Fallout 76: Bum Rap

Fallout 76 is a great game if you like the Bethesda Softworks style of gameplay, and I do. I understand that there are others who don’t. For example, I’d love to play Apex Legends or any of the Assassins Creed games, but I just can’t get with the gameplay. And I’m uninterested in Fortnight or Minecraft, but like the Lara Croft Tomb Raider games. It’s a question of personal tastes. I mention this because some of the people who dislike Fallout 76 obviously don’t like the gameplay, and a few of them with good video following seem to think they speak for the known universe when they trash everything that Bethesda does.

By the way, I thank those guys for keeping me out of Fallout 76 early because I listened and what they said made sense, and hey, Bethesda pushed this game out for $60 when it was infested with bugs and had several gameplay issues. I heard the Bethesda’s CEO respond to early criticism with a somewhat arrogant attitude, and I came to think of him as a bit of a jerk. So I get that a lot of people don’t like him and there’s that. However, the CEO has persisted and got many of those early bugs fixed and continues to add outstanding gameplay features. So I’m willing to forget his defensiveness and give a tip-o-the-hat to him. Nuff said on that.

New Feature – Private Servers

Last week, private servers, Fallout 1st, were introduced into the game. I purchased a year subscription at once. It was a bit of a whim, but if you purchase Atoms (store currency), the deal is like with Second Life: you buy a year subscription and they return as much in inworld currency. However, that isn’t what sold me, it was the fact that I could get out of the main population. Let me explain.

In the early going of this game, I found most of the inworld players I encounter to be friendly and even generous with help. It is great. For many months I had only an occasional encounter with griefers and other assholes. But now that I’m approaching Level 90, I find myself “matched” with more and more high level griefers. And they have so many tricks, maybe I’ll explain in an upcoming blog post. For now, just trust me, you have to be on your guard and I usually handle the complex griefing incidents by simply logging off. I don’t have a lot of friend yet and even friends can be griefers in disguise; I had one recently. Needless to say, private servers are a place to dump the griefers. But be warned, if you have a griefer as a friend, they can “join” you on your server; this happened to me on day one. So you can just dump them as friends. What I do is just put my Xbox Live status at Do Not Disturb.

There are so many other reasons for getting a private server. For example, the Scrap Box that let’s you take all the scrap and weight out of your Stash Box and drop it into a box with unlimited capacity. THIS is a game changer in itself and relieves much of the constant inworld activity involved in managing your weight limit. I even created a new character from my novel, Zahava, and she will enjoy the game changing effects. SO, for me, this is a homerun for my style of play. Oh yeah, another great feature is the secondary camp feature, a portable tent with a bed, Stash Box, Scrap Box, stove and even a banjo to play.

Sandy playing the banjo

That’s me in my skanky Pioneer Scout outfit,
playing the banjo in my relocatable mini-CAMP.

There are other important aspects of private servers, but you have to pay for them and this is obviously a problem for people who don’t have the money or still cling to that early Internet psyche that resents people from charging for software, etc.

The Biggest Battle of All Time!

I recently joined a Scorched Earth battle that is now my epic of all times. As soon as the nuke launch warning was announced, I strapped myself into my Ultracite Power Armor and joined in. I believe everyone, EVERYONE, on the server (over twenty people) joined the battle and as more people joined it, it gave the Scorched Queen greater and greater power. The battle lasted over twenty minutes and I was instantly killed a couple times but¬† respawned and rejoined the battle, and when it was all said and done I’d burned 5,000 rounds of 50 cal. ammo (a huge amount!), over 15 Stimpaks and other vital resources, but I got a huge chunk of the Queen’s loot. Several of the big players (level 200 to 400 plus) were using voice and talking everyone through the battle. I revived two players during the battle but I don’t think anyone could revive me because I died instantly in the fissure (note to self!). Sometime I’ll try to describe the excitement of such an event. It is definitely the penultimate event in Fallout 76, Adventure mode.

BTW, I believe the enemy encounters in private server are more intense, the higher your level goes (I’m Level 87 now). I was just wandering around, exploring, when I got jumped by three Legendary Scorch Beasts! Yeah. I got killed twice but eventually killed all three of them! They were only one-star Legendary but they pushed my kills above 50. Near term goal is 76 kills.

One last thing: Keep delivering the great stuff, Bethesda!

 

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Fallout 76: Scorch Beasts

In the past I’ve mentioned my Scorch Beast kills and I’m now at 40+. Each kill costs a lot of ammo, but I’m getting better with my technique (reducing the ammo consumption). Anyway, there are Scorch Beasts of various sizes but there’s only one Queen. I haven’t killed a Queen yet, but I’ve been in the fray with a lot of other players and I’ve gotten my share of the loot from a couple kills. So, how big is a Queen. Below are some recent kills.

