Fallout 4 EP45: Brotherhood of SEALs

By Shamus Posted Friday Oct 7, 2016

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 114 comments

Link (YouTube)

“You know, the story of this place is kind of interesting if you read the computer terminals,” is probably the saddest thing to hear about an area of this game. It means someone actually came up with a good story, but nobody was willing to make it PART OF THE WORLD. Why? I dunno. I guess they spent all their voice acting budget on the moronic main story.

To be fair, it’s possible that the terminal story would fall apart once it was converted into stilted dialog from dead-eyed characters and the player couldn’t react to the dialog in any way except to choose from one of four lame responses to continue the conversation. Maybe the problem with the story in this game isn’t the story, but the terrible presentation.


In this episode, Josh fights a level-appropriateThe game doesn’t give the Mirelurk the “skull” icon used to denote foes far above your level. foe, and it takes over TWENTY attacks to kill the stupid thing. And one of those attacks is a critical. When you get to the late(ish) stage of the game and foes turn into damage sponges, the whole thing becomes a chore to play. This is on top of the bullshit where you’ll unload a power swing from your super sledge and some lame mook raider will deflect it with their little combat knife and take NO damage. I realize Josh isn’t playing optimally for the purposes of time, but he’s not that underpowered. If he dumped some time into gear and took different perks to double his damage (assuming that’s possible) it still would have taken ten hits to kill this non-legendary foe.

This is why I favor stealth builds. Once you have the requisite stealth perks, you can kill everything in one or two shots. Of course, the downside is that if you do end up in a stand-up fight, it will take even longer, since you’ve been optimizing for stealth instead of damage.

Under the hood, I don’t know what causes this. You’ll run into a mook that dies in two hits. Then a legendary that dies in six. Then a mook that takes twenty. What causes this? I’ve always assumed this was due to the differences in levels between you and your foe. In Borderlands, you can see when a foe is five levels below you or three levels above you, so you have some kind of context for why they might be exceptionally weak / strong. But Fallout 4 hides those numbers from us, so we have no explanation for why this supermutant is taking 15 hits when we killed one in 3 a few minutes ago. It just feels random. And when you’re up against something tough, it’s really slow and unsatisfying.

For a game that supposedly sacrificed all of the worldbuilding, storytelling, roleplaying, player choice, diversity of character builds, and dialog in the name of “player empowerment”, the overall feeling of empowerment in this game is actually pretty terrible.



[1] The game doesn’t give the Mirelurk the “skull” icon used to denote foes far above your level.

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114 thoughts on “Fallout 4 EP45: Brotherhood of SEALs

  1. Gruhunchously says:

    Y’know, the story of this place is kind of interesting if you read the computer terminals”

    I’m getting some unfortunate Dead Money flashbacks here.

    1. IFS says:

      Dead money did have a fairly interesting aesthetic though, what with the red fog hanging over this once glamorous locale. Each of the characters even played into its history and current state (primarily Dean, but then he ties into Christine’s story, who is tied to Elijah, who is tied to Dog/God). Finally the location and characters tie into the themes of the story itself, what with you progressing into steadily more preserved locations while the various characters arcs unravel, possibly culminating in Elijah possibly being trapped in the past literally. The level design was far from perfect sure but the location did tie into the story it was a part of.

    2. GloatingSwine says:

      “This place is kind of interesting if you read the computer terminals” is basically saying “This is a Bethesda dungeon” though.

      Libertalia does get bonus points because the terminals aren’t all about pre-war bollocks that isn’t useful. It’s actually genuinely a story about the world after the war, that’s almost relevant to people you know in the game (because the gang here are former Minutemen), almost as if it’s from a Fallout game or something.

      It’s still all over by the time you get there, and this quest breaks it because the actual character involved in it (Wire) is only here if you come here before you do this quest and the quest replaces him with Gabriel.

      Bethesda have never done terminals as good as the survivalist’s story in Honest Hearts though. They got close with the best piece of character story in this game, which is the ghoul at The Slog who wants you to go and get toy horse bits. You can go to a different dungeon than the one he sends you to which is where he used to work, and find his old office and in it a voicemail from his daughter sent on the day the bombs fell that he never got to hear, which you can bring to him. This is all as far as I can tell completely unmarked and there is nothing in the game telling you that it is even slightly possible. It is the best thing in Fallout 4 and the only time I really felt like humans were involved in its writing. You can only find it by accident.

      1. Blunderbuss09 says:

        Oh god I loved the survivalist’s terminals in Honest Hearts. It’s a sad story that works on many layers because this guy loses so much but dies in peace because he kept Zion safe for a bunch of kids and then you realize that this guy is the ‘Father in the Cave’ that the Sorrows believe watch over them. Then you can find his unmarked body and his rifle. Fighting the White Legs with it felt like carrying on a legacy instead of finding a sweet new weapon, and I put the rifle back after the DLC was over.

        Although Vera Keyes’s hologram and her sad backstory comes close. She actually made me cry.

        1. MrGuy says:

          I really liked the Survivalist story, and I think the thing that made it work most was that it was optional, and was pretty much exclusively a reward for exploration. You never HAD to encounter it. And it wasn’t really tied to a particular place – there was no area in the game that didn’t “make sense” without the Survivalist story. It was a well-written, emotionally powerful story, but it was pure flavor – it was an interesting reflection on how people lived in this world, but it was largely separate from the main story. It’s not “lore” in the sense that the player would never wonder about the Survivalist or how he lived absent the terminals. It’s not “stuff you’re supposed to know” to understand the world.

          Every other attempt I’ve seen to try to recapture this magic has been really flawed. In this case, it’s an interesting story, but it’s also exposition about this place. Why this part of the world is this way doesn’t make sense without it. Rather than be an “interesting flavor reward” for digging it up, it’s a “I wonder what happened here” lore dump. The world feels incomplete without it, and that makes it EXPECTED that you’ll go read everything. Which makes it a chore, not a reward. It’s “yet another way to do a lore dump.”

          The closest I’ve seen Bethesda come to something that approached the Survivalist quest was the Searchers quest from Fallout 3 – it was something you stumbled on, you could follow the clues to find the next one, and got an interesting story out of it. It wasn’t as good, mostly because it was so spread out, and one of the notes was on a terminal you could only access if you’d done an unrelated quest (Riley’s Rangers) – it was too hard to find the notes without the wiki.

          1. One other thing I liked about Fallout 3: 3 Dog’s quest can be optional as well. If you just head to Rivet City or stumble upon Smith Casey’s Garage where the VR vault is, you not only face a bigger challenge (you aren’t getting to GNR escorted by a bunch of BoS bullet-sponges; you have to face the super-mutants yourself if you decide to go there), then you’ll not only be crossing terrain above your ideal level, you’ll get a cache of loot from 3 Dog if you get his satellite dish.

            It doesn’t make up for everything Bethesda did in this franchise by any means, but it was nice that the option is there and it works if you want to give it a go.

      2. Sleeping Dragon says:

        “This place is kind of interesting if you read the computer terminals” is basically saying “This is a Bethesda dungeon” though.

