Fallout 4 EP12: Baseball VATS

By Shamus
on Jun 24, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Let’s talk about our “breaking and entering” mechanics.

Lockpicking

Lockpicking works. It’s just interesting enough to make for a fun mini-game, but it’s brief enough that it doesn’t feel like it’s bringing your dungeon crawl to a halt. I enjoy it in Skyrim, I enjoy in in Fallout, and even after picking thousands of locks I’m still not sick of it.

The only problem, which I mentioned in this episode, is that for the most part it’s all just more trash to loot and sell. You’ll loot 9 chests of ammo, weapons, and junk. Then the 10th chest will be protected by a lock. Is it worth all those perk points to get one more chest worth of stuff? Not really. I’ve played as a master lockpicker and I’ve played as characters with no points in lockpicking, and aside from the nagging annoyance of leaving a chest behind, you can’t tell the difference at all. You never think, “Wow! I sure do have lots of rare resources. Glad I spent those lockpicking points!” And you also never find yourself in the position of, “Man, I am so starved for resources. If only I’d put points into lockpicking!”

The whole thing is kind of weak and gutless. You can hear the game designer wringing their hands and saying, “But what if players miss out on things? What if they have a different experience from the norm? What if there’s something they want to do it and they can’t because of their build? We have to save them from themselves! We must make all the choices shallow and painless!”

Ugh.

Terminal Hacking

The hacking game never really worked for me. I like the idea of the puzzle, but the individual rounds are too short and too governed by luck to to reach a proper solution. Sometimes you’ll spend your first two clicks and not get any hints that give you meaningful progress. Yes, you can hunt around in the garbage characters for brackets to help you, but it’s still a crapshoot. Worse, the game actually becomes easier and more interesting when it supposedly gets harder. The clues for long words are far more useful than the clues for short words.

But the thing that really kills the game is that it’s a literal waste of time. The fastest and most expedient way through is not to linger over the puzzle for five minutes, trying to reach a provable solution according to the rules of logic. The fastest way through these things is to open up the terminal, click on random entries until you’re about to get locked out, and then close the terminal. Repeat until the dice favor you.

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  1. The Rocketeer says:

    One day, maybe even one day soon, Bethesda GS will feel compelled to rework their lockpicking minigame, even if only for the sake of change itself. On that day, the sky will darken and the faithful will cry blood.

    • GloatingSwine says:

      Maybe they’ll go back to the Oblivion one. That was a “classic”….

      • Couscous says:

        I liked that one. It was just that you could pick a level 100 lock at level 1 lockpick with a single lockpick and even if you liked the minigame, they had an easily gotten item that made the entire skill pointless. But I really liked the minigame itself.

      • The Rocketeer says:

        If they pool talent with Obsidian again, maybe they can delegate the redesign to whomever designed all the access minigames in Alpha Protocol.

        • Andy_Panthro says:

          I think Alpha Protocol was the only game where I actually liked the mini-games (I was playing it on PC with a 360 controller). They were quick, and once you got the knack of them you could get through them super-quick. I quite liked the challenge of being as fast as possible.

          The Bethesda ones on the other hand, are slow. They slow you down from hoovering up every last bit of junk, and are either just a waste of time, or they’re a frustration. I usually mod them out or alter them in some way.

          • Rob says:

            I found the mini-games in Alpha Protocol infuriating (edit: with mouse and keyboard), especially that one where you have to match up two blocks of code simultaneously and they reset every several seconds. I failed that one far too many times when the entire puzzle reset with mere seconds left on the clock, usually when I was only one or two moves from the solution.

            That, and the fact that Alpha Protocol had dynamic difficulty based on how many skill points you’ve earned, so mini-game difficulty was controlled by the ratio of skill points you put in those skill trees rather than the total.

            • Ringwraith says:

              I thought it was just the difficulty level.
              Play on higher settings and they’re harder, do it on easy and you’re never going to have very complicated ones.

              • Michael says:

                As I recall, it’s both.

                There’s a minimum and maximum difficulty for the minigames. Your level determines where you are within the range you can have on your current playthrough. If you raise the game’s difficulty, both those values raise. They also raise on the two New Game+ backgrounds.

                To be fair, I could be remembering all of this incorrectly…

    • Ledel says:

      What if they change it to some kind of old game? Like snake, or…I’ve got it! Pipe Dream! That would be perfect for the futuristic world of Fallout.

