Spoiler Warning S5E20: Simple Reading Comprehension

By Shamus
on May 20, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

So, normal hiding and stealth boys don’t conceal you, but crouching in front of a house does? The impassible wall of rock doesn’t provide cover from high explosives, but bombed-out house frames do? They can nail you with parabolic ordnance when you’re on the run and changing direction, but they can’t nail you when you hold still after crouching behind some planks?

It’s true that the game gives you instructions on how to pass through town, but those instructions really only make sense when you’ve scouted out the town. Once you’ve seen the town (and been blown up) the directions make sense, because then you know the boundaries and can make sense of stuff like “north-west corner of town”.

Easy or not, this is a pretty lame challenge. It’s doesn’t make sense in terms of the rules of the real world. It doesn’t make sense in terms of the game world. Suddenly the rules of cover, line of sight, stealth, and enemy targeting are all changed for this one “puzzle”.

Did you put 100 points into sneak? Can you steal a man’s underpants without him noticing? Are you crouched behind a wall of rock, where nobody on the planet can see you? Well guess what, kid? Boom. That’s right: BOOM. Screw you and your skill points. You’re going to do this puzzle the way the DM intended, or you’re not getting in here.

Dang kids. Always trying to use their creativity and reasoning to solve things. The sooner they realize the world is cheap, unfair, and arbitrary, they better off they are.

Hmm. We got a little bitter at the end, didn’t we? Oopsie.

Now you can see why we were dreading coming here.

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From the Archives:

  1. gebiv says:

    But I thought explosions were supposed to be fun?

  2. krellen says:

    This is actually the one part of New Vegas I really, really hate. For pretty much all the reasons Shamus outlined.

    • GTRichey says:

      It really is terrible especially when compared to the rest of the game. You can’t progress the story without making contact with the Boomers which makes this that much more annoying. I can’t recall any other place in the game that is quite as forceful. The instructions themselves don’t make any sense without knowing the layout like Shamus said so I’ve found that I just make a bee line for the gate and spam healing items (not like there’s any shortage, esp. if you’ve avoided this quest for 30+ levels), then have no reason to explore the town after that.

    • GTRichey says:

      *Comes back from watching the episode*

      At least we do get the option of ignoring (assuming you’re going the Yes Man route) or murdering them all… unfortunately I think at Cuftbert’s level murder probably isn’t viable for this playthrough. This is the one section of the game where it really just feels like they tried to pad it out because they felt like they needed more content. Most other settlements in the game have a few things that they “can’t spare the men” to take care of and once those are done they’ll help you… the Boomers on the other hand just want you to do half a dozen fetch quests that have no relation to the battle of Hoover Dam whatsoever (except for fetching the bomber which as said in the episode just doesn’t make sense).

      • Axle says:

        The fetch quests are the usual “You need to run some favors for us, before we can trust you properly” kind of quests.

        I also hated the “getting there” part and it’s a shame, because I quite liked those Boomers and the place itself…

      • Someone says:

        Well, fetching the plane makes a bit more sense than Shamus gives it credit for, as the Boomers already have a half-assembled plane in their base and just need a few spare parts from the lake one, but if they want electronics or something else they can’t manufacture themselves, I doubt a 200 year old underwater crashed plane is going to be much help.

        I didn’t actually mind the quests, as there are plenty of skillchecks involved, and getting through the bombing is actually fairly trivial if you have a Turbo to spare, but the absolute, blind, self-assured arrogance of these people is unbearable. Here I come, strolling into town with my power armor, my Telsa-Beaton prototype and my 100 science, and they go: “Hey savage! How’s life in savageland being savage all the time?”. The nerve! To call me a savage while I have more technology over my left buttock than they have anywhere in their explosive cesspit! Fix power stations and spaceships for FUN! To consider themselves superior to absolutely everyone in the world, while people out there build republics and spread education, and all these assholes ever do is shoot rockets at things!

        Makes you wish the Enclave was still around. I’d love to see those pricks try to howitzer their way out of a Vertibird raid.

    • TheLameBrain says:

      I have to admit that I actually had quite a bit of fun on this part. Getting through the bombardment took a little practice, but after doing it once I never had to do it again.

      I liked the Bomber quest because it gets you the rebreather, and I love me the underwater!

      I actually found vault 34 (where these guys come from) and I am looking for enough rad-reducing equipment to make an expidition…

  3. kanodin says:

    In my opinion his advice is terrible and designed to get you killed, if you just hug the rocks and avoid the town it’s a lot easier. Why would spend extra time running through when you could go in a straighline?

    • decius says:

      I figured that he was doing what he should: his directions get you killed. I hugged the rock boundary to the fence, and the fence to the gate. I never figured that stopping while being targeted by artillery would be a good idea.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Far as I remember the instructions work. In all fairness what the guys said, the instructions SHOULD get you killed. I mean, this is a guy who hangs out at the entrance to the Boomers kill field and he offers to give people instructions but only if they take this wager. Think about it. If the guy he gives instructions to (in this case the protagonist but there could be more) dies the wager guy gets his 300 caps. Which the game wants us to believe is a decent sum. If the guy makes it back the wager guy has to pay 300 caps extra.

        Isn’t there a conflict of interest in there somewhere? This should seriously have been handled in the way that the guy gives you instructions leading to a suicide but it takes a skill or attribute check, or a bribe, to get him to tell you the truth. I mean he could know the blind spots since he might have been sitting here for years watching people try to get to the airbase, it’s just not in his best interest to actually give it to people.

  4. Raygereio says:

    Mumbles. Why the yelling? What have my poor eardrums ever done to you?

    Anyway, yeah the boomer aproach is a bit lame. It would be better if the directions referred to some recognizable landmarks, or something. Just something for you to quickly orientate yourself with.

    Also; the good and hearty chuckle I had when Josh jumped on top of a burning, about-to-explode car, looked down at what he jumped up on and went “Oh, this is bad”, before dying was the best chuckly I had today.

    • Hitch says:

      The directions need to be, “Those big sturdy rocks? They provide no protection at all. The barely holding together sticks that used to be houses? Stand near those and you’ll be invincible. Now you know why no one has ever made it through here. No one is stupid enough to believe that.”

