Spoiler Warning S5E13: Ring-a-Ding Bang, Baby!

By Shamus
on May 10, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

103 comments

Spoiler Warning returns in partial triumph!

I’d just finished re-installing Windows in time for recording this session, and I’d neglected to balance my audio levels properly. Josh does what he can post-production, but this week I’m still going to cut out and sound crappy. Sorry about that. The interface on my sound card is this awful, proprietary gizmo with enough sliders to govern three soundcards, and making simple changes sometimes involves calling NASA for tech support.

We’ll have that ironed out next week. In the mean time, enjoy the sound of me shouting sentence fragments over a PA system with blown speakers.


Link (YouTube)

So last week we canceled Spoiler Warning. Some people wanted us to post the crappy episodes. Others just wanted to know what happened. For the curious, here is what you “missed”:

We went charging into the casino and tried to speech-check Benny into a situation where we could fight him one-on-one, but came up several skill points short. So we jumped him. But without his weapons, Reginald just couldn’t beat Benny and all of his men. After trying and failing that fight a few times, we took to roaming around the casino looking for weapons. This search took a while and produced nothing of value. So Josh took us back outside and tried to get holdout training, which he’d wanted to do at the very beginning. After tracking the guy down and explaining what this guy was and what we were hoping to accomplish, Josh tried to get the training and found we were two skill points short. So then we went back to the casino and beat Benny by abusing the save system.

The end of the fight was less of a victory and more the sense of relief you feel when you finish your taxes. We reported back to Mr. House and Josh tried to speech-check him into coughing up some extra money. Not quite enough skill points. So we had a conversation about speech points and rummaged through the inventory, looking for buff items. We found some drugs, a book, and put on Benny’s suit. After all the screwing around, we were still 5 points short of doing the speech-check. We’d blown five minutes trying to pass a speech check that didn’t matter for money we didn’t need. We also realized that the episode had run four minutes long.

It was long, boring, and it would have frustrated players who could see the mistakes before we made them.

Spoiler Warning is an interesting project. Like a lot of this sort of long-form review, you’re really dealing with two audiences: The ones who know the game and the ones who have never seen it before.

For those who are already familiar with the game, we try to show them something new. Different ways of solving quests, amusing details, obscure bits of dialog, overlooked character builds, and out-of-the-way locations. Ideally, people who own the game should watch just to see it from another angle.

For the uninitiated, we really do strive to show the game as players are likely to experience it. We don’t use mods, or cheat, or go out of our way to reveal obscure glitches. We play on default difficulty. We use an exploit if we encounter one by accident, but we don’t want to go through a game save-scumming and abusing brain-dead AI.

And while we’re trying to meet the needs of both groups, we still have to make sure that we’re doing something worth watching. Last week, we failed at that, which is why we threw it away and started over.

There are a lot of Let’s Plays out there, but I do think we’re a unique sorta thing.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:


A Hundred!3103 comments. Quick! Add another to see if this message changes!

From the Archives:

  1. HeroOfHyla says:

    I didn’t even know sound cards had their own proprietary interfaces. The only thing I ever have trouble with is getting Windows’s mixer to take the hint that if I plug in my headphones, programs should switch over to playing through them. Sometimes they want to keep using my speakers instead.

    • Eric says:

      Depends on the card. Creative and Realtek cards/chips both have separate driver packages that let you configure settings more extensively than what Windows offers.

    • Simon Buchan says:

      By far the most reliable way to get this working is to have a speaker setup that includes a mic-in, though I’ve had more luck after Vista rewrote the audio sub-system. (It was *not* a terrible OS, I tell you!)

      If you plug a mic into your card/motherboard (or on the case, which is equivalent), Windows will ‘helpfully’ expose it as a seperate output device, but will redirect it’s virtual ‘default’ device to output to it. I expect the apps that continue to play through speakers are directly opening the actual speaker device for some reason. For some reason, Windows does *not* do this redirection with USB headphones, which makes me sad.

  2. Eärlindor says:

    Yay, Spoiler Warning returneth. Now I can get my fix.

    Btw, Shamus, did you receive my email or was it lost in a sea of spam?

  3. Archaic says:

    going on about the speech checks towards benny in his casino, even if you have the terrifying presence perk , the fight with him is still difficult, even if you smuggle in weapons its difficult to beat him, although this is coming from a person who just realized your capable of smuggling in a sawed off shotgun if you have a high enough sneak skill.

