Spoiler Warning S5E33: Robbing the (Dead) Money

By Josh
on Jun 14, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

And so our time in the Sierra Madre has come to an end.


Link (YouTube)

I don’t really have much more to say about this DLC that hasn’t already been said. A lot of commenters have complained that I missed a lot of the “good parts” and haven’t shown or explained any of the justifications for some of the weirdness in Dead Money. I suppose that might be a fair complaint, but to be honest, I played through the entirety of Dead Money before we really got into it on Spoiler Warning – and I felt I was pretty thorough – and I really didn’t see many of these justifications. Or if I did, they weren’t profound enough for me to recall when the issue came up.

I guess it really depends on how you want to look at Dead Money. I had a lot of fun with it, and I still believe it’s superior to anything Fallout 3 did, but I certainly won’t deny that it has sizable flaws. And for me, putting some small bit of text on a terminal hidden somewhere hard to find is hardly a justification for the security systems not simply trapping Vera in her room, but recording her pleading confession of guilt and despair at the end and then turning that into a security hologram. Or how your collar mysteriously disappears at the end without explanation. Or where Elijah was trapped and why opening the vault freed him and allowed him to walk through force fields that bleed when you hit them. Or how Elijah managed to pull off everything he did after being trapped somewhere in the Sierra Madre entirely through the use of Dog, a mentally unstable nightkin that has multiple personalities and was dumb enough to eat an explosive collar.

Cool? Sure. Sensible? Not really. So convenient that you really can’t not call it contrived? You betcha.

Hey guys, note from Shamus here: We’re having trouble getting the gang together to record the show this week, so this might be our only episode. So… savor it, I guess. Is what I’m saying.

This post was up for a few minutes last night, and then I pulled it down when I realized it might be our only Spoiler Warning this week, just because I like to distribute content evenly throughout the week. I’m like that.

Also, if the vault was built to be an inescapable deathtrap, why did Sinclair put his real actual pile of gold bars and cash money in it? (Moreover, who put them there?) Wasn’t he basically throwing all that money away for no reason? Or did he plan to let them set off the trap and then just wait for them to slowly die of thirst, and then dismantle the trap? I’m asking because I couldn’t figure it out based on what I’ve seen in the LP so far, and I was wondering if those questions were also covered.

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A Hundred!20202010Many comments. 170, if you're a stickler

From the Archives:

  1. Sucal says:

    At least you can always complain if you specialised in explosives.

  2. Zagzag says:

    Despite all that you have said, not having played Dead Money, there seem to be a very large number of unexplained things/plot holes. It doesn’t look as though Josh missed out anything major either. Is it really that much better thn Fallout 3?

  3. psivamp says:

    I think you guys should play Honest Hearts, save me a few bucks.
    I was kinda disappointed in Dead Money as a DLC — I don’t know that you can really add a one-off episode to an open-world game and have it work for me.

  4. Peter H. Coffin says:

    I’m not generally an impatient guy. Really, I’m not. Ask anyone.

    But this kind of “explain things in a codex, associated comic book or novel, or in some tiny, unscripted even buried deep in a box with many other tiny, unscripted things that are totally or mostly irrelevant to anything” trick only works in books and movies, precisely because they are linear. And games, especially ones that are ostensibly sandbox games, are not linear. And we even complain when they are linear. So, I’d really like to say, at least for the discussion that we set aside stuff that is in a place that is not only missed but also likely to be missed, or even designed to be hidden while following a straightforward play-through Does Not Count As Canon for purposes of these Let’s Play. So if it doesn’t make sense without doing something that only a few obsessive completists are ever going to do, let’s just admit that it’s not going to make sense to many (if not most) players.

    • Zukhramm says:

      I really love optional pieces of story you can read of you want to. It’s a great strength of games, there is always lots of talk about letting the player choose how the story will go but not much about letting the player choose what part and how much story they want.

      But as much as I love it, it’s important that it’s fleshing out, adding detail and expanding the game, and not used to deliver necessary information.

    • Eric says:

      And yet you can say the exact same of just about any plot ever written. There’s always going to be leaps of logic required to fully piece together the plot, especially if some level of mystery is maintained throughout as is the case in Dead Money. The only stories that typically don’t require this are ridiculously simple (which, frankly, is the case for 99.8% of videogames). Including ancillary materials to fill in the blanks is a great way of handling what may appear to be plot holes but can’t really be explained due to ruining the narrative pacing or flow of a conversation.

      Josh isn’t just skipping pretty much all the terminal entries which help explain significant amounts of the backstory, he’s also skipping critical pieces of dialogue in order to get through as quickly as possible, while even summarising the plot incorrectly. Dead Money isn’t really an experience that can be watched, in the same way you couldn’t just watch someone else play Planescape and get the same effect out of it (not that I want to say Dead Money is as good).

      • MrWhales says:

        I think the different with logic jumps here and logic jumps in a better game/dlc is that the logic jumps in a good one are minute, it doesnt require outside thinking, if all you knew was what was in the game, and was discovered by “you” so far, that is how far your logic leap should be. As apposed to some in Dead Money where you should probably have a doctorate in several fields in order to make some of these leaps while still holding onto your treasures

    • acronix says:

      I think the idea of hidding plot explanations on terminals and tiny bits of the map is to give explorers some sort of reward that isn`t game-breaking, or maybe to allow those that don`t care about the plot/want to make it quick to not have to read through/hear all the logs.

      Not saying I like that, mind, but I understand why they would put them to the sides of the main path.

