Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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29 Responses

  1. Avatar DavidTC says:

    The Railroad’s missions don’t really conflict with the Minutemen at all. Probably because they have no goals that don’t involve synths…and the Minutemen don’t care about synths one way or the other, as long as they aren’t shooting up settlements.

    The one case where there is a conflict do, it’s actually the *Institute’s* mission that conflicts (They are trying to forcible ‘recruit’ an engineer and the Minutemen show up)…you just have to play along with it because you’re a double agent for the Railroad.

    But I’ve been reading your posts about working for the BoS, and I find them odd, because you seem to think the BoS are…reasonable choices.

    The BoS, in my book, are firmly in the bad guy camp. They’re *lesser* bad guys, sure. They aren’t raider level of evil, or Caesar’s Legion, or Enclave, and sometimes they are actually helpful.

    But for such a powerful organization, their goals are *entirely wrong*. And I don’t just mean ‘keeping tech out of the hands of others’, which is a dubious goal to start with…I mean their little insular bullshit of not helping *anyone*, which is actually counter to their supposed goal of keeping tech out of the hands of people.

    The BoS could have, at any point in the last 200 years, started a *government*. They have the technological ability to, basically, take over. Now, granted, it would probably be a somewhat fascist government, I guess, but nowhere near the level of Caesar, and it would be better than what is *currently there*, which is total anarchy. They could be roaming the wasteland in their power armor, fighting back the raiders and the Deathclaws and the chaos.

    You know, like my damn minutemen are! In fact, the minutemen, starting from *nothing*, have tamed a good section of the wilderness, so imagine what *they* could have done. They could have *owned* the place in ten minutes.

    And, hell, if the BoS was in charge, people wouldn’t *need* high-tech weaponary, because there would be a goddamn government! Total peace and security, you just don’t get to use power armor…which you probably didn’t have anyway! I’d sign up.

    It’s worth pointing out that in Fallout 3, and Fallout NV, the ‘helpful’ BoS are actually *renegades*, at least to some extent. The BoS that you join with in 3 have broken away from the original BoS for exactly this reason, and Veronica, in NV, is running around in public because she doesn’t agree with ‘Letting everyone out there rot’. (Well, that and her sexual orientation(1))

    So, yea, you’re going to fact some morally dubious choices playing the BoS…because the BoS are actually pretty morally dubious to start with. They aren’t actively harming people, no, but they’re basically the equivalent of a well-armed guy standing there doing nothing while some people get murdered in front of him.

    Oh, and also they’re a bit racist. Not just against synths, (Which is, perhaps, understandable), and super mutants (Again, mostly understandable) but against non-feral ghouls.

    1) I think I’ve complained about Veronica’s plot before, but, to recap, I honestly don’t understand it. I’d understand if she had wanderlust or didn’t want kids or something, but it’s presented as if her being a lesbian is somehow a problem because the BoS expects everyone to have kids, and she’s considered to be bucking the norm. Uh, Bethesda? Lesbians can have kids!

    What would have made more sense is saying everyone was expected to have kids, and so things like birth control were frowned upon. (But secretly used) But she, being a lesbian, was expected to take a doctor’s appointment or two to get pregnant, at least once…which she had not done. And, unlike straight women who didn’t want to be sidelined with a kid, she couldn’t just *fake* somehow randomly not getting pregnant yet.Report

    • Avatar James K says:


      I agree with your assessment of the BoS – they are assholes and have always been assholes. You join them because that gives you good access to gear that makes it easer to achieve your objectives -it’s a marriage of convenience, not a true alignment of interest.

      They way you encounter them in Fallout 1 gives a pretty clear indication that they are utterly indifferent to the lives of anyone who isn’t them.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Yeah, Caesar’s Army and the Brotherhood are probably the closest analogues to each other. If the Brotherhood is better, it’s because of the staggering amount of what it doesn’t see as being its jurisdiction rather than what it does. That said, I spend a lot of time running errands for the Brotherhood because I wanted to go up levels and the tech lady and the cleaning house guy were 10 feet away from each other which meant that I could always cash in two missions for the price of one (this was before the Castle was retaken).

      There kinda was a moment with the Railroad where you are asked to pick a side between the Railroad and the Minutemen. I put off making that decision for a couple of days.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC says:

        …I have beaten the game on the side of the Railroad, and I can’t think of any time the Minutemen and the Railroad came in conflict, except that one undercover mission where, like I said, it was actually the Institute and the Minutemen coming in conflict and you had to pretend to be on the Institute’s side.