        So a few episodes back someone in the comments posted quotes from players claiming that if you’re playing Bethesda games for the story/quests you’re doing it wrong. I wonder if the banishment of lore into objects that the player needs to interact with is devs thinking they can do the proverbial eating and having. Like they imagine that people who want the backstories and lore and motivations will be happy to interact with terminals (or books, or whatever is the equivalent in a given game) while people who just want to punch mooks will be happy to ignore them and go on with the killing. Frankly it’s not a bad concept on paper, except for the part where it induces a kind of schizophrenia in the fanbase and ignores the main advantage of a game as a storytelling device, the interactivity.

        1. Also, text is cheaper than voice acting.

          It would have been nice if they’d also maybe put a few things in the terminals that rewarded the player. Maybe knowing a boss’s weakness or having a future speech option that wouldn’t otherwise be available?

          I know it’s asking a lot…

        2. Coming_Second says:

          I was thinking something very similar when playing the recent Deus Ex. There’s a lot of alternative history-writing going on in the e-books you find everywhere which are reasonably absorbing. You’d never know the story was about anything but The Clumsiest Metaphor Ever Devised from playing it and talking to NPCs, though.

        3. GloatingSwine says:

          I think they just got praised for environmental storytelling a bit too much and it went to their heads and they decided that was all they ever needed to do again.

          All their actual effort is in environmental storytelling, and that’s a mode of storytelling which is inherently good at conveying things that have already happened and bad at things which are happening,

          1. potatoejenkins says:

            But they are only good at environmental storytelling if the story they tell with the environment has no connection to any kind of plot.

            Bethesda’s famous environmental storytelling broke the Automatron DLC for me.

            The “villainess” claims she only used the already mind wiped brains for her Robobrains (although she also admits she has to mind wipe them on a regular basis herself).
            Yet if you go through the facility you not only find live feral ghouls in the testing areas, there is also a big tank filled with green goo and a Super Mutant and a Radstag head floating around in it. Of course, all of that is just flavor and stuff for you to shoot. You can’t ask or confront her about all these things.

            I’ve learned to ignore bottlecap stashes where there could not be any. I’ve learned that feral ghouls are like roaches. They are everywhere.
            What irritates the hell out of me is “LOLJOKE” environmental storytelling when the only way to make a picture of the situation is the environment. I could no longer tell if it was a joke or if this should help me judge the situation. I assume the latter, because Bethesda. But then I’d have to pretend these things weren’t there when I make my decisions.
            The more this happens the more tiring it gets.

            And let’s not talk about the decision to place the Mechanist’s headquarters right next to the BoS base. Alas, the map is so small, I suppose they didn’t have a choice.

  2. Ira says:

    New Vegas avoided the level problem by fixing most (all?) enemies to a certain level independent of your own, and by making them completely area-dependent. This meant that if you tried to cut North to Vegas early you were liable to be obliterated (Stealth Boys could bypass this), but it also meant you knew *exactly* why that happened. Deatchlaw? Probably dangerous. Powder Ganger? Probably safer than your average gas station attendant.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Yeah, I actually like that approach much better. Sure, it meant that right beside the super-safe starting area was an area full of the hardest enemies in New Vegas, but it was at least telegraphed if you were paying attention to the signs warning of danger, and the scared townsfolk who also warned you of the Deathclaws in the quarry. :)

    2. Hermocrates says:

      Also known as the “Morrowind” theory of game balance, and one I’m strongly in favour of.

      While Morrowind’s overworld was still mostly level-scaled, at least within reasonable ranges, the dungeons still tended to follow the philosophy of fixed levels and if you aren’t powerful enough, well that’s too bad.

      1. I usually hate level scaling, but I found I actually liked it when they added it into Dragon Age Inquisition as a mod, mostly because if you do everything (and I do) you WAY out-level the content so you spend a lot of time doing areas and getting ZERO xp. That is lame.

        But, yeah, in Fallout 4 this is something I “fixed” with a mod. It meant there was a lot of hilarious one-shotting going on, but, really, who cares, it’s not like there’s a lot of VALUE in fighting most of this crap.

        What I REALLY want (but appears to be incredibly difficult) is a mod that turns off the random spawning crap. I got REALLY tired of the sky pooping raiders on me every 30 feet.

        I actually LIKE walking everywhere instead of using the fast travel teleport, but it gets REALLY old when you have to fight the same crap every single time.

        1. The survival mode they added to the game would actually be REALLY sweet in Skyrim, but if you play Skyrim with the fast-travel disabled, you actually discover that the quests kind of “make sense”, in that they quest giver and quest area are generally in the same area. And the towns usually have quests that take you to the “next town” once you’ve wrapped up the local stuff. So there’s a FLOW to it.

          In Fallout 4 there’s nothing like this, you’ll get a quest in one area and it’ll be WAYYY over in the middle of nowhere. Then you get a 2nd quest and it, also, is WAYYY over in the middle of completely different nowhere. There’s no rhyme or reason to it.

          1. Bloodsquirrel says:

            My favorite is when the radroach nest that’s bothering a town is actually on the completely other side of the map.

            1. potatoejenkins says:

              My favourite are the respawning radroaches.

              I decided to finally take the Castle last night. Before I could even talk to Preston my character handed in the last quests I got. One from Sanctuary. Ghouls; And one from Bunker Hill. Raiders. (I reloaded to avoid that, but my character started talking without my input. My hands weren’t even on the keyboard.)

              A few moments of awkward silence later he gave me the next quest. Apparently Bunker Hill had trouble with Raiders.
              After taking the Castle I had to talk to him again. Thank goodness I did, because Sanctuary Hills called for help. Ghouls.
              And as an added bonus he gave me a third quest pointing me to Abernathy Farm to clear out a spot for a new settlement.

              Every time I go to Abernathy Farm someone has been kidnapped. If I rescue the wife and turn the quest in another person has been kidnapped. If I turn in the quest to rescue the daughter and go to the Red Rocket Station for the night, another person will get kidnapped.

              If I find the motivation to boot the game up today I will go straight to Abernathy Farm and shoot everybody.

              1. Could be worse; before the patch that increased the variety of pointless bullshit radiant quests, I managed to finish one where someone was kidnapped from the northern-most settlement…

                …just to turn it in and find out the SAME person was kidnapped by the SAME group and taken to the SAME location. Even after that, I was still playing until I realized that there’s an infinite number of Nuka-Cola Quantums in the game.

          2. Piflik says:

            I just recently replayed Skyrim (played it on PS3 back in 2011 and now on PC) and modded it up to 11, including one that gave me the option to disable fast-travel, and I have to say that I had the opposite experience. NPCs routinely asked me to clear out dungeons or kill bandits/giants/vampires etc that were on the opposite edge of the map. I eventually enabled fast-travel again, when it became too tedious to walk everywhere, even though I also had added additional carriages.

            1. Loonyyy says:

              Gonna have to agree. The radiant quests are the worst, since they can be generically labelled, and are typically for the dungeons floating around.

