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Ruts vs. Battlespire: The Many Deaths of Cahmel

By Rutskarn
on Wednesday Oct 5, 2016
Filed under:
Lets Play


No full LP today; I’m having some (nonserious) health issues and a few unexpected obligations have sprung up. For Patreon backers, “The Letter” is nearly complete and still on schedule to launch October 7th. For everyone else, we’ll get back to the Battlespire later in the week and my other post will go up Saturday.

But I’d rather not leave the spot empty–and I know a few of you have inquired as to level five’s actuarial table. What has been killing Cahmel lately? I’m not looking to turn my LP into a serial obituary, but since we’re taking a break anyway, we might as well take a closer look at what’s causing the most trips to the save menu.

I kept very accurate accounts of my fatalities–for a while. Since about hour six I’ve kept sharp objects away from the desk, and in consequence, my records have grown a bit shaky. But this breakdown should be more or less accurate.

Of the roughly twenty times I’ve had to reload so far:

Eight or nine deaths were due to enemies. Barring one ambiguous case where I’m not sure what killed me and one moment where I accidentally ran into a Hound and got stuck on a rock, I have fire daedra to thank for each of these. They’re just about the only enemy type on level 5 I can’t juke around. The first thing I need to do in a given playthrough is kill a fire daedra and take his sigil–which means every playthrough the first risk I take is fighting a big tough blazing bastard while I’m frustrated, impatient, don’t want to waste potions, and have nothing to lose. It’s not exactly a winning combo.

These clowns are no threat at all. All they can do is spam frostballs and hope I'll slow down and shake hands.
These clowns are no threat at all. All they can do is spam frostballs and hope I'll slow down and shake hands.

If that wasn’t enough to give them MVP status, they’re packed into some of the towers I need to scale to get the fort key, which means the second thing I need to do in a given playthrough is muscle my way through a pack of them.

I should tell you–in this level, I’m not fighting anything I don’t literally have to. I level at set times and my blade skill is already high enough, so I hate getting into fights. Funnily enough, I’m breezing through using tactics and gambits developed playing Oblivion.

Exactly one death so far was due to falling damage. This was caused by getting shunted off an elevator, glitching my way into midair, and plummeting to my death. At least, I think that’s what happened? I’d believe anything at this point. Maybe I discovered and failed the secret alien abduction minigame.

Last, and certainly not least, we have my old nemesis getting stuck in things. No, really; that’s what’s ended nearly all of my playthroughs. Getting trapped in geometry is the national pastime of the Chimera of Desolation.

Actually, it’s been happening for the whole game, but it’s only gotten really annoying now that I’m no longer saving twice per room. The elevators in the fort are the happening wall-lodging hotspots, what with their pushy mobs of bystanders and their janky slapdash Doomguy physics, but I’ve gotten a pretty good coverage across the island–there’s a piece of me just about everywhere at this point. The saddest part is that these emphatically are not “deaths,” but rather forced restarts.

Now you see why I’m not happy when Fallout 4‘s survival mode disables the developer console. Guys, no offense, but ~tcl is HOW we survive. This isn’t cheating. This is hotfixing.

So now you know. What’s ended Cahmel’s adventures more than anything else? Space and time.

Comments (37)

  1. Kent says:

    The absolute necessity of the console and quick-saving in all Bethesda games always leaves a lingering question: how the hell do people play these games on consoles? Bethesda has not noticeably improved their collision detection in the transition from PC to console-centric gaming so do console players just have to pause and manually save every ten seconds? Bethesda’s dedication to the art of malicious geometry would make a Lovecraftian horror blush, so how do they keep releasing best selling console games without the ability for players to duct-tape it all together themselves?

    • Lachlan the Mad says:

      Three reasons:

      1. Money

      2. The horrifying realisation that people’s expectations for Bethesda are so low that they’ll accept any number of bugs in the name of bigger and bigger open worlds and they just keep getting buggier and buggier and THE BUGPOCALYPSE IS COMING OH GOD I CAN’T BREATHE

      3. Also, more money

      • Da Mage says:


        It already happened, we are watching Ruts play it.

        • Andy_Panthro says:

          The main flaw with Battlespire is that not enough people bought it. What Bethesda has done instead, is to produce very successful and not as buggy games, in order to grow their potential user base. Slowly, they bide their time, until finally…

          Battlespire 2 is launched for all consoles and PC.

          Bugpocalypse will occur shortly afterwards.

          May O Great Athiesmo have mercy upon our soulsâ„¢ (or soul-equivalent, where available).

        • Kerethos says:

          The onset of the bugpocalypse is the reason why I’ve never managed to finish Skyrim and why it took like 15 tries to finish Fallout 3 for me. I just gave up on ever finishing Skyrim on the 360 and got the PC version, but then I ended up mostly playing the better quests added by mods like “Interesting NPC’s” instead, before I lost interest again.

