Scouting the Commonwealth

Scouting the Commonwealth was a recurring feature published on Trevor Trove between November 10, 2015 and June 5, 2016. All eleven installments have been combined herein.

Scouting the Commonwealth – Day 1

It’s finally here. Fallout 4 has arrived. Delivered as my work day neared an end, I came home to find my Pip-Boy Special Edition copy of the game ready and waiting for me. Before diving into the game, though, I wanted to prepare myself so I gathered some of my recent paraphernalia and changed out of my work attire and planted myself on the couch for the evening’s festivities.

Dressed for the Commonwealth.

Dressed for the Commonwealth.

If I had managed to get my hands on the Nuka Cola Quantum, I'd've included that instead of the throwback Pepsi products.

If I had managed to get my hands on the Nuka Cola Quantum, I’d’ve included that instead of the throwback Pepsi products.

Once that had been taken care of, I was ready to dive in. Actually, I was smart enough to start installing the game while I set up my little shrine. So I was soon ready to start anew. I went ahead and ran through the character creation stuff. Disappointed that a curly-headed look such as my own is not featured in the game but oh well.

What’s in a Name?

I did a little research into some of the names programmed into the game and learned that neither Trevor, nor Starkey made the cut. No huge surprises there. The closest I could’ve gotten was Mr. Stark (which I’ll admit has pretty much been the plan if I ever joined Actors Equity or the Screen Actors Guild – Trevor Stark just has a bit more bite to it). 

But instead, I learned that Catherine is an option in the game so I decided to play through as a female instead. I feel like, if past games are any indication, the Black Widow perk is way more useful than the Lady Killer perk but we’ll see if that’s the case here. Anyway, hearing Codsworth say “Miss Catherine” is pretty cool and will probably score me some bonus points with my own Catherine when she occasionally watches me play.

My Build

So far, I’m focusing on Charisma and Intelligence. I set my initial stats as follows: Intelligence = 6; Strength, Perception, Endurance, and Charisma = 4; Agility and Luck = 3. Five levels in and I’m now sitting at Intelligence = 8 (+1 from reading the You’re SPECIAL! book when returning to my house post-vault and +1 from an Ushanka Hat); Strength and Perception = 5 (Strength +1 from Army Fatigues and Perception +1 from the Bobblehead); Endurance, Charisma, and Agility = 4 (Agility +1 from Army Fatigues); and Luck = 3.

Five levels in and I’ve picked up the aforementioned Black Widow perk, Cap Collector, Hacker, and Locksmith. As well as the 1st level of the Barbarian perk for picking up an issue of Grognak.

Good to be Back

So far, I’ve spent most of my time with the game just exploring and enjoying being back in the Fallout world. I just returned to Sanctuary after picking up the Power Armor and fighting off the Deathclaw. The whole experience has been a blast so far. The only hiccups I’m really running into are the controls. I’m just not used to them yet so when I get into a fire fight I wind up flailing around a bit before remember V.A.T.S. is over on L1 now instead of R2. But given the amount of time I plan on spending with this game, I’m sure I’ll re-acclimate myself soon enough.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a son to save and a world to explore.

Scouting the Commonwealth – Day 2

I began my second day in the Commonwealth exploring more of the map and doing a couple side quests. I find it particularly funny selecting the sarcastic quips in conversation that basically suggest Miss Catherine doesn’t give a flying fuck about her missing son. At least that’s how I’m enjoying interpreting it.

The World’s a Dangerous Place

I am dying a lot. Having replayed through Fallout 3 this summer, there is a definite difficulty spike between the two games. I can’t just go rushing headlong into battles like I’m used to. I’m scouting out areas and picking off enemies one by one, almost as if Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain had been preparing me for this.