    EDIT: dynamite works amazingly well too i guess

    • X2-Eliah says:

      And that is why you talk to the guards, show them a few items (ahemLIGHTERahem) and get your FULL weaponry inside.

      • Shamus says:

        I’m pretty sure you need to pass a few speech checks on top of having the lighter.

        • X2-Eliah says:

          Hmm.. Perhaps. They shouldn’t be any high, though – my characters usually have ~25 speech with a +10 boost from a comic (yeah, I don’t roll on speech at all), and I constantly recall getting that option through.

          Maybe its either persuasion or ‘collect a number of evidence to unlock the options’ type of thing (e.g. not just the lighter, but some knowledge from hidden dialogue elsewhere, etc.)?

        • Ringwraith says:

          I think you can lower the speech check difficulty to the point to removing the need for the check if you have enough proof.
          His “Distinctive Cigarette Butts” work here too, which are easy to miss.

        • Rampant Pedantry says:

          It’s a question of how much evidence you can stack. The more plot coupons you manage to collect, the easier it is to deal with Swank, and the more advantages you get for your confrontation with Benny.

          If you have everything and have been to Mr. House, you pretty much cut the encounter entirely, keeping your weapons and getting Benny isolated in his suite. It’s an avenue available irrespective of skill/perk build, effectively bypassing a few skill checks with Benny so that even the most brutish thug can stack the odds for the encounter.

          The game actually has a few situations like this, where you can use Speech to bypass a plot coupon, or a plot coupon to bypass a Speech check.

        • Khizan says:

          To get the full weapon loadout into the Tops, there are 3 speech checks and three items. Each one is a point, basically, and you need 3 points to succeed.

          Items:
          1) The lighter from Boulder City.
          2) The cigarette butts from near your grave in Goodsprings.
          3) The message from Manny’s computer in Novac.

          If you have the three items, you can get it in with no speech check whatsoever.

        • James says:

          All you need is all the evidence, the Cigarette Buts at Goodsprings and the Lighter and Job offer at Bolder City. other then having them i don’t recall a speech check if there was one id say it probably needed 25, this is a plot point that the game kinda needs to make you able to win easily (which is probably why he gets caught by KEI-ZAR!!!)

    • krellen says:

      The easiest way is to have the Black Widow perk. As a bonus, it’s really, really funny, too.

    • kanodin says:

      Or you can refuse to turn your weapons in and rampage through the casino killing mooks in white suits. Of course that was with a 10 endurance character who had a barrel full of drugs, so results may vary.

  4. Dude says:

    Did anyone else read, “So last week we canceled Spoiler Warning.” and go, DON’T CANCEL SPOILER WARNING, DUDE! or is it just me? :D

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Well,Shamus,if you had listened to people and installed windows 7,youd have great sound with no fiddling.It only craps out when you need your tv card to work*grumble*.

    Josh,stop misleading people.Ive played new vegas for loads of in game days,and I never saw a drop of rain.Just a few freaky sandstorms.

    The securitrons were running vista,and now youve installed 7 on them,for that extra carnage.

    Well,you see,bugs are handled by bethesda,so anything obsidian screws up,bethesda simply glances over and sends to the webs.

    Soo,mr house needs you to help him upgrade his robots,in order for him to send you to dispose of his other enemies?The guy is a genius!

    Mere mention of dead animals makes Shamus hungry?Is there something we need to know about you mister Young?

    Oh,and you should really think about making a few buffer episodes for cases like the last weeks.Either shoot another 20 minutes every week,or just play 3 episodes on monday,tuesday and friday and leave the fourth one as a buffer.

    • Eric says:

      It’s true, tech support for New Vegas was actually largely handled by Bethesda. Furthermore, in working on a non-native engine, Obsidian aren’t familiar with the codebase and thus can’t easily find where the problem might be – they have to phone up someone else who does, and we all know how “good” Bethesda are when it comes to releasing stable game engines.

      • X2-Eliah says:

        Exactly. It’s not like Obsidian has screwed up monumentally when working on other engines & games too, right? Like, maybe using even an industry-wide engine that was used for Batman:AA, or Bulletstorm, or Gears of War, or Mass friggin Effect – games with remarkably few bugs on the whole..

