Fallout 4 EP3: Sturges? Tell Him.

By Shamus Posted Friday Jun 3, 2016

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 220 comments

Link (YouTube)

(Sorry about the janky framerate in these episodes. We have three more coming that were recorded in the same session. But the following week we’ll have this smoothed out. I find it’s actually easier if you watch the show at 1.25 speed. For whatever reason, that makes the jagged frames less annoying.)

Preston Garvey is a disaster of a character. He’s designed to be “safe”. He’s friendly, welcoming, and inoffensive. The problem is that:

He’s thematically wrong for Fallout, which is supposed to be a world gone mad. The big movers and shakers in the world should be insane, or quirky, or disgusting, or haunted by some past trauma, or not too bright. This is a game about monsters and robots and power armor and 200 year old deviled eggs. The only normal people should be peasants, and even those should be used sparingly.

His visual character design is making promises the character can’t keep. In a world of people wearing 50’s styled rags, he’s dressed as a soldier from the American revolution. He’s got a laser cannon duct-taped to the top of an ancient musket. We meet him as he’s holding off waves of psychotic raiders. He looks like a crazy, interesting, unpredictable character. And yet when we talk to him, he’s actually the most conventional and “normal” person in the entire game.

His dialog is repetitive and boring. He’s the most direct and obvious source of quests in the early game. He’s the first major character you meet, and he has a lot of quests for you to do. And they’re all the same thing: Go to location X and kill Y. He doesn’t have cool stories to tell about the places he’s sending you to. He doesn’t have cool stories about himself. He doesn’t have a running joke, or a hobby, or a hang-up. He doesn’t deliver any exposition. It’s just the same few lines of dialog, again and again.

He’s actually an annoying asshole and the game doesn’t seem to notice. He makes you general of the Minutemen, and claims you’re in charge. But he continues to order you around. That’s a wonderful hook for a crazy character, but the game refuses to do anything with it. If you stick to the main quest of trying to rescue your kid, then eventually you’ll get to the point where you need the help of Sturges help to build a teleporter. You (the “general”) have to ask Preston for help.

And then he says no!

He says no because “we have more important things to worry about”. Note that at the time, Sturges is wandering around YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD that YOU FIXED UP, doing jack shit. So Preston concludes that rescuing your child isn’t a priority, because he needs you to go out and continue to do his job for him while he and his friends lounge around this town you built.

This writer was so enamored of the idea of telling a dramatic story that they gave the main character a voice and built the whole thing on top of both a child-rescue AND an avenging-a-dead-spouse story. And then we come to this conversation, which ought to be an explosion of drama. This should be the moment where you and Preston become unable to reconcile your divergent goals: Your quest for murder and rescue vs. his alleged concern for the Commonwealth. This ought to be an abrupt end to your friendship. Or maybe a turning point for your own character where you decide to put aside your family for the good of everyone. Or a chance for a series of difficult speech checks. Or a face-heel turn for Preston. Something. Anything.

But the writer doesn’t seem to notice that this conversation ought to end in a gunfight. Instead, it’s just a generic “you can’t progress on that quest line until you do this other one”. Your character can’t call him out on any of this. Your character is never allowed to notice what a bastard Preston is, because the writer didn’t notice, because Preston isn’t a character. He’s a boring quest dispenser.

He doesn’t even have an arc! And no, “I almost gave up on the Minutemen but then you helped me and now we’re a success!” is not an arc. It’s an event that might fuel an arc.

Also, it appears Bethesda’s conversation / cutscene engine isn’t able to handle conversations more complex than the player speaking to one NPC. The three-person conversations always go horribly wrong. I understand that figuring out camera angles and lighting in an unpredictable environment is a hard problem to solve, but can’t we at least get the subtitles to work?

Like I said earlier: There are a lot of things to like in this game, but almost none of them happen in the first hour. Bethesda placed more importance on making a good E3 demo than a good story intro, and it shows.


From The Archives:

220 thoughts on “Fallout 4 EP3: Sturges? Tell Him.

  1. Rodyle says:

    After this y’all should purge this from your system with Witcher (maybe just Blood and Wine or a short series on Heart of Stone)?

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      In the mean time, Super Bunnyhop just did a video on Hearts of Stone, and it’s really good.


    2. Jokerman says:

      I would love to see a Witcher 3 series, i wonder how many episodes just going through the main quest would be.

      1. Henson says:

        According to HowLongToBeat, Witcher 3 clocks in at about 45 hours minimum, 30 if you rush it (which would probably not be a good idea); that’s just the main quest stuff. For comparison, KOTOR, Spoiler Warning’s longest season to date, clocks in at just 23.5 hours. And those last few weeks were painful. I love the game, but this is just too long to do it properly. You’d either have to do a ‘greatest hits’ series playing through certain representative sections of the game throughout, or only play up until the end of one section (Velen/Novigrad/Skellige).

        Personally, I prefer the latter; I don’t think the Spoiler Warning crew need play through its entirety to have plenty of things to show off and talk about, and I’d hate for a Witcher series to turn into KOTOR, where we run out of things to say and still have 15 hours of game left. A special off-series played just to the end of Velen (or the start of Novigrad, to see the massive city), would be ideal.

        1. Jokerman says:

          Or you would have to at least really edit it down, cutting out some quests, traveling, inventory management and shopping, but that would be a lot more work on Josh’s end, who already down a lot of work to make the show possible.

          1. Jokerman says:

            Edit button… please come back :(

          2. Tizzy says:

            Plus, Spoiler Warning is not a format that lends itself to these edits. With up to five people talking at any given time, the times when the game is not doing anything interesting is often when the conversation gets going.

        2. SL128 says:

          I think it (and a DA1 season) could work if Josh played through the less interesting bits on his own time. Kind of like what they did with HL2 (although none of HL2 is really uninteresting).

        3. Humanoid says:

          Witcher 2 might be reasonable length-wise. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing it.

          1. Bespectacled Gentleman says:

            Yeah, but Shamus hates all Witchers that are not Witcher 3.

            1. Poncho says:

              That’s a shame. I like all of them but for entirely different merits.

        4. Rodyle says:

          Like I said, for a special series, Hearts of Stone is really a perfect option. The Witcher 3 DLCs have an option that lets you start a special world state where you’re preleveled for the DLC (with appropriate equipment and points to spec yourself out) and the main quest is sealed off so you can just play that. Starting up one for Hearts of Stone, which aside of a brief sidequest or two is really just one 10 hourish long, self-contained storyline, makes for a great vertical slice that stands on its own, doesn’t run very long, and allows for everyone involved to talk about and experience the game.

        5. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

          But the upside is, the game doesn’t have much filler. Everything, even the side quests and contracts have meat.

  2. MichaelGC says:

    I don’t think I’ve played enough to comment on Preston, but was wondering – which of the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes are actually worthwhile? Charisma, Intelligence & Luck were all discussed & dismissed in the episode. I know Agility is good for VATS, so that’s cool for them as VATSses.

    So – Strength? Can you do crazy melee builds & whatnot in FO4? Don’t tell me Perception is useful for something. Perception is never useful for anything, Shirley! And, er, I can’t even remember what ‘E’ stands for…

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      Strength boosts melee damage and carry weight, if you’re into those things it’s definitely the best stat, melee is indeed viable in this game. Endurance boosts health (marginally) and sprinting, Agility helps VATS and sneaking.

      But really, the main value of the SPECIAL stats is not the minor mechanical boosts they give, but the perks they unlock. You can’t put zero points in Str because the armor upgrade perk requires 3 str, if you’re going for a melee build you need 9 agility to unlock Blitz, the best melee perk, anyone who’s going to hack computers needs a few points of int…

      Given that they force you to pick stats before even showing you the perks, it’s a pretty poorly designed system.

      1. James says:

        The system being poorly designed did give me at least the freedom to make a RP based build, because you can eventually round off stats to desired places and perks are more important then stats i could put them in places that thematically made sense for the character.

        And then if i put points into stats to get closer to a perk i could argue that life in the wastes changed me ect.

        it still a bad system but at least its badness have some freedom.

      2. Echo Tango says:

        I would argue, that the better solution is not to just show the perks before you start choosing stats, but to make perks that fit thematically with character builds that would be choosing those stats, and to also, make sure that all the perks are actually reasonably balanced/worthwhile. I haven’t played this game myself, but from what I’ve read, some of the perks are basically worthless, while others are essentially must-haves. …which basically follows the trend set by earlier games in the franchise. :)

        1. Fists says:

          That would only work if the perks were a source of dynamic character and playstyle development, rather than a collection of mechanics which must be combined to break the game so you can defeat bosses.

          As it is making the possible pathways obscure would just push people to using build guides and wikis to avoid having a broken useless character. Not knowing about blitz would ruin any character that tries to use melee without speccing agility. Playing as a weedy nerd who favours brains over brawn would gimp your armour if you didn’t know to put a few points in strength.

      3. Michael says:

        Endurance boosts health, but it’s linear with your level, (something like 1.5hp per level, as I recall), so at low levels Endurance doesn’t do much. Once you’re above 50, a point of endurance will increase your HP massively. Ironically, over time, the attribute becomes more useful simply for it’s HP increase rather than any of the perks in the tree.

