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Diecast #130: Still More Fallout 4

By Shamus
on Monday Nov 23, 2015
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Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster, Mumbles. Episode edited by Rachel.

Yes. Another entire hour of Fallout 4 talk. I suppose this is annoying if you don’t care about Fallout 4, but we can’t talk about games we’re not playing and right now this is what everyone is playing. This time we get to hear from Rutskarn and Mumbles.

Show notes:
1:59: Fallout 4

15:67: Annnd Fallout 4

34:21: Still Fallout 4

57:11: Not Fallout 4!!

Comments (142)

  1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

    Announcing the triumphant second week in a row of Mumbles.

    . . . ok maybe I’ll stop.

  2. Phill says:

    Just downloading the show now, but I have to say I’m not sure I entirely believe the “Not Fallout 4!” part of the show notes.

  3. thomas says:

    Obviously Rutskarn is speaking from inside a box a couple rooms away from his mic.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You know whats interesting:People keep praising the witcher 3,but there 90% of the dialogue is just “1)Ok.2)Not ok”.You dont need a bunch of options if the writing is good,and if the few options you are given here and there are really impactful.

    • Henson says:

      This has been likewise baffling me. Witcher 3 was fantastic, but every dialogue choice had pretty much only two options, and there was more than one occasion where I missed the multi-faceted conversation trees of yore. But yeah, well-written.

      • Viktor says:

        When you get right down to it, almost all your interactions in conversations in an RPG context(assuming no influence or morality system) boil down to “I’ll do the thing”, “I won’t do the thing”, or “Give me more information”. I don’t need the game to know that I’m only agreeing to the king’s risky plan because his evil-in-waiting advisor was against it, I just need the game to not actively work against that character interpretation on my part. That’s what was wrong with the ME2/3 dialogue system, your options were “Ok”, “Ok(dickish)”, “Ok(doormat)”, and “More information”. You didn’t have any control over what your character did and your voice was limited to just 3 options, which can’t possibly cover the range of motivations people might have.

    • Artur CalDazar says:

      I’ve seen people do it for the endings as well.
      “Oh the game has hundreds of endings”. It has three, and some people have moment long cartoon slides saying how things went for them, that are either the good one or the bad one.

      It’s kinda odd.

    • True, a lot of your WItcher 3 choices where “Gonna let you live, or, gonna kill you”.
      In Mass Effect a few situations let you do that but the character there is “good”. Geralt on the other hand is on a emotionally unstable grey line.

      Maybe Rutskarn can pidgeonhole Geralt better but I think Geralt is possibly a very chaotic neutral character through and through.

      While Mass Effect’s Shepard is either lawful good, chaotic good, neutral good depending on how you play him/her.

      In Fallout 4 your character goes from lawful good to chaotic neutral very quickly, and then the player can choose how their character behave/align for the rest of the game.
      Bethesda could have fixed this by letting the player choose their background (like BioWare did for Shepard in Mass Effect).
      You could have the Soldier/Lawyer, a Undercover Cop/Spy, Hitman/Hitwoman.
      Covering Good, Neutral, and Evil.
      And then Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic by choosing a particular backstory for the occupation.

      You wouldn’t have to have to reference it much at all in the gameplay, but on the few occasions where a character asks how you knows this/can do this/what they used to do the player could choose to bring up or not bring up or lie about heir backstory/what they where.

      It would also help if they actually knew from beforehand how to use a power armor (maybe they came across it in their work just before the war? Helped test it?)
      Otherwise they should have done like in the past games and let you learn it.
      Other than “that” the start of the game looks good.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Mumbles,if you eat that guy,do you eat his crown as well?

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So a high charisma character in fallout 4 is David Tennant?

  7. LadyTL says:

    I’ve gotten criticals outside of VATS in Fallout 4. Mostly because I don’t use VATS at all because it doesn’t stop time or even slow it that much so it still is about making snap decisions so I might as well just shoot them outside VATS. But I’ve gotten criticals that killed or almost killed raiders and super mutants outside of VATS.

  8. Da Mage says:

    So…..I’ve been annoyed by the constant minutemen quests for settlements and so whenever I help a settlement and they come under my control I simply kill all the settlers (since the existing ones cannot be moved). Now I no longer get troubled by every settlement wanting help…cause they’re all empty.

    Don’t know if Bethesda intended people to do that, but it certainly keeps the questlog under control.

  9. boz says:

    There is this stupid inconsequential bug with FO4. From time to time you get this random minor radio broadcasts tied to a location (like bunker near lake or basement level of that nuclear waste facility). Usually those are linked to a “distress beacon” of “ham radio”. Those broadcasts supposed to end when I activate(or deactivate) related switch, ham radio, beacon or whatever.

    In my game I can’t stop those broadcasts anymore, I know it’s stupid I know those are inconsequential but it irks me so much that I can’t play the game anymore. So I uninstalled the game till we got a new GECK so that I can mod that out.

  10. Raunomies says:

    The Institute is straight up Tai Yong Medical, general feel and music and all.

    • Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

      I loved it. They were going for a post apocalypse feel on the surface and I felt like they over did it. The construction pretty much everywhere on the surface is incredibly sloppy. Boards are nailed together in a way that suggests there’s a building code against properly lining things up (or maybe radiation affects that part of the brain in Fallout so that nobody can build stuff right). Your freshly constructed building pieces are dented dingy and dirty. Its rare to find clean clothing.

      I was so thrilled to find one place in this game that was clean and well designed and constructed. That alone was enough to convince me to join them.

    • Humanoid says:

      In DXHR, the slog of going through Tai Yong Medical, immediately followed by another long slog in Montreal is what drove me to quit the game altogether. I guess it’ll be nicely ironic if having the same thing, but in Fallout 4, comes as a breath of fresh air instead.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Chirs,if you are agonizing over what stats to have,you can always have dogmeat duplicate the special book for you so you have all 10s.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    But Josh,you can literally crit stack now.You dont like that?

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So Mumles wasnt pissed off that this guy turned the crown of immortality into a gun,she was pissed off that she wanted to turn it into a gun herself.

