Spoiler Warning S5E5: Two Heads are Better than None

By Shamus
on Apr 12, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

191 comments


Link (YouTube)

We discussed the consolidation of skills in this game. This is a rare case where I like that some of the skills have been collapsed.

In a desperate wasteland with few tools and no sterilization, the difference between “first aid” and “doctor” is very, very hazy. Really, one is a sub-discipline of the other. So merging them was good.

As I said in the show, I thought merging “guns” and “big guns” was pretty good. Keeping them separate for reasons of logic was fine – I don’t expect practicing with a six-shooter to impart meaningful knowledge on the use of a rocket launcher. But from a gameplay perspective it kind of sucked. In Fallout, Using big guns without investing skill points in them was suicide, but it was really hard to put all of those delicious skill points into such a situational weapon. Especially since you’d need to be proficient with some sort of backup weapon for when foes invade your personal space.

As I said, I dislike that “unarmed” and “melee” are different skills. I know they’re not the same thing, but as with “first aid” and “doctor”, one seems like a specialization of the other. Brass knuckles are melee weapons, after all.

Maybe an alternate solution would be to have some sort of synergy bonus between related skills. Instead of just merging all of the different weapon skills, you can have them level together. You get a point of melee for every two points you put into unarmed, and vice-versa. The various types of guns could have similar relationships. Speech and barter might be more loosely related – one point gained for every four points gained of the other. (Or whatever.) Of course, this would unbalance the game so the skill point gains would need to be re-worked, which is a good reason for not doing it. But it’s fun to think about different ways to simulate these things.

In my own play-through, I always, always took the “Good Natured” perk. It takes away 5 skill points from all weapons skills, but gives 5 skill points to Barter, Medicine, Repair, Science, and Speech. Since I don’t use more than one weapon type, I’m just giving up 5 points in my main weapon skill to gain 25 points in a bunch of stuff that I do use.

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From the Archives:

  1. Rodyle says:

    Your comments on linking skills instantly reminded me of GURPS, what does that say about me as a person?

    • Eric says:

      Well, SPECIAL is based on GURPS more or less, so it’s actually kind of strange that such things weren’t retained in SPECIAL.

      • Rodyle says:

        True, but it’s very, very loosely based on it. As in: yeah, if you look hard enough, there are still similarities, but you’ll find just as much in common with a random other RPG system.

      • Jabrwock says:

        Both d20 and GURPS have forms of specialization/synergy. d20 goes the “5 ranks in one = +2 to skill checks in another”, while GURPS goes “-2 to skill checks for other specializations of the same skill”.

        I’m not sure which system I prefer.

        • Rodyle says:

          I think the d20 version would be more balanced with the fallout setup of actually gaining skill points when levelling. In GURPS, they’re kinda hard to come by, so even a small bones gives you a lot of cool stuff. But in Fallout, you get so many skill points that it’d be quite hard to balance this with the GURPS system.

    • Tzeneth says:

      You like to think of good systems :) I use GURPS for the game I GM, first system I played in strangely.

      • Rodyle says:

        Egh… Wish I’d done that. I’m still busy preparing my players from the switch from DnD 4th to GURPS. I’m just fed up with how restricting DnD, especially fourth, is on the subject of skills. It’s pretty much all based on the bloody combat.

        • Tzeneth says:

          Eh I have some of the same problems with GURPS skills that Shamus has with Fallout skills. Why are there 3 different skills for the same idea? There is literally a skill for pickpocket, a skill for slight of hand (magic), and a separate skill called filch to steal things in plain sight. Sometimes I feel GURPS went excessive when it could combine some skills. Although it is fun to sometimes play with the numbers based off defaulting skills and create interesting things.

          • Rodyle says:

            True. However, it’s a lot easier for the DM to say: ‘Yeah, sure, you can default from skill X to Y with a -2 penalty’ or something similar. It’s a lot more difficult to add extra layers to the DnD 4e system.

          • roll-a-die says:

            See this is why I like White-Wolf games, for example in this case for Exalted, you have Larceny, your general thieving, slight of hand, pick pocketing, forging, etc skill. It does have different skills for melee and martial arts though, but for good reason, Exalted is basically western myth, meets Wuxia and Anime. Martial Arts are thus completely bad ass to give you an example of a martial arts charm versus a melee charm. Melee charm, I conjure a sword for nothing, it does a fairly normal amount of damage and does holy damage to creatures of darkness. Why, because I’m just that bad ass and can forge swords from pure sunlight, at night, underground. Martial Arts charm, I hit an object with my katar, it deals the damage a katar normally does, x2, +4 but only for inanimate or nonliving objects. Archery charm, I can make arrows from ANYTHING. My favorite way of explaining this, is “Haven’t you always wanted to shoot people with the word ‘fuck?'”

        • Jeff says:

          That’s because non-combat stuff don’t need as much detail.
          Non-combat stuff allows for more context – which is why they leave it to the DM.

          • Rodyle says:

            I don’t really agree with this. You could argue that fourth edition was made with combat in mind, that’s for sure. However, each session I’ve played in has been about 2:3 combat:non-combat. This makes things fairly uninteresting when you have to use the same skill for the umpteenth time.

            • Kavonde says:

              From my own experience, every 4E game I’ve run or played in has been almost exclusively boring, grinding, monotonous combat, but with the occasional small break for a skill challenge so we can skip all the roleplaying and get to the next round of boring, grinding, monotonous combat. This is ESPECIALLY true in the published adventures. The idea that non-combat stuff “doesn’t need detail” runs completely opposite of how I feel an RPG should be played; non-combat stuff needs the detail, and combat should be fast, efficient, and over quickly.

