Posted in Fallout, RIFT

RIFToween and Fearsome Fallout 76

It never fails how a lackluster — or, worse, annoying — zone can really sap one’s interest in progressing through an MMORPG. If that zone takes forever, well, it can even be a death kneel for the individual player’s interest.

My approach when I get drained from a zone is to take a break, recharge my batteries, and then come back at it hard in an attempt to blast through the rest of it as quickly as possible. This is what I did this past week with RIFT, as I couldn’t care less about Scarwood Reach’s legendary blandness. Head down, power through, get those quests done ASAP.

And since it’s the season, I had to make myself an appropriate outfit to celebrate Riftoween. It’s all about the color selection, my friends.

This isn’t apropos of anything, by the way, but the /chicken emote in this game has you doing the Bluth chicken dance from Arrested Development. First time I ever noticed that!

And meanwhile in Fallout 76, it was time for a smattering of post-apocalyptic adventuring! I’m picking up where I left off, which is following the slightly crazy robot Rose and her never-ending quest chain of double-dog dares. First up? Infiltrating a super mutant camp to steal from under their noses.

Hey! I’m on fire AND dead! That meant it went really well, yes? These dang explosions, they can one-shot you if you’re not quick enough — but so often, there’s no time to understand where the threat is coming from and where you need to go to be safe. Kablooey.

Rose does try to get me to commit cannibalism after that, but I wasn’t biting. Ahem.

Posted in Fallout

Fallout 76: Proof that the gnomes did it

Following Rosie’s raider questline, I’ve been pushed out into previously unexplored territory. This almost looks western, what with the rocks and alpines.

Shrinking the panoramic view probably doesn’t do this screenshot justice, but I loved the view from up here. And hey, a fire watchtower — those are always helpful to get some waypoints added to the map!

Some bad, bad stuff went down here. I don’t even want to know. Time to get out of here ASAP.

The combination of questing in more remote regions and hitting my 30s means that Fallout 76’s gotten a lot more dangerous. You’re never quite prepared for a hulking mutant bear to lunge out of a tent at night.

My high luck stat has come in useful so many times. Here, two super mutants lobbed some huge bombs at their feet. They blew themselves up real good — and I managed to avoid damage entirely.

Call me weird — or call Rose a great recruiter — but I’m strongly considering allying with the Raider faction rather than Settlers. It’s not normally what I’d go for, but I kind of dig their full embrace of the post-apocalyptic spirit.

Posted in Fallout

Fallout 76: If the cannibals don’t get you, the moths will

Level 31. Nothing like zoning into an area in Fallout 76 that is crawling with super mutants wielding automatic weapons. And there’s nothing like realizing another player is there and happy to team up to take the mutants down. It was a fierce fight that killed both of us once apiece, but in the end we prevailed. It’s just too bad I couldn’t do more than emote my appreciation.

I have so many quests at this point and don’t know which ones are more important. So I don’t let the clutter get in my head; I clear my quest tracker and select just one at random and go for it. In this case, it’s helping out the crazy Raider robot Rose make in-roads with that faction. At least it’s led me to some interesting places, such as this mining monument (which comes with an audio tour, no less!).

It’s post-apocalyptic movie or game law, that sooner or later you have to have an inn where people are trapped into becoming meals for local cannibals. I actually only discovered this one during this playthrough because they don’t show up unless you sleep in a bed for a bit.

Fallout 76 has fun with dialogue options! Guess I haven’t eaten anyone yet. That’s probably a good thing.

Following the questline led me to one of the two big Wastelander factions, the settlers at Foundation. I guess if you’re going for nice people with sane architecture, this is the way to go.

I came upon a Vengeful Mothman, and unlike previous encounters with his kinder siblings, this dude kicked my butt so hard that I didn’t even have time to get off a stimpack before I was dead. So maybe don’t go ticking off any plus-sized moths? That’s a good life lesson.

Posted in Fallout

Fallout 76: I forgot where I parked my space station

I kicked off this week’s adventures in Fallout 76 with a combat tour through Morgantown Airport. This is one of my favorite places if I simply want to go on a shooting spree and stock up on ammo. There are tons of scorched and things to loot, and occasionally I hit a barrel and trigger a fun explosion. I’m helping!

Level 27 and heading into Grafton to work on the “Bureau of Tourism” questline. At this point, I’m exclusively using shotguns. Nothing else at my level is putting down mobs as fast while being forgiving in the aiming process.

While I’m there and fending off super mutants, a nuke goes off right over the ridge. Well, that can’t be good for tourism.

“Hey man, whatcha drinkin’ there? Water? Looks a little suspicious to me, but you go right ahead. Drink to your health.”

One thing about wastelanders — they always use the whole buffalo. Or, in this case, the whole crashed space station. Looks very secure, too.