    • GTRichey says:

      I might agree with you, but for the fact that this is the only in universe way to supply this type of plot exposition for Fallout. It’d be nonsensical to have NPCs giving you all this information. It’s also debatable what information is ‘necessary’ while the backstory of the casino/villa might be interesting, the plot of the DLC is restricted to you being lured into a trap and forced to cooperate with Elijah to break into the vault/release him from where he’s trapped. The fact is for many this is enough and the security system etc. doesn’t need justification, but it’s there for those that seek it out.

  5. Raynooo says:

    Answer to Shamus : I’m pretty sure I’ve read ALL terminals (and looked the Vault Wiki for things I might have missed) and this is not explained.

    So that’s one hell of an expensive trap. Wouldn’t Dean have had time to just DIG through the Casino though ? I mean it’s steel and concrete but he had 200 years and all the time in the world.

    • Eric says:

      Dean does not exactly strike me as a digging guy. He’s a manipulator and jackass, not someone who necessarily does the dirty work if he can avoid it. His megalomania suggests he would never stoop to such levels no matter how relatively logical it would be.

    • Dodds says:

      Well, when the trap was meant to be sprung, Dean wasn’t a ghoul. Also, there’s no food or water inside the vault, so he’d definetley have died long before he could dig anywhere of use…

    • brainbosh says:

      The way that I read it was that this was originally a vault meant to protect Vera, so it had supplies in it for her and valuables to keep safe. It was not built to be a death trap, but modified to be one.
      After Sinclair found out about Vera and Domino’s plans, he turned it into a trap. When Vera confessed to him, he had a change of heart, and went down to disable the trap.
      Unfortunately, that was when the bombs fell, so he managed to leave the note for her but fell off the ledge (You can see his corpse outside the front of the vault) before he could do anything else.
      Also, this entire place, all of Sierra Madre, was supposedly built to protect Vera Keyes. Him finding out that she was going to rob him and run off with the singer probably caused him to act a LITTLE irrationally.

  6. Slip says:

    So, the only thing that I found curious about the ending is that with the right karma (negative enough NCR and/or positive BoS, if I remember correctly), you can actually side with Elijah, supposedly using the Sierra Madre tech to take over the Wasteland and thus triggering a premature ending of the entire game. Is there anyone that would jump at this opportunity, seriously? To side with this irritating egomaniac that has you collared and running errands just seems beyond reasonable (and even beyond whacko, oh-why-the-hell-not fun). Especially if you’re doing the DLC early on in the game, most of the Wasteland still unexplored.

    • AlternatePFG says:

      This ending, and the ending where you get trapped in the vault the game reloads an autosave right before you make the choice. It doesn’t end the game early, it’s just an alternate outcome to the DLC.

      • Slip says:

        “In the years that follow, the legend of the Sierra Madre fade, and there are no new visitors to the city. Years later, when a mysterious blood red cloud begins to roll across the Mojave, then West toward the Republic, no one knows where it comes from. Only that it brings death in its wake. Attempts to find the source of the toxic cloud fail. The Mojave is cut off. Through the Cloud, lights are seen from HELIOS One. There are stories of ghosts immune to gunfire, who strike down anyone they see with rays of light. The last chapter of the Mojave comes when a modified REPCONN rocket strikes Hoover Dam, releasing a blood-red cloud, killing all stationed there. All attempts to penetrate the Cloud and re-take the Dam fail, and both the NCR and Legion finally turn away from it, citing the place as cursed. In the years that follow, communities across the West begin to die as traces of the Cloud begin to drift over lands held by the NCR. Only two remain alive in the depths of the Cloud, at the Sierra Madre, waiting for their new world to begin again.”

        (taken from the FO:NV wiki Elijah page)

        This is what Elijah says after you choose to side with him. I cannot possibly fathom how after the Hoover Dam has been destroyed you could still go on and do any of the end-game-related quests for any of the factions. However, if it is actually possible, then hats off to the downright most egregious plothole in the game.

        • AlternatePFG says:

          No, what I’m saying is that after that ending it reloads the game right before you make that choice, so basically you can’t continue on that path. It’s like the getting locked in the vault ending, just another form of a game over.

          • Slip says:

            Right. Which is what I’m saying, too. It ends the entire game. Yes, you can reload and choose another option that will allow you to continue (just like you can reload your saves before specific faction quests to choose a different side), but you can essentially arrive at the ending of not only the DLC, but FO:NV by simply choosing to side with Elijah. Which brings me back to why on earth would anyone do that?

            • AlternatePFG says:

              I dunno. It just seems like something extra that added on if someone would agree with Elijah (I don’t know why they would) or stupid enough to lock themselves in the vault. It doesn’t really have a purpose, it’s just there.

              • Slip says:

                The distressing part is that for something so purposeless, it was rather meticulously planned. The link between Veronica and Christine, the link between Veronica and Elijah, etc. Furthermore, only having Veronica as a companion and unlocking all conversation options with her about Elijah (along with the appropriate rep) allows this ending. Why, why would this be included? Sure, many people bought the DLC after having played through the entire game, which, I suppose, gives them another possibility, but for those that purchased it as they were going along – wasn’t getting to know the factions the whole (much advertised) point of FO:NV? What is this abrupt, just-dominate-the-entire-Wasteland-with-one-old-man ending for?

                • poiumty says:

                  Heads up: you’re whining about too much choice.

                  • Slip says:

                    In general, I like to think that hoping for choices that make sense is not too much to ask for. It is one thing to be able to choose something that compliments the story and the general theme of the game and another to have “choices” thrown in there just to cover ground. If they were going to spend time coming up with an alternate ending, why not do it well.

