3.3.11

War. War never changes.

As my description is at least trying to say, I've assumed I'll be writing about other things, not only about scale models. My main reason is that I can't and don't always have the time to build and/or paint. Another reason is that gaming is another of my hobbies (coding for fun is one as well, but haven't had much time to do that lately...). These things work nicely together, for you can do both in different states of mind, weather and schedule: in 15 minutes you can either assemble something but it makes no sense to fire up Civ IV for that. Or half an hour isn't enough for an elaborate painting session but it's more than fine to kill a bunch of Crimson Lance fools. Just like one just doesn't always feel like playing/building/something, so options are always a pure victory.

I mean, playing through a Fallout in my style is a big and a long-lasting Project, so it fits under the topic really nicely :) Anyway, I'll prepare my short story with a long background explanation.

Oh, and before I continue, I'm warning about potential spoilers.

I won't be hiding any story parts or anything else, either, I'll just write what I come up with. There'll be a bunch of text and most of it is going to be just general ranting and all that, so maybe the "quality" of my postings will suffer for
this post - or maybe for every gaming-related post as well. Who knows?

My experiences with the Fallout series is such: second one I've played through a bunch of enjoyable times, Fallout 3 1½ times and this New Vegas one is still under progress, obviously. For some sick reason I've never got my hands on the original Fallout, my friends never lent me Fallout Tactics (they were always busy with it themselves) and the xbox-based BoS I tried once quickly at a friend.

The third real Fallout by Bethesda was something I was expecting with a great amount of curiosity: how can you turn this awesome RPG with turn-based combat into one of these modern real time 3d-thingamagicks? Thankfully the VATS sort of brought the shooting back to the turn-basedness, for the moments when real time shooting wasn't feasible (it's somewhat nicer to shoot down enemy grenades in VATS). VATS lets you aim at different body parts and gives the to-hit percentages to help in the decision-making. My old favourites from Fallout 2 (the eyes & the groin) aren't included! Blasphemy! Especially the eyes not being in the list annoys me to no end. What do you do with a good set of spiked knuckles if you can't pop your enemies' eyes out with them? Why can't I swing my super sledgehammer at that slaver's groin?

Now that I got to that part, you can aim at bodyparts when you're shooting, but if you're armed with melee weapons or just your fists, you can't aim at a specific part at all in the VATS mode! What the hell? You could shoot someone's knees off but you can't cripple them with a hammer? Why not? I'm waiting for a mod to fix this insane missing feature. Also, with my skills, I couldn't choose if I was punching or kicking, like in Fallout 2. Maybe that's not implemented. Pity, but not as much as the no-targeting-for-melee-weapons. Bah.

Ok, I mentioned mods, it's awesome that these new Fallouts can be modded to your heart's content. The games are nicely harsh out of the box, just like Fallout 2 was. Swearing, smoking, drinking (+1 charisma, -1 perception (or so)), slavering, whoring and all that plentiful more or less justified violence. Oh, you can also use drugs if you want to see how the addict side of the game world works, and if you aren't afraid of the withdrawals. Or you can join those aforementioned slavers, at least in F3, haven't got to see anything for or against in New Vegas.
I once got addicted to Nuka Cola in Fallout 2, it was pretty surreal: that was the first bottle I drank :D Those combat drugs give you bonuses and all that, but my fear of negative buffs from withdrawals have kept me away from them. For some reason this was all fine and dandy for our friends in Australia, but using morphine for greater damage tolerance (strong painkiller, anyone?) was not. It was scary enough for them to consider not rating the whole game, which translates into the game being practically banned in Australia. So Bethesda renamed morphine to Med-X and one of the first mods, and the first one I always install, is Med-X to Morphine. Despite my character using Morphine every once in a while I haven't ended up being a morphi- or any other nist, in the game or in real world. Tards.

Oh, and there was (is) one big instance of self-cencorship in these two games and that confuses me quite a bit, hopefully others, too. In the good old Fallout 2 I was running around Den (if I remember correctly, after Arroyo you find the first three places in this order: Klamath, Modoc, Den). There are numerous kids in Den and they do some pickpocketing. Once I got some caps stolen from me and I replied with a sledgehammer into his face. The brat died instantly and his/her corpse slid all the way to the edge of the map. I got my caps back and went on my merry way, back to Modoc. The locals had turned into less happy people, their speech texts were enemy-red and replies were pretty harsh. One of them attacked me and after the thing escalated into a bloodbath I decided to run away, for at that early point in the game I wasn't quite up to an ethnic cleansing of the village... yet.
Anyway, after getting away I checked my stats to see what the hell could be wrong, what was my status among the groups I had contacted already. I noticed that I had a brand new Child Killer perk among the few ones I had already had. I decided that things weren't how I wanted them to be so I loaded an earlier save and let the kids be in the future.
Well. If you end up pickpocketing them and dumping some lit dynamite or C4 in their pockets... they die all the same but you don't get the negative karma :P

For their own reasons the Bethesda team decided that in their game this won't do (and obviously the kids in these games are just as annoying as in the movies). Naturally I, to protest, got a childkiller mod to Fallout 3. I only used it to try it out. Funnily enough, if blowing kids up was doable out of the box, I'd avoided doing that like the plague itself. Now that it's forbidden and you have to mod your game to do that... Blah.