              This is, of course, why I really want to play a FATE-based game, but must live vicariously through another Twenty Sided poster whose name I’ve totally forgotten’s campaign log of his Dresden Files RPG game.

              • Rodyle says:

                I tried the skill challenge thing once, then threw it out the window. It’s not a bad system persé, but I’d rather they come up with interesting solutions themselves. It’s just too hamhandedly implemented to be of any use.

                And I don’t do the published adventures, which is a huge heap of mmo-like combat, in my experience.

                I have never heard of the FATE system before, but looking at the character sheets, it looks quite interesting…

              • Kyte says:

                If I recall correctly, they never said the non-combat doesn’t need detail, but rather that non-combat doesn’t have generalizable mechanics. Beyond the skill challenge mechanic, what else would you put in the Handbook? Non-combat situations are, after all, situational, and as it should be the DM’s job to make them interesting. Skill challenges don’t need to be overt, either. For instance:

                “You’re in a locked room, there’s a mirror in the middle, and an unreachable lever in an alcove.”

                Player: “I look around for any suitable footholds.”
                DM decides that’s a Perception check, does it. Fail. Maybe he saw the more obvious steps, but missed that ring at the very top of the column from where he could jump off to the lever. (Why, yes, I did play Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood nonstop ’till I reached 100%)
                Etc. You can’t assign mechanics to this. It’s what the DM’s for.

                • Jeff says:

                  That’s pretty much what I mean. The game I’m in (4e) has 1 combat per session on average – we haven’t had a fight for the last two sessions though, we’re investigating stuff.

                  It’s primarily been RPing with the occasional Streetwise, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check.

                  I don’t see why 4e is missing. Combat is codified, non-Combat has skills when skills are needed, and leave you to RP for the other stuff. What does it not cover? Underwater basket weaving?

            • Jeff says:

              “From my own experience, every 4E game I’ve run or played in has been almost exclusively boring, grinding, monotonous combat, but with the occasional small break for a skill challenge so we can skip all the roleplaying and get to the next round of boring, grinding, monotonous combat.” That’s a problem with you (running the game) and the games you’ve been in. I haven’t noticed any difference between my group using 2e, 3e, Savage Worlds, Shadowrun, or 4e.

              Non-combat stuff doesn’t need detailed mechanics. What mechanics should there be? Do you need to roll to polish your sword or twirl your pike? How many dice to you want to roll while RPing a chat with the town guardsman?

            • Jeff says:

              “This makes things fairly uninteresting when you have to use the same skill for the umpteenth time.”
              So you’re saying your enjoyment is based on rolling with different skills? Personally when I RP it tends to be the interactions and stories that concern me, not rolling lots of different dice.

    • Dev Null says:

      I was going to say that I liked Shamus’ suggestions for skill synergies, and that it reminded me of… something that I’d played, but I couldn’t remember what. I think you’re right; I think it was GURPS.

  2. Agammamon says:

    One of the mods for F3 changed the Small Guns and Energy Weapons to Pistols and Rifles. All the one-handed weapons were one skill and all the rifles were another.

  3. DanMan says:

    “and batter might be more loosely related”…mmm…cake batter…

  4. Harry says:

    I do like your idea for synergy between skills – it always seemed unnatural to me in New Vegas that I could [SPEECH] check people into doing practically anything I wanted, but I couldn’t [BARTER] check a young boy into selling me a gun for anything less than 1000 caps.

    Synergy between Medicine and Science seems logical, as does Melee/Unarmed and Barter/Speech as you mentioned. Perhaps Sneak/Survival and Lockpick/Repair as well? Although the connections between those ones are a bit weak.

    • Bobby Archer says:

      I don’t think Medicine and Science are necessarily that closely related, or else I wouldn’t have spent high school tearing my hair out trying to teach my father the doctor how to use a computer.

      • Vipermagi says:

        I think the problem here is that Fallout-science is “Computers” (whether stationary or with a gun strapped on), rather than “Science-related topics”. Anatomy too is science, last I checked, but it falls under the Medicine skill, which is also a science.

        Rename Science to Electronics or something?

  5. Eric says:

    The Fallout games have always had issues with skill balance… there are some great ones (small guns, energy weapons, lockpick, speech), some more situational but useful ones (repair, explosives, barter, science), and then just totally useless ones that nobody in their right mind would tag for anything other than role-playing (gambling, stealth, outdoorsman). The reason for the imbalance isn’t just that the skills themselves can be redundant, but also that the world just doesn’t offer enough opportunity to use them. Sure, you can put points into stealth, but why bother when you have a stealth boy or three for any situation you’d possibly want/need one?

    I’d say that in some respects Fallout 3 and New Vegas are a step in the right direction, in part because of consolidation, in part because of weapon balance, and in part because the games are structured significantly differently – it’s a lot easier to appreciate survival/outdoorsman when you can actually use it to make new (and sometimes extremely useful) types of food in an open world environment, rather than just reduce world map encounters. There’s still some issues, but I think most of them are now academic as opposed to functional.

    Of course, depending on who you ask, this has resulted in a loss of depth instead of an improvement, since “every skill is the same.” I’m still not sure how I feel on that subject.

    • Starwars says:

      I think New Vegas did a good job of making skills really enforce the character you’re playing. There are plenty of skill checks and it’s often very satisfying to use them in my opinion.

