Fallout 76: Nuclear Winter Solo

Okay, okay. I’ve been thinking about FO76’s battle royal, Nuclear Winter. So, today I tried it out for the first time. First, I realized that there’s a Solo and a Team version, and this sounded great to me. I thought by going solo I could learn how the game is played and yada, yada, yada.

Yordie Sands in FO76

That’s me when I first discovered Vault 51,
the setting for Nuclear Winter

I mean, from my brief experience with multi-player teams so far, I’ve found it to be really difficult because I was the only one with a mic for talking to team members. That lack of communications is supposed to be handled with the emote system, but emotes and clumsy Xbox messaging just suck. (No more complaints about that.)

So I started playing and was killed very quickly, but after reaching level 2 I started getting the hang of it and adopted a sneaky approach to the game; mainly because I kept getting killed by player with ratings above 100. Geezus. But okay, I began watching what those players were doing after I got killed (this is a feature of the game; you can watch what your killer does next). And guess what? I saw that a lot of the players that killed me worked in teams or gangs (3 or 4 players, even more). Huh? WTF? In the Solo game, players were forming teams. My oh my, this really sucks.

Nonetheless, I stuck with my solo mode and managed to kill three players as I climbed to level 7. I’m not sure how I feel about Nuclear Winter yet. I watched some of InnovSurvivalist‘s (Marta Branco) videos (Solo 1, Solo 2) and have a better understanding of how to win. BTW, I really like this girl’s videos and totally support her! She gives great updates on new FO76 Releases and plenty of tips when you got stuck; like Solo Nuclear Winter.

I’m still trying to figure out this whole FO multi-player thing, but the experience reminds me of the crap I encountered when I tried World of Warcraft over a decade ago. Nuclear Winter is much better than WoW, but it’s the gang thing that really upsets me. I’ve read that Bethesda is working on a system to shutout cheating but I suspect it’s going to take a long time. My only reference is that awful WoW experience, so this seems like Deja vu. I’ll keep trying, but I doubt that I’m going very far with it.

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Fallout 76: Level 106

It was a rash decision, to build a new character after I’d already reached level 88, but “Zahava” turned out to be a good idea and she’s now my third character and today she hit level 106. I had a hunch that Bethesda’s Private Servers would have a major change on the game and this is why I started Zava. And today, she launched her first nuke… SOLO. Yeah, I did it all by myself and after burning over 20 Stimpacks and thousands of rounds of exploding ammo, I made the launch from Silo Alpha. I will admit to trying to do the “I Am Become Death” quest three times in the past with my Sandy Lombardia character, but I failed each time, mainly because the server crashed two of those tries.

Before today’s attempt, while procrastinating, I began exploring the curious appearance of murder case files that appeared in my Notes folder. At first I was really puzzled and thought I must have missed some major quest but on doing a looking scouting around I discovered that this was a Bethesda tease. Anyway, I pursued the tease and found my way to Vault 79, a whole new add-on to FO76 expected in the coming months. It was hard to find, but here’s a photo from the door of the vault.

Yordie Sands in Fallout 76

Vault 79 is the sixth vault I’ve discovered in FALLOUT 76.
That’s as far as my new character can go so far.




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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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