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Questions about the best weapon/armor in the game are entirely subject to individual preference and combat style. If you ask 100 people this question you will get 100 different answers. The best bet is to use them all yourself and decide on your own what weapon/armor suits your style of game play. After all isn’t half the fun of playing an RPG developing your own unique style and technique?

Personally my go to weapon is the Xuanlong assault rifle and for armor I’ve used the Ranger Battle armor combined with the Combat helmet throughout most of the game with very good result. For weaker enemies like Raiders I’ll often use a simple hunting rifle. Its easy to find, the ammo is plentiful and surprisingly it is a very accurate weapon. One well placed head shot in VATS and they drop like flies! When it comes to tougher enemies I switch to A3-21’s Plasma rifle or one of the alien weapons. But as I advanced through the game I built my character with an emphasis on small guns/energy weapons so this set up wont work for all.

Another thing to keep in mind is not to judge a weapon solely on what’s listed in the Pipboy as its base damage. This is a common mistake people who aren’t very familiar with the game often make. Weapons have a hidden statistic within the game engine called a critical multiplier which basically means you stand a greater chance of scoring a critical hit with it.

Critical hits in a nut shell:

(Keep in mind numbers and percentages are dependant on your current skill with a weapon, amount of Luck points you have and what perks you have obtained. For my example I’ll just use round figures.)

Lets say your character has a critical chance of 15% for ranged weapons. Using VATS can raise your critical chance an additional (maximum) 15%, for a total of 30%.

Critical hits can multiply the base damage of a weapon by a factor of 1.5x to 4x. (It’s a roll of the dice calculated when you take the shot.)

A weapon with a base damage of 50 and a critical multiplier of x3 will raise your odds of getting a critical hit in VATS from 30% to 90%. Seeing as the base damage of that weapon can become as much as 200 with a critical hit, this can make that weapon far more powerful than a weapon that has a base damage of say, 80 with a critical multiplier of 1x because even though a critical hit with the latter weapon could raise its damage to as much as 320, your odds of scoring a critical hit with it are only 30% compared to 90%.

For a list of weapons and their critical multiplier look here: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Fallout_3_weapons

One often overlooked attribute of your character is luck. Luck plays a role in everything you do in the game. From your odds of finding a Nuka-cola quantum in a vending machine to scoring a critical hit in VATS. Each point of luck adds 1% chance of scoring a critical hit for a maximum of 10 points or 10%. Some ways to add points to your luck stat, aside from perks, would be:


Get the luck Bobblehead from Arlington house in the Arlington cemetery. (+1 luck)

South West of Tenpenny tower there is an unmarked store called Lucky’s. On a mannequin in the back of the store is a pair of Lucky Shades/Sunglasses. (+1 luck)

Three Dog wears a headband that gives you +1 luck as well as +1 charisma.

Get the lucky 8 ball from Timebomb in Big Town after the Trouble in Big Town quest. (+1 luck)

Get the Ranger Battle Armor from the Reilly’s Ranger quest. (+1 luck)

All of these items can be obtained fairly early in the game for maximum benefit.

  • Reilly’s Rangers quest requires a 40 medicine skill or passing a speech check to begin.
  • Getting the 8 ball requires a medical skill of 40.
  • The lucky shades can not be worn with any head gear that covers your face.
  • In order to obtain Three Dogs head wrap you must first reverse pickpocket a better piece of headgear into his inventory then wait for him to equip the item. Alternatively he can also be killed and the headband looted from his corpse. Both of these will cause a loss of karma, the latter will cease all news broadcast from him and Margaret the “technician” will take his place, making snide comments about him being killed by some “Asshole.”
  • Aside from the Bobblehead, the items listed above must be worn for the luck to be applied to your stats. In the case of the lucky 8 ball it must be carried with you. ReapTheChaos 10:33, February 1, 2010 (UTC)