              I don’t know if Snow still had the compass, but without using fast travel and the map, I was unable to find my way around. Sure, they were often in the same area, but just the geology (Not geography) of the land gets in the way. There are some areas that are almost impossible to traverse if you go the wrong way, and it’s often hard to find things. I had to turn it back on, you need the compass or the map to find your way around, especially for smaller quests.

              The radiant quests and the filler quests to kill X, clear X are the worst for that. I kind of wish they had designed it with that in mind, I really like where they were going with the Clairvoyance spell. It’s an in-lore excuse for a spell that points you in the right direction for a while, and I think that’s just a little bit special. I think maybe they wanted to, but didn’t get the chance to go far enough.

    3. Andy_Panthro says:

      Late game New Vegas still had damage-sponge enemies. I had exactly this sort of issue (where my patience ran out long before my health bar ever would) in New Vegas DLC. It just wasn’t as bad as recent Bethesda games (Oblivion, FO3, FO4 + Skyrim all have this problem in one way or another).

      1. OWB and Dead Money were the only areas where that was really a problem, since you could just Anti-Materiel Rifle anyone in Lonesome Road or Honest Hearts.

        While sneaking, for those who never used that weapon, you can OHK anything outside of a Mother/Father/Alpha Deathclaw with a single headshot if you’ve got the requisite skill and maybe some Psycho to boost it a bit.

        1. Loonyyy says:

          I’m not sure about the Deathclaws, maybe I’m not well geared enough, I’m using an upgraded sniper rifle, and I’m guessing I need the AMR. I feel like the high level enemies are still spongy, just not unfairly, it’s just the way the game escalates threat is damage, the combat isn’t rough enough.

          It’s just that how that meant I fight Deathclaws, which is pretty frequent, is I take them from a long range. The most exciting moments are when they’re closer, and I have to hope to cripple a leg before they kill my companions, and I wish they’d consider that in their design, that maybe you can increase the threat or difficulty of an enemy without just changing damage modifiers. In the early parts of the games they show a lot of variety of enemies and their tactics, but in the late game, everything is just hard to kill and hits hard and you’re best off attacking from a distance repeatedly.

    4. MrGuy says:

      I’m not sure I agree with this assessment.

      There were SOME monsters who were level independent, but as I recall they were really just the ones that were between Goodneighbor and New Vegas. They were definitely there to kill you if you tried to beeline Vegas.

      But most of the other enemies in the game, as I recall it, did level scale – there were WAY more Giant Radscorpions and higher-level Super Mutants once I leveled up a bit.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        At the risk of derailing, I’m sort of okay with this kind of level scaling (called “levelled lists” I believe?) where the game unlocks new enemies or spawns more/higher tier enemies in locations, even if that doesn’t always make sense worldbuilding wise. What drives me up the wall is the scaling of statistics of the same enemies resulting in the exact copy of a goblin I killed in two or three hits now taking five minutes of beating into a pulp (I’m looking at you Oblivion…).

  3. potatoejenkins says:

    Everything Campster said except there is freakin’ food everywhere!

    P.S.: Mirelurks can deflect melee attacks just like humanoid mooks.

  4. Hector says:

    Bethsoft has a long and inglorious history of giving enemies absurd health pools for no adequately explained reason. Unfortunately, they also tend to give enemies one not-terribly-interesting attack. Basically every melee enemy in Skyrim works exactly the same. And every gun-wielding enemy in Fallout 4 works the same. Which means that no matter what they look like, there really isn’t much to take note of. Fighting raiders is almost identical to fighting Gunners is almost identical to super mutants.

    While they do have a few variants to spice things up, it means that most encounters play out very similar to one another. There simply isn’t enough variety in the game the game’s combat to keep it interesting, and the only way to increase difficulty to crank up the health bars even more, until you have raider dudes in shorts who take small atomic explosions to the face without blinking.

    They really need to be designing encounters, and not generic enemies, but that cuts into their badly-designed loot system. Come to think of it, that’s another idea that was implemented far better in Borderlands.

    1. Cybron says:

      This is why I can’t play Bethesda games. The combat is usually so boring.

    2. baseless_research says:

      *flasbacks of gaenor*

      oh no not this shit again

    3. GloatingSwine says:

      Absurd health bars was why everyone with any sense stacked damage reflect in Oblivion, because then you could just stand and let the enemies beat themselves to death and didn’t have to wear your mouse button out.

      1. BurntToast says:

        Oh god, don’t remind me of Oblivion combat. Almost every single enemy in that game was a huge damage sponge. Just awful.

        1. IFS says:

          I distinctly remember that in Oblivion my fighter’s guild character eventually solved every quest by turning invisible and running past the mountains of HP in his way, and my Mage’s guild character just broke the level scaling system and beat everything to death. On reflection I don’t think these were the approaches the game intended.

          1. Loonyyy says:

            I became champion of the arena by running around in circles from enemies pelting them with arrows and fireballs.

            And everyone else in dungeons got baited all the way back to the start or until they got stuck.

      2. Philadelphus says:

        I used to do that in Knights of the Old Republic II as well, which would let you get your blaster reflect levels insanely high*. To the point where in the final areas I’d de-cloak, solo, in the midst of a group of 7″“8 of the end-game trooper enemies, and sit back and watch as they all killed themselves with reflected blaster bolts. Nowhere near as fast or efficient as a double-casting of Force Storm, but endlessly amusing to watch.

        *I think 3/4 of the lightsaber upgrade components had at least one option that increased it, and you could stack crystals, and then there was the Force power that boosted it by +10…

    4. Comparing it to Borderlands is somewhat apt, but not in a good way. I found B1 and B2 excessively dull. It’s gun-math, the video games. The enemies were far too repetitive, and I hated how I’d have to revisit areas that would respawn the same mobs in the same locations with the same loot boxes refilled, only for this new mission, I’d have an extra boss or two.

      I hated that system even more when it showed up in Fallout 4, making the world even less persistent than before. Why was that done? To save memory on consoles?

    5. Hector says:

      If I can be so bold as to respond to my own comment, let me point out a few things about how Borderlands makes combat interesting.with relatively few assets and enemies.

      The humble loader comes in a lot of variants, but each one is distinctive enough that you cane come to recognize it quickly, which allows you to prioritize. Better yet, each loader variety has a unique attack method (along with some not-obvious or conditional surprises), which makes them versatile foes. This means that the loaders can threaten you from a variety of ranges and attack types, which each require you to pay attention and quickyl make decisions in a fight.

      However, almost every enemy in Borderlands has fairly low health; those that differ are either visibly-distinct Badasses or otherwise really obvious. This means that under most circumstances, you can quickly take down an individual loader but have to constantly scan the area, aim at weak points, and keep on the move. If your damage is too slow, you need to get better lootz. This not only creates a good grind, since the way you get better stuff is by testing yourself against challenges, but also gives you a constant flow in each fight. One battle might spawn a lot of flame-spewing HOT loaders, meaning you want to keep your distance and maybe switch to a tool suited for that play, while a fight against several PWR loaders means keeping carefully within range and unloading as fast as you can. The game specifically encourages this by allowing you to take, and quickly swap, four weapons at once.

