The Institute

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Riding the RF

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This coming Saturday it is the intention to record the Fallout 4 show for AggroChat since we ultimately put it off until after the Holidays.  As a result I am back on the mission of trying to finish up the main storyline so that I can discuss it.  I have to tell you…  focusing on the storyline has killed a lot of my enjoyment of this game, and even then I find myself having a hard time of not following my instincts and letting myself get lost in the rabbit holes that are the weird side events going on around the commonwealth.  However I really really need to focus so I can finish up and be read to discuss the path I took.  Tam, Kodra and probably a few others will have likely beaten the game multiple times by the show happens…  but so much of my enjoyment has nothing to do with the storyline that I am going to be hard pressed to finish this game once.  I’ve logged hundreds upon hundreds of hours in the other Fallout and Elder Scrolls games…  and started playing each of them numerous times…  and to be honest… I think I have maybe beat the main story exactly once per game.  Beating them is just not part of what I find crucial to the enjoyment, but instead roaming around and inhabiting the world is what makes them special.  That said I am going to talk a bit about the storyline so if you don’t want to have any plot details spoiled…  please just skip the rest of this post.

Firstly…  I love the Railroad.  I’ve loved everything about the quest sequence so far, from the having to follow the freedom trail to find their base, to the extracting and guarding of runaway synths.  One of my favorite missions was when I had to pick up a synth and guard him while waiting on someone else to help ferry him along to his new home.  I realized by following the path of the Railroad I would ultimately come into conflict with both the Brotherhood of Steel and the Institute, and more or less I am perfectly fine with both of these choices.  The Minutemen however, I am hoping I can retain my position with them, because I really like the concept of them as the unsung heroes of the commonwealth.  The only frustration so far has been that working on the main story, and also the railroad story… has forced me to follow at least to a point the institute story.  Everything about the institute creeps me the fuck out.  They keep trying to tell me that they are no where near the bogeymen that they are acclaimed to be….  but then they want me to go abduct a scientist, and act like they weren’t going to give him a choice in the matter.  They also really wanted me to create a radio broadcast threatening the commonwealth that if they messed with the institute they would destroy them.  Again there is the whole Synth thing as well…  if you create life you have to respect it… and they very much seem to treat synths the same way we would treat a toaster.

Double Agent

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You would think that by working with the Institute I would come to respect and understand them, but instead it has only served to make me more creeped out by their actions.  The only real positive of the institute is the fact that the Courser outfit looks amazing, and I am more than happy to wear it around everywhere.  Basically the Institute reminds me of the Vault, magnified to the extreme.  Everything is cold and sterile, and I believe you are supposed to sympathize with your son….  aka “Father” but he seems just as twisted and misguided as the Overseers from the various vaults.  There is a point where you have this conversation with him, where he basically writes off everything that is happening in the commonwealth as nothing worth salvaging, but instead I feel like I’ve seen so much good already in the people of the commonwealth.  What is killing me is how long it is taking for me to get to the point where I can stop playing nice… and help the synths escape from the Institute.  There are a few of the scientists that I like, but it feels very much like running around in a creepy 1980s police state science fiction film.  Having every single item in the Institute look like 1970s era “high tech” concepts isn’t helping either.  I keep having flashbacks in my mind to movies like Logan’s Run or books like Brave New World.  Basically the whole experience with the Institute is a whole lot of nope.

So much of me wants to just open fire and take out everyone down there….  then give the tech they have to people who will actually put it to use for the benefit of everyone.  They claim that they are the last hope of humanity…. but they seem to be doing nothing at all to benefit anyone other than themselves.  They are a bunch of scientists high on the act of doing science…. and seem go give zero shits about the practical application of the tech they are building when it comes to actually improving the world for anyone other than their cloistered society.  Basically the Institute is against everything that makes me really love Fallout 4, the feeling of honestly saving the world a little bit at a time.  Both the Insititute and The Brotherhood of Steel are these paternal forces, trying to gather power and resources for themselves at the cost of the common folk.  So all of that said… I am going to be damned happy when I can finally open fire and leave the Institute behind me.  Tam kept alluding to the Railroad not being what they seem…. but I just have not seen it yet.  I don’t see the Institute as the noble force worth committing myself to… instead I see a group that causes a lot of harm and ends up thinking of it as “minor collateral damage”.  The hubris is strong with them…  and I am really hoping I am getting close to ending the story arc and leaving them behind.




5 Settings Prime for MMOs

I know there are several folks out there that really hate it when an franchise gets turned into an MMO.  This is not a post for you in the least, so I will probably only serve to frustrate you this morning.  For me… I love MMOs, it is my favorite type of game, and comprises of the vast majority of games I play.  If you check my Raptr profile you will see that the majority of all the high consumption titles are massively multiplayer online games.  However every now and then there is a setting that feels like it screams to be an MMO.  These are the five settings I want most in MMO form.

