Invest in the Luck stat
It’s easy to overlook Luck as a stat because in real life its benefits are often nebulous at best, but in Fallout 4 it can genuinely raise your game. Most immediately useful is the Idiot Savant Perk which randomly multiplies the XP you get from any action by up to 5 times (depending on how many points you put into it). This can drastically shorten the time it takes to level up, especially if it dings on a quest hand in – you can potentially level up twice in one go.
The people working on the Railroad leave each other dead drops and caches around the Commonwealth, as well as warnings of danger. Being able to spot and recognise the white markings they leave around as cryptic signposts can prove extremely useful. Luckily Deacon gives you a tutorial as part of the quest Tradecraft, which you can pick up by finding the Railroad in the Old West Church in Boston.
Dress your settlers
If you want to start running your settlements at peak efficiency it’s a good idea to make your settlers easily recogniseable. A quick way of doing this is putting the same item of headgear on all of them as soon as you’ve assigned them to a job. That way it’s simple to see who doesn’t have a job, and who’s new in town. If you make the item a particularly funny hat it also provides a moment of levity amidst the bleakness of the post apocalypse.
Ammo is ludicrously expensive in the future (unless your favourite weapon is a massive baseball bat with nails through it, in which case shine on, you crazy diamond), but you won’t be using every calibre out there. Even so, you should always pick up any ammo you find. Ammo doesn’t weigh anything and .38, .45 and .308 are all frequent flyers around the Commonwealth. You’ll soon build up a big stash that you can sell to traders and buy your own preferred ammo at a much reduced cost.
Know your enemy: get the Awareness Perk
Atom has seen fit to bless the Commonwealth with a wondrous variety of horrible, mutated, Doctor-Who-Christmas-Special monsters, and they all have different vulnerabilities. The Perk called Awareness is amazingly useful and you only need three points in Perception to get it. With Awareness you’ll see all your targeted enemy’s defense scores displayed when you activate VATS, and it makes it much simpler to leave a trail of bodies in your wake.
Don’t Underestimate VATS
We’ve extolled the virtues of using VATS already. Shooting out the legs of feral ghouls is a great way to slow them down, and if you hit the right arm of a super mutant suicider before he gets too close then he’ll explode before he gets anywhere near you.
VATS are useful even if you’ve run out of AP to actually take the shots, though. Dropping into VATS shows you exactly where the enemies around you are, which is especially useful if it’s dark, and if you aim at a bad guy in VATS you’re still aimed at them when you come out of it, making it easier to to take regular pot shots at them. VATS will also highlight mines and traps before you reach them.
Rename your guns
By going into the weapons workbench you can rename your guns. You can rename them so that they appear at the top of the alphabetical list by putting in a dash so your favourite weapons are always readily available, or use your character name so you know which ones are your go to and know not to sell them. It’s also useful to put the ammo type in the name of your favourite weapons, which makes it easy to compare weapons of the same type against each other as well as knowing which ammo you need to buy from vendors.
Retrofit your weapons
If you get a legendary weapon drop, or find a unique weapon that you know you won’t use, don’t sell it right away. You can strip the better modifications from it by building a basic one on to it. Then you can add the more advanced mods to the weapons you prefer using, and sometimes these will be modifications that you don’t yet have the skills to build yourself.
Use power armour. A lot.
It’s really useful, you can nab fusion cores to power it all over the place, and there are quite a few suits of it knocking around. Power armour increases your strength and carry capacity, and gives you massive defense. There’s no real need to go into a big fight without it, and it makes it much easier to scavenge for parts for building settlements and crafting.
Keep an eye on fusion cores
These are the batteries that give power armour juice, and there are a few things you should know about them. First of all, if you’re using your power armour, try to switch your fusion core out for a fresh one before it runs out of power. Traders and vendors will buy a fusion core with even a tiny bit of charge for way more than an empty one. Sprinting, VATS and strong melee attacks will wear your fusion core out faster (but fast travel doesn’t).
Secondly: removing a the fusion core stops power armour from working. This means if you’ve left any power armour suits in your settlements you should remove the core to stop any of your settlers or enemies chumping off in it. It also means that, if you’re sneaky enough, you can pickpocket the power core right out of an enemy’s armour and force them out of it before a fight starts.
Some companions will steal for you
MacCready and Dogmeat will both pickpocket and steal for you if you ask them, although we’re not sure how Dogmeat manages it. Maybe he has particularly dexterous paws? Anyway, if you get your companion to do it there’s no negative return on the action for you. It’s a win win situation. Apart from the person whose stuff you just nicked, obviously.