A review of the RP game progression experience and small tweak suggestions

Discussion in 'Fallout General Modding' started by lujo, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    334
    Jun 14, 2013
    CAUTION - VERY LONG READ. I'll try to withle it down a bit, but it might be worth reading even so.

    Ok, so, this is mostly a restoration project thing, and some doubts and gripes about the game progression related to the additions, and some stuff that might not be additions. Unless you've combed through te game quite a few times, read the epic walthrough a few times and all that, it's loaded with SPOILERS, so if you don't want that don't read. It's also very long. It's not a critique or bashing or making demands, it's a very loving playtest report.

    Anywho, after playing through the game quite a few times here's stuff that I got gripes with on a pure technical level. Stuff that always irks me in the same way, and none of it has to do with whether any of it "makes sense" story wise. Last few times I played the game I tried to keep it fun and challenging and see as much stuff as I can, not cheat my way to equipment or huge XP bonuses and tackle challenges at what seemed like appropriate times. Also, I've always tried to run around the map as little as possible trying to optimize my stay in every town*.

    *This helps with not tackling challenges which you are overleveled and overequipped for, and most of the time it's possible and very enjoyable and fulfilling. It also reduces irritation with mechanics which are flavourful in moderation but chores if you have to do them too many times - entering vault city with mutants in your party, entering VC depending on night/day, entering NCR with weapons holstered, any map where you have to enter on one map just to interact with an NPC a few maps away, etc... You save quite a bit of in-game and RL time this way.

    Anywho here's my full playthrough review, the result of quite a bit of research:

    1) I clear out everything in Arroyo, and if I ever do any more modding (I've done a little bit on the megamod for my own sake), I think I'll do some here. But or all practical puroposes I'm ok with the RP Arroyo.

    2) I do everything in Klamath, too. Lately I've started using the dynamite solution to the rat god choosing not to get the combat knife that way (there's one in a grave in the Den and I don't need two that early), and i also kind of not go for the leather armor. It obsoletes the jacket, and I just got the jacket, so I kind of tend to not go for it. But otherwise, everything's fine.

    3!) Den - this is where it gets interesting. I avoid the Buffy cheat (even though I always play female), and I don't shoot the shopkeepers either. What I do is I do stuff which doesn't involve me running past the kids, do the RP orphanage quest, set up for it's reward. I get the info on where Sulik's sister is from Metzger, don't do lara-tyler war cuz it's too early, and then I go to the slaver camp and talk the slavers into releasing Kurisu and end up at the Umbra tribe (sometimes with Vic bought sometimes not).

    4!!) Umbra Tribe. Now there's a thing with Umbra tribe, and that's that if you go there any later than the point I've described, there's absolutely no challenge in any of the quests in terms of combat, and they're all rather straightforward in terms of story. There's also very little to gain there for a character past this point. And it's also probbably the best way to pass the time while the kids clear from the streets in the Den. However, the skill roll for talking the Slavers into releasing Kurisu might take reloading, and you actually have to think up this story progression by thinking outside the box with the knowledge of someone who's been throught both the game and the walkthrough.

    IDEA: After many playthroughs looking for a balanced and rich early game, I find that there should be active encouragement by the game to visit Umbra Tribe at about this time. The way it is now it's more of a sequence break / speech related unless you kill Metzger, and it's works better as this "sequence break" than if done in "sequence" (will come up later why). It's the "natural" time to do it, and after trying stuff out I conclude that it's a fine early game location, the worldmap encounters between it and the den are satisfying for an early game (possibly even more so if you skimmed over Klamath).

    SIMPLE SOLUTION: Since you're looking for Vic anyway, adding dialogue to Vic about how he was captured on his way to the Umbra Tribe which puts the camp on the map (saying he was held there) would do fine as you'd be able to discover where Suliks Sister is through the natural "main quest". This could work wheter he is free or not. If you go to the slaver camp with him, you could even have the option to "prove" you're coming from Metzger by pointing out that Metzger lent him to you as a slave guide, or whatever. If you then free Kurisu this way, you'll end up in Umbra. You can do everything there and you don't have any natural reason to return. You'll be able to do the quests there easily, and expirience the random encounters on your way back to the den.