      Unfortunately, I think the weapon skills are really the most… boring ones in both F3 and New Vegas. Which is because you don’t really need any of it, these are the skills which you can pretty much override with your own skills. New Vegas tried to make this a bit more difficult with soft requirements, so that using a Sniper Rifle will sway a lot more if you have low Guns or whatever. But if you’re even somewhat skilled at FPS games, or just attack from afar, you can *easily* override this and be very effective still.

      I know a lot of people hate it,and I would agree that it doesn’t make sense realistically speaking, but I’d really prefer it if there were hard requirements for guns. Oh, the lower tier ones such as the 9mm or Laser Pistol or whatever could be “free”. But for the top tier artillery, I think I’d like it a lot more if you simply couldn’t use them at all unless you met the skill requirement.

      As it is now, I think it’s easily the weapon skills, and their lack of consequence on whether you have low or high skill in it, that tends to make characters the most samey in replays.

    • Dev Null says:

      “just totally useless ones that nobody in their right mind would tag for anything other than role-playing (gambling, stealth, outdoorsman)”

      I had a great time playing a stealth/unarmed character who never once fired a gun in the original Fallout 3.

      I’m not arguing with you – I have only occasionally been accused of role-playing, but few people have ever mistaken me for someone in their right mind.

      • Sekundaari says:

        “the original Fallout 3”

        Yikes! Quick, hide that phrase before Shamus gets here!

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I think that first part was talking about fallout 1 and 2.

        New vegas definitely is an improvement when it comes to skills.Plus,all those synergies you guys are talking about:Thats what your attributes are.Though they couldve made it more interconnected.For example:

        Charisma governs barter and speech.For every 10 skill points into these two(combined,like 4 into one,6 into another)you get 1 point in charisma.Of course,some of the things(like carry weight)should be governed only by your default attribute state.

    • Jonathan says:

      My roomate in college could end up getting rich in The Den with high luck & gamble skill… the challenge is finding places to spend the money.

  6. Patrick says:

    One very ncie thing about skill synergies is that you can easily put in very specific skills, and yet people can still excel in them without ending up crippled elsewhere. So you may expand your skill offerings and still have a simple, easy system for creating themed characters.

    Barter is a nice skill to have – yet it just doens’t quite compare to the ones which can save your life. It’s a convenience, and I always wound feeling like I shouldn’t put points into it. However, as a synergy skill, you can put points there and still competently persuade and lead.
    The downside is that you do have to be careful about how complex you make it. People stil have to understand the relationships. SHort of that problem, go nuts since computers understand everything.

    • krellen says:

      I find Barter a must-have in New Vegas, because there are some great perks locked behind, including the must-have perk (at least if you’re playing Hardcore) of Pack Rat.

      • Zukhramm says:

        No! That removes the most fun aspect of hardcore. Stopping every time you find something to make room for it in your pack.

      • JPH says:

        I got through hardcore mode without Pack Rat, and I didn’t have problems with weight capacity… I mean, it is handy if you’re a hoarder, but I would never call it a “must have,” not by a long shot.

        • BenD says:

          If you’re a hoarder who keeps everything in your pack. As opposed to a hoarder who has hundreds of items in every container in both the L38 and the Novac homes, plus scattered ‘stashes’ throughout the wasteland.

      • Ringwraith says:

        The main thing about Pack Rat is that it will halve the weight of almost every ammo type, only the heavy stuff of missiles and mini-nukes are exempt. So you can carry twice the amount of ammo.
        Rather useful when you only have 4 Strength and carry around three different calibres, plus some secondary rounds, including the rather bulky shotgun shells.

    • Dev Null says:

      Good point; skill synergies is a neat idea… as an _alternative_ to compressing the skill list. If you do both, you end up with everyone being just as good at everything, and then you go play Doom. But with synergies – and a sufficiently deranged mind – you can support a system where your skill of 95 in “.45 magnum revolver” translates to a skill of 90 in “other revolver”, 80 in “other handgun” 60 in “single-shot firearm” and 40 in “automatic firearm”. (Or whatever.) You could build a whole elaborate similarity matrix between skills and allow multiple inheritance (your 95 in .45 magnum translates to a base of 70 in laser pistol, but then you get an extra 5 points for your 50 in laser rifles…) And then people would reverse-engineer the maths and post it on a blog so they could argue with you about the similarity weightings between pairs of individual non-existent fantasy weapons, and your plan to bog down the minds of humanity in madness while you take over the world would be complete!

      (Yeah, I don’t know. It sounded like a good idea til I read it back to myself and thought about the gamers I know. Now I’m not so sure.)

  7. Eric says:

    On the Steam Achievements – you’re confusing them with Challenges. Challenges are sort of mini-achievements the game tracks and gives XP bonuses for completing. Some of them are repeatable and others aren’t, and a few of them are linked to the actual Steam Achievements, which means you’ll, say, get the lockpicking Steam Achievement after 25 lockpick-ings, but you can get the Challenge every time you make a new character.

    Also, does everyone really hate Caravan? The game does a horrible, horrible job of teaching it but once you learn the rules, it actually makes quite a bit of sense. The terrible AI kind of lets it down (it’s hard to lose when you know what you’re doing), but once you get the hang of it it can be fairly enjoyable. I mean, for a playing card game, anyway.

    • Jabrwock says:

      Better or worse than Triple Triad?

    • Zukhramm says:

      From what I gathered it’s som kind of tripple Pazaak played with ordinary cards. My two problems with the game were that while in pazaak the card effects were clearly marked on the cards, in Caravan you have to remember that the Queen changes the last card to negative or whatever.

      Second, I just thought it made no sense. If it’s made up of cards from ordinary decks, what’s to stop someone from buying a whole mass of ordinary decks and just pick out the best cards?