  2. Gnoll Queen says:

    It’s a good thing that other people share my opinion on Terminal Hacking because both my brother and my sister love that minigame. But yeah i normally just end up clicking on random entries because it just takes to long.

    • MichaelGC says:

      Aye, I’m with your brother & sister on this, and always do the game “properly,” as it were. I like that it’s text- or at least word-based, but what it also strongly reminds me of is a game called Mastermind, which used coloured pegs rather than letters, and which I used to love playing as a lad.

      So, it’s really just that nostalgia hit that means I enjoy it so much, I think! – I can absolutely understand why folks might prefer a workaround.

      • Echo Tango says:

        I also like doing the hacking minigame, but it seems to be balanced against players who are savescumming. Like, I can pretty much do every lockpicking with only a couple bobby pins. The hacking, on the other hand, I routinely need to reload or do the close-open cheat. I feel like, there could have been more attempts given to the player, maybe scaled with skill, or for easier terminals. Three attempts is never enough. Also, the longer words on the higher-skill terminals paradoxically make the hints more useful, because you can rule out more words. That whole game could probably be redone. :)

      • Michael says:

        It’s like Mastermind (which can be played with words, the way Fallout 3 – 4 presents it). The one difference is in the normal game, you’re told how many letters are correct but in the wrong positions, and how many are correct AND in the correct position.

        That said, you don’t have any possibles in Mastermind, you have to work it out from scratch, and you can’t tell your opponent “(>>{$#&*@)” to whittle down the possibilities, so…

    • James Porter says:

      I will also throw in my love of the hacking minigame.

  3. Erik says:

    I always play fallout with a mod that:

    A) Speeds up the terminal text appearing and
    B) removes all invalid options from the hacking mini game

    I also like the way, say, neverwinter nights handled lock picking. Even if you had no rogue you could still open most chests by bashing it, but you would risk destroying some items.

    • Well, Neverwinter Nights 2 had the broken items risk. NWN 1 didn’t have that risk, instead having the higher DC chests have a good amount of DR and most of the weapons available don’t have any magic properties whatsoever.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Eschalon solves this well by letting you bash everything,but since all weapons degrade with use,and chests have a buttload of hitpoints,its better to just try and pick it.Though you can just put a point into unarmed combat and then use your indestructible fists instead.But you dont get the xp.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      I’d settle for a mod that makes the opening of magnetically-locked doors instant. FFS.

    • Philadelphus says:

      Knights of the Old Republic II did that too: no mini-game, just a skill-check for lock-picking. Picking a lock would give you some XP, and if you couldn’t you could either bash it or use a mine to blow it open, both of which would take longer and had a chance of destroying items inside. It felt like a pretty decent compromise.

  4. IFS says:

    I’ve always appreciated the hacking minigame, though the text needs to move faster when you boot up the computer, getting a string of unlucky guesses does drain the enjoyment out of it pretty fast.

    As for lockpicking being valuable this is something I think NV got very right, if you had high lockpicking it was possible to get access to some powerful weapons very early on including Lucky in a safe in Primm, That Gun in Novac (though you could also buy that one), and the desert sniper (I forget the exact name) in a spot overlooking a legion outpost in the south. All of those can be gotten before even reaching Vegas and while some of them can prove difficult to maintain early on (which puts a check on their power) they are very powerful weapons that can carry you through the end of the game depending on your build. I think there is also a unique plasma weapon along the way to Vegas in a factory that can be gotten through either lockpicking, hacking, or maybe by some other means that escape me at the moment.

    Science meanwhile makes up for not unlocking as much cool stuff by being useful for other things, it can help you repair ED-E among other things and is useful in some conversations as well as for making ammo for energy weapons (and probably some other stuff I’ve forgotten, I should really replay NV).

    • The Rocketeer says:

      ED-E ain’t EDI.

      Though I’m sure there’s a mod for that.

    • The REPCONN building that wasn’t tied to Novac had the unique Plasma Rifle behind either a Very Hard terminal/door or a three-floor maze with a lot of risk of death to get around said door. There IS a lot of stuff in there, though. :D

      • The Rocketeer says:

        And, of course, the Gobi Campaign Scout Rifle, which was locked in a completely random Very Hard-locked ammo box under a lean-to in Buttefück, Nowhere. Which, honestly, felt like kind of a dick move, but it is, at least, a reward for having the skill (and, by extension, an opportunity cost of lacking it).

