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No particular spoilers here, except about what certain companions like


Mr McP, your take on ‘gaming the game‘ in an earlier post echoes something another friend said a long time ago that always stuck with me, and I could never really figure out what made him say it: “You’ve gotta watch out for Buttons; he gets really good really quickly”. Funny; 20 years it took for someone to explain that to me. Usually I think I’m pretty good about connecting some types of dots. And I know I’m bad about connecting other dots. These dots obviously don’t fall under the types I’m good at. Heheheh.

Actually, I don’t really WANT to game a game either; until late-game sometimes. I do prefer to wander around and absorb the world, story, feeling, etc… and I do this; I shut my developer brain off until I see something new/I don’t understand, then it comes on, thinks about it, and then goes off again. But I don’t really use these moments to game the game.

Entering FO4, my only initial thoughts were ‘I remember how important some of the perks in FO3 became to me, I’ll chase those first’ and that’s why I immediately went for gun nut, armorer, and blacksmith before reaching out toward local leader, damage resistance, and then hacking and lock picking. I think I cycled through the majority of those until they were all full and then I started going for the more scattered ones.

Having played FO3, weren’t there perks that you immediately went for because they aligned more closely with your play style and you were (somewhat) pre-informed based on playing the previous? Is this also gaming the game to you? I always thought it was better setting myself up for the world, story, and feeling because I know how I like to play FO games, and these would keep me alive longer in order to experience said world, story, feelings.

Honestly I don’t really care about the money either, unless it becomes a friction, at which point I start to pursue ways to get me more money until it isn’t a friction. Do you not do this? What do you do when things like money and ammo become a friction?

I’m not saying any method is more right or wrong; whatever way makes you happiest when you play I think is more important that ‘should’ or ‘must’ or ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. But at the same time, if you encounter a friction in the game, and the game allows you to ease the friction, why wouldn’t you? Curious.

In terms of playing…

So… I put Nick in power armour and rambled around southern Boston hitting ‘outlined’ places and discovering, and then he finally opened up and I did the last of his story with him as well. Then I finally went and got MacCready and now am upping him. Did the first portion of his story (taking care of the… stuff that was bothering him), but I still have a quest for him so… I don’t know. Gonna travel with him more until more is revealed. Then I’ll pick up Danse and Deacon and farm them for their perks.

But, I’m out of places to discover, I think. Spent so much time wandering with Cait and Piper that I think I’ve hit almost all the locations aside from those out in the sunken sea? (if I recall that’s what it’s named). I also finally built a bobble display in sanctuary and I had almost all of them. So I looked up the few I didn’t, and there was only one place I hadn’t already been. So I travelled to the few locations I’d already been to, picked them up, and then raided the last location. I’m tempted to do the same with Magazines, but I already felt bad about looking up the bobble heads.

Steam says I’m 197 hours in (including AFK time I assume). I’m level 79 and I have 80,000 caps. I’m currently putting perks into the… uh… revolver and sniper perks? And that’s helping a LOT. And I’m always in Power Armor now… I was scared of running out of Cores for so long, but I’ve got over 50 of ‘em now so I figure why not?
I also discovered that bringing Psycho along instead of MedX is more fun. Especially the scream when you take it. 

And I’ve got a new ‘panic’ weapon; a Gauss rifle that fires two shots at once. Last night I found an enemy with a skull icon… I saved, pulled out the Gauss Rifle of Doom, entered the room, walked across it while the enemy was playing his ‘stand up’ animation, walked right up to his face, entered VATS, and the skull enemy went down with a single headshot at point blank range. Woot! I honestly didn’t think that was going to work out near as well as it did.

Um, Disco Fountain? I found the Disco light in the settlement menu (it’s keeping my house in Diamond City ready for instant parties) but there’s a fountain you can build? What part of the settlement menu is that in?

I think that it’s almost time that I load up on all the chems and food I’ve been constantly collecting and dumping in my workshop, take them all out, and travel around to all the vendors to purchase shipments. Do that a few times, and then dismantle everything in Sanctuary and finally build the settlement I always wanted to, but never had the supplies for. I did experiment once with visiting all my settlements and emptying out their workbenches and bringing it all back to Sanctuary, but that took an hour of load screen nonsense so I don’t know if I’m willing to spend another hour doing that.

I’m at the boundary of the sunken? Soundless? Whatever Sea, and MacCready in his power armor, and me in mine, are going to go explore it.


Ah, but, see, you can’t help gaming the game. It’s like my brother trying to unhear a drum track. And even if you TRY not to do it, that makes it worse. Like the whole “Whatever you do, don’t think of a polar bear” making a polar bear pop into your head.

