Classic Fallout Gameplay Flaws (Also New Vegas)

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by TerminallyChill, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. Norzan

    Norzan Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Apr 7, 2017
    Playing as a Super Mutant sounds cool as hell. Bethesda ruins everything.

    Even though, a Super Mutant Courier sounds funny. Could have worked though.
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  2. Ediros

    Ediros Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Feb 4, 2016
    I am not saying you are wrong, but wasn't it because they had not enough time and super mutant would have needed it's own set of custom animations and armour?

    Then again, betheshit put massive restrictions on them.
  3. Risewild

    Risewild Antediluvian as Feck
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    Bethesda told them that they strongly advised against doing it because it would be a nightmare to implement.
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  4. TerminallyChill

    TerminallyChill Be excellent to each other.

    Feb 16, 2018
    God forbid, they might actually have had to do some extra work in Fallout 4 because players would be asking for the feature to return...
  5. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Antediluvian as Feck

    Nov 26, 2007
    Unfortunately, I have to disagree here, on almost every point—when the game is an RPG; and especially skill merging. When you merge skills, you create paradoxical characters. Merging melee weapons with unarmed, means that a champion boxer, and a champion fencer, are equally skilled in BOTH. It means that the fencer can hold his own in the ring against the boxer, without a foil. It means that the boxer can out-fence anyone who can't box at his level.

    Broad generalizations with skills create nonsense. Pistol training does not mean they can hit with a light anti-tank rocket, or fire it without breaking their jaw. Pick-pockets are not necessarily capable of silent movement... They can only pick pockets in a crowd, or cramped quarters—when do they ever have to sneak for that? Sneaking is breath, and muscle control... it makes you look really odd while doing it too... Nobody would ever let you pick their pocket while creeping around like that... Except in Cyrodil.
    I have played RPGs with Nuclear Physics, and Radiation Technology as PC skills; how strange (and contrived) it would be to have those skills be as frequently used as Pugilism, Speech, and Theft. If the RPG campaign is complex enough to have any situation that could call for these skills, then the PC that actually has them, should have a distinct advantage over any other PCs (who don't).

    In Fallout 2, the PC can find themselves in a bio-research lab... If they have the Science skill above 130%, then they have the expertise to select the best brain to use in the body for a cyborg AI companion; less skill could mean choosing a chimpanzee or a mental patient's brain—how would they know which was which?

    AFAIK, there is no other reason in Fallout 2 to raise the science skill level that high.... unless... it is that the player is roleplaying a scientist; and in that case, the scientist PC's exceptional expertise should make it possible for them to have the options that come from their esoteric knowledge... Knowledge to succeed where no other PCs could.*

    In an RPG, characters are to make choices based on their understanding of them; and of themselves. Not all PCs are (or ever should be) fully cognizant of all situations. There are times when they should be in (or definitely out) of their element.

    *Obviously, any quest, or quest ending that can only be done by a scientist, needs to be optional, or to have unique outcomes for each method of resolving it; with the non-science outcomes being generally lesser. The rewards (if any) shouldn't be equal for the professional in their field, and the novice making a guess, or those in between.

    The alternative to this is the jack-of-all-trades PC, and having a game where the accomplishments are either mundane or not truly the PCs own; (The non-scientist brawler intimidates the lab-nerd to do it for them, or discovers instructions in a safe they smashed open). Requiring that all skills be equal—when all skills aren't equal in all situations, can severely limit the scope and plausibility of the narrative.

    This is also true of equipment and weapon items IMO. It is (for example) ridiculous to allow pistols to be viable against tanks in the end-game. I don't like it when developers artificially maintain the relevance of initial skill choices throughout the full extent of the game beyond where they don't make sense anymore.
    Being a crack shot with a pistol is a fantastic skill for a PC, but there should be an upper limit to how useful it is. It's a great equalizer for a game's detective in the 1940's doing divorce cases, but not so great if later, bigger case leads him to the beach invasion at Normandy; by the end of the game he'll need a more suitable weapon skill; not just a bigger pistol.

    I don't think that there is such a thing as a dominant strategy in an RPG. You get what you choose. If you choose a gun-toting psychotic with an Intelligence of 3 to get an agility of 10—then that's the kind of gaming experience you've picked to play. You won't get the cerebral path... and this is how it should be. You are supposed to see what your PC is capable of achieving... and that's what you get when you develop them in a certain path; and it changes when you develop it a different way.

