Want to get here? Don't expect to do so on your own any time soon, but it's possible...
Fonline 3 is a game that may appear to be simple and straightforward at first, especially to hardcore gamers who have already played the Fallout series or other FOnline games. However, FOnline 3 does have some very unique elements, and in general it can be said that it grows in complexity as you level and learn. It is possible here to be extremely successful at any level based only on what you know about the game as an advanced player. It is possible to spend lots of time doing your own things being moderately successful without any interaction with other players, however you might find that you can improve much more quickly by humbly asking questions and being active on the Discord page, or participating in the Friday and Saturday Warfare Events.
The most difficult parts of the game for you might not be combat at all, they might be continuing onwards even when you have suffered terrible losses or don't feel successful. Don't get discouraged! If you are below level 55, the game has only just begun for you. Many people will come from other servers and find that they have a difficult time here, but there are also many things that have carried over and effective tactics that have stayed the same. In general as with life, if you can approach this game with the attitude that any success, no matter how small is a miracle, you will probably find it more rewarding and magical. Lose your expectations for obtaining Advanced Power Armor or other things you have had in the past, and try to make a cool story out of what happens here, learning something from each death if you can.
It is possible to create a variety of characters that are effective, but you will need to adjust your tactics for each one. Once you have mastered the basics of survival and finding gear, you might spend your entire time here testing out different builds and practicing at effective combat until you find a matching build and style that agrees with you as a player overall. However, even if you enjoy playing alone, don't discount the different Events. Participating often has far greater rewards than anything else you'd be doing, and even better - the story of the wasteland evolves with what the players do or fail to do. There are many fascinating things to learn here already, and many stories not yet seen!
Position Yourself Properly!!
Your position in combat is absolutely the MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR to your success. Skill Points, Gear, Levels, Money, Bases, Vehicles, none of it will ever matter as much as putting yourself on the correct hex. Learn your build properly and you will also learn where to stand. You can EASILY solo areas that would otherwise be IMPOSSIBLE if you can find the right place to stand where you can bottleneck enemies and hex them. In teamplay, you can survive unreasonable numbers of enemies and concentrate your fire without accidentally hitting friendlies as long as you stay exactly where you are supposed to be. Before you do ANYTHING else, or even begin to think of firing your weapon and wasting AP, DECIDE upon a "correct hex" for yourself and make sure that you have moved there. New to this dungeon, dead already? Zoom out and use your respawn timer to look at the map! Try to figure out a better place you can run to make your next attempt more successful!
Take Time to Think and Pick The Right Targets
The SECOND most important factor to your success in combat is PICK THE RIGHT TARGETS. It might be that the main reason you die is that you freak out and simply run up quickly and attack whatever is closest instead of taking the time to think about what is most dangerous to you. It does not matter how many levels you have, or what kind of gear - if you don't fight with intelligence you won't be nearly as strong, and this is most of how to advance yourself in this game.
If there are Needler Pistol enemies, and you do not have the Survivalist Armor Perk, you will probably want to focus them first. Getting Poisoned is a very common and easy way to die. Learn the weaknesses of your character build and armor, and take out the enemies that are killing you first! If you don't have Stonewall or Heavy Stonewall Armor Perk, you will want to be taking out grenade launcher and rocket enemies extremely quickly. Most characters are weak to Fire, Plasma, and Electrical damage, so Incinerator, Plasma Gatling, and the YK Pulse Weapon enemies need to be focused as well. Keep in mind that even if you are taking small amounts of damage, it pays to think, and many enemies can be simply ignored until you deal with the more dangerous weaponry!
Melee Weapon/Close Combat Tactics
If you are a melee weapons user, you face a unique set of challenges in this game, but melee weapons and Deathclaws are also very powerful and can be excellent damage dealers and tanks solo or in teamplay when played properly. It is highly recommended to roll these characters with at least 10 ST and EN at creation.
Don't expect to run up to a Deathclaw in PvP and be able to hex them easily with your Avenger Minigun or Gatling Laser, in all likelihood they will simply growl, knock you to the ground in a single blow before you can shoot, and kill you in several more.
However, it is already very difficult to stay alive in this game at certain times, and you may not want to start off with a melee build unless you have a good idea what you are doing and thoroughly understand - you are taking on some frustrating limitations but also some unique strengths.
Your location in combat is absolutely critical as stated, and in this case movement speed is the important stat that will get you there in time to have some fun. Especially in PvP, movement speed might even be worth choosing over perks like Lifegiver.