  14. Henson says:

    I can’t believe game companies still haven’t figured this out. Bethesda seems to using the Mass Effect 1 Commander Shepard dialogue system, where your character doesn’t say anything unless you make a dialogue choice. And yet, from the Diecast, I gather that they’re trying to force a history and preset character onto the player avatar. You just don’t do both of these things; if you want a preset character, you need to let them talk for themselves every so often.

    (This, by the way, was a big problem for Mass Effect as they moved through the series. They gave Shepard more and more autonomous dialogue, so a character that began so much as the player’s own creation got nudged further and further out of the player’s control. So Shepard would end up saying things that weren’t right for ‘your’ Shepard.)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      You can do both actually.Human revolution did.Alpha protocol did.Witcher 3 did.You just get a preset character and you just guide them through preset options that are all different sides of that character.It takes skill though,and bethesda doesnt have it.

      • Henson says:

        All three of the games you mentioned give the player character dialogue that is not immediately preceded by a dialogue choice: this is what I was referring to. In a game like Fallout 4, every single thing your character says (aside from short barks) is determined by a dialogue choice (from what I can tell from gameplay videos). Deus Ex and Witcher gave their protagonists the opportunity to speak for themselves.

        • Humanoid says:

          The intro sequence is pretty much all the main character talking without player intervention, I think there’s a total of two ‘proper’ dialogues throughout, the rest is autopilot.

    • Here’s my rather depressing take on it: It’s what will move more games.

      Maybe I’m wrong, and I’m not sure I’d call it “dumbing down,” exactly, as it’s been fairly well executed in the past (Mass Effect 1, I think it’s safe to say). I’d say it “makes things easier for the greater portion of the market as well as the devs coding the game.” Not that it’s a good thing that they’re doing it by any means.

      I’m with Rutz, and I’d had the same thought: I can’t wait to see what Obsidian does with this engine if (when, if Bethesda is smart) they’re given the go-ahead.

      • Supahewok says:

        I’d honestly rather see Obsidian continue with their own things. They had an 18 month dev time for New Vegas, is that right? That’s pretty insulting, honestly. Obsidian had to take the deal because they needed to grab work wherever they could get it, but Obsidian is in a different place now. They’ve got a couple solid, ongoing contracts, and have a chunk of their staff that can go to Kickstarter if they need funding for their project. They’re in a good position. Unless Bethesda gave them a deal that respected their talent and their livelihoods, I’d prefer Obsidian to tell them to take a hike.

        • Supahewok says:

          I feel like I should make my point more clear: I would be all for another Obsidian Fallout spin-off, if they were given the proper time and resources to finish it. I love New Vegas, and am cursed with knowing that I probably could have loved it even more if it had had even 6 months more dev time. I don’t want to see another potentially brilliant Obsidian game rushed out the door due to their limited contracts.

          • Aldowyn says:

            How successful was Pillars, anyway? Enough for them to self-fund another game, or get a publisher with more limited resources and thus more limited influence on the game like Paradox? (Which is what they did with Pillars)

            • Supahewok says:

              500,000 copies, as of a month ago.

              Hmm. I’d honestly thought that they’d broken a million. Shame, I guess it wasn’t as widespread as I had assumed. I don’t think that include Kickstarter rewards, though, so 500k * $45 is $22.5 million, split however their deals go. Not much by big games standards, but if Obsidian got even half of that, they earned back about double their budget. (They raised around 4.5 mil on Kickstarter, I’m assuming an extra couple mil from independent investors). I’d say that’s fairly sustainable, if they’re smart about their money.

              Edit: If they did release a sequel with their own money, they can expect about another 100k sales from the original Kickstarter backers. There were around 80k including Paypal I believe, and many of us bought extra copies for friends and family.

              • Humanoid says:

                I wonder if a Wasteland spin-off might be a more long-term profitable venture, since FONV was a flat rate contract job. I really want to like Wasteland 2, but at this point I just really can’t be bothered managing a party, and there seems to be an aversion amongst all developers to creating isometric single-character RPGs. With that in mind, give me Wasteland: New Vegas any day.

              • Decius says:

                Bad math. If Inexile has enough money to fully fund a game, they can afford a flop. That’s something that no AAA game studio can do.

        • Then I’d like to see Obsidian do a New Vegas style open-world RPG.

          Bethesda has this framework pretty well figured out that’s pretty fun right out of the box. It’s like how certain filmmakers have figured out the formula for action setpieces, but they stink at plot. Combining Bethsoft’s game setup with Obsidian’s writing makes for a flavor of fun I don’t get from other games.

  15. Vect says:

    I think the companions (or at least ones like MacCready) are killable if they’re not following you. Still, the guy at least matured as a character. Understandably, I was predicting that he’d be the Annoying Fan character where everyone would try to kill him in elaborate ways or something.

    I think the companions can be pretty interesting. Nick Valentine and Hancock are kind of the highlights while guys like Garvey and X6 are pretty dull (the latter is at least justified).

    • Darren says:

      I’m fond of Codsworth and his psychopathic enthusiasm for violence; even Strong isn’t quite as excited when you enter combat.

    • Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

      Good thing about him being a companion is there are ways to mess with him and he takes orders from you now instead of him trying to boss you around. You can send him to live in an empty parking lot with a pile of radioactive barrels in it. You can periodically punch him as long as its one punch at a time and you space them out (exploiting a feature thats there to account for accidental friendly fire). You can put him to work in the fields and make him wear a sequin dress and heels while he’s doing it.

  16. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

    Piper is such a grating character after a while. I tried, in spite of having a natural aversion to reporters. I even got her up to romance level, so I gave her a good shot but all her lines are like

    “I guess I just can’t not help people. I’m sorry. I know its a flaw but I just can’t help but care about every living thing. My other big flaw is that I have to seek the truth and try to enlighten others. And I just can’t walk past a puppy without playing fetch. I know, I’m weird.”

    She’s one giant wad* of humblebrag. I sincerely wonder if she’s in the game specifically to flatter the game journalists who will be reviewing it. They all seem to love her. I wonder why.

    Actually I’m kind of surprised more games don’t try to cram in a heroic reporter or some journalist flattery.

    *Yes, I know, my mom is also a giant wad. You don’t have to remind me.

      • Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

        Funny enough that one didn’t bug me as much at the time. It bothers me a little more now but I didn’t get the reaction at the time. Partly because they don’t try to portray Diana as anything other than a reporter. She’s not especially good or bad, she just reports.