    BONUS: For the sake of keeping a stable number of objects and items around, the fish that only apper in Umbra and weight way too much could probably be removed, and a rope could be added somewhere so you don't have to know in advance that you'll need it and not be able to fix the well unless you have some on you. If you rescue Kurisu on your way there, and that's optimal, you really don't have any reason to return, so why not smooth it out completely?

    5!) Den - so after doing the Umbra Tribe, I return to the den and all the children have buggered off to the orphanage, so I proceed to do everything there is to do here. Except sabotaging Backy Still (I've never ever done it. It'd just muck up the ending with one random silly misdeed and everything else I do here works towards a different cause). I talk to Karl in advance, set up the Smitthy quest, and move on... sometimes I give killing Metzger here a shot, sometimes I don't, depends on what I feel like (with hommemade traps and grenades it's fun, but otherwise I smoke him on the return back - which then leads to discovering where Kurisu is at a time when Umbra Tribe has nothing to offer). Den's fine.

    6) Modoc - even though I've tried the Den - > Redding - > New Reno path it kind of feels like the game is sort of more naturally inclined to set you towards Modoc - > VC (especially considering the Car quest). Doing everything in Modoc the first time around isn't necessary, because you have a natural second visit when you come back for the car. Still, everything but the deathclaw is fair game and I ussually do it. I've never went for Miria, though, because I always play a girl and I don't know if a decent Davin mod was ever made. So I ussually talk my way out of marriage. I leave the deathclaw for later (if ever), do everything else (+ ghost farm naturally), and move on to VC. (Modoc is actually an ok little town but the ghost farm is truly a complete blank slate - but no issues, really).

    7) VC - now I've got a few gripes with how things play out with VC, but you might be surprised that they're actually constructive rather than whiny ones. There's a bunch of self contained quests in VC, and I obviously do them right away. I also always save the booze for the booze delivery in advance, but since you do a fair bit of traveling to and fro there's never really any need. Getting citizenship only really means being able to get into the vault, the gecko scouting quest goes nicely along with it, I do the valerie quest for a super tool kit for Skeeter in advance, and it's all fine and dandy, you can do a lot of stuff. I pick the raiders quest too, and I'm off the gecko.

    8) Gecko - here I do everything (there's really not much to do), pick up the woody quest for the return trip to the Den, do Skeeter's stuff, get the quest to get the reactor part from VC, click on stuff, and avoid the sublevel with the rat god for now. Then i'm off to...

    9!!!) The abbey! So here's another perfectly logical "sequence break" that should probably not really be a sequence break. It would in fact certainly be better with an adjustment to a dialogue or two somewhere in Gecko that leads you there at some point. There are quite a few reasons to come here much later but those actually work better (and make sense) on a return trip to the Abbey, rather than a first visit. Plus there's a very simple quest here that teleports you to Gecko, and it's pretty easy to not have any reason to go to Gecko (from the Abbey) at a later point. Also, the pump repair quest needs a part from the VC courtyard, and if you're done with VC before you get Abbey on your map that's another trip you're making for only one interaction. What I do here at this point is everything except the armor, have a really nice and challenging encounter with the deathclaw* and pick up the pump part quest, the bothany quest, talk with father Tully's drunk friend and pick up the wine for father Tully.

    *The VC - Gecko quest hub has a really low ammount of combat quests, and this fight is a nice place to spend some resources.

    TROUBLE: The abbey is stuck in a remote place, and by the point I find it "in sequence" there is very little to do in the surrounding towns which you get to visit as part of doing Abbey quests (taking the tragic playing monk to Gecko and getting the pump fixed). There is also 0 combat in Gecko and VC while you're doing their quests (unless you count a random encounter or two while scouting Gecko), and the Deathclaws are really tough and nasty around this time (but you've been stocking up on resources ever since you start out from the Den). You also get quests which are solved on the other, very far part of the worldmap, and if you discover the abbey on the other side of the wordmap you have to travel almost the entire map twice for rather palty rewards which are even more paltry the later you get them.