      Actually, I managed to get there by going around the town on the wrong side. It was long and tedious, but I did manage to get off of the sadistic GM’s rails slightly. I never did figure out that a burned 2×4 offered more protection than a solid rock cliff, even if you were on the wrong side.

      I think Josh’s problem is he wasn’t bunny hopping enough. I’m sure if he’d done that the bombs would have never hit him.

      I have a greater tolerance for obnoxious quest givers than the Spoiler Warning crew. Maybe I’m just jaded and have given up hope for anything better. I don’t hate the Boomers. But in the sprawl of Nellis I have never found Pete to listen to his story. I did enough other stuff to get the reward without it, so I didn’t bother. But one thing I refused to do again was collect ridiculous amounts of scrap metal. I wasted enough time on that in my first Fallout 3 game.

      Edit: This was not supposed to be a reply. How did I manage to make this mistake for the first time after having commented here since this format was added?

    • “Mumbles. Why the yelling? What have my poor eardrums ever done to you?”

      Aside from Rutskarn, these guys tend to go over their audio levels quite a bit. Something they should seriously look into.

      • Moriarty says:

        +1 to this. If you turn your volume down to a point where the yelling isn’t physically painful anymore you won’t understand ruts or shamus when they’re talking.

  5. Deadpool says:

    Y’know, MY playthrough, I gave the guy the 300 dollars but ignored the directions because, as Rutskarn pointed out, I didn’t trust him. Fully expected it to be a lie. But the fence idea seemed promising, so I snuck my way through cover to the fence through my own path.

    Of course, I didn’t have any sneak or a Stealth Boy (it sucks that the SB doesn’t work, but sneaking shouldn’t cuz it’s a big, wide, open field), but the path IS kind of intuitive, in a video game kind of way.

    The quests here DO suck though. Bad. Long, drawn out and uninventive. RepConn is definetely better.

  6. JPH says:

    The elevator music helped a lot with this.

    For the record, I had trouble with that section too.

  7. Andrew B says:

    Yep, big explodey messes every damn time I try that run through the town too. Never could get the damn directions right. I think if it had been phrased from your perspective (run to the house to the left) rather than the town’s perspective it might have been a more obvious.

    Also, no immediate murdering of the dude? Hell, even my goody-two shoes play through sneak attacked George the moment his back was turned. After all, he was clearly, CLEARLY, going to abscond with my caps…

  8. X2-Eliah says:

    Yeah, I didn’t have much trouble with that run becuase I completely ignored the instructions on account of there being no friggin way to tell a ‘safe’ house frame apart from an unsafe one – so I just winged it along the rocks on the far left until getting to the fence, and then moving along that to the gate.

    Also, the boomers part is possibly the most horrible part of the game. Interesting how the boomers got so much more attention in the plot compared to, say, the great Khans, whose home place you can completely miss – and that is quite a bit cooler, imo (but horrible in sense of GODDAMN CAZADORES ALL OVER THE FRIGGIN PLACE).

  9. James says:

    it would have been better if the game forced you to have high sneak and a stealth boy to get passed, or maby one or the other instead of both?, then it would make sense in the game world, as much as a fallout game world can make sense, Running away for 15 minuets, nope the place still hates you, walk outside and wait for “3 days” everything is fine, and dispite Cutfburt killed at least half if not more of KAI-SAR’S!!!! main force, they will still attack the dam with full force?!?!? what?, WHAT? WHAT!?.
    i had more points but my hatered of the length of the Boomber crap, what you want to send me in a small factory FULL of HUGE ants and blow them up, without explaining it properly (or i wasn’t listening i tuned out after a while) sure you annoying vault dwelling, weirdo shut-ins. anything to “Investigate” you http://www.egidra.com

    • poiumty says:

      I don’t know where everyone got this idea that somehow Cuftbert killed “like the entire Legion army”. Best he did was kill 20 or so mooks, while the Legion numbers in the hundreds, if not thousands.

      Also, egidra.com? PWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
      That is quite possibly the best joke that no one here will ever get.

      • James says:

        i know he didn’t kill them all but considering beth engine games populations is massively out of wack, it seamed like it. i think it was Leviathan4 of the youtubes who said Beth games are the size of a continent with the population of a hamlet (not exact but same jist) but the Boomers are nearly as bad as little lamplight at times, sure the quests are better somewhat but getting around is a nightmare, you’ll repeatedly be looking at you local map to find people. but why why are we helping these Psycopaths with a fetish for high explosives, they mantra is actually worse the the Legion, The Legion employed Total War to concur savage tribes so they can have a ordered society, sure their sexist, sure there a little bit insane, but they don’t want to just kill everyone who isn’t them (though it sometimes seams like it), the region the Legion hates the NCR is KEI-SAR!! seams them and Vegas as his Rome, and the Colarado is his Rubicon. Cum’on now Blizz?!

      • Hahahaha I get the joke! I nearly fell out of my office chair laughing at that one.

        I still think the hallucination troll is one of the best I’ve seen pulled against him. It makes me happy every time I see it.

        • MintSkittle says:

          Your gonna have to link the hallucination trolling cause I’ve stopped watching pro-SC2 casts a while back. Though watching idra get schooled is fun.

          • This moment in particular is what I’m talking about. There’s some fantastic rage on IDrA’s part in the next game, and that exchange is what seals it for me.

            Good times, good times.

            • poiumty says:

              Yeah that part was amazingly hillarious, especially thanks to the after-rage. Technically though, it wasn’t “trolling”. The ability’s there to be used.
              This video catches the essence of it, I feel.

              • True, the trolling came on HuK’s part at the start of the next game. What I love is that IDrA typed in his rage at HuK immediately after HuK’s ‘u know’ (based on how the timing of that conversation went), so HuK didn’t even need that much to troll him. Just a ‘u know’. I don’t know HuK made it through that game without laughing with glee, because seeing IDrA rage is just too funny.

  10. Johan says:

    Yeah, I hated this. And how the hell do they still HAVE ammunition if they are willing to expend 10-20 rounds on every single tribal that gets it into their head to have a go at the base?