      • Michael says:

        “Second, I just thought it made no sense. If it’s made up of cards from ordinary decks, what’s to stop someone from buying a whole mass of ordinary decks and just pick out the best cards?”

        There’s actually nothing stopping you from doing that. Merchants exist all across the desert who sell cards. And there’s a guy who’ll give you cards if you beat him at Lucky Horseshoes.

        But, here’s the thing: you can only have one specific card of each card backing in your deck (Ace of Spades, with The Tops on the reverse, for example). If you get to know your deck (which any TCG player will tell you is a must) you’d be able to tell which card is coming next just by the card backing. A game breaker here, and cheating in any other TCG.

        I haven’t played the game, but I’ve read the Vault article on it, and it seems that if you’re playing against a smart opponent (i.e., someone with an IQ higher than room temperature) there is no “best card.” The face cards add effects that would completely screw over someone if they’re played right. Just because the computer is stupid doesn’t mean another human will be. (Though they often are. Stupid, squishy, delicious humans)

        Because of this you’d need cards of all values and faces.

        And a solid grasp on the rules, besides.

        • Zukhramm says:

          Yes, but in game the amount of different decks avalible is limited to the in game casinoes (maybe there’s more, but regardless it’s still limited to a small number), if anyone tried to play like that in that real world, that limit would not exist.

          • Michael says:

            I completely agree; Caravan, as it’s implemented in the game, is stupid.

            My post meant to point out that in the real world, it could create an interesting card game (as Eric points out). We’d just have to get rid of the card back rule and limit the face cards a different way.

            • Will says:

              Talking about this again, my friends and I at school have adopted Caravan as a common card game.
              However, we do make one major change and that is instead of “creating” decks from a variety of cards, we each use a standard 52-card deck.

              This was first on part of our laziness, not wanting to reassemble our playing card decks after each game of caravan, but it actually works MUCH better this way.

              The face cards are much more limited this way and create a serious dilemma of using them on yourself or the person your facing. You have a max of 4 for each face card and who knows
              when or if you’ll get to the others.

              This also makes your hand more chaotic and hard to predict. I personally love Caravan and its great fun in real life. Our little bit of laziness turned Caravan into a much better card game.

              Now, you could argue that this removes all the customization of your deck but, in real life, I don’t see Caravan as any form of a TCG but rather a standard playing card game (like blackjack). So, instead of it being about who could construct the better deck, everyone is always on the same playing field from the beginning of each match.

              We did try just splitting the deck, 26 cards a piece, but that doesn’t really work because one player is bound to get most of the face cards or just simply runs the risk of handicapping a player from the beginning (and it did during some test games).

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I liked it before Ive realized its a broken game.Basically,if you focus only on having 10s,9s and 7s,you win every time.And if you were playing against a human,it would basically just turn into a luck contest to see wholl get a better shuffle.

    • Slothful says:

      Ahem

      A video game card game.

      I’ve only seen that work once, and that was in Pokemon the Card Game the Video Game.

  8. SolkaTruesilver says:

    What, are you daring to say, Shamus, that a full-auto machinegun don’t behave the same way than my BB gun?!

    I AM OUTRAGED!!

  9. Michael says:

    Skill Synergy, eh? I think I have a PowerPoint presentation on that laying around somewhere… lemme just dig through my desk here…

    As to the Level Up noise – I now know exactly what you mean. After your season with Fallout 3, I took it upon myself to get the first two games, and see what the fuss was about. Apparently my childhood skipped over PC games and went straight to the Genesis and PSX.

    I’d like to think I’ve played quite a few games, heard some sounds… but I completely agree: bar none, the Fallout Level Up chime gets me more excited than anything else. Oftentimes I follow up the noise with an arm-pump, like a visible “Fuck, yeah!”

    If I hadn’t played the games before, I would have thought that you were conditioned to like it because you had played so much, but I’ve only beaten the first two games a couple of times. That chime digs deep, man.

  10. Starwars says:

    The bit about Ulysses, and the whole courier subplot, is very likely to make a return in one of the DLCs it seems. There are a fair amount of hints about it in Dead Money.

    Though since Ulysses was originally envisioned as a full companion, I’m guessing his role design-wise will be rather different.

    • Archaic says:

      also if you roam around the wasteland and discover the canyon wreckage, you can see that it says in graffiti ” courier six?” and ” you can go home, courier” which could also be hints towards something more as well.

  11. Archaic says:

    the reward you get from collecting those star bottle caps is very much worth all the time you spend searching for them, even though it will take a long time to gather them up fortunately most places at least have one and in certain uncommon places you can find 2, but i do hope you collect enough so you can see the reward in the end.

  12. X2-Eliah says:

    Soo.. New Vegas’s interior design… (And this is one of the better ones)

  13. Zukhramm says:

    Now I have not played the earlier Fallout games or any incredibly high amount of RPGs but I did think that New Vegas had one of the better systems I’ve seen. Not perfect, but really good.

    There are some thigns I did not like, some useless perks, some a bit too dependant on the order you take them. And the random skill points on items, I was even puting together a mod to change that but the editor just seemed horribly clunky (“what do you mean edit multiple items at the same time?” and then crashed on me.

  14. Alexander The 1st says:

    “I guess that’s time to drink Whiskey!”

    *Drink*

    “*You are addicted to whiskey*”

    *Drink*

    Yeah, if this used the drinking game of previous spoiler warnings (Namely, Fallout 3/Bioshock), that would be…dangerous.

    • Someone says:

      When Josh became addicted to whiskey, I mentally played the Metroid “found item” tune.

