Fallout 76: Level 160 and Waiting

In the past weekend I reached level 160, thanks in part to Bethesda’s surprise triple experience points event; a first, I’m told. Even though I’m making good progress and my store is doing well, I’ve become somewhat bored with the game as we anxiously await the Wastelanders DLC (release date April 14th). All of the top video commentators have been giving insights into Wastelanders and I’m thrilled with the direction the game taking.

Launching Nukes

Nonetheless, I’ve been doing a few things, like making additional nuke launches. So far, I’ve made three successful solo launches.

However, two weeks ago I had all the Nuclear Codes when I entered Silo Alpha, but got killed while attempting to fix mainframe cores. It didn’t seem to be a problem because I was able to quickly scurry back and make my way into the launch center. I fought off the robots that were trying to kill my launch crew but when I got to the launch center in my X-O1 Power Armor with it’s fancy new Blackbird paint job, I discovered that the launch codes were gone. It was late in the day on Tuesday and I suppose that even though they were valid when I entered, getting killed reset the timer…so, there I was with enough time to take the pic below.

Yordie Sands in Fallout 76

That’s me at Site Alpha’s nuclear launch center.

Yordie’s Excellent Adventures Club

People who know me from Second Life may remember the adventures I used to organize and eventually created an adventure group. Remember? Anyway, I decided to for a new Yordie’s Excellent Adventures in Fallout 76. Yeah, it’s not the same as speeding around on the Blake Sea and stuff like that, but I think it adds new life to the “adventure” part of the equation.

The group is a private club but I only have a couple dozen in-game friends, so I’m going to try to recruit some old friends from Second Life. It is possible to play the game on a PC, but unfortunately I play on Xbox One, so text communications extremely limited and the emoji signal system is just too limited. However, mic/headsets work fine and can be team only, so no one can eavesdrop.

I suspect that there aren’t many SL’ers that will be interested, but I’m going to try hard to get some old friends on board. I remember that several SL’ers used to play games like World of Warcraft, but Fallout 76 doesn’t have to be PvP (which I really dislike). The good thing is that I’ll be able to mentor any newbies because I’ve been playing the game for almost a year now. I’ll also change my store into a clubhouse, but that’ll be after Wastlanders DLC is released. I’ve already setup the club in Xbox, but I’ll explain more in my next post. The photo below is the background photo for the club; it is part of Bethesda’s in-game content. It represents the spirit of the club I’m trying to create.

Photo from Fallout 76

Brotherhood of Steel’s Taggerty’s Thunder unit.

 

Best Wishes to Everyone During this Pandemic!

Hey, I wanna get the band back together. Hehe and all. So, that’s me, sitting atop the White Springs Railroad Station, waiting for the COVID pandemic to end.

Yordie Sands as “Zahava”
at White Springs Train Station

 

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Fallout 76 Shopper’s Warning

One of the things I’ve loved about Fallout 76 is the shopping, in particular, being able to create your own store and go shopping at other player’s stores. I believe this feature became available around the time I began playing, around April 2019, and after the shopping trend soared, it began to taper off. Today, on the verge of the Wastelanders DLC, shopping has devolved into a hit or miss, or even get killed experience.

First, here’s the shopping experience I love, starting with an example of my own store. I don’t have a particularly cool looking store, but my stores are efficient and I go to a lot of trouble to keep them well stocked with the items I sell.

Yordie's Store at WS

This is a shot of my standard store with it’s marquee Nuka Cola.

For one thing, rather than have a random assortment of weapons, I specialize in 50 cal machine guns and all kinds of ammo, including Ultracite ammo. The same is true about armor, I specialize in BoS combat armor, plus plans for Ultracite power armor. And I don’t sell a bunch of meds and junk, I specialize in supplies of Nuka products, plus hard to find meds. My specialization hasn’t increased my sales, but when someone who is interested in the types of products I carry drops in, they usually buy a lot of stuff. A problem is, players don’t drop by as much as in the past and there’s several reasons for this, but one reason is that cheaters and griefers have found ways to make shopping a less enjoyable experience.

