Fallout: New Vegas Intelligence Implant at Level 1 Walkthrough

Before I begin I want to stress that this walkthrough is for the player who is obsessed with perfect stats, not the player who just wants to enjoy Fallout: New Vegas for what it is, make mistakes and have fun. That being said, I am a perfectionist when it comes to things I love. The other night, after creating my charismatic boxer, I decided to try and get the intelligence implant at level one — if I had skipped some dumb quests in Goodsprings I would have accomplished this.


Before getting into how it happened, allow me to explain some things.

What are implants?

Those of you who played Fallout 3 may recall bobbleheads: unique items found throughout the world which offer a boost to a single stat or skill.  New Vegas has done away with these, and in their place we have a combination of snowglobes and implants.  Snowglobes are the rare items hidden throughout the world which can be sold to Mr.House’s female companion for 2,000 caps.  Implants are a one-time optional augmentation you can have attached to your character for a high price: 4,000 caps per SPECIAL implant.  There is also one which raises your DT (damage threshold) for 8,000 caps and one which causes 1 HP to be recovered every 10 seconds for a whopping 12,000 caps.

You are limited to the number of implants you can have installed in your body.  The limit is based on your raw endurance stat.  By raw I mean the stat from character creation.  For example, if your endurance was 6 at character creation you can have 6 implants.  If you use intense training to get it up to 7 then you can have 7 implants.  If you get the endurance implant to get it up to 8 then you can still only have 7 implants — 6 in actuality since you already had one installed.  In other words, the endurance implant DOES NOT allow for an additional implant to be installed.

OK, so why Intelligence?  And why the rush?

Intelligence decides the amount of skill points you acquire upon leveling up.  Skill points are then distributed wherever you like amongst the game’s 13 skills.  Obviously the more skill points you have, the better you will be at the various skills.  Leveling up before getting the implant will only cause you to lose, at most, one skill point per level — not a huge deal really.

Show me some math, sucka

All right, no need for name calling.  If a character went the whole game without getting the intelligence implant the most they would be missing out on are 14-15 skill points.  This number goes down 1 point every two levels so if you get to level 2 before acquiring it you essentially lose out one skill point, and then one more every two levels.  I can already hear people closing this window upon realizing that this isn’t such a big deal.  Those megalomaniacs still here can enjoy my step-by-step walkthough below.

Getting the intelligence implant at level one:

Before I continue I should note the following stats are helpful for this walkthrough: sneak, barter, repair, speech.

After stepping out into the world, don’t bother doing any quests.  Feel free to pinch some water and food in town.  If your repair is over 25, fix the 9MM automatic at the doc’s house as a bit of protection.  If your science is over 25, make some stimpacs with the chemistry set.  If your speech is over 30, ask the doc for some more stimpacs.  This should give you a decent nest egg for your trip ahead.

Buy a shovel from the local shopkeeper.  After that talk to everyone and ask about what’s around Goodsprings.  You should eventually get a marker for the graveyard and Sloan on your map. First head to the graveyard and explore until you find the Goodsprings snowglobe.  Dig up the graves for extra loot.  Start heading in the direction of Sloan.

Once you reach Sloan head up the stairs and Chomps should warn you about some deathclaws.  Don’t worry, we can avoid them.  If you can, steal the binoculars on the small table on the outskirts of town.  It may be surrounded by miners, but with a good sneak skill you can grab them.  These will help survey the map to watch for those deathclaws.  This is optional of course.

Rather than setting out on the clearly outlined road, travel on the cliffs just to the right of the road if you’re looking north.  You should come across a shack loaded with fission batteries, this means you are on the right track.  If you get a bit of high ground you should be able to see a similar looking shack in the distance to the north, north-east.  This is your next destination: Neil’s shack.

Once you get there Neil (a friendly supermutant) will approach you and warn you about Tabitha.  Again, don’t worry.  Well, worry a little, this is probably the hairiest part, but believe me it’s better than trying to outrun deathclaws.

Follow the trail near his shack while trying to stay on the high ground.  You should see some torches in the distance.  Keep moving north while maintaining the high ground until you see a dead NCR trooper with your binoculars or naked eye.  This is your moment of truth.  Press select and wait an hour to get an auto-save up or make a hard save just in case.