    SUGGESTIONS: If I were to smooth out the integration of the Abbey with minimal fuss as to fit better into a natural game progression (for a good character, but still) I'd do the following: make an adjustment to the vault village quest (see that when it crops up it's my biggest gripe in the entire game), or failing that create a natural excuse involving someone in VC, Courtyard or Gecko which would put the Abbey on your map and give you a good reason to go there. The ideal time would be the first time you're visiting Gecko so you can have the pump part and the reactor part fetch quests at the same time. Otherwise, a good time would be when you're looking to optimize the plant - that quest is impossibly lame (talk to festus, talk to mcclure, that's it). I'd go with that option, honestly, adding a step where you have to find info on optimizing a pre-war reactor from the Abbey would be great.

    Then at the abbey, I'd add a New Reno hook by turning the Father Tully quest on it's head. Instead of finding the quest to find the gravekeeper from Tully, you'd get the quest from the Gravekeeper to find father Tully and if you do give him a bottle of his favourite abbey wine. I do this naturally allready, but I'm breaking sequence since I know he's going to want wine and pick it up in advance. There's also way too many stat rising books and items of all kinds in the Abbey so I'd cut down on them a bit - they're either too good if found this early, or useless if found when you go to the Abbey later. You'd also be able to pick up the heart pills quest here for you'r return trip with Marcus and Tully's regards, and you'd also be able to pick up the bothany quest. Since EPA is so obscure a location, I'd probably add the ability to get it on the map from the database here. It seems to be best visited before you beef up too much.

    So in short, add a difficult to miss reason/hook/hint in Gecko that would put Abbey on your map, put a more obvious New Reno hook to the gravekeeper which ties into getting a bottle of Abbey wine (lighter quest) before you go to New Reno, cut down a bit on the skillbooks in the Abbey (maybe).

    10) VC I get my citizenship, go into the vault and ussually go get the car before anything else. I stop at modoc if I have any unfinished bussiness there (since I'm sure to have buffout and dynamite to move rocks and I know if I can deal with a deathclaw) I go to the Den and pick the car up and upgrade it, talk to Karl, find the missing ghoul, visit redding, do everything but frog morton (sometimes) and the wannamingo mine. (which is not much TBH, Redding is horribly and terribly low on content), ussually rob the casino with the help of the stealth boy and dynamite (since I'm there - but doing that pays off way to well whenever you do it).

    11!!!) Shit breaks down.

    I'd go back to Gecko to optimize the plant and get my reward for finding woody and it would be awesome because I could also do the vault village quest while I'm the area, but there's a big flaw in the plan here. The second scouting quest for VC. This is my biggest gripe with the sequence of how things work out now (or even in the vanilla), because I always end up sort of having to do a pointless and sequence breaking compromise when a small adjustment or two would make things work out so much better.

    The vault village quest comes up after you've completed the second scouting quest for VC, which is travel all the way to the NCR.

    Now I don't have a problem per se with the idea of traveling all the way to the NCR from Vault City. It puts NCR on your map, it gives you your first hook to go there anyway, and technically takes you to New Reno because you go straight through Broken Hills that way and if you take the "get mine parts" quest you're bound to take the short detour to new reno. Then once there you deliver the suitcase to bishop and find out where the raiders are with his map (if you didn't allready). But you also get the "kill westin" quest from bishop and if you combine that with your trip to the NCR you end up screwing yourself out of the quest that has you become the captain of the guards. So that'll have to wait untill you deal with the raiders on your return trip from the NCR. But the thing is that if you do pretty much anything in the NRC at the time you get there, even if you've done everything (and that can mean everything I've said + Broken Hills + Better Part of New Reno) you're getting way better shop opportunities, way more xp for 1 dialogue quests than anywhere but San Fran and you're not nearly done with midgame. So if you don't want to break sequence in any way you are rather limited in what you can do at NCR on your first visit - but it doesn't seem so.