                    • Eric says:

                      It’d obviously be ridiculous to make a game built around the Courier and Elijah conquering the Wasteland, but I’m not sure exactly what doesn’t make sense to you. Seriously, would you rather be railroaded into fighting him by way of some bullshit “I can’t do that” clause? At least here, the choice coupled with the non-standard game over provides a sense of consequence and avoids actively forcing the player’s hand into one option. It’s a matter of economics, certainly, in that managing so many possible endings would be too difficult, but the slides are a great balance, and I think a logical fit to the situation.

                      In the mod I’m developing, the player has the option to commit suicide on numerous occasions despite the fact that the player has to explicitly attempt to do and is given pretty fair warning against it. I don’t stop them if they really do insist on doing something stupid, and I even created special scripting to handle those scenarios. If it’s possible, I’d rather give a choice even if it’s a dead-end, than I would actively deny a choice. I assume Obsidian felt the same way here.

                    • Jeff says:

                      Dragon Age Origins had complaints about being forced to join the Wardens, in spite of that being the entire premise of the game.

                      The equivalent there would be “Refuse to join the Wardens”, at which point everybody dies and the game reloads. Of course, they didn’t do that and simply didn’t let you be stupid.

                    • krellen says:

                      @Jeff: They should have done that.

                    • GTRichey says:

                      This was honestly one of the best things about this DLC, New Vegas made a point of restricting player choice as little as possible so when it came to trap/kill Elijah it would have felt very forced. On the other hand you can’t very well return to a gassed wasteland (though it is a plausible resolution to the conflict in NV), or spend the rest of the game trapped in a Vault. The choice may be a hard one to come to logically, but the freedom to do something illogical is what makes this stand out as so much better than FO3 (though everything you’re forced to do there is illogical… odd).

                      Ultimately it comes down to a design decision (and a very good one).

                      Other examples are the ability to go through the game murdering every plot critical NPC before talking to them, or on the flip side not firing a single shot (though limiting your killing to non human like (so allow mutants/ghouls to live as well as humans) is a much more logical approach.

                      @Jeff They really should have and then given you a synopsis of what would’ve happened without you. Making it feel you really had choice and those choices really had consequences.

                • Sagretti says:

                  It’s so you have the choice to side with the villain. The designer stated as such, I believe. I really don’t see a huge problem with it. It gives you a choice that people often ask for and even gives you an ending scripted out for it. The game then dumps you back before the choice and lets you make another decision. I see nothing especially detrimental about it, and it gives people a choice they wouldn’t have otherwise. It isn’t like siding with Elijah is the only choice you can make, or the most likely either.

                  Edit: Wow, I just realized how many times I used the word “choice” in one paragraph.

                  • Sleeping Dragon says:

                    IMHO the problem here is the character consistency. It actually is a fine ending if you’re playing a character for whom it works, the problem is if you stumble upon it before exploring the world it ends the game prematurely. In short, you play a character for whom the Elijah ending fits but you can’t take it unless you want to restart the game. Yes, I know it reverts you to an autosave, it’s not the “you as a player can’t take it”, it’s “you as a character can’t”. Even assuming you have a save before the DLC many players may not feel like re-investing a good several hours to replay the DLC at the end of their adventure (not to mention loosing all the character progress).

                    In fact let me put it this way, what if the “good” ending ended the game prematurely? The evil ending is clearly not the “default one” considering it is fairly obscure but what if it was readily available and the ONLY way to continue playing was to side with Elijah and if you didn’t you’d get a cutscene about how you stayed in Sierra Madre and lived there happily ever after? That would raise quite a storm.

                    Also, if they were so determined to give the player an Elijah option it could have been easily worked into allowing the game to continue (though I admit at the cost of coolness). If your cooperation with Elijah is based on any sort of trust or understanding rather than the two of you constantly holding guns to each other heads he could have just said something along the lines that it’s going to take years to work out the tech (which it apparently does anyway) and he needs someone to monitor the situation on the outside and make sure none of the big factions discover the facility in the meantime. Then let the players finish the game normally and after the ending proper (which only mentions what happens in the next few years) add another picture about how after these years the Courier received the summons from Elijah and then the DLC evil ending. Though I imagine there should be also something to account for a change of heart (may be overthinking this though).

                • Andrew B says:

                  So that no-one can go “but I wanted to side with Elijah!”

                  Also, I locked myself in just to see what would happen. I figured they’d weasel out of it somehow. But nope, game over. Credit where it’s due, they stuck to their guns. (Just like Elijah and the bomb collar at the start.)

                  • Sleeping Dragon says:

                    I respect that. I mean, this is a matter of consequence. There is a guy who can blow your head off if you don’t do what he says. He can take a bit of a mouth from you and give you some time to assimilate the situation but if he decides there’s no way to get you to work he will follow on his threat. But the game still gives you an option to try him, and that is good, for all you know the guy could be bluffing, feeling lucky?

                    In fact, I think there should be more of it. I do realise that throwing instadeath at the player is not really a good thing but games have largely led us to believe PCs are immortal. If you piss off the villain he will just throw more mooks at you, heck, in some cases people do this on purpose cause more mooks=more exp. I do think there should be more things where sometimes it pays to check the NPC’s bluff and sometimes it doesn’t, though not necessarily with death as an immediate result.

                    • Thomas says:

                      I was thinking this sort of thing needs to be done a lot more often, so that it feels that decisions have meaning and the player actually has to think about what he says and the consequences of making those choices. It would be a much more natural way of playing a character, who has to bend to the world, than just “today I will be evil”.

                      But in the end, curiosity, auto-reloading and save scumming would destroy it. Players would deliberately try all the auto die options and then frustrate themselves as they go back to click the right option.