GRIEFERS & DEATH TRAP STORES

My only experience with Griefers comes from the years of playing Second Life. A griefer is a strange breed of person; a psychologist would probably identify them as anti-social personalities. They seem to enjoy causing normal people problems, anxiety, losses and pain. Normal people usually wonder: What’s wrong with these people? This post isn’t about who psychology, it’s about what griefers do, specifically to the FO76 shopping experience with stores designed to be death traps.

  1. Killer Stores had been relatively rare in FO76 until recently, at least on Xbox One. I’ve seen videos by players on PCs that indicate that there is much more mischief on PC versions of the game.
  2. The killer stores I’ve encountered generally have one thing in common: on arrival at the store you have to enter a building and follow passageways.
  3. One type of death trap had a passageway was obscured by palm tree plants, making it necessary to walk blindly up stairs and then fall into an enclosed trap with a bank of a dozen flamethrowers. You can die instantly, but the game is glitched enough that you might respawn and respawn indefinitely, burning up all of your Stim Packs (health restoration meds). Fortunately, You can always just power off if you need to, or open your map and exit the game if it will let you.
  4. There are other variations on this hateful theme, for example, the griefer may use land mines, or just put the stores’ vending machines on a platform that extends over a cliff, so when you use the machine, the griefer can simply exit the game, the floor disappears, and you fall to your death.

How do I know these things? Yeah, I’ve been caught in a variety of these schemes, but I’ve avoided many others. First, if you go to a store that seems to have a great inventory, but you have to enter a building: beware. And if the store is on a cliff, first you should observe the outside if you can see where the vending machines are: do not use machines that are suspended over a high cliff. If you have to enter the building, and find yourself forced to walk down long corridors, you may be in danger; however, half the time (who knows, really?), these are legit stores with creative designs and you can use the vending machines successfully. A lot of stores have taken to putting their vending machines in front of the building, and this is a good sign. However, even outside, you may be in an area where bloated Gangrenous Feral Ghouls or some other one-hit-kill beasts frequently attack, so be careful even here. Yeah, it’s sad that shopping has come to this.

There another kind of store that seems to have a great looking inventory on the map, but once you get there you discover the vending machines are locked behind doors. So, if you pick the locks you instantly become a “Wanted Player” and fair game, regardless of your Pacifist setting. And you’ll prolly get killed. If you don’t pick the lock, you’ve just wasted your Fast Travel fee; hence, they’ve costed you money (and like I said, this is fun for these guys, even if they aren’t around to see you).

What can you do? Before you Fast Travel or otherwise go to a store, check the name of the store’s owner. If you get killed in the store or if you are sure the store is a trap or a grief, you can block the player. Blocking bad actors is no panacea because there are thousands and thousands of them, but they you won’t have to deal with that specific griefer or their stores (stores don’t show up on map) if owner is blocked. I believe that you still may come across their stores through exploring, but if they don’t show up on your map then you’ve probably blocked or otherwise muted them. If you make a mistake, you can easily unblock.

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Fallout 76 @ Level 128

My Zahava character has reached level 128, but I suppose my knowledge and skills are at a significantly higher level because of the predecessor characters I’ve created. Nonetheless, I still feel I have a great deal to learn about the game. Here’s a little ditty, I was in the vicinity of Vault 51 the other day and discovered that the door had been wrecked. My guess is that when you begin playing Nuclear Winter that triggers the change in the door. Here’s before and after pics of the entrance.

Vault 51 when I first discovered it,
and the same vault a few days ago.

I turned my posts that dealt with the recent problems I had with Bethesda customer support. I was angry but the incident reminded me of the kinds of things that have happened in gaming many times in the past. I keep hoping that gaming software companies will eventually learn that pushing the envelope on their technology is disrespectful to the people who buy their products. Back in the early days of Microsoft Windows, the software was terribly buggy but in time Bill Gates realized that the product needed to be more reliable. Hopefully this will happen inside Bethesda someday.

BTW, everyone who is interest in Fallout 76 can get some great insights from Marta Branco’s InnovSurvivalist YouTube channel. She’s one of the people who is working on the Wastelanders, and her insights are worthwhile.

 

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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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