Fallout 4: Sunshine Surprise

I’ve been slowing creeping up the levels, currently 96. I’ve also finished Automatron and begun Far Harbor DLC, but I’m not near ready to step into the Nuka World DLC.

Strong Settlements

What I’ve been doing is increasing the strength of my settlements: 3 x Large-size (28 settlers + 1 assaultron robot each), all with 300+ defense; 6 x Medium-size (20 settlers each), all with 200+ defense; 1 Small safe house (5 settlers + 1 assaultron). I’ve also beefed up each settlers clothing, armor and weapons. As a result, morale is usually above 80+ and when settlements are attacked, they do a good job of defending themselves. I think having strong settlements is worth the effort, but it does take a lot of effort.

Fallout 4 photo by Yordie Sands

This is Starlight Drive-in main compound with concrete walls.

Sunshine Tidings, All Tidied Up

I’ve been avoiding building a settlement at Sunshine Tidings Co-op because even if you do a good job on the settlement, you still have a pile of persistent dead ghouls lying around everywhere — disgusting. Fortunately, I’ve installed a good mod for scrapping and cleaning up the place, and I’ve cleared out a lot of scrap and ugliness. Also, my green grass mod helped make the landscape friendlier. Once the clean-up was finished, Sunshine Tidings turned out to be a really nice place to build a Large-sized settlement. I’m not done yet but I intend to have 30+ settlers when it’s all done. Following are a couple pics that may surprise other Co-op haters!

Yordie Sands is a blogger, author, and photographer

This view gives you an idea of how nice the Co-op can look.

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There are great fields for farming large crops.

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This gives you an idea of how one of the main buildings has been repurposed.

I was really surprised at how nicely Sunshine Tidings cleaned up. Thanks to a clean-up mod (even with its side effects), this is now one of my favorite settlements. Currently I have only 11 settlers, so there’s still have a lot of work to do and a lot of battles to fight, but I’m hopeful that this outpost will anchor the northwestern territory of the Commonwealth.

In the coming days and weeks I think I’ll build settlements at the ghoul farm and the coastal lighthouse. I also intend to build a fortress for Old Longfellow; I can’t help but liking this guy and I’m thinking of sending Curie up there to keep him company. I fear she’ll talk his ear off though. Lawdy! That girl is a Chatty Kathy.

I also plan to feature my other settlements soon. If you intend to build strong settlements, you quickly learn that each settlement presents its own special challenges. I’m also thinking about trying out the Sim Settlements mod for one settlement.


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Fallout 4: End of the Institute

ALL SPOILER, KINDA: Mainly, if you read this post you’ll see how I navigated my way to what I consider a desirable “Ending” but if you know Fallout 4 you probably know that the ending isn’t the end of the game. So, if you haven’t begun the Institute quest line, you prolly don’t want to read this post.

Yordie Sands is the author of The Temporal Expeditions

Father holds Director Meeting and makes me the Director

In my last post I mulled the problem of the Mass Fusion quest. Long ago I decided that the Institute is an awful faction and I always choose to go to war with them. That said, it’s useful to do several Institute quests, but when you are asked to do Mass Fusion you have to make a decision that will an enemy of one of your allied factions. In my case that would be the Brotherhood of Steel. So, I put off making a decision until Level 82, and instead of doing Mass Fusion I killed an Institute NPC, namely Father himself. It sounds simple but once you kill someone, your special PipBoy mod to fast travel out of the Institute no longer works.

Nonetheless, I got out and soon the Institute attacked The Castle in multiple waves. And soon we Minuteman (coolest of all mods!) folk decided to destroy the Institute and we did (See below).

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That’s me in the foreground, ready to push the button

Yordie Sands, author of The Temporal Expeditions

I pushed the button and in a massive explosion the Institute’s wave of terror ends.

The end result of my maneuvering around Mass Fusion is that I’ve destroyed the Institute and am still in good standing with the Minutemen, Brotherhood and Railroad factions. In fact, I’ve gone on to become a Brotherhood Paladin. I’d heard this could be done but it was trickier than I realized. I’m very glad I took this path.

I’ve already begun Far Harbor and completed Automaton at Level 88. More later.