        • Lalaland says:

          I found Diana Allers super creepy as she’s a romanc-able character of a real life person you get to sleep with ‘for free’ without even the usual Bioware legwork. I feel like I spoke to her 3 times and she was propositioning me so she was a double fan service in the worst way ‘Oh hey here’s real life attractive person and if you’re nice to them… nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ Bleugh

          • Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

            You know. If Bioware wanted to put me in a game and make me romanceable cheap and easy like that, I’d go for it. I’d probably insist that I was extra easy. Like I jump you in the Citadel right there at that dock if you have the guts to ask me up front, cutting you off mid sentence.

            Think about it. The romances are a big thing among hard core Bioware fans. Many of them already write fic of themselves. There have to be a lot of fans that would go for being a romanceable in a game.

        • Falterfire says:

          Diane Allers really bugged me, but I don’t know how much of that was just because I knew going in that she was a real life person who had been inserted into the universe. If I hadn’t known that, I probably wouldn’t have noticed (Maybe? I remember her face also seeming really off, but I can’t prove it actually was worse than other faces), but because I knew that it just totally took me out of the game.

          I also didn’t feel like she added anything as a character, so it was JUST ‘Oh hey, here’s this real world person who doesn’t fit at all.’

          • MichaelGC says:

            I actually didn’t find out the back/side/meta/whatever-story until I’d finished the game, and something seemed very … off about the character anyway. (Both that the character model seemed to come from even deeper in the uncanny valley than usual, and that I kept thinking I was missing a sidemission or something.)

            “Oh, just war assets, is it?,” was my first guess as I neared the end – when I found out the full story it did feel as though some of the weirdness was thereby explained (although obviously not in a way which redounds to the game’s credit…).

            • Humanoid says:

              Evidently Bioware borrowed Bethesda’s face generator that one time. That technology has now been sold to Sports Interactive/Sega, who use it to generate faces for Football Manager.

              (Seriously, even in the latest version, the FM faces look like they’ve come straight out of Oblivion)

    • I didn’t see it as humblebrag. I saw it as “I did this thing involving journalism, and while it worked, it’s blown up in my face, kind of.” She even says that nobody talks to her the same way anymore, since she runs a printing outfit, and people are afraid of being quoted in some inflammatory story. I’d say that’s a pretty strong character point.

      Not to mention it turns out she’s pretty much right in one of her major suspicions.

      What bugs me about the newspaper itself is that here’s a place where Bethesda could’ve used that Times New Roman font from Skyrim somewhere that would actually fit. Her press is basically a mimeograph, if the handwriting is any indication, so why not use one of the many typewriters lying around to compose stories? I’d even offer to not scrap the one she’s using if it meant having only one page of legible type instead of three hand-written ones.

      • Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

        I mean that makes it even worse “I’ve sacrificed a lot to do the right thing. Its cost me friends but I just can’t help but be good.”

        • Again, did she ever say “but be good?” She’s seen in her own experience where finding out what’s going on (i.e. the hole in The Wall) has saved lives or brought crimes to light. I can see where a desire to uncover what’s going on could become a goal.

          Also, there’s not a whole lot of space between her wanting you to help others and Nick wanting you to help others.

          • Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

            I haven’t used Nick as much as Piper but whereas Pipers dialog is mostly “you need to help” or “I do good” Nick’s is snarky noir style commentary.

            Maybe its that she hangs out around the workshop in Sanctuary and the line she says over and over again is “People just need a hand” or something like that.

            Maybe I just like noir detectives better than nosy reporters.

  17. Andy_Panthro says:

    Is Rutskarn really quiet for everyone else? I can barely hear him but if I turn it up too much Shamus and Josh nearly deafen me.

  18. cold_blowfish says:

    so question to the more experienced players. (relatively speaking of course) – how do you mod the pipe pistol to not make it suck? Is it best used as an SMG or can I change it into a reliable sniper rifle?

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      I turned one into a sniper rifle by giving it a long barrel, scope and stock. I also gave it a drum magazine, because then I don’t need to worry about reloading.

      They’ll always be kinda terrible though, you’ll find better weapons soon enough. There’s a definite limit to how much you can upgrade things, but it’s good for the short term.

      • Lalaland says:

        Yeah pretty much I’ve modded mine into a device to chew up .38 ammo on ghouls\mole rats\etc. because I have bugger all else to fire at them and I need the bigger rounds for other targets. There’s a definite character level after which only rifle cartridges are effective in ‘regular’ combat (for me it was lvl 30-ish), sneak attack crits and certain perks can still make the pistol calibre stuff useful. Overall yeah they become a good source of screws and copper and not much else.

        • Trix2000 says:

          0.38 ammo has basically become alternate money for me now, since I never use it and I have like 3k+ of the stuff.

          I’d be more inclined to use pipe weapons if I didn’t have massive amounts of 0.45 and fusion cells for my better guns.

      • Kremlinlaptop says:

        I appreciate the fact that you can’t add modifications to make the pipe weapons absolutely ridiculously powerful. Just because they look like they really shouldn’t be very powerful (or reliable, I miss weapon jams). I mean the pipe pistol is literally a piper held onto some pieces of wood with screws and chicken wire.

  19. somebodys_kid says:

    Random Question: Is the Diecast registered with Pocket Casts?

  20. Greg says:

    So I’m going to be a slight dick here. I don’t mean to sound judgmental or condescending, but I’m really curious and it might come across that way: given how critical Spoiler Warning is of Fallout 3 and Skyrim, and ascribes almost everything good about New Vegas to Obsidian’s better writing and worldbuilding … why is Fallout 4 every cast member’s first buy, and the Tomb Raider sequel falls by the wayside despite that season being mostly praise? The easy answer is that it’s what everyone else bought and as video game critics you need to play it in order to be able to comment on it, but that doesn’t seem like the actual reason, given how much the cast was anticipating Fallout 4 in the past few months and has apparently devoted all of the last week or so to it. (Also I don’t know if anyone on Spoiler Warning even owns an Xbone, so forgive me if that’s the reason for a lack of Tomb Raider.)