        • IFS says:

          THAT was the sniper I was thinking of, it actually has an implied story related to Boone from its location. The lean-to its in is overlooking the Legion Camp where his wife was going to be sold, which to me at least implies that the weapon used to belong to Boone and was the one he killed his wife with then abandoned there since it was hard enough having to live with that choice without keeping the weapon he’d used for it. It makes sense that the weapon would have belonged to him given his history with an elite sniper unit.

          Arguably that’s just headcanon, but it fits together well enough imo.

          • SKD says:

            Pretty sure that is straight up head-canon, but it is good head-canon. If I recall correctly there is a note at the site implying that there was either a Ranger or sniper team monitoring Cottonwood Cove from that position, further fate unknown probably connected to the Ranger station right up the hill behind the lean-to.

          • From what I remember someone (I think Sawyer) saying, he made the shot from the dinosaur.

            In Novac. To Cottonwood Cove.

            • I don’t think so, since he would then have to transport the rifle over to the ridge overlooking Cottonwood Cove, admire his handiwork, then lock it up for us to find.

              Besides, Christine’s CoS sniper rifle from Old World Blues is more fun if you’re a sneaky-sneak and want your headshots silenced.

              • Going based on the Gamepedia page, Boone and the Gobi Rifle are almost completely unrelated, simply stating that it’s “suggested” that that’s where he shot from. I’m pretty sure there was an interview with either Sawyer or Avellone that mentioned the shot, but I’ll be damned if Google can actually help me with it. >:O

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I love that one.Even when playing melee,I always gun for that rifle.

    • MichaelGC says:

      though the text needs to move faster when you boot up the computer

      I think if you hit ‘e’, and presumably ‘enter’ would also work, the text’ll all appear in one go – unless you happen to be playing on a particularly … venerable system or something of that ilk!

      • IFS says:

        It does the first time, but I’m pretty sure it (or at least some parts of it) cannot be sped through when you quit out and start over. Then again I’ve only ever played NV on PS3 which is arguably a ‘venerable system’ so that might be my problem.

        • MichaelGC says:

          Oh gosh, no – a PS3 is effectively space magic compared to the kind of archaism I was imagining: I’ve played plenty of FO3 on one of those, so that should be fine. But I never quit out, so that’ll be it: I only ever see it the first time around.

          I wonder why they make it to be like that? – it’s surely not supposed to be some sort of lame punishment or deterrence?

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          If you just exit a terminal,you can skip the intro text just fine.But if you exit while you are doing the hacking,there is this “punishment” phase where the skip button doesnt work.It can be easily modded out though.

    • Echo Tango says:

      ED-E can be repaired with zero skill for the “cost” of 3 scrap metal, 2 sensor modules, and 1 scrap electronics.

      As for lockpicking, there’s indeed a lot of locks for that skill to be used on. However, there’s an annoying amount of locks that just have the key lying around, waiting for you to pick it up/loot it after you finish combat. I hate those keys; They steal your EXP reward by not letting you do the lockpicking, and feel like the devs are flipping the bird because you chose to put points into lockpicking. :S

      • Jace911 says:

        I’m a big fan of “pay to win” mechanics like this in games. You can either invest in skill points and do something for free (Or at least much cheaper) or you can part with items or resources instead. It makes the skills so much more rewarding to have when you come across a check and see all the stuff you would have to part with if you hadn’t decided to bump up your Repair skill or whatever.

        • Echo Tango says:

          The problem is, that the price you pay is very small. Unlike the original games*, where scrap metal (and other repair items?) were rare, these parts are used for crafting, and therefore not very rare at all. So, yeah, it costs you something, but even if you only trade with shops for these parts, it only ends up costing you a pittance. There’s some good skill checks, and item-use-up choices in the game, but there’s also several that are basically, “Use you hard-earned skill that cost you three level-ups, or use some random items that you have fifty of already.”

          * Drink!

        • Sort of like the unmarked quest at Camp McCarran with the food processor?

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Lockpicking should never award you xp.Its the act of “getting into place” that should do it,so no matter how you manage it you get xp.Same in games where you get to pick stealth or kill(human revolution).Instead of awarding you xp for killing enemies,you should get xp for “traversing the area”,no matter the method you use.Though a bonus xp for “never spotted” or “killed all” is ok,as long as the two are the same and mutually exclusive.