    Don’t dis Megaton, I loved Moira and the guide quest.

    • Deadpool says:

      Well, to be fair, how often do people even TRY anymore?

      • Johan says:

        That guy who gives you the instructions makes it sound you aren’t the first person to take his bet.

        • Deadpool says:

          Yeah, but he doesn’t say you’re the hundredth.

          • Johan says:

            Even just 5 people taking him up would be several scores of artillery shells, not by any means a meager investment for a people who’s entire productive base in housed within a single airbase. Plus you have to account for people who have no idea and just wander in, Fiends and other crazy raiders actually making a go at “taking” Nellis, and Legionnaires/NCR/basically anyone trying to come in and make an alliance. There is simply no way they can sustain themselves if they are willing to waste that many bombs for a single person.

    • Even says:

      Supposedly they have some means to manufacture them plus the storehouse where they keep all of it is pretty big. Still, for the approximate 50-70 years (judging by the statement made by Pearl that the last time they had contact with an outside was when she was “barely a woman”) they’ve lived there, it’s a pretty big stretch. With their magical spotting skills you’d think just setting up snipers in those towers would work a lot better for a single “savage” and only using the artillery to perhaps flush them out or if they’ve got the target zeroed just use a single shell to blow them to hell. At that range anyway using mortars would be much more cost effective, but I guess they dropped out of use sometime during the early 21st century since we’ve never seen one in any of the games. With the artillery it’s just way too excessive use of force compared to the potential threat.

      Then again, they’re all gun nuts.

      Edit: Thinking about it, dodging sniper fire would have probably made for a much more interesting and less arbitrary challenge. It would have had to be scripted similarly (minus the stealth boy nerf) of course to make the sniper fire actually deadly, but still, I could imagine a lot more room for player creativity.

      • krellen says:

        It’s actually plausible that they do manufacture their own ammo. The most prohibitively difficult ingredient in smokeless powder (as opposed to the relatively simple formula we all know for black powder) is a chemical that is a by-product of its own creation process (basically, you add water to the chemical and get more chemical plus some hydrogen gas), so given access to an ample supply of water and scrap metal (which we’re told is a resource they’re always looking for) the creation of modern ammunition should be relatively straight-forward.

        • Veloxyll says:

          What about fuel? I mean, scrap metal doesn’t just melt into convenient shell shapes by itself. And 70 years of artillery worth of scrap metal when they’re that gung ho about firing it off is a LOT of scrap for one settlement. Especially since they haven’t even gone out to retrieve the cars in the shelled village.

          • Someone says:

            I always just chalk it up to pre-war supplies. I mean the Cold War superpowers were known for going to absurd lenghts to prepare for the nuclear war, and life after it, building giant underground facilites and stocking them with hundreds of years worth of supplies. Take all that preparation, multiply it by the implied ridiculous war expenses and jingoism of the US government in the world of Fallout, and suddenly a military base storing enough ammo for 3000 years of non-stop howitzer fire doesn’t seem so implausible.

          • krellen says:

            They grow corn (you can walk around the farms) and produce ethanol (there’s a shed full of corn, moonshine, biofuel tanks and explosive fumes in a back corner).

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Indeed this was the lamest part of the game.I hate plot doors,and this was the plottiest dooriest place in new vegas.I tried this shit a couple of times,said fuck it,and went to the tunnels where my 75 sneak actually was useful.

    EDIT:But Shamus,dont you know thats its the exterior thats hardest to make.Everything else is easy.

    • poiumty says:

      I didn’t really mind the bombs so much even though it took me like a billion tries. Watching Josh die over and over was probably the highlight of this week’s Spoiler Warning for me.

      The part I absolutely detested about the Boomers were their long-ass hauls over huge landscapes only for some goddamn FETCH QUESTS. FETCH QUESTS!
      God I wanted to kill them so bad.

      • Ringwraith says:

        To be fair, you don’t have to do all of them, helping the doctor in particular is a great way to rack up some fame very quickly, provided you have the medicine skill.
        Also, one of them involves shooting things, so there’s that.

        • poiumty says:

          One of them has things to shoot?

          I take back everything I said about them.

          • Ringwraith says:

            One of the quests they give you is to get of a giant ant problem they’re having.
            It’s interesting as it’s in their munitions storage so you can’t use explosives or anything fire-based or the place goes boom, which often blows you into little bits.

            • Michael says:

              That said, it is one of the first places in the game where you can score an assault carbine and a marksman rifle. There’s also a grenade launcher, a unique grenade rifle and a shitload of ammo. The ant hunting really offsets the rest of that area for me.

  12. Lalaland says:

    Wow that was just infuriating, I hate it when games give me tools and then arbitrarily make them useless. I usually roll up a thief/rogue character and would have punched my monitor when it dawned on me that sneak was ‘off’ for this, so my monitor and I thank you.

  13. DirigibleHate says:

    Actually, there’s a single rocky overhang that works as cover – I found it on my playthrough, I had no idea you had to hide under the buildings.

    Also, the Boomer’s quest is Volare!

    I didn’t have nearly as much issue with this questline, since my high repair/medicine character finished both generator quests at once, and then fixed all the wounded on the way to Mother Pearl’s barracks. My least favourite part of the game was the end fight, since I usually end up underleveled worse than Cuftbert.

  14. Myth says:

    See, this part killed me over and over again because I managed to approach the Boomer’s base from the opposite direction (having wandered out of some underground passage that led to nearby their base). Which meant I never even ran into the fellow with the advice on getting through the explosions.

    Indeed, it meant I didn’t have any warning at all – I emerged into the desert, took a few steps, and then exploded. And figured I had triggered a mine or something, so I reloaded and tried again, keeping a careful eye on the ground… and exploded.

    Repeat over and over again until I figure out bombs are raining down from above. Now I start trying sneaking (with my maxed out Stealth score). No luck. Now I try Stealth Boys. No good. Now I try chugging defensive drugs and running for it, with dozens of stimpacks at the ready, DT 75 or so vs Explosions and 50% DR… total failure.

