Fallout 3: Expanded, Step 1

Day 1 of playing Fallout 3 with the expansions is finished.

My character is about level 12, a  jack-of-all-trades, master of all. Fallout 3 is fairly exploitable along those lines, the magic formula being something like:

Take a high intelligence score (8 or more) at the beginning, get the Comprehension perk, and don’t take any skill past 75.  Don’t take skill-boosting perks: chances are, through finding the necessary bobblehead and several skillbooks, most of your skills will be near the 100 cap by the time you hit 20.  Now that the cap is at 30, maxing all skills should be possible.  Even maxing your SPECIAL is possible if you hold off on taking the attribute bobbleheads until 30, and doing so will likely pop most of your skills over the remaining gap to 100.

Bethesda’s content designers are top of their line, but RPG designs have always left a little something to be desired.  If I were to redesign Fallout 3’s to have a bit more flavor, I’d probably make it so perks were a lot more powerful but only taken every 3 or 4 levels, while grinding incentives for getting a skill level above 100.

That would make it so there’s no such thing as a master-of-all.  But maybe having a master-of-all isn’t so terrible in a single player game.

The rest of this entry is boring counting of today’s adventures in digital post-apocolytpia.  I’ve finished Operation: Anchorage, and am ruing how the expansions transformed the PC version into a buggy mess, but aside from that my optimism about a revised ending to this post-apocalyptic adventure remains.

Installing the latest version of Live to get Fallout 3 up and running proved to be an usually difficult endeavor.  I eventually had to drop to shell access to run a winsock reset for it to even recognize my profile, instead of wondering if my region was supported.  (I’m just a few hundred miles south from Microsoft HQ, you’d certainly hope they bothered to support my region.)

While I was okay without Martigen’s Mutant Mod – the “hard” difficulty was sufficient to be reasonably challenging without being overbearing – I found my own plugin to be irresistible.    Among other things, it makes food worth carrying around and I don’t have to worry about companions biting the dust because they did something stupid (which is all the time).   Further, my plugin is generalized enough that it’s fully compatible with the extentions (although the melee damage tweak made the trench knife inferior).

It took me about 11 hours of play from character creation to earning about level 10 before I went off to do Operation Anchorage.  I was given the impression by reviews that this expansion was pretty short, but actually it seemed reasonably long to me: I took it at a cautious pace and it stretched out to a solid 3 hours or so.  There was also quite the nice bit of custom content here, including many visual effects: Bethesda definitely has some of the finest content creators in the business working for them.

Spoiler: The reward at the end of Operation Anchorage was a tad overpowered.  The best armor in the game, invulnerable to the condition degradation that affects all other equipment in the game.  Also, stealth armor which includes a cloaking field, and a few very effective new weapons.

I do have a bit of buyer’s remorse at this point, and this is actually stemming from technical problems in the game.  Perhaps because I installed The Pitt, Fallout 3 now has a sporadic lockup problem.  I had forgotten before I installed the latest patch that this patch actually breaks the PC version to an extent, slowing down VATS targetting and forcing on autoaim.

These are game comprimising issues – there was a point yesterday where I was trying to shoot a frag mine I placed between two Fire Ants and it kept trying to autoaim off to one of the ants, completly missing that ant and the frag mine.  I’ll have to check the Fallout 3 forums to see if there’s a way around that.

One Response

  1. […] 16th-18th, I decided to give Fallout 3 another […]

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