      Merely swapping a few loaders in and out creates a VERY different encounter, which helps keep the energy going.

      1. …and no matter what you do, the final thing you do in B1 is discover the “vault” is BS and you have to fight a “hit the weak spot for max damage” Nintendo-style monster.

        After all that grind and build-up? Feh.

        1. Shoeboxjeddy says:

          It’s not like Borderlands 1 had such a super engaging plot that the fart of an ending truly hurt the game that much. And the endings of 2 and Pre-Sequel were far more appropriate as they DID hear that criticism.

          1. I’d disagree, since all the characters are “Vault Hunters.” After the gunmath became dull more than halfway through the game, I was at least hoping for something at the end that would be a payoff for the time I’d wasted.

            Needless to say, I was disappointed, even by mindless shooter standards.

            1. Shoeboxjeddy says:

              The payoff of that vault was that it opened numerous vaults across the whole planet, some of which DO have treasure in them. This explains the extreme increase in Vault Hunting characters the series has after 1, plus it continues the story of the 1st game characters and actually creates some interesting plot circumstances beyond “then they killed this guy… then this different guy… then this guy.”

              1’s plot ended in a lame way, but you complained about it in an off topic way, which makes it sound like this is a pet hate. It seems like a meaningless hill to die on when the endings of so many other games are so much worse.

        2. Loonyyy says:

          The grind and build up isn’t for there though.

          The advantage to Borderlands is that gunplay is more engaging. The enemies have weaknesses which synergise with targetting skills, elemental weapons and skills etc. The coop and the AIs make things more interesting. Each encounter is distinct because enemies have different tactics, even in one style, Loaders, Raiders etc.

          Fallout doesn’t have that. It has a first person system, but it’s shallow. In VATS, there is little reason to target anything not at the highest percentage, and when you have the choice, the head, or an explosive on a bomber is the best choice. Aiming yourself, you’ve just got shooting. It’s not best in class. Doom does movement better, CoD does the ADS modern shooter better.

          Admittedly Borderlands isn’t so great at what it does. The lootz suck, since you’re relying on lootz, you can end up stuck waiting on a suitable drop (Which has to fit in combat, which makes it harder finding a good gun that works good), lowering your DPS for extended periods and slowing you down. But it does do gunplay competently, even at higher levels, where the game typically solves problems by introducing more enemy types.

          Fallout doesn’t do this, and so the gunplay becomes repetitive. Going through the same locations is exactly the same. And unlike Borderlands, you’re not driving past it at high speed.

          Unlike Fallout, a significant amount of skill can go into some play, especially with partners against multi enemy challenges. Which negates some of the gun math, which underlines some of the worst encounters. By far the worst thing in BL, is large enemies who are spongy, because you can even run out of ammo that will really hurt it.

    6. Loonyyy says:


      I don’t even think it’s that much of a flaw in their combat system since each game tends to give you more options to make sure you’re doing something novel or even fun, but the enemies quickly tend towards sponges out of design. They might do something novel with the early enemies, but late game enemies are heavy hitting sponges, maybe even with the same model. If they fought differently, or did anything to make me have to do something special, it’d be nice.

      Instead, it’s just blast them in the face, over and over. Preferably with a buff from high range. It takes advantage of non of the first person system, and doesn’t have the same scale as the tactical one. It manages to get the worst of both worlds.

  5. First, at least that Legendary Bloodbug handed out a decent drop for once in the game.

    Second, you CAN actually see the level and resists of enemies…after taking Awareness, which requires 3 PER.

    1. Andy_Panthro says:

      If Josh had actually modded that hunting rifle, it would have become a very powerful sniper rifle.

      The explosive damage is broken in this game, and my best weapon ended up being a legendary tommy gun with explosive damage. Worked like a charm! (until I ran out of .45 ammo, but thankfully that didn’t happen a lot).

      1. Yurika Grant says:

        I got a 5.56 explosive assault rifle once. And yeah… that thing beat basically every other weapon short of the fat man.

      2. guy says:

        I used a hunting rifle as my main gun on my first playthrough for quite a while. I think I stuck with it clear until Far Harbour, when its damage was starting to lag and it took like five shots to put down the sturdier mooks, so I switched to a lever-action rifle and went back to two-shotting people.

        1. The only weapon I ended up really relying on was a suppressed Gauss Rifle (how that works is beyond me) even after taking most of the ranks in the rifle damage perk.

  6. Abnaxis says:

    I think the issue you describe is because the armor/damage formula is non-linear. In other words, doubling you damage against a same-armored foe does much less than double the damage they take, or doubling the armor of a foes does much more than halve the damage they take.

    Basically, the rate of armor gains of enemies greatly, greatly outpaces the rate that you deal increased damage, so high-armored mirelurks (or Radscorpions, god I hate Radscorpions in this game) turn into damage sponges.

    It also explains why explosives are so dangerous–they do a metric arse-ton of damage, so much so that it puts you in the “steep” section of the non-linear curve unless you have an absurd amount of armor. That means both the damage is high, and you aren’t reducing it as much so it’s a cubed-whammy (the damage formula is roughly a cubed-root curve)

    1. GloatingSwine says:

      It’s also why sneak attacks and crit stacking are so powerful. Because you can trivially farm 5x normal damage from sneak attacks and ultra-silly numbers from sneak crit headshots your damage number goes insane and still murders everything.

      Also why fast bleed weapons are really good. Because bleed applies on every hit and there is no such thing as bleed resistance so no matter how piddly your main damage is the bleed still applies and stacks with every hit.

    2. Ninety-Three says:

      I think the issue you describe is because the armor/damage formula is non-linear. In other words, doubling you damage against a same-armored foe does much less than double the damage they take

      You’ve got it backwards. Doubling your base damage yields 2.6 times more total damage (as long as they have even a scrap of armour, damage goes back to a 1:1 scaling once your weapon damage is about seven times their armour). The armour formula is punishing to rapid, low-damage attacks, but at least it’s percentage-based rather than New Vegas’s straight damage reduction which made enemies outright immune to automatic weapons.

      1. Abnaxis says:

        From the formula I’m looking at on the wiki here: say you’re fighting an enemy, and your current damage/armor ratio is X. That means doubling your damage will result in 2*(1 – 0.5*X^(0.366))/(1-0.5*(2*X)^(0.336)) times more damage (as long as your new damage isn’t more than ~6.5 times their armor)

        That’s not a straight-up multiplication–if you want to know new damage, you have to know what their armor was to begin with as well as how much your damage increased. So yeah…I guess you DO do more than double damage, but how much more depends on their armor, and I lost track of my wording above. My bad

        I tried, but I can’t inline the graph. Guess I have to hyperlink it here.

        Also, point still stands that (I think) enemies get armor faster than the player gets more damage–especially the outliers like power-armor wearing enemies and Mirelurks–which puts the player in the “god damnit what is with the damage sponges?” part of the damage/armor curve unless you’re min/max’ing.

        1. Ninety-Three says:

          That's not a straight-up multiplication”“if you want to know new damage, you have to know what their armor was to begin with

          Nope! Assuming you don’t run into the point where armour stops applying (weapon damage 6.5 times greater than armor), for any armor value, doubling your base damage results in net damage increasing by a factor of 2.5775.