        Oh, wait, are you talking about where you have to do something you can’t do on your own to get into the institute, and you have to decide to ask either the Minutemen, the Railroad, or the BoS to help? Yeah, that seems important, but it doesn’t seem to do anything different if you pick the Railroad or the Minutemen.

        In fact, I picked the Railroad to help, specifically under the theory that this would keep the BoS from learning about it. (They had already mentioned my work with the Minutemen, so they knew about that, and, honestly, didn’t seem to care at all. I was waiting for them to tell me to knock that silliness of ‘rebuilding society’ off.)

        But then somehow the BoS learned I got to the Institute anyway! I have no idea how, I assume the BoS had a mole in the Institute somewhere, which is also how they learned about what’s-her-name.(1) I’m pretty certain they *didn’t* have a mole in the Railroad, because they never mentioned it, and, uh, were rather taken by surprise when spoilers.

        Hey, here’s a weird question: Is it possible to blow your cover in the game if working for the Railroad? Not at the obvious ‘make a choice’ points, but by doing something stupid by letting the BoS or Institute into the Railroad?

        I was so paranoid that the only companions I took into the RR HQ were either synths (Who I assumed would be sympathetic) or were working for the RR. I almost walked in with Piper once and said ‘Uh, wait. Let’s not show the reporter where the super-secret underground HQ is.’

        1) You know, for the Institute being almost completely unreachable except who they let in, it seems to have a *lot* of security problems.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          I have visited the RR with Piper (my main squeeze) a hunnert times.

          I’ll let you know if that ends up being a bad idea.Report

          • Avatar Burt Likko says:

            No, I did the same thing, and she at least tolerates the RR and demonstrates no aversion to synths other than in the text of her newspaper. She shows sympathy to the ferals, for crying out loud, even as she kills them. “Poor ghoul bastards!”

            Heart of gold in that girl, and she’s funny and handy with a laser pistol, too. I said, “put a ring on it.” They give you one to do it with, after all. Alas, no special graphic sequence when you transfer one of the two wedding rings into her inventory, in yet another narrative-programming lacuna that seems like it would have been easy to address and couldn’t possibly have not been thought about.Report

            • Avatar James K says:


              From what I’ve seen she’s anti-Institute, not anti-synth. She has no problems with Nick Valentine, and her anti-synth articles are about their kidnapping people and replacing them, which is a legitimate grievance. I’d see no reason base don her character as I’ve observed it that she would object to synths who just want to go away somewhere and live their own life.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC says:

              Oh, I wan’t worried about her specifically, just the general idea that maybe people shouldn’t be wandering in and out of the place.

              Although I do not actually understand their location. The way to find them *leads to their HQ*. Huh?

              When I first found them, and we were talking before I got accepted, I assumed where we were ‘Here is where we interact with people who find us, and when we let you in we will tell you the real meeting place’.


              That *is* their location, which is a pretty stupid location, because anyone who *follows* their clues or, hell, is willing to look in the history books and make an educated guess on the ‘code’ can just show up with tons of guys and shoot their way in.

              Seriously, guys, if you can’t find the Railroad, google what you are supposed to be following, which if you haven’t been to Boston you might not realize is a real thing, and just search at those locations. (Note: The USS Constitution is, uh, in the wrong place because crazy robots fly it there. Yes, seriously. Do not worry about that one.)

              When you find where you’re supposed to be, you’re supposed to put in a stupid code from markers you supposedly found on the way (Some of which are nearly impossible to locate under rubble.) and then figured out how to put them in order…or you can just guess, because it is literally the stupidest and most obvious password ever.

              I honestly don’t understand how the Institute has not located that place. Hell, they don’t even need to guess the password.Report

  2. Avatar James K says:

    It sounds like in terms of story and setting Fallout 4 learned a lot of good lessons from New Vegas. Unfortunate that I have such a difficulty with its gameplay. I’ll have to see if I can add some mods to make it more palatable.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    Playing an old mmorg while tech girl sets up my new rig. Then it’ll be far cry 4 probablyReport

  4. Avatar Morat20 says:

    Upgraded the PS4 from 500gb to 2TB. Remember when 500GB was a lot of space?Report

  5. Avatar Fish says:

    Playing XCOM on Classic difficulty in preparation for XCOM 2’s release in two weeks. I’ve forgotten how much I suck at Classic, and how much save scumming I had to do to beat it.Report

    • Avatar El Muneco says:

      XCOM 2 in two weeks! I’m still playing Endless Legend, but at some point I’m going to have to switch back to XCOM just to internalize the mechanics again. From what I saw on Rock Paper Shotgun, the tactical battles are as hard as in Long War, and that was almost too unforgiving for me.Report

  6. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    I finished the game last night. The missions start getting buggy and cross-wired after you infiltrate the Institute. To others working through the stories: defer even going in there as long as possible, for game functionality purposes. For instance, I had to fight the Battle of Bunker Hill four times until I found the only way Bethesda wanted me to do it and if I didn’t do it that way, the mission simply wouldn’t ever end and the game wouldn’t advance. It was far from obvious that what Bethesda wants is for you to be so morally conflicted that you don’t attack anyone on the surface and run through the battle without taking any side at all, and then suddenly find your moral compass in the underground bunker you run into. The fact that the side I wanted to be with, the Minutemen, weren’t even in the battle at all, was deficient storytelling and the buggy manifestation of provisionals and their Brahmin in the tunnels, getting shot at by the ostensibly friendly Railroad, made it worse. Now, I get that they want you to make an awful choice and choose making an enemy out of your own son or alternatively betray everyone you’ve spent the whole game forming alliances with and that’s cool. But couldn’t there be some way to bring a measure of peace to the Commonwealth other than nuking the Institute out of existence? You’d think the protagonist of all people would be anxious to avoid it coming to that, but instead, an ally says, hey, let’s nuke the Institute and you as the protagonist just says, okay let’s do it, without so much as a thought about ummm, my own child is in there, however morally distorted he’s become, and I’ve not really done much to try to redeem him yet.

    It seems like the writing got either too complex or too pressed up against development and publication deadlines to get thought through to a satisfactory conclusion from a narrative perspective, and that the technical weave of the various storylines and factions ran into the same problem. Thus, a great story ending in a way that feels incomplete and burdened by bugs.

    Still, it’s the best console video game I’ve ever played. Hopefully Bethesda patches up at least the technical side of it.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Still, it’s the best console video game I’ve ever played.

      This is what I need to know.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      That battle is actually really really buggy, probably the buggiest part of the game there is. You can actually kill anyone you want in the first part of it, even the people you are working for, and no one seems to mind. It’s weird.

      Also, there’s the reason the Minutemen weren’t involved in that battle. They aren’t, technically speaking, a side in the…uh, let’s call it ‘The Institute War’.

      I know it seems like they are, it seems like there are four sides…but in reality, the Minutemen don’t actually *care* what you do. The Institute, and RR, and the BoS all have reasons to each destroy the other two…the MM don’t give a flying fig about any of them at all. (Well, beyond some of them trying to shoot up settlements and/or replace people with synths.)

      The MM are sorta ‘your’ side, and they will go along with whatever of the *other three* sides you choose. It is, in theory, possible to piss them off, but I don’t know of a way besides outright shooting them.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      Also, I feel that most people here rather instinctively picked the RR as the good guys, and I’m somewhat wondering if we might be selling the game short.

      Knowing the BoS as I do, I’m almost certain that their method will lead to just as much bloodshed…but has anyone actually played though the game working for the Institute? Perhaps that actually *does* lead to a better outcome.

      Yes, you’ll still have to take out the BoS (Frankly, there’s no way of not having to do that, the BoS are completely irrational), but I suddenly wonder if it’s possible to…hrm…

      If you tell the RR that you are going to take over the Institute and change their policies, would they play along? If you already knew how synths were escaping, and had stopped it, you’d logically be in a *really* strong bargaining position. You approach them, and say you’ve plugged the hole and that no synths will ever escape again, so their entire existence is useless…and the two options are you can either kill the RR, or you can *pretend* to kill the RR. And once in charge, you will start changing the institute’s policies (No more replacing people, no more hunting down synths that did escape)…and then, a little bit down the line, you’ll have figure out a way to sneak synths out without anyone even noticing they’re gone. And the RR can either disappear and later be part of that…or die here and now.

      From what I know of the other plotlines of the game, though, you can’t do that.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        Well, the thing of it is, you have to wait a LOOOOOONG time before you ever get to see the Institute or even get to hear their pitch.

        If you could get in early, you might fall in love with the place and get to thinking the RR are a bunch of terrorists and the Brotherhood are better-armed Gunners* and the Minutemen are charmingly idealistic but doomed to failure. And then, eventually you find out that something’s rotten in the state of Denmark and then there’s a big moment like when Logan realizes what Carousel really is. Could be fun.

