1. Animal Friend
What it does: Animals do not attack (rank 1). They come to your aid, but not against other animals (rank 2).
The one reason why you do not need this perk is simply because too many great weapons are available in Fallout 3; if killing these creatures is truly a nightmare for you, make it a quest to find weapons and ammo. Mole Rats and dogs can be taken care of easily once you’ve got plenty of grenades, shotguns, pistols, nukes, and flamethrowers. If you must have a companion while traveling the Wasteland, then the game will provide more professional killers to aid you, humans and others that will work for you full time, and best of all, it won’t cost a perk. The worst part about Animal Friend is it requires two ranks before you can actually get those creatures like the Yao Guai and Brahmin to fight with you. Instead of wasting two perks on Animal Friend, improving your Big Guns and Repair skills seems like a better choice in the long run. Outside the cities and buildings where these animals reside, you won’t encounter many, and so you won’t really experience this perk.
2., 3., 4. Black Widow, Lady Killer, & Child At Heart
What Black Widow/Lady Killer does: You do +10% damage against opponents of the opposite sex. You’ll sometimes have access to unique dialogue options when dealing with the opposite sex.
What Child At Heart does: This perk greatly improves your interactions with children, usually in the form of unique dialogue choices.
For the people who decide to play Fallout 3 as a man, understand that the Lady Killer has a great flaw: you will not face a lot of enemies who are women. Besides some female raiders and soldiers, that’s about it. But beyond that, there is no Super Mutant lady, robot nurse, or mother Mole Rat. The perk’s 10% damage to a female then loses its value.
The Black Widow will provide a better experience since the Wasteland is filled with bad men needing to get their heads blown. Still, this perk is not necessary thanks to all the loot you will find that keeps your inventory stacked with weapons, ammo, and armor, so that 10% don’t mean squat after that.
Child At Heart is a weak perk because you won’t meet many kids in the Wasteland. In Megaton, the first town you visit, there is basically two kids who you talk to in that entire town. One place that is the exception would be Little Lamplight, where many kids are living, but more than likely you won’t even visit there until a long ways in the game. Adults will be most of the NPCs you see in Fallout 3.
Even though there are benefits behind these perks, where a few characters will give you items or perform special services for you, the fact is you have no idea who those people might be. The game doesn’t tell you, so all you can do is hope that the next person you talk to is one of few dozen who might share you a secret or do something nice.
Had the game provided some information or clues that imply to people, places, or quests which the Lady Killer, Black Widow, and Child At Heart perks would be useful, then these would have far more value and be less of a headache.
What it does: In sneak mode, you can eat a corpse to regain health.
This perk actually punishes you for doing something cool in the game. If you’re eating a corpse in front of NPCs, they’ll turn hostile and attack you. Not only that, eating a corpse actually reduces your karma by one point. So if you want to be Jesus with lots of good karma, then avoid this perk without hesitation. Besides, you can only eat humans and ghouls, an unfortunate predicament since you will be busy piling the Wasteland with dead Super Mutants. Who wouldn’t want to feast on them?
A better alternative to regain health are stimpaks, as there are plenty of those lying around in the Wasteland and sold at the shops. Ifyour Medicine skill is high, they also heal your health way better than lunching on a dead body
What it does: You do an additional +50% damage every time you attack a mutated insect, like the Radroach, Giant Ant, or Radscorpion.
You can get this perk at level 4, and it will be handy on the early stages of your adventures when you’re still getting familiar with the basics of adventure and combat. But once you become a Fallout 3 veteran and fill your bag with plenty of ammo and weapons, then this perk becomes useless in the long term. Insects won’t see what’s coming when a missile is flying in their face.
There’s actually a quest that gets you to exterminate all the fire ants and their queen in the city of Grayditch. Those pesky things with their fire breathing ability are probably the most dangerous insects in the game. With those ants gone, the Wasteland is a lot safer and the Entomologist a lot less important.
7. Fortune Finder
What it does: You’ll find more Nuka-Cola caps in containers than you normally would.