Bonus HtH Damage, Bonus HtH Attacks, Bonus Move, Silent Death, and Silent Running are all very tempting. Health is more important in PvE but against players, the faster you can move the harder you are to click and the more quickly you can attack.
In general you will need to play opportunistically in PvP, choosing good hiding spots and targets, and setting careful ambushes. PvE will be much more straightforward, but you may still need to be moving around much more than ranged characters, and will have less opportunity to regen AP or avoid enemy fire. Make sure you have full AP before you begin your charge at the enemies, and close the distance to your enemies as quickly as possible so you can start to attack and regenerate AP. Even after all this, you will still possibly need to cover in order to heal, and melee users are among the players most killed by their teammate's grenades and bursts as well.
In PvP especially, you may want to have high Sneak skill and possibly also Silent Running, but overall Sneak is not a very effective tactic against players, who mainly have high PE characters and can see you within 3 hexes regardless. You will likely suffer many deaths because of your lack of ranged abilities, and if you have low PE probably without even knowing who killed you, but Throwing skill and possibly Heave Ho! will become your best friends, and if you can learn to use grenades properly through windows and around corners in addition to your other abilities, you will be extremely deadly.
Again, keep in mind that your LOCATION is absolutely critical. Since you will be on the front line much of the time soaking up damage, you will also need to build your character for health if you want to stay alive. PvP characters can likely sacrifice a good deal of health and damage resistance in order to get movement speed and damage as long as they can learn to ambush enemies properly, however at least 10 EN at creation and all 3 Lifegiver perks are still highly recommended, especially for PvE.
Single Shot Tactics
At high levels, Sniper style characters are some of the most hated and devastating PvP players in the entire game. At low level (<100) single shot weapons even without Aimed Shots might be everything you need for PvE, but their effectiveness at PvE solo play flatlines at very high levels due to lack of survivability. Situations here often have too many dangerous high HP enemies at once.
Single Shot characters are generally most effective with Aimed Shots for specific critical hit effects, and you will also need to learn how to cripple your enemies properly in order to survive. Repeatedly blinding your enemies can not be underestimated, and is a valuable and effective tactic - very frustrating for them, but other cripples have situational uses as well!
It is generally possible to create a character which can reliably critically hit and/or cripple most enemies on the first shot, and kill them before they are even close enough to see you, however Single Shot characters will find that they lack similar effectiveness toward large groups of enemies and can often be killed in a single hit at close range.
Once you have a proper build and understand your strengths and weaknesses, you will find that Assassin, Bounty Hunter, and Sniper can all be devastatingly effective in certain styles of gameplay.
Better Criticals, More Critical, Even More Criticals, Bonus Rate of Fire, Hit the Gaps, Right between the Eyes, Sharpshooter, and Spray and Pray are all perks you may want to experiment with.
Burst Weapon Tactics
A burst weapon's potential damage total can be roughly calculated by multiplying the number of bullets per burst by the maximum damage of the weapon. Then, multiply that damage by the damage modifier of the ammunition you are using. This is maximum damage assuming no critical hits, perk effects, or enemy resistance modifiers. There are many other variables as well, like Flat Damage, which you can figure on your own, but leaving these out keeps things much more simple and still gives a general idea of effectiveness.
During this process of calculation, you will find that some burst weapons have a MUCH higher potential damage total than others. You may have already done this. However, choosing an effective burst weapon is not so simple as finding the best damage, or even finding what kind of ammo and weapon combination has the best penetration against the specifically armored enemies you fight.
In general burst weapons do the most damage at point blank 1 hex range, a tactic that players call "hexing". This way there is a maximum chance for all the bullets to hit their target according to the to hit % calculations for range, and the results can be devastating. Yet, there is more to consider.
The Minigun and Avenger Minigun are special weapons in that they fire 40 bullets per burst, yet deal very little damage per shot. This means the damage that these weapons produce can be extremely weak or extremely strong in different situations with different builds. Though they are still "cool", you should probably not use these weapons at all in PvP and may find them lackluster in PvE against armored enemies unless you are specifically built with as many Bonus Ranged Damage, More Ranged Damage, Claw Implant, or other bonus damage per bullet effects that are possible.
For example, let's say that you are a tank character build for damage resistances and HP. The Avenger Minigun and Minigun do a maximum of 15 damage per shot. Even if your Minigun has 2x Bonus Ranged Damage Weapon Perks for a total of 19 maximum damage, if you face an enemy with armor DT greater than 19, you will NOT DO ANY DAMAGE AT ALL without counting damage from crits per bullet, which will not be very large in total. Against an enemy with 16 DT in normal CA MKII, you will have only 80 potential total damage before crits and DR modifiers! DT is calculated for EACH BULLET, and you always need to use a weapon that does more base damage per shot than your enemy's DT. You will do more damage even with the m16, or any other weapon with more damage per bullet!