          I’m also thoroughly burned out on the Bethesda Fallout after those 3 years of trying to finish Fallout 3 and I feel like I’ve had my fill of their style of Fallout. I played the first Fallout games a lot, but always as a clever character that sucked at fighting and talked their way through most of it. Bethesda’s style just isn’t the experience I’m looking for in a Fallout game. It’s too “like the latest Elder Scrolls, but with wacky guns and less sense”. I don’t need another, less visually interesting murder-playground.

          I must admit though, I like the idea of settlement building. I’m sure I’d enjoy that. But the system seems ultimately pointless, as it is mostly disconnected from the rest of the game (outside of being fueled by junk).

      • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        On the Xbox One I have only had one level geometry glitch, and that was mostly my fault (I tried to climb over a car, fell through the windshield, and got stuck in the “permanent fall” state). Otherwise, my complaints with FO4 have more to do with the incontinence and inconsistency of the random encounters (that is, they come too fast and the difficulty curve is ridiculously swingy -I just got ambushed by molerats and a giant robot tank at the same time!)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      More important question is:Why do people still play these games?Especially these days when open world games are a dime a dozen.

      • Lachlan the Mad says:

        I don’t any more. I just watch Spoiler Warning to prevent myself from touching it.

        • KarmaTheAlligator says:

          Same. I was gifted Fallout 4, and since the *opening movie* bugs out for me, I can’t even play it even if I wanted to, so I watch Spoiler Warning and laugh at the game without having to endure it. Best of both worlds.

        • Echo Tango says:

          I was hoping to play F4 once I got a new laptop*, but apparently it doesn’t run with Wine, and I’m not willing to pay for a copy of Windows to dual-boot into just for games. So, I’ll just have to limit myself to watching the Spoiler Warning crew. Too bad – I was hoping to mess around with the tools for making your own maps and stuff. :S

          * Maybe new Macbook Pro once they’re announced?

      • Leocruta says:

        I’m still vainly trying to recapture some of the feeling I had playing Morrowind. Though I have no excuse for playing Fallout 4. After watching the spoiler warning crew play it, and it being on sale during the summer, I thought I might be able to have some fun just screwing around and exploring.

        I was wrong. Oh so wrong.

        Eventually I had to start doing the main quest, since the side quests felt no different than my random wandering and slaughtering. The main quest provided some context and direction to my actions. That worked for a while before the stupidity overwhelmed me, so then I started doing the companion storylines. I completed those I found interesting (ignored… I want to say Fawkes, but that’s the fallout 3 mutant. Oh well.) before deciding I had wrung all the enjoyment out of the game, and stopped with a playtime of about 40 hours.

        I’m still surprised Bethesda style open world games are only made by Bethesda. It seems like a simple task to make a halfway competent one, and thereby eclipse all bethesda games post Morrowind.

      • Incunabulum says:

        Couple of reasons.

        Most open-world games are of the Ubisoft tower type. loosely connected zones, running around to get ‘collectables’ and exactly one type of gameplay – fight small groups of mobs the same way over and over.

        Or you have the GTA types – where there’s not really anything to do except cause mayhem. The only NPC’s of note are in the scripted missions and they only exist while the mission is running.

        *Prior* to FO4, BGS has been doing a pretty decent job at a persistent world that feels occupied. Sometimes better (Skyrim, Morrowind), sometimes worse (FO3).

        FO4 seems to be an attempt to be like the first set of games (Ubisoft/GTA) while not understanding what makes them work (their laser-sharp focus on a specific set of mechanics) and hoping to get away without having to spend as much effort on *worldbuilding* (interesting NPCs and whatnot) and focusing more on shooting play and set-building (getting the teddybears placed *juuuust* right).

        FO4 is a game that doesn’t do what it does as well as other games in the genre.

    • MichaelGC says:

      I’ve played a lot of Fallout 3 & Skyrim on a PS3 without too many problems. The hardware standardisation must be somewhat helpful glitchwise. I’ve certainly had many more glitches playing Fallout 4 on a PC. I’d sure like to take a crack at Survival difficulty, but given every reading-the-terminal animation might be an instant game over there’s fat chance of that.

      In short, on a console without the console: irritating but do-able; on a PC without the console: no just no.

    • Christopher says:

      I haven’t had any gamebreaking bugs in New Vegas or Skyrim on 360. There’s probably an element of luck to it.
      Also yeah, hundreds of saves.

      • Nimrandir says:

        I have yet to have played a Bethesda game on PC, and I can’t recall any instances of getting stuck on level geometry. I’ve seen bugs and glitches, but I haven’t had to partake in them, I suppose.

        That being said, I tend to look at the world in these games and say to myself, “Self, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to climb these rocks. Let’s look for a path.”

    • Jeff says:

      Console gamers are unable to distinguish between something being punishing, and something that’s actually difficult or challenging.

      That, or they’re masochists.

    • Viktor says:

      I’ve had some annoying bugs and such, but very few crashes, and only a few “stuck in the floor” bugs. And I’ve been playing Beth games on consoles since Morrowind. I think it’s got to be hardware standardization, because while they’re still buggier than, say, Saints Row, they’re definitely not unplayable and you could, in theory, make it through the game with just saving every time you enter a cell and not be too frustrated.