    Because you can easily get the GECK while you're there (very easily and with 0 combat, in several ways), and it's probably logical to do it so you don't have to worry about the starving arroyo (if that's even a factor). If you enter NCR, hear from any number of people Tandi wants you do do something, go to vault 15, use a molotov on the locked door, go in, pick up the location of vault 13 from the computer, go to vault 13 and put in the voice module you have from the VC vault or you bought in New Reno, that's endgame xp you're getting even if you don't pick up the reward from Tandi. If you do, you've broken the game right there without even trying. Its even easier if you talk to Dupont in NCR, take Westins job to guard cattle, have a high outdoorsman, find vault 13 and that's that. If you've seen bishop (and you got a good detour reason, and his breefcase) it's natural to try to see how westin is in while you're at NCR.

    And the RP specific gripe is that you're likely to go through all this before Vault Village unlocks unless you run all the way to the bottom of the map, and when you get there ignore even exploring the town for the most part and quests you got along the way, to turn back and go all the way back, solve the raiders on the way and get all their guns, and then return and be able to get the quest from Lynette that takes you back to NCR. And the vault village quest which can be solved at any level whatsoever unlocks but the rewards are meaningless, the guns you allready have, the gold you allready have. You'll visit the abbey after having done everything in Broken hills at a fine time, so when the second quest unlocks after a month it'll be the only reason to go back to that corner of the map and you'll be doing stuff more appropriate to your level everywhere else. So I've never actually done the second part of that quest, there was simply no reason to go there.

    IN SHORT: The vault village quest simply needs to unlock before the trip to NCR, while the area it is happening in is still relevant. If it means reducing the power of the guns (making them something other than assault rifles and the combat shotgun as to not give the player too much inapropriatelly decent weaponry for no effort along with gold) and the gold - great. Because by the time you do this quest unless you do unintuitive things you'll have better weponry and more gold than you know what to do with. Since you'll be returning to the area anyway to solve the Raiders quest, and later become the captain of the guards - you can have the second quest unlocked on time to actually solve it.

    SECOND: The only reason you're travelling to NCR in the vanilla is, mechanicaly, to get you to visit Broken Hills and take the detour to New Reno and have all the politic happen while steering you south. While the raiders were easy to find originally this also ment you found THEM that way too. I'm not sure anymore, but it's possible that the NCR scouting quest was indeed ment to have you discover the Raiders, then investigate that in New Reno, and then when you finally solve that triangle (along with Broken Hills), arrive in NCR with both the quest to kill Westin and deliver Lynettes message. The way things are now, the "scout around NCR" quest can't be NCR anymore, and if I make another mod that will in fact be the first thing I change. It'll be "scout broken hills". Scouting broken hills means you'll go in, do everything there, go to New Reno, do stuff there, go back to VC and THEN have the "map the route to NCR", "deliver Lynette's message" and "assassinate Westin" or at least the latter two. Then you can return to Lynette for the reward and do the second Vault Village quest.

    RESUME: So what I do now if I want to do things "naturally" is take a trip to NRC for the VC scouting quest and do the Westin brahmin guarding - Vault 13 - Geck ting for convinience (and very sequence breaking 5000 xp). I used to immediately turn back, but this stops Hakunin and my concience from bugging me and lets me explore the big picture at my own pace. Anywho, I do the pointless trip to NCR, then the Vault Village quest* and turn back and go to where I'd end up anyway - Broken Hills. (If I accidentaly find the raiders, I probably still don't have enough sneak and just don't do them since I don't in fact need their weapons as I won't be doing much fighting for a while and good mid game fights are scarce so I want to enjoy it).

    *THIRD: The vault village quest has the weird kink that it's acting as if it were supposed to unlock before you optimize the power plant as having done it before you get the quest (and the quest unlocks at the hugely silly time for it to unlock so you'll generally always unlock it later) the rat will solve it for you without even pointing you to Gordon to get the economy holodisk. Really, just tying the two quests togather with a possible Abbey hook would solve most of the issues with Vault Village.

    12) Broken Hills - I do everything, they're pretty self contained. I make sure to pick the mine parts quest and the glassess, and head over to New Reno.