Run to the NCR trooper and strip his gear.  It’s likely that some super mutants will be attacking you, but it’s also possible that there is no one.  If the former is the case, put on the NCR armor for a bit of DT.  Now run up the hill where it seems the NCR trooper met his end, serpentine between the numerous bear traps and avoid the boulder which rolls at you.  If anyone was tailing you this should slow them down long enough for you to escape.  Congrats, that was the hardest part, make a quick auto-save!  Head north.

The lights of New Vegas should be in the distance.  Keep heading north, but just slightly to the right of New Vegas.  You should stumble upon one of a couple different locations: Grub n’ Gulp Rest Stop, or Cass’s destroyed caravan.  The Grab n’ Gulp is your destination; explore around until you find it.  Keep heading north.  You should eventually see a small rope bridge.  Follow it to find Durable Dunn’s Sacked Caravan.  Strip all the bodies of their gear.  Repair down if you become encumbered.  The two sets of combat armor are the most valuable items as are the two plasma rifles.  Together they can easily be sold for the 2,000 caps necessary to get into New Vegas.

Head north/north west. Once you see a complex of buildings you should be able to find the New Vegas Medical Clinic among them.  If you happen upon Crimson Caravan you are very close, just explore the empty tick-marks until you find it.

Now that you can fast travel here, go to Crimson Caravan and find Blake.  He should have a healthy amount of caps.  Sell him one of the sets of combat armor or if you repaired down to one sell him that one.  Odds are you will net a small loss, but remember you’re going for perfect stats not caps.

Fast travel back to Goodsprings and sell the other set of combat armor and/or any weapons you have to Chet.  You should have your 2,000 caps or be extremely close.  The remaining caps you should be able to get by looting, but avoid discovering any new locations or killing anything.  If you are still hurting fast travel to Cass’s destroyed caravan and head west until you see some rangers.  This will trigger an event where they kill some raiders.  You can strip them and sell off all their gear.  This should be enough to get you to 2,000 caps and you will have killed nothing and completed no quests — not too shabby!

From the New Vegas Medical Clinic head north west until you discover the entrance to freeside.  Head all the way into freeside, through the weird blue door thing.  Inside Freeside is the entrance to the strip.  Show your 2,000 caps to the robot guard and watch as the ruffian tries to get in and is mowed down.

Immediately head into the Lucky 38 and up to the penthouse floor.  Talk to the female protectron and ask about snowglobes.  Then tell her you have a snowglobe and you will receive your 2,000 cap reward.  Leave and warp to the New Vegas Medical Clinic and purchase your implant!

Now, show off to everyone your godliness.  Be sure to make passive aggressive comments such as, “Oh, I guess you have a decent amount of skill points.  You know, for a low tier character.”  It doesn’t hurt to shake your head in disgust when someone shows you their stats; be sure to keep photos of your perfect SPECIAL and skill points in your wallet so you can quickly produce proof at a moment’s notice.

40 Responses to Fallout: New Vegas Intelligence Implant at Level 1 Walkthrough

  1. bob says:

    erm just to say… i did this in a much easier.. smarter way.. and lvl 1.. remember that.. ok now instead of running near neil's shack.. i went where there are giant radscorpians and those flying monsters.. sticked to the hillside where they could not get me… then eventually made it to camp mcmcarran and already had ncr armor (from a dead ncr guy beside primm in a coyote den near a blockade) and then went through mcarran to new vegas (must have the armor to get in) and get past the troops.. they will allow you if you got the armor.. then take the monorail to vegas.. and eventually to lucky 38… word to the wise.. if you want a perfect game.. dont do this because im telling you right now it will fuck up the storyline (victor the robot will be at the lucky 38) trust me….

  2. Mahziel says:

    I got the implants for CHR, INT, AGL, LCK & DT while still level 1. I just followed the main highway from primm. Using my cat burglar skills all the way. No fights, little exp and never went into The Strip

  3. Mark says:

    You can buy a passport from Nick from NIck and Ralphs shop in freeside for only 500caps instead of paying 2K caps think you only need like 30speech

    • kotowari says:

      It's a common misconception that you actually have to "pay" the 2,000 caps. As the robot explains it's only a credit check so you get to keep the money. Also this strategy is focused on not spending money so people with low barter can pull it off. Earning back those 500 caps with 1 charisma would take forever!

  4. daemonToe says:

    ty kotowari. i really enjoy reading your blog. id like to see some more discussion on general builds for hardcore. and perhaps some talk on alternatives to melee and vats heavy. seems to me vats is a waste of perks since any experience from fps' will probably be just as good. would you say endurance and intelligence are the most critical in hardcore? im really leaning that way. you can really pump up a character with implants and intense training this way. and isnt built to destroy just excellent with good natured and high repair.