    • Incunabulum says:

      “. . . do console players just have to pause and manually save every ten seconds?”

      You know, I have no idea. What I do know is that console players will not save, ever, on their own. They will play for 4 hours straight and then complain that something bugged out or they made ‘a bad decision’ (as in they attacked a random dude and don’t understand why the whole town is hostile now) and when you say ‘sorry, nothing to be done, reload your last save’ they respond with ‘but I’ll lose 4 hours of gameplay!!!!1111!!!!’

      Console gaming is weird to me – these are people that will spend 6 months obsessing over an incoming release, hyping the shit out of it, drop $60 bucks on the pre-order three months early, scream and yell if its not released by 0000:30 on release day, finish it in 18 hours of straight gameplay, then put it away and never touch it again (unless it has MP).

    • Hermocrates says:

      Somehow, I managed to beat Fallouts 3 and New Vegas on PS3 without serious trouble. In fact, despite Obsidian’s infamous QA/QC, I had more “seriously gameplay interrupting” bugs in FO3, due to the save file enlarging over time while I played all the DLC, resulting in nearly regular freezes.

  2. Yurika Grant says:

    Anyone wanting to play Fallout 4 in Survival (on PC, naturally), there’s a mod to enable the console. Absolutely required, given the number of times I’ve got stuck on things or otherwise had issues that were resolved by judicious use of TCL.

    edit: Also, am I the only one who thinks it’s kind of idiotic to disable the console, ostensibly to stop cheating (I think? Can’t see any other valid reason), for a mode that’s all about challenge?

    It’s like… people who go out of their way to choose survival are clearly looking for a challenge. So uh, they’re also likely to be the least likely to cheat.

    And in any case, it’s a single player game, so who the hell even cares if someone wants to cheat in survival? Let them play the game how they like, jeez.

    • Da Mage says:

      Yep survival console mod is a must have. Such a silly thing to get rid of. I don’t actually mind them reducing the save system, but I do wish it was just the quicksave feature….being able to make hard saves is kinda important in Bethesda games as the autosaves have never been reliable.

    • Matt Downie says:

      Survival mode is really badly designed. Want the basic realism of playing a character who needs to eat and sleep? Then you also have to disable fast travel and quicksave.

      • Yurika Grant says:

        Kinda. I use a mod to re-enable fast travel as well. Saving I don’t mind so much, especially as you can just exit the game in a pinch and it’ll do an exit save wherever you happen to be.

        As much as I can’t stand FO4’s story and most of the other aspects of anything to do with world building… Survival mode is actually pretty enjoyable as a purely mechanical thing.

      • Andy_Panthro says:

        I guess they could have made some sort of checkbox system for survival features, but that would require time and effort (and only for a small percentage of players), and they’d rather leave that sort of thing for modders.

        • Incunabulum says:

          And thankfully that mod already exists.

          What I would have like BGS to do is build their game (which is supposed to be moddable) with a better framework to support modding.

          Things like MCM should have been built right into FO4 – then all this survival stuff could have been dumped as a set of sliders right there (like how Project Nevada does it). Even the perk menu being done not as that stupid chart but as something that you could add perks to – the workaround now is to have added perks as chems that have perk requirements to take.

          A decade and a half of modding this engine and when they come out now, fully and openly supporting modding, making it a core part of their marketing, and its like they never actually looked at what people *do* with their game.

          Instead we get 3 DLC that add items to your Workshop so you can build rube goldbergesque contraptions – and there are (of course) games that do that better like Minecraft. You can build a VOIP videophone in Minecraft, you can drop teddy bears on an NPC’s head in FO4 – at least until the NPC warps out of the stocks.

    • Incunabulum says:


      I’m pretty sure its something that was required for the console version (and let’s face it, this is a console game ported to PC) because crap like ‘gamerscore’ is part of how the consoles work to try to lock their buyer’s into their platform. Even Steam’s been doing that crap with its cheevos and ‘Steam level’.

      So they didn’t want to make that change for the PC version to minimize the differences between PC/XB/PS.

      As an old fart who grew up pre-internet I still don’t understand the allure of cheevos, gamerscores, or grinding for forum badges.

      I get called a troll for my hidden profile (and, well, because I am a troll) and all I can think of is ‘Bitch please, I’ve been on Steam since Steam came into existence – which is probably longer than you’ve been alive (see: troll) – and what the hell does that have to do with what I’ve just written?’

      • WJS says:

        So the console is disabled in survival mode on consoles? As in, it’s a thing that is available on the console in regular mode but not in survival? Because otherwise, that doesn’t make a damn bit of sense; disabling the console in survival mode simply can’t have been copied from console to PC if the console version doesn’t even have a console to begin with. And who the hell decided to call them consoles anyway??

  3. Cuthalion says:

    Yikes! That’s pretty funny, but I also hope you have multiple or backed up saves. What if you were to save an instant after getting unknowingly stuck in geometry? D:

  4. Majikkani_Hand says:

    Anybody else see the title and thought he died?

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