Fallout 3 Best Perks – Perk Tier List Guide

Last Updated on July 5, 2022 by Samuel Franklin

Fallout 3 Best Perks – Perk Tier List Guide

What are the Fallout 3 best perks for your game playthrough? In this perk tier list we rate every single perk to help you plan your perk pathway through your Fallout 3 adventure. Driven by your choice of S.P.E.C.I.A.L and broader Fallout 3 build the choices of perks that you take can dramatically impact on your overall power level and some are mandatory for specific builds to work as they should. With these perk choices being permanent and various requirements attached to them having a forward view of the strongest and best perks in Fallout 3 is vital.

In this perk tier list guide to Fallout 3 we rank each individual perk and dive into the details of what makes each perk option good or bad in specific circumstances. Given this article includes all perks there are minor spoilers for Fallout 3 content and the Fallout 3 DLCs.

Best Fallout 3 Perks Factors & Ranks

When deciding on the best Fallout 3 perks the following factors have been considered. Similar to other games like Fallout that have a role playing focus the best upgrades for your account will often vary based on playstyle and objectives.

  • General: Perks that are general in nature and useful regardless of your build rank highly in this tier list given their broad effectiveness. Bonuses of this nature are also likely to be effective throughout your whole Fallout 3 journey compared to a perk that is only useful for a small portion of it. This could be either because it only shines in a particular quest or location or in time will become useless.
  • Utility: Some perks provide benefits that players have no other method to acquire outside of the perk system. These perks are rated higher on this Fallout 3 perk tier list given you cannot replace these perks with equipment or gear given the unique utility the perk provides.
  • Unlock Requirements: With perks having level, minimum S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats and other unlock requirements those that are easy to obtain are rated higher given you don’t need to invest significant focus to acquire them that might take away resources from your core build. Most perks in Fallout 3 are thematic in design though so this is only a consideration for a few perks.

Based on this rating each Fallout 3 perk is rated as follows:

  • S Tier: The best of the best when it comes to Fallout 3 perks, regardless of your build these will be a staple in all of your playthroughs and should be highly prioritised for your character. This perks may be extremely powerful in terms of raw value or offer utility you cannot obtain otherwise.
  • A Tier: While not as strong as the S tier these are strong generalist perks that serve as a second priority for your character. Players will also need to consider their own specific build at this point as build and playstyle may start to be a factor at this tier.
  • B Tier: Still strong Fallout 3 perks in specific circumstances but rarely going to be your first choice given they require specific builds or other perks to be effective.
  • C Tier: Don’t offer anything of value in the vast majority of situations outside of highly niche builds or role playing purposes. These perks should generally be avoided by the vast number of players.

fallout-3-all-perks

Best Fallout 3 Perks Tier List

The below section details every single available perk in Fallout 3 and is split based on source and then ordered based on level (where relevant). For further detail on each perk refer to the Fallout 3 perk page on the wiki.