    This sort of segues into another question, which is: does story actually matter as much as Spoiler Warning has suggested? Especially during the Skyrim season, it seemed as though all of you had put hundreds of hours into the game despite the absolutely sophomoric level of writing, acting (well, voice directing) and quest design. (And by “all of you” I don’t mean “all of you but me”, I played my two hundred hours or so as well, although I did not make it through even ten hours of Fallout 3.) Rutskarn even described Skyrim as a “solid gold toilet” or some such, but we still have hundreds of hours of fun squeezed out of it. Mods are a part of it, but mods can’t (or at least, almost never do) actually change the game’s underlying story and presentation.

    I realize that you can criticize a game and still have fun with it; I’m not disputing that. But because I did actually check out of Fallout 3 due to the plot, I am highly leery of paying another $60 for its sequel by the same people, yet the cast (whose opinions I by and large agree with) seemed as though it couldn’t wait to buy it. Am I misinterpreting the cast’s opinions? What is it about Fallout 4 that makes everyone eager to buy despite being burned in the past?

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      I started playing Skyrim only relatively recently, and I’ve ditched it for Fallout 4 because everyone is talking about it.

      I’m glad I made that choice, because they both share certain Bethesda faults, but Fallout is more “fun”. In particular I quite like the weapon upgrading, which is much better than the equivalent in Skyrim (possibly because gun modding is always going to be more varied than sword enchanting).

      Skyrim feels kinda dull by comparison, and I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to it.

      • Humanoid says:

        I’ve played FO4 for maybe 10-15 hours so far (yeah I got it a bit later), and I have to say that at this point I kind of liked Skyrim better. Hopefully there’s a point where it turns around, but I can’t shake the feeling that when playing FO4 I’m just borrowing some random person’s player character instead of playing my own.

        I’ve never played any iteration of Tomb Raider, but ironically perhaps I felt the opening of FO4 felt like I was playing Tomb Raider (the reboot) based on a viewing of the SW season on it.

        I think what sealed the deal is the completely automatic dialogue/running commentary the player character makes while all this happens. The way you simply press the interact button on people and objects and your character just makes some sort of comment while the game runs on without engaging the conversation system ….it feels like how story and conversation triggers work in the typical shooter. Get near an NPC and they’ll start monologuing at Gordon. Click an object and Duke makes some wisecrack. Walk past an invisible trigger and Lara is horrified at something.

    • Shamus says:

      Yeah. None of us have an Xbone.

      I can’t speak for the others, but Bethesda games are always a mix of brilliant and bullshit. It’s a gameplay you literally can’t get anywhere else, mixed in with stuff that’s just bafflingly flawed. It’s fun to play, fun to talk about, it feeds the content mill, and not playing means missing out on the biggest conversation in gaming right now.

      • Greg says:

        Fair enough. I guess I’ve had enough of Bethesda gameplay myself that I don’t feel particularly pressed to buy another example of it. I’m just slightly surprised by the fact that all of Spoiler Warning is playing nothing but this game, given how many games it seems you have going on at the same time usually (especially Campster). But I can definitely see how it could monopolize time.

        • Josh says:

          In fairness, if I had an XBox One (and wasn’t rather pissed at Squeenix for making the game an exclusive) I would probably have spent the last week playing Tomb Raider.

          The thing with Bethesda games for me is that they have one very cool central idea; the giant, “You can interact with everything” open world. Everything surrounding it tends to be incredibly mediocre, which is why we spend a lot of time poking fun at the outrageous time, effort and money that Bethesda seems to spend on their stories that are total bollocks. Hell, in the last Fallout game they got Liam Neeson to be “your insane dad that built a water purifier no one apparently needs.” It has a certain B-Movie sort of earnestness, except they tend to use A-list actors for it and it just never works.

          On some level, that makes it fun to experience if you take it on its own terms. Since it’s somewhat difficult and awkward to get invested in these things (Bethesda tends to use simple cheap shortcuts to try to manufacture pathos, such as “Your dad you know nothing about is in trouble!” or “Your son has been kidnapped oh no!”) it puts me in a pretty good position to be able to laugh at the story when it gets too silly or melodramatic (and it’s Bethesda we’re talking about here, so it always does).

          We talk about the story so much in these games both because it’s a low hanging fruit and because it’s the low hanging fruit Bethesda spent so much time and effort into carefully and deliberately crafting.

          That said, as Shamus mentioned, it has gameplay you can’t really get anywhere else. And for me especially, it scratches that “Stalker” itch of scavenging-sandbox gameplay. So whenever there’s a big Bethesda release, I’ll usually spend a few months slowly playing through it and experiencing what I want before finally getting bored and moving on to something else. It’s a game I’ll be playing in the off hours while I’m playing other big releases. And then maybe a year later I’ll come back to it at some point and play for another few months.

          Make no mistake, Fallout 4 is by no means a better game than The Witcher 3, Life is Strange, or Undertale. It’s just the nature of its gameplay, and Bethesda’s (wise) focus on perhaps the one good thing it does that no other game can match–its sandbox mechanics–means it tends to have a bigger impact on our discussions, and for a longer period, than the other games I listed (except perhaps The Witcher 3, which I should get back to at some point).

      • Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

        Are you already seeing any opportunities for a five part article about a stupid plot arc? I want.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Story does matter if its the focus of the game.Story matters in witcher 3,story matters in life is strange,story matters in alan wake.But in bethesda games,stories are not the main focus,thus they can be weaker if the rest of the stuff supports them.

    • Deda says:

      Speaking for myself I’m completely baffled by the popularity of the fallout and elder scrolls games, the more I look into them the more absolutely atrocious not only the story but the gameplay and every other tiny aspect of these games seems to be. Even when I listen to the reasons why other people claim to like them I still cannot comprehend how anyone can find them even remotely enjoyable.

      Then again I hate every western rpg so maybe I’m the crazy one.

      • I prefer Western RPGs because at least some of them offer a choice or two on the way to the end (and sometimes even multiple endings that are neither ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than the others). Nothing irks me more than what’s basically a visual novel set firmly on rails, where all I’m good for is turn-based combat (I loathe the Final Fantasy model of fighting) and possibly picking which romance interest I’ll wind up with depending on how I answer a series of quiz questions.

        To each their own, but in the case of Bethsoft, it’s more the open-world aspect coupled with the fact that eventually some modder makes a far better game out of it than was intended.