One particularly enjoyable skirmish came as I infiltrated the Corvega Assembly Plant. After dying a few times outside the plant, I finally managed to isolated Raiders one by one until everyone outside was dead. Then I headed in using an upper level entrance. I was almost immediately speed and attacked by a handful off enemies inside. I yelled “Shit!” and fled back outside. The six enemies followed me and we’re all grouped at the for attacking Dogmeat. So I threw a grenade at the huddle and blew them all to hell! Mwahaha. Then I Quicksaved because I didn’t want to have to try that again. Quicksave is becoming my best friend (sorry Dogmeat).

You’ve Got a Friend in Me

Speaking of friends, I spent the better part of the day traveling with Preston Harvey on Minutemen business. Much as I like Dogmeat, having another ranged fighter is coming in far more handy. We freed up a couple more settlements, then ran a mission with the Brotherhood of Steel, where I ran into the Synths for the first time. 

In my first attempt, I missed a conversation prompt with Paladin Danse so I didn’t know to expect them. After they killed me handily the first time. I equipped a nifty Laser Rifle and let him and Preston do a lot of the heavy lifting while I hung back and took a couple out from a distance. This mission probably had one of my favorite moments in the game so far, too. I won’t spoil it here other then to say DO THE OPTIONAL TASKS IN “CALL TO ARMS!” Totally worth it. And I also got my first Legendary weapon from that mission.

So after today, I’m a member of the Minutemen and the Brotherhood of Steel. That’s probably gonna cause issues later…

Updated Stats

I’m up to level 11 now. S=5, P=6, E=4, C=4, I=8, A=4, L=3 and Perks are as follows: Awareness, Barbarian (2), Black Widow (2), Blacksmith, Cap Collector, Covert Operations, Gun Nut, Hacker, Locksmith, Science!, Scrapper, and Tesla Science. Still enjoying this build. Now that I’m unlocking some of the crafting Perks, I’m appreciating that system a bit more.

Bug Report

As bugs are a staple of these games, I figured I’d add a section highlighting any that I run into. But I haven’t really had anything significant of note. Only an instance of the subtitles not popping up in one of my conversations with Sturges. But I’ll keep an eye out.

I finally made it to Diamond City so we’ll see where that leads tomorrow.

Scouting the Commonwealth – Day 3 & 4

NOTE: Probable spoilers for Fallout 4 below…

Day 3 – The Film Noiriest

The big event of Day 3 in the Commonwealth centered around tracking down Detective Nick Valentine. Having already talked with a few people in Diamond City, I was familiar with the notion that the Synth are the boogeymen in the game. So I’m not quite sure what to think about everyone being so nonchalant about one living among them (“His eyes are so creepy,” says real-life Catherine). I await some kind of narrative to discuss how the other characters feel about Nick.

I also stumbled across the Silver Shroud backstory in Hubris Comics on my way to save Nick. That was a fun little side story. I look forward to seeing how that plays out as I discovered that the Silver Shroud outfit is a Quest Item so I await the opportunity to find out more about that side quest. So between Valentine and the Dick Tracy-esque Shroud, the theme of the day was clearly film noir.

Day 4 – The One About the Shakespearean Super Mutant and the Baby Stealer

Day 4 began with me delving into the side quest to climb Trinity Tower and save a guy from Super Mutants. Shortly after the Brotherhood of Steel missions on Day 2, I walked into a nearby building, saw some Meat Bags lying around and said “Nope!”, turned tail, and ran away. I did not want to deal with Super Mutants. But I’d leveled up a lot and finally made it to Diamond City so I was feeling good. Plus, a change of pace from the Feral Ghouls was all too welcome. The quest itself was mostly uneventful. I climbed the tower, killing wave after wave of Super Mutants as I fought my way to the top. Once at the top, I was surprised to find a Super Mutant being held captive alongside Rex, the man who had sent the distress call. I appreciated the banter between these two and discovering that Strong the Super Mutant was interested in the play Mack Beth. I look forward to finding some time to travel the Commonwealth with him in search for that mother’s milk…