Perk Name Perk Source Perk Rating Notes
Black Widow Level A Statistically there are more male enemies in Fallout 3 that makes this a great perk when playing as a female character
Lady Killer Level B Female enemies are smaller in size across the game which makes this not as effective as Black Widow above
Daddy’s Boy/Girl Level C Boosts to skills are not worth spending perk points on as you can max them easily without the use of limited perk points
Gun Nut Level C Boosts skills and is not worth it
Little Leaguer Level C Boosts skills and is not worth it
Thief Level C  Boosts skills and is not worth it
Swift Learner Level C There is more than enough content to reach max level without taking this perk so generally not worth it
Intense Training Level B Adding S.P.E.C.I.A.L can be extremely valuable when needed for your build
Child at Heart Level C Primarily used for role playing purposes only as the benefits of the unique dialogue options are minimal
Comprehension Level A Additional skill points from skill books will help you max these skills faster and is highly efficient. If you are doing a focused build this is unlikely to matter but if you prefer jack of all trades characters this can be a significant boost
Educated Level A Like the above extra skill points means it is easier to build a powerful character that can max many skills. It is less effective on high Intelligence builds as you already have an abundance of skill points though
Entomologist Level B Strong in terms of raw number and damage boost but insects are only a small part of the overall enemy pool that make this a low priority
Scoundrel Level C Boosts skills and is not worth it
Iron First Level B Only good in unarmed builds where is it a nice damage boost
Bloody Mess Level A A consistent boost across all your damage types that make it an effective perk despite the low boost
Lead Belly Level C Not something you’ll be doing often
Toughness Level S A permanent boost to damage resistance is hard to pass up given its effective throughout your adventure
Fortune Finder Level C Sources of bottle caps are abundant which gives you a range of other options to gain bottle caps
Gunslinger Level B If you specialise in V.A.T.S. and one handed weapons this is worth grabbing
Demolition Expert Level B Explosive use is not a major part of Fallout 3 combat, only grab this if using a significant amount of explosives
Commando Level A Like Gunslinger this is only effective if your playstyle relies on V.A.T.S. and you are using two handed weapons which are more common in general
Rad Resistance Level C This may be useful but is hardly a priority as there are other options to increase your resistance and remove radiation when it does occur
Scrounger Level B Not quite as weak as Fortune Finder given the ability to obtain ammos (and particularly rare ammos) can be useful and help you recover ammo you use while on an adventure as a convenience perk
Size Matters Level C Boosts skills and is not worth it
Strong Back Level S There is plenty of things to loot in Fallout 3 and this perk is a fantastic convenience perk for a playthrough
Impartial Mediation Level C Speech is not particularly useful (and can be obtained in other ways if necessary) combined with the requirement to maintain neutral karma this is a big effort and low reward perk
Animal Friend Level C Can be enjoyable for roleplaying purposes but is not an effective perk considering the investment in Charisma required to obtain it
Finesse Level S Boosting critical chance is effective in most Fallout 3 builds and in critical focused ones is a huge boost
Mister Sandman Level C An interesting perk from a role playing perspective but your opportunities to utilise it are few and far between
Mysterious Stranger Level B If your playstyle uses V.A.T.S for every single fight this can add up over the course of the game to a worthwhile investment. If you use V.A.T.S. only occasionally or not at all though it is not worth the perk investment
Nerd Rage! Level C If you build around staying below 20% health this perk can be fun and effective but it takes a lot of effort  and isn’t possible against all enemy types given some deal significant damage so it is generally not worth it
Night Person Level C While you can manipulate the game time to have this always active it’s not a significant benefit for the effort required
Here and Now Level C There is enough experience available in the world that taking an immediate level is not worth the trade for a perk
Pyromaniac Level B In the right build (such as using melee weapons with fire elements) this is a good investment but useless otherwise
Cannibal Level C An interesting perk from a role playing perspective that can save you some healing items but in most playthroughs its better to spend the perk elsewhere and heal through other methods
Life Giver Level A Depending on your playstyle and build an extra 30 hit points can help your durability although is hardly a must have
Robotics Expert Level B There are a number of robot centric locations in Fallout 3 which this makes significantly easier although robots aren’t common enough that it is a must have
Sniper Level A If V.A.T.S. is your playstyle this is a significant boost to helping you hit enemies
Silent Running Level A For a stealthy build this makes your sneaking efforts significantly easier and lets you equip heavier armour if you wish at the same time
Fast Metabolism Level B With many builds relying on the continuous use of stimpaks to survive in Fallout 3 this is a good utility perk to spend less bottle caps over your adventure
Lawbringer Level C Offers minimal caps but if you are looking to roleplay as a good karma character (or offset bad karma choices) can be considered
Chemist Level A Fantastic utility given chems are often a staple of most Fallout 3 builds
Contract Killer Level C Like Lawbringer its useful in specific circumstances but not a top priority
Cyborg Level A Another source of damage resistance that is useful to acquire and comes with some other minor bonuses
Light Step Level B Allowing you to completely ignore floor traps is a fantastic quality of life but you are giving up another perk for it
Master Trader Level C There are enough ways to earn your bottle caps in Fallout 3 that this is not a required perk and the Charisma/barter investments to unlock it are high
Adamantium Skeleton Level B A reduction to limb damage is always useful and will save you using healing items or getting in sticky situations mid fight but is not game breaking
Tag! Level C The strongest of the perks that boost skills given it results in +15 to a skill of your choice but a Fallout 3 build will earn enough skill points throughout the story to max their ideal skills
Better Criticals Level S A must have for any critical focused build where it significantly increases your damage. For other builds it still has some use although is a lower priority
Action Boy/Girl Level A Where V.A.T.S. is a big part of your playstyle this is a must have for additional attack potential