        • Deda says:

          Turn based is sometimes done better than others but it is without a doubt the best combat style for an rpg (and I don’t think you can really call a game an rpg if its not turn based), but I can still enjoy an “action-rpg” when it is well done like in dark souls. But the combat in skyrim and that stupid “pause the game to shot” thing fallout does is nothing more than pointing at enemies until they fall down with no skill or strategy involved, it is basically turn based combat with none of the decision making or the pacing that makes it enjoyable, that’s something that no amount of mods can fix and it is at the very center of those games (that’s still just one of the countless intolerable and unfixable things about them).

          “Nothing irks me more than what's basically a visual novel set firmly on rails”

          I can’t think of many jrpgs that fit that description, maybe FFXIII?. The whole “choice and consequence” thing in wrpgs is nothing more than a marketing gimmick and I think jprgs have them beat even in that aspect.

          • Aldowyn says:

            Every JRPG I’ve played (which is mostly just Final Fantasy, to be fair) is at best a completely linear main story with sidequests set in an faux-open world, with either artificial story gates or just plain old beefgates.

            I don’t disagree that to some extent ‘choice and consequence’ is a marketing gimmick, but it’s certainly more valid for Pillars of Eternity than any Final Fantasy you could name, and I haven’t heard of any other JRPGs that could reasonably claim anything better. But maybe I’m wrong.

          • Which JRPG has done something like New Vegas’ endings or those of Fallout 1 & 2? The best I’ve ever seen is where they give you “Good, Bad, or Meh” endings. It’s either that, or you have a roster of romantic targets of varying levels of difficulty to achieve, but again, it’s the same ending where the wigs are interchangeable.

            • Deda says:

              The “choice” thing in fallout new vegas basically amounts to a multiple choice quiz over the game with questions like “do you want to side with a or b?” or “do you want to do what this person wants or do you want to murder them?”, and at the end you get a mad lib with your answers inserted on it, it is a shallow gimmick that contributes nothing to the experience of the game and exists solely so that the marketing can say “see? your choices matter!”.

              Yes, the multiple endings in Jpgs can be summed up as “good, bad or meh” just like the ones in Wrpgs, because that is all a computer game can really do, everything else is nothing more than smoke and mirrors, the difference is that in Jrpgs the ending you get usually depends on how well you did during the game (and sometimes there are secret endings that are difficult to get without a guide) that’s way better than just choosing an ending from a list like Wrpgs do.

              Also, why do you keep bringing up optional romances? It feels like you have a very weird idea of what jpgs are like,from what I’ve seen shallow romances are much more common in wrpgs.

      • Writiosity says:

        Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Fallout 3 = Fallout. It doesn’t, at all. Fallout 1 and 2, plus Vegas are Fallout. Bethesda’s sad and pathetic attempts are more like low quality fanfic that doesn’t quite get what the series was meant to be about.

    • Supahewok says:

      Most journalists go through a honeymoon phase with Bethesda titles. RPS gave Skyrim their GOTY for… 2011, was it? The game had been out for only a month.

      Fast forward a year and most of their reviewers were saying, “In hindsight, it was rather shallow and dull, wasn’t it?”

      Bethesda seem to have become masters at a sort of inherently shallow but greatly immediately gratifying gameplay, which means everyone loves it for a few weeks. Eventually the shine wears off, and the rather skeletal, half baked mess of the game’s underlying systems become more visible. However, Beth times their releases for Christmas (anything late October through November is Christmas Season for games nowadays), when all the game journos are doing their “Best of the Year” and award shows are handing out trophies, so the game is more immediately in their minds than the great games from earlier in the year (betcha nobody is keeping Pillars of Eternity in mind for Best RPG, although to be fair Witcher 3 seems to have had equally as good, yet more accessible writing, and a crap ton more production value. Yet even W3, who at its release had a lot of folks calling it the Best RPG for the Past Decade, is gonna have stiff competition from FO4, when there really is no contest between them).

      Basically you’ve got a perfect recipe for immediate critical adoration, and by the time people move on in January or February what’s done is done. Honestly, the true, Miyomoto-ian stars of the BethSoft production team are the marketers.

      • Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

        The Game Awards has nominated Pillars of Eternity in the best RPG category. They had a DLC release a month or two ago which might have helped, as well as a 2.0 rerelease of the game with feature improvements. Game reviewers might now have the upgraded version in their heads.

        I’ve also heard Pillars mentioned a few other places. But yeah its not going to win anything unless its something like Best CRPG. I’m impressed that such a small team managed to make something thats showing up at all.

        Could also be that Metacritic ranks it #6 out of PC games released in 2015. Quite impressive for a game that was made mostly on a kickstarter budget.

        • Supahewok says:

          I’m glad it’s still being talked about at least, if only a little; from my perspective, even though it did very well critically at release, as soon as Witcher 3 came out it was as if PoE had never happened. Which I don’t hold against W3 (from what I hear, it’s a damn fine example of an RPG, and I can’t wait for the day I can play it myself), but its annoying that “Best RPG of the Year” is going to be “W3 vs. FO4” rather than “PoE vs. W3,” and despite there being a lot to say about PoE’s story, ideas, and theme, nobody has written a critical piece on it since June-ish.

          It’s just somewhat personally galling to me that an overgrown, overmarketed skinner box is gonna be the subject of critical thought for a long time in comparison to the heir of Baldur’s Gate 2, one of my favoritest favorite games ever. I have no problem with the former existing, I put my hours into Skyrim. However, and I can’t think of a way to say this without sounding like a hipster with his head shoved up his own ass, I’d rather that more interesting games get talked about and paid attention to during the time of year everybody is doing their retrospectives and judging. It’s really the last couple of months of the year that I feel people’s attitudes of the previous year get settled, and there’s an inherent bias towards showy new games that arrive at that time.

          Edit: I guess I should be nicer to FO4. I doubt that it’s a skinner box to the same degree as the Ubisoft Open World Template.

          • Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

            I agree. Fallout 4 has a lot of things going for it but at least in terms of the RP systems and the way the writing leverages them, POE is worlds ahead of FO4.

            Don’t get me wrong, I think FO4 should be in end of year discussions for its other merits but when you’re talking about best RPG, its a travesty that its FO4 vs TW3.