After that detour, I decided to get back on track finding Shaun. Here’s another probable spoiler for this main quest that I’m hypothesizing on without having played past the point of confronting the kidnapper. I’ve been pretty sure since the beginning of the game that I’m not actually looking for “baby” Shaun. When he’s kidnapped you go back into cryo-sleep for an indeterminate amount of time. This immediately signaled to me that more time had passed. The game seems to be gearing up towards a “twist” of “Shaun’s all grown up” and while I can appreciate that from a narrative standpoint, I’m a little annoyed that my character hasn’t once considered that more time passed in that second round of cryo-sleep since she already knows she was frozen for 200+ years total. I keep wishing for a dialogue option to give me the chance to voice “hey, you know what? I keep saying they kidnapped my baby, and they did, but that could have been years ago so let’s consider a wider pool than just babies…” Based on the tidbits learned from the kidnapper, this hypothesis seems to be on the right track. So I just wished the game hadn’t telegraphed it to me as much. All it would have taken would have been this:

After the people grab Shaun in the Vault, they open your tube as well and knock you out (with the butt of a gun or a security baton or something). This blackout would hide the fact that you went back to being a popsicle and you could just come to when the Vault emergency system starts going off.

Really, my only gripe with the way this was presented was that you saw yourself go back into the frozen slumber but your character seems to conveniently forget that entirely.

Anyway, rant aside, I’m still really enjoying the game. All of the stuff there in Fort Hagen was fun. I died a lot in the final battle there because I kept getting a grenade thrown my way with nowhere to run. That was a bit crappy but eventually I got down a good strategy and was about to kill the guy when the Mysterious Stranger came and finished him off for me. A win’s a win so I have no problem with that. And leaving the building to see all of the vertibirds flying in overhead: yeah, that was pretty cool. Definitely didn’t have those moments in Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas.

Tomorrow it looks like I’m back with the Brotherhood…

Stats Breakdown – TBD (my game is off, Catherine is snoozing on the couch and I don’t want to turn it back on and wake her just for the SPECIAL and Perks breakdown. Related though I did discover I could build the Bobblehead Stand and Magazine Rack back at my settlement to showcase my sexy Bobbleheads and Comic Books.

Bug Report

Don’t know if this quite counts as a bug, but I was reading through Piper’s article on my vault dweller Miss Catherine as it would appear the scripting for men vs. women is off. It would seem it was written for the male character and then when the female character is selected, they just ran a find and replace on “his” to “hers” but in the context of the story, “her” is the appropriate selection. For example, the game has something to the effect of “hers son” instead of “her son.” Oops.

Bug That Wasn’t a Bug Report

As Dogmeat tracked down the kidnapper, I had Valentine with me. After a battle en route, I turned around to see Preston Garvey coming upon us from behind. Thinking it was a bug, I went to interact with him to see how this played out. To my surprise it was a Preston Garvey Impersonator trying to get money from me for the Minutemen. Touch√©, Fallout 4. Well met.

Scouting the Commonwealth – Day 5

The Warm, Fuzzy Feeling of Fetch-Questing

When I left off yesterday, the Brotherhood of Steel had just flown into town. So I joined up with Paladin Danse and caught a Vertibird to their answer to The Avengers Helicarrier: the Prydwen. After getting a minor promotion and a new set of Power Armor, I set about running a lot of miscellaneous quests for the Minutemen, the Brotherhood, and Valentine today. And there was where I really felt like I was playing the Fallout universe’s version of Skyrim for the first time.

Both of the Minutemen and Brotherhood of Steel factions have me exploring repeated alternate versions of the same quest: go to this site on the map, clear it of the baddies present, and return (sometimes with a specific item) for your reward. It’s the dynamic quest system Bethesda developed in Skyrim with a Fallout 4 coat of paint on it. Described as I have here, it may seem very reductive. But I actually appreciate that it has a seemingly endless number of quests to give me. I don’t have to do them all now of course so I’ll go and play around with the more “one-time-only” quests, but it’s great to know that if I want to up my standing with a faction that these types of fetch quests are available to me.