    • J Greely says:

      The only unique lockpicking reward I can think of is the Cryolator in Vault 111. As for terminals, I vaguely remember getting shortcuts through some buildings, though, and of course there’s all the power armor and the occasional Fat Man.

      -j

      • Axe Armor says:

        I think those power armor suits caged up at military checkpoints are always an Advanced hack. Of course, you can always just mark the place on your map and then come back with Nick.

  5. The Rocketeer says:

    Re: joining factions:

    It is possible, of course, to join all four major factions, and to get rather far in all of them. Starting from breaking into the Institute, which begins Act III of the game, you can join every faction and progress as far as the game allows in all of their questlines without risking hostility with any of them.

    Past meeting and joining the Institute, one must be careful to do quests in the correct order, or to omit certain quests entirely. But in what I consider my “canon” playthrough, I was able to do all but two or three of the final quests for all four factions, then, on behalf of the Minutemen, destroyed only the Institute and remained on friendly terms with the Railroad and Brotherhood.

    So the cast’s discussion about faction allegiance is a mite premature; they still have almost the entire main quest to get through before being forced to choose, and the choice of which faction(s) to curry favor with is solely a question of how much time they want to spend on each. Well, with the exception of the Institute; you can’t begin taking their quests until after allegiances begin to become exclusive. But as above, it’s a matter of care up until the very latest quests, which serve as hard breaking points.

    • Axe Armor says:

      I am Shalashaska! Also known as: Revolver Ocelot!

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      Of course it makes little sense in terms of roleplaying, unless you’re playing someone who doesn’t care about the ideologies of the factions and only wants to exploit them for gain… like some kind of mercenary or something.

      • Jace911 says:

        I was actually able to roleplay my way through all four factions without breaking my own immersion–more than had been done, anyway.

        I started with the Minutemen because my character thinks “hey, maybe these guys can help me find my son”. Then when the Brothership shows up she’s all “whoa, those guys have way more resources! Later Preston!” and ran off to find Paladin Danse where she left him. Played through the Brotherhood questline until right after Blind Betrayal, which I headcanoned as her breakaway point from the Brotherhood, and when they asked her to destroy the Railroad she switched sides instead and started working with them. Played through the Railroad quests until Bunker Hill where I purposefully failed to convince Father that losing the synths was an honest mistake so she was kicked out of the Institute, which is when she came crawling back to Preston since his was the only bridge she hadn’t burned.

        In hindsight it’s disheartening how much effort I had to put into this game’s story to make it palatable.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Its interesting how in the beginning everyone was saying how vats is useless,but Josh is exclusively using it in order to make his underlevelled,underequipped waste of space actually good in combat.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      Yes, I think their harsh criticism of VATS was a bit premature. VATS is far more useful for some playstyles over others, and the one they’re currently stumbling into is one that can make very powerful use of it.

      I never invested in VATS-centric perks, but I always used it the way I’d used it in previous games: to accurately shoot small, quick targets at close range. It’s far more convenient and efficient, to me, to delegate tasks like “swatting a cloud of stingwings” or “leg-shotting some charging ghouls” to the 80+% hit chance of VATS, rather than peppering the air and ground with 10mm ammunition before getting chomped.

      I mean, even if I still miss, I can blame the dice and not my filty casul thumbs.

      • Nonesuch says:

        I’ve always found VATS useful in my playthrough, but I tend to go for sneaky sniper builds. The best thing is that once you have a crit charged, as long as you can hit, you can turn a 10% chance into a guaranteed shot. So it’s fun to use the Righteous Authority (or other legendary weapons of its ilk) to charge up the crit meter and then headshot to finish off an enemy.

        And for shooting the likes of stingwings and bloodbugs VATS is king.

        • Mintskittle says:

          VATS is also really good for mine sweeping, since it will highlight any mine in line of sight to you, even if it should be hidden by brush or blend in with debris.

      • guy says:

        I actually invested in the VATS-centric perks on my first playthrough, so I could reliably get 95% hit chances with a sniper rifle from a long distance away through cover and regularly blew away power armor and sentry bots with single shots.