On the other hand, let's say you are a partial damage per bullet burst build, specially for the Avenger Minigun.
2x Bonus Ranged Damage + 1x Bonus Ranged Damage from Avenger Minigun Weapon Perk + 1x More Ranged Damage + 1 damage per shot and +1 max damage from Soldier, also + 2x Claw Implant.... this looks a lot different! At 29 maximum damage, against an enemy with 19DT you have 400 potential damage before crits and DR modifiers, not to mention bonuses from other Perks or chosen Weapon Perks! Against an enemy with only 16DT, that's 520 potential damage before crits(!) or other modifiers! Following this same logic, serious players are going to want to get the Penetrate Weapon Perk on every Minigun and Avenger Minigun as quickly as they possibly can. PvE perks at high levels will likewise greatly augment minigun damage against NPCs.
Burst weapons are capable of critically hitting the enemy with each bullet, yet these crits do not individually show up in the combat log. Crit chance is not only calculated for the whole burst (showing up in the combat log), but each bullet is also affected by crit chance and burst weapons with more bullets leaving the gun also have more chances to crit and do more total damage. Thus, crit chance and crit power are not nearly as useless for burst characters as they would be if crits were simply calculated once per burst, and crit stats are still strong for burst characters no matter which burst weapon you use.
At point blank range all burst weapons fire all the bullets at the single hex target in front of you, however once they are no longer point blank (2 hexes away or more) the burst from most of them reaches out to a 3-hex spread capable of damaging more enemies, but only 1/3 of the bullets or less now hit each target.
The LSW, M16, and Bozar are very special weapons in that they are the only weapons in the game that fire bursts in a 1 hex line instead of a 3-hex spread at range. Thus, these specific precision guns do larger burst damage than the others at longer ranges while still using far less ammo. No matter your weapon skill it can pay off to understand how this works when dealing and taking damage.
If you are used to facing large groups of melee or low-range enemies at once, especially solo, you might simply use the higher potential damage burst weapons and completely ignore the LSW and M16. You will do more damage to very close enemies, similar damage to enemies at 10-12 hex range or more, and you will do a lot more damage to multiple enemies at once with the spread out bursts. When they are at 1 hex range, these weapons undoubtedly do massively more damage, regardless of anything else you should have a high-damage potential burst weapon that you pull out when enemies are in melee range. If you have enough ammo, it might be a very sustainable play style to use nothing else.
However, if you are going to be doing burst damage at longer ranges regularly or taking out snipers, the M16 and LSW can be very, very strong. If you are playing PvE with a team, especially a large one, and you are not a "Tank" style character who can survive on the front line, your best bet is possibly to stand behind everyone else and very carefully position yourself with one of these weapons so you don't shoot any of your team by accident. Even if you are low level and not survivable or lack experience, this gives you a way to support a higher level team without dying or killing your friends by accident. The M16 and LSW are vital weapons for such a use. There are many other reasons why you might want to use the M16 or LSW.
The M16 is possibly the strongest "Bang for the Buck" weapon in the whole game. It is cheaper than other weapons in stores, and ammunition for it is laughably easy to find.
Even in close quarters, when you have run yourself almost completely out of ammo with your Avenger Minigun you will be really glad you brought the M16 along!
Learning to use grenades and Throwing effectively is one of the BEST things you can do to strengthen your character. Grenades make a very powerful area of effect explosion in this game, as they do in real life, and to ignore them because you think they are uncool or undesirable would be a huge mistake. Molotov cocktails have the advantage of even placing an AoE Damage over Time fire effect. If you are serious about doing well against the unexpected, you should probably have at least 10 effective grenades on you at all times and know how to use them.
The grenade interface is really easy to use, and thankfully throwing grenades is much more simple than it was in F1 and F2.
While you have grenades in your inventory (you do not need to equip them), hold down the "Alt" key while you have the "Attack" cursor selected. You will see a grid displaying the possible range of your throw, and you can click inside this grid to throw grenades at any hex in range even if there are no enemies. You can damage enemies around corners this way even if they cannot see you or vice versa. Practice this until you are good at it. It should be instinctive to you to immediately hold "Alt" and start throwing grenades when AoE is needed, but they are also devastating if you hit your own teammates, so be absolutely sure NEVER to hit your team.