            I do think FO4 avoids some of the skinner box criticism this time out. Unlike other rpgs, its not just dropping pallette swapped loot with more pluses. The Settlement system gives you more of a real reason to hold onto junk and gives you quite a bit to do with it.

            • Humanoid says:

              I so, so want to get into PoE but am completely disinterested in engaging in even one more of its combat encounters. One of these days I’ll probably just use some cheats/mods to effectively remove every enemy from the game and play it that way.

              Ask me a dozen or so years ago and I’d have said Baldur’s Gate 2 was my model of the ideal RPG, above its contemporaries like Fallout (2). Nowadays that opinion has completely turned around and I find even the thought of its mechanics painful to deal with. I can still play the 2D Fallout games today, but I wouldn’t even consider re-playing BG2.

              I threw a lot of money at the PoE Kickstarter, but I knew by then that a spiritual successor to the Infinity Engine games is something I couldn’t fully embrace. I was hoping that its combat encounters were more avoidable than they ended up being, but no such luck.

    • Humanoid says:

      I bought FO4 last week and my opinion of Bethesda’s past work is even more negative. I’m alright with Skyrim, but Fallout 3 was a bust for me (quit after maybe 10-15 hours) and Oblivion is one of my top-three Worst Games Ever (that I’ve had the misfortune to buy), taking proud place alongside Mass Effect 3 and Civilization: Call to Power.

      Reasons to buy Fallout 4:
      1) If I didn’t, I’d have absolutely no comment to make on anything posted on this blog for the next month.
      2) I had a $100 eBay voucher that I had to spend this month or it’d expire. I had nothing else I particularly wanted to buy.
      3) XCOM 2 was delayed, so I have nothing better to do. I was playing a lot of CK2 in the weeks prior, but grew increasingly frustrated with some of its idiotic mechanics and bugs.

      As for story, eh, sure I’ll rant and rave about terrible writing, but on the other hand I will always take an average story that offers some player agency over who I am and where I’m going over a brilliant story that plays out completely statically. Unfortunately Fallout 4 is offers not much of either of those, so I’m struggling a bit right now. (It’s also the reason I can’t play JRPGs for the most part, to address an above comment, playing a JRPG feels like playing a party-based RPG in where the entire party is NPCs)

      • Aldowyn says:

        “Like playing a party-based RPG where the entire party is NPCs” This is… pretty accurate, really. I actually sometimes like them for that. I can’t ever make a PC I really like in a computer RPG.

        • Supahewok says:

          I admit to never thinking of it that way either, and I can kinda see now why some people completely reject the genre. I still like it well enough; sometimes I don’t want the story to revolve around an avatar of my creation. I’m comfortable playing the part of a spectator. But I can see now how that could put others off.

      • Deda says:

        “I will always take an average story that offers some player agency over who I am and where I'm going over a brilliant story that plays out completely statically”

        Well, I completely disagree with that, if somebody asks me if I want the only flavor of ice cream they have or if I would prefer to choose among 4 different turds I would always choose the ice cream, I’m a bit crazy that way. This obsession on quantity over quality is the main thing that’s ruining most modern games, if you want your own version of a story just write a fanfic, that offers way more choice than any game can.

        “playing a JRPG feels like playing a party-based RPG in where the entire party is NPCs”

        As for me, when I get to choose the appearance of my character I always go with the default because I don’t want to waste time on something so pointless (if you were talking about moral choices that’s even more pointless). Customization of stats/skills/equipment and other gameplay stuff is cool, but Jrpgs are better than Wrpgs for that.

        Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against player choice, it can be cool to see different ways something can play out, but it is nothing more than a gimmick that should not excuse a crappy game. It’s nice to have sprinkles on an ice cream, but putting sprinkles on a turd won’t help when you have to eat it.

        • Humanoid says:

          Trying to a less hyperbolic analogy, I’d rather pick from the full menu at a decent but unspectacular restaurant than be served whatever the chef wants to serve at a three-star Michelin restaurant.

          Or how about a car analogy, because everyone loves those right? I’d rather drive a Toyota Corolla and choose where to drive than to be driven in a limo to whereever the driver chooses.

          Not that I’d necessarily mind the second option in each scenario, but see the point here is that the options are still all likely better than nothing, and I merely state a preference. Not a loaded analogy like “would I prefer being given a million bucks, or be able to choose the method in which I am executed?”

  21. skulgun says:

    How spoilery is this episode?

  22. Mersadeon says:

    Okay, so this doesn’t have anything to do with Fallout, but the mention of “molotov cocktail” reminded me of it – why the hell do most Roleplaying Games ignore molotovs? Even Shadowrun, of all things, doesn’t have them – a game full of neo-anarchists fighting corporations! And it’s not just games with a “modern” setting – why are molotovs not in every rulebook ever? They are an incredibly easy to make invention that fills a niche in a much cheaper way than its competitors – don’t have a mage or an alchemist? Make your own fireball of doom!

    I don’t know why this bothers me so much.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      I imagine They are not in the rule book for the same there aren’t often rule’s for “picking up a big stick”. It’s so basic that they assume you will know about it and can use it without description.

    • Supahewok says:

      “They are an incredibly easy to make invention that fills a niche in a much cheaper way than its competitors ““ don't have a mage or an alchemist? Make your own fireball of doom!”

      Pretty sure you answered your own question, at least in pseudo-modern settings.

      Most fantasy settings do not have an equivalent for abundant and cheap gasoline, and alcohol in general is not nearly as flammable as TV makes it seem. Molotovs are usually mainly petrol, with the wick soaked in alcohol or kerosene; alcohol and kerosene themselves don’t burn well enough to make a fireball. You want something to burn like that in medieval times, you need an alchemist to make a specialized mixture.

      • Rutskarn says:

        This is why. A quotation from Wikipedia on the mixture used by Finns, the inventor of the cocktail:

        “The fuel for the Molotov cocktail was refined to a slightly sticky mixture of gasoline, kerosene, tar, and potassium chlorate. Further refinements included the attachment of wind-proof matches or a phial of chemicals that would ignite on breakage, thereby removing the need to pre-ignite the bottle, and leaving the bottle about one-third empty was found to make breaking more likely.”