  7. Incunbulum says:

    The whole thing is kind of weak and gutless. You can hear the game designer wringing their hands and saying, “But what if players miss out on things? What if they have a different experience from the norm? What if there’s something they want to do it and they can’t because of their build? We have to save them from themselves! We must make all the choices shallow and painless!”

    Sadly, that guy had control of every major game design decision in this game.

    • Gaius Maximus says:

      Yeah, that pretty much sums up Bethesda these days.

    • Jace911 says:

      Which makes zero sense from a design perspective, because that’s how you get people to play your game less! You don’t want them to do everything in one playthrough and then put it down forever, you want them to do some things in their first playthrough, and some things in their second, and some things in their third, and so on until New Vegas has been out for five years and I’m still making new characters–

      Er. That got away from me a little.

  8. …So for melee combat what this game needs is the Unstoppable Force perk from New Vegas?

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I dont like how fallouts make you require a certain level of a perk in order to even attempt to open a lock.Skyrim does it much better because you can attempt any lock,but higher ones break your picks quicker.It turns lockpicking into a fun challenge like the combat,where you can rely on your skill as a player,your intuition and luck,or you can supplant that with stats,or you can just brute force it with equipment(more lockpicks).I wish they found a way to do this for conversation as well.Something akin to what they did in human revolution.

    • IFS says:

      I actually like that it restricts you like this as otherwise there would never be a reason to invest in lockpicking, you’d either buy lockpicks in bulk or just savescum until you cracked the chest. If you provide a consistent way to get around a skill then you’ve basically invalidated that skill’s purpose.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        You mean how you can get around any combat by just buying a bunch of chems and savescumming?

        All of the skills in these rpgs should serve just one purpose:enhancing the skill you have with the controller.Otherwise,whats the point in having you manually do anything?Just put it all behind dice like in the original fallout.

        • IFS says:

          You can use chems to be better in combat sure, you can also use various things to boost lockpicking (in NV at least) such as magazines, drugs that boost perception, and certain articles of clothing. Being able to break lockpicks against a master chest until it opens isn’t too far removed from a magicless warrior being archmage of the College of Winterhold in my eyes. While I agree that your skills in game should enhance your own abilities at playing the game I think you lose a fundamental part of what makes build decisions and roleplaying interesting in these games if you allow a player to just invalidate a skill entirely.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            But you arent invalidating it.It is extremely hard to pick the highest level lock in skyrim with no skill.And stocking up on enough lockpicks to do it requires excessive looting and excessive shopping.Investing a few levels into it negates that waste of time.Its the difference between plinking at an enemy with a rusty dagger and no skill and one hit killing them with a two hander and maxed skill.You achieve the same result either way,but you have to choose whether you want to do it faster and easier,or slower and with a lot more effort.

            • SKD says:

              Agreed, and to be honest it is more immersive to be able to try things above your level and fail instead of having the player click on it only to have the character respond with a quip about how it is too hard and not even attempt it.

            • IFS says:

              I do think that it works for Skyrim, since in Skyrim the only way to get better at things is to do them, so under that system I do think a novice should be able to attempt a master lock. Skyrim never hides anything especially noteworthy in those chests either. In NV though lockpicking is an investment, and if there is a way around that investment (such as save scumming and/or stocking up on bobby pins) then there becomes much less reason to invest in that skill. It undermines anyone who wants to make a character be that wasteland scavenger/thief type who has the talents to crack whatever safe or lock they come across because suddenly anyone can. Since NV does have special rewards hidden behind high quality locks you also diminish the reward of investing in the skill, as is you feel good that you got the points to find Lucky early and its power will compensate for the points you didn’t put into combat skills, if you made anyone able to get it that reward for that investment is basically gone.

  10. Izicata says:

    If you don’t turn on the engine or go out to help Danse, he’ll just kill synths forever. You’ll get all the fusion cells you’ll ever need ever, and a ton of institute pistols to sell.

    • MichaelGC says:

      OK that does it! I told him to sod off on my most recent playthrough, but the quest has just been sitting there in the log bothering me each time I’ve scrolled past it. I’ll just have to march back in there and pretend like it never happened.

    • SKD says:

      IIRC I spent more than a few minutes waiting for him to retreat to the blast doors in my first playthrough before I got bored and hit the switch. And you could hand-wave his survival if he was wearing a full suit of power armor, but without a helmet and fighting directly beneath the nozzle…. There should be nothing left in his armor but carbon goop when the engine test finishes.

