Here we are in the third of four parts of my interview with the delightful YouTuber Many A True Nerd. So far, we’ve discussed YouTube in general in the first part and the mechanics of “You Only Live Once” permadeath runs in the second part.
This part of the interview is going to largely focus on Fallout 4. A bit of context is necessary. At the time of this interview, Many A True Nerd was in the middle of his first playthrough of Fallout 4. Many A True Nerd has since completed Fallout 4 once and begun his second playthrough with a focus on a “No Guns” ruleset. Let’s get right to it!
TR: We’ll leave it at that, then, and just declare it a mystery. To Fallout 4, one of the things I have to say I really enjoyed. When you play Fallout 3 and New Vegas it’s very clear that you know [nearly] everything. And I have to say, I’m not sure if what you have on camera is your first time doing everything. Is that how it goes?
MATN: For 3 and New Vegas or for 4?
TR: For 4.
MATN: For 4, yeah, it was all first time.
TR: So everything that goes up, that’s the first time you’re seeing or doing anything in the game.
MATN: Yep. And I’ve cut very little out as well. I’ve cut out tiny bits of looting while I’m in an area but I haven’t really explored a single location that isn’t in those videos.
TR: It’s really interesting seeing you play a Fallout game and not have a massive wealth of knowledge about it behind your play. It’s a different experience in a sense and it’s really great to see. In your opinion so far of what you’ve played, what do you feel is the best feature that they’ve added to Fallout 4 comparatively to 3 and New Vegas?
MATN: Best new feature… um… I do enjoy the weapon crafting. I think it kind of serves two purposes. It allows guns that you pick up in the early game to survive into the midgame and arguably even into the late game which is nice. You’re not [gonna] pick up a particular gun and then you’ll dump it by a certain point because you’ve got a better one which happens a lot.
TR: You could change the receiver out to do more [damage]. The Pipe Rifles, if you change it out to .45 or even .308, I’m not sure. You can change the ammo out to do more damage as you go further along in the perk tree. So you would say it’s the crafting mechanics.
MATN: I like the crafting mechanics because [it means] things are different arguably every time. There are also the Legendary drops. I think maybe the Legendary drops need a bit of tweaking for how they operate and how they’re calculated particularly in terms of the game calculating what it should or should not give you. I like the Legendary drops because they mean that no two runs can be the same. I always like a little bit of a dice roll in my games. I like to understand my games very, very well, but I always just like a little bit of a dice roll. If I know where literally everything is and there’s no chance of any variability, then maybe I lose interest in it a little bit. And Fallout 3 has a lot of randomness in the form of random events. Fallout: New Vegas not quite so much, but it has randomness in the sense of there are so many complex moving pieces there are accidental things [that] start interacting with each other in ways that you can’t really possibly foresee. There’s too many moving parts for you to keep track of all of them. Fallout 4 I think that randomness comes less in the form of random events and more in the form of the Legendary drops. And I like those because picking up a particularly valuable piece of gear you couldn’t possibly have foreseen [can completely] change your game plan. All of a sudden a particular type of weapon that you hadn’t really thought [of] specializing in could be ludicrously more powerful than you possibly anticipated. You might have thought you were going to specialize as a sniper but actually, you know what, you found a piece of gear that means actually all of a sudden you’d be amazing if you were to focus on Luck and go for more traditional critical strikes or whatever. So I like the fact there’s a bit more of a dice roll in it. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone attack the Legendary drop as a system yet. So not one seems to be like hugely offended by it. I personally like it because I think it keeps things different and interesting and it means every time I play the game I won’t… New Vegas, if it had one thing that I didn’t really like – and certanily, I’m happy to criticize New Vegas even though it’s my favorite game of all time. There’s no such thing as a perfect game. I will criticize and politely point out the flaws in all of my favorite games. New Vegas had the issue that every single time I played it – though there was a lot of different variables depending on what I was doing – I would overwhelmingly go to Goodsprings, get the Leather Armor. Then, rush straight to picking up the Van Graff Combat Armor from Durable Dunn’s Sacked Caravan. I would then wear that until I got power armor at which point I would change to power armor and then I’d wear that for the remainder of the game. And that would be my armor and that will always be my armor unless I happen to go into Reinforced Leather Armor if I happen to pick it up from a Raider while I’m on my way to Durable Dunn’s Sacked Caravan for the Van Graff Combat Armor that’s just lying there. And I’ll wear one of those suits and I’ll sell the other one. And that will be it. That will be what I always wear. Whereas Fallout 4, every time I play it I end up swapping out my arm pieces, trying out new things. That was one of the things I liked about Skyrim. Skyrim had a lot of problems. I don’t even count Skyrim in my top 20 games of all time. I love it, but it’s got so many problems with it. But I did like the fact that you could just wander around and you could just find a random, unique thing that had a unique special ability attached to it that suddenly [could] change your game plan in a way you couldn’t possibly [have predicted]. I like that the fact that simultaneously you have two things going on in Fallout 4 which is you have a leveling system and a perk tree that’s completely visible to you so you know exactly when something is going to become available to you. When is the next rank of a perk. What perks are available to you. You can choose to invest in your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. to unlock new perks as an option for the following level. Your perk layout is incredibly organized and you can plan that all ahead [of time]. But simultaneously there’s a lot of dice rolls happening for your equipment and I think that’s a wonderful addition to the franchise. So maybe I really like the crafting, but probably having just talked about it I’m probably going to have to change my answer for my favorite new thing and say actually it’s the Legendary drops that’s probably my favorite new thing. I just love the new dice rolls.
TR: What would you feel is the worst feature they’ve added to Fallout 4 as a contrast to the previous question?
