Fallout 4 Survival Mode Survival Guide (Survival)

In a post I wrote a little while ago I talked about the Bethesda creation club and their new paid (but not really paid) mods (but not really mods.) After the story interested me I decided to give Fallout 4 another whirl after trying and failing to find any interest on it’s release back in 2015. My disappointment on the game as a whole not withstanding, I found the game’s Survival Mode, added in an update mid-2016, had breathed new life into the Commonwealth. Inspired by my recent 100 hours getting my jugular torn out by irradiated dogs, here’s a few tips on how to make it through thiss unforgiving difficulty setting.

Collect Empty Bottles

Yes, if you have a less than capacious carrying capacity then lugging around all of the junk you stumble across may sound like a hassle, but in Survival mode you’re going to need water to live. Funny, that. A couple of times every in-game day you’ll find yourself getting thirsty,  stunting your action points and making you sick if you don’t get some fluids in you… But most all naturally occurring water sources in the Commonwealth are irradiated beyond any real use. Carrying around your own empty bottles ready to fill as soon as you find a pure water source means you’ll have all the clean water you need to survive on your post-apocalyptic adventure. (An easy water source early on are the sinks in Vault 111, or you can just abuse the awful settlement crafting system and build yourself a water pump which inexplicably purifies any groundwater it produces.)

See Delicious Animal? Kill Delicious Animal

Hunger is also a problem, and there ain’t no place for vegans after a nuclear holocaust. In your travels you’re sure to find murderous hotdogs, walking seafood buffet Mirelurks and mouthwatering Brahmin herds. Don’t let these innocent creatures suffer another day in this hellish future- Fucking kill them! Feast on their succulent flesh. Not right away, obviously. Eating raw meat has only slightly less awful consequences in Fallout 4 than it does in real life. Luckily there’s a cooking station right there in your home town of Sanctuary waiting for you to practice your culinary skills, or you can be proactive and build one yourself with the right perks.

Don’t Pay Money to Die

If you have the Automatron DLC, you will get a quest at level 15 to save a traveling caravan from a band of marauding robots. For gods sake, don’t do it until you’ve built up your character a bit. Completing this quest sets you on the main quest line for the DLC, causing extremely deadly robots to start randomly spawning all over the Commonwealth, and they want to ruin your fucking life.  This one might be because my sneaky sniper build is almost totally ineffectual against their cold steel skin, but these things appearing all over the game hampered my enjoyment of the game so much I actually rolled back my save a good few hours to avoid it happening altogether. I would still recommend the DLC though, when you’re ready for it- the villainous Mechanist is a cool character, especially if you choose to engage him as the Silver Shroud, and you gain the ability to build and customise your own robotic companions when the quest is complete. Speaking of building stuff…

Don’t Build Stuff

I’m specifically talking about Settlements themselves, here. Getting a few perks in weapon crafting can dramatically increase your murder prowess, but that shit takes materials, yo. Materials that you should not spend on making the world a more civilised place. Materials that the innocent folk of the Commonwealth have in spades. So, as soon as you unlock a settlement, job one is to trash the fucking place. Scrap everything that isn’t nailed down, demolish their houses, leave the settlers cold and alone, and move on. “But Joebotnik,” I hear you cry, “I thought you said junk is a pain to lug around!” but fret not- those Settlers you just evicted? They’re your pack mules now! With the Local Leader perk you can convince some poor shmuck to carry your worthless trash from settlement to settlement, meaning any crafting material you leave at one location can be accessed from another. Dictatorship sure has it’s merits. Ave, true to Caesar.

Hopefully these few things I’ve picked up will help you on your way to… ugh… find your son and get the most enjoyment out of staying alive in the harsh environments of Fallout 4. Let’s face it, after dealing with Cazadores in Fallout: New Vegas, the Commonwealth is a cakewalk.



Bethesda Creation Club Disappoints Modding Community

The recent launch of Bethesda’s Creation Club has left most Fallout 4 and Skyrim mod users scratching their heads. The club was envisioned as a way for mod creators to get paid for their hard work by submitting it to a Bethesda quality control system. This enables mod users to download and play with the mods via an in-game marketplace without worrying about bugs or crashes, as they are essentially using content with the Bethesda stamp of approval. Meanwhile, the creators get a structured design & testing process before the finished mod is made live and payments can begin to be made. The big problem right off the bat was, of course, the price of the mods themselves.

Mods have long been free to use. Most creators make new content for the games they love on community modding sites as an act of passion, as a hobby. Some put up links for donations if people felt like giving back, but many were happy to just create something amazing and hone their craft, perhaps for a future career in game development. Meanwhile the players are, of course, happy to be given free content made by fans, for fans.  Adding money into this equation has long been a contentious issue for the community, starting with Steams Community Workshop back in 2015.

Essentially a prototype for what we are now seeing with the Creation Club, previously free mods were listed on Steam for a price, with a portion of the profits going back to Valve and Bethesda. People kicked off, and it took a change.org petition with over 100k signatures to get Valve to back down on the entire idea. The backlash was so severe it’s a miracle that Bethesda tried again at all, but I suppose the promise of easy money is too big of a draw for them. Who knew.

Ah, but I’m sorry. The Creation Club isn’t “paid mods” despite the fact that you have to pay to get the mods. Their excuse for this is that you don’t actually pay for the MODS, you’re paying for Bethesda bucks. If you wanted to buy (sorry, obtain) everything they just released for Fallout 4, it’ll set you back 3000 Creation Club credits. That’s somewhere in the region of £30 (for the record that’s a couple of weapons, items, and skins.)

Now, my main problem with this is that for LESS money you could go and buy the Fallout: New Vegas ultimate edition. That’s a vastly superior game to Fallout 4 (but I’ll go into that another time,) the entire game, with all of its quality DLC for £15. The price/substance ratio is way off here, and that’s not to rag on the mod creators that signed up for this, either. The mods themselves look great (I was sorely tempted by the customisable backpack) but the simple fact is you can find free equivalents to most (if not all) of these mods online.

In the end, the concept of paid mods is a complex one. Creators do deserve remuneration for all their hard work, but to suddenly charge for something that has been free since modding games was first possible is a hard pill to swallow for many people, even when the mods themselves are high-quality officially sanctioned mods like these. Perhaps if the mods were made “official” paid mods, doing away with these club tokens with a substantial price drop? What do you guys think?

I’d say the sole positive note in this whole trainwreck is that now PS4 users, previously unable to use the mods enjoyed by PC and XBOX ONE users, can have at least some modded content in their Fallout 4 and Skyrim games… For a price. And let me tell you, considering what you can get for free on other platforms, that price ain’t cheap.