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Fallout 4: The Faction Turning Point

If you play Fallout 4 you already know that once you start the Institute questline it will lead to you being forced to pick an option that will make an enemy of one of the three non-Institute factions.

SPOILER: Mass Fusion quest: I’m level 77 and I’ve done a lot to keep all the factions happy even though I’m a Minuteman, all the way, girl. I’ve begun trying out some other lines of play and so far I haven’t found a way to get the Beryllium Agitator without making an enemy of BoS or the Institute. I want to stay friendly with BoS because I want to bring Paladin Danse into sphere of control and all that. So far, I’m looking at killing a named Institute character but that’s no panacea. I’m also considering just letting the whole Mass Fusion quest hang in limbo.

I’m trying out a lot of ideas but more and more I think I might need to head back to the Battle of Bunker Hill and just kill Father. In the past I’ve played out the Institute ending (sucks), Brotherhood ending (kinda sucks), and the Minuteman ending (my preferred ending). I’ve never considered the Railroad ending even though I like the characters, but they are just too nuts to get behind. I know I want the Minuteman ending, but I want the Brotherhood to complete Liberty Primed; even though LP could be a very rough road with them having that monster robot, I’m curious and want to see what happens.

I realize I could probably find the answers to a lot of my questions by watching vids and reading Reddit and the Fandom Wiki, but I love the process of discovery. So, there’s a lot of gaming ahead for me; not to mention three DLCs waiting to be initiated.

More to come.

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Fallout 76: Thank You Oxhorn!!

I’ve been so down on Fallout 76 since the Daily Ops and I won’t go into that again, and I’ve been watching my fave videographers (JuiceHead and InnovSurvivalist) with interest but have not been hearing anything that would compel me to return to FO76. However, today I watched Oxhorn’s 1st video on Steel Dawn and his unique approach to things new really put the game back into perspective for me. There are two more videos in the Steel Dawn series and I’ll watch them all soon, and I have a hunch that I might plunge back into FO76 early next year. Although, I’m considering waiting until the full Brotherhood of Steel rollout is complete. If you’ve never followed Oxhorn, he’s a guy who is very knowledgeable and interested in the Fallout series lore. His commentaries are always fun to watch.

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Fallout 4: Waited Until Level 75

I was at Level 62 when I wrote my last blog post, but I’ve been busy and am now Level 75. In fact, I’ve been waiting to begin “The Nuclear Option” and finding my missing son until I accomplished a lot of what I consider to be prerequisites. So, yesterday I took the plunge and below is a pic of me and Father meeting for the first time.

Yordie Sands is a blogger and author

This is my encounter with Father at the entrance to the Institute.

The reason I waited so long to enter the Institute is I’ve learned from past experience that there’s no rush to open this questline. Instead, I’ve concentrated on building two additional settlements and now have eight (3 large, 5 small). The large settlements have 24 settlers and small ones have 18. Following are some pics from Sanctuary, my favorite settlement.

Yordie Sands wrote The Temporal Expeditions

This is a view of Sanctuary from the heavily defended front entrance.

Yordie Sands is the author of The Temporal Expeditions

Behind the main gate, I built a Slocum Joe’s. Cool.

Yordie Sands is an avatar in SL.

This is an inside view of the rear entrance to Sanctuary. (Notice Dogmeat smiling)

In addition to building the defenses for each settlement, I’ve beefed up all of my settlers armor and weapons (no small task). So, to the extent possible, my people are about as strong as I know how to make them and this should help me remained focused on the Institute without having to constantly race away from quests to defend the settlements. Nonetheless, defending Oberland Station is a bitch because raiders can spawn right inside the settlement walls (I really hate this).

In addition to beefing up my settlements, I’ve been installing new mods. When I left FO4 a year and a half ago I was using four mods (Militarized Minutemen, Settlement Management Menu, Spring in The Commonwealth, others); these didn’t require me to install extension DLCs (Far Harbor, Nukaworld, Automatron). I found that once Far Harbor is installed, the Brotherhood of Steel will start sending you on quests there, and if you’ve played FH before you realize that it’s a big DLC and you get pulled way off-track from the FO4 mainline. Anyway, many Mods will not work unless you have all DLCs installed, so I went ahead and installed them at around Level 60. I’ve added a few more mods including the Unofficial Patch (UFO4P), Blacksmith’s Crafting Station (WOW!), Craftable Cats (luv these kitties!), Settlement Cleaning Reveals (This is great, but it has some powerful side effects) and a few others.

