Carl's Fallout 4 Guide
for PC, Xbox One, and PS4

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Fallout 4 Stealth

The Detection Meter and Sneak Mechanics

Stealth Mode in Fallout 4 Prevents enemies from detecting you. Utilizing stealth in Fallout 4 can prevent enemies from detecting you.

Sneaking is a handy ability in Fallout 4, whether you're playing a Sniper, short-ranged character, or getting up close in Melee. In all of these circumstances, you are able to move closer to your effective range before the enemy detects you. What causes them to detect you and the way the meter works seems to be a point of interest for new players, so I'll explain how some of this works to help you be a bit more successful.

The Purpose of Sneaking
When you're crouched, you'll see 'Hidden'. This means you're sneaking. You can use this to pickpocket enemies when behind them, steal items lying around without anyone noticing (just don't make noise!). You may want to avoid battles, or pick off enemies one by one from a distance and be a sneaky sniper. The game's AI will never catch you, though this method can take some time and it's not as useful when you're inside a building.

Sneak Attack critical Hit in Fallout 4 Sneak attacks and critical hits stack for massive damage, so you can save these for super-long range kills on powerful enemies - or just to sofen up a tough one.

Sneak Attacks
Sneak attacks deal double damage to enemies, but only if they haven't detected you. You're guaranteed to do double damage if you hit when the Stealth indicator is still green. I have seen a sneak attack occur at red, and now theorize that it has to be on its way back to hidden in order for the sneak attack to work at that point, or else that one opponent has called off their search. Your results may vary, and my memory may be tained. 100s of hours of play, ya know?

Sneak Attacks aren't just for gun users - Players who build up a high level of sneak skill and use melee weapons can do incredible things with the Blitz Perk in the Agility tree - it lets them engage at great distances - between that of a sniper rifle and handgun, while the Ninja Perk will increase the Sneak Attack damage for both guns and melee users - heavily favoring Melee because of how hard it's supposed to be to sneak up close with a super-sledge. Not at all, with Blitz!

While Sneak Attacks won't multiply with your Critical Hit Multiplier, Crits can be used to ensure that a sneak attack will land and make the damage reliable when you need it to be and have a poor chance to hit.

The Detection Meter Explained: Getting Detected

This is best done graphically, so you can understand how the detection indicator works. The meter - indicated by brackets - grows outward, then collapses inward as you near detection:

Hidden - Stealth working in Fallout 4 Hidden, nothing detects you at all. Sneaking in Fallout 4 and its stealth meter You're beginning the path to detection. Sneaky character almost detected At this stage, something is very close to being suspicious you are there. caution - someone is looking for you. Now we've hit caution. An enemy is looking for us and will appear on our compass. You'll note the brackets are in a similar location - they begin to collapse in on the word Caution. As they collapse inward, the enemy grows closer to detecting us. Extreme risk of detection. Staying still may help avoid detection, if it's dark. Combat has been initiated - we've been found and every enemy within range now knows our location.

It goes in reverse as you flee, then initiate sneak again. If you kill all enemies it can go straight back to hidden:

What Non-Perk Factors Affect Stealth Detection?

Stealthy sniper in Fallout 4 evades detection to score a sneak-attack head shot. Playing Sniper means getting into a good position, and sometimes it means you have to get close because of obstacles. Learning to sneak well will help you with this.

Daylight, Spotlights and Room Light. Light! - Even the best sneak builds will have trouble in daylight or spotlights - there is a reason for those annoying spotlights in some areas, and lights pointed straight down tunnels that are unavoidable. Many of these, you can't shoot out although sometimes you can use a terminal to disable them. In general, the darker an area the better your stealth will work. Some Armor modifications greatly impact the ability to stay stealthy in dark areas. Note that your Pip-boy's light is far from a spotlight in terms of brightness, but it DOES affect stealth - so shut it off!

Armor Weight - This is a big factor, but only for when you are moving. It matters even with the lightest gear, though you can minimize the impact by moving slowly (Caps Lock on PC) (whatever moves you slow on console!). Using Ultra-light build mods on your armor will reduce total armor weight, while also giving you extra AP. Choose between this and sneaking better in darkness. I like the AP.

Noise - Like above, gunshots without silencers/suppressors will make a lot of noise, and alert others to your presence. If playing a sniper, try to shoot the nearest enemy, so that when their friends come looking they are outside range to fully detect you. Guards will only look so far before they decide it's just the Jet giving them jitters.

Line of Sight - Coming up from behind is good, though some guards patrol. Watching their patrol routes can help you to sneak past them.

