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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Extremely minor spoilers for things like which companions dislike drugs

Butch:

Didn’t play at all. Busy as hell. Crazy kids. Fucking Xmas.

But did do some pondering so:

I noticed a couple things: I haven’t yet gotten to that point where I’m noticing themes. I’m not. Certainly not like I was in FO3, which had themes to spare. Now, more on that in a second. But what I HAVE noticed about 4 is that I’m ENJOYING it more than 3. Three was (to this point) “better” in all sorts of narrative/theme/metaphor/thought provocation ways, but one thing 3 was NOT was fun. Four is fun. This is, once again, making me wonder/worry if art and fun are mutually exclusive.

BUUUUT: I have a feeling that themes lie in the character quests. That’s where they pretty much were in NV, after all, and four seems to be practically begging us to travel with characters, and in a certain order at that. “Hey! There’s Garvey in Concord!” “Hey! Piper’s RIGHT THERE at the door to diamond city!” “HINT HINT!”

I mean, FO3 did a lot well, but there were NO npcs in it. NONE. They didn’t even do like a NV thing. That was a lonely game. The themes weren’t in the NPCs cuz there WERE no npcs.

So I’m gonna say fuck it and go to the fucking tower with Garvey. See if I can get me some themes. And loot. Then I’m going to go do some stuff with Curie, Piper and even Danse. See what this brotherhood is about.

I mean, sure, I’ll magpie too, but I’m jonesing for themes. And I have a feeling the character quest lines are where it’s at.

Feminina:

No NPCs at all? Interesting. Well, that loneliness does potentially play into a lot of themes, so I can see it working. But yes, in this case we’ve got NPCs and NPC stories all over the place, if only we will freaking follow up on them and not keep getting distracted by shiny objects.

I did play. The big thing I did was go find the private eye, which I will advise you is a prolonged and brutal series of battles, so take a lot of stuff. I burned through pretty much all my ammunition (I was down to the pipe pistol by the end because none of my other guns had any bullets/shells/fusion cells left), my entire store of Nuka Cola (preferred over other forms of healing when I realized I had about 40 bottles and they were really weighing me down), and most of my grenades. It didn’t help that I somehow lost Curie along the way and didn’t think to either go find her, or go get another companion, before entering the…place where I was looking for the guy…so it was just me doing a lot of sneaking around and chucking molotov cocktails down stairwells at people.

It was fine, I survived and got the job done, but with heavy use of resources, is all I’m saying. Be prepared. And/or take someone with you, which probably would have helped a lot. Why do I keep doing this? I wandered all through vault 81 by myself, too. People seem to keep “getting lost” when traveling with me. Maybe I’m not quite as charming as I think I am.

Anyway, I found the PI and now I’m following up on the Shaun story (gained some interesting information on that, which we will discuss later), because even though I have companion quests I want to pursue, it didn’t seem reasonable that once I finally learned something about my son, I would just set that aside for later and go storm the castle with Garvey. I think I’ll follow this thread to its next logical end point, and then turn to the companion quests.

Storming the castle with Garvey is definitely high on my priorities list, as is following up on Curie’s request if I can figure out how. And then traveling with some other companions so I can figure out what they want, because I bet they all have good stories. I kind of don’t want to pick up any more of them until I have some time to work on the ones I already have, but I do also need to go back and talk to Piper.

I agree, I will also probably end up going back to Danse and joining the Brotherhood, even though I’m suspicious of them, if only because I want to figure out what they’re up to. And then there’s this other weird and somewhat creepy group that I ran into at the Hatch Shell (or FO-verse’s version, which is called something else like “Charlesview Theater” or something…OK, wiki says “Charles View Amphitheater,” so I was pretty close) that I don’t at all like the look of, but which I’m also contemplating joining just to see what they’re up to.

Infiltration, that’s my goal! Infiltrate, do a lot of quests, get a lot of XP, then if I don’t like them…well, probably wind up having to kill everyone, but that’s always a risk you take in the post-apocalypse.

Butch:

It wasn’t loneliness in FO3 so much as a) saving programming resources and b) shaping the storytelling. It was a series of short stories, and the lack of any real NPCs made it that each “story” was its own thing. Each thing could start and end on its own. Which was a pretty cool thing. I mean, love me some characters, but not having any real NPCs freed that game up to have the family in Ardvale, the monster of Tranquility lane, and Harold in Oasis, which were all powerful in their own right.

But I digress.

I’m going to focus and do some of these. Or I’ll try.