          You had the formula right there and you still got it wrong.

          1. Abnaxis says:

            I tilted my head, and thought really hard about how both my formula could be wrong and my assertion could be wrong, but then I realized all I need to do is plug in a couple of examples and all would be clear.

            Moving from a damage/armor ratio of 1.5 to 3 (so e.g. shooting a 10 DR with a 15 damage gun versus a 30 damage gun) results in a 3.33-fold increase in damage, but going from a ratio of 2 to 4 (20 damage bullet vs 40 damage bullet against our same beleaguered 10 DR raider) results in a 4.2-fold increase in damage, with my formula above

            One of us is misunderstanding the formula (which could very well be me, because the site has a really convoluted way of describing it)

            1. Ninety-Three says:

              Expressed sanely, the formula is:
              netDamage = baseDamage*0.5*([baseDamage/damageResistance]^0.366)

              Here’s a spreadsheet demonstrating that the ratio isn’t related to resistance. To prove it’s implemented correctly, I included the wiki’s example of a 45.6 hunting rifle against 50 dmr, which calculates correctly.

              Note: For simplicity, I skipped over the fact that the formula changes at base damage ~> 6.5*resistance.

        2. Xeorm says:

          Easier way of looking at it:

          FinalDamage = base damage * damageCoefficient
          damage Coefficient = (base damage / armor) ^ .366 * .5
          so Final Damage = base damage * (base damage / armor) ^ .366 * .5

          But, we can also rearrange it so it looks like this:
          Final damage = base damage ^ 1.366 * armor ^ -.366 * .5

          If we double our base damage, it’d look something like:
          Final damage = (2 * base damage) ^ 1.366 * armor ^ -.366 * .5 (2^1.366 is 2.577549…or 2.6).
          Doubling the armor is .77. Doubling both armor and damage means the damage itself is doubled.

    3. I’m guessing that explosives ignore armor unless the armor is explosion resistant.

      And when you shoot with explosive bullets into the water you get this geysir effect, does water reduce the effect of a explosion?

      1. Ringwraith says:

        Armour’s weird here a hybrid of Bethesda’s % damage reduction and subtraction (which normally makes low-damage weapons do little to high armour). The reasons why explosives seemingly ignore armour is because armour is significantly less effective against damage much higher than its rating, and explosives always have stupidly high numbers, and they also damage multiple times (due to hitting multiple limbs) at once.

        Explosives being overpowered as a side-effect of the damage calculation has been mentioned multiple times as a result.

    4. Yurika Grant says:

      It also doesn’t help that Beth STILL rely on the outdated DR values instead of using DT. Or a combo of both which would be ideal (like J Sawyer’s mod for NV).

  7. Tuskin says:

    regarding the glitch out near the end of the video with the conversation and X-6 went into combat, I think there was another Vertibird out there, the explosion was it crashing. You walk past the debris at the end of the video.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Gawd those things are ridiculous. I get that they didn’t want for BoS to just fly around killing everything but it’s like every single critter that can throw a stick or spit can bring the vertibirds down, and the BoS gunners apparently attended the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.

  8. Teddy says:

    This is why in my New Vegas playthrough I had a suite of mods that set damage to realistic values. It wasn’t just “Make everything deal 10x damage;” I had one that raised weapon damages, but also increased armor effectiveness (so in power armor you actually felt bulletproof), and another that made it so health scaled at a fraction of the normal rate – meaning even at high levels, you weren’t a bullet sponge, and neither was anybody else.

    It was intense, but so much fun, and a lot more immersive than anything I’ve been able to find so far in Fallout 4.

    1. Henson says:

      This reminds me of how one of the most distinctive combat I’ve experienced in the last few years was playing ‘glass cannon’ Metro 2033 on Ranger Normal difficulty. Every encounter requires your full attention.

    2. Redingold says:

      I use the Realistic Battle and Dynamic Combat mod for that. I remember one time, I’d acquired Brotherhood power armour, and I fast travelled to the Crimson Caravan Company. Unfortunately, the folks there were hostile to the Brotherhood of Steel, and immediately opened fire on me. Fortunately, the mod meant that I was essentially impervious to damage, so I just stood there and took it. A dozen people shot at me with revolvers, shotguns and rifles, and I just stood there and took it. It was hilarious.

      1. Oddly enough, my characters are usually so tough that I can do the same thing and all I’d need to do is eat a few items and I’d be fine until my armor broke.

        1. Loonyyy says:

          You kinda get used to it though as you build it over time until you take almost no damage.

          The idea of pulling on power armour and actually feeling it sounds cool to me.

          And I’d imagine that the other power armoured foes are really interesting then, because right now I shoow them how I like, and they drop quick, whereas having to use heavy weapons on them would be nice.

    3. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I usually play games on easy “for the story” and stay away from difficulty increasing mods but recently I’ve been replaying FO3 (I blame this SW season) and I’ve decided to try the Fallout Wanderer’s Edition, with… I have to say I was amazed at how intense it made the game and I think I might have been missing out, though a couple places took intense savescumming to get through.

  9. I recommend “Cats Don’t Dance” to those who like Tiny Toons Adventures and the like. It’s pretty frenetic in places, but overall a very underrated animated movie.

  10. Content Consumer says:

    Maybe the problem with the story in this game isn't the story, but the terrible presentation.

    I dunno, it’s not like Bethesda has a problem with doing that anyway.

    1. Yeah when it comes to presentation they are pretty good. When they present exiting the vault etc. that is all awesome.

      The issue is logic holes. And not just logic to us, but logic relative to the game world itself.
      That is probably the major issue with any game/series/movie/book/story, if stuff does not make sense in-universe then it won’t in real life either.

      I’m guessing someone are either too hands on or not enough hands on among the lead writer/game director guys.

  11. “You'll run into a mook that dies in two hits. Then a legendary that dies in six. Then a mook that takes twenty. What causes this?”

    Well Shamus, Fallout for has instanced levels.
    If you haven’t been to a place before then the enemies spawned are within a certain level range relative to the player.
    So if you are low level and run around then most enemies (when respawning as well) will be low, if you are high level then they will be high.

    Also be aware that while your do more damage as you level up, the weapons do not.
    So eventually you will reach levels of like 100 and the weapons will start to do less damage if enemies are instanced.

    Example: Reaching level 100+ in Fallout 4 and you have the best weapons and upgrades, then later playing you get Far Harbor DLC, the enemies there are instanced “close” to your level, but your weapons does less damage relatively speaking if you instead went to Far Harbor around level 20-30ish.

    I have no idea where the tipping point is (level+skills+weapon damage) are as good as it gets. It’s kinda like a bell curve I guess. ?

    Oh and the higher level you are the more legendaries you will run into (and I assume the more likely they are to mutate as well).

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      I have no idea where the tipping point is (level+skills+weapon damage) are as good as it gets. It's kinda like a bell curve I guess. ?