MATN: The big focus on farms and building micro-communities around the farms. I think that needs some work. I’m not gonna say it’s unforgivable because I imagine they’ll be doing some patching work yet. What I will say too many of the little early game missions – especially if you’re going down the Minuteman route – boil down to get sent to a farm, go to the farm, speak to the farmer. The farmer says, “Hey, we’re having trouble with ghouls, raiders, or bugs. They’re located in this nest. Please go and deal with them.” Put a new map marker on your map. You walk there, you have to kill normally just one of them that’s marked as the leader. Then you come back and say, “Hey, I’ve dealt with that thing.” The farmer says, “Thank you!” You activate the workbench and you find that the farm has plenty of food and plenty of water but hasn’t bothered to build any defense meaning they’re about to be attacked so that means you’ve immediately got to go around chopping down trees in order to build a small number of watchtowers and guard outposts so you can you take one of the farmers and command them to man the watch tower meaning that they’re no longer growing food so the amount of food in the society drops. As long as food plus water combined is less than defense that means that the society will not be attacked and then you can go back to Preston Garvey to tell him you’ve done it at which point he’ll tell you to go and do the same thing again and that happens about eight times in a row.
MATN: And every time it’s the same. It’s always, “We’ve got loads of food and loads of water and quite a few people but we haven’t bothered to build any defense. Would you please go chop down some trees and build some guard towers and assign [one of us] to man the guard towers.” Seriously guys? Again? The same thing?
TR: That’s one of the things that actually bothers me. The lack of some options in [regards to how settlements and their society works]. Here’s one example that I thought of: the particular cult that you met by the side of the road that was basically like, “Hey, so, give us all your stuff!” What I felt would have been interesting… You have to build settlers up. You have to put a radio tower and wait for them to show up and stuff like that. [It] could have been maybe get rid of the guy in charge one way or another. Maybe convince the other people he’s a bad person or he’s pulling BS on them but [they] have nowhere to go. I have like eight empty towns with food. You can go there. And then [I] have some settlers. It feels like it was added on after the fact and there was a lot of ways they could have better integrated it into the game that they really didn’t. Another problem I’m having… people [online] talk about [how they can’t] find circuitry or copper or stuff like that. I’m actually having a problem with [the basic stuff like] wood and steel. I just build like really crazy big buildings. Why isn’t there like a lumber camp where it just produces wood for you? Or a steel mill? Like reclaim a steel mill in [the Commonwealth] and produce [Steel] for you? Stuff like that that seems like a better interaction between the world and [the settlement] system. That’s something that really kind of disappointed me. And that the building is really janky and it doesn’t snap right half the time. I can get what you say with the repetitiveness of the quests. I totally understand.
MATN: It seems to happen mainly in the Minutemen. If you go down the Brotherhood path it doesn’t seem to happen anywhere near as much. Their quests are much more kind of interesting. It’s a bit kind of unfair to the poor Minutemen quests that their quests are actually quite dull whereas other options on the main quest actually seem to be much more interesting. [laughs] It’s a bit harsh to the poor Minutemen. I think they could fix it really, really easily. One, you need to come up with some more interesting things to do than just go to a farm and they say, “We’re having problems with these nearby monsters, go deal with them.” It would be nice if there was a bit more… you know, sometimes they had a mystery that needs solving. Sometimes they were having an argument where Charisma characters could just solve it straight away. That would be a bit nice. And then once you’ve sorted out the farm’s immediate problem and you’re being asked to reinforce it don’t just have it always be a big farm that’s sitting in an open space where you’ve just got to shove some guard towers up. I always find myself in this rather weird situation where because they needed a certain baseline level of defense to not be attacked I just knocked down some trees and thus shoved up some guard towers and guard posts and just assigned one person to be on all of them. The slightly strange thing about that is almost all the settlements are just sitting in the middle of like a big open space meaning what direction do you make the guard towers face? Sure, you could build a couple of guard towers on one side. What if the Raiders just go around the other side? And what exactly is the person on top of the guard tower gonna do? I’ve just assigned a farmer who doesn’t have a gun. Yet apparently one farmer standing on top of a guard tower that doesn’t actually do anything – [apparentlly] that counts as defense. They’re just gonna yell at them from on top of a small podium. If they were just set up slightly more interesting. Like they’d already half-built some defenses. Towns in Fallout 3 would always be somehow fortified. Like Big Town in Fallout 3 with cars all around the outside. I think it’d be much more interesting if they’d already mostlyfortified so they’ve already stacked cars or built gates around two thirds of the settlement so you just have to finish it off. And then you could actually build a proper little gateway and it would actually vaguely make sense.
TR: My next question regarding Fallout stuff – I saw you did play (if I remember correctly) a little bit of [Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel] in one video? Correct?
TR: Have you played Fallout Shelter at all?
MATN: No. I didn’t have a device that was capable of playing it. I thought about it and I’ve seen a few other people play it. But honestly, it didn’t look that interesting to me. It looked very different to the typical Fallout experience.
TR: It is.
MATN: It looked like a distraction. But I didn’t immediately look at it and think, yes, I must play that. So I kind of never really treated it as a priority.
That’s the end of Part 3 of my interview with Many A True Nerd. Coming up next is the fourth and final part of my very long (and very interesting) interview with Many A True Nerd.
Images used in this article were sourced from screenshots from Many A True Nerd’s videos as well as directly from games previously played on Many A True Nerd’s channel.
What do you think of the Fallout 4 criticisms levied by Many A True Nerd? Do you feel the Legendary items were a worthwhile addition to the game? Let us know in the comments below!