According to in-game text and the Fallout Wiki on the U.S. Covert Operations Manual, finding these magazines will give you progressively higher ranks of the Covert Operations perk. The perk reports that it makes it more difficult for enemies to detect the player while sneaking, with higher ranks being more difficult for enemy detection.

Is there any way to determine how this perk actually affects stealth, maybe by hard values or multipliers accessible through the console? If so, does the perk provide bonuses to stealth in regard to detection by sight, movement/sound, both, neither, some other aspect? And how much does each additional magazine/point in this perk provide?

  • I was somewhat surprised by the fact that nobody has posted some complicated looking formula on the wiki for this... – Broots Waymb Feb 18 '16 at 16:32
  • @DangerZone I am a bit too. I'd think the perk simply changes some multiplier(s), but I don't play on PC, so no console access to verify that. There are only a couple of perk magazines that don't give an exact percentage or description of the perk effect. This just happens to be one of them. Tales of a Junktown Jerky Vendor and Tumblers Today don't really offer specifics either, but this one is the one that impacts my play style the most. – king14nyr Feb 18 '16 at 16:39
  • +1 great question. From my experience, it affects a tiny bit of everything. Almost like a general sneak upgrade. I'm wondering if it gives you almost more of a % upon your existing sneak skill as well. Something like (total sneak * number of CO mags found = total sneak) – FoxMcCloud Feb 18 '16 at 23:30

I know this question is quite old but I found it through Google so I'm sure others will in the future and an answer now will still help them.

I used the Creation Kit to check out exactly what these perks did. It turns out they just lower the modifier that movement has on your Visual based detection chance. By default a "Movement" modifier is part of the Visual detection aspect of sneaking (It is also part of the Sound factor as well, but that Movement stat is different and is based on gear weight, it has no effect from the Covert Operations perk).

The overall Sneak detection chance equation is very complex, having far more parts than just the Visual factor, but I feel is irrelevant to this question as it will only very much confuse the discussion.

Part of the sneak detection equation is "Visual Factor" which has several components. The whole equation is:

Visual factor = Attenuation * VisualContact * Light * Movement * Blindness * Invisibility

As you can see, part of this equation is this Movement stat. On it's own is sort of an On and Off switch to the detection formula. When you're standing still the value is 0, when moving the value is 1. So moving just adds an extra multiplier to the chance of being detected.

The Covert Operations perk lowers that value down from 1, decreasing the overall effect movement has on your detection chance. The value per rank are:

Rank 1: 0.96 Rank 2: 0.92 Rank 3: 0.88 Rank 4: 0.84 Rank 5: 0.80 Rank 6: 0.76 Rank 7: 0.72 Rank 8: 0.68 Rank 9: 0.64 Rank 10: 0.60

So as you can see, this Perk can nearly cuts the effect of movement on Stealth in half, it's a great bonus when you consider it costs you no manual Perk points, just the collection of some magazines.

  • Great answer, thanks for the explanation! Such a big impact on movement detection makes getting this perk to level 10 totally worth the time – king14nyr Oct 4 '16 at 3:32

Enemies detect the player in Bethesda's Fallout and Elder Scrolls games when a "Detection Value" calculation prompted by the player's actions results in a detection value greater than zero. Lower values can cause the enemy to become alert and begin searching for the player.

Additional information on these mechanics, including formulas, can be found in the GECK article on Detection.

I don't have any hard evidence of this, but I would imagine that the magazines provide a modifier directly to this detection value. Unfortunately, we don't know the magnitude of the effect.

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