Brutal battles…I was afraid of that. I got the sense that the story bits are markers of “gonna get a bit harder now.” And I’m pretty much…um….not very tricked out. Maybe I’ll take some power armor? (Did you know that if you have more than one suit you can give it a companion? NEAT!)

The vanishing companion thing is odd. I didn’t have that problem. Or haven’t. Garvey’s always right there (sometimes to a fault, he isn’t sneaky) and Piper’s always around except when she gets distracted and interviews dudes. Which, if she does, pay attention. Stuff gets learned.

And make sure you take her into the bar at Fenway. The Dugout Inn. She’s key there.

I really, really think the themeage is in companion stories. I’ve already heard some of Piper’s. Must compare to others. I want to get to know Curie, too, at your urging. And Piper is great, for reasons other than her unbearable cuteness. Another reason not to go see the PI. I have on good authority that HE becomes a companion, if you go that way.

But yeah, there’s some out of character shit with me, I agree. I should be charging into the search for Shaun, but I’m not. How long a thread is that, anyway? It isn’t taking you very close to any sort of endgame, is it? Yes, yes, I know, the game is huge, but given the “main quest” in Skyrim was like 20 minutes long, it’s a question we must ask.

Haven’t found the amphitheater yet. Nor have I “explored the combat zone,” which I think might have more people/stories. Must get into themes first.

I also have it on good authority (cuz I checked cuz I was worried about that faction shit) that you can do the quest lines pretty much through without committing to anyone until a spot at the end. There is a “hey man, pick your side” moment, but it’s clearly marked and lateish. So I might go see what Danse is about. After Garvey. And Piper. And Curie. And whoever else.

This game is large.

Feminina:

The PI is my companion at the moment, so yes, that is definitely an option that comes up. He’s an interesting character too. Don’t know him well enough to get into his story, and REALLY need to follow other stories before I get to know him that well or else my quest list will start to become overwhelming, but he’s interesting.

Power armor probably also would have helped in the ‘find the PI’ mission! I always lose companions and forget about power armor. Don’t do those things and it’ll probably be a piece of cake.

And being able to give power armor to a companion makes sense…otherwise Danse’s offer of a set would be kind of pointless. “Um…you know I can only wear one walking tank suit at a time, dude, and I’ve got one already, all painted and looking good.”

Two people in power armor, clanking around…imagine the loot you could carry! I miss companions in battles, but honestly, more often I miss them when I want them to carry my vast collection of desk fans.

Butch:

I think I shall work on companion stories. I need some focus. The whole “Don’t fast travel” thing has led to some interesting stuff, and I thank it for that, but it also has me all of the map, literally and figuratively.

I will NOT have this go all Skyrim on me. I won’t.

I want that melding of fun and themey. Which I’m starting to fear isn’t happening. Or is it?

You must be telling companions to ‘stay’ or something cuz this hasn’t happened to me at all, ever. Also, you can lose suits. Suits can be stolen. I’ve already misplaced a suit somewhere. I found one just sitting around, took it for a whirl, got out, and it’s gone. Do not get too attached to a a suit. Plus, you can customize them differently.

Feminina:

Yeah, I like the discoveries you get from just walking everywhere, but you can also get so, so sidetracked. I found the ruins of the CIT! Got into a fight with some super mutants who were fighting synths in the CIT Rotunda. Something going on there, but poking around that area pulled me off the main path for hours. And poking around is a big part of the game, so there’s nothing really wrong with that, but it does slow one down. As we keep saying, we must strive for balance.

Power armor can be stolen?! Horrors! Well, I suppose people must be attacking my settlements for some reason besides the uncomfortable beds and irradiated crops. Super mutants in power armor…there’s a terrifying thought.

Butch:

Oh dude, don’t even go to the CIT. There’s gonna be story there later. I don’t even have to check the wiki. I mean, shit. Even if it hasn’t been mentioned a thousand times, when you stumble on something that’s in progress, leave, cuz you’ll be back. That’s an indicator right there.

See, one good thing about Jessica being old is that I can then metagame my knowledge of Boston. I mean, I know where CIT is. I do. (That is, if it’s MIT). And if Jessica had been born in a vault like the protagonists of 1 and 3, she wouldn’t know and I would, but this way, it’s cool. Metagame away!

Yup. Armor can be stolen. Even hijacked during battle if you get out of it and leave gas in it. I mean, that’s sorta realistic. You leave it there, what, no one’s gonna be all “Hey….nah.”