        Intelligence scales your incoming XP, so if you’re aiming for high level play, it’s almost necessary. A point in Intelligence instead of Strength just means the next five or six levels will come that much faster. Combine that with how Nuclear Physicist breaks the Power Armor resource curve, and Intelligence can do hilarious things to game balance.

        1. Trix2000 says:

          Getting enough fusion cores to go 100% power armor is pretty easy for any build, even without extending their length. Just have to buy up any you see from merchants – good when you’re selling a lot of stuff, since cores cost a decent amount and traders don’t always have enough caps.

          I spent the first 1/2 to 3/4 of the game without the power armor stockpiling all the cores, mostly because I thought I should ‘conserve’ my cores for later and I didn’t feel I needed the boost. Then I looked in my storage and noticed I had enough cores for 30+ hours of use.

          Practically never took it off after that.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            Yeah, the only reason I ever had to take off my armor is to sport a new outfit.

    2. MrGuy says:

      The real issue with the SPECIAL system is that it works WAY different than in other games (which would be fine on its own), but it also renders your choices largely irrelevant.

      This is because the perks massively trump the SPECIAL attribute in most respects. You get more action points from perks than you do from bumping agility, you get better sneaking from perks than agility. The stats are almost (in my experience) irrelevant.

      EXCEPT! You can’t max out a given perk tree without at least 3 points in the corresponding SPECIAL attribute. That’s an incredibly low bar, actually. 3 points is BELOW AVERAGE for a starting stat. But with 3 agility, you can become (for example) a perfect thief with perks.

      Get 3 of everything, and then don’t worry about it.

      This feels like a “lacking courage of their convictions” approach. They wanted to stat-lock perks, and probably initially wanted to have mid-level perks require 3, higher perks require 5, and the best perk require 7 or so. Then they playtested it (or, their marketing group got a hold of it), and they realized “wait – that means the player can’t max out everything they want with some builds! We can’t make the stat choices matter!” So they nerfed it.

      At least, I hope that’s what happened. Because “3 points is all you’ll ever need” is a TERRIBLE starting point…

      1. Uh, you need a number of points in the stat equal to the level of the perk to be able to get it. So you actually need 10 points in the stat to be able to get the perks all the way down at the bottom of the chart.

        Did you not figure out how to scroll down? Or did you install a mod that changed this?

        1. MrGuy says:

          Hmm…wow, apparently it’s been WAY too long since I played!

          I just recall the perks that made me fairly invincible (sneaking, action points, hack and pick anything, gun mods, being deadly with a rifle) all required very low stat levels (though looking at the chart, they were mostly rank 4, not 3). I guess I forget about the high-stat perks because I never got them.

          Sorry for lying to you!

          I do stand by the point that the perks are more important than the stats, and the most useful (IMO) perks don’t require high level stats. So look at what you want to unlock.

          1. Michael says:

            In fairness to you, the high requirement perks are wildly inconsistent in how valuable they turn out to be. Endurance’s perks are, almost exclusively, garbage. Intelligence and Charisma can trivialize the game (in different ways). Strength basically takes a nose dive after Strong Back (STR6). Luck, Agility, and Perception have viable high req perks, but nothing earth shattering.

        2. Sleeping Dragon says:

          I will be the first to say that I missed the fact that the perk window could be scrolled down for at least a couple levels.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Strength is the only one of any value.Not because of combat,but because it allows you to carry more shit.Everything else,your durability and damage to opponents,can be gotten simply by modifying your weapons and armor.And for that,you need more shit.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        Blimey – previously I only had 1 or 2 in Strength, I think. Your way makes a huge difference!

    4. I actually used Int and Cha a lot on my playthroughs, but I like a bunch of the Int and Cha perks so that’s predominately what I was after.

      Spoiler Warning always makes me think that I am somehow really perverse in the way I build characters, because they always say “oh this is useless” to every single thing I ever do.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        Right – I think in this instance at least, one of the other points they’ve made probably applies: Bethesda has made all routes viable, so whilst they may not have played in a way which evinced any use for Int & Cha, it’s likely that nevertheless there is one.

        For example – VATS evidently didn’t work for them,, but I managed to get it working OK! And, it sounded like Josh might have found some use for it on a previous play through. So, it’s a matter of what you try, and various things can work well (as long as you try to do the correct, Bethesda-approved things. Have whatever, whenever and as much of what you want … from this very limited set-menu).

        Which might be one partial explanation for this one game, but it sounds like we could do with several more to cover the others!

        1. Incunabulum says:

          so whilst they may not have played in a way which evinced any use for Int & Cha, it's likely that nevertheless there is one.

          Nope. INT and CHA are pretty much irrelevant. For example, Cabridge Polymer Labs. You’re asked some questions and a high INT will get you . . . a lab coat instead of cleaning overalls. But you still have to do the rest of the quest the exact same way.

          CHA will get you some extra caps and . . . that’s it. I think there’s only one fight you can talk your way out of and *none* of the main questline can be shifted in any direction other than forward by a high CHA character.

          1. acronix says:

            Though a high Charisma gives you a better time passing all those RNG speech checks….that gives you caps. Which is part of the problem: the speech checks don’t ACTUALLY check anything. It just rolls some dice and if you pass the character in question is magically convinced by whatever you said.

            I wonder if that’s why they tied the Local Leader perk to EVERY crafting station. If you like building settlements and don’t want to use the Red Rocket station or Sanctuary (which have every single crafting table already), you are kind of doomed into using Charisma.

            1. Incunabulum says:

              Sure you get caps – but you’re rolling in gear, weapons, and ammo to the point that caps are irrelevant. There’s hardly anything to buy and what you need to buy is often rare but *cheap* when you do find it (medical care for example).`

              1. Michael says:

                High Int makes power armor trivial to maintain, and accelerates your level gain significantly, leading to more perk options overall. The game does have some level scaling, but you can still end up ridiculously overpowered.

                Charisma 6 allows you to trivialize crafting and gear upgrades by networking your settlements together, setting up scavenger stations, and then upgrading your gear as much as you want when you find it.

                Combine them and you can completely break the game’s balance.

                1. Poncho says:

                  High luck + the idiot savant perk actually beats high INT on xp gain IF your int is low enough to trigger it often.

                  All those crafting sessions give you bonus XP, or if it procs when you turn in a big quest, you get a massive XP “crit” instead of a linear bonus.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    I have a question:If 1 is the average for a human now,how is 1 int an idiot?I mean,I know npcs in fallout 4 are mostly idiots,but an average human shouldnt be an idiot,right?

                    Or are they saying that anyone can be an idiot savant,without being an idiot?

          2. Axe Armor says:

            You don’t get CHA for the speech checks (well, I mean, you might try, but you’ll be disappointed). You get CHA for Local Leader (CHA 6), which is required to build trade routes and shops. Or, if you have the Wasteland Workshop DLC, you get it for Wasteland Whisperer (CHA 9) so you can build an army of mind-controlled Deathclaws.

            Likewise, you don’t get INT for the XP gain (you can, but Idiot Savant rank 2 is way better for that) and certainly not for knowledge checks (the game has like ten ever). You get INT for Science! (INT 6), so you can build a power armor jetpack, or for Robotics Expert (INT 9), so you can build an army of super-accurate Robobrains with mini-nuke launchers.

            Basically, your statement is correct IF you aren’t trying to build some kind of monster army. but i mean i don’t know who would even do that let’s be reasonable here

      2. They didn’t mention that Charisma helps with building your settlements, so if that’s a big part of your game, then it isn’t useless. To a rush-through let’s play where combat is going to run the show (just to get through the missions), I can see why they’d say it wasn’t worth getting.

        And I also took the high CHA and INT route, though I found the dialog additions annoying. None of them allowed me to do what Mumbles mentioned (circumventing things by being charming or witty, or opening up new things you couldn’t get otherwise), but they always came down to more reward for doing something or possibly altering the odds of a fight. What was worse, I was usually with Nick or Curie, and they didn’t appreciate me intimidating my way to getting more cash or whatever, and half the time I didn’t even know that was what I was doing; I just saw a dialog option that my perk unlocked, and it meant XP if nothing else. Then I get “Your companion hated that.”

    5. Incunabulum says:

      AGI improves your Sneak and number of AP
      PER improves your CTH in VATS

    6. MichaelGC says:

      Thanks guys! Lots to work with. Below is a link to the long talk Shamus mentioned, which is pretty interesting. (Sounds like perks & comics are the things to focus on! Well, perks, comics, Strength & shit.)

      Via JakeyKakey:


      1. I have to say I didn’t care for that, as I thought skills were reflecting things my character was choosing to learn from or pay attention to.

        If I want to be better at hacking, I’d like to pick that to reflect my character practicing on terminals and so forth, not “I searched half of Boston and found this old comic book!”

    7. Izicata says:

      Almost all of the value of the stats is in the perks. E.g. you want at least 4 Per so you can get the Locksmith perks; Josh actually had to put a point into Per to unlock Locksmith this episode. Beyond that more Per is almost completely useless until you get to 9, which lets you get Penetrator so you can use VATS to shoot Fusion Cores out of enemy power armor from the front, and 10 gets you Concentrated Fire, which is very powerful if you’re running a ranged VATS build. It’s a very threshold-y system; everyone wants at least 4 Per, and specific builds want 10 Per, but nobody wants 5 to 8 Per.

