A new playthrough
DLC packs and modsThis spring I received a couple of DLC packets to F:NV and I then proceeded to invest into the rest of them, for the sake of completeness. As I was waiting for Steam to install the game, I went and took a look at the mods available. There were tons of things, but I decided to go with the following pile:
First and foremost MedX -> morphine (the australians can get anxious with real names, I am not going to end up being a morphinist because of Fallout (or a smoker because of F1 ads)), FOOK (a trillion fixes etc), Fellout (removes the yellowish filter), More Perks, Automated Perks (you get perks based on your skills and levels, to compensate the loss of some perks it comes with a pile of new ones), Classic Fallout Weapons Pack (because I had to get a Pancor Jackhammer) and a Mauser pistol to replace a boring vanilla gun.
Being faithful to my playstyle I picked up unarmed, melee and sneak as my tag skills. Playing a Ninja is always fun, until someone starts minigunning or bazookaing me over a plain, coverless field with a good distance between us... but that's a problem much later on. On the SPECIAL side of things I boosted Strenght and especially Luck while dumping all that useless Charisma away. As I was trying to get to a nice Fallout 2 mood, I picked up the Wild Wasteland perk now, as I hadn't bothered to "waste" a slot the first time I played NV.
|Someone really doesn't know you should't give lip to everybody...|
GrinderTo build up my character I played the vanilla content pretty much Legionally, until I had dragged my charismaless but lucky ugly sob to level 16 and I dared to proceed to the new content. But while I was working on that I did random tasks, mostly improving on things I did "wrong" before, like weaponizing the Helios station instead of the useless energy redistribution. That's something that the NCR clowns didn't really appreciate and when I killed them all (they attacked me, it was self defence!) my companion Boone started whining a lot. I really didn't like his attitude, so I decided that I'd sell him a slave to the Legion as soon as I could.
No, I didn't, because it was not doable! Heresy and iconoclasy, that's what this is. During my wanderings I found out, accidentally, that my cocannibal Mortimer from the White Glove Society would gladly take my whiny companion for a fancy meal and I was more than happy to oblige. Bwahahahahaha. Baldies don't get to tell me what to do or not to do.
Old World BluesThe first DLC I approached was the crater of the mad scientists and it was insane. Everything was done so over the top that I was very, very amused.
For the first few encounters I had heavy difficulties (especially with the lobotomites), for I couldn't really cripple them at all and they withstood my small arms fire insanely well. After I had beaten a good baker's dozen of them with my trusty Sledgehammer I had found a pile of Protonic Axes. They ended up being one decent one and when I tried it, out of curiosity, on my enemies, they just fell like grain in the autumn. My Melee and Unarmed skills were already almost gapped at this point, but the more peaceful skills like Speech were pretty much in the drain, as I hadn't (or even couldn't) have pumped them one bit.
So the vast majority of Speech-, Barter- or Science -based skillchecks failed miserably, no matter how many packets of Mentats I stuffed into my face (I still didn't get addicted, lucky me!). Nicely enough some of the key discussions were completeable by other skills, so I didn't have to slaughter every single named character in the Big Mt area.
Next up in my adventures was teh abandoned BoS bunker and there I was rewarded by unconciousness. Whoever goes to search for the treasure of Sierra Madre will find out that all his/her things are robbed, which is something I've always loathed as a damn cheap trick. To compensate you've just been given a bomb collar that blows up if you get too close to a radio or if one of your team dies. Sigh.
To make things even more wonderful, the village was full of immortal Trappers. I was really confused by the advertised immortality, until after many a gaming session one was only knocked out for a short while and at around halfway down the story a computer revealed to me that "you have to cripple them to kill them". That explains a lot, as I had always punched them so hard that a limb or a head always fell off on the first strike. Those damn holograms were much more problematic...