    The PC should be like a lens into their world... and the player should only see what the PC can know about.
    Each PC 's path through their world could almost be likened to that of a paint splash on a Where's Waldo poster. Such that they only see the parts of the whole where their color of paint touched the crowd; and each PC's splash is just as different to any other PC's, as their stats & skills are.

    Bartering is a skill, and even public speakers, and self-help gurus can be uncomfortable or unconvincing at it.

    I agree. It could have been better implemented as a skill for detecting cheats; provided the game had situations where gamblers were cheating. But there is a case for card-counting, and knowing the odds before betting.

    I wouldn't like this to be purely strength based, because strength is not speed or accuracy, and you need all three to hit a target with a thrown weapon. Speed of the throw is a big part of the distance achieved; while it has nothing to do with whether it hits or not.

    Traps... I would have preferred (in FO3) that the alpha transparency of the trap models had followed the skill threshold percentages... Being almost invisible at 10% skill; either that, or instead...totally invisible without a skill check.

    As shown, I don't agree with either of those, and pressing Z does come at a fair (but risky) cost; it wastes a lot of precious time.

    I don't agree. A concise manual can list all of the information ones needs to play the game—without getting it piece-meal through pop-ups, or contrived tutorials. It also means that the player can have it all at their fingertips at any point in the game that they have a question... and not have to remember some veiled info-dump they played weeks (or months) before. People read a manual to learn—that's their mindset when they open the pages. People don't usually have that mindset when they are in the game playing it.

    I would much rather have it all in easy to read (and refer to) format in a printed manual, than to have it enacted for me in the game somewhere.

    On the flipside... If the design needs no manual, and is just so easy and simple that a child could do it... then it's just so easy and simple that a child could do it. :(

    This is something Tim Cain has mentioned before. They might have allowed the player to survive a dip in the Vats, to continue the game as a supermutant... but they didn't have a blank check to develop the game, and that would demand a lot of dialog and quest changes to reflect changes in demeanor and racist fear—or contempt; for almost every NPC, and especially those in the Vault.
    *This would be a hell of a lot more for FO3, and NV... compounded insurmountably by them both having fully voiced NPCs... FO4 has the fully voiced PC. (Yikes!)

    My own thought is that Ghouls would be heavily shunned, and suffer NPC Prejudice—or (with Bethesda) they wouldn't at all.
    In Fallout 2, Vault City is said to shoot ghouls on sight; and Marcus and Lenny are not allowed to enter. Another thought is that both Ghouls and Supermutants are broken and pained individuals... I don't think any well done portrayal would have much to enjoy about it.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
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  6. TerminallyChill

    TerminallyChill Be excellent to each other.

    Feb 16, 2018
    Some of these arguments are flying dangerously close to thread rule 1a territory, but I'll allow it because you make some points about gameplay at the same time. Consider this a friendly reminder.

    What you have described here are the design differences between an optional reward and a mandatory task.

    The first method would be used... basically as it already exists. As a non-necessary goodie for investing in a certain skill. This bonus could manifest itself as a companion, a perk, an item, some money, or a ton of other fun things. The important part is that it isn't needed to complete a goal. It just jazzes up gameplay and makes the player feel like they are 'role playing' a certain style. The trick to balancing skills is ensuring the sum of each one's rewards are roughly the same across the entirety of the game. (This is not the case in Fallout & Fallout 2! :shock:)

    The second method is how you design a quest. In an RPG, you need to make it so that any character in the possibility space is equally able to complete tasks, regardless of how 'unrealistic' or 'paradoxical' this might be. Remember, it's a game. Games need to be balanced in order to be fun for everyone. The best RPGs treat quests as a puzzle, in that you have to figure out which solution your character build can achieve. Some routes may be harder to figure out or require more steps, but they should all be just as viable.

    This would be more like some sort of social narrative simulator, not a game. It's a cool concept, but it isn't a game. Any game has a win state, and therefore requires balance to avoid a dominant strategy.

    Excellent idea. Traps could have also been utilized within New Vegas's crafting system, which would have really made it a viable skill when combined with that mechanic.

    Fair point, especially in the first game.