                      In the end it would only work if the consequences are a little lower. If NPCs not working with you and refusing quests was a very possible option. I guess LA Noire went down that route a lot.

                • Alexander The 1st says:

                  At least it isn’t “Courier dies, Elijah brings them back from the dead, and works with Elijah to overtake the Hoover Dam.”

                  Or “Courier dies, The Legion brings them back from the dead, and works with the Courier to take down Elijah.”

                  …And they may have the chance, if they do a sequel, so don’t fully rule it out.

                  • Chuck says:

                    I don’t think they’d do a sequel, because that would canonize the end result of the game, which might tick some people off.

                    Now if they did it somewhere else… What was that about the Great Khans going north? (yes I know that was optional too)

                  • Bubble181 says:

                    I as thinking something similar.
                    An option to NOT side with Cerberus, which resulted in a non-standard Game Over (“everything you’ve done is futile, as Reapers roll in and take over”), would’ve stopped some complaints about ME2. It’d have caused others, mind you, but I wouldn’t have said they simply shouldn’t have included the choice.

                    • Alexander The 1st says:

                      That reminded me of Golden Sun (On the GBA); begining of the game, you get asked quite a few questions from characters, which you can answer yes/no. Most of the time, the game just loops you until you choose the right answer.

                      …Well, except for one you’d really think the game would’ve.

                      The Elder asks you if you’re willing to take on the task to save the world, and you can no.

                      So, you decide to go off the rails. The game gives you the chance to take it back and give the right answer, but…If you try to leave the room, the game gives a non-standard gameover saying the world fell to ruin..

                      ME2 should’ve done something like that. You’re in the Illusive Man’s chamber the first time, and you say “No, I’m not working with you.” You get escorted out to a shuttle bound to take you to the citadel to work with the spectres, then before you get to the relay, WHAM!. Collector’s show up, and blow you to smithereens. Again.

                      Well, if you get lucky, you can take out Miranda and Jacob too, but that’d require them to follow you as you leave…

  7. Even says:

    The Vera recording part is half-explained in that it’s just what the casino does for whatever freaking reason. If you manage to trap yourself in the vault, it mentions in the ending the casino making a hologram that looks just like the Courier which then haunts the casino long after he or she is dead. Why is anyone’s guess, but I just figured it’s part of the bigger mystery of the Sierra Madre and left it at that, along with the semi-magical security system and holograms. It just goes to show that a story can really suffer from too much nitpicking. It’s a whole lot of plotholes but I’m just saying that at least some of them might have been left there on purpose.

    Letting go, that’s indeed the hard part. Of plotholes and nitpicking that is. Apparently. Not saying that you really should, but sometimes going with the flow can be a good thing. I do suggest that for whichever DLC you do next, that at least half of you have played through it before hand, because frankly I did start to already miss the informed deconstruction part of this series.

    I have to concede that the survival horror didn’t really succeed that much, but still, playing on hardcore, the survival part worked fairly well and it’s what I personally enjoyed most about the gameplay of the DLC. Only downside it’s easy to break if you’re hoarder/explorer like me. Damn chips just kept raining in to my pockets.

    • Eric says:

      Really, I do not watch Spoiler Warning to watch three people bitching about something they’ve never played, controlled by what is possibly the most charismatic, psychopathic bunny rabbit in history behind Max – and I mean that in the most positive way, Josh, but well, it’s not really the best way for people to get the “intended experience”.

      I still appreciate what you guys do, but there’s a big difference between informed critique and logical deconstruction, and just plain bitching and moaning. You’re not all 100% in the wrong here, and I don’t want to suggest you are, but… well, 80% is still a lot of facepalming.

      • Soylent Dave says:

        At what point are they meant to be advertising New Vegas?

        Showing you the ‘intended experience’ is the job of Bethesda’s marketing dept.

        Spoiler Warning is just some idiots fannying about with a game; I don’t think they’ve ever really pretended otherwise.

        (edit: let’s pretend that ‘idiots’ isn’t all that offensive for the purposes of this comment…)

        • evileeyore says:

          I don’t watch Spoiler Warning often, but when I do, I imagine Yackety Sax is playing in the background.

          Stay hydrated my friends.

          — The Least Interesting Man in the World.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You definitely should play honest hearts.By the time you do it,the next dlc will come out,and you can play it,just in time for the fourth one to come out and be played by you.

  9. James says:

    anyone else notice that the end they where talking about Ulysses aka Curior 6 who i assume in the last DLC which know beth will remove the forced ending of the main quest and add a showdown with Ulysses quest in the grand canyon (Big Divide)

  10. Raynooo says:

    Question : can you actually leave with all the gold or are they tempting us with it ? Cuz I’ve tried sneaking out while carrying too much weight, the timing is such that it seems impossible. (On this subject, the whole sneaking out thing bugged awfully for me, I did THE EXACT SAME THING 14 times in a row to try and lock him in the vault, it only worked ONCE).

    And seeing how Josh’s escape was 1 second short of his head blowing up, I guess you can’t kill him and leave with 25 gold bars ?

    If you actually CAN’T leave with all the gold, I guess that’s a way of teaching the player to let go ?

    • Andrew B says:

      Exactly this. You can exploit it to make off with all the gold, but it’s designed to be impossible playing fair. Which is a nice touch.

    • Rampant Pedantry says:

      The gold does appear to be there as a ‘let go’ moment, though there are some tricks one can use to get out with it if you’ve got a good map of Elijah’s script, a stealth boy and enough patience. The stealth boy may or may not turn up in the equipment locker in the vault, so you may or may not get the opportunity to use that tactic.