Similarly, the “Investigate Detective Files” action for Valentine started as a simple sub-quest of the big Miscellaneous category. These serve as those kinds of quests you received in Skyrim or Mass Effect 3 where you didn’t even have a backstory to fill you in on the “why?” You just overheard an NPC say something like “I can’t believe you left [insert item here] in [insert location here]” while you were running the bases in Diamond City to unlock the Home Run Trophy (*hint hint*). And now you’ve got a little box to check off telling you to go to that place and find that gun if you want it. These are the little things that kept me coming back to Skyrim for a few hundred hours and I look forward to enjoying there here as well.

I Am S.P.E.C.I.A.L.

Up to Level 19. S=6, P=6, E=5, C=6, I=7, A=4, L=4. I threw a couple of points into upping my Charisma today so that I could add the Local Leader Perk and play around with connecting my settlements. Pro-tip (because it’s not exactly explained unless you go digging into the help menu):

  1. Once you have Local Leader Level 1, you can setup Supply Lines to connect your Workshop resources between Settlements.
  2. In the Workshop mode, go to a Settler and you’ll see a prompt for Supply Line.
  3. Select the prompt and you’ll be asked which other settlement you want them to connect to. For example, I store all of my stuff in Sanctuary but if I build a Supply Line between there and Tenpines Bluff, I can go to Tenpines Bluff and build using all of the resources still back at Sanctuary.

Hope that helps somebody out there.

As for my Perks, I feel like I’ve been finding a lot of magazines recently:

Armorer, Astoundingly Awesome 4, Astoundingly Awesome 8, Awareness, Barbarian (3), Black Widow (2), Blacksmith, Bloody Mess, Cap Collector, Covert Operations (2), Gun Nut, Guns and Bullets, Hacker, Live & Love 2, Local Leader (2), Locksmith, Mysterious Stranger, Science!, Scrapper, Tesla Science, Unstoppable.

Bug Report

I’m noticing a bit more frame stuttering when I come out of my Pip-Boy. Other than that, the only really noticeable moment I had today was when I was having a conversation with somebody and Valentine sat down in between us. The weird thing was that there was no chair for him to be sitting on. Those are some pretty strong Synth legs to support that kind of counterweight…

Scouting the Commonwealth – Day 6

Today I’d like to regale you of a few tales from the wasteland.

Changing the World

My first adventure of the day was a delightful surprise. I, like many others in the Commonwealth have been enjoying the awkward radio stylings of Travis on the Diamond City Radio station. But when the game gave me a mission to help give him some confidence, I thought “okay, let’s see how this plays out.” The quest itself felt like the kind of “tranformation from awkward nerd to confident man” that I’ve seen many times. But what I really appreciated was that this quest has changed the performance on the radio. I imagine if I had just skipped on the quest, Travis would have stayed awkward and uncomfortable in the role . But because I helped out, his intros and news stories have altered to reflect his new persona. This sense of making a change to the world like this was something I was sorely missing from Fallout 3. Glad to see something like it added in for this game.

It Came from Outer Space

My second adventure from Day 6 in the Commonwealth came about randomly. I was taking a break from questing to explore the north section of the map; just discovering each point of interest working my way East to West. First up was the Robotics Disposal Ground where I stumbled across a deactivated Sentry Bot. Exploring the terminal in the nearby shack, I saw I could activate it so I decided to quick save and see what kind of power it was packing. After activating it and watching it just sit there, I grabbed the Fat Man that was laying nearby and shot the guy. Then he came at me with a fury and easily destroyed me before I could reload for the much-needed second mini-nuke. So I reloaded my save and tried again, this time shooting in stealth and saving V.A.T.S. for the second nuke. That did the trick. But I didn’t really want to waste a couple of nukes on the guy so I reloaded the save again to see what else I could do with the Sentry Bot. Turned out the same activation holo-tape could also send him to some other points.

Shortly after this experience, I passed Level 20 and a UFO came crashing down to Earth overhead. I followed the trail and came upon the downed ship and a mysterious green blood trail. Following the trail to a nearby cave, I came upon the pilot, killed him, and grabbed his Alien Blaster. New goal: invest in some levels on the Science! Perk so I can mod this baby and wreak havoc upon my enemies.