Average size Scorch Beast

That’s me beside a downed Scorch Beast.
It’s nighttime and it’s skeery.

And then there’s the Queen…

Fallout 76 Scorch Beast Queen

Yeah, that’s me in my coal black Excavator Armor.
And THAT thing is the head of a Queen.
This was a horrendous battle.
2000 rounds of 50 cal ammo.

I’m currently at Level 78 and focused on becoming a kind of girl scout, while preparing to launch a nuke at the Scorch Beast Queen’s underground nest. Launching a nuke is a very complex operation and doing it solo is not going to be easy. Time will tell.

Also, today I bought a full year subscription to a Bethesda Fallout 76 Private Server. I did this because I really like this game and the type of gameplay, but I’m aware that there is an army of nay sayers out there that consider the private servers to be the final act of a desperate gaming company. It’s really surprising how much vitriol there is.

Commentary: For me, it’s as simple as this: I enjoy the whole Fallout series of titles, and the pure, raw adventure of the “Scorched Earth” event fills me with excitement. It is immersive and fun. I realize that people who don’t enjoy the Bethesda experience, but why can’t they simply move on? I would. There are games I wanted to love like Assassins Creed. I tried two different titles of AC but I just never could adapt to the gameplay. I didn’t see the need to tear the title down, I simply accepted that it wasn’t right for me. Hey! I’m no great gamer. Some would say I’m a marginal gamer, but I don’t flinch at paying for Bethesda products. Just saying. I don’t mean to offend.

 

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Fallout 76: Belly of the Beast

My Sandy character has surpassed my Yordie character; I’m currently Level 70. I got to this level by completing the Belly of the Beast quest. It’s a quest which many have done but I did it solo, killing FIVE Scorch Beasts in the process, and spending 2,600 50cal rounds and 1,200 308cal rounds. Yeah. That’s a lot. Unfortunately, I was under such overwhelming attacks that I didn’t have time to snap any pics. And YES, this is the most challenging quest I’ve face so far.

I have snapped several after battle pics recently. Here’s one of the more dramatic events that happen in FO76, a nuclear strike. And yes, I’m standing way too close.

Nuclear explostion at White Springs

That’s me standing dangerously close
to a freaking nuke attack on White Springs

Also, I’m now a general in the insidious Enclave faction. The Enclave is a similar misguided group, like the Institute in Fallout 4. This is a complicated questline and I won’t say anything about this until I can avoid spoiler info. However, here’s a pic from inside the Enclave command center.

Inside the Enclave

Inside the Enclave Command Center.
Nuff said.

I’ve also built a new campsite inside east of the Savage Divide. It looks a lot like my other camp/stores but there are way more higher level attacks to fight often, and way more often.

My CAMP/Store on Twin Lakes

I had to upgrade my Home Defenses substantially,
just to survive the frequent attacks.

PLANNING TO JOIN A TEAM: I’ve purchased a headset and am trying it out. I’m reasonably certain I’ll join with some of my new friends soon. There’s still a lot of things I don’t know how to do, like trade and speak in group.

 

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My Novel: The Temporal Expeditions

ANNOUNCING: My debut science fiction novel, The Temporal Expeditions, Escape from Extinction, has been distributed to booksellers. It’s a story about a young woman who is thrust into the role of leadership during an extinction crisis…but there’s more about the book in the blurb, or you can read sample chapters at U.S. and international booksellers, including Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, Google Books, Apple Books (iPhone, iPad), the books publisher Lulu Bookstore and others.

(If you are searching for the book be sure to include both the book title and Yordie Sands.)

Yordie Sands novel

Book I is “Escape from Extinction” and is available now.

The Series: I intend to expand The Temporal Expeditions series to three books; however, there is a possibility of a fourth book. I have a complete second draft of Book II, but during the final edits the debut novel I found new ideas I want to expand on, so Book II is being planned for release in the fourth quarter of 2020. Then Book III will follow sometime in 2021 but that’s a long way away.

I hope you’ll give my book a read and if you like it, please leave a review at the store you buy it from. Also, you can leave comments on this post. TTFN!

 

 

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Fallout 76: Level 58 Again

I totally love this game and will have to slow down my play soon. Without question, one of my favorite aspects of the game is the Vendor capability that enables turning your C.A.M.P. into a camp/store. In Second Life I spent countless hours building Zen gardens and Asian cafes and Geisha houses (no, I’m not Asian).

Over a period of six years or so, I created seven distinctive SL gardens and spent countless hours building and shopping for resources for each. And I’m finding that FO76 is giving me a lot of that kind of satisfaction. Anyway, here’s my latest store, near the train station in Sutton.