      It may also be possible to force the gold past the force field and pick it up when you come around, but I’m not sure of the viability of that particular plan.

    • Dodds says:

      I don’t think it’s possible if you take the long way round, but I managed to sneak past him going through the door he comes in. Made it through with a second to spare.

      Longest walk to Novac ever, but I now have a bathtub full of gold.

      • I just left the majority in the equipment locker and fast travelled back and forth. Took a few minutes but way faster than walking.

        • Dodds says:

          Hardcore Mode kinda nullifies that until you get a broken amount of water (I did the DLC silly early. Think I was level 8 when I entered it). I was expecting to be able to take some stuff with me, so there wasn’t much water in my locker. It ended up being easier to just hoof it then ship everything I wanted stored to Vegas.

  11. Rampant Pedantry says:

    The purpose of the ‘inescapable vault’ is somewhat muddied. On one hand, it was built as a trap for Dean and/or Vera at various points in their betrayal of Sinclair. On the other, it was re-purposed into a haven and memorial for Vera after she confessed to him.

    The relevant holotapes for the punchline, from Sinclair, are in the vault terminal and on the catwalk just outside the vault above the remains of Sinclair.

    In the end, he wanted the vault to be a safe, comfortable place for her to try to wait out the war, with everything she’d need until she either died or help arrived. This may explain, among other things, the huge pile of money, set aside against the day that rescue arrived.

    Of course, in the aftermath of the War, it never did.

  12. krellen says:

    The plot holes you mention here, Josh, are in fact unexplained. We complained about all the so-called “plot holes” the crew were complaining about before this.

  13. Slothful says:

    I don’t think you understand gold. Yes, it’s totally useless, but it’s PRETTY. Society has been vying for gold for all of time, even when it was in dire straights, so why would it be different after the apocalypse?

    Of course, in the Fallout world, nobody cares about aesthetics because they’re all busy trying to be cool and living on the edge, but gold still doesn’t corrode, and that’s pretty useful. Plastic doesn’t corrode either, but it would appear that that doesn’t exist in Fallout, so it’s irrelevant.

    • krellen says:

      And it’s still one of the best conductors we know.

      • psivamp says:

        Followed by silver, which although it oxides, silver oxide is still an excellent conductor.

          • Slothful says:

            Ah, that sounds right. I knew that silver is better than copper at conducting electricity. Back in WWII, the US was having a copper shortage, so the Manhattan project…borrowed…the silver in Fort Knox to use in their wires instead. It’s not like it was busy doing anything, and they were very careful to return it afterward.

            I do know that there is more gold per ton in cell phones than gold ore, so it must be used for something.

          • Abnaxis says:

            Note that you never see gold wire–rather, you see gold-plated contacts, for switches (where gold will have an appreciable effect on the current rating and reliability of the switch), and gold terminations for wires (these don’t make a difference like gold switch contacts do, and are usually sold at extravagant, overpriced rate to people who think higher-price-PLATED-WITH-GOLD=better cable).

            The reason for this is because the resistance due to oxidation makes a much, much bigger difference when you are talking about switch contacts. A switch will fail due to contact resistance if it gets corroded enough, especially at low currents. Gold is very chemically stable in addition to being a good conductor. Since gold doesn’t oxidize as readily as silver or copper, you wind up with less contact resistance=more reliability when you throw a switch for your industrial appliances.

            And now you know ;) If you want more info, Google “switch gold contacts”

          • psivamp says:

            I just know this because we used silver sacrificial anodes in 4160 volt and 450 volt circuit breakers in the Navy.

            • Abnaxis says:

              That’s a whole ‘nother set of beans. Sacrificial anodes are another way to fight off corrosion that are especially effective in highly corrosive environments. In corrosion, you have an electrical circuit where electrons flow from cathode to anode, and every electron that hits the anode oxidizes the molecules on the surface. Sacrificial anode are large chunks of metal you don’t care about that are more electrochemically active (or that you plug into a battery, to make them more chemically active), so they corrode instead of the metal you actually care about. In really corrosive environments (like sea water) it’s one of the best ways to protect critical parts.

              That said, I’ve never heard of silver being used as a sacrificial anode. I guess the navy just has figured out an alternative application. Sounds interesting…

              ((Sorry for nerding out. I always find it really interesting to pick apart little details of design))

              • psivamp says:

                Oops. Sacrificial contacts, not anodes… Main-line contacts too, actually. Basically, when you close a circuit breaker with a big enough voltage differential across it you get a nice big electrical arc across the gap and sacrificial contacts make sure that the larger main-line contacts don’t end up all pitted and scarred.

            • Simon Buchan says:

              Sounds expensive. Is it reversible? A corrosion ‘battery’ of sorts?

      • Someone says:

        I don’t really think it is relevant, since there is enough Pre-War scrap lying around to last mankind a couple centuries, before anyone would feel the need to actually manufacture their own conductors instead of tearing them off robot carcasses at the nearest scrapyard.

    • Shamus says:

      It’s also supremely valuable as currency. It’s rarity means that people can’t make counterfeit money.

      If we take the Fallout setting TOO seriously, we’d be facing the problem of the fact that all of the bottlecaps rusted away about 180 years ago. Also, given the fact that people are making weapons and armor and repairing robots, they certainly have the tech to make their own bottlecaps. So, some enterprising tinkerer should have churned out bottlecaps and flooded the market by now.

      Note to self: You can’t over analyze every damn thing.

      • Johan says:

        If I recall correctly, there’s a shack near the Deathclaws east of Vegas that has a bunch of “counterfeit bottle caps” that aren’t worth anything. Honestly they don’t seem hard to print. Unless they have anti-counterfeit stamping on them somehow, but why put that on a soda bottle? Well “guaranteed made by the Nuka-Cola company” I suppose.