Throwing knives are also an EXCELLENT sidearm and do massive damage for only 2AP for some characters.
Using Correct Armor
Once you have died many times, looked at the Armors page and reviewed the stats, you will find that not all armors are good against all enemies. In fact, armors are generally not well-rounded and you will be making sacrifices here to find what works for you. Low level players might have the best luck with Combat Armor MkII for a long time, as it protects against most Normal damage, and Hubologist's Robes are also extremely popular and effective (look out for laser enemies!!). However, once you are leveled up a bit you may find that you like to use Enclave Armor, NCR Ranger Armor, Conscript Battle Armor, or others depending on the Armor Perks they have and enemies you plan to face.
Understand how DT and DR work and pick the right perks and armor for the enemies you face!
We are warriors trying to conquer the extreme challenges of an apocalyptic wasteland, and for these extreme challenges you are not as strong as you could be without drugs. Bounty Hunter characters cannot take drugs, but most characters will want to have drug effects going in combat at all times.
NOTE: You can no longer get addicted to drugs unless you have the Chem Reliant trait. Historically though, any character could become addicted by % chance even without the Chem Reliant Trait, and such addictions would last 1 hour. Drug Antidote is thankfully easy to find regardless.
There are many different drugs with different effects, but they are all useful in different situations and you can have up to 5 buff effects from drugs on you at once. RadAway and Stealth Boy can be used without resetting your drug timers, but Rad-X cannot, and if you use more than 5 drugs your timers will be reset and you will have to take more!
For example, here are the total buff effects from a set of 5 drugs intended to be used for combat in caves and close quarters:
Psycho, Gamma Gulp Beer, Booze, Healing Powder, Cigarettes:
+15% Normal DR
+5% Plasma DR
+30 heal HP
+25 Healing Rate
+5% Laser DR
While it may seem lackluster to have -7 PE, understand drugs are situational and flexible according to your needs. If you are in a cave or dungeon, it may be perfectly reasonable to sacrifice Field of View.
On the other hand if you are a sniper, plan to see far, and ideally never get hit, using Jet, Nuka-Cola, Cigarettes, After Burner Gum, and Voodoo might be very reasonable and net you:
+10% Critical Chance
-15% Normal DR
If you are feeling ambitious, try the Cannibal trait! It makes the game a little more complicated, but these drug effects are even more powerful if properly used!
Use Natural Health Regeneration Properly
In this game, passive health regeneration is a mechanic more or less important to different builds. It ticks over time, and the amount of health and time between ticks varies for every character. In general more HP regenerated in less time is good, but as a player it is possible to use tactics here to stay alive longer in combat regardless. It takes practice but, watch your health points for passive regeneration, get a feel for the timing of the ticks with your build, and try to coordinate your healing items with it. This way you will have a much better idea of when you need to heal and when you can keep attacking. You might be able to attack longer if you know you have a passive regen tick coming soon, but if you don't you need to know when it's vital to start healing!!
Every time combat is over, wait for your AP to recharge completely until you move again. This is very basic move that will make you much stronger if you aren't already doing so, you never know when more enemies will appear and you need to have full AP to face them!
Generally moving around in combat for no reason is a terrible idea that will waste AP and get you killed. If you want to stay alive, do not perform any needless actions whatsoever, and pay attention to your AP so you can run for cover from enemy fire when you need to. If you stand around and just let yourself get shot by enemies while your AP is recovering, things might not go well at all. Go in with a serious plan for where to go and what to shoot first, and stick to it. Take out the THREATS. If you are in a group and you face many strong enemies you can't AoE, focus damage on the most dangerous ones and take them down one by one until dead instead of shooting something that isn't damaged yet or doesn't matter. Solo or in a group, don't freak out and run around like a n00b at random when you start to die, take cover from enemies somewhere smart where you can easily bottleneck them into killing each other or move 1 hex to shoot, and only shoot when you absolutely know that your shot will count and do what you want. Lob grenades around corners. If you are getting swarmed and you know you might die, it's often a toss-up whether or not it is a good idea to try to escape or simply outheal the enemy damage until you can shoot again. Running has risks as well, but you might not have a choice - it's often better after a certain point to just shoot one more time to finish off any low health enemies.
Some parts of the game, it will take you multiple deaths to do what you want, and when you KNOW you will die, it's often better to finish off as many as possible and come back with new gear than it is to fail at trying to heal yourself through the damage and die without any progress, running back and trying the exact same thing again.