I’ve been learning about mods and loving the variety, but most of the mods carry side effects and some are troublesome. So, I’ve got a lot to learn. OTOH, if you like building settlements, which I do, you can delight yourself with mod capabilities. One thing though, I think settlements work best as mini-castles in the Medieval sense. In essence, you create a safe environment for settlers surrounded by walls, and settlers join your settlement, but take the jobs you give them. And settlement income is yours to collect, cuz you’re the Queen/King of the realm. I’ve come to believe that a less rigorous approach means you protagonist has to deal with a lot of interruptions in the form of settlements being attacked. They still get attacked but when the settlements are stronger they have better results in combat.

HOWEVER, there is the SIM Settlements which I haven’t tried yet. From what I’ve read, SIM settlements allow the settlers to build their own houses and stores, and there’s a whole different feel to the SIM settlements. This sounds fascinating to me, but temperamentally I feel more comfortable building what I consider to be a safe environment, deciding which people will do which jobs, that kind of thing. In other words, I’d make a good fascist, but the situation is, you are leading the rebuilding of a world ravaged by a true apocalypse and extreme measures are required. For the vast majority of the settlers, almost any improvement in water, food, shelter, defense is an improvement in their lives. So, it makes you think, and it makes you wonder.

I’ll continue reporting on my progress, settlements and mods that I’m experimenting with. And so far, I don’t miss Fallout 76 at all. In fact and more and more, my concern about the Daily Ops grind in FO76 is turning out to be what I was envisioning when I left. On the positive side, Bethesda has done some good things to eliminate some types of griefing and Steel Dawn looks cool in concept, but for now I’m just tuning into videographers that I’ve come to trust. Maybe I’ll be back sometime next year.

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Fallout 4 Again!

I’ve been working my way back into Fallout 4 and becoming aware of how much I’ve forgotten. I’ve also been hanging out on Reddit a bit, learning more about Mods and it looks like I might want to buy the Fallout 4 Game of the Year version (GOTY) because it apparently is more compatible with mods. The problem is, I’m at Level 62 (Difficulty: Very Hard) and I’ve built some amazing settlements that I don’t want to rebuild.

Yordie Sands is a blogger, author and photographer

That’s McCready and me in our Minuteman gear (Mod), looking gud.

Reddit: A couple people on Reddit (Danielle, Bruh) have helped me understand that I should be able to install GOTY without wiping out my files. However, I’m nervous about this because I’m only playing with four mods right now and I want to add a whole lot more, like the Unofficial Bug fix mods.

DLCs: I’m currently running only three of the six DLCs I own; I’m doing this because I learned in the past that if I install Far Harbor early in the game, the Brotherhood of Steel might send me on missions there before I’m ready to open that quest line. That asshole Knight Rhys sent me to FH to clear out a drive-in, and so forth. I won’t go into this, but it turned out to really sour my first venture into FH. So, for this and other reasons, I don’t want to install the DLCs yet.

Mods: Then there’s the huge list of really cool Mods. Wow. I’m thrilled with the Mods I have but I got a mod once that gave me a nice home in the center of Concord. I loved it and stored all my cool stuff there, like all my Legendary Weapons, Power Armor, and everything. It was great until the developer released an update and literally wiped EVERYTHING out. Three months of gameplay lost. So I’m overly cautious about Mods, and as the Mod menu disclaimer says: Use at your own risk.

This leaves me facing a dilemma. Do I risk updating my Xbox One X with the GOTY version of FO4, or maybe I just go ahead and install the remaining DLCs? Either way is likely to cause some issues, but I’m preparing for a full restart if things go wrong. I suspect that several of the mods I want will require them to be installed early in the process. I need to do some more reading and study, but I really want those mods. The Unofficial Fallout 4 Patch alone is almost worth the restart in itself.