Chem Resistant Level B Chems are powerful in Fallout 3 so the ability to reduce this chance while out adventuring is great utility but there are other easy methods to do remove this negative status
Infiltrator Level C Broken locks are rarely an issue for the seasoned Fallout player and new players can rely on saves if necessary or lots of bobby pins instead
Computer Whiz Level C Like the above perk you can rely on saves for additional attempts at computers. Computers also allow you to leave with one attempt left and retry. If you don’t want to use these methods though this perk does have some use
Concentrated Fire Level A For V.A.T.S. focused builds that utilise weapons with lots of attacks (like pistols) this can be a great perk although its effectiveness is lacking otherwise
Paralysing Palm Level A In an unarmed build the paralyse is a nice utility against powerful enemies and has a reasonable good chance to trigger. Keep in mind this is for V.A.T.S though
Solar Powered Level B The health regeneration can be a nice convenience perk to keep your health topped off although is a low number in the scheme of things and requires you to manipulate the game time through waiting or sleeping for that effect
Ninja Level A A must have for melee and unarmed builds with additional power if you have a stealth based playstyle although this is not required for the skill to be effective. However, you do need high sneak to have this available
Grim Reaper’s Sprint Level S A fantastic end game perk that allows you to move from enemy to enemy with V.A.T.S. and makes battles against groups easy
Explorer Level C With external resources available to discover locations and the level this unlocks it is not a necessary perk. Even if you don’t want to rely on external resources discovering locations is hardly a difficult task
Dream Crusher Special B A strong boost to your survivability as it reduces enemy chance to critical in half. The added utility of discount and higher repair is also nice although this special perk comes at the cost of the Survival Expert quest reward which you have to weigh up for your build
Hematophage Special B Easy enough to acquire and gives you an alternative source of healing throughout the game
Power Armour Training Special S A must have in order to wear power armour which is often the best Fallout 3 armour available
Ant Might Quest B Offers a small benefit and players should pick the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. that is best for their build
Ant Sight Quest B Same as above
Barkskin Quest A A boost to damage resistance helps your Fallout 3 survivability
Rad Regeneration Quest C You are unlikely to want advanced radiation regularly which makes this perk fairly useless
Survival Expert Quest S With success in the associated quest this can potentially be 3% critical chance or 6% damage resistance that are both useful in the right build
Wired Reflexes Quest A A solid boost to V.A.T.S accuracy if you are a V.A.T.S. orientated player
Deep Sleep Level (Broken Steel) C Experience is not often a concern given there is plenty to go around already
Puppies! Level (Broken Steel) C Players can utilise save files to provide the same benefit of this perk. If you don’t want to use saving in this way though and use Dogmeat as your main companion then consider grabbing this
Quantum Chemist Level (Broken Steel) C Does not offer anything of significant value for a perk unless you want more Nuka-grenades
Devil’s Highway Level (Broken Steel) C Outside of specific reasons to reset your karma not worth taking as a perk
Escalator to Heaven Level (Broken Steel) C Outside of specific reasons to reset your karma not worth taking as a perk
Karmic Rebalance Level (Broken Steel) C Outside of specific reasons to reset your karma not worth taking as a perk
No Weaknesses Level (Broken Steel) C While you can design a sneaky character build to capitalise on this perk it does have a high level requirement and considering Almost Perfect is available at level 30 this is often not worth taking
Rad Tolerance Level (Broken Steel) C A minor utility as it removes the small negatives from low levels of radiation although generally you’ll be removing it through other means
Warmonger Level (Broken Steel) C A convenience perk for those that aren’t relying on external information for schematic locations
Nerves of Steel Level (Broken Steel) B While small the recovering of action points slowly adds up over time and one of the better perks from the Broken Steel expansion
Party Girl/Boy Level (Broken Steel) C Unless you are using drinks constantly as part of your build or role playing this is not going to offer significant benefit
Rad Absorption Level (Broken Steel) B A convenience perk that slowly removes radiation that you acquire and will save you some bottle caps on healing items
Nuclear Anomaly Level (Broken Steel) C While fun to watch and will save your from death against enemies you should be looking to avoid triggering it. There are also many enemies that deal too much damage for this to be easy to trigger
Almost Perfect Level (Broken Steel) S Boosting your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. up to 9 can be a great way to boost your characters lower stats to a high level. Given this is a maximum level perk though this benefit is focused on the benefits that S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats provide rather than giving you the requirements to unlock perks
Covert Ops Special (Operation Anchorage) B A small boost that provides little benefit but worth attempting when completing this DLC given you are likely to tackle it at low levels
Auto Axpert Special (The Pitt) B A nice boost to this specific weapon type while using it that benefits melee builds
Ghoul Ecology Special (Point Lookout) S Intended as a flat boost to damage against ghouls this actually applies to all enemies due to a bug across all game platforms that makes it always worth grabbing
Xenotech Expert Special (Mothership Zeta) A Alien weapons do have some use and particularly if you have the right build for them which makes this perk a decent option to acquire
Booster Shot Quest (The Pitt) C A boost to radiation resistance is nice to have but shouldn’t be prioritised
Pitt Fighter Quest (The Pitt) S Another perk that provides damage resistance which is useful on all Fallout 3 builds
Punga Power! Quest (Point Lookout) C Gives you the ability to use punga fruit as a replacement of your healing items so lacks significant benefit
Superior Defender Quest (Point Lookout) A Powerful for ranged weapon builds as you’ll often be standing still although slightly less effective for melee or unarmed

Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms.

Sam enjoys the modern Fallout franchise for the large open world settings of choice which blend RPG and FPS mechanics. Preferring to play as a character with good karma he can often be found saving the Wasteland from evil while using a build that focuses on traditional weapon types.

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