    So I finally conclude the game intends this area to be impassable, and go wandering back the way I came, and many hours later actually approach from the right direction and find out what was going on. >_>

  15. MintSkittle says:

    I only made it through by heading straight for the fenceline and spamming stimpacks. Fun times. Also, I found out you can use stimpacks on ED-E to restore its health. How does that work?

  16. RTBones says:

    Reginald needs a Fed Ex uniform to go with his bonnet because he is about to go into delivery work (assuming Josh actually does the quests).

    When I got to this part of the game, I assumed the old man was lying and that I was going to get ganked. Don’t know that I ever even read the note. From the crater where Josh started, I hugged the rocks on the left all the way down to the fence, then skirted my way to the gate.

  17. HerrSunk says:

    I think I need to have a lie down. I had a terrible Morrowind flashback/aneurysm watching the first part of the video.

    The… directions… obscure… horrible directions… AAAAAAAH! GET IT AWAY! EVERYTHING IS WRONG! GET AAAAAWAY!

    • Someone says:

      What, you mean you can’t follow something as simple as: “Go to the south of the northern outpost, just by the rice fields, make a left turn by the s-bend near the lava pool after you pass the famous Nzurdmamzm-Altzk ruin complex, but not the Altmezk-Nurzdamzs ruins or the Nzureskm cave, and follow the road north of the medium stone near the big Daedra sanctuary, not the small one, until you run into an abandoned campsite.”?

      You must be stupid or something.

      • Deadpool says:

        How about follow the North star until the WEst star is directly to your left, and turn your back on the west star and walk forward until it disappears into the horizon. Then follow the FAKE North St–

        God that pissed me off! Of course, I just realized I’m likely the only person on this blog who even played that game, let alone remember it, but TRUST me, I’m not even making it up…

  18. ngthagg says:

    Thanks for linking to DMoTR, Shamus. That’s almost as time consuming as one of these.

    But I have to say, comic #26 is one of the best.

  19. Piflik says:

    Really Shamus? You want a Quest Marker for every single NPC you have to talk to here? Aren’t you the one always yelling for games to stop holding your hand all the time? I actually was pleasantly surprised to finally have to do something myself instead of just following the games’ direction…

    • GTRichey says:

      It does give you quest markers for them, but it starts a new quest so you have to switch it in the Pip Boy.

      • X2-Eliah says:

        Oh the inhumanity of not having the answers showed down your throat for once…

        Anyway, silly as it may be, I kinda see his point – if the game is openly pushing all those countless markers on you, then it should keep on pushing them and not arbitrarily hide ’em – especially in such a horrible area.

    • Shamus says:

      I never said any such thing? And I’m pretty sure there ARE quest markers?

    • Eärlindor says:

      LOL, yeah I know. I had thought along similar lines. They were complaining about a big area with no fast travels and no objective markers, and I was sitting there thinknig, “Wait, so isn’t that like the original Fallout? Am I confused or isn’t that what you guys want?” *Drink*

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Basically it’s about a design principle. Most of the games today are designed to hold your hand somewhat too much for many players who “learned” to play, say, in the 90s but it’s not as simple as removing the directions to achieve the same effect.

        If the game is designed without quest markers and with vague directions it’s necessary to consider how much time and effort the player will have to invest into figuring it out by himself. The good side is that it feels more rewarding to the player, even if it was actually pretty easy, to do the work by himself. The bad side is that there is that no matter how easy it is there will be people who won’t be able to figure it out, also, greater risk of having things broken by players going where they’re not supposed to go (think player deciding “ooh, I wanna go to that big shiny city out there” spending 3 hours trying to rush through deathclaws and then ragequitting). Finally, more content is likely to be skipped. There is stuff in the first two fallout games (drink) that I’ve only read about despite spending quite a bit of time on them.

        If the game is designed with quest markers or very specific direction the devs can effectively say “screw this” to most of the “natural flow”. It doesn’t matter if the direction you’re supposed to head to is counter-intuitive, the quest marker tells you that’s where you’re supposed to go. If you encounter something that offs you far too easily but the quest marker is right behind it you’re going to think along the lines “it’s either a boss encounter or I have to use some trick” rather than “I don’t think I’m supposed to be here at this point”.

        Basically, removing handholding from a game that’s supposed to have it is not the same as designing a game without it in the first place. The Boomer base has a lot of going back and forth through large areas where nothing happens (especially if you don’t know what you’re doing ahead of time) which basically stabs the pace of the game in the back.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Um,original fallouts were never praised for their lack of quest markers.They were praised mostly for being extremely open and giving you plethora of choices in how to play them.Be a grave robber,a pimp,an idiot,a genius,pacifist,mass murderer,…That has nothing to do with quest markers.

    • acronix says:

      The problem here is that if the game doesn`t hold your hand you are into a world of pain, suffering and frustration (in that order), just because the solution to the puzzle is so counter-intuitive.

  20. SlowShootinPete says:

    Salvaging the bomber, I was expecting it to just fall apart after the balloons lifted it off the bottom of the lake, and was disappointed when it didn’t. That would have been so hilariously anticlimactic.

    • It wouldn’t really have mattered – contrary to this episode all they’re after is the spare parts, they have most of the bomber in Nellis already.
      Of course those are probably still too waterlogged, rusted etc to be of use…

  21. Talson says:

    Ok, I’m seriously confused at how much difficulty you guys are having… I’ve done this part twice, two separate play through, and didn’t have any trouble either time… All I did was haul my irradiated behind towards the fence as fast as possible. Maybe it’s because the guys are compulsive scavengers and the more stuff you carry the slower you move. For that exact reason I never carried anything other than what was absolutely necessary.

  22. Nyctef says:

    I’m totally with Mumbles here. I got this first time, though I just stuck to the left and ran through without using cover.

  23. Grudgeal says:

    *That’s* the solution? Just wait for them to stop shelling every house out of boredom before moving on?

    I never figured that out, and those bad directions have killed more characters than I can count. Not to mention caused repeated genocide of the Boomer base because nothing, nothing kills sympathy for video game characters than badly made gameplay that kills you over… And over… And over… Even in my playthroughs as Wasteland Jesus, running that gauntlet and spending half my stimpack inventory always motivates me to go on a Boomer killing spree. And then laughing. All into the night.