        It’s not a particularly straightforward or elemental invention. This combination of resources, need, and innovation wouldn’t be combined until the middle of the 20th century. To create them in a fantasy setting in readily available quantities would require inventing fantasy resources, which didn’t seem to be a priority of the developers (although I’ll point out that the “Oil of Burning,” introduced in the early AD&D days, serves the same function at a much higher price point).

        If you want a historical equivalent for your game, try Greek Fire:


        • Josh says:

          It is also worth noting that distilled alcoholic beverages only really caught on toward the end of the Medieval period (i.e. the 14th century). Prior to that, while distillation techniques had been well known for centuries, you would not likely have been able to “just find a bottle of vodka lying around and set it on fire.”

          Not, mind you, that the Greek Fire Rutskarn suggested would have been any more common. So far as we know, only the Eastern Romans ever actually used it, and the formula was kept so secret that no copy of it survives to today. We know it existed because of a variety of historical accounts attesting its use, and it’s suspected it was similar in character if not composition to napalm, but that’s about all we have to go on.

          • Supahewok says:

            The implications being that something that difficult to produce, yet so valuable in warfare, would be instantly nationalized by whatever political entity is in the vicinity (Same thing happens in A Song of Fire and Ice, IIRC). So not only is it hard to invent and create, it’s also highly regularized and very illegal to sell to or be possessed by civilians, aka your average Joe Schmoe adventurer.

            Hell, if you wanted, you could set up a whole campaign around the party gaining the trust of the ruling power and being granted access to Heavenly Fire.

            Or you could do the smart thing and roll a wizard, who can throw fireballs in addition to a bajillion other insanely useful things (I really like playing wizards, guys).

          • MichaelGC says:

            It’s stuff like this that for me offsets almost any amount of taptacular torment and faucetry fallibility.

            Oh, and the original mention of Shadowrun reminded me of Spoony’s tales of The Squirt Gun Wars, which some may find diverting:


    • lurkey says:

      Arcanum not only uses Molotovs, it’s actually a very powerful weapon: cheap – you can make them basically from what you rummage in garbage bins, and only take 1AP to throw.

      (You know how some people get compulsion to replay Deus Ex at the slightest mention. It’s the same with me and Arcanum)

  23. One thing I noticed that was absent about the conversation about Fallout 4 conversations: How the game kind of punishes meta-gaming.

    Say I’m with Nick (as all right-thinking players are for at least part of the game). I’ll get speech options that will obviously earn me some XP. Buuuuut… Nick doesn’t like it when you extort money from people for doing stuff. He doesn’t like you threatening people or telling lies. Even though you’re just doing it to get to the next level, he’s not going to eventually admire you and let you help him do a side quest that’s kind of fun, because you like helping Nick, so…

    It’s practically the only place where you do make a kind of sacrificial decision: Do you go for the XP and cash, or do you say what you think your companion, if you like them, wants to hear?

  24. Oh, and here’s a spoiler some may enjoy. You get to kill a much-loathed character from Fallout 3, if that’s your choice: Doctor Li.

    I bet some people regret who they sided with NOW, eh?

  25. Decius says:

    To be fair, you always have the option of shooting the person who is talking. It’s even possible to do that by accident if he is taking to long to get to the point.

  26. youlstn says:

    Rutskarn – *whisperwhisper…fallout 4…whisperwhisper*

    Everyone else – FFFFFFFAAAAALLLLOUUUUTTT 44444!!!!!!!!

    • Yeah, kinda annoying. Not sure if it’s something Rachel could easily fix in post though (I have no idea in what form she get the raw audio).

      Protip: If all are loud and one is quiet and you are having issues with making the quiet one loud (due to peaks clipping or similar) then either lower the level of all the rest,
      or apply some compressor/limiter (peak compression) to the quiet one and then raise their level.

      I’m a dynamics/quality freak (audiophile) so I’d lower the loud ones instead myself though.

  27. Jonathan Scinto says:

    I didn’t have an issue assuming the role of a middle class 2077 american lawyer. I actually like having the voice acting; it added an emotional weight that I have a hard time getting out of a voiceless protagonist.

    However, I was frustrated that they didn’t simply own up to having you play one of two established characters.

    I sided with the Institute, and I kept waiting for some family time with Shaun. I had this whole list of questions that I felt anyone would have asked in that scenario. They never come up. It drove me nuts.

    • I almost wonder if they made her a lawyer as a misguided homage to one of the prerolled characters in Fallout 1? Or they just decided “We have a meathead default, so what’s a speech default?” They hadn’t realized that their character creation system made that choice moot, but hey…

  28. Sleeping Dragon says:

    She-Hulk is* a lawyer… just throwing it in there…

    *was? I’m not up to date on this stuff any more.

    • Otters34 says:

      She and Daredevil are like the only two superhero lawyers in the entire MARVEL comic book universe, no way they’re going to let that go when occupation and powers already make up so much of their stable’s personality.

  29. Ironically Fallout 4 answers Shamus’ litmus(ish?) question “But what do they eat!” however it fails answering “But how do the generators get fuel?” *laughs*

    And before anybody says “Somebody get it/make it?” storages of it are limited (you can’t seem to get it from gas stations/pumps either).

    And there are no biodiesel producing farms either.

    If the generators ran on fusion cores this would have been more interesting (you would not be able to run all generators 24/7 either or you’d use up the fusion cores)

    Corn is used for starch in Fallout 4 right?
    Corn could also be used for biodiesel too. Imagine setting a settler to make biodiesel. Traders would flock to your settlement for fuel.
    Or that farm with a ll the robots, if that made biodiesel then that would make a lot of sense (sort of).

    In the real world people exists that gather used cooking/frying oil and purify that and use it as biodiesel for their cars.

    I’m sure a mod will appear in the future to make generators require fuel and some resource being the source for the biodiesel.

  30. If there is one thing that Fallout 4 makes me very intrigued about is the engine itself and what Fallout 4 can do (especially the building stuff), as this hints at what will be possible in the next elder Scrolls game.

    I can easily foresee being able to build a small fortress and a village to surround it (a possible end game goal to work towards?) so you can truly be the king (or queen) of your “own” castle.

  31. Romances in Fallout 4 are kinda odd, once their relationship is maxed they are just a bonus stat when you sleep in a bed.