Dead Bodies - These seem to put human opponents on edge a bit when they discover them - they'll remark that they have trouble, and it feels like it's easier to get detected afterward. Just my experience, may not be true - could just be dialog.

Perception - The Culminating Factor - All of these contribute based on the Perception of the enemy you're sneaking up on. They may have better hearing and vision, or even sense of smell as with the Wasteland's wildlife. Certain foes have horrible perception, like Ghouls. Others, like Deathclaws - and even worse - Yao Guai, have very high perception. Human opponents that you encounter when your level rises - the harder ones - will have higher perception than a basic raider. Their senses are generally not as in tune as that of beasts, but they tend to be more intelligent and patrol.

Boosting Stealth

There are three main ways to boost your ability to Sneak. First - Agility. Higher agililty directly affects the sneaking ability of your character. They're more light-footed and the higher this stat, the more they'll get out of other boosts.

Second, Perks and Covert Ops Magazines - Namely the Sneak Perk, which gives you +20%, 30%, 40%, and 50% reduced chance of detection the further you take it. In combination with light armor, this can make a massive difference. At the fourth rank, you do not need to move slowly - note the distinction between running and sprinting which drains AP. You do not need to tip-toe with Rank 4 of Sneak. At Rank 5, you can engage Stealth and find that enemies quickly go faster to 'Caution' and the bar expands to 'Hidden' faster.

Covert Ops Magazines give you a reduced chance for each you find, and there are 10 to be found strewn throughout the Commonwealth, often in military-style installations.

There is a Sneak Bobblehead near the end of Dunwich Borers (northeastern Commonwealth), which will give you +10% harder to detect.

Add all these up, and you get over 100% - so you're less than half as likely to be detected by enemies.

Stealth Boys
These eliminate light as a factor for detection and can help you do things you couldn't otherwise, however they do not eliminate sound. Don't waste one and run with it or else enemies will just fire in your general location. Stealth Boys are somewhat rare, expensive, and should be used in situations where you need an advantage - like getting close enough to nail a Deathclaw with a critical sneak attack in the belly, or pickpocketing a fusion core from someone in power armor.

In Closing

At any time, you can run away and engage stealth and enemies are likely to lose you. They don't go chasing you too far, and you can hit them again after you recooperate - or reload. Companion detection doesn't necessarily mean YOU'RE detected, so use that to your advantage while enemies' line of sight is on the companion. Sometimes a companion can draw enemies to them and bring them within range of your weapons, while others flock in to be killed one by one. There are many uses to sneaking in Fallout 4, and I hope this guide has helped you to be just a little quieter and deadlier.

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Share Tips and FAQs (12)

Looking for the opposite of sneak. Sometimes my meter shows CAUTION and I can't find the enemy. I'll shoot and my hear them say "What what that?" I'll turn on my light, throw a frag and still never locate the enemy. Sometimes I may see the pip on the compass but I can't find them. I know to look up and look down but still.....When I'm trying to hide they often find me but then when I want them to, I'm out of luck. Advice?
18th March 2016 3:27pm
In my experience, if you've checked all around, up, down, sideways, the npc may be glitched into a wall or in some interior that still connected to the world space. More than once Ive struggled then finally found an npc with bits poking through a wall. Took some grenades then VATS to kill them.
22nd May 2016 8:24pm
I have sneak maxed and all supporting perks, plus 9 agility. I wear mostly shadowed gear.

I have had mobs walk right past me and ignore me while going for my companion so many times; even Dogmeat pulls their attention.

A headshot to the back of the head will usually take down almost anything

As for the Assaultrons, it gives you that slightly longer time before they see you (they WILL see you, always) to hit their combat inhibitor, which is an insta-kill.

Happy sniping everyone!
7th May 2016 3:51am
For the ones that glitch totally into a building ( I am looking at you Hangmans Alley) you can use your artillery to get them while they are still in the building.
30th May 2016 3:47pm
You forgot to mention that you can get legendary gear that gives +20% sneaking and makes you invisible. If you have it on all gear, that is +140% (2 legs, 2 arms, a helmet, a chest and under armor) better sneaking.
5th November 2016 3:26am
You also forgot the stealth field for power armor. I've got that and it's fantastic. Kneel down and you're invisible. But once you move the field collapses.

I'm really enjoying your articles but would ask that you please add an appendum to this one discussing the power armor stealth field and the legendary gear that Scott mentioned above.
8th February 2017 12:06pm
You list the Ultra-light mod, but not Muffle or Shadowed. Muffled makes it easier to move and not be detected (more than Ultra-light, but you don't get the increase AP), and Shadowed provides more armor for when you do get detected. Both of these mods are available earlier in the game which makes them more useful to know in my opinion.
18th April 2017 8:28am
blah blah
I think what gets folks is that light plays more of a role then it did in Skyrim sneaking.