I mean, the other suit I found was just kinda standing there in the open. Just standing. I snuck up on it thinking it was a dude. It wasn’t. But just there.

I keep mine in Sanctuary surrounded by turrets and traps.

Feminina:

Yeah, it’s true, I’m sure the PC is all “oh, I know this place, one of my friends went to CIT, I wonder when it turned into an embattled haven for mysterious synthetic organisms that everyone seems to be afraid of?”

Speaking of everyone being afraid, did you stumble on that scene in the Diamond City marketplace, where a guy was holding a gun on his brother, accusing him of being a synth? And then security swooped in? That was a good way to demonstrate the general alarm about synths, I thought.

And then in an alley I overheard two guys talking about the Railway and the Freedom Trail (part of which I’d already come across, but with no background context), so I have a quest related to that. Clearly, synths and the Institute are going to play into this in a major way.

My power armor is also currently in Sanctuary, surrounded by the turrets and guard posts that I put around Sanctuary in general. I didn’t specifically trap the armor’s location.

Butch:

Yeah, really. Jessica’s all “Dude, I got SOOOO drunk here one Fourth of July….good times…good times….”

That scene in the marketplace was a neat aside. I like that this game seems to have some cool set pieces that you can’t really do much about. You learn from the world. Even in quests. Did you go to the high class taproom upstairs in the rich area of Diamond City and do that shit? If not, do.

Yup: synths and the Institute will be big.

I have “Follow the Freedom Trail” as a quest I haven’t done yet. Or started. At all. It’s getting to be a long list.

I DID however stumble upon some dead dudes in that deathclaw hospital, and, when I went to loot, they were “railroad agents.” Hmm. Raiders seemed to be feeding them to deathclaws and talking about “one more raid and we can be done with this” or whatever. I mean, feeding their bodies to deathclaws. Pretty nasty. Torturing them, too.

I put traps around my armor, but I think they need power, and I never have any copper. Sigh.

Decoys. Like the “Protected by ADT” stickers I still have on my house from the previous owners that are damn lies.

Feminina:

I must go back to Diamond City. And so many other places! I haven’t even been to the deathclaw hospital!

In time…in time…must pace self…

I was short of copper recently too! With the result that I was stubbornly refusing to part with a bunch of bits of loot that contained copper, even though I now can’t remember where I needed it or for what. I MEAN well, settlers, but I’m not sure I’m really as much of an administrator as you need for this job.

I mean, I’m basically the sole source of any kind of supplies, and I already can’t keep track of who needs what, and I only have about three settlements. I have locations for several more, and I’ve contemplated going to one and planting and building and setting up beacons, but…do I really need more settlers getting “unhappy with the bed situation”? Do I? I mean, building and so on does give you XP, so there’s that reward, plus there’s the fuzzy feeling of providing road-weary refugees with homes (I am such a freaking liberal), but…I have so much other stuff to do!

Butch:

Deathclaw hospital is an ordeal. Be prepared.

See I worry that the settlements are sneaky important, like upgrading the Normandy. I fear if we say fuck it, there will be unforeseen dire consequences.

You need copper to attach anything to a generator. How a toaster is somehow enough for ninety feet of heavy duty wire is a question I won’t ask.

Feminina:

In this world, toasters are basically just solid copper inside. They toast bread because…um…copper conducts heat well.

No, you’re right, better not to ask.

I’ll probably wait until I’ve accumulated some more ammunition before I take on any more ordeals. I have a stun baton and everything, but…I’m not much for melee. I need shotgun shells!

I’m also afraid that settlements are going to be important for something. Like, maybe at the end you’ll need to muster supporters for some cause, and if all you have is 15 grouchy settlers with too few beds between them, you’ll be screwed compared to someone who has 12 thriving settlements full of happy people with robust defenses. We can’t not pay SOME attention to settlements, I’m convinced of that.

I think for balance purposes, though, we should really be setting up a schedule like “1 session quests (trading out companion each time!), 1 session magpie, 1 session settlement maintenance” or something.

Butch:

Yeah, don’t ask. Otherwise they’ll patch it and we’ll need 27 toasters just to build a trap.

But what a trap that would be.

I have this spiked baseball bat I made which is supreme in making mole rats die. It’s my mole rate begoneinator. Other than that, I’ll stick to guns.

Gotta say, that laser musket Preston gave me is still doing the trick.