      1. guy says:

        Also, my playthrough that I’ve been doing intermittently had 3 CHA, which meant I’m a good way off from enough for Local Leader, which is required for lots of town minigame buildings including all of the workbenches. Whcih really got on my nerves once I teamed up with the Brotherhood; they’ve got workbenches and evenutally give you a workshop, but these are in wildly different places so I had to manually cart raw materials around between workbenches in the same room.

      2. Michael says:

        Perception 5 unlocks Demolitions, which increases damage with the Explosive Legendary effect. So there’s a specific build that requires it.

        There’s also a high int build that’s dependent on Night Person (PER6) to increase XP gains as far as possible.

        Perception 8 unlocks Sniper which is kinda meh, until you fully upgrade it, then the +25% to hit on headshots is very nice if you’re running a VATS build.

        Perception 7’s crap, though.

        1. I would argue there’s no “builds” in this game, just differing routes to being 100% good at everything.

          1. Michael says:

            Yeah, that’s kind of how I feel about Bethesda games in general. Though, to be fair, you’re going to be playing a long time before you’re taking something like Night Person or Aquagirl, unless you specifically want that perk for your playstyle.

      3. Poncho says:

        Those thresholds make your character feel broken (in the bad way, not the way kids use it these days to describe something that’s overpowered), once you figure out the perk system, unless you planned your character build out from the beginning. It’s like, “Oh I have 7 perception, I can get this night vision thing, but the lower level perks are objectively better right now, unless I had 8 perception to get the sniper perk.”

    8. Hector says:

      It strikes me that the F4 Special System was nice in theory, but they *really* screwed up the early game by forcing the player to make decisions before really understanding them. I had to restart twice because I realized it was going to be a *long* time before I was able to get some perk I really wanted to try. This realistically should have been voided – if the stats are actually that uninterested and mostly change relatively minor things, were they that necessary? Or alternatively, why not let the player figure this out along the way, rather than trying to guess at the relatively value and applicability of each stat to their playstyle?

      1. Incunabulum says:

        It keeps coming back to the same thing – there’s not enough of the old system to work but there’s enough to keep the new stuff from working.

        1. Fists says:

          Yeah, the special requirements for perks are largely illogical and just part of balancing power/point. I think it would work better if the perk requirements and maybe the current bonuses from special points were scrapped and the perks were re-balanced so that they have synergy with the special system. e.g. rank one in corporal punchaman increases your melee damage 5% per point in strength, rank two 10% per; or a speech check perk which gives you an improved chance to convince someone if your have a similar special stats, an int char is good at talking to scientists but a high strength build has a better relationship with the BOS paladins and Strong.

  3. Aaron says:

    Agreed. Imagine preston as some rear line tech dude passing info when he hears the demise of the minutemen and he mentally snaps and builds his own mental world around early american hero’s. Instead of recruiting settlements you are sent to recruit ‘annie oakley’ who can train the militia sharpshooters, or ‘kit carson’ or ‘daniel boone’ and ‘edison’ who are they in the game world would be part of prestons insanity and the only way he can make his fantasy work is by giving them new names borrowed from half understood american history.
    further these identities could be accepted by the heros as a way to get over their own pasts. maybe you are sent to get ‘Custer and the 7th cavalry’ only to have them be a group of raiders who if they are convinced stop being the evil skull crushers and accept the idea of rebuilding civilization

    that would make it actually impressive that you take back the castle, and that communities start relying on the minutemen again. what we got was some of them got killed and the others wandered off

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Like it! And there might be some way of giving him a bit of an arc whereby you have to set things up to help him out of it somehow.

      For example, you could shamelessly rip off that bit in Twin Peaks where they have to re-enact famous events in order to bring one of the characters out of a delusional state. Or, I dunno – I’m sure there are plenty of ways it could be done which don’t involve shameless ripoffery!

    2. MrGuy says:

      I’m imagining him as that one robot in FO3 in the Museum of History who has convinced himself he’s founding father Button Gwinnett (one of the few characters I really liked in FO3).

      In fact, how cool would if be if Preston was an animatronic revolutionary soldier from the museum who got scrambled and convinced himself he actually WAS a minute man? And maybe didn’t know he was a robot. He could keep talking about the raiders as King George’s blasted men, and the ghouls as Hessian Mercinaries, etc. His men you could pull you aside and say “Yeah, we know he’s a robot, but he’s useful, so don’t tell HIM that!”

      Suddenly, the person who’s determined to save humanity in the wasteland using revolutionary war tropes isn’t actually human.

    3. It might have been interesting to leave him as he is, but after you take back the Castle, he boots you out and becomes the new “General,” as you’ve done all the work for him. If you want to get revenge (or maybe take back your settlements?), you have to raid the Castle and fight him along with his 5th column minions that were using you all along.

      They do a lot of lore-building with the Gunners, if you read their logs, about how they came from the Minutemen, betrayed the group, etc. If you found evidence that Preston was in on it with them and maybe was a little unstable or had ideas of using the Minutemen to recruit new lawful-stupids into helping gather more resources so they could take over an existing network of food, materials, etc., you could possibly confront him earlier in the quest to avoid having to storm the Castle twice.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        You know what my reaction to “Preston takes over the Minutemen and control of the settlements from you” would be? Oh thank goodness! Seriously, taking it back would be one questline I’d just let sit as I found the settlement management tedious and uninteresting and the constant “farm X is being attacked by Y” was just urgh…

  4. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    Turning the speed up to 1.5 helped a lot. Great suggestion. It also makes the gunfights hilariously awesome. Josh looks like the greatest fast draw in the Commonwealth!

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      It also makes everyone in the cast sound like they’re hyped up on caffeine. I’m not sure if that improves the experience or not.

    2. MichaelGC says:

      Aye right: dangerous! And he’s on a bit of a hair-trigger, there. Just ask poor Dogmeat.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You guys were constantly ranting against bethesdas tendency to have unkillable npcs.But imagine if you could kill all the npcs and companions in this game.Josh wouldve killed dogmeat before even getting him as a companion.I bet you are happy for that immortality flag now.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      During my short stint with the game I’d have blown away several who got shot right in the face whilst I was simply attempting to exit conversation with them, so I guess it does have its advantages!

    2. Andy_Panthro says:

      In the original Fallout (*DRINK!*), I usually just shot Dogmeat. He was next to useless as a companion, and would die pretty quickly anyway, so best to get it out of the way.

      He’s much better in Fallout 4 though, and was the only companion I used (apart from Valentine for a little while for quest reasons). Despite Dogmeat getting in the way all the time, and being useless at sneaking, almost all the other companions I met seemed awful, and I basically wanted to be a loner anyway.

      1. Grudgeal says:

        I think I managed to get Dogmeat through Fallout 1 alive. Once.

        Don’t ask me how many quicksaves got reloaded during that playthrough. I think it can only be expressed by significant fractions of Graham’s number.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          There is an easy trick to keep him alive:Dont give ian an uzi.This will also help your odds of survival.

          1. guy says:

            While that is always an excellent tip, Dogmeat also tended to walk into forcefields that killed him in the military base.

            1. ehlijen says:

              The trick i’ve been told is that you need to lock him in a room with a ‘soft’ forcefield or door so he can’t get out.

              1. evileeyore says:

                Yup, that’s how I managed it.

            2. Echo Tango says:

              Better way to keep him alive was to order him to just sit still at some town while you went off into danger. :)

            3. MrGuy says:

              Isn’t Dogmeat dying in the military base canonical?

              I thought that the Vault Dweller’s memoirs that were attached to Fallout 2 specifically reference Dogmeat being killed in Mariposa by a force field…

              Edit: hmm. He’s canonically dead, but it doesn’t say how apparently. http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Vault_Dweller's_memoirs

              1. Echo Tango says:

                Actually, if you read farther down on the page, it says he died to forcefield. :)

    3. Yeah, he’s really fun to have around because I can’t knock over things and make the physics engine go berserk in every room all by myself.

      And the reason he’s immortal? He’s vital to a quest later on, of course.

    4. galacticplumber says:

      Uh why? His last loadable checkpoint was a few short minutes away even assuming one shot would kill the not immortal dog.

    5. Poncho says:

      I was really happy when I discovered that the Lone Wanderer Perk still worked when I had Dogmeat.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    First of all,dont ever do that in real life,I will hunt you down.

    Fixed that quote for you,Mumbles.

  7. GloatingSwine says:

    I hated the weapon balance in Fallout 4.

    The way armour works basically means that you want only the biggest number on your gun, nothing else matters, and automatics are a waste of ammo if they don’t have specific legendary properties.

    1. Fists says:

      automatic+kneecapper+.38=win, if you’re in bullet sponge mode anyway, probably not necessary on lower difficulties.

      1. GloatingSwine says:

        Yeah, automatics with Kneecapper, Poison or Bleed (which stack per hit) are worth using. Without those they’re not because the low damage means that you lose a higher percentage of the shot damage to the enemy’s defence.