Back Into the Vault

Continuing my adventures on the map, I stumbled upon my first non-111 Vault. As a long-time fan of the Fallout games, one of my favorite parts of each game is discovering the new, messed up ways the fine folks at Vault-Tec decided to fuck with people going through the apocalypse. So that’s why I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop in Vault 81. Everyone seemed so normal and well-adjusted, apart from having to work long hours to maintain the vault. But that couldn’t be the experiment. That’d be too simple. Then I saw the first glimmers of hope when I found an old discarded Overseer terminal in the Reactor room. But I needed a Master level hack to get into it and I just haven’t invested those points yet. Crap.

Fortunately, doing a menial side quest or two triggered an event that revealed the deep dark secret of this vault: that there was a second hidden portion of the vault observing the main vault. Reading through the terminals, this vault was intended to use the vault dwellers as human guinea pigs for disease and vaccine experimentation. But the suddenness of the bombs dropping meant that this laboratory side of the vault was only manned by three scientists. Discovering the communications between these scientists and that original Overseer (whose terminal is still locked but I imagine will give me even more insight when I return to unlock it) was particularly enjoyable. And while I’m playing this game as a relatively good person, this was one of the first quests I came across where I’m looking real forward to my more evil play through to see how events unfold.

These story-telling techniques are just another one of the many reasons I love these games. There is so much extra lore and narrative if you’re willing to look for it. It’s something I always had a hard time connecting with in Skyrim (I barely ever actually read any of the text on those books, I usually just clicked it to get the mission objective or skill point), but I love getting to know each of these quirky little fleshed-out stories of the pre-war world or what happened in the 200 years I was frozen.

I Am S.P.E.C.I.A.L.

Only added a couple levels today and got up to Level 21. No change to my SPECIAL (S=6, P=6, E=5, C=6, I=7, A=4, L=4).

Because of how I handled the Vault 81 quest, I seem to be suffering a permanent status effect of Molerat disease (Max HP -10). I wonder if that will fade with time or if I’m stuck with it.

As for my Perks, I feel like I’ve been finding a lot of magazines recently:

Armorer, Astoundingly Awesome 4, Astoundingly Awesome 7, Astoundingly Awesome 8, Awareness, Barbarian (4), Black Widow (2), Blacksmith, Bloody Mess, Cap Collector (2), Covert Operations (2), Gun Nut, Guns and Bullets, Hacker (2), Live & Love 2, Local Leader (2), Locksmith, Mysterious Stranger, Science!, Scrapper, Tesla Science, Unstoppable.

I’m also up to 7 Bobbleheads: Perception, Repair, Melee, Speech, Energy Weapons, and Medicine.

Bug Report

Unfortunately, today brought the first instances of my game just crashing entirely. I had just shot a Super Mutant Suicider from afar causing him to blow and take a couple of his friends. Then I turned and started heading the other way and as I was running the game just errored out to the PlayStation main screen. I reported the problem, restarted, loaded the recent quick save and tried again. Slightly different path traveled but the game crashed again. So I took a break and spent the rest of the day doing chores and stuff. I’m hoping that playing around with some different stuff will break free from this situation and that I’m not stuck in a crashing loop of some kind.

Wish me luck…

Scouting the Commonwealth – Day 7

After a couple of days away from the Wasteland, today I returned with a vengeance. Things I did today:

  • Mixed paint.
  • Shot down a Vertibird
  • Got blown up two separate times by the same set of mutants:
    • Once by a Missile Launcher.
    • Once by a Suicide Mutant.
  • Triggered the “Ranger Corps” Trophy (Discovered 100 Locations).
  • Tracked down some baseball paraphenalia for a guy who thinks the sport was about each team beating the other to death with bats.
  • Cleared out a Brewery.
  • Cooked a Mirelurk Omelette.
  • Picked a shit-ton of crops.
  • Flirted with Paladin Danse.
  • Failed at Flirting with Paladin Danse (should have put that Agatha Dress back on).
  • Looted Paul Revere’s House.
  • Triggered the “Animal Control” Trophy (Killed 300 Creatures).
  • Followed the Freedom Trail to Old North Church.