5 – Rifts

Rifts cover

For those who have not been hanging around game shops most of their lives… this title could go completely unnoticed.  It never really had the big money marketing that for example Dungeons and Dragons had, but it represents a good chunk of my childhood.  I love the palladium system, not because it was some great feat of gaming.  Quite frankly the rules are pretty lousy if you get down to it and and extremely cumbersome.  What always drew me to the system was the promise of being able to create damned near anything you can think of.  Rifts took this earlier concept of the palladium system and infused it with so much personality.

Rifts sets up an earth where the magic has returned and caused leylines to blaze open across the planet.  When two intersect there is a chance of a dimensional rift opening and spilling forth all manner of crazy into our world.  This alone would be enough for me… but additionally they have set up all sorts of great opposing forces… the Splynn, the Coalition, the Federation of Magic, the Triax, the NGR, the list literally continues on and on as there are over 30 separate sourcebooks each filled with its own list of opposing forces.  Additionally there are some pretty amazing character classes like Glitterboys, Juicers, Cyberknights, Techno Wizard, Ley Line Walker, Psi-Stalker, and again these go on and on.  There is just so much world to wrap a game around, and almost unlimited content to explore for expansions.

4 – Shadowrun


This is another long time dream of mine to see Shadowrun in a massively multiplayer setting.  This was a huge system as I was growing up, and while I never actually played a lot of it, I owned most of the books.  Similar to Rifts it is a setting of an alternate earth, where magic and technology clash.  Drawing upon the William Gibson novel Neuromancer it adds the element of the Matrix and cyber warfare.  I thought this could lead to some really interesting gameplay.  Where part of your party is physically running a dungeon while your decker is going along with you in cyberspace trying to remove obstacles from your path.

Recently the Shadowrun console games have been revitalized in the form of Shadowrun Returns… which is cool but I would much rather have a huge living and breathing world to explore than to do so in a top down tactical setting.  Once again there are tons of source books over the run of this system that could be drawn upon to keep the world going for years.  There is also a similarly long list of really interesting classes to play, with lots of different gameplay styles to explore.

3 – Mass Effect


This one will likely never happen after the tale of Star Wars the Old Republic and how it struggled to find an audience.  But I think we all can admit that Mass Effect as a whole is a much better universe to explore than that of SWTOR.  The ME saga, or at least up until the very end is one of the better science fiction storylines I have experienced.  I would love to see a serialized television show chronicling the exploits of Shepard.  As far as an online universe would go, we would have to set the game significantly earlier than the events of ME1.  Essentially from that game forward there is an apocalyptic destiny set in motion, and that really does not give much room for growth.

In order to make this work we would need to set the game either before or after the main trilogy, and really don’t think ANY of the endings to ME3 gives us enough room to move within game wise.  As a result I would set the game a few years before the events of Mass Effect.  This should allow the game to evolve along the normal course of events that happen in the main trilogy.  Similar to the LOTRO game, you would be different characters in the same universe watching the events play out around you.  There are so many different cultures and opposing viewpoints that it just begs for a MMO to be wrapped around it.

2 – Fallout


War, War Never Changes.  Every time I hear Ron Perlman utter those words I get this massive nostalgic wave of feels was over me.  I love everything there is about the Fallout setting, and have been a series diehard since I saved up the cash in college to buy the first one.  I missed the boat on the whole Wasteland thing, so I am hoping the Kickstarter will give me a taste of what that world would have been line.  I want a Fallout MMO so badly, but more than anything… I want one that CONTROLS like Fallout.  I want so much to like Fallen Earth, but I just cannot get past the control scheme, and it destroys the game for me.

The whole post apocalyptic wasteland is such fertile ground for an MMO.  Especially a huge sandbox setting like Fallout.  As far as classes go, I think you would have to do the same sort of open ended treatment that you already have in Fallout.  Mainly I would be happy with just allowing a persistent and co-operative version of the existing Fallout games.  There are already so many different competing interests in the wasteland, and I feel like you could pretty much plunk another game down at any point during the current storyline.  Mainly I just want to join the brotherhood of steel and wander around the wasteland in power armor like I always do.

1 – Elder Scrolls


Okay I admit it… this is absolutely cheating since we all know there is already an Elder Scrolls MMO on the way.  However until it releases sometime next year, this one stays at number one with a bullet.  There has never been another series that has captured so much of my imagination as has the Elder Scrolls Series.  I love literally everything about the world.  The absolute vastness of it all, the lore, the Aedra and Daedra.  Nothing inspires me more than having a game with a fully fleshed out world and its pantheon of gods.  I think that more than anything is what glued my attention to Everquest and Norrath, and the complex relationship between the various gods in Tamriel makes that setting seem simplistic.

More than anything, I love the freedom of the Elder Scrolls settings to completely abandon my quest chain and wander off into the world exploring freely.  I love that there is always something to find hidden in this nook or cranny.  I love almost more than anything that there are tons of books in the games, each with their own story that only serves to make the world more rich and three dimensional.  You have some amazing races, each with their own deep background and other races that no longer exist like the Dwemer have have littered the landscape with their former greatness.  I just hope that the MMO version can gather up all this great lineage and give me vast tracts of interesting to go off and explore.  This is the game I am most looking forward to, and you can bet that when it releases I will pretty much forsake everything else at least for awhile.