Were this Bioware, I would be obsessively building settlements, convinced the cutest women would die if I didn’t. But what gives me pause is that this is Bethesda, and their last game had about 92 systems that didn’t mean a damn thing. There is a very good possibility that this, as well as many other things, don’t mean a damn thing. But build I will, as I have a BHBEBB* to protect.

Mentally, I’m already doing that kind of schedule for play sessions. Which SHOULD maean the game feels like a chore, and yet it doesn’t. Odd.

Feminina:

I can’t carry that many toasters!!!!!! I need one of the companion options to be a mule train. It wouldn’t have to do any fighting, just carry enormous quantities of loot around for me. Of course, I suppose it would be vulnerable to attack, so you’d have to hire caravan guards, and fight off marauding raiders, and all that. But think of the toasters! Won’t someone please think of the toasters?!

I have some other laser weapon I picked up somewhere that I’ve been using lately. I can’t remember what it’s called.

Butch:

Righteous Authority is still a pretty sweet gun.

Them laser pistols are heavy man. But valuable.

You’d be proud of me. I’m not dirt poor. I have like 2000 caps. You have, what, 274848642?

Feminina:

Nice work, dude! Way to accumulate money! I think I have about 3,000, so I’m not even particularly far ahead of you.

But I told you, it’s not about the money for me this time! I have other goals!

This is actually kind of true…I haven’t sold much of anything lately, because I want to hang onto it all for my settlements. And then stuff I WOULD tend to sell, like extra laser pistols or crappy raider armor or pre-war food (because why eat that stuff when you can cook your own delicious, radiation-free insect steaks and mutt chops?), I tend to dump in favor of desk fans, which I save for my settlements. So then I find someone to barter with and I sort through my stuff muttering “no, no, not selling that, no, definitely gotta keep the hot plates, no, those are my persuasion glasses, um…I guess you could buy this bandana I probably won’t wear since it doesn’t provide any bonuses? Maybe some of these chems I make all the time for the XP, but rarely use?”

I’ll be the one who ends up poor this time. But my settlements will be well provided with springs and gears!

Oh, I did actually use chems in the big ‘find the PI’ quest, though. There was one guy who kept racing up and getting me, so finally I took psychojet to slow time and get in some extra hits. Worked! I bought a couple of doses of addictrol, for when I inevitably begin to depend on the stuff.

Ooh, and here’s a cool mechanic that I didn’t notice because I haven’t taken enough chems, but Mr. O’ did: as you get addicted, the drug starts to take up spaces on your ‘favorites’ menu. That’s kind of awesome. I mean, annoying, but awesome in a “mimicking negative effects” sort of way. First of all it takes up spaces so it’s easier to use the drug, and becomes increasingly likely that you’ll use the drug even by mistake, and second it uses slots so that you potentially can’t put things you actually want on the favorites, kind of suggesting the way it takes up space in your head. Like, you’re addicted and you just reach for the drug without even meaning to! And when you want to reach for something else, you find it’s harder to get to that thing than it would be to just grab a dose of your drug!

I kind of love that.

Butch:

Oh that’s neat! I hadn’t noticed that either. Favorites.

I’ve been avoiding chems mostly cuz I want to be liked and Preston, Piper and Curie don’t like them. Usually they’re tough to avoid. In the first two I wound up a hopeless junkie. And getting rid of addiction was harder. Expensive, and moreso each time.

Indeed, addiction is a cool mechanic. Kind of like toxicity. I mean, being able to chug healing or whatnot without consequence makes things a bit easy. Having to weigh a cost to the benefit is neat.

Another mechanic that they took away was back in the days if karma. Fallout used to have karma for good/evil decisions (think paragon/renegade in mass effect) and you lost karma (bad) for selling drugs. Unloading that jet for caps? Game punished you. Neat.

Feminina:

Ah, karma. I think there was a vestige of that in New Vegas? Here replaced by companion favor/disfavor. There is no objective good or bad, there’s just what the people around you approve of. That’s social relativity for you.

Perhaps it’s just as well Curie wasn’t with me when I was loading up on the psychojet. And no one has expressed any opinion yet about me selling them, although I can’t remember if anyone was there.

Kind of sucked, then, if you couldn’t do anything useful with the jet at all. Can’t use it without suffering, can’t sell it without contributing to the problem. Siiigh…that’s how I feel in real life every time I find a bag of heroin lying around. And it’s true, addiction doesn’t seem like that big a deal in this one. Give yourself an injection, and you’re good to go!

Butch:

Well you could sell it. Even get others addicted. It was just naughty.

Role playing, man.