      Depends if your build is focused on playing like an FPS, or abusing VATS criticals. The critical build levels very well (and pretty much breaks the game when you combine it with a Relentless weapon [refill AP on crit], which are guaranteed to drop in certain places). A regular DPS build technically peaks at level 3 for ranged (first perk damage, second perk mods) and 4 for melee (damage, mods, rooted), but in practice a lot of enemies have a minimum level they spawn at, so there’s no sense being extremely low level and optimal damage/level happens when you get either rank 2 or rank 3 mods, depending on your exact build and preferred weapon.

    2. Leocruta says:

      I knew the level scaling would be a problem later on in my playthrough, so I immediately ran all over the map in a grid pattern, not bothering to fight or explore, but making sure all the enemies were set to spawn at the lowest possible level for that area (somewhat ironically, I didn’t make it to a high enough level where this would be really noticeable before I felt I’d had more than enough of fallout 4).

      Even with this precaution, I still ran into damage sponge enemies. Mirelurks are the most memorable, and it doesn’t help that I picked up the final melee perk, thereby lowering my melee damage. I hear this has now been fixed, but it wasn’t at the time of the summer sale (which is when I picked up F4).

      1. *nods*

        3 things annoy me the most in RPGs (aka What CRPGs get wrong!).

        #1. Scaled enemies. Enemies should be like in the Witcher 3, locations should have enemies with levels that make sense for that enemy and that area. And occasionally there should be roaming enemies too (can be scripted).

        #2. Legendary (mole)rats, makes no sense. If it was a special large one with a scar over it’s eye that has survived dozens of knights I’d get it. But if you go into a random basement and there’s a legendary then that is just stupid. (and don’t even get me started on “mutating” robots)

        #3. Weapon loot drops. Why does animals have human(oid) items? unless they ate them they should not drop that, nor gold. And human(oids) should only drop the weapons and armor they carry/use. This is possibly my biggest pet peeve. #1 and #2 can usually be fixed by cheats (or Cheat Engine if no dev console exist), #3 is difficult to fix as a player.

    3. guy says:

      Also, some enemy types have drastically more hitpoints than others. It seems like people with stock names like “gunner” are very fragile while ones with names like “gunner private” have maybe five times as many hit points.

    4. Gethsemani says:

      It is also important to remember that Mirelurks get a massive damage reduction on every attack that hits the carapace. They are squishy if you can get a hit on their soft parts, which can be really tricky when they move towards you, since the carapace seems to invisibly extend to the front. This is probably why the mirelurk in the video is so resistant, despite all conventional wisdom saying it should be dead from one or two hits.

  12. Blunderbuss09 says:

    Raise your hand if you were minding your own business exploring Boston and a vertibird landed on your head out of goddamn nowhere.

    There’s a mod that gives them this fancy thing called a ‘damage threshold’ so they became pretty hard to shoot down. Unfortunately that just made them huge pains in the ass whenever you were trying to get anything done if you pissed the BOS off because those things are everywhere.

    I get it, they came with an army and they’re trying to take over and the constant vertibird presence does a good job reflecting that. But goddamn does it just make them annoying in every way possible.

    Anyway, I also liked the idea that these raiders were once decent people that slowly became raiders because it’s nice to have them humanized beyond blood-thirsty cannibals. Of course the game never followed through on this but it would have been nice to convince or threaten them to stop.

    But the massive pile of bodies on the floating pontoon makes me wonder who the hell they’re raiding. There’s three settlements (excluding the ones you make) and there’s no way they produce so much to support so many raiders. If the raiders were mostly self-sufficient but just stole things they couldn’t make themselves like medicine or ammo, that’d be one thing, but apparently they rely entirely on killing traders.

    I’ve got half a mind to mod most of the raiders into groups of wastelanders or settlements. They can still be hostile or territorial, but at least Boston would feel like it’s full of people rather than ten people and a million mooks.

    1. Fists says:

      Replacing lots of raider settlements with the Scavenger NPCs then replacing Scavenger random encounters with a strong Raider warband would probably be cool, at least make the setting a little more balanced.

    2. Leocruta says:

      For some inexplicable reason, it seemed like bethesda programmed crashing vertibirds to home in on the player. I recall seeing a video of a vertibird begin crashing, then fly directly toward the player over such a distance that it didn’t seem to be crashing at all, and the pilot was merely overcome by his irrational burning hatred for you.

    3. potatoejenkins says:

      The vertibird mod was one if not the first one I installed and I even forgot I had it running. One of the essential ones next to making enemies more perceptive and aggressive. Drastically reducing the vertibird spawn rate would also go a long way. They always spawn at Libertalia. And someone forgot about the Institute quest there when setting that random encounter – pardon, vertibird spawn – location.

      I miss the “tribal” aspect from the earlier games. While reading terminals reveals that not all of the raiders are drug addled crazies, most of them still are. Because … why? With tribes you could at least build in some weird traditions and reasons for them to be hostile to everyone not part of their group aside from drugs and “lolevil”.

      With the Nuka World Pack they were bold enough to at least hint at cannibalism. On the other hand, that might’ve been the Raider Overhaul mod I have installed.

  13. Glazius says:

    So there are a couple things Bethesda never tells you.

    Thing 1 is that enemies have damage multipliers on their body parts. A headshot will do more damage than a limb shot will do more damage than a torso shot — on human enemies, anyway.

    Thing 2 is that it ain’t just in VATS. When you aim at an enemy what you hit is what you hit. When you swing a melee weapon and connect, what you hit is what you hit first.

    Thing 3 is that mirelurk shells are darn near indestructible, and shell-bearing mirelurks are scripted to present a target profile that is largely, if not entirely, shell.

    So, like, after the interminable killclaw fight you went down to the beach and tangled with a softshell mirelurk, which are like level 5, but your shiskebab was still just kind of pinging off its shell for little to no damage. (Doesn’t help that shiskedamage is partly energy, which mirelurks are more resistant to, especially in the shell.)

    1. GloatingSwine says:

      The existence of headshots is a given for anyone who has played a shootmans game post-Half Life 1.

      Most enemies has a “headshot” location, but it’s not always the head (eg. Mr Gutsy/Handy robots its the thruster).

      Assaultrons take reduced damage to the head, just to be mean.

      If you want to find them just scan all the hit locations in VATS and see which one reduces the most bar.

  14. Fists says:

    I think Josh has just hit one of my least favourite parts of the game: A quantum leap in enemy strength. That is, they’ve moved from one level to another with no steps in between and it’s quite a large gap in this instance. One moment you’re cruising along smooshing everyone you see, getting confident about travel the wasteland, then you level up. Next time you generate a new area or enter an area that’s had a refresh cycle since your last visit all of a sudden creatures that are largely indistinguishable from the last ones you fought have double the armor rating and a heap more firepower.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Yup. It is also the reason I never finished Fallout 4. I got to lvl30 and that made all enemies mountains of HP and damage dealing making playing a PAIN. Then on top of that the Automation DLC (that I did not know was on) added rowing HIGH level mecs that can basically instantkill you and have the damage resistances and HP pool to weather MINUTES of sustained gunfire. No I am not putting up with that kind of bullshit thank you very much.