        No, no surely not that. It must be the engine, yes, and poor luck on Obsidian – they can’t be responsible for the trainwreck of bugs their games have been for the last what – decade? – even when built on very well-known solid engines..

        • krellen says:

          In my experience, Obsidian hasn’t screw up monumentally on other games. What are you babbling about? Do you have direct experience with bugs, or are you just playing on their (undeserved) reputation for bugginess?

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            It is very well deserved.Kotor 2 was very buggy for me,and so was alpha protocol.Which also had a very broken mechanic(luckily I picked sneak plus guns from the start).And Ive already ranted extensively how crash prone new vegas was.If their narative and dialogue werent this good,I wouldve given up on the company long time ago.I even did that once when I couldnt finish the intro quest in nwn2,which is why I never got the expansions,no matter how good the people say they are.And any search of the various fora will reveal that I am not alone in this kind of thinking.

            Bethesda doing the bug hunt is just the icing on the cake.

            • Dovius says:

              I’ll grant you AP and Kotor 2, but I’ve played NV through several times, and I haven’t had 1 crash or freeze yet!
              So, to quote Eliah, what are you babbling about.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Lucky.I had regular crashes.Though,like Ive said back then,at least it made me take a pause from the game.

                Also,while I myself didnt have such bugs like Shamus,I never disregarded those based only on my experience.Heck,my playthrough of alpha protocol was pretty tame as well(the biggest bug was one 5 minute level reset).But that doesnt mean problems werent there.

          • X2-Eliah says:

            I have direct experience with bugs in Alpha Protocol, Neverwinter Nights 2 and Fallout: New Vegas.

            Pray tell, what are you babbling about?

            • krellen says:

              My perfectly fine experiences with Obsidian Entertainment.

              • Lord of Rapture says:

                Preach it, brother!

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                How is it perfectly fine if you yourself acknowledged that kotor 2 needed more time to get finished?I played through alpha protocol with the best build,but I still wont call the mechanic perfectly fine since Ive seen how crappy the other builds are.And thats without mentioning the bugs.

                • Lord of Rapture says:

                  I say it’s perfectly fine because I had no bugs for KOTOR 2. Yes, the game did feel kinda rushed, but I still finished it with a sense of satisfaction.

                  • Daemian Lucifer says:

                    I got loads of satisfaction from heroes of might and magic 4(I still like to run it once in a while actually),but I still wouldnt call it perfectly fine because it was a really rushed game.

                    Also,like I said,just because I had a good experience with alpha protocol,I wont discount the experiences others had.

          • Ringwraith says:

            They’ve admitted that they seem to do this all the time however, and said that they’re testing Dungeon Siege III to an inch of its life to find bugs, which they should be able to fix easier as its their own engine.

          • Irridium says:

            I’d say its very well deserved. Every game of theirs I’ve played has been buggier then… well every other game I’ve played.

            Your just one of the lucky ones. But just because you don’t experience bugs, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

    • Even says:

      As far as I know, Bethesda handles the QA in everything related to New Vegas, including patches and DLC, so you could say they’re both to blame to a degree.

  6. Peter H. Coffin says:

    I, too, like getting to read the recap of fail. It might make a horrible and boring episode, but it’s good to hear about the frustrations as well.

  7. RTBones says:

    OK, first:
    1) Beer + whiskey = Boilermaker

    2) Scotch + beer = insane. Why would you ruin perfectly good scotch? Or perfectly good beer? No no no.

    3) Scotch + Bailey’s Irish Creme = Hopscotch
    4) Scotch + Rum = Infestation
    5) Scotch + Tequila = Kilted Mexican
    6) Scotch + Southern Comfort = Wam Bas

    And finally…

    7) Scotch rocks = yummy.

    Second…

    The hold out weapon. Wondering how that mechanic works. Talked to the same guy, didn’t have near the sneak skill. Ended up with a silenced .22. Guessing it must have something to do with the skills you pick…? I had a stack of about 30 dynamite when I went through there. I much prefer the way Josh and Reginald dealt with Benny than the firefight I had to have up in the meeting room. What a pain in the backside.

    Third…

    All this talk of Benny has put Benny The Bouncer in my head. Thanks very much for that…(groan)…at least its ELP. Five points if you know the song.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Or perfectly good beer?”

      Theres no such thing.

      • SolkaTruesilver says:

        Only if you live in the USA.