      Addicted, immediately. It’s just so… Reginald. No wonder the people in the casino were freaking out when the dug-out, hungover terror of the wastes showed up at their doorstep.

    • Patrick the Short order Cook says:

      I have been and probably will continue to be disappointed by the lack of change in conversation options while under the influence of or addicted to substances. Having SPECIAL attribute changes can alter gameplay only when in context of using skills. Imagine the hilarity of being in an conversation with Mr. House and having the following options appear:

      1.yeayeayea whatever….you got any Jet?
      2.You fly big guy?
      3.(pull out firearm)ANY OF YOU F’N PRI**S MOVE AND I’LL EXCECUTE EVERY LAST ONE OF YA!
      4.Yo man… you want a cheeseburger? C’mon man…gimme 2 dollars for this cheeseburger? PLEASE MAN….

      Which would be followed by Mr house basically insulting you for being a junkie…and then the convo continuing on as if nothing was different. Perhaps this woul be alot of work for the folks who write all the conversation and its different outcomes, but it would be HILARIOUS. Imagine trying to con some whiskey off of Chief Hanlon…. or offering to perform various dubious activities to a powder ganger to score some free Psycho?

      • Jeff says:

        They tried to do a Low-INT conversation, but it wasn’t implemented as thoroughly as in Fallout 2. It’s only in a few conversations, sadly.

      • Someone says:

        Better yet, get completely shitfaced and high as a jumbo jet, and go talk to Ceasar.

        “The question is… are you ready to get started?”
        “YOUUU have a… funny name. See-sar! Kai-sar! I like your skirt… Kaizar!”

        For someone like Reginald Cuftbert, the game would just turn into a post-apoc version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Which reminds me: did anyone find any easter eggs/wild wastelands referring to Hunter S. Thompson’s epic? It would be a real missed opportunity if there aren’t at least a few.

        Anyway, I don’t think the developers would ever bother voiceacting unique NPC responses for being drunk AND being drugged, but giving all NPCs a few throwaway lines commenting on your status is more than manageable.

  15. RTBones says:

    I have always wondered why there wasn’t at least one weapon skill that was “free” – pistols, for example. You could make basic pistols (including the laser variety) “free”, so that you’d have more points to put elsewhere.

  16. Friend of Dragons says:

    Yay! We can start demanding points in energy weapons now!

  17. Vipermagi says:

    re “You can try [Dead Money], I doubt you’ll get through it” -Mumbles

    I just started that for the first time on level 9, Hard difficulty (completely ignored the warning that says you should be lv20 or higher). Haven’t actually gone into the casino yet, but so far it’s pretty easy to cut up anything on my way, even with a mere 20 Melee. Knife Spear is a preeetty good weapon.
    Does it really become that significantly harder when you enter? I’ll probably figure this out myself later today, but a simple yes or no would still be nice :)

    • Someone says:

      I’d say it becomes easier. There is, however, a difficulty spike after you round up all of the companions.

    • Mumbles says:

      Nooooooooooo I meant it was buggy for me. It would crash. All the time :[

      • Deadpool says:

        On the subject of difficulty… Dead Money kicked my ass.

        I built an Energy Weapons specialist, focused primarily on non-combat solutions to problems (of course, a well placed Guass Rifle shot handled plenty too, but still).

        Being forced into a combat heavy zone and stripped of the weapons, items and companions that helped me survive battles in the main game REALLY made Dead Money a challenge…

        • Someone says:

          What about the Holo-rifle? I thought it was garbage, but I was playing a gunslinger. Is it garbage for an energy specialist too?

          • Deadpool says:

            Yes. It’s low damage (3-4 shots to drop a Ghost), there isn’t enough ammo for it and no way to repair it.

            Clean Cosmic Knife and its high limb damage on the other hand…

            • BenD says:

              There is plenty of junk to make Weapon Repair Kits with and you can also get them from the machines.

              So with the Holorifle repaired and Energy Weapons around 70, it took me 2-3 shots to drop a Ghost Person before learning Dog’s Ghost Hunter perk, 1-2 afterward. (Or, 2 shots before and 1 shot after if we assume stealth criticals.) Not the kind of performance I’d hope for from a weapon specially-made to beat the enemy I’m pointing it at, but not horrible.

              Also, I found more ammo for it somewhere. I wish I could remember where. XD Also, watch for spent ammo on the ground – it can be recycled to feed the Holorifle.

              Maybe more PITA than most people want from a gun.

            • wheals says:

              The holorifle is garbage?!?! It has the best damage per ammo of ANY gun or energy weapon in New Vegas once fully modded, according to the vaultwiki. It’s better than the anit-materiel rifle!

              Ammo can be a bit of a problem, but once you collect a lot (there’s plenty lying around) I was fine on normal difficulty, with the vigilant recycler perk.

              Weapon repair kits are preposterously easy to get in Dead Money; in fact, most things seemed WAAAAAY too cheap on the dispenser machines. The survival horror aspect kinda goes away once you can get hundreds of stimpaks.

              Once I left the Sierra Madre, it became my main weapon. I was three-shotting super mutant masters before long.

      • droid says:

        It looks like mumbles lost her special color :[

  18. RTBones says:

    Dumb, and completely unrelated question –

    Noticed on Steam, Bioshock 2 is listed for $4.99. Given the DRM the game has/had (I am presuming the DRM is a little less overbearing in the Steam version) is it worth it? I did enjoy most of Bioshock.

    • Bubble181 says:

      I admit I haven’t played either of the games, and I was just wondering the same (about both). €5, yay or nay?

      • Rodyle says:

        It stopped working for me 10 minutes into the game; framerate dropped down to less than a frame per second.

