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I've just aquired Cass and according to the wiki, she can be good at both melee and guns. If I give her both a melee weapon and a gun, will she swap weapons during combat accordingly? I.e. if the monsters start nibbling on her shins, will she switch to melee? Or are the choices you select in the panel set in stone?

Or even better, can I give her a sniper rifle and a shotgun and let her decide when it's best to use either?

As it is now, she has All American and Riot shotgun and tries to snipe enemies from the other side of the desert with the shotgun.

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She won't. Followers are stupid as concrete. –  NoneOfYourBusiness Apr 21 '13 at 14:54
    
In my experience, they actually do. I gave Cass an Anti-Materiel Rifle and an SMG, and she switches to the AMR at long distances. That being said, quite often she doesn't switch properly. –  Twilight Sparkle Oct 21 '13 at 6:54

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

From my experience dealing with followers in New Vegas, generally speaking:

  • If you set them to "Use Ranged" they will pick the most powerful gun or energy weapon, with some level of preference towards their skill set. They will then fire the weapon at any enemies they encounter, regardless of whether using that weapon makes tactical sense. They will tend to run away from enemies that get too close, so you can watch them kiting enemies that tend to melee.
  • If you set them to "Use Melee" they will pick the most powerful close-range weapon they possess (again, with some level of preference towards their skill set) and charge the enemy, regardless of the situation.

The "range" classification of the weapons is somewhat variable. For instance, Boone has a sniper rifle and a pistol by default, and a hunting knife is his close range weapon. Cass has a shotgun for a ranged weapon and a hunting knife as her close range weapon. Thus, if you give her a better shotgun, she will likely consider this her ranged weapon.

Additionally, the riot shotgun is more powerful than the All-American in terms of damage per shot and DPS. Therefore, her companion logic is likely to pick it as the preferred range weapon, even though its range is significantly less.

You're probably better off taking the shotgun back if you plan to engage at any kind of range with her. You can give her a different melee weapon if you want, although in my experience you generally have to explicitly instruct her to switch tactics if you want her to use it.

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