Don’t buy into the “fortune” in the Fortune Finder perk. All it does is let you find more Nuka-Cola caps that you can sell for some decent cash. The real fortune in Fallout 3 is all the junk and goods you can find by just looking down at your feet.Take those and sell them at shops and you’ll easily make money. The obvious items to pick up are weapons and armor; understand you can only wear one armor type and carry so many weapons at once. Do not drop the unnecessary goods. Sell them to shopkeepers. They will buy it from you for a fair price, as long as the items are in good condition.
Fortune Finder is supposed to help you make cash, but another similar perk, the Scrounger, which helps you find plenty of ammunition, is a better alternative to filling your pockets. Even without the Scrounger you can still easily make money in the Wasteland, as long as you stick to being a businessman too besides just adventurer, and make a habit of selling the goods you find.
8. Robotics Expert
What it does: You do an additional 25% damage to any robot. You can also sneak up on a robot undetected and activating it will put that robot into a permanent shutdown state.
You won’t face many menacing robots in this game with the exception of a few at certain locations and through some side quests; your major fights belong to the Super Mutants, Enclave, ghouls, and raiders. If robots are a problem for you, a better alternative is the Cyborg, a perk that increases your Energy Weapons skills by 10. Pistols and shotguns do less damage to robots than energy weapons like the Laser and Plasma rifles; Cyborg then will be a better choice than the Robotics Expert.
9. Mister Sandman
What it does: In Sneak mode, you can silently kill any human or ghoul while they’re sleeping. All Mister Sandman kills earn bonus XP.
Unless you enjoy murdering people in their sleep, this perk has no lasting value, no meaningful stat boost, and no relevance to the main quests. The bonus experience you get from killing is just a dangling carrot; it’s not hard to gain experience in Fallout 3 as long as you continue to blow mutants away with your guns and make an effort to complete quests. Almost any perk has better value than this.
10. Lead Belly
What it does: You take 50% less radiation from drinking irradiated water.
If you drink water, you will replenish health but be exposed to radiation. But still, the reason why Lead Belly should be avoided is because you will hardly need to rely on water to regain health when there’s plenty of stimpaks provided for you. They are not hard to find; they can be found in almost every place you visit, and most shops should have plenty to sell for a decent price. The vast Wasteland is also more a desert than an ocean. Rivers are located at several spots and by some areas like Rivet City, but you won’t be seeing much water if you stick to the main quests, when you’re required to fight your way through the long metro tunnels, where there’s hardly anything to drink. And finally, even with this perk on you, you’re still 50% exposed to nuclear waste; it’s less radiation, but it’s still radiation, and it’s not good news for your body.
These ten perks shouldn’t be a priority unless you’re giddy to see a Mole Rat fight alongside you or you just enjoy eating corpses because it’s cool (when you should just use a stimpak in your inventory). It’s better to stick with the other perks available that have far more value long term and actually gives you what it promises right then. Make it a strategy to choose ones that improve your weapons, defense, science, and thief skills.
Not all of Fallout 3’s nifty perks are a waste. The Chemist has a great effect since those powerful drugs you use last longer; the Comprehension perk can make you a force since it gives you one additional point for every skill book you read.
For Lady Killer and Child At Heart, it can only be fully experienced if you actually find the people that is relevant to the perk. If not, and it will be hard to find those few people in the vast Wasteland, then a more practical perk is a better choice. Entomologist and Fortune Finder can help, but later on they become less reliable just because you’ve become so dangerous and wealthy. If you want to survive and have a blasting good time, literally, with your adventure in the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout 3, then concentrate on perks that will help you get past locked areas and keep you alive from Super Mutants and the Enclave.
This post is part of the series: Fallout 3 Perk Guide
- Fallout 3 Perk Guide: Levels 1-8
- Fallout 3 Perk Guide: Levels 10-14
- Fallout 3 Perk Guide: Levels 16-20
- Survival Tips for Fallout 3: Perks and Requirements
- Fallout 3 Guide – Broken Steel Perks
- Not All Perks Are Good: Top Perks to Avoid in Fallout 3