      • He’s wearing his helmet. He puts it on upon leaving the police station and, if he takes it off at all, it’s after leaving the building entirely.

        • SKD says:

          For some reason he was not wearing it at that point in my playthrough. Of course that was back at release and there have been patches and DLC released since so…

          Ultimately, an extended blast like that should not be survivable anyway. It is one thing to say that power armor is built to withstand the blast and fireball from a nuke going off but that is still over pretty quickly compared to the length of time that engine was firing.

          Also, I did like that the devs seem to have included a mechanic for damaging the player if they leave the safe area before the engine shuts down. Thank you for demonstrating that Josh as I have always been too occupied watching Danse and the Synths roast.

        • I wonder what would happen if you pickpocketed the fusion core from his armor before going down there, THEN blasted him with the rocket?

          I’m sure he still lives. I’m just wondering if he’d still credit his power armor for his survival?

    • Incunabulum says:

      I don’t think that’s true – I remember one playthrough where I waited to see what would happen if I didn’t hit the button (because as a *player* I would have no reason to assume that Danse could survive the blast even if it killed all the synths) and eventually they stop coming down.

      But it goes on a while.

      • SKD says:

        Do you still have to fire the engine before you can proceed? Just wondering if the devs accounted for that circumstance or if they railroad you into firing the engine no matter what.

        • Ninety-Three says:

          Instead of pushing the button, you can just walk back out there and kill Synths with Danse, they rain from the sky for a good couple minutes before finally ending.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Get in the kill zone”

    Like that whole room isnt a kill zone.Though I wouldnt be surprised if this jet engine burns only stuff thats directly bellow it,and nothing to the sides,video game style.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      Come to think of it, shouldn’t there be a deep shaft with water in the bottom underneath the test rocket? I mean, even Black Mesa-

      Oh, who even cares. It’s good enough for Fallout effing 4.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Heh,yeah.Putting the engine in this small closed room is stupid.You arent trying to propel anything,so you dont need ground bellow the engine.A grate is much preferable.That way,you not only reduce the damage done to the rest of the room(especially that glass),but also the strain on the engine harness.

        Unless this wasnt actually an engine test chamber,but rather a bbq room.

        • Gruhunchously says:

          It was a rogue cell.

        • Incunabulum says:

          You don’t need the ground below it even if you *are* trying to propel something. Propellant goes out one direction, rocket goes off in the other, no need for a third object at all.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            That is true.But having a reflective surface does help to use more of that energy.

            • Incunabulum says:

              Nope. Because you don’t *want* that reflected stuff to hit you. You aren’t wasting mass to handle it and the heat it will *redeposit* into your craft.

              Any energy gain from being hit by redeflected exhaust is a) only going to help you for the first couple of second before you’re too far away from the reflector and b) going to be offset by the extra mass and heat rejection equipment you’ll need to deal with hot rocket exhaust blowing on your rocket.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I have to praise this game once more for the power armor,because that thing is so cool.It is designed great,well animated,it looks imposing,and driving it feels awesome.Sure,they ruined everything else,but at least they did power armors perfectly.

  13. JackTheStripper says:

    Idiot Savant is a broken perk because you can game it. Just repeat the quest turn-in until the perk triggers and you get boatloads of XP on every single quest.

  14. MichaelGC says:

    The Speech bobblehead gives all vendors 100 extra caps – because that makes aaallll the sense – so that’ll be the main reason Trudy has more dosh in Shamus’ game, I suspect.

    • Munkki says:

      Immediately upon use, the Idol of Infinite Inflation vanishes from its current owner’s possession, and generates an instant effect out to a radius of 40 leagues. Within the area of this effect, any and all stores of currency are increased by 10%, or 100 units (user’s choice). The new currency is of the same type as exists in the store it is generated within. All currency generated thus is valid and genuine, even if the original issuer of said currency would not be able to issue the new units. The Idol then reappears somewhere outside the radius of effect, usually in a well-hidden and unused location.

      This item is sought by reserve banks and other issuers of currency for its potential to destabilise economies and drive up inflation in a completely uncontrolled manner.

  15. Echo Tango says:

    Do all companions break your stealth? Dogmeat was shown crouching when the player crouches, so I’m curious if there’s any companions you can have that actually work with stealth. So far, it looks like they got half-done programming it. :S

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Someone mentioned previously that while they do have sneak animations,they are still easily detected by enemies even when sneaking.