In the Sierra Madre Casino I blew the bank in the Blackjack table (thanks, lucky numbers) and spent my credits in those vending machines to buy Stimpaks, Mentats and other necessities. Before I left to the main map, I wasted all the credits and then wondered why I had ~1400 Stimpaks and ~100 Weapon Repair Kits and couldn't really walk anymore. Whoops. At leat the bunker was a handy place to stash all the stuff I couldn't practically carry with me.
This story was pretty straightforward and nothing too awesome, but it was worth playing through anyway. Of all the junk I picked up on the way the absolute best was the insanely genial Bear Trap Fists, which are even more awesome than Power Fists. That's saying something, right?
For my third extra adventure I went to the Canyon Wrecakge, because it was nearby and I had already discovered the location. The nuclear silo -filled area was littered with radioactive warheads (twenty in total) and you had to go around blowing them up with a laser detonator. Funnily the fallout didn't bother for more than a few seconds and nothing else but random junk (and those few still living enemies) were affected by the nuclear blast.
At the mid-point of the map I apparently launched an ICBM to the next village and the game warned that "you can proceed to x, if you dare to enter a nuclear warhead ground zero" (or something), when I had blown up eight warheads in the last hour and pretty much danced around them meanwhile...
|"Sincerely yours, Michael Bay"|
Here I encountered my first Deathclaws and I was slightly concerned about them. Then I killed the first one with a single power hit in VATS with the Proton Inversal Axe. Let's see what happens on the main map when I go and bully the really big ones. I'm eager to find out!
Just before I went for the final fight I checked out the Courier's Mile and that was a place that consumed RadX and RadAway. A handful of the first type and a good hundred of the latter one. Luckily enough the powered fists of a melee master took care of all the Deathclaws and those Marked Men with ease. Why did I got there at this point? Just in case that after the end fight I either a) couldn't go anywhere or b) couldn't go to certain places.
Somehow I managed to talk Ulysses down instead of beathing him to pulp with my Power Fist. I guess I just tried, out of curiousity, if I could do that with my laughably low Speech skills - and succeeded accidentally, thanks to my "search every millimeter and read everything you see" approach. That and non-speech skill checks, of course. Rather unsurprisingly I then reaimed the missiles to strike NCR alone and as my reward I got to see a beautiful mushroom cloud in the horizon. I guess that the NCR folks can't really get angrier at me, as I was vilified before I started with the first DLC packet.
Honest HeartsTo finish up the new adventures I marched into the Happy Trails Expedition's cave and after listening to a bit of scary stories (you can't leave soon) I joined the caravan heading to Zion. The canyon was surprisingly void of life, after the mandatory initial ambush. After that I just went around the map in an orderly fashion to unlock all the locations. Every once in a while a small fight with a savage or two (sometimes they were fighting each other or some animals), random Yao Guais, dog things or Geckos. Still, most of the time I was all alone.
Pretty early on I found a cave where Joshua Graham was hiding. I left him in peace at this point (he was red in my HUD and I didn't want to kill him before a chat) and proceeded to other places. I also didn't want to start the adventure by potentially closing maybe even big options in the story, before I had completed a single quest in the area.
Halfway done with the map - I was zigzagging from Southeast to Northnorthwest, towards a northeast location as my first quest target. I was pretty much amazed when rain surprised my while I was crawling through a canyon. Rain. Amazing.
When I was done with the map I found a map of the region from a clay pot and my next quest was to get the hell out of Zion. Everyone I had met was mad at me and therefore dead pretty soon after that. I was really, really confused and checked the wiki for a clue of what goes on. The explanation was simple: I had killed very early on a named character and that led to "Chaos in Zion" quest. What could I do if the savage attacked me without provocation? I guess I have to try this packet again later on, as this left a pretty stupid taste in my mouth.
Gun Runner's ArsenalGuns. Ammotypes. Weapon mods. Challenges. More of these.
Well, you find guns and ammo everywhere and complete the challenges while killing people with different weapons. I really can't say much about the guns in GRA as I had already added more guns with the mod pack. All I can say is that I didn't get bored with the encountered hardware unlike in vanilla F3/NV ("yay, my hundred and seventy sixth cowboy repater") and I guess that was one of the points for this set. For some reason the weapon mods were really under a rock, or they just aren't spawned randomly and you ought to buy them instead.