    • kotowari says:

      I agree about VATS sucking up perks, and for the most part I avoid using VATS unless absolutely necessary. I will see if I can get a hardcore build up. I believe Endurance and Intelligence are probably the most important for hardcore, but you have to obviously work it into a decent character. I haven't played around with build to destroy, but it sounds like it's made for energy weapons users.

      • daemonToe says:

        why do you think it is mainly for energy weapons users? because of critical multipliers on weapons? yeah, you may be right. but fragile limbs is impossible early hardcore and four eyes will be kind of a waste later on. i like the traits and perks that keep on giving once your character is fully developed. however, built to destroy may be a second tier one. curious about whacky wastland or whatever its called. tried it?

  5. sportinmorton says:

    Quick question: what SPECIAL did you start out with? I'm about an hour into my first character and I'm planning a reboot. Obviously 9 intelligence, but how did you spend the rest of your points?

    • daemonToe says:

      i went for
      st4
      per 6
      end 9
      char 2 maybe 1 would be better and add to luck instead
      Int 9
      agi 3
      luck 7

      wrote some details in kotowaris next article. i think endurance is critical not only for hardcore but also for number of possible implants..

  6. J.D says:

    if your looking for quick money for the implant, go to the atomic wrangler, load/save on blackjack until you have the 4000 caps/chips much easier and faster than finding loot.

  7. Jovknee says:

    after clearing all the casinos I've found I ended up 40K+ caps. Banned from gaming at them though ;)

    Although I haven't read it anywhere, I believe the luck attribute helps with blackjack.

    • J.D says:

      Luck definitely affects blackjack, i have 10 Luck, (9 +1 from Naughty Nightwear) and i find it difficult to actively try to lose (for the sake of not being banned before hitting the jackpot on the slots), it will give you alot of instant 300 cap blackjack wins and will more often than not give you perfect cards to start with eg Q+K or A+10.

      • kotowari says:

        That is interesting, I would like to find a sweet spot where your are moderately lucky but can afford points in other SPECIAL stats. 10 luck is quite high! With finesse you must hit critically all the time

        8O

        • J.D says:

          I pretty much dedicated my last playthrough to trying to get all skills to 100 at level 20 i stopped after realising that it just isn't possible.I figured out (taking intense training everytime and the tag perk and every skill book) that i would need atleast 42 levels in total to be able to do it. I chose alot of luck because it grants +1 to every skill as you go up in Luck. I was something like 192 skill points off having everything to 100. So yeah not even close lol.

          • kotowari says:

            It's important to note that you only get +1 to all skills for every 2 points of luck. Thanks for sharing your efforts though, I found it interesting since maxing as many skills as you can is a dream of mine in New Vegas.

  8. John says:

    Let's be real. Caravan isn't that hard. Instead of all this looting, and selling and hard things… just head south to the NCR barracks… play several hands of caravan, head to the place with the dinosaur, and play the crazy old man… easy. 5000 caps.

    • kotowari says:

      Personally the learning curve for caravan is a bitch considering the return is usually more limited than blackjack. As some people suggest, that is probably easier than my roundabout item gathering.

  9. Ren says:

    Another way to get some cash, I love this fact btw, you can rob the Vann Graff family blind at lvl 1. Even if you don't sell the gear to get an implant you're still getting good gear. Carry everything to the back hall where the bathrooms are and you can pick it all up. You don't even lose karma.

  10. Jacob says:

    So did you ever relize that taking the luck implant won’t give you those extra skill points when leveling up. Implants act the sam way as if you were to where an item of clothing that boosts an attribute. If you wore a hat that gave you plus 1 intellegence sure it would help for special options in conversations but it wouldn’t add skill points when you level up hence it being an item, which is why the endurence implant doesn’t let you get more implants. I know this is hard to hear since you wrote that whole blog about how to get your ittellegence to 10 at level 1. But that’s life. And if you don’t believe me or think I’m wrong you are sadly mistaken and I feel sorry for you, but just have to come up with a new strategy for your character. And I’m not being mean I’m just trying to help.

    • Hide says:

      the Vault verified that if you take the implant at lv1 with 9 int resulting in 10 int you will get 15 skill points at lv 2 however others stipulated that if you raise it by to an odd number it may fail to carry over the extra .5. In short according to the vault it should work im going to try on a character but heh either way im not doing a follow up post great guide assuming it works however as i was concerned about getting the needed caps and snow globe method will fix it

    • eric says:

      srry but thats not true, an inplant is an permanent bonus on your special, it doesn't work as an item but as a regulair special point.