      • SKD says:

        Yeah companions have pretty much always been anathema to Sneak builds in every Bethesda game. They never sneak as well as you do and rush into battle the moment they are detected.

        • Lachlan the Mad says:

          The vampire lady from the Dawnguard DLC was actually pretty good at sneaking, and had quite a few Sneak perks. Then again, she was a special companion who you had to take through most Dawnguard quests, so Bethesda actually put the effort in. No base game companion was anywhere near that good.

          New Vegas, of course, had Lily, who was an incredible stealther.

    • Michael says:

      They don’t break stealth per say, but they don’t have any associated stealth perks, and most of them have terrible agility scores. Off hand, Curie’s is 4.

      The one exception in Fallout 4 is Deacon. I haven’t cracked open his entry in the CS to verify, but he seems to have decent agility and at least some points in stealth, judging by how well he can remain undetected.

      In the prior Bethesda games it varied wildly. Companions would sneak based on their own character sheet (which you can’t see). As someone pointed out, Serana actually had decent stealth skills, but some of that came from a flat +25% stealth bonus she got as a vampire. I think there were some stealth focused companions in Skyrim that were decent, but I can’t remember.

      I almost never used any companions in Fallout 3 or Oblivion.

      A few of the companions in New Vegas had decent stealth stats. Again, it was going off their character sheet.

      As with NV, not technically a Bethesda title, but ESO’s companions are totally undetectable if you’re in stealth. To be fair, ESO’s companions are always quest related, because if you want an adventuring minion you’re better off grabbing an unsuspecting newbie, and dragging them off with you.

  16. Ninety-Three says:

    The whole thing is kind of weak and gutless. You can hear the game designer wringing their hands and saying, “But what if players miss out on things? What if they have a different experience from the norm? What if there’s something they want to do it and they can’t because of their build? We have to save them from themselves! We must make all the choices shallow and painless!”

    To be fair, I don’t think lockpicking loot was made deliberately weak. All the game’s loot is weak, it’s incredibly rare that you’ll find anything that’s not either vendor trash or bullets.

    • Sometimes both, since guns you loot from killed enemies have a full magazine in them which you auto-loot.

    • Michael says:

      Also to be fair, locked chests do seem to draw from a better loot table. I’m not sure if it’s just a level adjustment, or if it simply pulls from a different leveled list. But, like you said, loot in the game is kinda… ugh.

      It’s not trash, but it is really samey. You never get the borderlands feel of, “here’s a really weird, messed up, and cool gun,” it’s just, “oh, look, here’s a gun that does 5% more damage but has 10% less ammo capacity.”

      There’s not enough distinct weapons in the game to keep things interesting, even with the absurd range of configuration options. Ignoring the legendary prefix, it’s entirely possible to create a best-in-slot gun five minutes after you start finding the base model, making every subsequent example of that kind of weapon redundant.

  17. Gruhunchously says:

    There more I look at this game, I can’t help but think that it’s a really great RPG exploration/combat system (with many issues) and it would great if someone else could build an actual game over it. In classic Bethesda fashion, the little details are highly polished, whereas the larger elements are filled with brain-boggling design choices.

    The power armor is great. The weapons are horribly unbalanced, but they look and feel good. The raiders make no sense but they have decent AI and cool dynamic conversations with each other when your sneaking by them. The new sneaking system actually gives gradients of how hidden you are, which is more than the old one ever did. The interface is as broken as ever, but the new Pip-Boy actually looks like a usable piece of equipment. The quests are limited and broken almost beyond redemption, but they have cute Vault Boy animations for when you receive and complete them. The dialogue system is some kind of abomination, but the character animation and voice acting is halfway decent. There an interesting relationship dynamic with the companions that forces you to behave a certain way when their around to gain their approval, but the companions themselves are kinda meh. There are a lot of good ideas with not so good execution.

    • Michael says:

      Honestly, even up front, I looked at Fallout 4 as a really solid, open world FPS. It’s Far Cry: Apocalypse Edition, now with 78% fewer radio towers.

      Being able to roleplay in it is incidental to shooting people in the face.

      I mean, it’s fun. It’s got stuff to do. But, it’s not really set up to be an RPG.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        It’s Far Cry: Apocalypse Edition, now with 78% fewer radio towers.