Maybe I get to my real topic now?


So I got Fallout New Vegas as an xmas gift in the spanish tradition: the sixth of January (reyes magos, three magical kings). Almost two months have elapsed and according to Steam that means roughly 35 hours of game time. Nowadays I play semirandomly from ~30mins to ~2 hours, depending on how I feel and all that. And when I feel like it.

I'm in the very early stages of the main storyline. I mean, I've only solved a couple of short "go there and ask about who shot you" tasks until I got to Vegas' the Strip. In the very beginning you get to know that you were a courier and were carrying a platinum chip, someone caught you, took the chip, shot you in the head and buried you. Apparently the attacker was a clueless retard or you were just plain lucky for you survived. The first mission is to find your killer and get back the platinum chip to complete your job. After one or two of these "go there, talk to someone" tasks later you hear that the killer was someone called Benny and he lives in the Strip. Nice. It's just not that easy to get there. The straightest route is full of Deathclaws and the detour gives you a ton of more quests. I solved them however, what sounded most interesting (= less deadly) or was just around the corner already. While doing all that the map got populated with more and more markers and those ended up giving even more quests or small tasks to complete.
The variety of bigger and smaller quests go from the classic "get a needle from the haystack, take it to the pharmacist who gives something to be taken to someone who gives you candy and 100 exp" to "Gather a mob and defend the town from escaped prisoners", and awesome quests like "Find out who sold my wife as a slave so I'll shoot him/her in the head" and "Hire a ghoul cowboy to do soem 'escort' stuff in my bar", not to mention some honest mercenary stuff.



While doing all this, running amok around the desert I've raised my dude's level to almost 22 (out of 35 before any DLC) and only now I dared to go to the quarry that's crawling with Deathclaws. There's a Deathclaw Mother, a Deathclaw Alpha Male (didn't remember those when I got there...) and a horde of smaller ones of all sizes and ages. So far all my attempts of trying to sneak by the quarry have ended quickly in myself being torn from limb to limb and my poor friends being eaten. All this in less than half a minute. Now I went into the quarry and started sniping them - without a real sniper rifle, of course. Now I survived because I went on the ledges so the monsters didn't always get to me and my friends on the first or even the second attack. Still it took a couple of dozen attempts. At one point I realized that the Alpha Male always storms the same way so I run, dropped all my 38 frag mines in the same pile, ran back, attacked from a distance. He went head on to my trap, crippled his leg and it still took me. Raul and the robot a ridiculous amount of time, tries and ammo to kill that bastard. Of course it's just correct: there are places where you shouldn't go if you aren't tough enough, you'll get killed in a heartbeat. And if you are tough, you're still not guaranteed to survive. In the early game, armed with small worn out pistols, tire irons and wearing a leather coat it's a suicide. Now, weating a Combat Armor, armed with various rifles, laser guns and explosives, it was still a challenge. Awesome!


At the moment, based on what I've seen and heard in the deserts of Vegas, there are two main groups against each other: New California Republic (NCR) we know from Fallout 2 and Caesar's Legion I've never heard before of. The NCR has spread its area of influence from the distant-ish California and the Legion is a brutal, apparently pro-slavery group. At some point the Legion people got angry at me and went from neutral "says hello when crossing paths" to "shoot at sight". I guess I was in too good a relationship with the NCR.
I haven't decided who I friend in the end (if I can choose, that is): NCR who seems to be a bit rude and I didn't like them at all in Fallout 2. And when you chat with the Legion's representative, they have a fun-sounding approach to life. We'll see how the thing proceeds and what I hear if and when the background stories get revealed a bit more. As the more recent happenings go, both NCR and Legion reps promised that my "possible crimes against them will be forgotten" and that I should go and have a chat with them. That NCR ambassador I met already for he was just behind the corner but I'd need to travel quite a bit to meet Caesar. I guess my quests will take me closer to the southeast corner of the map soon, so I'll talk to him too, when I get there.


Or maybe I'll just stay with Mr. House, enjoy the security provided by some heavily armed robots and spend all my different monies in the casinos. Oh, I found Benny all right. I threat.. persuaded him to have a private meeting and beat him to a bloody pulp with my spiked knuckles. He tried to get me to join him and his team, he also promised some quests and stuff, but revenge is sweet and I didn't want to have those spiked knuckles being smuggled there for nothing... Maybe in another life.

For the first time it's happened to me that I've ended up developing the speech skill quite a lot in Fallout New Vegas, it's actually quite useful. In all the earlier games I've either bribed (and then stolen my caps back) or burned my way through so this is quite an exciting new thing to me. Always, especially in Fallout 2, I've made some sort of a kickboxer thief (unarmed + pickpocket + small guns), now I'm more like a Han Solo type of a loud guy (guns + speech + melee weapons). Yeah, I know, Han Solo isn't a melee dude but I like it and hadn't thought of this before, maybe survival would've been good for this type of a guy.

I guess I'll stop now and continue in another post, no one is going to read this kind of an endless rantage :P

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