        I hear the story has become worse though. Not really a point in the game’s favour. On the other hand: it’s 5 dollars, who cares? Can’t argue with a price like that.

        • Bubble181 says:

          $8.5, at the moment. Steam still uses an oh-so-great one-on-one dollar/euro conversion :-P

          And having not played either, that’s x2, so 16 or 17 dollars (to allow for rounding, 16’s closer but someone’d remark 2x 8.5 isn’t 16 :-p)

      • Matt K says:

        You do have to put up with GFWL even on the Steam version which made it a no go for me.

    • Irridium says:

      The demo had DRM. I wouldn’t put it past Take2 to put DRM in the full game on the Steam version. Sure wouldn’t be the first to do something that stupid.

      *cough*Ubisoft*cough*

      • El Quia says:

        Wait, wait… demo with… DRM? Demo with DRM?!?!?!? What the freaking f***!?!?!?!?

        That’s it, I… I give up… the universe just doesn’t make any sense…

    • Ringwraith says:

      Bioshock 2 is really quite good, I’ve never had any problems with the DRM, and Games For Winarrrgh can be completely sidestepped by using an offline account anyway.
      The combat is more hectic and the plot is really quite good too. Only thing it really misses is the sense of “newness” that the first had, but to honest, you probably won’t care. You’ll probably find yourself dying a tad more often too, as they balanced the medkits somewhat.

      • Kanodin says:

        I agree with all that, and found it much better gameplay wise than Bioshock. However Sophia Lamb and her mad collectivism are nowhere near as interesting as ol Andrew Ryan. Although the ending oddly enough is really quite good.

  19. Sekundaari says:

    Reginald’s liver had abstained from alcohol for too long, clearly. Just one bottle of whiskey, and he can’t live without the taste.

    “There’s a lot of jumpy folks out there that’d shoot a man as soon as talk to him.” I’m sure this would be a bigger problem for this guy without his NPC-grade zoom-in paralysis conversational skills. Also, the special bottle caps collection thing reminds me of the Nuka-Cola Quantum quest in Fallout 3 a lot.

    Wait, wasn’t the deputy firing away from you and still hitting at first? With ricochets or something? Guy was a regular Lucky Luke, he was.

    • Deadpool says:

      It’s truly a shame they’ll be kikcing Cassy out. Her perk would be VERY useful indeed…

      • PurePareidolia says:

        Well Cass only leaves with low Karma, and frankly without mass murder of civilians, evil karma is really hard to get in this game. Early on you can just through stealing stuff, but there are just so many opportunities for positive karma in this game.

        What I’m saying is Josh needs to step up his game, put that incinerator to good use.

    • Jarenth says:

      The bottle cap thing ‘reminded’ me of the Nuka Cola quest as well; in that in the video, when it came up, I said out loud to myself “Wow, that’s the exact same quest as that Nuka Cola thing. They even send you to a bottling plant again? Must’ve been Friday afternoon when that was made.

      Ok, what I said verbatim was a little different. Who cares, it’s the gist that counts.

  20. Deadpool says:

    ” Especially since you’d need to be proficient with some sort of backup weapon for when foes invade your personal space.”

    Not sure about Fallout 3, but the original Fallouts had Miniguns under Big Guns, which were more than adequate at close range (although a bit dangerous to companions).

    The problem is that Big Guns and Energy Guns were both top tier weapons, and thus, not readily available. This is one thing in the new games I approve of.

    • Vipermagi says:

      It is indeed a Big Gun in FO3 as well.

      It’s also very easy to survive a rocket blast in FO3; just enter VATS and fire away. You take piddly damage during VATS, and it’s not too hard to get at least a little distance between you and the target. Don’t need no backup guns.

      • Deadpool says:

        Original Fallout, the Rocket Launcher was WAY too dangerous for its damage output. But, in Fallout 2, the Vindicator Minigun had the highest damage output in the game. The Bozar was damned close and ate less, and cheaper, bullets (and did more damage to high armored targets).

        Even Fallout Tactics, best gun in the game was a minigun with those damned Uranium ammo…

        Although, in Fallout 1, best weapon was Turbo Plasma Rifle…

        • Someone says:

          The best gun in Fallout 2 was the pulse pistol, if only because it looked like a toy and showed this neat little animation of your victim being slowly incinerated from skin to bone every time you killed someone.

          • Kelly says:

            Plus it was nearly as strong as the rifle version, but cost less AP to use, meaning more chances to crit when shooting people in the eye.

            • Jeff says:

              Not to mention the final boss was highly resistant to my Bozar but melted under my energy weapons. Wth was that? I saved up all my ammo for it too…

              • Deadpool says:

                Weapons with high rate of fire do poorly agaisnt high armorer targets… The single powerful shot weapons are much better. Pulse guns in particular destroy armored opponents.

                That’s why the uranium tipped ammo (armor piercing ammo for high rate of fire weapons) was so damned good.

          • McNutcase says:

            Gauss pistol all the way. Pick your build right, and you got four eye-shots a round with it, insanely high crit chance, and a good probability of taking out an entire Enclave patrol before any one of them has fired a shot. Utterly, gloriously broken.

            • Deadpool says:

              I rather prefer Fast Shot with low AP weapons. 6 normal shots in a turn is generally far more useful than 3 eye shots…

              That’s why Turbo Plasma Rifle was so broken in Fallout 1…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Sure,but if you have to choose between big guns that has mostly things dangerous to you,and energy weapons,Id go with energy weapons and pick up the gatling laser.