    13) New Reno - I bring the suitcase to bishop, do all the stuff for other mob bossess (don't get made yet), get more car upgrades, do all the other stuff including Father Tully, Cat's Paw, breaking up the stills and possibly becoming a porn star/prizefighter (if I can't I leave it for return trips). I pick up the electronic lockpicks and technical manual from the basement with the upgrade cheat guy* (and sometimes cheat up an upgrade) and go back to Broken Hills, then do the Raiders (both the sneak + convince and then killing them anyway since the deathclaw is the last thing I killed), then Vault City. There I get the Lynette -> Westin holodisk quest.

    *The basement of New Reno Arms I've got one problem with. Namely, I'd love to be able to avoid it, but the only Electronic lockpick in the modless RP is there and I don't like fighting my instincts to get a bunch of upgrades (and with each upgrade a bunch of ammo) for free. I really whish that lockpick was somewhere else. Like anywhere. Also, it would be really, really awesome if upgrading weapons didn't refill their ammo. It makes the upgrade cheat guy way too silly even if all you want is cool guns.

    And at this point it's all mop-up with not too many unreasonable detours.

    14) Then I go to NCR, do stuff there, do Westin delivery, do Westin in, get the rangers quest, return to new reno.

    15) I get the final Bishop quest, mop stuff up if there's stuff left, pick up Myron, find EPA from him, leave him in NR, go to EPA, do the bothany quest, pick up the seeds and pick up an NPC, go back to new reno, make sure I have Myron and Marcus with me. I go to VC where I get named captain of the guards, make the Jet Antidote and get bullets out of Marcus. And then I'm done with VC, so I go over to the Abbey to mop up all the quests there (heart pills, bothany, marcus armor), head back to New Reno via Broken Hills (to use poison on a mutant) and pick up whoever I left in New Reno.

    16) Then I go to NCR, assassinate the vice prez, mop up what's left, do vault 15 for the Tandi quest, stick rubber boots on everyone and take Duppo's Brahmin Drive to redding. I do the wannamingo's and Frog Morton in, solve the jet problem and have a nice slow trek to the slaver camp first to do the ranger quest, then to toxic caves, then back to redding, caravan back down towards the car (because I can fast forward time).

    17) Then it's SAD and whatever mop-up I feel is appropriate for New Reno.

    19) San Fran - Navarro - Mariposa - Navaro whipe - San Fran - Enclave - End.


    SO IN SHORT:

    What would smooth out the integration of "extra" content and overall story progression with minimal fuss:

    - A line of dialogue for Vic regardless of whether you've freed him which puts the Slaver Camp on you map so you can solve the Sulik Sisters quest and be steered towards Umbra Tribe early enough while following the natural course of the game would be nice. And an easier and more reliable skill check for talking the slavers into letting you get away with it, with a bonus option for having Vic along for he ruse.

    - Making Abbey unlock during the VC-Gecko storyline, with Father Tully as fallback for those who blow it up.

    - Making the 1st Vault Village unlock before the second scouting mission, with possible adjustment to the guns/money involved as to not make the player too powerful. It's also a good way to make the Abbey unlock before you go south, as the rat can send you to the Abbey to get info on how to optimize the reactor or something.

    - Change the NCR scouting mission to Broken Hills scouting to avoid putting the player right next to too easy huge gobs of XP, gold and loot for no good reason out of turn and allow for a smoother and more natural transition south. The way it works now is very likely contributing to the "brokenness" of the economy system as you can just do the "officer jack wants to blow himself up" if you walk into NCR during daytime with decent speech for as much XP + books as all the Gecko quests togather. And the game steers you into a position to actually do it right afterwards.

    And, err, I think I could actually do all this myself, the little modding I've done in my life has probably been more complex. I would need a few pointers and tips, though, and I'm pretty sure the changes would be fine for any RP user.