  24. Vect says:

    I got Boomer Rep quickly just by listening to their Historian kid and passing speech checks/complimenting them. Still, I love their contribution to the endgame.

    Since it seems that Yes Man is the way to go (since that’s about as close to Omnicidal Neutral as you can get in this game) I’m guessing that Reginald has not forgiven the BoS for Fallout 3? McNamara is more stick-up-the-ass-can’t-break-the-rules than Lyons but at least he’s killable.

    Also, I’ll take it that Shamus will find Josh Sawyer’s statement of how there are things that should trump believability to be somewhat offensive for him since he seems to be a stickler for the other way around.

    • GTRichey says:

      I’m guessing the Brotherhood will be wiped out in this playthrough (they tend to get wiped out for most playthroughs), but I have to say that BoS in Fallout 3 is not BoS. They were established in the first two games as reclusive hoarders of technology who’s goal was simply to make sure no one else could get hold of it. New Vegas has them back in that role. FO3 decided for some reason that BoS is awesome and the good guys that are trying to save the wasteland. They can call themselves what they like but they wouldn’t be accepted by the canon BoS outside of FO3.

      • MintSkittle says:

        In FO3, I think you can question Lyons about it, and he freely admits abandoning his original mandate and is doing his own thing. The Outcasts are the true followers.

        If Bethesda had wanted to do a split BoS properly, it should be the original BoS still holding the Pentagon and Lyons out in the wastes.

      • Khizan says:

        What drove me crazy is that all they had to do was reverse the names of the factions. Lyon’s crazy do-gooders were Brotherhood Outcasts and the “Outcasts” were the true Brotherhood of Steel.

        • Ringwraith says:

          That’s the thing however, the Elder was part of the group who wanted to fragment from the Brotherhood’s ideals, so he kept the majority of the people and the base they had set up in before he had a change of heart, the Outcasts kinda exiled themselves from it, hence the name.

          They were also so far away that they no contact with the rest of the Brotherhood, so it formed its own microcosm complete with political conflict.

          • decius says:

            Exactly. Lyons is the leader of the splinter group, and the “Outcasts” are the loyalists.

            I want to see the BoS from Fallout:Tactics make an appearance. The ones that used a nuke as a lockpick.

            • Grudgeal says:

              The Midwestern Brotherhood aren’t considered canon, I think. Or at least questionably so: None of the following products in the fallout verse, including Van Buren and New Vegas, make any mention of them. Not to mention given the events of Fallout: Tactics their territory would currently cover a significant percentage of the US, from Detroit/Chicago to St. Louis and. And the ‘classic’ Brotherhood would likely consider them traitors and heretics, what with them throwing the rulebook out the window and effectively becoming another NCR but with power armour. And supermutant/ghoul/deathclaw recruits

              The funny part is that the ‘BoS’ in Fallout 3 are pretty much perfect examples of how the Midwestern Brotherhood would be acting, taking over things and whatnot, and makes much more sense as an eastern outpost of that organization than some splinter group of the California originals. Well, ‘perfect examples’ with brain damage and a messiah complex.

              • Ringwraith says:

                Actually, Veronica mentions about a conflict with the Brotherhood’s ideals, which is fairly obviously the group that went east.

              • Michael says:

                As I recall, and it’s been a while, Lyons does have some dialog regarding the Midwestern Brotherhood explicitly. So their existence is canon, just not most of the events of Fallout: Tactics.

                EDIT: huh… I’m getting a “Your post is awaiting moderation” tag… I’ve never seen that before, what’s up?

          • GTRichey says:

            What grates me is that they didn’t have to call them the Brotherhood of Steel. The only thing that makes them such is their use of power armor and energy weapons. Had they called them something else (actually adding to the lore instead of taking random pieces and jamming them into whatever story they felt like). The game would still be insanely stupid since it’s main plot boils down to two groups of people fighting over who gets to flip the on switch (and I know Eden wants to put some FEV stuff in the water, but no one was going along with that).

            • GTRichey says:

              There I go not finishing sentences before moving on. Calling the FO3 BoS anything else would’ve made the group less infuriating. Yes they’d be stupid and you may want to kill them rather than work with them, but at least it’s not make a complete mess of established lore.

              • ? says:

                Problem is with setting FO3 so far away from original Fallouts area, they had to ‘anchor’ this new area somehow to previous games.
                They had Vaults, but that could be not enough. So I understand that they wanted to transplant some recognizable faction from previous games and make that faction important in the area.
                I even understand why they chose BoS. They and Followers are most likely to travel around , with their never ending quests to find and preserve pre-war advanced technology (by hoarding or sharing with others respectively).
                I don’t see Followers making a major impact on Capital Wasteland, big BoS expedition makes more sense.
                Out of other organisations, the moment NCR’s influence gets noticeable in East Coast it shouldn’t be called New California Republic.
                Now Enclave, those guys would be recognizable and having their outpost in Washington wouldn’t be much of a stretch, would it? And with their high command being blown up in the previous game, they could radically change their approach to everybody, right? So it would be unexpected twist that they are pro-player, kind of benevolent organization,since recycling them as big bads would be boring, repetitive and would undermine finale of previous game? And they wear power armour that would fit nicely on a box art. *wink**wink*

                But Bethesada failed at their goal spectacularly. They changed everything about BoS except superficial trappings , so they would fit into not so great plot.They recycled already existing big bads, without changing anything about them, instead of making up new enemy for a new game. They basically didn’t make up any new factions. And they thrown in supermutants for no good reason.

                • Michael says:

                  Fallout 3 did seem to have a larger problem like this, though. A lot of elements appeared to only be there because of the previous games. The entire main plot revolved around water, the hunt for a GECK and the Enclave emerging late in the game all come to mind. It seemed to be plugged full of elements that were only there to reference the previous games without really doing anything with them beyond saying “we’re huge fans of the first two games.”

                  The Enclave and the GECK seem to be the two most egregious examples, where they’re actually substantially different from their appearances in Fallout 2.