        Come over to Canada, we’ll introduce you to proper Beers. And I am not talking about the commercial piss named Moslon or Labatt we export.

    • RichVR says:

      Brain Salad Surgery. Love that album.

      Edit: Daemian Lucifer, I hear you talking but do not understand what you are saying. Sorry.

    • Zukhramm says:

      “Why would you ruin perfectly good scotch?” followed by a list of five ways to ruin perfectly good scotch. I do not understand.

      • Bobby Archer says:

        It depends. I’d be willing to do some of those things to a cheap blended scotch, but woe be to he who tries to defile a nice single-malt thusly.

      • RTBones says:

        LOL. That’s because there is nothing to understand, as I did it for no good reason at all. Consider it deliberately wasting your time. The episode had a brief mention of mixing scotch and things, which is what started my post. I then thought of what other people might mix with scotch (my list of four – I do not count the beer, as it was mentioned in the episode.) Ended with rocks (one of two ways I have the stuff – the other is neat.) Then proceeded with the bulk of my SW-related comments.

        So, you are spot on – I listed four ways to ruin perfectly good scotch, after complaining about a way to ruin perfectly good scotch.

    • poiumty says:

      It’s based on your sneak skill. There are some holdout weapons (like the .22) that you keep regardless of sneak, but stuff like a sawed-off shotgun requires 50+.

    • Alex says:

      >>>All this talk of Benny has put Benny The Bouncer in my head.<<<

      *Stares right back in RTBones's eye*

      *puts 10 points in "Cold Meat Pie"*

    • Khizan says:

      There are two classes of holdout weapons. “Regular” and “Improved”.

      Anybody can get a regular holdout weapon into a casino, but to get an Improved one into the casino, you need 50 stealth. Using a Stealth Boy will give you a massive stealth boost that can let you sneak them in regardless of your level of stealth.

  8. Eärlindor says:

    It’s funny–right after you talked about Obsidian having bug problems in this episode, I hopped on over to the Escapist and saw an article on just that.

  9. Astrolounge says:

    I like how the guys at Tipping 40’s did this quest. By completely breaking entirely by accident. While they were trying to do the quest is Freeside to find a sexbot, they went to the WRONG ROBOTICS LAB, and got the login before they ever actually met Mr. House, then after they killed Benny, they just went to the Lucky 38, used the login, ran past all the robots and killed House. It was hilarious.

  10. Vect says:

    Is it just me or is House directly looking at you in the darkness kinda creepy? I’ve always talked to him at an off-kilter angle.

    Also, since it seems that Cuftbert is going for the Omnicidal Neutral ending (AKA Yes Man) would that mean he’d have to eventually kill Veronica since I don’t think it’s in his nature to forgive the Brotherhood for Fallout 3, especially someone with her charms.

    Also, it would’ve been kinda funny if he stopped in the middle of the looting to start shooting at the posters of Dean Domino. Anyone who played Dead Money would know why.

    Also… Did Rutskarn make a Gurren Lagann reference?

  11. James says:

    yah other companies don’t have problems with their systems and always properly test things just look at sony. oh wait….

  12. matt says:

    After reading the description, I’m glad you guys had the editorial courage/sense to redo the episode. Too many people would have just thrown it up anyway. Thanks Shamus.

  13. Hitch says:

    So basically Mr. House’s securitrons had been running on XP and the platinum chip you brought him was an upgrade to Windows 7?

    I have to say, one crippled arm is a small price to pay for killing Benny and all four bodyguards without any of them drawing their guns.

    I don’t think your speech has to be very high to convince Swank to let you “investigate Benny” fully armed if you have a few pieces of evidence like the lighter and the note to Manny. Of course, if you can smuggle 18 sticks of dynamite in your mutton chops, it really doesn’t matter.

  14. Entropy says:

    You’re working for Mr House? No Yes Man? WHY!?!

  15. Mailbox says:

    Insert clip of Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor “Wrong!” LOL. But just FYI.
    Mr. Holdout is just there to introduce you to the mechanic of holdout weapons and sells you holdout weapons. If you already have holdout weapons or have 50 sneak for the tier two holdout weapons. Then talking to him is not necessary.