If you're a stealth character and want to leverage it to full advantage, you essentially have to reverse your day/night sleep cycle.. sleep during the day, skulk around at night.

Using items that highlight npc's is also very useful...

Power armor helmet with npc highlighting (makes all characters, friend or foe, even robots, glow red)

Berry mentats that make everything glow...

This stuff used at night makes it feel like you're practically cheating.

Go to your location of operation at night, pop some berry mentats, then sneak around and snipe (or back stab).

You just have to become a night owl.
24th June 2017 5:55pm
David Gardner
I’m sure you worked this out long ago now but you mentioned that if the sneak status bar goes red you occasionally still get a sneak multiplier on the shot but haven’t worked out the pattern.

In my own experience a sneak hit should still apply during [Caution] as at this point you are still undetected. They know something isn’t right but they haven’t actually detected you yet.

I’ll quite often get the sneak attack just as they go in to caution mode right before they spot you. I.e they are looking in your direction.

If you have a clear shot, as soon as the status changes the caution that’s the time I’ll instantly go into VATS and provided you don’t take too long in VATS you should still score your sneak multiplier.
6th February 2018 1:09pm
Your wording is inconsistent:

"Namely the Sneak Perk, which gives you +20%, 30%, 40%, and 50% reduced chance of detection ... "


"Add all these up, and you get over 100% - so you're less than half as likely to be detected by enemies."

A 50% "reduced chance of detection" makes you half as likely at being caught, >=100% would mean no chance of being caught.

And how do you get over 100%? 50% + 10% + agility levels + covert ops; but, you don't list what agility or the magazines do specifically.
16th June 2018 12:51am
You're right that it is worded pretty badly, mainly because it doesn't point out you're not getting to keep the +20, +30 and +40 when you level up the perk. You have the bonus of your current level and that is all. It's coincidental they go over 100 when added.

From the manual for the G.E.C.K. we know there are multiple parts to the huge formula that goes into detection. Your own sneak value gets larger and makes it harder for even high perception enemies to find you. The formula itself is too dense for a page like this, just because of all the factors like in-game distance and the light levels (which to us is imprecise and hard to gauge).

The sneak perk ranks themselves do not add up, but give you a bonus that stacks with agility among other things. So when you have +50% to sneak, gear bonuses, high agility and covert ops you're going to have (probably ) double the sneak score and thus can get a lot closer before an enemy can detect you. So instead of a 17 you get a 34, meaning you'd have to be substantially closer to be detected.

So I did not mean a 100% reduction in chance of detection but adding all the bonuses may result in a much larger score (as I think the % boost from sneak should play off the character's current agility).

The creation kit wasn't out (or I didn't yet know how to use it) back when I wrote this so I wasn't sure of exact values due to the complexity of the formula for detection. Covert ops manuals lower the impact of movement on detection by 4% each, a bonus that is additive. This is different from the high rank sneak perk (4), which eliminates the noise from moving faster while sneaking. So both help.

In case someone wants to see the actual formula, it is here:
16th June 2018 1:44am
15th September 2018 11:25am
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Far Harbor DLC Guides

See my Far Harbor Guide for new features in the DLC. There, you can also watch the trailer and view new weapons that can be found. The area is massive, so we can expect plenty of quests and exploration in a foggy, rugged area with new and challenging creatures to battle.

Pleae note there are different endings for this DLC, something we all wanted! It's like the actual end-game of FO4 in that you can choose the outcome.

Islander's Almanac Magazine Locations
Far From Home: Quest 1
Walk in the Park: Quest 2
Where you Belong: Quest 3
Best Left Forgotten: Quest 4
Ware's Brew Quest New
The Striker New

Automatron Guides & Walkthrough

The final quest Restoring Order (Mechanist Fight/Options) is now available. I've also released a page that describes Getting Started in Automatron to accompany the main page about the DLC. This covers how to make the Robot Workbench to begin making your own Automatrons, and walks you through the first two quests while providing some tips for fighting the Mechanist's creations. Quest 3 Walkthrough: Headhunting is also live on the site.

Robots in Automatron New
Mechanist's Lair, Eyebots, and Rogue Robots covers what happens after the Mechanist story is complete.

Perks & Bobbleheads

Now that I've written about all Perks in Fallout 4, I've put them all in a list, with how they work, what you can expect, and my own opinions on them. Hope this is handy! I've also compiled map shots of all Bobblehead Locations in the game. You can choose to explore the locations on your own or read descriptions for those I've taken notes about.

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