Codsworth is a BAMF

I know that Star Wars came out today, but I won’t have my copy until tonight when I get home from work so my thoughts and videos will have to wait a bit there. Let’s talk more Fallout 4!

I was able to push past that power plant finally. I ended up being able to molotov the heck out of that room and got a few lucky shots off with my shotgun. What really did it for me was being able to activate some robot and put it into police mode. I think it killed a few raiders! At one point it turned on me though, and I don’t know why. So I had a robot AND those raiders AND their turrets on me…

Being able to interact with consoles and activate robots or the environment has been neat. I’ve found consoles to activate turrets, lights, alarms, robots, etc. Very neat that I can sort of come up with my own way to get past scenarios.

Getting past the power plant and being able to see fresh air again was nice. I made my way back to Sanctuary where I offloaded TONS of materials and upgraded my armor and planted lots of crops — built a radio transmitter too so I hope that my population grows!

I decided to swap out Dogmeat for Codsworth, and HOLY CRAP he’s amazing. He charges in and saws people in half! Stupid Dogmeat just runs in and detonates mines or provokes raiders into nuking me. Codsworth is like, “Mr. Doug shall I $&*# them up for you?!” Yes, please. I took Codworth on a few outings and we ended up liberating another settlement and clearing out a few other areas of raiders.

What I’m still struggling with is finding a decent gun. Guns aren’t dropping. Ammo is sorta dropping more now. So I have ammo but my guns are pipe rifles, pipe pistols, and a basic short barrel shotgun. Does my luck suck or do the better rifles/guns of any kind drop somewhere else? Oh, I did find another Fat Man nuke launcher. Can I break these down somehow? I’m trying to figure out how to scrap them. I thought it was at the weapons bench, but couldn’t figure it out. Maybe I missed it.

Today I’ll be playing lots of Star Wars, but tomorrow I’ll pick up on my adventure again. Now that I have the hang of things I’ll take some videos to go along with these entries. That way you guys can see the context and help me out.

Base Building in Fallout 4 is the Coolest Thing Ever

My adventure continues in Fallout 4 as I experience all things Fallout with the wide-eyed enthusiasm and ignorance of a complete newb. I mistakenly thought I was headed to Boston when an NPC (I think it was Codsworth) said the name, but turns out Boston isn’t anywhere in my near future. I spent several hours today playing and ended up making my way through much of Concord and Lexington — both of which were nicer when I visited them in real life and not so much when they are inhabited by mutants and raiders.

Roaming the Wastelands

While not nearly as post-nuclear fallout as I think it should have been, the world itself has a much more colorful and interesting feel than what I’ve observed in screenshots of other Fallout games. They did this for people like me who can only stand looking at so many shades of brown before I get bored. I like how I have an even more open sense of ‘roam the world and do whatever you want’ than even Skyrim. This is more on the Morrowind level of openness.

I… had no idea how much this game would bring out the hoarder in me. I search everywhere and collect everything. Every file cabinet, every house, every coffee mug. It might be useful! I must have it! Regretting that one point in strength about now. But what’s so cool about this game is that all of this stuff -is- useful. I -do- need all of it.

Base Building

My absolute favorite thing in Fallout 4 so far, and perhaps will remain so forever, is the base building. I spend hours scrapping crap, planting crops, making water collectors, decorating houses, etc. This is just SO COOL that I can take parts of the world and make them my bases. This has to be in all Bethesta RPGs moving forward and every game should simply rip it off moving forward.

I was particularly proud of myself when I built a water purifier in the river and wired it to a generator to collect water for my settlement. How cool is that?!

Tough Road Ahead

I got a little bit discouraged and ended up taking a break tonight after trying to help rid a power plant of raiders. Turns out they have turrets and molotovs and nukes and power armor of their own. I died a lot…

My biggest struggle right now is having to carry 4 different guns with different ammo types and never having ammo for the one gun I have that I WANT to use. I’m going Rifleman perk, and unfortunately my rifles feel like they deal about as much damage as shooting a BB gun at a tank. Finally found a nice rifle but it uses .308 instead of .38 ammo. Grr.