Hmm. I suppose, though. I suppose just picking your perks based on previous games is a way of gaming the game.

Femmy and I were talking on this a ways back about ammo and stimpacks respectively. She has, like, I think, 12 billion of each and I have, like 3, total. For me, I’m ok with that. I LIKE the fact I have to scrounge. Makes the game feel a bit realer. I DON’T like the fact that I have 99+ bobby pins, because the rush of trying SO hard not to break the pin made lockpicking feel important. No way I’m taking the “bobby pins don’t break” perk, because that’s just silly.

So I guess it’s a play style thing.

But on that, I don’t really hold with perks/whatever letting you, essentially, opt out of a part of the game. We’ve talked on this before, the push and pull between a player wanting to experience the developer’s vision and a developer wanting to give a player whatever they want. I mean, if you’re gonna put a mini game in, put it in. Don’t say “Here’s a mini game, and 133 pins, so there’s no real problem if you lose, and you can make it so you always win later.” What’s the point? If it serves a purpose, put it in. If you think players will hate it, don’t put it in.

I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t make substitutions on a menu item when I eat out cuz I want to see the cook’s ideas. So I suppose that if something feels like friction, I either say “Why does the dev want this to feel tough?” or I go online and blog my complaints.

As for friction, friction is something that should be considered by the people WHO MAKE GAMES. Especially cuz friction can make points (FO3 worked because of the friction, as did TR, every survival game ever made, etc.), create mood, create metaphor, create tension, and how all those ingredients are used is all part of the art of making games. I don’t want to go out to eat and have the cook say “Ah, shit, just to make sure you like it, why don’t you come back and cook it yourself.” I go out to eat so HE cooks for ME.

I don’t WANT to make games. YOU make games. I want to pay you, I want to sit back and play.


I dunno, I’m OK with the minigames (i.e. lockpicking) being more of a challenge earlier on, and then later being a lot less of an issue for whatever reason (i.e., I now have 250 bobby pins so if I break one, whatever). I mean, it’s not as if there are new frontiers in lock picking to surmount once you can tackle the master locks: it’s the same little game every time, and after the 80th one I might be getting a little tired of it if it were a high stress “if I break this last pin I’m screwed” kind of scenario every single time.

In every game where you level up, certain things become easier the longer you play, and this seems like a good candidate for that. I mean, I’m not playing the game specifically because I love picking locks, so I’m pretty much never going to be at 200 hours of gametime thinking “damn it, I wish locks were more of a challenge–this is no fun anymore!”

Companions, companions, companions…

I have affinity perks from Piper, Cait, Nick, Codsworth and MacCready right now…spent much of the long weekend trying to get Danse and Garvey to love me too, but to no avail. I don’t know if Garvey has a story beyond the castle, or a perk to give, but I figured it was worth a try, although the serious downside of traveling with him is that he’s always right there to give you another settlement-in-trouble quest the minute you finish one. Also, he doesn’t actually have an opinion about your COMPLETING those quests, he just loves it when you go and talk to settlers and say “I’ll take care of that problem for you.”

So I would take him with me to a settlement, get his approval for promising to help, then go pick up Danse, put on power armor (Danse likes it when you put on power armor or tinker with armor of any kind), do the quest, about which Danse never had an opinion, then dump Danse somewhere to do the cycle again…I got plenty of approval from both of them (and helped plenty of troubled settlements), but still not enough that either would say anything more than “I’m glad to be working with you” or whatever.

I think I may abandon them for the time being and travel with Deacon for a bit to see if I can get anything more out of him. I want to travel with Curie, but I can’t find her anywhere, so I’m kind of at a loss on that one. I don’t remember where I told her to go last time I split up with her, and I’ve already been from settlement to settlement ringing bells to get everyone to assemble, with no sign of her. The internet says that sometimes if companions disappear you can find them back where you first met them, so I suppose I need to go back to Vault 81 and claw my way through the radroaches to get back to that medical bay where she was hanging out, but I haven’t managed to get there yet.

I’m not sure I could make Strong like me enough to get anywhere with his story, given how much he hates my sneaking and lock picking (when I am ALL ABOUT sneaking and lock picking), but I’m contemplating just roaming around with him looking for weakish things to bash with a baseball bat and see if that does the trick. I am curious about the Milk of Human Kindness, I just…don’t really have the kind of character likely to win approval from Strong. Maybe I’ll take him to Vault 81 and punch radroaches with him while we look for Curie!

As for Dogmeat, I’ve never gotten a like or dislike from him, so I’m assuming, perhaps wrongly, that he doesn’t have a deeper story.

I need to go check out the Glowing Sea, but have been easily distracted by other things lately. Mostly companions.