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.