Due to more regular play, I’ve actually made more progress this season on the scoreboard than any previous one. I try not to stress about it too much, tho. If the challenge is easy to do, I’ll do it, but otherwise I ignore it and just quest. Feels like a good approach to me.

Posted in Fallout

Fallout 76: The confluence of comedy and tragedy

On a wet, moldy day, my wastelander leaves her little shelter and heads back into the ruins of Charleston for some more questing and looting. Shotgun ammo is low — even with crafting — and so she switches over to a revolver for a while.

At level 25, my perk build is coming along. I’ve invested the most into Perception and Luck for various reasons, although my favorite perk remains the Lone Wanderer in Charisma.

I wrapped up the questline to become a full-fledged “Firebreather,” which included a trip down into the Belching Betty mine. This place is just as terrifying as the last time I came down here. Mines naturally make me feel claustrophobic, but add fire, rumbling, and smoke, and it feels like descending into hell. The good news is that, thanks to my lucky perk, pretty much every mob kept dropping shotgun ammo. I went from zero to 200 in no time.

Will I ever have a house as cool as the ones I keep bumping into? Probably not, but one can dream.

I love a good dose of black humor, and it doesn’t get blacker than Mr. Fluffy — a protectron who is tethered to the corpse of a responder. He’s none too pleased about it, either, and spends his time spitting out sarcastic quote after sarcastic quote.

Posted in Fallout

Fallout 76: Breathing green air is good for your lungs

Listen, if I’m to spend the rest of what will probably be a short and painful life traipsing across the wasteland, I’m not going to do it with a cheap backpack that looks like something you’d get in a Back-to-School discount aisle. Cornswallop, I’m going to die with dignity! Or at least something cool hanging off my back.

And so I made it a priority to craft a much better survival backpack. Same extra space, at least for now, but at least it looks the part. I like all the extra pockets and canteens and whatnot. Definitely puts me in mind of a crafting scavenger scouring the remnants of civilization for whatever may be useful. On top of the new backback, I finally looted a combat shotgun. Trust me, I modded that out right away to make a powerhouse of a weapon. The only problem is that my shotgun ammo was very low at that point thanks to the Mothman event sucking it down without giving much back.

One of my new favorite activities in Fallout 76 is to make a point of checking out player camps if I happen to be passing by. There’s a tremendous amount of creativity going on, such as the above skull base. I still have a hard time placing walls, I have no idea how anyone did this, but it’s cool.

But as I said, I spent much of my time this past week logging in to run the Mothman Equinox event. The rewards were decent and my XP plowed into the mid-20s, but at this point I think I might be done. I need to get some forward momentum on questing so I’m not eternally treading water in the Forest.

I was going through the innoculation storyline when I stepped outside to see the above terrifying green cloud formation. Fallout 76’s weather is pretty neat at times, and this definitely made me want to duck back inside somewhere. Probably not good for your lungs, to breathe that in.

I did take up the ally questline to liberate Beckett from the Ash Heap. That was my first foray with this character into the zone, and it was pretty rough. I made sure I had a gas mask going on and grabbed a souped-up laser pistol to help with the fierce battles with the Blood Eagles.

One of the reasons I did the ally quest is because I thought that this was like Elder Scrolls Online, where I’d be getting a combat companion. I knew this wasn’t the case but had forgotten that point. In any case, it was disappointing to see the freeloader show up in my camp and ask me to go out and do more work for him. Go on your own quests, you slacker.

Posted in Fallout

Fallout 76: Soaking up the wisdom of the mighty Mothman

After a bit of a break from playing Fallout 76, I’ve gotten back into a nightly routine of exploring the wasteland with my wanna-be medic and her Shotgun of Health. I’m still in The Forest with plenty of additional areas to see, so every session I try to make a point of going through one of these or advancing a step on a quest.

I’ve yet to reach level 20, but my build is coming along with her. A milestone I hit at level 15 was getting enough points in Charisma to equip the three-star Lone Wanderer perk. This is a game-changer for me — as long as I’m not in a group (which is almost always), I get 20% damage reduction and 30% faster AP regen. That’s amazing.

I do wish that I could find or loot a legendary shotgun, but for now I make do with a heavily modified piece that’s serving me well. I have a few traits that help keep the shells bunched up, and my high luck means that I’m finding extra ammo pretty much everywhere I go. So I try to never shy away from a fight but jump right into them and blast away to get XP and loot. It fits my playstyle pretty well.

I even had a good interaction with another player (not featured) who dropped me a bundle of 50 stim-packs probably out of pity for my lowly levels. I’ll need them, too, because I’m starting to go toe-to-toe with packs of Scorched and Super Mutants without the best armor in the world.

The Mothman Equinox event was going on — and I definitely wanted to see that before it went away again.