        • The crimson caravan company actually does have a quest where you have to shut down a bottlecap press in the Sunset Sasparilla factory because it can make the real things. Alice McLafferty does attempt to justify why bottlecaps are hard to counterfeit though, I just can’t remember because it was a boring quest anyway and I only accepted it because I was accepting all the other quests so I could get Cass.

      • Paul Spooner says:

        I don’t know if this is really “over” analyzing. Really, they should be gold bottlecaps; People started out trading bottle caps as currency, but then they ran into counterfeiting problems. The form of the bottlecap was maintained, but the material was switched to gold. I’d buy that.

        A lot of the things in the setting are unbelievable but fun, and you can overlook it to a certain extent. When you have to overlook central world elements though (like the currency) it gets trying. If this were Final Fantasy it would be no big deal, but Bethesda always says “the world is our main character” which means they’re proud of it. When you hold up the setting as the main selling point, it should be able to withstand scrutiny.

        Note to “Note to self”: I see you are even cynical about the utility of cynicism. Well played good sir; Well played.

      • Eric says:

        The bottle caps were only ever intended as a temporary placeholder currency; in Fallout 2, the NCR has begun pressing their own traditional coins using the ore mined from towns like Redding and Broken Hills (though I forget what they use, I think it might be nickel or some such).

        Fallout 3 brought back the bottle caps because Bethesda thinks in simple aesthetic terms like “Fallout = Super Mutants, Enclave, Power Armor, bottle caps, Bloody Mess, lots of money from idiots!” and so Obsidian were kind of in a bind having to follow up the butchery of canon. Eventually they ended up substituting in the additional currencies, which I suppose did a reasonable job of explaining the economics of the world without outright retconning Bethesda.

        • Even says:

          The reintroduction of the caps is actually explained away with the NCR dollar losing it’s value due to the Brotherhood of Steel blowing up NCR’s gold reserves prior to 2281 when the game takes place. I think it was also mentioned by Alice McLafferty that the cap was brought back largely due to pressure from the caravan companies and brahmin barons.

          http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Caps

        • decius says:

          The chips are gold, and used far outside the NCR’s zone of influence. Also, FO2 introduced script, which was either bought at value and redeemed at a discount, or purchased at a premium and redeemed at face value. It lacked the concept of a divided currency, where one form of money would be valid in one area and less so in another.

          Then again, the actual currency of Fallout was the 12 gauge shotgun shell. Those hold value a little bit better than pieces of paper printed by the NCR.

      • bassdrum says:

        I don’t remember the details, but I remember there being a quest involving just such counterfeiting. I believe that in the Sunset Sarsaparilla Headquarters, you can come across the cap making machine and are given the choice to either destroy or repair it as your own personal mint. It’s been a while since I played that section, though, so there’s a good chance that I’m a complete idiot.

      • ProudCynic says:

        That woman who runs that one caravan company… Alice McSomething (I’m so bad with names today) actually gives you a quest (Edit: The same one that bassdrum’s referencing) where you need to shut down a bottlecap counterfeiting press, and you can ask her about bottlecaps as currency, how you can tell counterfeits from real ones, why they’re still in circulation, etc. It’s not supremely detailed, but I thought it was a nice touch.

      • ps238principal says:

        Left to themselves, they’d rust away. If they became currency before that happened, there would be a concerted effort to preserve them.

        Heh. Someone needs to mod F3 to where the water isn’t radioactive; being in it just starts reducing your bottle cap total due to oxidation. The GECK-powered purifier isn’t to make the water drinkable; it’s to add chemicals to prevent water from rusting the wasteland’s currency.

    • Rutskarn says:

      It’s pretty, but it’s not “spend enough caps to buy a lifetime of food and water in a horrible barren wasteland where you need every edge you can get,” pretty.

      I’d buy that it cost a couple thousand caps, but 10,000 per BAR? Any trader taking it off your hands for that price hoping he can turn it around to some fat cat over in the NCR is taking a massive risk. Like, his entire livelihood over a slight profit on one item.

      • acronix says:

        Maybe the NCR really needs good electric conductors?

      • Sekundaari says:

        Not to mention the whole “Would you buy a gold bar from this man?” -factor.

      • Slothful says:

        Well clearly they aren’t living totally hand to mouth everywhere. Why would Benny spend good money on a checkered suit otherwise?

        • Someone says:

          The suit might have been given to him by Securitrons.

        • Eric says:

          To expand, the casinos were taken over by four major tribes of the Mojave who uncovered the ruined New Vegas. House realised that the Vegas culture was so novel in the Wasteland that it could become an instant economic success, helping to fuel his own projects, and so he sent Securitrons to meet with their leaders, some stuff turned bloody, and eventually they were forced into adopting the casinos and their respective themes, personalities, cultures, aesthetics, etc. Most of the music, fashion, etc. and all the goods and services provided by the casinos are in effect provided by House and the ruins of the Old World, not by the tribes themselves (and House knows that they are replaceable if need be due to them being completely dependent on him for their success).

  14. Dovius says:

    I like to believe that the gold and money was left there to torment anyone who robbed the vault. They have hat they so greatly desired, but they’re trapped forever with it.

    • Andrew B says:

      Also, given the trigger was accessing the files, if Dean walked into the vault and saw no money, he might have smelled a rat. I think “bait” is not an unreasonable bit of fanon explanation for this. Where the hell Elijah was, how he communicated with Dog and why the casino moved you around seems much more of a critical flaw. (Especially as Elijah didn’t have a damn collar on. He could have wandered around those speakers no trouble. What curiously specific trap did he fall into? The “plenty of food and drink, but no entrances or exits except for the one that’s triggered when someone opens the vault and with excellent communications” pit?)