        Or, likely easier to do, maybe you get exposed to Institute propaganda from time to time. Get to hear their pitch, think, “Hey, maybe the Institute is doing something good, just in a bad way.

        * I came to that conclusion anyway. Seems like pretty much everyone here did, too.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Oh, and I thought of another thing. Someone on the writing team must have really disliked someone else from Framingham who wound up attending M.I.T. A lot. Like, ex-girlfriend-who-cheated-on-him type antipathy. Why else would those be the places that got nuked?Report

  7. Avatar North says:

    Having played Fallout and Fallout 2 but avoided 3 and New Vegas I found Fallout 4 an interesting run but have a somewhat skewed perspective towards the Brotherhood of Steel.

    From my own perspective the BoS was this odd insular little Benedictine group trying to preserve a candle in the apocalypse who you eventually coax into becoming a force for good (Fallout’s 1 and 2). Since I didn’t do any of the intervening Fallout’s from my perspective the BoS reverted not merely to isolationist but flat out cruel type. Now they weren’t just safeguarding tech, they’re actively out to take tech away from other people. That coupled with their rampant hatred of sentient ghouls (which is utterly indefensible) and their hatred of synths (which one can at least have a debate about) made them pretty unsavory from my PoV. You guys have devolved badly and someone needs to stop you.

    Deacon from the Railroad has a bit where he tells you that you need to cut past the bullshit of all the speech and look at what the factions are really doing. By that assessment the institute and the Brotherhood both come out looking pretty shitty and the RR and Minutement come out smelling like roses. Sticking up the local settlements at gunpoint for food is a mighty lousy thing to be doing and gunning down sentient ghouls is abhorrent. Setting aside the playing god question the institute is flat out evil illuminati in their behavior. “Got some crops we wanna test out, shall we partner with some local farmers? Nah, lets just murder them, replace them with synths and do the tests that way.”

    That said, so far I’ve succeeded in a balancing act.. I used the minutemen to destroy the Institute after Father/Shaun to give me the necessary codes to evacuate the synths.As a result the Brotherhood, the RR and the Minutemen all currently consider me a hero and peace is reigning but there’s a lot of quests you can’t do for Maxson and I had to reload when PAM up and told me the BoS had to go.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      That said, so far I’ve succeeded in a balancing act.. I used the minutemen to destroy the Institute after Father/Shaun to give me the necessary codes to evacuate the synths.As a result the Brotherhood, the RR and the Minutemen all currently consider me a hero and peace is reigning but there’s a lot of quests you can’t do for Maxson and I had to reload when PAM up and told me the BoS had to go.

      Interesting, interesting.

      If you use the RR to destroy the Institute, the conflict between the BoS and RR happens *before* you’re able to do that (And you have to pick a side), so you can’t end up without the Institute but with the Brotherhood.

      Also, the RR has a whole plot to get to help the synths escape, which works because you’re able to track down the person inside the Institute who is helping them. Father doesn’t help at all, in fact, the only real reason you’re working for him to maintain your cover, i.e., the RR side of the plot inexplicably won’t advance until you do a bunch of Institute missions, including one that has you pick sides over the Brotherhood.(1) Although at least they basically tell you this, instead of leaving wondering what the hell this ‘getting ready’ is about.

      (And which point there’s a very hilarious moment where my plotting compatriot found me in a stairway on the way to met back with Father, and tells me the plot is now advancing, and makes a bunch of almost fourth-wall breaking comments about how glad he is that he caught me before I could talk to Father, and how I needed to go tell the RR that everything was ready. I suspect that, had I continued forward, Father would have asked me to take out the RR, and this was the branch point of ‘Who are you really working for?’.)

      1) I presume that, if I had ended up in open conflict with the Institute at that point, that I would have magically leapt over to the BoS path of destroying the Institute, because the RR path requires me to be able to teleport back and forth to the Institute, and the BoS’s, apparently, doesn’t.

      Although, you actually can be barred from the Institute for a wide variety of actions, so now I’m wonder what happens if you get barred from the Institute and the BoS *isn’t* an option? Like you already destroyed them?

      Can you actually render the game unwinnable? Like, you piss off every faction so can no longer destroy *any* of them? Well, I mean, technically, you could always shoot all the Minutemen, and maybe you can force your way into the RR and shoot the ones at the HQ, but you can’t even *get* to either the BoS’s airship or the Institute without someone’s help or them letting you in.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Well you can’t shoot all the MInutemen, Preston would just sit there crippled and then spam you to death with settlements need assistance messages.