        • Soylent Dave says:

          The fact that the BoS leadership in Fallout 3 have splintered, but kept their name, is probably one of the more realistic things in the game.

          When groups split apart in reality, they don’t usually label themselves for the convenience of outsiders (or even people who know all about the canon!), they label themselves according to their own ego and sense of identity. As far as Lyons is concerned, he’s still the BoS; it’s everyone else who is wrong.

          (it would have been even better if the Outcasts called themselves the BoS as well, and there wasn’t really any way for an outside observer to tell which was which (because it’s basically factional infighting) without talking to them – but that would probably make for a much more annoying game…)

          • GTRichey says:

            While this is the way things generally go in the world, there’s a couple points where it doesn’t fit. Infighting is one thing but a group literally completely changing their philosophies and methods goes a bit past that. Second, in a game it’s incredibly immersion breaking to meet up with a group that you are familiar with and them be so completely different and in this case with little or no explanation. Infighting looks a lot more like the New Vegas BoS where you’ve got a group of disgruntled members attempting to change the balance of power. It make for a much better narrative that way.

  25. Irridium says:

    I got through this by hot-keying stimpacks to “1” and just popping them when my health got low.

    Burned through 25 of the things, but it worked.

  26. Flavius says:

    Ah, Shamus, there is one important difference between the Titanic and a B-29. The Titanic was constructed out of steel, which not only corrodes easily in the presence of oxygenated water, but its corrosion products accelerate the degradation of the underlying layers of undamaged metal. Furthermore, the Titanic’s location dropped into the neighborhood of a species bacterium that, in rough terms, eats iron. The airframe of a B-29, by contrast, is constructed out of aluminum. While aluminum corrodes easily, even in open air, the corrosion product produces a tough, airtight sheath around the undamaged metal, rendering it highly resistant against further corrosion. You can see an example of this at this wikipedia page:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SBD-2_recovered_Lake_Michigan_1994.jpg

    Now, that said, that the Boomers can repair the B-29 remains a pretty amazing achievement: the engines and the control equipment would be damaged beyond repair. This means that by the end of the game, the Boomers have either fabricated entirely new engines for it, along with (presumably) worked out a way to produce and process large amounts of bio-fuels, or retrofitted the entire thing with electric motors and a nuclear reactor. Brotherhood of Steel, eat your hearts out!

    • RTBones says:

      The key take-away here is that this is not a repair – it’s a restoration. IRL, a B29 restoration can go something like this.

      By the way, there actually was a B29 in Lake Mead. B-29 (s/n 45-21847) Beetle Bomb was ditched in Lake Mead near Las Vegas, Nevada in 1948 and discovered intact. (from Wiki.)

    • krellen says:

      It’s biofuel. There’s actually a shack full of ethanol and corn (and the fumes to explode you with to prove it) shoved back in one corner of the base.

    • kanodin says:

      As I recall, and it’s been a long time since I actually bothered with the boomer quest, Loyal says something about them already having parts for a B-29 from the airbase or a crashed plane, so that’s Obsidian’s handwave for the engine I suppose.

      • krellen says:

        At least they provide evidence of this, because there are parts of a broken bomber in the hanger even before you deliver the “Lady of the Water” to them.

        • KremlinLaptop says:

          That’s the thing that really bothers me about this quest, see I bought that the plane could be in that condition after such a long time — aluminium doesn’t corrode like steel does, knew that and so forth.

          …but how is the ditched in a lake airframe more valuable than the one they have in the hangar? All the electronics are going to be shot, that’s a given. All the mechanicals are going to be jammed and rusted, the engines will be beyond repair. The only part I see being worth a damn is the frame itself.

          AND THEY ALREADY HAVE ONE. Right there! In the hangar.

          • krellen says:

            They have parts of one. And no wings.

            • Hitch says:

              There are wings in the hangar. There’s quite a bit of a B-29 in there. Just like any other weapon repair in the game, if you have two broken ones, just rip off a bit of duck tape (even if you don’t have any) and tap them with a spanner a few times and — hey presto — you have a working unit.

              • Ringwraith says:

                When you have nothing, you get good at using anything you have to patch up things.
                I do like the self-doubting of Jury Rigger’s believability though, kinda sums it up.

  27. Z-Ri says:

    On my first playthrough someone (maybe even George) mentioned a train tunnel that let out close to Nellis. The tracks are on the far right of the shelling field if you follow them (they seem to be just out of range)then you find the tunnel which is locked very hard.

    Right next to the tunnel is a canyon type deal that is out of their range till roughly halfway to Nellis. At the absolute worst you’ll take three shells (which has left me at a third health with some broken limbs on low endurance playthroughs) before you get close enough to the base.

    I have a feeling I would have disliked the Boomers a hell of lot more if I hadn’t found that pass and instead tried to follow o’ll George’s directions.(which seem to be as clear as quartz covered in grape jam)

  28. Deoxy says:

    The sooner they realize the world is cheap, unfair, and arbitrary, they better off they are.

    That’s actually true.

    Makes for a lousy game, though.

  29. Jakale says:

    I like to think that that gathering of people in the bunker doorway, men and women mind you, were there watching your limbs regenerating as you slept. Some woman walks in after you go to sleep, sees it happening, freaks out, and tells a bunch of people who trickle in for the show, then you wake up and they kind of awkwardly mill about hoping you don’t wonder why they’re there and try to leave.

    At least the bomber doesn’t instantly work or the people happened to have a set of engines sacredly stored for this momentous occasion. You’d spend the entire game having to watch the skies in case 30 bombs drop on whatever town you happened to stop in to sell stuff or do a quest.

    • Jarenth says:

      That would be a pretty amazing consequence, though. Help the genocidal bomb-nuts get their savage-killer plane in action, and they use it to actually kill savages.

  30. Museli says:

    Nellis is the home to the one moment of genuine terror I have felt as I play this game. I once wandered into the Schoolhouse while searching for people to quest for, and there were about five kids in there. As soon as I entered, they all made a beeline towards me, stopped, and just looked up at me, silently. Just…stared at me. I backed out of there without saying a word, and I’ve never been back.