    Thanx for the long read, I mean nothing bad, and hours of play, reading and thought went into all this and I was careful not to propose anything preposterous, so I hope I haven't offended anyone. If someone disagrees with my playstyle or the playstyle presented in this review - I played many different playstyles, this is a consideration and reconstruction of an "ideal" playthrough and places which make it difficult but could with small tweaks make the game much better. Also, some of the issues/proposals come from the integration of certain restored elements, which while great, sometimes weren't integrated in the most optimal way.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
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  2. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    334
    Jun 14, 2013
    (Reserved for moving the TL/DR when/if a request eventually comes. I think the tweak suggestions are really good and would hate it if my novel lenght textwall got in the way of getting them seriously considered, discussed or being helped with actually making them)
     
  3. J_Fred

    J_Fred Long time lurker

    286
    Dec 22, 2013
    This is really well thought out. I have the same issues, though I don't know how (or even if) most of them can be fixed.


    Be forewarned, spoilers throughout...


    I noticed that the Umbra Tribe and Abbey don't really fit (maybe that's why they aren't in the vanilla game?). There isn't really an easy, logical way to go about them. Yes you can go to the Tribe via Metzger's suggestions/pointers after freeing Sulik's sister, but it seems to not fit well with most low level characters unless you're power playing. It requires a high speech skill or a bad ass party with decent weaponry.

    Then there's the Abbey... though it is well done and a great place since you can get armor for Marcus there. However I can never find a natural, fluid progression to the Abbey. I either get there unprepared for the deathclaw or way too powerful (Combat Armor, laser Rifles, 2-3 party members). I think a lead in from Gecko would be perfect, as after finishing the Gekco/VC quest you get a decent amount of experience and hopefully you have Cassidy and a good weapon.

    The only location that I think is perfect is the EPA. I've loved it since I played the first iteration of the RP. Wonderful place. I usually go in and mod it myself to make it more difficult (a few aliens on the outside, maybe high level raiders/bounty hunters for certain character playthroughs) since the loot is so powerful on the lower levels (if you make it in).


    Good suggestions, but I'm not sure how to implement any of them. Maybe some of the modders here can speak up.
     
  4. Darek

    Darek is currently unavailable

    Jan 7, 2008
    This one I definitely agree with. Was thinking the same thing on my last playthrough.
    Also think it's a good idea to somehow learn of the Abbey before you go to New Reno.
    The rest I'm not sure about. I mean I've always disliked the scouting mission to NCR for balance reasons, but it's part of the original game and in my mind not really something the RP should mess with.
     
  5. Dravean

    Dravean Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    477
    Mar 6, 2005
    Thanks for such an in-depth review.

    As for the suggested alterations, I agree with Darek.

    I think that had the Abbey made it into the original game, someone in Vault City or Gecko would have mentioned it. I now feel this is an oversight on our part, and if killap were to agree, I'd like to address that.
     
  6. NovaRain

    NovaRain Casual Modder Modder

    Mar 10, 2007
    I agree with the Abbey and Vault Village parts. I always run to Abbey right after finishing VC/Gecko quests.
     
  7. Glovz

    Glovz Vault Dweller
    Modder

    735
    Sep 16, 2005
    Just to play devil's advocate a bit; given that the RP adds locations originally intended, this should allow for balancing tweaks to any and all other quests in the original game to adjust for game progression/flow. Given that one might consider certain decisions/changes were made to the original game prior to it's original release when decisions were originally made to not include these newly added locations affecting progression/flow in order to accommodate those missing locations.

    Now I'm not suggestion whole sale rewrites, but I'm saying any modest tweaks to original game progression/flow should be seriously considered. The guiding principal being that any tweaks not force progression to occur in a particular order (one of the reasons we all love Fallout 1/2 so much).

    So a suggestion like:
    IMHO should not be simply dismissed based on the "original game release" argument, but should of course spur further discussion and weighing of impact before final decisions around implementation.

    EDIT: @lujo --- great review! :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2016
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  8. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    334
    Jun 14, 2013
    Wow, guys, thank you for your replies. I was scared witless that my motor mouth tendencies were going to ruin all my research :(

    As for any doubts and considerations - I actually wrote down all the solutions and ideas I've had and then decided upon the simplest and the most tactful and easy to do that I had before I worte all that review up. They're mostly really small, minor, natural and sensible fixes, and probably easy to implement. Here's a "TL/DR" of that enormous textwall, in form of a slightly less enormous textwall, with how I see the implementation working best and how small it can be to work :)

    - Umbra Tribe is an early game location, and just having it on the map isn't enough since there's no reason to return there and it's very self contained. I'm not saying "make it mandatory for the story to progress", but having a way to solve the missing sister quest through Vic peacefully with level appropriate speech checks (or if you bring vic, a very easy "ruse") at the right time would provide a very nice hook and disrupt nothing. You still won't be able to beat the slavers or free the slaves, and they'll get what's coming to them later when rangers help you*.