        But also fewer vehicles.And no flying suit.And no vaas/pagan min.Its like poor mans far cry actually.

  18. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I think this is a good spot to say that I rather liked the basic synth design. They felt properly uncanny and creepy and the falling apart thing gave them a nice terminatory vibe.

  19. MechaCrash says:

    It’s odd that anything can bleed, but incredibly handy. In my game, I found a legendary combat shotgun with the Bleeding modifier. The bleed stacks, and it’s 25 points of bleeding damage per pellet, so I can just pop off three shots at something and then hide while it bleeds out. It’s ludicrously good.

  20. Mailbox says:

    So lockpicking. In Skyrim you could open any lock regardless of skill level. Novice, adept, expert, and master were just how difficult they were. Higher level plus the perks would make them easier.
    In Fallout 3 and NV you would need at least 25 points in lockpicking skill to unlock novice locks. And then 50, 75, and 100 to get the advance, expert and master locks respectively. This would require several levels of spending points to obtain. Fallout 4 simplified it. You can now unlock novice right from the start and within 3 levels worth of skill points you could unlock advance, expert and master so long as you have 4 ranks in Perception. Through my experience it’s almost always worth it to put at least two points into lockpicking to get advance and expert it opens up a lot of options whether alternate routes or looting. Master is down right useless. Do not take Master. Stop at Expert. In all of my play time there is only one master lock door that had anything significant behind it. And that door is the one in University Point with the unique laser rifle with the Never-Ending Modifier.
    Alternatively you can recruit Cait as a follower and get her to open advance and expert locks. Or your robot if you have the DLC.
    You can totally romance Danse. I say do it. I love Danse. But you have to go really deep into the Brotherhood faction quest line and you have to pass speech checks.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      You can now unlock novice right from the start and within 3 levels worth of skill points you could unlock advance, expert and master so long as you have 4 ranks in Perception

      And have reached the prerequisite level that allows you to pick it.

      • Incunabulum says:

        Which is another one of their bullshit half-assed implementation of things.

        Look here, you can pick any perk you qualify under with SPECIAL – except then you might not have the same playthrough experience as everyone else so we’ll gate it behind levels also to ensure that no one can ‘screw themselves’ by picking the ‘wrong’ perks.

        No you can’t become a second story man early in the game because that might mean that you don’t pick enough damage increasing perks and you might find out that we didn’t actually design for any other build type except ‘run in screaming and shooting’. Like Skyrim is hardly built around anything except a ‘warrior’ but 100 times worse.

        • I’d say Skyrim was more built for sneaky archers, since that’s MUCH more powerful than melee.

        • Michael says:

          Made worse by the fact that even if you misallocate skill points early on, you’re still going to be putting out enough damage. But by the time you’re high enough level to actually buy the second and third tier for those support perks, you’ll be seriously suffering for damage output.

          My first playthrough, I was putting points into crafting, and I noticed enemies were getting spongier, but I didn’t realize it was a build problem until I was assaulting the Airport.

    • Hold up, speech checks actually do something?

      BRB, gonna go get hitched to a BoS stick-in-the-mud.

  21. Smejki says:

    Actually lockpicking opened a new way to obtain a quest item for me. Once.
    In proper RPG (FNV) that would be even more valid point.

  22. topazwolf says:

    Anyone else played this quest while deep into the Institute faction? If you think it’s odd now, when I played it none of the synths were hostile towards me so it became a, loot everything while watching Danse fighting robots who would occasionally run by and verbally salute me quest. I found it quite leisurely.

  23. I’m going to throw this one out there for the Spoiler Warning crew to mull over. The title for the episode where you meet Piper could be:

    “It’s about ethical in-game journalism.”

    Because I think we’d like to see the comments top 300, right? :)

  24. Supah Ewok says:

    Over 100 hundred comments and a thirty minute, and no mention of how lame the flame special effects from the rocket engine were. Seriously, I’m not generally a graphics snob but this was one of 2015’s biggest releases and THAT was the best they could do for a set piece in one of the main quests?

    I can’t understand Bethesda’s obsessive need to stay with the Gamebryo engine. id is there sister company, I mean COME ON. A Carmack-directed engine for Bethesda would have been glorious. Way to miss the boat on that one, Beth.

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