        The other thing is that sneak attacks are infinitely more powerful in this one than they’ve ever been, because enemies in “caution” state are still susceptible to them and if you’re wearing shadowed armour and have some of the Sneak books/bobblehead then enemies won’t see you until they actually trip over you as long as you’re in any shadow.

        Even the shadow of a tree ten yards away in otherwise broad daylight.

        So you can do about 600% damage to all targets at all times by pressing the secret bonus damage button, otherwise known as crouch.

        Eventually you will be one shotting every enemy in the game whilst they shamble around completely unable to find you. Especially if you find a Double Shot or Instigating weapon.

        1. Fists says:

          In the new survival mode I think the automatics have a bit more utility than they originally did, I’ve been favouring autos since a quick hip fire burst can really save your arse when you get jumped by a ghoul or one of those quantum tunneling radscorpions. Think I’ve got armour piercing mods on the autos which might help, haven’t actually figured out what the numbers are for DR stats and penetration.

          1. Fists says:

            Just went and read up on DR and armour piercing, it’s a completely wasted feature and I should just be using the powerful version of the weapon in all situations. Bethesda really just can’t finish developing any system to a point where it works well can they?

            So between autos and armour piercing and pipe weapons and the double barrel (even shotguns in general) and gimped energy weapons, of the thousands of possible combos (guessing at the magnitude, cbf calculating) only like two dozen weapon builds are actually useful.
            Oh and heavy weapons are a joke again.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I find it's actually easier if you watch the show at 1.25 speed. For whatever reason, that makes the jagged frames less annoying.

    I guess thats because the recording software has capped framerate and the game has not,so the game was running a bit faster than it got recorded,and some key frames were missed.So capping the game would solve the problem?

    1. Humanoid says:

      But it’s happening outdoors where the frame rate should be lower than the indoor scenes which recorded correctly. I wonder if adaptive-sync might introduce issues with the recording, assuming Josh is using a G-sync monitor.

      If not, he’ll just have to buy a second 980Ti. Should be able to nab a “cheap” one, possibly second-hand, given it’s now technically superseded.

      1. Fists says:

        Yeah, a youtuber called Zisteau ended up going 980ti SLI to be able to record 1080p60fps. I’m still happy with 720p30fps for youtube most of the time anyway.

  9. Ninety-Three says:

    Also, it appears Bethesda's conversation / cutscene engine isn't able to hand conversations more complex than the player speaking to one NPC.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So guys,are you going to drug up mama murphy until she dies?On the one hand,you get to kill someone with drugs.On the other hand,those are drugs reginald can gulp himself.

    1. MrGuy says:

      On the gripping hand, if you kill her you never have to hear her terrible “crazy old lady” impression again.

      1. baseless_research says:

        On the juggling hand, drugging her to death requires you to go through her entire “old mad woman” routine, which kind of defeats the purpose. Just make her chair and stick it somewhere out of the way, and she’ll virtually never leave that piece of furniture.

        I recommend the river.

        1. acronix says:

          Plus, killing her makes the other two unkillable jerks in town even bigger jerks towards you. There just isn’t any good solution (short of modding their essential flags out).

          1. Andy_Panthro says:

            Oh yes, I wish I hadn’t killed that old woman. Well, she actually killed herself, but the game definitely wanted me to feel bad about it, and I REALLY wanted a way to shout at those two and say “I LET YOU INTO MY HOME! I PROTECT AND FEED YOU! IF YOU HATE ME SO MUCH, LEAVE!”.

            But alas, you have to listen to them moan at you every time you walk within ten feet of them.

            1. They won’t let you send them to other settlements? I never tried it, myself.

              1. Incunabulum says:

                Can’t send the named settlers anywhere.

                Same with the other places – the people who were there when you took over can’t be sent elsewhere.

                1. Dork Angel says:

                  When I built Ma Murphy’s chair, she disappeared. It was only much, much, later I noticed a pair of feet sticking out of the roof in one of the houses. Turns out her chair had appeared inside the roof with her sitting on it. Was able to initiate conversation with her but got no dialog options after the initial contact.

            2. Fists says:

              Just scrap the entire settlement then leave and never come back, problem solved.

    2. IFS says:

      Is cannibalism still in the game? If so I say drug her to death and then eat the body for a quick high.

      1. Not only is it in the game, your companions react differently when you do it. There’s a supercut of their replies somewhere on YouTube.

  11. brayduck says:

    You can actually ignore Preston and run past his squad of blanks straight for the power armor. He even whines about it as you run past them and you never ever have to hear his “another settlement needs your help”.

    1. Fists says:

      Yeah, that or just never bother with concord at all, can still build settlements and get a network going just don’t get the minuteman features, I’m actually curious how that plays out with the other faction quest lines but not enough to go and do it. Maybe it would be fun on easy just running around testing that stuff.

      1. Michael says:

        There’s also an easy to obtain power armor frame directly east of Sanctuary Hills, (though it might be missing parts early on) and three or four nearby fusion cores (two – three in the junkyard, and one at the sat array guarded by raiders).

        1. Poncho says:

          On my second playthrough I found like 3 before I bothered going to Concord. There’s a few maps floating around that have all the spots and most of them are easily accessible to low level characters.

  12. MrGuy says:

    Coming at you on numbitty 902, WA3D FM, The Sturge!

    1. Grudgeal says:

      The Deathly Pallor should have been the DJ for the radio, instead of Three Dog. It would have made for a way more Fallout-ish experience.

      Mr. New Vegas can stay though. Mr. New Vegas was cool.

      1. Lachlan the Mad says:

        Isn’t that because Mr New Vegas’s voice actor is an actual DJ in real life?

        1. Incunabulum says:

          Nope – its because he Mr. Wayne Newton.


        2. Wide And Nerdy says:

          Given that they didn’t have the amazing Wayne Newton on call for FO4, I think Bethesda did a great job with the concept for their new DJ.

          At first I thought they were lampooning college public radio DJs with him and maybe thats where the idea started but they made it their own thing. Though I do think they overdo it sometimes with him.

          1. When I first started playing, he seemed to be bugged. There were really long pauses between his banter and the songs, more than I think would be attributable to a nervous DJ. I’ve since given him his confidence, but never replayed it with him as he starts out. Were the pauses a bug or was that intentional?

            1. Wide And Nerdy says:

              He’s awkward for sure. Sometimes they overplay his hesitation but I never remember it being so long that I thought it was a bug.

          2. Sleeping Dragon says:

            I definitely thought they were overdoing it, for a while I actually interpreted it as “in your face” to the players after many players complained about Three Dog. I actually don’t remember if I used a different/no radio or if it got tolerable after the DJ’s quest.

  13. Aaron says:

    also quick end to the game: 1.) find jangles the moon monkey; 2.) put in shawns crib; 3.)accept the moon monkey as your son

    1. MrGuy says:

      You’re not my real dad!!!!

  14. Narida says:

    Wait, what happened to Reginald’s awful comb-over?

    1. MichaelGC says:

      He’s wearing a Sturges pompadour wig that he found amongst the houses in his old hometown. The loot there is randomised to some extent – he did pretty well, threadwise, what with the wig and the suit.

      1. Andy_Panthro says:

        I feel he should wear the postman outfit, and attempt to re-create the Kevin Costner cinematic masterpiece The Postman.

      2. Narida says:

        Oh man, I didn’t even know/remember there were wigs…

    2. Geebs says:

      Speaking of which: who’s going to point out to the crew that this season’s Reginald Cuftbert is basically Trevor from GTA5?

  15. Sigilis says:

    Stirges? Tell him!

  16. Christopher says:

    Oh my god, that’s the funniest way he could have greeted that dog. I’m amazed it didn’t die.

    1. The dog is quest-essential later on, so yeah, it can’t happen if you’re on the Bethesda iron rails.

  17. acronix says:

    When you reach the point of building the teleporter, you can avoid Preston’s quest line by asking for help to the Brotherhood of Steel. They give you the Boston Airport (or, like, a room in it) and tell you to build the whole thing. So basically the same, but in this case Maxson IS your boss.

    Granted, I don’t think that’s what most people end up doing. Particularly if you are trying to agree with the urgency of finding the PC’s son: to get the Brotherhood to help, first you need to join them and do a bunch of sidequests.
    I don’t know if the Railroad is another option. Wouldn’t surprise me considering one of their first side missions is to clear an unclaimed settlement for them.

    1. Michael says:

      Yeah, the Railroad is an option. They’ll use the settlement you cleared for them. Tinker Tom’s insane babbling is kinda amusing when you’re building it for them. Assuming your patience for his insanity hasn’t worn through, anyway.

  18. Hector says:

    I’ve been thinking that the key flaw in Fallout 4 is that they didn’t really have any kind of overall target for the game. There’s a lot of boxes checked off, and each one is done well, but not in the service of any overall goal. No one thing actually went “wrong”. It’s simply that nobody seems to have had any real idea of what to do with the game as a whole. It’s Fallout 3, but more so. Was the game designed around dungeons? Not really. The loot cycle? Maybe. Crafting? Kinda. The central storyline? Somewhat.