      • Eric says:

        Well, the holograms are able to interact with things physically, we’ve seen, so it’s not a horrible stretch to say that they were used to move the people around. We know Christine ended up in Vera’s room because of her voice, Dean ended up on the show floor because he was set to perform before the bombs fell, and Dog? Er, lunchmeat? That, or he ended up somewhere else but managed to escape.

      • kanodin says:

        What I don’t get is why wouldn’t Dean read the warning to Vera and then just calmly exit with the gold.

  15. Andrew B says:

    Over all, I found myself pretty ambivalent about Dead Money. I didn’t hate it, but nor did I love it. I can see what they were trying to do, and can admire that, but I think they also failed pretty hard. The real problems were (for me):

    Compulsion. Who likes getting slave collared and told what to do? I mean, I know we need some impetus to do stuff, but this seems needless. Give the player a hook (“come help me crack the secrets of this old world vault and nab the loot”) and I think most of us would have done so voluntarily. It wouldn’t even have changed much, just made it more sympathetic. We bought the damn DLC. We want to play it. We don’t need to be forced to do so.

    The Survival Horror. Lots of people have commented about this. It just doesn’t work in the FO:NV game. The balance is wrong, there is waaaaay to much health and items available and the ghost people just aren’t that scary. If there had been a genuine dearth of healing and weapons it might have added something, but then low sneak characters would be screwed. Plus, the survival horror aspect required the “hahaha, all your equipment is belong to me” thing, which is just infuriating. (Honest Hearts is much better with its 75 (or 100) pounds weight limit which establishes a real “survivalist” feeling at the start. Stealing my stuff establishes a “fuck you” feeling.)

    The horrible, horrible design of the Villa. Brown. Red-brown. More brown. No contrast. No features. Nightmareish, maze-like layout. That place was enough to make me weep when I was trying to explore. Even worse, on hardcore, the game punishes you for the poor design by hurting you when you’re outside, effectively discouraging exploration. This includes those hateful bastard radios and speakers. Just making the damn things VATS targetable would have made it much better, because then you’d at least be able to tell where they were.

    What did work for me were the characters. Like Josh and a lot of commentators, I thought they were varied and interesting. The interplay between them worked well, and the various compulsions of greed, revenge and control are nicely tied off. I also thought the casino art deco styling was a nice change of pace. (Although for my taste they could have made it more “pristine” and less “wasteland chic”.)

    So over all, meh. Not sure I’d buy it again if I had the choice. Honest Hearts, despite the shallower plot and characters, is more my cup of tea. Better visuals, a sense of living off the land, not off the past, and less compulsion. Joshua Graham was a big disappointment though.

    • Eric says:

      I didn’t find the gameplay all that bad. It’s a nice change of pace to actually feel mortally threatened in a post-2000s Fallout game for a change, and the collar beeping really got under my skin by the end that I felt genuinely free and liberated after it was gone.

      I do have to agree with you about the art style. I know it’s canon and all, but it was just… an ugly, ugly game for the most part, with confusing level design and not enough obvious visual signposting to aid in navigation. I don’t mind complex levels when I’m able to tell where I am within them as a whole, but the bad map system combined with that lack of references and the sheer repetition of art assets really hurt those parts for me. Once you start to meet the characters and enter the Sierra Madre itself, though, most of those sins are forgiven.

  16. Dude says:

    Wow, this sure is a slow week. Just one Spoiler Warning, no new South Park for a while, what am I supposed to watch now?

    Oh, well, Chuck season 2 rerun. I like Miranda!

  17. Boison says:

    I would like to see you guys play through, or at least discuss Vault 11. I found it extraordinarily well written, and really enjoyed exploring it. The fighting was a bit boring I guess, but uncovering the mystery made up for the unexciting combat. It could probably be done in a single episode.

    • Eric says:

      How about they play through Vault 15.

      Yeah, that Vault 15.

      Because I’m tired of all these new games, dammit.

    • krellen says:

      Please don’t play through it. Vault 11’s story is entirely told through terminals, and we already saw what they did to Dead Money by trying to play through it.

      I think they did discuss it a bit earlier.

  18. MrGamer says:

    According to FNV, the NCR Economy is gold backed. The war with the legion has put the economy back towards water backing but, NCR would defiantly be interested.

    • Rutskarn says:

      Actually, according to pre-release materials/the wiki, the NCR’s currency *was* gold backed, but the BoS trashed their vaults. So they said, “screw it,” and took it off.

      • ? says:

        Legion Aureus is made from gold though, and is worth 100 caps. If Legion can mint more than 104 coins from single bar, then it is worth that pile of caps to them. Although it means trading with the Legion…

        Also NCR might be interested in rebuilding their gold reserves.

        • Chuck says:

          Some of the trader’s say the don’t mind travelling in Legion territory because its safer then the NCR frontier.

          • Greenflash says:

            Well both the legion and the NCR are based open the values of the old world and thus because the old world valued gold because it was of value back before the bombs fell then the NCR or legion could also want gold even if it would not be of worth to then simply because they are built on the values that would say that gold would be of value even if it would not be much as an asset to then. It would be of value to them because they are built on beliefs that give value to gold. It would thus have an almost religous value to them because it’s the symbol of value to the old world ideals they are based on.

  19. ps238principal says:

    “Duh. What would you think I want it for? A machine that can make anything? Why would I want that?”

    That’s the speech option you choose if you’re role-playing someone who has suddenly decided to be very concerned about game balance.