    I can give a three year old an immensely complex device like an iPhone, yet eventually they will figure out how to use it. That's just called intuitive software design. Fallout doesn't have this. Like, at all.
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  7. James Snowscoran

    James Snowscoran Still Mildly Glowing

    Jun 1, 2011
    No, it doesn't- at least not exclusively. It can also mean superfluous or excessive. Look it up in a dictionary if you want.

    With that misunderstanding cleared up...I'm looking at the rest of your posting and scratching my head a bit. There's the bit where you go on about the merits of barter and gambling, but we've been over this- the classic Fallouts don't have a lot of economic scarcity. As long as you actually loot the people you kill, you'll typically have enough trade goods to barter for what you want, even without spending a single point on barter or making a cap from gambling. And if you're not killing people, well, then you presumably don't need to trade for weapons either so you're fine either way.

    And the binary nature of gambling is something you don't even acknowledge. Surely you must see that, at the very least, with a high enough gambling skill that you can make infinite casino money, the barter skill becomes completely superfluous? It's just very bad game design.

    Then it's grenades being a godsend...what? You can get a couple grenades early in Fallout 1, sure. It takes a lot longer in Fallout 2, but in either case, they're competing against burst fire weapons like the assault rifle or 10mm SMG, which deals comparable damage against clumped up enemies without exhausting a very limited resource, and that's just the start of what the small guns skill has to offer. Throwing knives do pathetic damage so I'm not sure why they're mentioned at all.

    First aid is a gimped version of doctor. Yes, it's true whether you like it or not. The doctor skill can do everything the first aid skill does (healing damage and awarding xp) and more (healing crippling limbs), plus it does it better (more healing and more xp than first aid).

    First aid's main function is having a higher starting level and being levelable by books. In other words, it's a skill whose advantages is that it doesn't need to have skillpoints put into it. If this makes you wonder if it should have been a skill in the first place, you're onto something (it shouldn't).
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  8. R.Graves

    R.Graves Confirmed Retard

    Apr 21, 2016
    Problems with fallout one:

    Cut content is painfully obvious and some endings are locked because of it. Also the master getting from mariposa to the boneyard as a fleshy blob is kinda... farfetched.

    Problems with fallout two: oh so many but discarding dumb shit like super mutant magicians, psychic mole rats, ghosts, and talking plants,
    It had kind of a weak villain, at least compared to the master or Ceasar or hell even ashur from fallout 3 is a more effective villain. and again with the locked endings. Also some areas are super sparce (Modoc or hell almost the entire north and west parts of the map)

    Problems with new vegas. Most of my problems with new vegas lie with the fact that it wasn't finished. Cut content is more blatant than ever. Also I hate running ghouls and it lowkey acknowledges fallout 3 with dialogue with Veronica, ed-e, and I think even arcade Gannon.

    Anyways excluding two there aren't many problems I have with "the fallout trilogy"

    Edit: no I didn't read OP's post before posting eat my ass.
  9. TerminallyChill

    TerminallyChill Be excellent to each other.

    Feb 16, 2018
    That's alright, at least you realized you fucked up. Is there a better title for this thread, you think?

    A reminder to everyone who's just tuning in, this is a mechanical gameplay discussion.

    R.Graves does bring up a good point though. Cut content, rushed releases, and budget constraints have basically hampered the Fallout series throughout its entire run. These games are already great in their unfinished states, but just imagine for a second how much more amazing these games could have been if the developers' visions had actually been seen through. Crazy to think about.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  10. R.Graves

    R.Graves Confirmed Retard

    Apr 21, 2016
    Yeah lol how about "gameplay problems with 1,2, and new vegas"
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  11. TerminallyChill

    TerminallyChill Be excellent to each other.

    Feb 16, 2018
    I got you. Title changed to avoid confusion.

    (For anybody reading this in the future, the original title was "Fallout 1, 2, & New Vegas Flaws", in case you were curious.)
  12. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Antediluvian as Feck

    Nov 26, 2007
    That's the same thing. Having three parachutes is excessively redundant; not to mention a bit superfluous.

    Skill choice reflects the PC's personal interests, and aptitudes.

    I have played cRPGs where you can simply enter in your PCs attributes; it totally lets the player max out all stats (and is a game balance nightmare). The reason for it was so that the player could manually import their PnP D&D characters, and have them play the adventure.