    However of the females you can romance I’d say that Curie seems the most interesting as her friendship and/or romance arc (romancing her is optional) is somewhat tied into the main storyline thread. You can’t progress her arc unless you progress the main one some.

    While Piper and Curie once you meet them no longer seem intertwined with the main story thread.

    Did anyone bring Curie (after her arc has completed) with them to the institute? Did she have any comments/reactions to that?

    Also, those wanting to romance Nick but are annoyed they can’t. It’s implied that Nick’s assistant/secretary is in love with him. I’m guessing bethesda did not want to let the player steal her “boyfriend”. Sadly Nick seems oblivious to her interest, some detective, huh! A shame you can’t make him notice it.

    Also, did anyone talk to the Diamond City school teacher and his robot assistant? They seem to have a thing for each other but afraid to act, do not really realize it yet. And as the nosy player character you can obviously meddle in this. Choose the right dialog options and you will cause them to end up married, at a later visit to the city you’ll see a priest wed them near Piper’s press shack. Hilarious.

  32. Micro spoiler (no ending stuff is revealed, just “how” it’s delivered/or not)

    BTW! I’ve seen the ending(s) does anybody else miss the epilogue slideshow? That and Perlman wrapping things up made a Fallout game ending feel like a Fallout ending.

    Speculation: One or more DLCs/Expansions are planned and the last one released once the player finishes it will actually roll the credits after first showing the classic Perlman narrated slideshow wrap up. They didn’t roll/show the slideshow now because the story isn’t “really” over yet. In short, do not delete the most recent character savefiles folks, you’ll need them through 2016.

  33. @Rutskarn you’d have to peek inside the code but are you saying that Batchelor/Womanizer perks simply gives a charisma boost rather than add another stat to check?
    I can kinda understand that as a programmer since they basically made the player character bi-optional (Is that even a term? Well, it is now!)
    I can’t recall from Fallout 3 and New Vegas but did it actually bring up a dialog option marked [Womanizer] or [Batchelor]?

    Also while bringing up things we feel are missing, wher the heck are the ladies/gentle men of the night?
    New Vegas had prostitutes but Boston doesn’t? Not even Goodneighbor?
    There is actually a “sexbot” hint to a guy and a female synth (I forget where), but that is more or less the only carnal sins mentioned (some of Cait’s backstory hints at some nasty trauma though, she was abused and sold as slave and abused even more, possibly sexually but I don’t think she directly state that, although it’s implied In my oppinion).
    Is it because Boston has several church ruins scattered around?

    It’s a shame Obsidian does not hold the rights to Fallout, they do/did seem to have a better grasp of the “old” Fallout stuff.

    On the upside Fallout 4 does have kids working in the fields, or handing out newspapers or as brotherhood squires or similar so thumbs up for including child labor I guess.

    Preemptive: And there’s nothing wrong with “child” labor, kids helped on the family farm (or business) since ancient times, and they still do. Also if not helping with the family business, then there is nothing wrong with a kid “working” if that is what they want and they are “properly compensated” for that work.

    Fallout 4 is a lot more Fallout “The 40s/50s Comic” than New Vegas was.
    I don’t envy the guys making the Fallout games it’s a odd beast to handle.
    You got the happy go lucky atomic no worries smok’em if you got’em 40s/50s theme days, then the mixing with post-apocalyptic radiation sickness/deterioration/mutation, starving and slavery and abuse and cannibalism.
    And behind all that are the vault experiments and secret scientific research the public never knew/was ignorant about.

    It’s like a happy facemask with a ugly truth beneath that hides and even uglier truth (a vault with one guy and the rest female, or vice versa, or wasn’t there that vault with no food I? Fallout can so easily be very very dark.).
    So striking a balance on which layers to reveal and when can’t be easy.

    But a nice trick to do that is allow the player to peel off those layers, so if the player dig deeper they find worse things.
    That way players that do not want to dig deeper can simply choose not to.

    The cool things about RPGs are choices (as Rutskarn joked about waiting for Obsidian to make the RPG version of Fallout 4).

    And sorta tied to the Womanizer/Batchelor perks thing.
    It’s a shame that none of the characters are straight only or gay only, I know Jim Sterling loved that they where all swinging both ways but myself I think it would have better for the Fallout 4 world building if some of the companions liked girls only or boys only. Sure it would have resulted in maybe some of the companions always resisting the player’s advances but that would just add to the world I think.

    As it is now you can romance any character and the only thing it changes are some of their comments when you speak to them, instead of friendly comments they’ll give romantic ones, and the other change is you get a “well rested” bonus if you sleep in a bed while they are in the same room/nearby.

    The romance has become just a stat boost/perk. You might as well romance every companion so that if they happen to be near you when you sleep you get the well rested bonus.

    Unless you are into anime style harem visual novel plots then it kinda ruins the immersion.
    It also makes me wonder why you don’t get double or triple “well rested” if more than one romanced companions are nearby while sleeping (if now it’s all about the numbers).

    Also, while some of the characters seem to remark or comment on you romancing others, I’ve even heard that a romanced companion might dislike it if you flirt with a NPC with them present, there seems to be no other consequences. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you came back to your settlement to find two companions arguing over who the player likes the most? And you might “loose” one of them if you choose the wrong responses, or if your charisma/influence is high enough you might make them both accept each other?

    A cool thing in Fallout games (heck, in many games even) are conflict resolutions.
    What I’m saying is I agree with Rutskarn regarding the batchelor/womanizer perks not meaning anything any more, but I also understand why as well from a programming standpoint.
    Bethesda simplified the whole system so that as much as possible boosts/modify the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats directly/indirectly as much as possible.

    Since there is no level cap you will eventually end up with having all perks in that giant perk sheet, and your SPECIAL will all be 10(+).
    But as far as I know, the world will not react to the player being that powerful (other than semi-scaling enemies/spawning more legendary enemies).

    What I’m saying is that by simplifying/streamlining some stuff they’ve taken away or rather lost something.

  34. @Mumbles

    Remember the house of that family with the grandpa at the asylum?
    If I remember correctly, all the stuff in their family house respawns, and it’s “clean” stuff (same as in the institute).
    So you can use it a as infinite refill spot.

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