  20. Keeshhound says:

    I think that Elijah’s line about how “nobody held a gun to your head” is meant to show that he’s a self-important jackass, not any kind of commentary on the player. Its even more clear after some of the other things he says, like when he complains that the people he kidnapped refused to work together on his little heist. His character sort of boils down to; “How dare you people have individual goals and personalities, don’t you realize that you exist solely to help me accomplish my goals? The nerve of some people.”

    He’s basically one of the most entitled assholes in the entire game, and it makes what you get to do to him all the more satisfying.

    • Jabrwock says:

      Although equally interesting, his attitude towards you is EXACTLY how players treat NPCs. ;)

      They exist solely to allow you to accomplish your goals. Yes there are “loyalty quests” and the like to flesh out their personalities, but honestly, you only do them because you want their skills for later, not because you have any interest in who they are and what their aspirations are.

      Imagine a loyalty quest where you lose the NPC as a party member for the rest of the game. Unless you can do without them, you’d be hesitant to do that quest, no matter how much it fit within their individual storyline.

  21. SharpeRifle says:

    I get the feeling that this plot would have worked better if Dean Christine Dog and Elijah had turned out to already be dead at the end.

  22. Zombie Pete says:

    BTW, it’s gauss rhymes with “house,” not “hoss.”

    • GiantRaven says:

      I thought it rhymed with ‘horse’. =(

    • Abnaxis says:

      I do believe Josh’s pronunciation of “gauss” has been nitpicked religiously since Operation: Anchorage two seasons ago–he ain’t gonna change it now.

      • Shamus says:

        I’d never heard of the “proper” pronunciation until about 2 years ago, so for over 30 years I saw the word and read it as it’s spelled. Like “Euler”, it’s one of those terms that comes from a name, and usually only people with the relevant technical knowledge know how it’s supposed to be pronounced. I imagine it’s pretty common when the invention becomes more famous than the inventor.

        (Euler looks like “Yoo-ler” to me, but apparently it’s “oiler”.)

    • X2-Eliah says:

      Nah, it’s ‘goose rifle’.

      • Sumanai says:

        If only it was.

        • Jarenth says:

          That would explain the terrible accuracy.

          • Klay F. says:

            I still don’t understand why they didn’t bother to fix it in New Vegas. I remember it being a pretty big complaint back when Anchorage came out. Is it a problem with engine itself. Surely it can’t be that hard to fix a hit detection issue? Then again maybe it IS that hard, which might explain why I was never able to find even a mod to fix it.

            • acronix says:

              Back on Fallout 3 days, I modded the game to make the sniper rifle super accurate, (didn`t have the gauss rifle at that time) so maybe it is an engine problem, or something related to how the energy projectiles works.

              Or we both suck at searching.

            • Jabrwock says:

              It could be related to the hit calculations and speed. I used to beta test a WWII game, and the biggest problem with “realistic” hit detection was that the 88mm cannon had such a high muzzle velocity that the hit detection kept goofing and only registering hits on the back end of whatever you shot. It wasn’t uncommon to shoot a tank, and have a component on the side opposite you register a “hit”, and the components and armor closest to you not even notice they’d been touched. Or have shots go straight through a vehicle and blow up the building behind it.

  23. Kelly says:

    I have no idea if this has been commented on already or not because I’m not going to read all those comments, but you actually can join Elijah and get a rather creepy secret ending.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1Gqv1dbuTw

    Other than that, the NCR and Caesar would both want gold, as both have gold backed currency. Caesar outright mints his coins from precious metals, and the NCR used to back their paper money with it until the Brotherhood destroyed their gold reserves (hence why the paper money is weaker than caps). Most of this is explained in a quest for the Crimson Caravan’s boss, along with how exactly bottle caps work.

    Also presumably Dean chose not to rob the joint after learning what exactly it all meant from the recordings and logs about Verra and Sinclair.

    What I’m more disappointed by is the fact that Dean doesn’t go sing at The Tops instead of just wandering off to do treasure hunting. That place is DYING for some acts, and what The Courier can bring doesn’t exactly greatly improve it.

  24. Vect says:

    Aww, he didn’t try to exploit the engine to lug back all the gold?

    So I don’t get to say “You have all the gold. All of it”?

  25. S says:

    …..I love these lets plays. I was surprised you didn’t go Legion considering well there ideals. Kill everything especially people like the Brotherhood. Limit technology to only guns in other words no energy weapons. No unkillable DMPC’s, hard to kill themselves and melee focused.
    But the true question is now will you go House or Independent which I think most people choose then the NCR option.

    Some Things I Mean to say on the game (This is for the uneducated and the educated on these matters)
    -Like how you carry corpses you can carry the gold and escape with it.
    -Stop wasting points in explosives its higher then your melee skill and sneak. Now I feel better
    -Bad! You don’t kill Boone he’s the strongest and coolest companion
    -Cass leaves not from bad NCR rep she could care less but from ‘Negative Karma’ the hardest thing to get in New Vegas unless your completly unable to control every impulse you have to kill and slaughter. Only EDDE, Lily, and Raul stay not matter rep or karma.
    -Ullysses is much like the ‘Burned Man’ and Elijah he is mentioned throughout the entirety of the game for the reason; that he is important plot point character in a DLC.
    -The last DLC you finally meet Ullysses. The third one has an encounter in a area were you can meet some memebers of Dead Money which changes some dialouge options.

    To finish up have fun with your random comentary and zanny game playing guys. Don’t forget to show case some side quests like ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ or ‘There Stands the Grass’.
    You should.. no you must do the remaining companion quests to show the Cuftbert method for each

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