    I wonder if this related to the long-term trend of larger studios, such that a tight vision is harder to see turned into a final product. Game studio do often seem to have Hollywood envy, but they tend to be structured today in such a way as to remove accountability in the long run. There’s a reason that films almost always have one director, or maybe two if they commonly work together – and the industry has stuck with that model despite the huge risk that can be involved. Games often seemed to be designed by committees, but even if they aren’t it’s very hard to peel back the layer of marketing and see the actual human beings making decisions.

  19. Grudgeal says:

    Due to a certain recent game (Undertale, for those who want to know) that features that as an important plot point, I ended up vincing a little bit when Josh claimed the mythical power of the quick-save. I don’t know what it says about the game in question that it’s made me see such an obvious game feature in a light that I can now never unsee.

    1. Hector says:

      I call Yahtzee once used that a gag several years back, but I can’t recall in which video. It’s been a bit of a running joke in the gamer community for a while now.

      1. Christopher says:

        I suspect it’s the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. review, but it’s been years.

        1. Mersadeon says:

          Yup, he talks about how the AI resets when you quickload in STALKER, and how that is pretty magical. He also mentions rebinding the quicksave/quickload buttons to the mouse, if I remember correctly.

  20. Andy says:

    Don’t worry, the crows are all synths. It’s why they’re not mutated.

    It’s on Reddit so it MUST be true.

  21. Preston Garvey’s weapon likes that pleasure gun thing from the inventor in one of the Airplane! films. That’s all my insightful comments for this entry.

  22. Dragmire says:

    How far into Fallout 4 is MacCready? I’m really looking forward to what happens to him.

    1. Lachlan the Mad says:

      Same thing they did in Fallout 3 — repeated mini nukes to the face.

      1. GloatingSwine says:

        With just as little effect.

        Because Bethesda hate you.

    2. Michael says:

      He’s in an easy to miss room in Good Neighboor. You can get there in the first couple hours, if you want his perk, but otherwise, it’s entirely possible to finish the game without ever seeing him.

      Amusingly, he’s voiced by the same guy that does Leon Kennedy.

  23. Lachlan the Mad says:

    Also, it appears Bethesda's conversation / cutscene engine isn't able to handle conversations more complex than the player speaking to one NPC. The three-person conversations always go horribly wrong.

    The Old World Blues DLC for New Vegas featured a really ugly hack for that. For those who haven’t played it (shame!), it begins with the PC in a ten-minute conversation with five brains in jars. The five of them stand in a V formation and all broadcast their voices through the central brain’s voice box, with the central brain turning slightly to the side to indicate when a brain on that side is talking. The engine treats this all as a conversation with the central brain, so for the first five minutes or so it looks like the central brain is severely schizophrenic.

    Don’t let this put you off, though. Old World Blues is gloriously funny and a lot of fun to play, with an absolutely perfectly calibrated twist. I would rank it as literally my favourite content from any RPG ever, although I am quite strange and have an excessive love for mad science stories.

    1. I loved it as well, though it really did go overboard on the game-breaking perks for your replacement body bits. Still, it was great fun. I also liked getting Christine’s sniper rifle, which was often my problem-solver of choice.

      I read there was cut content where if you screwed up things at Big MT, one of the ending slides had the wasteland overrun with mad science monsters as well as spreading hexcrete columns. I would’ve liked the chance to unleash the brains on the Mojave, but alas…

    2. Wide And Nerdy says:

      I don’t know that I’d call it my favorite RPG content ever but it was a lot of fun and for someone like me who had never even played a post apocalypse game before and was sure I would find the setting to be too depressing for my tastes, Old World Blues was among the content that really gave this thing the flavor I needed it to have for me to get past that. Its probably when I became a fan of the franchise.

      And this is why I don’t share Shamus’s complaint about the goofiness Bethesda likes to play up from all the 50’s kitsch. If this were all played straight, I just plain could not get into this series.

      This became clear to me as I struggled to get through Wasteland 2. Great well written game but just dreary as a eff and I quit multiple times before finishing. (Still, glad Wasteland 2 exists for those who like it. I just need a different flavor.)

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Though,you have to admit that there is a difference between the goofiness in fallout 3/4 and goofiness in old world blues.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          Not that I could articulate but sure.

          Wait. I guess I could say that Old World Blues is darker.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            I forget who said that,but comedy is serious business.You cant just put a random silly thing and expect a laugh.You have to work for it.Thats why airplane is a funny parody and epic movie is just bad.

            1. Wide And Nerdy says:

              You’re right. I’m trying to think of a case where I laughed at an intentional joke of Bethesda’s.

              I’ll say this. One thing I didn’t understand when I was younger is that while wacky humor is good, it still works best when its driven by the situation and the characters as opposed to something silly just being randomly dropped in. Bethesda either does the latter or they have the characters snark. It almost never gets a laugh out of me.

              Old World Blues works though. You’re dealing with these brains in these mentat filled jars and its clear that they’ve been in there so long that they’re addled and have forgotten how human anatomy works. So when they balk at your “wriggling hand penises”, its actually funny especially when juxtaposed with their sheer arrogance about their scientific genius. And the humor continues much like this.

              I love the sheer existential joke that is Muggy. A robot who was programmed to know that he was designed specifically to be a tiny mockery of someone else’s creation, and that he was programmed to be obsessed with mugs and that he hates himself for that. It would be pointlessly ridiculous except that it fits with the insecurity and neuroses his creator is repeatedly demonstrated to have.

              1. Michael says:

                Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind for me from Bethesda is the Wood Elf in Oblivion that, early in the Mages’ Guild quest line tells you to follow him closely. Then runs down the stairs into a ruin, trips a floor trap and is slammed into spikes in the ceiling repeatedly.

                Actually… kinda sad when you realize somebody’s best comedy material consists of digital pratfalls.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  My favorite is the jumping wizard from morrowind.Yeah,another digital pratfall.

                  By the way,do skyrim giants count as a deliberate comedy?I know its a bug that came accidentally,but they left it in on purpose after they found it out.

                  1. Michael says:

                    Nah, it was a bug. Some of the funniest stuff in Fallout 4 happens when the AI or physics completely wig out.

                  2. guy says:

                    The best, best part of the falling wizard is the irresistible temptation to use one of the scrolls from his corpse.

                    I saved first.

                    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      They are still a good way to cover large distances,even though you can use them only once.Also,you have to resist the temptation to do the third jump.

              2. I will say the dialog in Fallout 4 between Strong and the radio drama guy (I forget his name) you rescue was pretty funny and well-timed for a two-NPC conversation. I’m thinking of the part of the talk where Strong says “Strong thought you knew!” Maybe it’s not side-splitting, but I found it amusing at the time at least.

                1. Wide And Nerdy says:

                  This reminds me. Travis is actually funny. At least at times. So there is one instance of successful intentional Bethesda comedy.

                  And though they overdo it, Maiq is funny in Skyrim.

          2. Shamus says:

            Old World Blues KNOWS that it’s crazy, and it lets you react to it. Your character is allowed to get outraged at the crazy, laugh at the crazy, or try to play along with the crazy.

            Fallout 3 never has a moment where you can tell the Brotherhood they’re stupid for going to war over who gets to push a button. Which means our character isn’t allowed to notice this. Which suggests that the writers didn’t notice it. Which suggests all sorts of unflattering things about them.

            Self-awareness is everything.

            1. Wide And Nerdy says:

              Yeah but I was talking about Bethesda’s intentional attempts at humor which come to think of it, they pull off every now and then.

              “The Redguards use curved sword. Curved . . . Swords . . . ” alot of that guard dialog they wrote at the last minute was pretty funny and I’m pretty sure some of it was intended to be. Also Maiq the Liar is occasionally kind of funny. Not as often as he’s intended to be though.

              Still not nearly as good as Obsidian when they want to be funny.

              But you’re right about Obsidian in general, they work to try to let you react to everything in the various ways you might want to, not just their comedy. And I love them for it.

  24. Content Consumer says:

    I’ve been writing a Fallout 4 playthrough of sorts, and I keep having trouble even typing Sturges. I keep wanting to type “sturgeon.”
    I think Bethesda picked that name specifically to spite me.

    1. Michael says:

      I always thought Preston and Sturges were a not-so-subtle reference to Preston Sturges.

      1. Sturge is actually a nickname for sturgeon. Dunno if it’s a Southern colloquialism or not, but I had no idea it could be a name till FO4.

        Govt article using the term here to prove I’m not crazy.

        1. Content Consumer says:

          I knew something was fishy about that guy.

  25. SL128 says:

    It’s really interesting how central Preston is to other peoples’ experiences. I didn’t meet him until after I beat the game 120+ hours in. The only traces I saw of the Minutemen before that were a few notes, a corpse, and one person who identified me as the Minutemen general.

  26. Mersadeon says:

    The thing that really bothers me about the introduction of Garvey is that if there weren’t any interface spoilers telling you who is good and bad, you’d have no idea who to shoot. Garvey doesn’t look any more heroic than the Raiders, they’re just dudes killing each other. Literally the only reason to intervene and choose a side is because the interface tells you these guys are meanies and that guy has a name and is a proper NPC.