All that stuff said, I didn’t gain a single level. I think I’m going to have to retire Paladin Danse for awhile. He’s great to have by your side in combat but because his Gatling Laser is killing most things before I can, I’m just not getting any experience points with him.

Scouting the Commonwealth – Days 8-10

Day 8

While at work on Thursday, I caught up on this week’s Vault IGN, my go-to Fallout 4 podcast hosted by the superb Jared Petty. In that episode, Sean Finnegan detailed his adventure at Thicket Excavations, which sounded eerily similar to my own. We both stumbled upon the quarry and helped the guy there by diving into the water and fixing the pump. Then we both read his terminal logs after the fact.  “Cool,” I thought, and then a couple of the other members of the podcast told him that he should go back when he was more leveled up. “I’ve leveled up,” so I couldn’t wait to get home and check out that quarry.

But first I had to finish the Railroad quest I was on to get in with them. I like Deacon and his Fallout-esque sense of humor. And since I was losing companions left and right (I’d sent Preston, Nick, and Dogmeat back to Sanctuary Hills but couldn’t find them. It turned out Preston and Nick were waiting at their next mission points and Dogmeat was back where I first met him). Anyway, I joined the Railroad and then I headed back to the quarry. And what a nice surprise to find that the waters had drained and a band of raiders had moved in. Another instance of the world changing that I absolutely adore.

Day 9

For Day 9, I took back the Castle for the Minutemen. Then spent a good chunk of time tidying the place up and moving settlers to this side of the map. I also went to the Memory Den with Nick and had my suspicions from a previous post verified.

Day 10

Today I continued collecting Eddie Winter tapes for Nick (I’d already stumbled across a couple before he asked me to look into them today). I also ran another mission for the Brotherhood of Steel today and killed my first Behemoth. I also spent a while loading up gear from the Workshop at Sanctuary Hills and lugging it to The Castle. Also unlocked Artillery strikes with the Minutemen and the Brotherhood. Could come in handy…

I Am S.P.E.C.I.A.L.

Up to Level 27. S=7, P=6, E=6, C=6, I=7, A=4, L=6.

As for my Perks:

Armorer, Astoundingly Awesome 4, Astoundingly Awesome 7, Astoundingly Awesome 8, Awareness, Barbarian (4), Black Widow (2), Blacksmith, Bloody Mess, Cap Collector (2), Covert Operations (3), Gun Nut (2), Guns and Bullets (2), Hacker (3), Junktown Vendor, Live & Love 2, Local Leader (2), Locksmith (2), Medic, Mysterious Stranger, Science! (2), Scrapper (2), Tesla Science, Unstoppable (2).

Still sitting at 6 Bobbleheads: Perception, Repair, Melee, Speech, Energy Weapons, and Medicine.

Bug Report

No noticeable bugs the past few days. Outside of some framerate dips, it’s been a relatively smooth week. Especially once I realized that my missing companions weren’t bugs. Though I really hope they had an update that adds Companion locations to the map…

Scouting the Commonwealth – Days 11-12

Short post today. I spent the little bit of time played yesterday fast-traveling back and forth with Nick between Sanctuary Hills and The Castle, moving all of my gear from the former to the latter. Then I realized the game clock was nearing Christmas so I thought I’d enjoy the game’s Christmas Easter Egg.

Christmas in Diamond City

Christmas in Diamond City

Today I finished moving all of my gear to The Castle. Then I visited a couple miscellaneous locales in the Wasteland and finished up a couple of random side quests. One of these being a trip to the Boston Public Library and nabbing the Intelligence Bobblehead.

