my opinion was the best game ever made and I compare all other games to as far a how well they play and having around 600 hours on it I can say I think I qualify to make the statements I make here. Believe me no other first person shooter game has ever compared to Fallout three.

    I have to start out by saying that Fallout New Vegas is looking to be just as good if not better with story content and art. One of the things I am disappointed with Fallout New Vegas is the first release date was going to be November of 2009. Then Bethesda canceled the release to November 2010 due to issues with the smoothness and glitches in the game, which ,I think was the right thing to do and not many companies would have done since everything pretty much comes down to bottom line profits,

    Well I have to say in the short time I have been playing (13 hours) your trouble shooting guys have not done a very good job. Two major glitches I am finding so far is as follows, 1. I will be walking along and I will want to put my weapon away for more speed and it comes right back out and fires. I try to change weapons when this happens and the new weapon comes out and fires. I check my stats and yes the weapon I am holding comes back out and fires. BUT, I can’t fire anything when pressing the right trigger button. The only way I can get things back to normal is shutdown my xbox and reset and everthing woill work OK until the next time it happens. This has happened several times now. 2. Sometimes when in vats I set up to shoot hit the A button and nothing happen. the bad guy or insect just keeps coming in slow motion and until I die I can do nothing. To get things working again? Yea you guessed it I have to shutdown the xbox and resign in again.
    Your trouble shooters had pretty much a year to fix the glitches in this game but so far they did a horrible job. But I am a die hard Fallout fan and am looking forward to putting 5-600 hours on this game like I did on Fallout 3 so there isn’t anychance to lose me as a fan, if I run into anymore glitches I will post again.

  20. you know, the one complaint i have about your games, fallouts and the oblivion games, there is no item placement function…example you get the fancy dancy house in oblivion , you know the one with the display cases, and you really cant put items in there, you have to jump on top of the case and just drop the item and hope it falls into the case right, the same goes for any of the fallout games, you get a pad and there may be a bookshelve in there and you cant put nothing on it properly, can we please try to fix this before the next game….

    that being said, if this is my only complaint, that means you folks are doing one hell of a good job

    [][][][], knuckle dap, pound it

  21. on fallout 3 if you go into a vault (exept vault 101) if you go deep into the vault your player starts hulucinating and starts seeing his father (whos just died)