    This is in stark contrast to Fallout: NV, where you could come across two people fighting, a man and a woman, and you have no idea who started it or who’s right, because you’re just looking at some people killing each other. And then you get to figure it out after one of them dies.

  27. Gruhunchously says:

    So, perhaps Preston Garvey would be a more interesting character if he was a crow, and his quests involved you traveling the wastes finding food for him while he rewarded you with shiny objects.

    1. Dork Angel says:

      The Crow is probably a better name for me, hunting the wasteland for shiny bits of scrap (especially if you take the perk that makes things you are looking for light up)…

  28. Mersadeon says:

    A question: How will you guys approach the base-building part of the game? I haven’t played it myself, but I imagine it’s pretty time-consuming. Are you going to show it off or just leave it?

    1. Dragmire says:

      They might do another Q&A like they did with ME2’s mining episodes or Skyrim’s enchanting episodes.

      I guess it depends on how important the building aspect is to their ability to get through the main story.

      1. I could totally see them answering questions and only noticing about 3/4 of the way through that Josh is building a giant dong-house out of scraps.

      2. Sleeping Dragon says:

        I think you can ignore/bypass almost all of the building and settlement management if you ignore Preston’s nagging sufficiently early on. The one point where you need to build things is construction the teleporter to get to the institute, which I think there’s no way around and which is probably easier if you have some building perks, for example better generators.

  29. ehlijen says:

    Fun suggestion to make preston more mad:

    Recreate him in the character creator, name yourself preston and pretend to be his imaginary twin. His treatment of you makes a lot more sense that way.

    1. J Greely says:

      There’s already a Preston impersonator running around in the Commonwealth. I’ve never run into him when I was partnered with the real Preston, unfortunately, so I don’t know if there’s special dialog for that.


      1. I found him. I was disappointed that you couldn’t conspire with him to replace the actual Preston. That would’ve been hysterical.

      2. Michael says:

        There isn’t. The impostor and Preston don’t acknowledge each other at all.

    2. Jokerman says:

      I am his Tyler Durden.

  30. Jonathan Scinto says:

    I object to the idea that Preston needs to be crazy. I don’t think all the major players in a Fallout game have to be extreme.

    Of course, I actually liked Preston, even though I found his radial quests annoying.

    And Shamus you’re wrong that he refuses to help you with the Institute teleporter. If you’ve completed the Minutemen questline, he sends you to Sturges, who “builds” it for you. Then you don’t have to bother with the Brotherhood (who are dicks) or the Railroad (who are also dicks.)

    1. Shamus says:

      And Shamus you're wrong that he refuses to help you with the Institute teleporter. If you've completed the Minutemen questline, he sends you to Sturges, who “builds” it for you.

      What I said was correct: He does indeed refuse to help you if you haven’t progressed the minutemen questline. Which I mentioned in the post. The fact that you need to do the Minuteman quests first is exactly the point I was making: He insists you need to finish doing his jobs before he’ll help you with your kid.

      1. GloatingSwine says:

        And it’s not like there’s some necessary prerequisite in the Minutemen questline that naturally explains why you have to do that.

        You just do because shut up and play our awesome faction storylines. You like factions now.

        1. Speaking of the Minutemen, I can’t believe we haven’t talked about the laser musket.

          This was hands down the dumbest weapon concept in the game. Unless there’s some lore behind it, why would anyone make an energy weapon that reloaded slower than just about any other? When I saw it in previews, I was figuring that Garvey and his bunch were crazy, thinking that they were rebuilding the “Old World” and sticking to stuff they found in museum ruins and half-burnt history books. Ergo, they tried to make “muskets” like their ancestors and came up with this crank-up weapon which still uses up energy ammo, so why is there a need to crank it?! It’s even more nonsensical given that there are still working laser rifles out there, so unless it’s an attempt at diversifying mechanics (“Let’s give the player a laser weapon that can be really powerful, but the down side is a slow reload speed”), it makes no sense.

          1. GloatingSwine says:

            I think it’s clear that the Laser Musket was designed with gameplay considerations first. And that’s not necessarily bad, it is unique and adds variety, but the proper laser weapons are far too common to make it fit logically into the world.

            1. Benjamin Hilton says:

              Agreed. It would be absolutely great world building if they ran with the premise that old world tech is failing and working laser guns are nearly impossible to find. Unfortunately this runs counter to the Bethesda “Pop loot like Pez at higher level” ethos of game design.

              This reminds me of the Tihar in the Metro games. I loved the idea of using air pressure to fire ball bearings (an object that is fairly common, and being made of steel would still be good even if found decades later.) It’s a really interesting concept in a world where bullets and gun powder would be harder and harder to produce. But the game never backs it up with normal firearms and even silencers being almost comically common.

              1. But the Tahir makes sense, as we have air rifles/BB guns. The Musket is a weapon that uses up ammo in a weapon you have to crank where other weapons that use the same ammo just require a trigger pull.

                1. Benjamin Hilton says:

                  I think the Tihar would make sense in a world with less guns. In metro there are guns all over the place to the point that making a weapon as an alternative seems superfluous. Sure we have BB guns in the real world, but nobody goes into combat with them. (yes I am aware that in the distant past Air rifles were used in combat, but that was hundreds of years ago and the military equipment in Metro is as modern as it is now.)

                  My point was that for the same reason, piecing together a semi functional laser would make perfect sense if there were no, or only a few functioning laser guns.

                  1. Artur CalDazar says:

                    It’s not the guns that are valuable in Metro, its bullets. When each bullet is a unit of currency it makes sense people would try and make ranged weapons that do not fire money.

                    Like a reverse bottlecap mine.

                    1. Benjamin Hilton says:

                      This is true. Unfortunately the game sabotages itself here as well with situations like the turret sequence.

            2. Jace911 says:

              I have a suspicion that the laser musket was originally intended to be a crank-only weapon, and that the ammo usage was only tacked on later because they chickened out and thought it would be too game breaking early on.

              Of course they also give you @$#&ing POWER ARMOR twenty minutes into the game, so…

  31. Artur CalDazar says:

    I have a mod that lets me clear away otherwise permanent junk, like mole rat holes, or the piles of filth, but dead bodies still need console commands to go away.

    Watching Josh walk up and stare at that dude is making me realise that this opening siege could have been so much more interesting if Bethesda wasn’t attached to never locking things out (I dislike being locked out of things, but if it’s interesting then I accept it gladly). Like you could have come up and have the raiders say “hey want to join in on the attack?” and while in-character this makes little sense so does diving into battle to save people the player likely cannot see as the second act after being thawed.

    Huh, never noticed that the quest points out the laser musket to you. Its easy to miss a single body in the game, but that seems weird.

    Also I love hearing Rutskarn talk about his character’s motives and their journey because it is very similar to my own first playthrough, although mine was from the husband’s perspective.
    Mumbles disorderly suggestion is also one Bethesda could do, because that’s essentially why you get thrown out at the end of the first game

    1. Wide And Nerdy says:

      I have that cleaning mod too. I’ve spent hours clearing up stuff in Sanctuary. Still pisses me off that you can’t build anything clean and neat looking, especially when you have good enough machining apparently on hand to build a teleport interceptor. Building a house with clean neatly cut measured planks from fresh wood should be well within their capabilities. They may not be able to restore the Sanctuary houses but even medieval peasants had better construction that when you see in the settlements.

      One thing about the cleaning mod as a warning. Some of those pieces of debris are strategically placed to cover up seams. Which is disappointing.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        When I started I assumed I would unlock more “polished” things as I progressed. Later when I learned about the factions in the game I thought they’d give me construction options in their individual style (sorta like the Morrowind strongholds)… alas, not the case.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          Yeah they only do that with the paint jobs for the power armor.

          I wouldn’t necessarily expect to be able to trade with, say, the Brotherhood or the Institute as that goes against their respective ethos’s but like Diamond City and Goodneighbor I felt should have granted options.

          1. Sleeping Dragon says:

            I meant when I joined and as I progressed down their questlines.

    2. Jace911 says:

      The problem with joining the raiders (As awesome a character choice as that would be) is that without Preston and the Minutemen you could actually find yourself locked out of every other faction and thus the main story. They’re basically your Yes Man option in New Vegas–if all else fails you can always fall back on them to finish the game, even if you’ve pissed everyone else off.

      Of course the obvious choice is to provide an option to complete the story without joining a faction, but it’s Bethesda–they won’t do it until Obsidian does. :V

  32. Rosseloh says:

    Did Youtube change their recommendation algorithm to focus on “promoted” content again?

    Because it’s really bugging me that the none of the recommended videos for all three of these are anything related to Spoiler Warning. Instead it’s all crap I would never watch.

    Maybe it’s just because it’s Fallout 4 and that’s still popular content or something. With other Let’s Plays, the Up Next video is normally the next one in the series, or a previous one if it’s the latest episode. Here it’s just another one of those popular-despite-being-mediocre-youtube-personalities’ videos.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      I think it’ll settle in as the series progresses, presumably as more of the right kind of linkages are created by people accessing adjacent entries in the series (or whatever witchcraft the ranking algo is based on).