I also came across a non-descript boxing gym. With Creed coming out this weekend, I thought for a split-second this was a Rocky reference before remembering that series is set in Philadelphia. I did find another little quirky Easter Egg planted by the developers though…

Now I’m enjoying some time with Catherine and Marvel’s Jessica Jones until I return to the Commonwealth later tonight or tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Scouting the Commonwealth – Day ???

I’ve completely lost track of how many days I’ve spent scouring the Commonwealth at this point. But with the year winding down, I’m aiming to get through the rest of the main story of Fallout 4 so I can visit a few more games before I start putting together my Game of the Year lists. As a result, I’ll likely be retiring this series for the time being. But first, I’ll recap some of the highlights since I last wrote…

Adventures Big and Small

I finally tracked down the Silver Shroud quest line and played that out. Playing as a woman, I thought it was a little dumb that all of the Speak as Shroud options are clearly meant for a male player but they were dumb fun nonetheless. I even managed to get through the quest with Kent intact. It took a few tries but I figured it had to be possible and indeed it was. Just had to use some different dialogue options to convince the big bad to try to kill me in front of Kent and break his spirit. Pretty much any other route led to Kent getting a bullet to the back of the head first.

I also complete Nick Valentine’s personal quest. It was certainly a tedious one, having to traverse the map for 10 police stations/holotapes but the back story it revealed about Nick and his pre-war ties was really interesting. Fortunately, I had already tracked down a few of the Eddie Winter tapes as I went along. For those who don’t know, each tape has a number hidden in it that all make up a code to Winter’s secure bunker. I even had a notepad going on my phone where I was jotting down each number of the code as I found it, not realizing the game would do that heavy lifting for me once all 10 tapes were collected.

Speaking of companions, I helped Curie out with one of her requests (no spoilers) and now I’m traveling around with Hancock of Goodneighbor.

Story-wise, I finally headed out into the Glowing Sea in some sexy Hot Pink Power Armor and now I’m attempting to track down a way into the Institute.

I Am S.P.E.C.I.A.L.

I’ve worked my way up to Level 40. S=9, P=7, E=6, C=7, I=8, A=6, L=6. And I’m loaded up with Perks that have allowed for lots of Crafting: Armorer (4), Astoundingly Awesome 2, 4, 6-8, Awareness, Barbarian (5), Black Widow (2), Blacksmith, Bloody Mess, Cap Collector (2), Close to Metal, Covert Operations (6), Demolition Expert, Gun Nut (4), Guns and Bullets (3), Hacker (3), Junktown Vendor, Live & Love 1-2, 5, Local Leader (2), Locksmith (3), Massachusetts Surgery, Medic, Mysterious Stranger, Pickpocket (2), Science! (3), Scrapper (2), Tesla Science (3), Unstoppable (2).

Bug Report

Been very fortunate that I haven’t really been running into any severe glitches. I ran into one issue when I was supposed to speak to someone during a quest but he just blew me off so I couldn’t continue the quest. Fortunately, when I got frustrated to the point of killing him, that triggered the next person I needed to talk to and I wound up being able to complete the quest after all.

The only other frustration I’ve really come across has been trying to find companions who aren’t where I sent them. But fortunately Google has been helpful in tracking down the most common places to find them.

Scouting the Commonwealth – The Adventures of James Stark

When we last left off in my recurring series “Scouting the Commonwealth” – where I chronicled my adventures in Fallout 4 – I had wrapped up the main questline in order to put the game aside and move on to other possible Game of the Year contenders. Since that time, Bethesda has released their first three pieces of DLC: AutomatronWasteland Workshop, and this week’s Far Harbor so now seemed as good a time as any to jump back in.

Then I remembered I had designed my character to resemble my now ex-girlfriend and was less inclined to deal with that. So instead of just sucking it up and moving on, I decided to start from scratch and make a new character. Since I knew “Trevor Starkey” was a no-go on the game’s pre-populated list of names, I went instead with my new Fallout alter-ego “James Stark.” A day into the game and I’m making much quicker progress this time around.