    • GTRichey says:

      I never went in the schoolhouse, but assuming this wasn’t a bug (quite possible) it’s actually pretty good. Kids being curious about the ‘dangerous savage’ since all they know is Nellis is the kind of stuff that makes for a believable world.

  31. Bodyless says:

    i agree that this part was unnecessarily frustrating. but the note definitly says that you need to hide in the houses. at least you could try something else than repeatedly beelining to the gate, which is more stupid that the houses providing any cover.

    and holy shit i cannot believe that you failed at clicking on the “volare!” quest. there is even an achivement for completing it.

    • Vipermagi says:

      I don’t see why a beeline would be that stupid. It takes quite a bit of time for the shells to land, and their explosion isn’t that large. I’d imagine that, as long as you run fast enough, you could avoid a lot of explosions.

      It doesn’t work that way, since the explosions are just always near you, but that was my line of thought anyways.

  32. Eli says:

    The shell challenge is pretty easy if you completely ignore what that guy says and just run along the left cliffside. I’ve never died doing that and most of the time I don’t lose more than a third of my health. I think the one time I did lose more I was dicking around with something.
    I’m guessing the Boomers don’t lead you, so keeping at the edge of their fire zone keeps their accuracy down. Any way, it works and I prefer the instructions “Go Left” to whatever that black guy said.

  33. Factoid says:

    This puzzle follows the rules of the gameworld PRECISELY!!! Either you follow the quest exactly as laid out for you by the NPC or you will be summarily executed for your transgression. See? Consistent!

  34. tengokujin says:

    @Mumbles
    “Doogie Howser, M.D.”

  35. acronix says:

    I have an unrelated question: What`s the name of the credits theme?

  36. Dante says:

    i camt belueve i olaaued tghe dtinlinng gMW

  37. Phoenix says:

    It’s funny to look at though!

  38. Nathan says:

    Doogie Howitzer?

  39. Dantian says:

    Does the guy playing have no idea how to use stimpaks? You’re not playing on hardcore, so it’s just silly to die on this.

    • acronix says:

      The fact that you can dodge it via exploiting the game system (injecting yourself with a thousand needles with zero cost) won`t make the puzzle less horrible.

  40. Dumbledorito says:

    Shamus, I might be mistaken (it’s been a while since I uploaded to YouTube), but I think you can select what frame you want to be the thumbnail on your videos.

    Unless we’re going all out with the Vegas theme and ‘letting the chips fall’ when it comes to what you see.

    • Shamus says:

      ARG! Youtube thumbnails drive me NUTS.

      Youtube gives us 3 frames to choose from. One near the start, the exact center, and the end. This morning I changed it to show Reginald dead, because that was the most interesting and funny. Eight hours later, it’s still using the original thumbnail, which is another boring pip-boy screen. I’m sure the thumbnail will update eventually. You know, once everyone is done watching and it no longer matters.

      Stupid YouTube.

  41. John Alexander says:

    My favourite part of the Boomers? That stupid kid. The vast majority of exposition in the game can be clicked through, but not this little snot! Oh no, you have to listen to the whole thing, unabridged, every time.

    This wouldn’t bother be normally, but in Nellis it’s just an infuriating addition to the pile of stuff I hate.

  42. bit says:

    Personally, I found the Boomers childishly hilarious. Their backstory is as follows; We wanted to shoot people, but we couldn’t, so we shot the people stopping us. But then we couldn’t shoot enough people, so we went and found better guns, and now our sole goal as a society is to be able to shoot even more people. It’s so ridiculous, and I stupidly love them for it. Having a high tolerance for dull quests probably helped too.

  43. Sozac says:

    Lol every time i get there i just run left straight to the fence and my armor keeps me alive since its never a checkered suit.

  44. Kelly says:

    There are two easy ways to do this, which I did for both of my characters respectively.

    1. Have invisible wall remover, go up the hill, and walk until you get close enough to jump over a fence.

    2. Run straight forward and tank that shit with drugs and stims.

  45. Dys says:

    It took me a few times to work out what the hell it wanted me to do, but in fact there is one common factor in the two safe spots.
    They’re the only two places on the whole field with an overhanging roof.

    The shells are coming in almost vertically, you need something above you to avoid getting hit. How those buildings survive shelling is another question entirely, but since the first playthrough I tend to head for the boomers pretty early, and work out the route by memory and reason.

  46. CalDazar says:

    I got through the barrage on my first try. Not because it was easy to understand. I still have never managed to follow the directions.

    No I got through because I looked at the directions, had no clue what they were telling me, decided “fuck it” and popped all the Turbo I had sprinting across.

  47. superglucose says:

    Actually I agree with Mumbles. This was really, really easy. Unless you can’t follow a map or know which way of a joystick it’s actually amazing simple.

  48. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I haven’t had much to say about the episodes recently but I really, REALLY like the second minute of this one. During what the devs probably imagined as one of the most tense and excitement filled moments of the game (bombs falling everywhere! explosions! imminent death) Ruts and Mumbles turn away from the screen (if they were actually in the same room) and start loudly arguing about plausibility and such. Finally Josh lets out this pained “oh god” which is hard to say if it’s about the game or them. And then it gets better :]

    Also. though I know few people will get this:

    8:38 He’s like a chameleon!

  49. Kdansky says:

    I don’t get why people praise NV so much. I watch about every third episode, and am bored to tears.

    • Kelly says:

      It doesn’t help that Josh doesn’t play the game normally at all.

      • Raygereio says:

        Nah. It’s more likely due to the fact that there’s far less to be made fun of or bitch about in New Vegas. Yeah, it has it’s silly and stupid moments. But still so far this game has provided the Spoiler Warning crew with far less ammunition of the mocking variety then FO3 and ME2.
        Which coincidentally is also why people praise it.

        In general: the better the game is, the harder it is to make an entertaining LP of it. And the reverse is also true: the worst the game is, the easier it is to make a funny LP out of it.