    2. Henson says:

      This is what was wrong with Oblivion, too. There was actually an incentive to never level up, due to how much random monsters would overtake you.

      1. Fists says:

        Oblivion was very progressive though, every level or two you’d see a new mod or higher tier enemy/gear. This is like eight levels then everyone doubles in strength. In both games though it means knowing which builds are good broken and which are bad broken, like automatics in Fallout 4.

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    And then people go on and say how the gunplay in this game is good,an improvement over the previous version.

    1. Andy_Panthro says:

      Early game, the guns felt so much better than Fallout 3. The problems all show up later, because level scaling is hard.

    2. Raygereio says:

      FO4’s gun gameplay is actually good. Id Software devs helped with the design and it shows: It’s not just huge improvement over FO3, it simply has solid shooter mechanics. Period.

      The problem is with the encounter design. Or more accurately: Bethesda’s overreliance on straight health scaling as dynamic difficulty adjustment. They really need to start experimenting with things like different number of enemies, different types of attacks and variations in combat AI.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        FO4's gun gameplay is actually good.

        Ill contest that.Having your weapons fire projectiles where you aim does not make your shooting good.Just because fallout allows your weapons to connect bullets to your target does not make it good.Fallout 4 is not a good shooter.A good shooter needs more than just guns that shoot.It needs:
        Varied weaponry.Guns that shoot fast,guns that shoot slow,guns with different reload speeds,perhaps guns that have slow projectiles along with hitscan weapons for contrast,guns with blast radii,guns that require perfect precision,……..

        The main problem with all the modern fallouts is that their weapons are mostly the same.Which is a shame,because their contemporary is skyrim,a game where your weapons actually can do different things.Bows work differently from swords,and magic works different still.You dont just put your crosshair over the enemy and press the button.

        A second thing that a good shooter needs is:
        Enemies that react to getting shot differently.Being staggered,panicking because they are on fire,running away to attack you from distance,running towards you to engage you in melee,….Granted,fallout 4 has suiciders and enemies that can block your melee attacks,but most of the time they just stand there while the two of you trade blows/bullets and one falls over dead.

        Which is basically what you said yourself.The lack of “different number of enemies, different types of attacks and variations in combat AI” is precisely why fallout 4 is not a good shooter.

        VATS is practically the only place where the game attempts something interesting,with skills designed to actually tweak it in different ways rather than just improve the way your weapons drain enemy health bars.And most people say how this is the worst part of combat.Frankly,thats bonkers.

        1. Raygereio says:

          You’re trying to argue with the wrong fictious person here.
          The person who’s praising FO4’s gun gameplay isn’t claiming that FO4 is a good shooter. They’re saying that the basic mechanics of shooting your weapon are good. Things like aiming, spread, recoil, etc.


          Varied weaponry.Guns that shoot fast,guns that shoot slow,guns with different reload speeds,perhaps guns that have slow projectiles along with hitscan weapons for contrast,guns with blast radii,guns that require perfect precision

          Both FO3 and FO4 have all of those. They weren’t implemented well in that the game didn’t use those attributes to differentiate how the various weapons “feel”, but it was there.

          1. tmtvl says:

            It’s like a classically trained painter who’s learning to draw digitally: normally they talk about presenting light, shadow, texture,… but when using a tablet they’ll be happy if they can make the people they draw symmetric.

            Same here: if it was Unreal Tournament the gunplay would be abhorrent; but it’s Fallout, so the gunplay is good.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Meaning that an rpg with good gunplay is not achievable?Mass effects 2 and 3 show that its not so.

              1. tmtvl says:

                good gunplay

                Mass Effect 2

                Can’t tell if trolling or serious. Especially ’cause it’s you.

                But yeah, it’s Bethesda. Even if they get help from id, it’s still Bethesda.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  I am serious.Me2 has good gunplay.Though it doesnt involve just guns,but powers as well.And me3 improves on it even more.There are still some hiccups,like the one button that will rule them all,and some of the things with heat sinks,but it is a good shooter overall.Varied projectiles you get to use(and mix for the best impact),varied enemies and tactics,full control over your companions when needed,pause that doesnt involve slow animation every time you activate it,all of those are good.

                2. Shoeboxjeddy says:

                  ME2 has good gunplay, yeah. The weapon set is too limited (3 fixes this), but firing a sniper rifle, shotgun, or grenade launcher all feel good respective to their weapon class.

  16. Mokap says:

    In the end, the damage sponge enemies pissed me off enough that I switched the difficulty down to Easy, like some kind of filthy casual. Alongside Mass Effect 1, this is one of the few games that is much more fun for me on lower difficulties.

  17. Christopher says:

    You didn’t only sentence yourself to walk the plank, that raider in the middle of the episode got a go as well.

  18. Christopher says:

    It’s kinda sad to hate Bethesda for not being Obsidian though. They are obviously never going to be good at the same stuff, and they even had the good grace to let Obsidian make a game with all their Fallout 3 stuff. On the other hand… I guess I would be very bitter too if the God of War guys were suddenly in charge of Bayonetta. But still, it’s SUCH a long time since the first fallouts. Would there even have been a New Vegas if not for Bethesda?

  19. MrGuy says:

    To be fair, it's possible that the terminal story would fall apart once it was converted into stilted dialog from dead-eyed characters and the player couldn't react to the dialog in any way except to choose from one of four lame responses to continue the conversation. Maybe the problem with the story in this game isn't the story, but the terrible presentation.

    This crystalizes for me what I think of the dialogue in this game.

    Simply put, you are not a character. You are a FOIL for their characters.

    The people you SPEAK to are characters. They have “interesting” stuff they want to say. Your job is not to participate – it’s to sit here and listen, and occasionally nod your head to tell them to continue.

    Bethesda doesn’t care what you want to say, or make the characters react to YOU. You’re here to listen. The “four options that are really the same” is their way of trying to disguise it a little, but it rings decidedly false and hollow.

    Every conversation in the game is really a barely-participatory exposition dump. And that’s all it is.

    1. Mass Effect had some of the same issues.
      Partly due to the dialog wheel not reflecting what would be said, but more like the mood of what would be said. And relaying mood through text is almost impossible.

      BioWare did improve the system over the Mass Effect series, and they’ve probably improved on it further with Mass Effect 4: Andromeda (yep, that’s what I’m calling it now).
      They also evolved the Dragon Age 3: Inquisition dialog wheel as well

      Bethesda really need to just steal those ideas from BioWare. What they did in Fallout 4 reminds me of Mass Effect 1.

    2. Loonyyy says:

      And that makes character design kind of unimpressive. I see people making pop culture characters and stuff, and that’s pretty and all, but how am I meant to make my character if they’re going to play the straight man to everyone else? Like, can’t an AI be the straight man, and we’re able to pick our role?

  20. Garrett Carroll says:

    See, but the whole point of Fallout 4 is to have a broken story line and combat system so you focus all your time on building settlements.

  21. Ciennas says:

    I mentioned this last thread, but I think I have a much simpler fix for F4’s story.