If not for being in the middle of this quest I would simply leave and come back, but I think I am on the last room of this plant. Once done I’ll have helped and perhaps claimed the settlement I was asked to assist. I hear better things are in my future if I can push past this part.

Oh, I did find a Fat Boy nuke launcher or something. I’m tempted to nuke this factory and be done!

I’ll happily take any advice you have for me on how I can get better weapons. Overall though, so far so good. I made lots of progress, got side tracked a bit looking for things, spent hours on my base, and I’m looking forward to my next play session.

Musing on the Dangers of WoW and EQ

I played both EverQuest and World of Warcraft today.  These two games have worlds which are quite disparate, but one key difference kept coming into focus: I’m not afraid of monsters or the worlds in most new(er) MMOs.

Modern MMOs do not readily create experiences that are dangerous to the point of making you think twice about going or doing something. In fact, games encourage players to give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happens really is the mantra. New MMOs will encourage you to scour every corner of the world, and in most cases protect you from dangers by giving you very clear indicators that the area you are about to enter could be tough (if they allow you in at all).

Older MMOs mixed danger right in like chocolate chips in pancake batter (can you guess what I had for dinner?). You wanted to explore. You felt like the world was tempting you to explore, but you knew that exploring really wasn’t in your best interest. You still tried, and were quickly reminded why you should hug zone walls.

While working on a quest chain in WoW today I died 3x due to some weird mechanic I didn’t pick up on. While frustrating, I ultimately brute forced my way through. I put into a situation in EQ where I almost died and it made the hair on my neck stand on end and my heart beat hastened. I was terrified and it caused me to decide not to go into this particular area to pull mobs.

In WoW I was blowing through 8 mobs at a time that were 2-3 levels above me. I was running through a group of elites to get to a quest objective I had to click on. I simply didn’t care about what was around me. Everything in the world was just in my way and I would ride my mount through and be on my way. In EQ, I’m terrified of what level mobs are and I’m always thinking about how close I am to anything.

I like both. Both work. Both provide a different experience. I tend to like the games that are a little more dynamic, though. I found that today I bored a quicker while playing WoW and opted for grouping in Kunark slaying Sarnaks in a fort.

New Dawn vs. Rise of Agon

Original Darkfall

My original character and guild from Darkfall

My fascination with the Darkfall revival projects continues to grow, and I’ve recently become aware of another project called Darkfall: Rise of Agon. Unlike Darkfall: New Dawn, Rise of Agon is looking to basically bring back the original Darkfall.

New Dawn is seeking to take the foundation of Darkfall and create the game we should have been given. That’s my take on these two projects, but to try and bring another perspective in I asked Marc Thompson, Lead Developer and CEO of Ub3rgames (the company making New Dawn) a few questions. He was kind enough to reply, and I will say now that he was very professional and did not rag on Rise of Agon at all. He was quite objective, and my questions, albeit brief, weren’t easy PR questions.

Keen's impromptu interview with Marc Thompson
Keen: How does New Dawn differ from Rise of Agon?

Marc Thompson: “In our opinion, both projects have merits, but their approach is very different. What they do have in common is a desire to have diminishing return on stats (they call it front loading) and some form of specialization. They did not enter into details yet, while we’ve had everything ready on our website for a few weeks, but I believe that we are going further than them regarding balancing the power gap. Our title system will be probably more specialized than them, as this is quite a polarizing issue in the current community. To be honest, we’re curious to see what they will release.”

Keen: Why should someone choose to be excited for and follow, and ideally play, New Dawn over Rise of Agon?

Marc Thompson: “On our side, we are less nostalgic, or at least we try not to be blinded by our love of the game. We believe that Darkfall was not a sustainable product back then and are not afraid of doing the necessary changes. We want to mix the dreams we had during the hype in 2008 with what worked well in Darkfall 2012 and the successful games in the genre.”