  50. Raninen says:

    I imagine that one reason for arbitrary railroading is the game designer’s wish for the players to experience something specific. I wonder what the shelling was supposed to feel like. Darting through collapsing rubble, staying low and listening to the whistle of incoming ordnance? I wonder how many players felt it like it was meant to be felt.

  51. Jarenth says:

    So, take into mind that I’ve not actually played this game myself, and I have no idea where this story is going. My question regarding this episode:

    Why would you ever, ever want to help these nutbags?

    They make it pretty clear that a) they consider everyone not from their base to be savages, b) they like blowing up savages, and c) would gladly expand their savage-exploding operations given the chance. And then the game asks you, the player, to help them obtain an actual functioning loaded bomber that can be used to kill people with.

    If there is any justice in the world, every epilogue of every playthrough that involves helping this aggravated nuthouse, regardless of what you do and who you help and whatnot, ends with the phrase “And then the Boomers flew over in their B-52 and killed the shit out of everyone. Really, what were you thinking? Were you even thinking? Well, regardless, everyone’s dead now.

    • Vipermagi says:

      There is one meta reason, and that is “they bomb the crap out of the final (anti-)climactic battle on Hoover Dam”. A flare of excitement in an otherwise shallow fight.

      I usually murder them, though.

    • acronix says:

      If I recall correctly, this is a binary choice quest: you either help them, or you kill them. You can´t proceed until you do one of those two things. The fact that you see many rocket launcher guards around makes the first option more desirable.

      • Jarenth says:

        Yeah, ok. But I meant ‘from a roleplaying perspective’. Is the choice to help these people get their literal weapon of mass destruction justifiable in-universe?

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Kind of…If you stretch it a bit…See there are these crazy dudes who like to blow shit up,and you can either help them and thus make sure they wont blow you up,or kill them all.Whichever you find easier makes sense in character.

      • Sumanai says:

        I have a question. Is killing them considered as the “good” choice by the game? Because it should be.

  52. Abnaxis says:

    Is there something I’m missing, or is there just something immensely stupid about the guy pointing a rocket launcher at you through the chain link fence he’s standing near after you get to the base?

    Also, I think you managed to cripple every limb at the same time when one of the cars blew up next to you, for a brief half second period before the next shell finished you…

  53. NotACat says:

    WTF?

    For every 43·6 savages we killed, we lost one of our own.

    (My emphasis added)
    That’s one heck of a precise “downside” right there, kid…and I thought I was pedantic!

    • Michael says:

      I always chalked it up as, one of the vault dwellers had done a specific calculation, probably before they even reached Nellis, the number was recorded, and the kid is just reporting off the entire spiel verbatim.

      • Michael says:

        In the random Pedantic side (and due to some mild boredom), if they lost 5 people, that would mean they’d killed 218…

        It does sound like a precooked statistic the kid is rattling off from memory though… not sure if that’s just some kind of fan-wank on my part or not.

        I also can’t shake the feeling there’s some number gag here I’m not seeing, 42 (HHGTTG) and 47 (ST) are both awfully close, but I don’t know if that’s it or not.

  54. Archaic says:

    when going to do the boomers quest, i can remember one of the npcs out in the wasteland or something saying i could by pass them by sneaking through a train tunnel, 20 or so stimpaks later i make it to the train tunnel next to the boomers only to find out the that that train tunnel was locked by a very hard lockpick skill and even after coming back later with 100 lockpick its not really worth it. i agree this part of the game is annoying although in the final battle it does add a cool little touch to it, if its your first time playing that is.

  55. BenD says:

    Bonus points to Mumbles’ very quiet, ‘Cuz I don’t remember. And I can’t read’

    Also, the background music is perfect.

    OK so, I did the bombardment run on my first playthrough super late in the game, when I could pick locks by squinting funny at them, and I went through the train tunnel and then ran-like-hell up the tracks. I thought, gee, I took the “around” route and I got bombed anyway?

    So on my second playthrough I was in hardcore mode. I followed the directions. It would almost kill me, but I’d barely sneak into the corner of a house or under a slanted slab of wood, and eat/stimpack myself all up and then just wait for the food to take effect (super slowly because hardcore). And repeat. Took like, 20 minutes. X_X

  56. (LK) says:

    As far as raising a 200 year old B-29 from a lake, a salvage team was able to recover a B-29 called the Kee Bird from the sea near Thule after 50 years of it sitting underneath the water.

    They pulled the plane out of the sea and managed to successfully repair it to working condition. The engines were shot and needed to be rebuilt, and damage from the crash had to be repaired, but they hauled the thing up, fixed it, and got the engines running.

    200 years is pushing it but if you can make a B-29 fly after 50 years under salt water, I can believe in making one fly after 200 years under fresh water, especially considering there’s no surf pounding above it.

    (Unfortunately as they were making preparations to fly the Kee Bird back to Thule, a fire broke out in the tail section and burned the entire plane to the ground; this being after their chief engineer Rick Kriege had fell ill and died trying get the plane running again. It’s really a terribly depressing story.)

  57. Cain says:

    I don’t recall the artillery range being that great a challenge, I just sort of ran through the area along and made it to the gate (I think I had a cliff face to my immediate left for most of the dash). It is too bad that they don’t let you circumvent it in another fashion though.

  58. AyeGill says:

    To be fair to mumbles, i got it on my first try, too. Not that his instructions give you any help, i just figured i needed to hide while the shot and run while they were reloading. Not because it makes sense, or because those houses should be able to protect you from the shells, but because that’s what i would expect to happen in a game

  59. Phantom renegade says:

    I got this on my first try.

    Not only that i did this while looking for the brotherhood of steel guys, i didn’t even know what was happening until i was standing in the crater with the broderhood of steel corpses and them i just ran forward and i got it.

    Its really not that hard.

  60. Destrustor says:

    following the instructions from a comment of the previous SW, I simply took some turbo and made it through in one try, in my first playthrough. It was gloriously hilarious. I didn’t even try to understand the instructions.
    No game can out-cheat players!

  61. Doctor Broccoli says:

    So I’m going through this series again about 2 years after it was made.

    While playing the drinking game.

    Which means I have to drink each time Reginald dies.

    So yeah, the first ten minutes of this was… Just fantastic.

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