  16. SpammyV says:

    Well losing the souls mechanic on the highest level of Painkiller raised the difficulty, as you no longer had those small health bonuses in the middle of the area. Plus unlike most games, gameplay and story were not segregated in that regard, so not picking up souls did make an impact and lead to the ‘true’ ending.

    …Now I want to play Painkiller again.

  17. Dante says:

    So I’ll take it we’re all internet savvy enough to know what a donkey punch is?

  18. Irridium says:

    Fun fact: New Vegas was tested by Bethesda.

    Yes, I realize how horrifying to hear that a game made by Obsidian was tested by Bethesda.

    • Michael says:

      I’ve never heard of outsourcing your QA, before. Kind of always assumed it was an in-house operation.

      Does explain all the bugs, though. Bethesda must have thought they were “features” and decided to leave them in.

      • NeilD says:

        I don’t know how common it is, but outsourcing your QA would allow you to do things that you’d be crazy to do in-house, like offer incentives for finding bugs (cf. Dilbert; Wally: “I’m going to write me a new minivan!”).

        Speaking from personal experience, sometimes in-house testing is given more incentive to release software on time, than in good working condition. It all depends on who’s calling the shots and what’s important to them.

  19. Chris B Chikin says:

    Aaaaaand just what is wrong with ginger beards, Mumbles?

    (Of course, I’m pretty horrendous at growing facial hair (for me, Mo-vember was a hilarious exercise in shame) but if I could grow a proper beard I would. It would be ginger. And awesome!)

  20. Wyatt says:

    Oh god, the balancing bottle caps on a desk annoyed me so much in Fallout 3. Things on chairs were worse though, because half the time I’d end up sitting down, complete with the annoying little animation. I suppose that was just for a bit of immersion, so that you could take a break in character, but it just got in the way.

    It did, however, lead to one of the funniest things I saw in the game: in Mothership Zeta, there’s one point where there’s a mini nuke perched on a chair, base down. Of course, when I went to pick it up, I missed… and sat down. On the nuke. Which I could then pick up. My vault dweller is now wandering the Capital wastes, with a mini nuke rammed in a place that Mr Holdout would approve of.

  21. LadyTL says:

    The skill check issues you had last week I think are the worst change Obsidian made from fallout 3. I know people say the percentage system is “broken” but no one was making them reload saves to try and get that 2 percent skill check. I think it is way more frustrating to be a few points short and having no way of getting it at all.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “but no one was making them reload saves to try and get that 2 percent skill check.”

      Actually lots of people did exactly that.

    • Lord of Rapture says:

      But then there’s no element of skill to it. You could spend little to no points in a particular skill, and still succeed because of luck. It removes the making characters specialized and unique in favor of the random number god. Besides, people were always save-scumming to succeed.

    • Khizan says:

      You weren’t forced to do it, no. Nobody sat there with a gun at my head and forced me to do that.

      However, it was quite clearly the 100% optimal way to go about it, and that was stupid. You could spend points in the skill and maybe bomb a check. You could spend nothing and maybe ace it. Since all the “nothing” option cost was a few minutes of “f9, f9, f9” it was always worth it to handle it that way.

      The NV way is better because your character customization matters. Sure, it can be frustrating when you fall a few short of a check, but it was more fruystrating to realize that all your points in speech have done is gimped your combat capabilities while saving you a few minutes on some very occasional speech checks.

      • Ringwraith says:

        The fixed requirements are much better, and they mostly stay within the realms of multiples of 5, so you can plan ahead a bit, especially with the extra +10s (or 20s!) from magazines.
        Although I like the fact they occasionally throw you a curveball with a speech check of 63 or something, it’s wonderfully vindictive.

    • LadyTL says:

      Yes, they choose to do it but the game never once forced you to do it.

  22. PhilWal says:

    I think pantsing Benny needs to be added to the credits.

  23. Jarenth says:

    Oh, look, a mysterious hatch. That you don’t know what’s behind, but are told conceals something so mysterious that telling you would ruin the impact.

    I wonder if any polar bears are going to show up.

  24. xXDarkWolfXx says:

    Kudos on the Gurren Lagan reference ruts, i had to watch it again to catch it

  25. Kelly says:

    Shamus,

    I believe you are calling NASA because there is a 1972 bug called the bang ding in your system. It is also in all of our systems. Next time you call NASA, tell them please that they need to close the mission bug O215354. Thank you, then I can get back to my life and my career.

    Kelly

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>