Yordie Sands in Fallout 76

This is my CAMP/Store near Sutton RR Station.
I only have to Vendor machines but do good business.

Yordie Sands in Fallout 76

This is a view of the rear of my CAMP/Store.
The upper area is where I have my private room.

Yordie Sands in Fallout 76

This is the interior of my private room.
It has a great panoramic view of the lands.

Oh, that’s poster in my bedroom, that’s Mr. Peeples – The first kitty in space! Just one of the things about this game that makes me smile. I’m trying to find out if I can direct a pack of kitties back to my house to live. I’m reluctant because I’m afraid they’ll just become targets for the wannabe psychopaths that show up in Adventure mode from time to time.

Level 58 Again

This past week my Sandy Lombardia character achieved Level 58 again (Yordie reached 58 a couple months ago). Despite the inconvenience of starting over, I’m happier with Sandy’s development and I have a much better understanding of the Perk system. Here are a few Level/Perk tips for newbies:

  • FO76 vs FO4: There are unlimited levels to FO76 (e.g. I’ve seen players at levels above 500) but there are only 50 levels of SPECIAL attributes. A character is shaped more by the Perk cards it is using at any given time. In the early going in Fallout 4 I focus on building up my Intelligence as quickly as possible. However, in FO76 I haven’t found the need to max out my IQ and I think mainly that’s because I use ballistic weapons almost exclusively. If I used laser weapons it might be different. Also, many IQ Perks can be used on an as needed basis rather than keeping them persistent (e.g. I don’t need to equip my Hacker, Armorer, Gunsmith or other Perks equipped until I use them). This means I spend time swapping out Perk cards, but it enables great flexibility.
  • Melee & Strength: As many have observed, higher your Strength levels will increase the power of Melee weapons. This was a very difficult lesson for me to learn because my combat style is to avoid melee engagements if possible. I always preferred to fire a bullet into virtually any monster I encountered despite the cost of those bullets. When I discovered how nicely a Power fist will dispatch a Radrat, I was sold. And I could save those bullets for the bigger beasts there were certainly nearby. *smiles*
  • Reallocation: It is also important to understand that even though you may build up one SPECIAL attribute early in the game, you’ll be able to reallocate it later on as you adapt to new weapons and other needs. For example, as I evolved I increased my Agility perks (Action Girl, Thru-Hiker, Born Survivor) and was able to add Intelligence attributes to facility the change.

There are other nuances to the Level/Perk system, but I think it’s a genuine improvement to the Fallout 4 system. And by the way, there are many improvements in FO76 over FO4, in my humble opinion.

The Enclave

Wow! I’d heard about the Enclave early on after watching to an Oxhorn video, and I’ve been wondering about the whole Free State/Sam Blackwell/White Springs thing for months. I mean, there are portents and signs all around Appalachia but I’d never found my way into the Enclave until this past weekend. In fact, I had to dig up some spoiler information to find the path leading to Enclave membership. And even now, I am still working my way up the ranks.

For me, discovering the Enclave is the equivalent to finding The Institute in FO4. It is such a big deal and makes the game even more engaging. Now that I’m a member I’ve watched to Oxhorn and other videos about Enclave lore. The strange thing is, I just don’t recall anything about it in FO4; maybe I was just too preoccupied.

This game and the whole Fallout saga is so rich, I wish I’d been in on it all the way back to the original. I’ve tried to engage in FO3 but just couldn’t step back to the older tech, even though it was quite good (I use Xbox compatibility).

Bug Fixes

I’m aware of more and more bugs as I go deeper into the game, but Bethesda is releasing a steady stream of excellent bug fixes and enhancements. It is appreciated.

Purveyor: However, there is one gameplay feature that is so random and so bad I wish they’d just drop it though: The Legendary Item Purveyor. I’ve spent over 300 scripts on five separate useless items; like, a harpoon gun, a grotesque wooden chest piece, a stupid Assaultron head (TWICE). Last night I finally got something I’m at least willing to sell in my store, a piece of low level leather armor. All junk. I saw the recent ad saying that the Purveyor was slashing prices and this just makes me cringe: Lower prices for pure junk. Someone needs to rethink this. I’ll never try it again.

Collective Genius

Despite my irritation with features like the Purveyor, I believe this game is a work of art and genius. I’m a software developer with enough knowledge of the tech to have an opinion and I’m truly in awe of Fallout 76. When you consider all the different tools and skill sets needed to produce a game of this scale and scope, the people involved must number in the thousands; I mean, people from the physics engine all the way to the story writers (and there are great stories, btw). I’m certain that someday I’ll begin playing in a team and probably move on to Survival mode.