Before I make any mods I’m going to spend some time photographing each of the settlements I’ve built. Currently I have three major settlements with 22 settlers each (Sanctuary, Starlight Drive-In, The Castle) and three intermediate size with 16 settlers (Abernathy, Tenpines Bluff, Country Crossing). All of my settlements have concrete walls surrounding them and THAT takes a lot of buying, building and hours spent. I’ll try to capture the essence of each of the major settlements before risking their loss.


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Fallout 76: Cancelled Fallout 1st

My Yordie character reached Level 166 last week, and Zahava character reached 162.

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Up close and personal with a Deathclaw

Nonetheless, I’ve taken the first step in leaving Fallout 76; I cancelled Fallout 1st. I’ve been selling off much of my weapons and armor inventory and moved all my valuable scrap to my inventory. It has been a saddening experience because there are many things I still like about Fallout 76, but there are several recent changes that have convinced me that the things I dislike reached a point that has killed the enjoyment I’ve found in this game. I’m not saying this is a bad game, there are some amazing aspects of the game, the world, and the gameplay, that I love. And I’m thrilled that Bethesda is focusing on eliminated some egregious defects and cheats (like “magic weapons”), but there three recent changes that have left me out and I’m moving back to Fallout 4.

One Wasteland

I understand the objective of One Wasteland but it is poorly implemented it has made exploring the wasteland a constant battle with high ranking lesser beings. This is relatively minor but as I discovered in Meat Week, those lesser beings can help overwhelm you when there are real monsters on the field. This is just too much “too much” for me personally.

The ‘Seasons’ Grind

I don’t dislike the idea of the Seasons feature, but I really dislike the way it drives you into a constant daily grind to keep progressing up the path just to get a lot of useless junk. Yeah, there are some cool things but plenty of not cool things (like the Ammo machine), and there are very useful items, like Legendary Scripts. Anyway, I made my way to 94% in Season 1 and I’m currently around 30% in Season 2, so I speak from experience and overall Seasons has proven to be too much of a grind.

Daily Operations

I have attempted Daily Ops only once and I don’t need to do it again because I despise the gameplay. I didn’t give up on this lightly and I’ve watched other players make the run with relative ease, but nothing about this makes me want to do it. In fact, Daily Ops was my tipping point and I’m done with Fallout 76 for now.

What is so bad about Daily Ops? For one thing, I’d been looking forward to advancing in the Brotherhood of Steel quest line, but it has become clear that the Daily Ops gameplay is the door to the BoS line and future developments. And I’m just not willing to grind away at Ops, so I feel like I’ve been cut out. However, some players love the Ops style gameplay. Like I said, I’ve only done this once, starting with being dropped into the Harper’s Ferry sewers where I was confronted by a new class of robots (they can only be destroyed with melee weapons). Anyway, I fought my way to the first checkpoint, then the next but the third checkpoint was buggy, the diamond pointer was stuck inside a wall, not up, not down, just stuck. I died three times and the experience just irritated me. I’ve since learned that the sewers quest is the most difficult of the three daily ops, and the fact that the design team chose to start everyone on the most difficult quest as the introduction sucked, (please pardon my disdain).

There’s a chance I may try Daily Ops again after I get over my irritation, but right now I doubt it. So, based on my understanding of this new direction I am likely going to be excluded from a huge amount of stuff I’d like to have. I’ve done demanding quests many times, even quests I dislike a lot. Launching nukes is pretty dangerous, especially solo, but I’ve done it successfully a half dozen times now. And I won many Tadpole and Possum badges, even got the Possum backpack (120 weight) and other Possum stuff. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood. *smiles* Anyway, I despise the Daily Ops gameplay and I’m done with it for the foreseeable future.

Not Goodbye, Just ‘See Ya Later’

In other words, I feel like the game is walking away from me and I’m walking away from the game. I’m disappointed, but not sour grapes. I’ve had a lot of fun playing this game for a year and a half. And I’m sure I’ll continue dropping in regularly to see what’s going on, but I think I’ll get more enjoyment by returning to Fallout 4. I still have two major DLCs I haven’t completed yet. I’ve also been using several mods, but according to JuiceHead, there are a lot of new Mods coming.

My future posts will return to Fallout 4 and I plan to write some posts about my different settlements.


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