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I noticed that VATS is much less powerful in Fallout New Vegas than it was in Fallout 3. I only use it at nearly point-blank range, at anything else it seems much worse than what I can shoot manually (and I'm pretty bad at anything FPS-like).

So, I'm wondering what a nice sniper build would be. It should not rely on VATS, but also not be totally useless in close-range situations. You can't always avoid those.

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One thing with VATS you have to take some of the later perks to make it more useful. As you said it's really not useful at long range, just mid to close. –  Viper_Sb Nov 2 '10 at 18:28
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But at Sniper ranges it really seems like manual aiming is the only choice. When I got the Sniper rifle in my first play-through, I could shoot so much further than with VATS (even with the perks). –  Mad Scientist Nov 2 '10 at 18:30
    
Yes for sure, I meant that without perks and without the sniper rifle range has a disadvantage. Perks seem to help with the non sniper weapons a lot more. –  Viper_Sb Nov 2 '10 at 18:52
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In general, VATS is a poor choice at extremely long ranges - this was true in FO3 as well, but FO3 had far fewer scoped weapons, and in general, weapon sights in FO3 were terrible and inaccurate, so long range combat as a whole wasn't viable. In NV, VATS is just as good as ever from the ranges it's meant for - but you now have options from well back from VATS range. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Nov 2 '10 at 18:56

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

First off: You really don't need a special build to be good at Sniping in FO:NV. Any weapon with a reasonably good scope and sufficient skill/strength to not have it wobble all over the place will be fine. High luck for increased crit chance is nice, but most of your attacks will be Sneak attacks with a 100% chance to crit anyway. Boone's Spotter and ED-E's Enhanced Sensors bonus perks help a lot as well.

Beyond that, and beyond the usual damage increasing Perks (Better Criticals, et al), you may want to look at perks like Hand Loader, which provide the best ammo you can get for weapons like the Gobi Campaign Scout Rifle (Only available if you can get to 100 Lockpick buffed!), and other high end scoped weapons. The Cowboy perk doesn't work with the best sniping weapons, but there are a few scoped guns suitable for mid-range or mid-game use.

One other interesting possibility is to go an Energy Weapons route, again, taking the usual + Crit and +damage perks, and being sure to grab Meltdown ASAP. Then pick up the YCS/186 Gauss Rifle and snipe things from a mile out, and watch them explode to kill their friends. Fun for the whole family!

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