      • Deadpool says:

        Well, majority is an exaggeration. In the first three Fallouts, Rocket Launcher was the only self damaging weapon. In the first Fallout there were only 3 Big Guns, the Minigun and the Flamer didn’t damage you at all. 2 and Tactics all added more Minguns (and improved Flamer) but no new explosives.

        For the record, I prefer Energy Weapons quite a bit. I’m just saying, Big Guns don’t suck because they’re dangerous. They suck because the damage output doesn’t offset the high cost, , high weight, nor the late availability, of both the weapons and ammo.

  21. Mailbox says:

    Consolidating the skill types was a step in the right direction. I felt less pressure during skill point management. Can’t really say how I feel about Melee and unarmed but I agree a synergy of some design would be an interesting idea.

    Dead Money was a great first add-on. Provides an interesting tale and leaves hints for the next. The rewards for it didn’t break the game like Operation Anchorage.

    And I am very surprised that I never realized that the Incinerator and the Heavy Incinerator required the Energy weapons skill. Go figure.

    • Someone says:

      I guess it fires bolts of “energy”, so it sorta qualifies. See, if there were weapon descriptions, like in the olden days, I’m sure this one’s would mention something about energy bubbles being used to contain the flames or something.

  22. Arumin says:

    The people in the casino were yelling “LOOK OUT!” because you had your shotgun pulled out.

    • Vipermagi says:

      Really? I often run around with my weapon unholstered, but they never run around when I enter. Then again, for me they never run around in panic, unless I visibly and audibly murder someone inside.

  23. Someone says:

    Surprisingly little criticism in this episode, it’s almost as if I was watching an entirely different show.

    Still, it makes my job as a fanboy a lot easier, as there is only one point I have to rebuke:

    About the powder gangers, and the reason they’ve dug in in Primm, I guess it’s because, while they have the town pretty much to themselves, the exits are being watched by the NCR troopers, who would likely gun them down if they tried to escape. So, they are entrenched in the town, biding their time, waiting for the food supplies to run out or for the NCR contingent to get called off on one of the other thousand assignments they have in the Mojave.

    • psivamp says:

      Worst siege ever. I love how in video games, barriers that any healthy human being can realistically surmount are completely impenetrable — chain link fences, chest-high walls…

      • Michael says:

        You forgot the ubiquitous “edge of map” barrier.

      • Bobby Archer says:

        I’d argue that it’s not the walls that make the siege so much as the soldiers manning them, but there were about 3 soldiers actually on duty when Reginald pickpocketed his way in.

        • Someone says:

          There are about 5 soldiers in the tent area and one or two lookouts on each of the three roads leading out of Primm. All in all, they should be able to put down the gangers, or at least significantly cripple their group, if they tried to fight their way out.

          • Johan says:

            The commander says that the town isn’t under his jurisdiction, so he can’t do anything to gangers already within town limits. One could say that any sane person would just roll right in anyway, but that’s exactly what’s gotten the NCR a reputation for being bullies willing to simply muscle their way into getting what they want.

      • Irridium says:

        cardboard gates manned by children…

  24. Fat Tony says:

    Just put Unarmed amd Melee into BRAWLER simple.

  25. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I too liked how the skills were merged,but Id prefer if it was not guns and energy weapons,but small and big guns.

    Also liked how reginald got immediately addicted to alcohol.That was pure win.

    As for karma,they shouldve disposed of it completely.Reputation is a much better way to handle this.Though karma does offer some pretty hilarious moments,like when you kill powder gangers and gain karma,and the immediately lose it for taking their stuff.

  26. Kelly says:

    Ulysses gets referred to in Dead Money, and it’s fairly heavily implied he’ll be the driving force between an overarching DLC plotline. So there’s that.

    • Someone says:

      Yeah, if I didn’t know better I’d think that Obsidian purposefully left that plotline out of the vanilla game to capitalize on DLC.

      As opposed to botching all the deadlines and having to finish developing the loose storylines after the game shipped, which is what actually happened.

      • Kelly says:

        Maybe, maybe not, I wouldn’t know. Personally I tend to dislike DLC, but I actually LIKE this game enough to pay for new stuff like that.

        Can’t say I liked Dead Money much though. I never found ANY bugs in it (certainly nothing like Mumbles experienced), but it’s very obviously geared towards certain builds, with lots of filler combat against those FUCKING ghost people and very little ammo for the terrible guns they give you.

        I DO however like the story and the voice acting quite a bit. Was even kind of depressed that I couldn’t talk down Dean, despite his being a huge bastard.

        I really am looking forward to going to The Big Empty and The Divide though.

  27. Kelly says:

    Incidentally Ruts, how did you did you setup that Fallout Level Up noise as a system sound? Or did I mishear and you actually said “you would if you could?”

  28. Mailbox says:

    I don’t know why you restrained yourself from killing Malcom Holmes. He has like 6-7 Star bottle caps on him. Should have at least pick pocketed them.

  29. Seth Ghatch says:

    Ulysses is supposedly going to be introduced along with another mentioned character in the unannounced but sure it’s going to happen, DLC Honest Hearts.

  30. rayen says:

    i never liked collapsing skills in bethesda games. I know there were way too many sometimes but Axes and blunt weapons are not the same thing. One is for joints one is for pressure points.

    In fallout some skills do need to be collapsed but sometimes the weapons skills rankles with me.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      And what point is there in separating joint-targetted weapons vs. pressure-point-targetted weapons, when the game’s engine does not differentiate the two on targets at all?