The event actually was a chaotic blast, drawing in pretty much every player on the map to appease the wise mothman while fending off waves of cultists from all quarters. Got some nice loot and another level, too!

Posted in Fallout

Fallout 76: Quick, everyone run toward the nuclear explosion!

One of the nice things about rerolling in a game is that you can take all of your previous knowledge and experience — along with some newer research — and do everything “better” this time around. It certainly feels that way in Fallout 76. I’m more focused, less sloppy, and less at a loss of what to be focusing in these early levels.

Every time I log in, I mostly identify a quest or objective I want to work on, then plug away at that. Having a beginning, middle, and end of a task gives a feeling of satisfaction, even if it’s not super-substantial. And if I can knock off a few daily or weekly challenges, all the better, but I’m not going to stress out about it.

This time around, I made it a point to get my shelter early on and start working on at least making it more homey. Well, the opening hallway; everything in the bigger space is empty right now. I just need a quick place to zip back for free to do some crafting and storage.

Almost exclusively, I’m using the shotgun to make my mark on the wasteland. It’s just a standard pump-action with no special stats, although I have modded it as much as I can for increased range and punch. It does a good job taking down robots and super mutants alike.

And look at that — I even got my first backpack!

Usually when the game notifies me that a nuclear strike is about to hit, it’s all the way down in the lower-right corner of the map, far away from me. But the other day, I saw that one was going to hit not too far away from where I was questing. So I booked it over there in hopes of getting a screenshot — and lo and behold, I kind of got one as it crested over the ridge. Sure, now I’m glowing green and have gills, but it was worth the hassle.

Posted in Fallout

Fallout 76: Strapping the Pip-Boy on once more

Foolish or felicitous? I can’t quite decide if my return to Fallout 76 this month goes either way. It’s certainly been a little while — last September, I think — since I was in post-nuclear Appalachia, so there’s certainly been enough time to rebuild interest for when it felt right. And it kind of does. It’s a nice change of pace to go back into the survival-scavenging-questing loop of F76 as I see how the game might have improved over the past half-year.

I did have to futz around with migrating F76 to Steam because Bethesda couldn’t be bothered to keep up its own launcher. It worked, but it didn’t exactly endear me to the studio at that moment.

Of course, it having been as long as it has, I felt a brand-new character was called for. It’s always like wrestling a bear to make a non-ugly face in this game, but I think I managed. For a change of pace, this character is going to be concentrating on building up a huge luck skill. Can never hurt to have luck in RPGs! I’ve already seen a couple of funny speech options from this — including convincing one bad guy that his partner was working with me because I somehow knew his name — and I’m hoping that continues.

One nice thing about restarting is instant familiarity with the intro Forest zone. I know most all of the good places to go while getting my game legs back, and it’s all like taking a tour of an old favorite place.

I didn’t create much of a CAMP to start. Rather, my initial goals are to build up a small arsenal of trusted weapons and start stockpiling mats. Do quests. Explore map areas. That’s about it. Nothing complicated.

Oh hey, it’s Fallout 76’s text chat system, looking as lively a prospect as it has for the past four or so years! Dude, I’m just impressed you were able to hang on to your beer (mustard?) even while being vaporized.

I made it a priority to get my shelter and relocate it near a train station with a ton of useful vendors. I love that shelters can fit pretty much anywhere, unlike CAMPs.

Posted in Fallout

Fallout 76: Sheltering in place

Another newish feature that I was excited to explore with the current iteration of Fallout 76 is shelters. This is basically instanced housing for people who didn’t want to bother with constructing open world structures. Like me, for example. Or it’s for people who love the idea of a mini-vault of their own.

I love it. I really do. I got one for free and eagerly ran inside, bouncing off the walls and imagining what I can do with this space. It reminded me a whole lot of WildStar, especially when I’d buy shells of houses (or, my favorite, the spaceship house) to fill out.

There’s a little mudroom that’s perfect to set up all of my crafting tables, with a much larger room past that which I’ll use as living space. Other than plop up a power supply, some lights, and a bed, I haven’t done much with it yet, but the possibilities… oh the possibilities.

Hey, it’s another vault! Couldn’t figure out how to get into this one — yet — but I definitely want to see it. Fallout’s vaults are never boring to explore, as they usually contain an interesting story.

So in the meanwhile, I’ve continued to explore all of the areas of The Forest. I kind of don’t want to leave it, because I like the lush trees and colorful environment. It’s kind of a shame that a lot of the rest of the game’s map is considerably more ugly.

I haven’t been going hardcore at the season, but if there are some easy challenges to knock out that day, I’ll gladly do them for some extra freebies.

I’ve been gathering up a small armory and even kitted out my armor as a ghillie suit. Don’t recall where I got the plans for that, but it’s a fun option nevertheless.