      It’s not doing too bad for me at the moment – below episode 3 I’ve got an advert vid, but next up are episodes 2 & 1. It does then list three other FO4 Let’s Plays from various random folks, but after those three is the Kerbal Space Program hangout. So – a bit sketchy at the moment, but as I say I think it’ll improve over time.

  33. The Other Matt K says:

    Regarding the ‘Int 1 is average’ issue… for me, that was a feature, not a flaw. While I can appreciate conceptually the idea that having a low Int results in sounding like an idiot in dialogue, in practice I just couldn’t stand having a character who talks like that – and so in previous Fallout games, I basically either had to play an Int-focused character, or I had an automatic ‘handicap’ of having to buy up my Int to a reasonable level regardless of my build.

    This game, I was able to totally tank Int and try out completely different builds (and even take advantage of low Int via Lucky Savant), and that was incredibly freeing to me. Same thing goes for the fact that, yes, I could actually get all the perks I cared about while leveling up, rather than feeling ‘locked out’ of certain choices – that was a good thing!

    1. Wide And Nerdy says:

      I can’t imagine tanking Int in this game. It cuts off hacking and crafting (at least some of it). And given the unlimited leveling, high Int means you can get everything else you want that much more quickly.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        The problem is that since Fallout is pretty level-scaled, leveling up faster is actually a bad thing. If you level slowly, you have time to acquire top-end gear for your level bracket, whereas faster leveling means you’re more likely to face enemies who outrank your gear.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          Might be a function of difficulty setting but it was never a problem for me. It doesn’t upset or annoy me when balance is off either. Fallout is long enough.

        2. Michael says:

          It’s level scaled, but the scaling is pretty erratic, as a deliberate design decision. When you’re level 60, you’ll still be encountering level 1 raiders in their camps, mixed with a collection of higher level variants.

          Also, some areas have level floors, where enemies will start at level 10, 15, 30… So, high INT actually opens up the map faster (effectively). (Unless you feel like facerolling characters that are substantially higher level than you, which is possible.)

          Also, on Wide and Nerdy’s comment, armor scales dramatically based on your difficulty setting. So below normal enemy armor is seriously impaired, while the player’s is dramatically improved. Above normal, this is reversed, and on Survival everyone’s armor takes a serious hit to effectiveness.

          1. Ninety-Three says:

            My understanding of the level 1 raiders thing is that an area’s level gets set the first time you enter it, so if you come back at level 60, it’ll still be spawning things appropriate for the first time you went there. Which is probably a bug, Bethesda being what it is.

            1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

              So the key is to run all over the map before taking any levels.

  34. Disc says:

    If you’re on PC, you can remove otherwise unremovable things in your settlements with the console by clicking on it with the console on and then typing disable. Handy for getting rid of those stupid holes and skeletons.

    Just make sure you’re targetting the right thing though. Enable brings the whatever you disabled back, but I like to make sure I only disable the stuff I want.. just in case.


    “He makes you general of the Minutemen, and claims you're in charge.”

    He does also claim that “It’s your job to make it more than an empty title”. So I think he actually has you right where he wants you to be.

    The only winning move is not to play.

    1. Incunabulum says:

      Actually, in this game you can’t remove 99% of the stuff in settlements with the console.

      In the old days you could removes the *ground* if you weren’t careful. This time you can’t even remove grass from sidewalk cracks or leaf piles.

      Hence the need for (and almost immediate appearance of) mods that add that stuff into the scrappable lists.

      1. Michael says:

        Far Harbor’s settlements are way better about letting you prune out unwanted debris. Which actually makes the vanilla game’s settlements more annoying when you return to Boston.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          Far Harbor settlements shouldn’t really surprise me but they don’t exactly move that DLC up on my wishlist. I found settlement management to be something of a chore.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Thats because the way you build them is stupid.Check out giants:citizen kabuto and how it blended 3rd person action game with base building.Basically,when you want to build something,it switches to isometric overhead camera,and you get to place stuff anywhere in the radius of the base.No need to run around all over the place just to position a building behind a building.But here,if you want to place something on the roof and on the ground floor,you have to run up and down the stairs,which is just tedious.

      2. Disc says:

        Well I’m talking from experience. The molerat holes and skeletons specifically can be removed with the console. It’s true that a lot of trash and debris is fused to the ground, but these are objects that spawn in separately and exist as separate entities from the terrain.

  35. Jabrwock says:

    Do they ever explain why Dogmeat is the only non-mutant animal in the wasteland?

    Other than “hey, remember that post-apocalyptic movie were that dude had a pet dog? yeah, we want to do that…”

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      He is?That cant be right.

      After some checking,it seems that its only canines(dogs,wolves and coyotes)that remained unmutated,for whatever reason.Interesting.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        How about the crows? They looked pretty normal. (Well, the still-intact ones did.)

        Edit – aha, sorry: J Greely covered the corvidঠright below!

    2. J Greely says:

      In dialog with Nick, they make it sound like there are plenty of dogs in the Commonwealth, but you don’t see them. There are a few non-mutant house cats in various places, and the crows all look and act normal.

      It’s more that the game doesn’t really have animals at all. Despite all the things that have survived unchanged, and the mutant critters that dominate the wilderness, everything else is apparently completely extinct. Far Harbor adds mutant rabbits and chickens as potential food animals, making the setting slightly less implausible, but the Commonwealth wasn’t hit nearly as hard as other Fallout settings, and should have substantially more surviving animals, both normal and mutated.


      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        Far Harbor also adds something else to solve the dog problem. A wonderful little find off the beaten path in the middle of nowhere.

      2. Incunabulum says:

        its kinda frustrating – they could have pretty much taken all the animal models and animations from Skyrim and just brought them over – same formats, *slightly* smaller textures.

        Speaking of textures – UP close the art of this game is pretty bad. 2 and 4k textures that are pretty much solid muddy blobs for most things. Pretty much everything in Skyrim is more *detailed* even if its rendered in a lower resolution.

      3. While I’m fine with cats existing in vaults or having survived from them, I can’t help think Bethesda including them in the game was a poke in the eye at Obsidian’s lore. Mr. House mentions that cats have gone extinct (much to Mumbles’ despair).

        1. Gruhunchously says:

          Maybe they just didn’t know. Mr. House’s line about cats being extinct is only spoken during a specific quest path that most people probably didn’t take, wiping out the Boomers (all of them, not just their leaders) before he ever gives you the quest to go find them. The only reason Spoiler Warning got it to hear it was because of a bug.

          Not that people would lack motivations for exterminating the Boomers, but it’s tedious work, especially at low level.

  36. Phantos says:

    Something I did find VATS useful for in this game: Mine detection.

    Even if your chance of hitting it is too low, at least it tells you exactly where it is. Even if the mine is really far away.

    1. Andy_Panthro says:

      A very good point, and something I did quite a lot. Especially since I’m terrible at noticing the in-game traps. They just don’t stand out enough. (Which of course is kind-of the point, but they can prove to be so lethal in the early game that it becomes rather annoying).

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Short story from my early explorations:

        quicksave-immediate “beep”-FUUUUUUUU…

    2. Ninety-Three says:

      The other thing VATS is really good with is sniper rifles. Not for sniping, god no, VATS calculates its hit chance entirely based on range and doesn’t account for things like your rifle’s long-range scope. That also means that VATS doesn’t account for your sniper rifle’s terrible hip-fire accuracy, so it’s fantastic for taking point-blank shots that are difficult to achieve manually.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        Addendum: VATS also doesn’t care whether or not your target is moving. Getting good use out of it centers around abusing all the things it does better than humans (like reloading shotguns in the blink of an eye, for some reason).

    3. I found VATS very useful in close-quarters combat. There were times that particle effects (which VATS takes into account, so smoke/debris will hamper your to-hit chance, or so it seemed) or just being disoriented kept me from knowing where to shoot. It came in handy for that, at least.

    4. Poncho says:

      I was always in the habit of spamming the VATS button in new environments just to spot enemies I couldn’t naturally see.

  37. Wide And Nerdy says:

    By the way, with regards to giving Cuftbert a permanent black eye and blaming it on Nora.

    There are handcuffs in Nate and Nora’s house. Between that and Cuftbert’s black eye, I think its clear what kind of relationship they had.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Nora is a 50 shades fan.

  38. Ninety-Three says:

    Hey Shamus, I just noticed that the SOMA season doesn’t show up in the list of seasons at http://www.shamusyoung.com/spoilerwarning . Does it only count as a mini-season like Salt and Sanctuary?

    1. Yummychickenblue says:

      It seemed too long to be a mini-season.

  39. (sorry, this is a kind of a rant, but with a general idea tacked on at the end).

    For crying out loud. Why do I never learn. I clicked the link Shamus gave for “not too bright.” which linked to wikia.

    I click it and wikia comes up resonably quick, I see he text describing the character and start to read.

    Suddenly all the page content get pushed down and a huge full background animated/video ad for the Fallout 4 Far Harbour DLC i shown.

    I Grumble, scroll down, why is there this huge white space? Then I find the text and. OFFS.

    A black box extends, pushing the text/content further down. This is some inline video ad.