I cleared out a lot of the locations up in the first northwest portion of the game. Save the people of Vault 81, helped out a few settlements for the Minutemen, and just walked into Diamond City. Since I was incredibly thorough reading through computer terminals and such on my first playthrough, a lot of the little side stories at each location are still fairly fresh in my head and I didn’t need to spend nearly as much time investigating this time. I also have a much better sense of the kinds of weapons, gear, and junk I’m interested in collecting so I’m not spending nearly as much time hoarding stuff I don’t need.

I’m still spending a shit-ton of time doing that, but not nearly as much as I did last time.

I’m already up to Level 15. I’ve found an alarming number of Grognak the Barbarian comics so far. Since I know that Fusion Cores are relatively plentiful, I’m being more liberal with my use of my Sexy Hot Rod Power Armor. And I’m really enjoying little things here and there that I missed the first time around, like Walden Pond or a random diner where I helped the owner her drug-addled son fight off the drug-dealing raiders trying to collect. I’m also coming across way more raiders trying to charge me tolls to cross their bridges…and then murdering them. I haven’t delved into any of the new content yet. I figured I’d wait until I progressed a bit further along. I also haven’t found Nick Valentine and I’m pretty sure the Far Harbor DLC follows a case of his. We’ll see if I get to it before heading to San Francisco on Wednesday. Probably not too likely.

All in all, I’m having a great time back in the Wasteland. And one last thing I’ve realized this time, the music in the game is really good. I’m not talking Diamond City Radio. Since I’m a little bit over those songs, I’ve been wandering with my Pip-Boy on silent and just enjoying the atmospheric music that accompanies the game. Fights become appropiately epic, but even standing out in the wilderness has some beautiful underscoring that I missed the last time around when I was so insistent upon listening to the radio stations.

Scouting the Commonwealth – The Adventures of James Stark Part 2

After playing very little in the way of gaming since Kinda Funny Live, I returned to Fallout 4 for a healthy (or unhealthy depending on your narrative) number of hours today. I started the day out going on a mini-recruitment spree, gathering up Cait from the Combat Zone, and Strong from Trinity Tour. I entered Goodneighbor but haven’t bothered to get Hancock yet, and I just joined the Railroad so I’ll be getting Deacon to join the party soon.

As for other notable events, I solved a murder mystery or two for Valentine. I picked up a legendary double-barrel shotgun that causes bleeding so that’s making quick work of a lot of enemies and I love it. I also hit up the crashed UFO site once I passed level 20. I threw on some Power Armor and took back the Castle for the Minutemen. And Cait shared with me that she had an addiction to Psycho, so we went way down south to Vault 95 in an effort to cure her of the addiction.

As far as mischievous Vault-Tec experiments go, I was a little let down by Vault 95. They rounded up a bunch of junkies and kept them clean for five years (seemingly replacing their fixation with lots of cigarettes and coffee if the junk left around the Vault was any indication), then one of the residents (a deep cover Vault-Tec employee) “uncovered” a hidden stash of drugs. Based on all of the terminals pretty much ending their documentation on or around that day, it would seem it didn’t take long before the whole Vault had killed themselves either by overdosing or by fighting each other for more. Oh well, I got Cait clean, at least.

I’m up to Level 22 now and I’ve been focusing on my Lockpicking and Hacking skills so I can now lockpick and hack Master locks/terminals. The Commonwealth is my oyster. That reminds me, though, that I need to go back to Vault 111 and pick up that Cryo gun.

Other than that I’m enjoying running around and discovering new map locations that I didn’t uncover during my last playthrough. I entered a chemical plant called HalluciGen and enjoyed as Gunners were shooting each other due to the madness-inducing drugs that had leaked throughout the facility. And I was quickly and utterly destroyed by and Alpha Deathclaw that caught me unawares on my way down to Vault 95.

All in all, a fun, lazy day running around the Commonwealth and shootin’ lots of things.

3 thoughts on “Scouting the Commonwealth

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