Back to the vanilla contentWith all the extra stories completed more or less satisfactorily I kept on unlocking map locs with my level 44 ugly man. During my adventures I had even found a couple of Jackhammers and was a *happy camper*.
In general, I was just running counterclockwise though the map starting from the Happy Trails Caravan's cave and smashed everyone in my way to pieces. Few people liked me on the west side, so I was just defending myself... Just to prove naysayers wrong I was friendly and helpful in Jacobstown, as the Supermutants were friendly towards me. Pretty soon I found myself next to the Quarry Junction and its gigantic Deathclaws. There were many of those bastards. I guess it says something about the 100% Melee skill that I Rippered four adult Deathclaws to bits without losing even 50% of my health - with a light armor. The baby deathclaws fell quickly to my AP-loaded minigun. Just a few seconds later the scary crazied Deathclaw Mother was cut into pieces by a couple of short, controlled bursts.
|Brass knuckles vs Blind Deathclaws|
To keep things fresh I helped the guy occupying the Vault 19's Overseer's office and only blew up the sulphur caves. Then I suggested him to join the Great Khans. That I did mostly because they are the henchmen of the Legion.
Slowly, while opening map locations, I approached the NCR camp in the ruins next to Primm and the target of my nuclear strike next to the Mojave Outpost. I sneak-rippered a handful of the guards and continued towards the toll station. All the NCRians were mad at me, so I had to approach sneakily. After a few minutes of sneaking I just jumped up and rippered everyone I met into pieces., before hiding again. At this point, when I could attack ten armed soldiers with just brass knuckles or a chainsaw and end the fight with mere scratches, I thought that maybe my character's a bit too good. Even though there's no cheating, an old quote ("I just shoot down everyone and never die, trallalallalaaa") from an anti-cheating column by Nnirvi kept creeping to my mind.
Long 15 was pretty much boring. There were a few irradiated soldiers with and without Power Armor. Pocketfuls of ammo some armor and a few guns were what I left with. The experience was pretty much like Courier's Mile, meh.
In the name of CaesarWhen I had opened just about all of the visitable locations on the map and completed a random amount of side quests, I found myself on level 50. Then I decided that I'm not going to go for a 100% available quest completion rate, especially as I wouldn't gain much anymore and I had seen most of them already in my earlier playthroughs. Therefore I put all my resources for Caesar's use.
Just for the fun of it I obeyed Caesar and blew up the bunker of my BoS brothers, I mean, they had already trained me to use Power Armor - and unknowingly some spare armor as well. After that I cured Caesar's brain cancer and was sent to assassinate the president of NCR. The latter I took care of pretty lazily: I sneaked next to the platform and as soon as he was a couple of meters away, I activated my last Stealth Boy, shot him in the forehead with my trusty Jackhammer and sneaked further away in the ensuing chaos. From a healthier distance I then wiped out everyone who happened to be hanging around anymore. Maybe that wasn't as elegant a solution as a bomb hidden inside a Vertibird, but with the chaos it was pretty amusing anyway.
Conquering the dam was effortless at this point. All the opposition turned into red goo after I showed my minigun with AP-round at them, as long as I had those rounds. Maybe I should've learned how to make them myself. I guess I was just too lazy to do that sort of tinkering anymore.
If there's something I have to complain about, is the insane limitation that sets in if you work with and for the Legion. Much more than half the map is hostile, you can't recruit companions (or those you have leave) and a very respectable pile of quests (XP and loot) is denied and not that much is available from the other point of view to compensate. If you march in the ranks of NCR, you get so much more to do without even all the civilians bitching at you (or shooting at you as soon as they see the whites of your eyes). Bleh.
Just when I had this post finished, I got a piece of exciting news. Wasteland 2 will be out on the 19th. Wupii!