      #sogoddamnsickofweaponselitistsdemandingcategoryforeverysinglegoddamnthing

  31. wootage says:

    Quoth la Shamus:
    Of course, this would unbalance the game so the skill point gains would need to be re-worked, which is a good reason for not doing it.

    Allow me to fix that for you:
    Of course, this would change the mechanics of the game to let you shape your character in a much more realistic and RP-friendly way. Since the skill points need to be re-worked to eliminate stacking and min-maxing anyways, this is a great reason for doing it.

  32. Slothful says:

    You know, a good way to deal with addiction may have been to not tell you that you’re addicted up front, just to tell you when you start going into withdrawal that “Some whiskey would be rreeeal good right about now…” Then it would be up to the player to realize that he’s downing absurd amounts of alcohol, and is near-constantly drunk.

    And then instead of just going to see a doctor to remove the addiction, you’d have to engage in the process of abstaining entirely from whatever they’re addicted to…

    …or maybe the player character’s sidekicks could stage an intervention…

  33. shayto says:

    you guys dont know how to collect. The key is to get enough caps to support you for the entire game and then collect EVERYTHING!

  34. Johan says:

    I always felt that Unarmed was really not living up to what I wanted in Unarmed fighting. Unarmed in the game is various ways of punching people, so it’s basically just like Melee, with a few knicks knacks so the devs can say “no it’s not!”

    What I want in Unarmed is more wrestling-type stuff. Throw foes that invade your personal space, clothesline them as you run past, get behind them and suplex them, or sneak up and snap their neck.

    Also, when I first entered the building with Nash on my first playthrough, everyone was immediately hostile to me. So I said to myself “ok, that’s a lot of enemies, I’m going to turn around, gear up and try again.” So I left, pumped myself full of every chem I had, re-entered, and they were friendly and willing to talk.

    The citizens of Primm are holed up in the Casino because there are about SIX gangers outside (4 on the ground, 2 on the tracks as I recall correctly), plus a dozen or so more in the Bison Hotel. All of these are hardened criminals, while they are just townies who don’t want to die. Once you deal with the gangers, they go back out and you can find the Nash’s in their residence, the place with the Robot that needs fixing.

    To me it was obvious that this was supposed to be a city under (or past) siege. The gangers have basically taken the place and can now loot it as they want, but the townies are still alive and the NCR has cordoned the place off. They took a hostage and are now trying to find some way to extradite themselves with their loot and their lives intact.

    • Vipermagi says:

      Killing the gangers doesn’t trigger their return-to-positions yet. You have to appoint a Sheriff before they feel it’s safe to walk outside. Just being thorough :P

  35. RichVR says:

    It’s funny. I just put together a new system and so I’m playing a few games that barely ran at all on my old one. Right now I’ve started Fallout 3 all over again. With all of its faults, it’s a great game. I finally got out of Megaton without crashing to desktop every time. Right now I’m fighting fire ants in Marigold Station for the first time.

    I am just loving it.

    Why post this here? I dunno. I’m happy I guess. One day I’ll be playing what all you big boys are and I’ll think back to this post and laugh. Or cry. Who knows, that’s so far away, in game time. :-)

  36. ClearWater says:

    Why was the guy (at 13:18) carrying an egg timer?

  37. Ramsus says:

    I really liked the change of skills and agree that it would be nice if they’d done that with other skills too. I also noticed that in this game they had more “hey this skill actually matters” events, like…barter. Which managed to seriously annoy me about 10 times or something because I ignored barter figuring it would get the usual treatment.

    I never had any problems with Dead Money. Outside of the whole “this is a DLC therefore we’re stripping you of all your stuff” thing. Of course my reaction to this was to try and do it as intended for a couple hours, get sick of that, and just start throwing down the cheats. (I didn’t cheat all *that* hard (for me deciding “it’s cheating time!”), just gave myself some stimpaks, doctors bags, and an asston of cigarette cartons to trade in for other stuff at the vending machines.)

  38. Boison says:

    Could anyone point me to the name of the end-credits tune? I’ve been scouring Kevin MacLeod’s site for a little while now, but with no success.

  39. Archaic says:

    the guy who shows up after you pick up a star bottle cap makes sense only if to tell you about the bottle caps and there purpose in the game world.

    but what does not make sense is how he sees you through a house and instantly knows that you picked up one. that and its pretty funny when you think that this guy is your personal stalker if only for a small amount of the game.

  40. dovius says:

    Loving the new season up to now, although not very surprising, since the original Fallout (3) season is still my favourite SW season, and this is pretty much that with less criticism and more Mumbles!
    And, ya know, reasonable runtimes.
    Also, it sounds like Mumbles’ brother truly understands the spirit of Reginald Cuftbert, also known as getting drugged up and killing stuff in hilariously bloody ways.

  41. Another_Scott says:

    Hah, like a chameleon, nice Hitman reference.

  42. Anthony Durl says:

    If no-one’s mentioned it yet…you need sixty star bottle-caps for Festus-and the “prize” is itself nothing worthwhile, because it’s the epic story of the creation of Sunset Sarsaparilla. There is a good set of loot from a corpse, but the quest is a bit of a dead end for a whole lot of effort (but it still felt fun for me).

  43. guy says:

    So, with the advantage of time, I can now tell people who stumble on this in the future that the bit about the other courier who canceled was setting up for the Lonesome Road DLC, where he’s the main antagonist. However, that DLC had not come out at this point in time.

    But it is a pretty good DLC and you should play it if you ever pick up NV. But talk your way out of the final bossfight because it turns out the other Courier has 1000 hitpoints and gets healed to full in something like thirty seconds from almost dead unless you make a repair and or science check of 100 at a specific place after the battle starts.

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