    And I know from experience (seen it on wikia before) I can just drop trying to read anything. Because if I scroll down below that to the text and start to read, then 10 seconds later the inline video box will shrink again. Pulling the text upwards.

    This crap is why people use adblock. *sigh*

    Why the hell Wikia does this I got no clue. But I know that the next time I hover over a link and I see it goes to wikia, I’m going full Adblock on the damn thing.

    What the hell happen to simple html img with a width and height (so the layout won’t have to be redrawn) specified, and using a static PNG or JPG image. I may actually glance at a static image, I might even *shock* click on it what it shows piques my interest.

    So what happen instead? I closed the dawn browser window before the inline video even began to play, and I never bothered reading the wikia article.

    On a side note. Wikipedia is getting a tad annoying as well, there are like 3 or so different banners that beg for money (not that I have any money to donate in the first place). If that donation thing is almost always going to show then make it permanent and not so annoying please.

    Sorry Shamus, not your fault for linking to Wikia. Sad thing is there are quite a lot of good wikis on there, but damn those video ads are annoying.

    Another sidenote. Where are the browser settings that let me specific areas of interest so sites can take that info (via a javascript call) and show targeted ads that I actually want (rather than what they think I want) but in an anonymous way.

    I want a place in my browser settings where where I can enter a string of keywords (separated by commas), lets call this string “Interests”.
    Then a javascript call called get_ad_interests() is presented by the browser and any ad script can call that and fetch the interest string.

    That way I can get anonymous but targeted ads about games, computers, sci-fi, and so on. And not about weird stuff just because I was doing research or checking up on a new story.

    And add in a “no ads that blink or move or animate” setting and I’d be super happy to turn off adblock.

    But such a crazy idea will remain a dream forever I assume. *sigh*

    1. Wide And Nerdy says:

      I’d love to see a browser that kept the page positioned based on whatever you have scrolled in the middle at the moment. So if more content pops in above it simply stretches the page upward rather than letting new content push it downward.

  40. Deadfast says:

    I agree with Rutskarn’s sentiment that there simply aren’t enough guns in this game.

    As a bit of a gun nut I fell in love with the absurd weapon selection present in New Vegas, further extended by the Gun Runners DLC. Fallout 4 offers nowhere near enough variety, a fact I’d be willing to forgive if what is present was at least a bit interesting.

    It’s clear Bethesda put a lot of emphasis on the home-made pipe gun idea but I just don’t like the execution. Contrast it to Metro 2033 which presents much more interesting and realistic DIY weaponry. The Bastard is truly a thing of beauty. I also find it extremely immersion-breaking that one can find 300 year old pipe pistols in pre-war safes and I don’t care how hard Bethesda tries to hand-wave it by claiming pre-war gangs used them.

    Beyond that, you have the plain silly “assault” rifle (it’s semi-auto by default but needs to be water-cooled?), the battle rifle firing a pistol round by default (which would render it practically useless beyond 100m) and the painful lack of a double-action revolver (you don’t have to cock the hammer manually before firing). All in all, it makes for a very sad Deadfast.

    1. J Greely says:

      I cringe every time I draw the already-cocked .44 revolver and watch my character spin the cylinder.


    2. PlasmaPony says:

      Agreed. The lack of weapon variety put a big damper of the fun of loot. There were so many weapons in New Vegas that throughout the game you were constantly finding new ones on enemies. There was a constant escalation of firearms. Enemies got better and more varied weapons as it went on, starting with 9mm handguns and Varmint Rifles and moving up to Chainsaws, Automatic Shotguns and Grenade Rifles. It made combat feel fresh and like you had more options as it went on. In Fallout 4, the entire game you are fighting enemies with pipe weapons, which are piss weak even at the start of the game. The weapon crafting system completely breaks the loot system. Why pick up guns when you can just make a better one. The lack of repair also makes carrying more guns pointless. In New Vegas I carried extra versions of guns I had to keep them in good condition. When I played 4, the first version of any weapons I got were the only one I ever used unless I got a Legendary version. My one shotgun, my one sniper rifle, my one combat rifle, my one handgun, and maybe a novelty weapon. The whole game, new variance, I just increased the numbers as I went with crafting. It completely breaks the exploration in the game since outside of the odd unique weapon or bobblehead/magazine there’s nothing fun to find. Sometimes less is NOT more

  41. George Monet says:

    I think you’ve lost the plot on this one Shamus. Society cannot function without normal people. So Fallout cannot be full of nothing but crazy people. Since Bethesda was trying to center their game around returning the world to normal, it needed to fill that game with some people who serve as seeds for civilization to crystallize around. Preston is one of those normal people.

    His quest to return civilization to normality is not at odds with the player character, in fact that is also the player character’s real quest. Remember that there were three important events which happened to the player:
    1) theft of baby;
    2) murder of husband; and
    3) watching bombs blowup the world and then waking up in a world that still hadn’t recovered from that nuclear war.

    It is quite obvious that regardless of what the player and the character feel about 1 and 2, number 3 is really the biggest problem that needs to be resolved in order for the character to be have a place to raise her son if an when she finds it. And even if her baby is dead, she will still have to resolve 3 in order to recover, settle down and start a new family. Thus Preston’s goals are the same as the player’s goals because you both seek to return civilization to the Commonwealth. That is what the entire Settlement system is about, that is what the Minutemen seek to accomplish once you take up the mantle of General. You take control of small time settlements where the people are barely surviving because security issues, lack of food, lack of potable water, lack of shelter, clothing, etc. You organize these settlements so that they grow in size, they have an abundance of goods, begin to thrive. You connect these settlements together through pathways of communication and trade. You return security, economic interdependence, government and knowledge to the Commonwealth. These are part of the goals that you and Preston work on together.

    The Commonwealth really does return to normalcy under the Minutemen ending.

    I also wonder if you know just how little Senators and House Representatives actually do. These heads of Congress spend a lot of time listening to their aids who are the ones with the real time. The Congressmen are far too busy putting in face time and getting more campaign donations. Preston is your aid. He is the one getting you to go around the Commonwealth putting in face time so everyone knows the General of the Minutemen. He is the one who is organizing the return of civilization. So what if he is boring, at least he is actually helping you accomplish the big goals in a way that makes sense and is in character for your character and his.

    1. Coming_Second says:

      You’ve invented a bunch of head canon to fill the gaping holes in F4’s story, doing the writer’s work for them in order to defend it. In other words, you’re the Soul Survivor to Bethesda’s Preston Garvey.

      1) Normal =/= Uninteresting. Normal people usually have to exist for craziness to be properly contextualised, most writers will agree. But Garvey is dull. His voice is an insomnia aid. He has virtually nothing of interest to say. His only narrative function is to tell the player what to do. I can’t remember him voicing an opinion on anything except how important it was to get the Commonwealth back on its feet. A skilled writer can make normal people interesting. They can make them remind us of ourselves and those closest to us. Their normalcy can make their personal tales all the more poignant. Bethesda are not skilled writers. As a character Garvey is a wash, which is a sin given he’s probably the NPC you interact with the most throughout the game.

      2) You’re absolutely right, the SS should be motivated to bring some modicum of peace to the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, they never actually express that (much less abandon it as an impossible goal, as they should also get to do). They witlessly follow the directions of whichever of the four taskmasters they’ve tied their boat to, they cannot question them, and are barred from asking for further information that would enable them to make wider observations. That link you made, of the SS wishing for civilisation so that they can bring up lil Shaun in safety? Never brought up. I doubt the writer even contemplated that being a driving motivation for the player. If they did, they didn’t think it worth allowing the player to state it.

      3) That game you’re describing, where you organise lines of communication, trade caravans and local government in a post-apocalyptic world, that sounds like a great game. It certainly ain’t F4, though. In that game you play lego in some isolated hamlets, and then a few interchangeable peasants come to witlessly stand around in it. What exactly is the organisational structure of the Minutemen? How does their government function? What is expected within the society they maintain? All I know is their method of choosing a leader – slapping a hat on the first murder-hobo that rolls into town and calling them General – and going off that I’m not sure I’d want to live in a Commonwealth run by them.

      4) Similarly, it would be absolutely fantastic if Garvey was seen putting in some administrative legwork from time to time. You saw him in random settlements giving speeches; over at the Castle, running firing ranges; in Sanctuary at a desk, doing all the paperwork so you don’t have to. Anything except pacing backwards and forwards on that same strip of tarmac, waiting patiently for you to come over so he can send you off to rescue the Abernathy girl for the fifteenth time this month. Sell that aide role to us. So much of the friction around him is caused by the impression of being the only one in the entire organisation who is doing any work, despite the fact you’re nominally the leader.

      Bethesda threw a motley collection of elements at the wall – you’re a pre-war survivor, your son is kidnapped, SYNTHS, rebuilding civilisation, it turns out your son is now old and incredibly amoral, slavery, fascism – and then left it at that, expecting the player to form a coherent narrative and theme from the mess without doing any of that boring shit themselves. In your case, it worked. Many of us aren’t willing to forgive their laziness so easily.

  42. FeepingCreature says:

    I wiggle the mouse because it doesn’t matter anymore if I fuck it up. It’s exactly release from the anxiety of the minigame.

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