    Sometimes the skills are there because they need to be there to support a given character type.​

    If the player's character doesn't care to barter very well, then do they not have to put points in Barter; but if they want to roleplay a wheeling & dealing salesman type... then they have the skill option to reflect that aspect of their character's personality. The same goes for a Gambler. They can't play a Bret Maverick type and not be a skilled gambler. To leave it to luck alone, would prevent PCs from succeeding with skill—and even against bad luck or cheating opponents.

    Of course you need to trade for weapons (and ammo, and medical supplies, etc...), NPCs run out of ammo in Fallout—unlike the silly way they did it in FO3.

    I've acknowledged the flaw in the Gambling skill in probably every single post I have in this thread—certainly in most of them.

    Barter and gambling are unrelated. The system isn't really set up for buying with caps... Bottle-caps are not money, they are meant as a trade equalizer; for when the items are too close to include additional equipment... you make the difference with caps. Bartering is item for item; caps are technically items... like old-world pennies. The player can technically trade thousands of caps, but it's like paying in pennies. Nobody would want to trade a plasma pistol or body armor for its value in pennies. I cannot imagine in that setting, a person trading useful equipment for thousands useless bottle caps instead of for useful equipment in return. To do so would leave them at the mercy of others (with useful equipment) being willing to trade for sacks and sacks of crimped tin.

    In Fallout it is very possible to make it back to town with only a an empty minigun to trade (like for stimpaks—and from a guy who might only have a stimpak and a mute-fruit in his pocket). In this case you'd be trading a valuable item worth dozens of stimpaks for one—or get none at all.

    Honestly I was disappointed that Fallout did not impose a penalty for sneak while carrying a conspicuous amount of bottle caps.​

    Grenades often knock everyone off their feet; that saps APs; can stun. Grenades can be thrown past party members. I always use grenades when the opportunity arises. They are a low AP item, so PCs can use them when they cannot fire a burst, and some PCs can use them twice per round.

    No it cannot. Using First Aid does not decrease the number of attempts available to correct crippling injuries, use of the Doctor skill does; and it cost more to do it, and more to be able to do it.

    First aid's main function is to heal hitpoints, and be available (and improvable) to any character of any build. This is not so of the Doctor skill; which requires a hefty investment of skill points, and/or tagging it to become par with First Aid; but then it gives the ability to correct crippled limbs and temporary blindness.

    Skills in an RPG are there to facilitate the personality of the PC. Some PCs will be medical experts, while others will be combat specialists. The Doctor skill is there for medical specialists; the First Aid skill is there for PCs that are not doctors.

    **Aside; (as I'm sure some of you know...) Fallout was hoped to be a Wasteland sequel, and with that in mind, it's no surprise that it has two medical skills, since Wasteland had two of its own. Medic, and Doctor. In that game, these skills had an IQ stat requirement of 15/21 respectively. AFAIK, in that game Medic was indeed a lesser version of the Doctor skill.

    Fallout had the problem that Armor Piercing bullets... AFAIK—they didn't.

    The other problem was that they did the party member AI in script; (party members were not originally part of the game). The script lacked some needed hooks into the engine, and so the AI essentially could not see the PC during combat—and would fire weapons past them at enemy targets.... often burst firing into the PC's back.

    There was also no way to force them to move. Many a player got trapped behind a party member that blocked the exit. This was fixed in Fallout 2; and in combat it actually uses their APs when you do this.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
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  13. TerminallyChill

    TerminallyChill Be excellent to each other.

    Feb 16, 2018
    Are we really arguing about definitions right now?

    Gizmo thinks the skills in Fallout are correctly implemented.

    James and I think the skills are improperly implemented.

    Let's drop the English debate, please.

    This part of the system isn't really the problem, Gizmo. It's the actual Fallout maps themselves. I like the idea that GURPS wanted to allow players to be gamblers or salesman, but the campaign didn't deliver. There are far fewer opportunities for this style of play in the wasteland than it promises on the character creation screen. This is a huge balance problem. Also, just because a lot of other RPGs have severe balance issues doesn't excuse Fallout for this. Dungeons & Dragons games are some of the absolute worst offenders despite their classic status.

    This is true, which is why I don't know why James brought it up. Perhaps he just missed those parts. Or selectively ignored them...

    What do you think currency is? It's exactly how you describe caps. A trade equalizer. Pennies are literally money. Also, people do exchange shit like plasma pistols for caps in-game. So I have no clue how any of this is relevant.

