|Chinese Army: Special Ops. Training Manual
“The higher your Sneak skill, the easier it is to remain undetected, steal and item, or pick someone’s pocket. Successfully attack while undetected grants an automatic critical hit.”
Sneak allows you to pick your fights, and with a high Perception, it allows you to situate yourself in a position that makes surviving a fire fight easier. Picking off that Super Mutant with a Missile Launcher before he can shoot you will make your life easier, as will avoiding that group of Talon Company Mercenaries. Also, stealing stuff is great. It’s a fine way to get some better guns early on, or to just nab some stuff to sell. Karma smarma. Good guys need money too. And automatic critical hits? Critical hits are devastating in Fallout 3, and a critical sneak attack headshot will just about end anything you’ll come up with. Especially with a Combat Shotgun. In the face. Yeah…
Oh, and the Better Criticals perk just makes the situation all the better. Of course, sneaking away from every enemy you come across ** won’t get you any experience, and it’s only so helpful in combat if you can’t fight your way out of a wet paper bag, so while it’s extremely useful, it’s worth focusing on after you get some other skills a little higher. Plus, like in The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion, Sneak seems to be an all or nothing skill. It’s incredibly hard to sneak near enemies with a sneak below the 70’s. If you’re trying to just avoid fights in open terrain, you’ll only need about 50, but for combat purposes, look higher. And dammit, don’t forget to turn your Pip-Boy light off!