    Ditch Shaun as head of the Institute. I feel like they went to cliche Shyamalan level of twistiness, and twisted their story apart.

    Have Shaun be one of the kids roaming the institute but with an explosive collar on.

    Say, still have Shaun have remotely triggered your release using the network tap the raiding party put on the vault. This would handily explain the lack of supplies- nobody officially expected your release. (Alternately, have an underling who is good aligned release you.)

    Story proceeds as normal, and then you crash into the Institute, they are still polite because the heavily armed crazy person stormed in to their impenetrable defense.

    (Suffice to say, Kellog would be a different encounter. But really the lead up to the institute just needs tweaking.)

    Then, the Director threatens you and your son’s well being. Forces you to comply with his demands, in pursuit of his goals, to replace Kellog, whom you killed. If his demands aren’t met, then poof! No more son. Maybe hint that your spouse could survive their mortal wounding with Institute tech.

    (Whether or not he aimed to clone your spouse or actually heal them would be sidequest dependent- ie help the medical bay with some essential repairs or some such.)

    Then he continues on with his goal- which would….. have to exist. Maybe secure the place against his enemies, but maybe subvert his enemies instead? Replace Desdemona and Maxson with duplicates. I dunno. The Institute needed a goal to pursue to be a fully realized faction anyway.

    Then you either work with him or subvert him, culminating in a tense battle aboard his superweapon. Or something.

    In his dying moments, he breaks the teleporter and wipes the data or wipes the whole institute depending on player choices. Or hell, the player can then wipe the institute after the director cripples them.

    Boom. For a fun followup, determine who takes over the institute, and retire elsewhere with your rescued son/spouse/tiny memorial plaque commemorating them both.


    1. Phantos says:

      This main plot of this game is one of those things where literally any change, no matter how small would be an improvement over what they went with.

      I’ve read a lot of suggestions and fan-fic-style ways to “Fix” the main plot, and they’ve all been better than what we got. Your suggestions continue this tradition.

      I really enjoy Fallout 4 as a whole, but I can’t defend anything in this game involving the institute or Shaun. It’s actually kind of amazing that Bethesda couldn’t come up with a single redeeming feature to THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THEIR GAME.

    2. Loonyyy says:

      It’s easier than that.

      Have the player character be able to work out that time has passed. It’s something everyone mentions, and the PC is woefully ignorant of it. The problems get worse when it bottlenecks your intro to the institute, and just writing out more options that make more sense would do. Shaun at the institute is passable, but the synth Shauns as kids make no sense. They’re useless. The DNA plot is dumb, and leaves a vault of samples behind.

      Even with what they had, the story could be passable, if it’s incredibly annoying how they limit your choices and input and the factions want to do dumb things, it still works. But asking the player to play dumb while the PC doesn’t realise their son is older, and take shit from NPCs saying they won’t help you, when you’re their boss, and then go through a dumb chain of events to come to the twist, which was just set up as hell.

      Synth Shaun is the weakest part, because when you see the twist, you’ll instantly go, why the hell did they do that? There’s no good reason for the Synth Shauns, or them parading the Waste, except to setup the reveal, and that is dumb, and half the players have already gone, they refroze me, how much time has passed?

  22. AJax says:

    For a game that supposedly sacrificed all of the worldbuilding, storytelling, roleplaying, player choice, diversity of character builds, and dialog in the name of “player empowerment”, the overall feeling of empowerment in this game is actually pretty terrible.

    “B-b-but the improved gunplay! What about the much improved gunplayz!”

    Nevermind the godawful level scaling bethesda loves to shove into their games which renders the enemies bullet spongy as all hell…

  23. PandaBearParade says:

    Actually, the fact that Josh has severe challenge is something I like. Why? It shows the game really is an RPG, despite everyone crying that it’s not. Subpar builds suck, and they feel like they suck. My build from level thirty on never has any difficulty melting just about anything in seconds. Builds should feel different from one another and building a character extremely poorly should result in combat feeling like a chore.

    Granted, it’s not ideal, but there really are more options for combat* than in Fallout 3/New Vegas. Get people to surrender, turn beasts and robots against others, sneak and shoot, rush in and whack things with a stick, use a plasma thrower and a jetpack for a real “I’m a dragon” style of combat.

    *More combat variety, but far less variety in other areas. I miss the ability checks and ways to avoid combat New Vegas had. Far Harbor was better in that regard, so maybe Bethesda is slowly learning and trying to do better?

    1. Coming_Second says:

      But that contributes to the weird dichotomy going on in this game between the combat and everything else.

      We’ll make sure you’re building your character correctly by putting in vast quantities of damage sponge enemies. There’ll be different ways of killing the dudes – you can hit the dudes with a flaming sword, you can shoot the dudes from a long way away, you can make the dudes fight each other – but you better make damn sure you’re picking the right perks whatever the case, because otherwise this game will be unrelenting, miserable slog for you.

      Nothing you say to NPCs makes the slightest bit of difference. Go ahead and insult them, flagrantly bat for their enemies, slaughter their minions wholesale, they won’t care. The only way to approach any mission is to kill everyone. The game is designed this way to make absolutely sure even the stupidest moron can succeed.

    2. Ciennas says:

      Ahem. Nuka World. There is ever only one solution to Bethesda scenarios, and it always involves trial by combat. Too bad it wasn’t always this way, Oblivion had the Thieves Guild, for instance.

    3. Loonyyy says:

      But it should be more visually and interactively interesting, than, hit something 20 times.

      That’s poor design. Maybe including stat scaling makes it more RPG like, but that’s the trivial approach. A Fallout style RPG should (Well, maybe it shouldn’t, it hasn’t mattered for 3 entries now), make those stats matter to the story and the role.

      You should be able to get the stat boost and have interesting gameplay. Otherwise it’s taking the worst parts of shooter design and marrying them to the worst of turn based RPG design and mashing them together.

      It also means that your correctly built character can never feel good. He either cuts through like you do, or the damage is lowered and Josh cuts through and you mow through things, but enemies are just resistance, drag, friction. Because the only way that levelling matters is the numbers change, and that’s boring. Levelling should give you some more options and keep you involved, and being underlevelled should mean that you’re less prepared.

      They need to make encounters interesting. I think they started here in Fallout 4, there are some enemy types with special attack strats which are good, but at the high level, the approach to difficulty is to increase the damage dealt and damage that they can take. They need to make encounters difficult because of the design of the encounter.

  24. guy says:

    Mirelurks are actually supposed to be unreasonably tougher than everything else. Their shells are almost impenetrable and you need to hit them directly in the face to do any significant damage. I think it might be the largest per-hit-location difference of any enemy (not counting making fusion cells explode). Ranged VATS takes them apart without needing crits, especially with the Penetrator perk, which lets you hit the face even when totally hidden behind the shell.

  25. poipoipoi says:

    Keep calm and let Cuthbert handle it. This is a thing we need.


  26. anaphysik says:


    Josh: “Wha-? What did I-? Did I just, like, psychically murder that thing?”

    What happened is that you briefly became Sparky Sparky Boom Man (from Avatar: the Last Airbender):

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