[…] “We will focus a lot on getting more play styles viable and getting players to enjoy the game sooner. We’re making changes that are unpopular with the late Darkfall crowd but was asked by the early Darkfall crowd. Like less grind, more specialization and a balanced meta game. We are not doing sandbox for the sake of sandbox but as a tool to fuel activities. The local banking is there for trading to emerge, along dedicated crafters and highwaymen. We are expanding holdings and villages for people to have something they can call home and want to fight for. We’re doing skill decay for players to stay interested in the world and collaborate with each other. Same for racial wars and our engaged/alignment system, we want to create a sense of larger community, what you would call realm pride. We are not afraid to use “gamey” mechanics if it means it serves a purpose.”

Marc really hit on a key point for me. You guys all know that I really hated so much about Darkfall because of what Aventurine screwed up, and because of how the players (who are 99% toxic trash) ruined the experience. Rise of Agon looks to recreate that playground for the deranged sociopaths. New Dawn is looking to provide an experience that I personally believe is a better game. I like that they aren’t afraid to use gamey mechanics. I like that they’re thinking more along the lines of ‘how can we make this game fun’ rather than ‘how can we recreate this social experiment gone horrible awry.’ (All my direct and very poignant words, mind you.)

If you’re interested in more New Dawn talk, Marc was on The Sandbox’s podcast.

To wrap this up, I want to say that whether or not any of these projects ever get to fruition doesn’t matter as much as the overarching idea of making better games. Darkfall really sucked in so many ways, but if a team can make it better? More power to them. That goes for all games, and one of the many reasons why I support fan-based initiatives. I’m a P99 fan and SWG EMu fan; I’ve played plenty of UO shards. Bring back what works, toss out the rest, and continue to improve.

There’s a lot for developers (the ones not in basements) to learn from this mentality. There’s a lot for players to learn here as well. I used to be incredibly preachy on this subject, and perhaps it’s time for me to dust off my soapbox for another round. Identify what you like about MMOs, what you don’t like, and demand developers quit fixing what isn’t broken or focusing on flash-in-the-pan gimmicks. Return to substance, and return to making MMOs fun.

Darkfall: New Dawn

I get contacted by a lot of people who want me to check out their game, republish their press release, or somehow how let them piggyback on whatever small amount of attention this blog can bring. Usually I ignore them, but this time the email was a tad bit different.

Darkfall: New Dawn

The team at Ub3rgames is negotiating a licensing deal with Aventurine to re-open Darkfall as a somewhat new game called Darkfall: New Dawn. Why did they contact me? Apparently they read my stuff regularly. Now I get a lot of people buttering me up. It’s usually in the form of, “We’re big fans of your blog,” or “We really agree with you.” Most of that I shrug off as the usual BS. These guys are a bit different, though. They cited specific things about the blog here that has influenced them over the years. In fact, I “brought them to Darkfall” which means I could be the reason why they played Darkfall to begin with.

My last post about Darkfall talked about how I would never go back to a Darkfall run by Aventurine, but if someone else stepped up and took the reins I would be much more willing to try. Apparently that got these guys thinking because they mention that specific post as something that got the wheels turning and motivated them. Again, this is what they are telling me. Could it still be buttering me up to get me to cover them? Sure, but I like a little butter now and again.

We exchanged emails a bit and they sent me over a link to New Dawn in a nutshell. It’s a little bit like a design document talking about how they want to change the game to be more like a fantasy version of EVE. They’re saying all the right things.

  • Reducing the power gap
  • Giving more reasons to play, and more ways to play, especially “positive” ways to play rather thank just ganking
  • Fixing the economy (or actually creating one)
  • Making PvE more enjoyable
  • Making PvP a little more sensical

Take a look and let me know what you think. I see a lot of potential here, especially in making Darkfall more than just a “gankbox” as they call it.

I have always maintained that Darkfall was one of the better social experiences I’ve had in a MMO as it pertains to creating an environment where people have to play together. I made friends in Darkfall that I still talk to every day, and Darkfall was one of the best experiences this community has had playing together. Put that potential in the hands of a good team and we might have something here.

As always, talk is cheap. I told them I want to get in there and get my hands on what they’re making so that I can try it out for myself and let you guys know what I think. I’ll keep you posted.