  11. Jacob says:

    Haha sorry taking the intellegence implant won’t give you those extra skill points when leveling up and all that stuff I said I didn’t mean to say luck lol sorry again

  12. JWPC says:

    Well I have to verify Jacobs comment – you do realize it would be one (1) extra point every OTHER level… Well I'll see if it works, maybe maybe not – Anyway, what I really wanted to post was this… Next time you need to talk about items or implants or anything else – just say where it is and give us a map marker instead of rambling on and on about an exact path for all eternity… There is no exact path in Fallout. Period and yours is far from the best. That's what makes it so great. A map marker goes a long way… Even longer than your bloated post.

    • kotowari says:

      Jacob's comment was that the implant would have NO effect, as is in no additional skill points at all. And if you read what I said about the implant:

      "If a character went the whole game without getting the intelligence implant the most they would be missing out on are 14-15 skill points."

      You would know that I am quite well aware that it is one point per every other level.

      In terms of boiling this entire walkthrough down to a single image of a map markers, I am afraid I don't know how that would be done, but I appreciate your unbridled, nonsensical advice.

  13. JWPC says:

    PS you do not need 10 INT for perfect 100 stats in the end. In fact, if you start with 9 INT you'll severely cripple your other SPECIAL attribs, until the add-on comes along with the old "all 9's" perk which by the way does not impress me. Don't believe me? Well, unfortunately, I don't carry game stats in my friggin wallet! PSS if anyone ever pulled Fallout Stats out of their wallet, I would be sure to avoid that person for the rest of my life which wouldnt be too long due to the fact that my f-k-n head would probabally pop from all the embarasing laughter… Sincerely, J ~ Stop whinnin' and shoot somethin already. God I wish there was a multiplayer on this thing…

    • kotowari says:

      I don't understand your first sentence. I started with 10 intelligence and was able to get all other SPECIAL stats to 6 which means I get all but 4/88 perks, if you can realistically explain how this cripples my character, please leave another "bloated" comment for me to reply to.

      P.S I don't care what is in your wallet

  14. Sami says:

    Aside from explaining the implants (I'm at level 13, and my friend told me I really should boost my INT for more points), you also told me about various ways to make caps to afford more of the implants! Thanks a ton, Kotowari!

    ^^; I'll remember this walkthrough when I play on Hardcore mode and need the extra stats. Again, thanks for the walkthrough.

  15. Wasteland Joe says:

    I go for the average build and seem to do just fine. SPECIAL starts out 6/5/6/6/6/6/5 with the traits Four Eyes and Heavy Handed.. My chosen perks are guns, repair, and speech. This seems to work well, but makes for a late bloomer in terms of meeting skill checks (lock-picking, medicine, barter, science, etc.). My whole problem is the tough skill checks prior to the player's readiness. I will go out of my way to avoid events because of it. Now, it seems patch 1.06 has hurt the game a lot on PS3. Things seem … well… a whole lot easier — and let's not forget the Abandoned Brotherhood of Steel issue.

    Anyway, that is besides the point. You wrongly identify the NCR soldiers on the tarmac near Allied Technologies as Rangers. They're just troopers along the wall — four of them. It should also be noted that combining too many items too early results in a 50 point award. No gear should be repaired by the player until the Intelligence implant is obtained. After all, they are attempting to play as "point minimalist". Also, having a huge point buffer comes in handy if you have to defend yourself against any Fiends.

  16. Lancer says:

    Um just FYI guy you don;t need to pay anything to get into new Vegas if you have an NCR trooper outfit. IF you are wearing any NCR outfit and go to CAMP MCCARREN…. there is a 2nd floor monrail that takes in …..(for free) any person that is NCR for supposedly leave. Once in NEW Vegas you can go in and out as many times as you please, without ever having to pay,buy, or even have a Passport. Just get an NCR armor from either the dead guy or the trader in Camp Mccarren and then find the monorail door guarded by two troopers and walk past and into new vegas at no cost. Then sell the snowglobes from Goodsprings, Vault 21 (pickpocket Sarah there and go to her room) and the one from the Followers Old Mormon Fort. There is also another one in the cocktail Lounge in the lucky 38. So with one level you can get 4 globes and 8,000 caps. Enough for both an intelligence and endurance implant.

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