 

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Fallout 76: Sandy Lombardia Character

My new Fallout 76 character’s name is Sandy Lombardia. Sandy is also the protagonist in my sci-fi novel that was released for distribution today. It will be awhile before the book appears at the big online bookstores, but is currently available on my publisher’s site, Lulu Bookstore.

Sandy has been climbing back through the levels and last night she reached Level 38. I like this character much better because I’ve engineered my SPECIAL levels and associated Perk cards much more effectively.

Also last night, Sandy downed her first Scorch Beast (below). She can’t take all the credit though because there was a Chameleon Death Claw fighting the beast when I joined the fight. By the way, I have my own Chameleon armor now and was able to join the battle from afar before the Beast realized I was engaged. I move in on it as it weakened, but these monsters are tough to take down with lower level weapons. The same is true of those Billygoat Gruff creatures (aka Sheepsquatsh), very hard to take down. By the way, I really like the Light Machinegun, but it burns ammo like crazy; so, if you use it you better know how to make a lot of ammo.

Sandy Lombardia downs first Scorch Beast

That’s Sandy holding an awesome 308 Light Machinegun.

Yordie Sands author & photographer

This pic gives a better perspective of the size of a Scorch Beast.

I really like this game and have purchased a headset to at least open the door to joining a team, and maybe someday entering Survival Mode. I’m still learning the intricacies of this game though, so it may take a long time.

I’m increasingly aware of critical bugs in the game, but feel that some of the complaints I had read about or seen in videos were simply dissatisfaction with the gameplay, which I happen to like…mostly. Some bugs are of the childish prank variety; meaning, they are either examples of poor programming practices or just intended to irritate the player.

One bug that is particularly troubling to me is the Soldier ID quest. What happened is, I made it through the U.S. Army training and was given my soldier papers, but when I tried to get my ID the quest disappeared. I’ve tried several of the suggested remedies, but there seems to be a major screwup with this quest. For one thing, when I attempted the quest I was under Level 30. Since then, the door into the quest requires Level 30+. I’ve submitted a support ticket but didn’t receive any reply. Just saying.

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Fallout 76: Level 66 and Back

I got to Level 66 about two weeks ago and found that I was troubled by early quests where I felt I was swept into dangerous situations before I was ready. Plus, I realized that I had a poor understanding of the Perk cards and how to use them to build my character’s SPECIAL attributes. So, I dropped off my Yordie Sands character on the shelf and created Sandy Lombardia (she’s also the heroine of my upcoming novel–announce coming soon). My Xbox ID is still Yordie Sands though.

I got off to a roaring start with Sandy and reached level 12 the first weekend. I’m level 25 ATM and I’ve learned a lot by following main quest lines more carefully. I’ve also backed off and focused on easier Events and lesser quests when I advanced too quickly. Those easier quests offer opportunities to get a lot of loot and build up you currency, “caps”.¬†Tonight I used my stockpile of caps to build Sandy’s first store and it is very similar to Yordie’s big store highlighted in earlier posts.

My main focus has been on collecting and using Perk cards that support the type of play I’m comfortable with. And this is the advice I have for new players: Learn how the Perk cards work. If you play Fallout 4, like I do, you have a big advantage, but it is different enough to lead you into frittering away opportunities.

Another tip for newbies: Know the kind of weapons you want to build around. For example, if you like pistols and automatic rifles, try to stick with one type of ammo, like Fusion Cells, 45s, 38s, and so forth. I don’t particularly care for pistols, but love the 308 sniper rifle and screaming 308 machine gun! Unfortunately, the only 308 machine gun I have found is Level 30, so it will be a little longer. For now, I have a Level 25 – 50 cal machine gun as my beastie killer. There is a huge variety in weaponry that it can be overwhelming at first, even if you have experience with weapons.

Here’s a pics from me as Sandy Lombardia exploring Appalachia. I’m wearing a special Vault-Tec jumpsuit for now, but I also like the nurses dress and my sniper outfit.

Cats in Fallout 4

I came across this robot Veterinarian leading a pack of kitties. LUV

I love that there are kitties in Fallout 76, but they aren’t friendly. They don’t attack or anything,but you can’t heard them home to your C.A.M.P. Darn!

I really like Fallout 76 and continue to make occasional friends. I am starting to envision the day when I might join a team. I still doubt that I’ll try Survival Mode and I’m certain I’ll never play in the battle royals, currently Nuclear Winter. The games buggyness has improved a lot since I’ve started playing. And yes, I play way too often but that will change as soon as I launch begin writing the second book of my series. Stay tuned.

 

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