    Keep in mind this is the same game that lumps all disciplines of science into a single category.

    You're good, dude. You've been on topic the whole time. This is more about game design anyway, not bugs. That's interesting though.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  14. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Antediluvian as Feck

    Nov 26, 2007
    Currency is a sanctioned government IOU —that you actually pay to use. Barter is trade: "I give you my coat, and you give me your shovel—and we're even". In the case of a close, but not close enough match, it could be, "I give you my gloves, and hat, you give me your vice-grip locking pliers... and some of those Sand-Dollars you have).

    Fallout's Barter mechanic could have been improved by having a Barter skill check shift the value threshold of what the NPC was willing to accept.. such that offering 99 caps worth of items for a 102 cap item... could be acceptable to them. It was a problem to list each item with its value in caps... but offhand I don't know a better option to impart the item's value to the player.

    Perhaps the player could be made to learn just how useful (or difficult to acquire) certain Items were, and could set their own value for them. The NPCs could follow a cap value, but have it not be shown to the player. They could have had awesome weapons that traded for cheap, because the ammo was rare as hen's teeth.

    There is speculation that use of Bottle Caps in the Hub, and surrounding region, came from the Water Merchants using them as an ersatz company scrip; valued at one liter of water. So you could consider a cap, as the Water Merchant's IOU for a bottle of water...In that sense it could almost be considered a currency, but this could apply to anything, or anyone... A handyman could barter his own personal IOUs as a good for one repair—ticket... but that's not money; there is no service tax on that... you don't pay to use the IOU.

    My impression of Fallout's skill system is that all of the skills are informal, and that the character really is just a pinch-hitter... who may be well read on the subjects.

    Fallout does lump the skills into a loose catch-all grouping. I was never happy with a gun skill for pistols, rifles, and shotguns; nor a Big Guns skill for rockets, Flamers, and miniguns... (or any of the other overly broad categories).

    I did see it as a game whose broadly defined skill set, could apply to anyone's concept of a character. The single player game is limited enough that you never actually pit a champion fencer with a heavyweight boxer (as per an earlier mention). The skills just loosely fit the situations.

    I assume that I would have preferred a more detailed skill system; perhaps even one like Wasteland had... the game would have to fully support it though. Wasteland did have skills that really were unimplemented in the game. Combat Shooting did nothing at all AFAIK. I wonder if Fallout's skill-dex isn't just getting a pass for befitting the game setting? I dunno if that's bad or good, but it's not particularly terrible IMO. It does seem to work well enough.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  15. TerminallyChill

    TerminallyChill Be excellent to each other.

    Feb 16, 2018
    Yeah, I like where you are going with this. Really all you'd need to avoid using currency is a visual-based value system. Low value items could be highlighted in yellow and would accepted as a fair trade for one another. High value items could be outlined in red. Two yellow items would trade for a red. (Obviously you can use a lot more colors, but you see my point.) The Barter skill would allow you to jump between color tiers at an increasing distance until you could basically trade any item for anything. That's how you make Barter as useful as Small Guns and fix Fallout's broken economy.

    Now do you understand why I try so hard to keep the narrative out of this discussion? It clouds people's ability to fairly criticize game design. And you're right, Fallout & Fallout 2 aren't particularly terrible with skill implementation. They're actually one of the better RPGs for this, which is why I like them. They still only just work 'well enough' though, which doesn't exactly cut it for a perfectionist like me.

    Welcome to the dark side. :cookie:
  16. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Antediluvian as Feck

    Nov 26, 2007
    A point of note: Ironically, Tim Cain is color blind.

    My thought for deciding value... might take too long, and be rather costly to the player... That they simply come to understand how great or worthless an item is, by having used it. If one kind of stimpack healed 25 HP, and another kind healed 75... they would soon assign their own value to it, and trade what they thought was worth it to get one—or to give one up.
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  17. TerminallyChill

    TerminallyChill Be excellent to each other.

    Feb 16, 2018

    You never fail to deliver, my friend.

  18. R.Graves

    R.Graves Confirmed Retard

    Apr 21, 2016
    He's also gay and has a penchant for traps.
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  19. a721402

    a721402 Played FPS for decades still suck at it.

    Mar 29, 2016
    You aren't Tim Cain.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  20. R.Graves

    R.Graves Confirmed Retard

    Apr 21, 2016
    That much is obvious because I ain't gay.