        But yeah you can kill all the Railroad and Institute people, remember the first time you get into the institute it’s under your own power. If, after your heart to heart with Father, you go on a rampage they couldn’t technically stop you if you were strong enough.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:


      Having played Fallout and Fallout 2 but avoided 3 and New Vegas I found Fallout 4 an interesting run but have a somewhat skewed perspective towards the Brotherhood of Steel.

      See, I haven’t played the first or second, but did play 3 and NV. In 3, the Brotherhood we met were reasonably nice and actually moved the plot along (Which is to finish a big water purifier)…but they were a splinter faction that got kicked out for, tada, trying to help people. In NV, the BoS are essentially hiding out in a bunker, and won’t help anyone at all. (Although you team up with a dissatisfied member.)

      “Got some crops we wanna test out, shall we partner with some local farmers? Nah, lets just murder them, replace them with synths and do the tests that way.”

      Hell, they didn’t even need to partner with anyone.

      There is *plenty* of unoccupied land. Like, oh, *University Point*, a settlement that seemed to be doing very well for itself until the Institute, for no reason anyone can figure out, murdered everyone there. (What, were they thinking ‘How dare someone live on land that used to be ours hundreds of years ago!’?)

      How about putting some synths there and raising crops, you asshats? Or, you know, anywhere? I cleared like ten different locations to start settlements, surely *they* could have done that somewhere.

      Did they want people to eat the stuff as a test? Well, uh, I suspect if you *open the doors* to a settlement, people will come live there (But this is surely a wild guess and not something that I literally demonstrated over and over.), and they can eat your test food. Start the settlement with a synth couple in charge, collect some humans to eat the food, tada. Hell, pretend the synths are doctors with some obscure medical knowledge, and they’re testing something useful, and the new settlers will probably easily submit to all sorts of medical testing.

      Granted, this is non-consenting human research, but, uh, as for moral failings of the Institute goes, it is pretty far down the list.

      Or just claim an area of land, patrol it with synths, make it clear what is actually going on, and give away free food. If you’d stop *murdering and replacing people*, people, might, uh, not distrust you.

      Seriously, the Institute is a little bit amazing. It’s like the BoS on steroids, with their complete unwillingness to do anything to help or even see people as people. And the fact that their supposed entire purpose would be much much much easier accomplished if they’d stop being such insane people and show up somewhere and say ‘We will keep out the raiders if you will work with us and follow our rules’.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        They could have built a recruitment beacon. I was able to figure out how to build one out of a broken down old car and a circuit from a busted microwave fresh out of the vault. I think the institute could have managed it.Report

  8. Avatar North says:

    Here’s a question: Did anyone have any qualms about their choices on the Cabot quest chain? I went in initially inclined to let Lorenzo loose.. but after reading the kid’s journals I liked them too much to go through with it and it looks like Lorenzo really was that nuts.

    Still from an in game PoV an eternal supply of health/youth assuring potion would be nothing to sneeze at.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      Yeah, I was the same as you, making a bunch of assumptions about the situation.

      But then, once I got there and read some talked to the guy…I’m not letting that immortal lunatic out on the world. The Fallout universe is already crappy enough as it is.

      I actually found myself wondering about it enough to go read a walkthrough afterward and see what the other options were. But there wasn’t some secret solution or anything…a few ways to get more loot, but that’s all.

      And the potion isn’t that awesome. It has a +5 strength (eh) and +50 damage resist (good) and -10 rads a second (weird). The only nice thing is it lasts an hour. Also, he’ll only give you one at a time, so basically you have to keep treking back to him.

      What can be weirdly useful is the *insane* radiation removal factor. How is this useful, you ask? Get the Ghoul-ish perk, which heals you on radiation damage, and suddenly you can wander around radioactive areas essentially immortal, because the radiation heals you and then magically disappears.

      OTOH…compared to just popping Rad-Away? Not really worth it, considering how easy Rad-Away is to make and/or buy.

      And relying on Ghoul-ish is a weird build anyway. Having to *seek out* radiation is just annoying, and it’s not like you can choose where your fights are. That potion might be helpful for a melee Ghoul-ish build that wanders the Glowing Sea punching Deathclaws in the face, but, otherwise…Report

      • Avatar North says:

        That’s why I specified “In Game PoV”; absolutely from a game mechanic meta point of view it’s a strong and highly useful potion with a good duration that requires an annoying trek. In game/In character however it’s a strong potion that can be diluted into an immortality seurum which the immortal Lorenzo has promised you an constant supply of. Aka, eternal health and youth. Nothing to sneeze at.Report