    *Also, the rangers quest should really bring your car along if it doesn't. I think it doesn't and I think I was once stuck trekking through the wasteland on my own after a conversation in NCR :D

    Work needed: Few lines of dialogue on Vic, few lines of dialogue with the slavers at the camp (if any), a skill check adjustment.
    Bonus Points: All of the above, but leave a moderate/high speak check agains Metzger when Vic tells you to get him a radio. "He left it in some slave camp where he was held". And the Metzger can go: "Well, damn, we just bloody came back! I can't send anyone over there and I can't tell them to bring it... You know what, why don't you go get it?" or something along those lines. Leave the original radio where it is so you can just give it to Vic if your speech isn't high enough.
    Loose ends: Adding a rope for well fixing to the map to make it more self contained would be good idea. Also consider removing the fish, they're incredibly heavy, you can't do anything with them and they don't appear anywhere else.

    - Vault Village simply needs to unlock before the raiders while you're in the Gecko area, and the quest ought to involve less poweful guns and less money. Also it's currenty weird and some dialogue needs cleaning up anyway, because you can tell McClure that "You might know who's controlling them (the rats) before ever seeing the brain (and there's no real hook for finding the Brain, if a guide didn't tell me I wouldn't have ever found him).

    Work Needed: Simply changing a dialogue option for the guard captain in VC to unlock after the gecko scouting mission, adjusting the guns and the gold involved in the mission.
    Bonus Points: The trade route the Village asks for later could only get the caravan equipment from Robert Barron, but have the route established with the Abbey. There's a guy there who you can ask about the caravans but the line doesn't lead anywhere - and since you're arriving from the south on a long return trip, you stop at VV, get the quest, keep going to the Abbey and solve it there (it's the guy who sells Marcus armor anyway).

    - Abbey just needs a hook from VC or Gecko or both. Good candidates are Gordon Gecko so you meet him (a tip towards him from Wooz would also be good), and going to the Abbey to pick something up for optimizing the plant would be good enough. The rat allready seems to be acting as if optimizing the plant is tied to his role in the Vault Village quest, anyway. Anyway, tying either the 2nd reactor, or the economic holodisk quest to (a possibly optional) trip to the Abbey would be fine.

    The Abbey itself is too loaded with all sorts of stuff you can pick up, I'd personally tone it down in any case. The interactions are ok, but there's way too many skillbooks around. And maybe only one Deathclaw.

    Work Needed: Just a hard to miss conversation line or two which would put the Abbey on the map just about anywhere. Wooz, the Brain, Gordon Gecko, Festus, Skeeter, anyone. Adjusting the loot bonanza, and the deathclaw challenge to account for an earlier visit.



    And now the big controversial one which isn't actually all that controversial when you think about it (as Glovz noticed):

    - The NCR scouting

    Solution: Add a "Scout Broken Hills" mission between Gecko Scouting and NCR scouting. That's all. Leave the NCR scouting in and absolutely don't remove it.

    Isn't this fiddling with the core stuff? Actually no, this would in fact probably undo quite a largeish messup that the RP inadvertedly made when the Raiders became hard to find. What was supposed to happen on that scouting is the player running into the raiders much sooner than he ran into anything else, having a fight and then returing with the bishop notebook to Lynette (or discovering that Bishop is plotting against VC and put you on guard about him). Otherwise, keep going, discover Broken Hills, go get the mine parts in new reno, deliver the briefcase and get the Bishop mission to NCR. If you did both, you could then decide where to go. Since you'll be returning to VC, you could kill bishop for Westin on the return trip, and report to Lynette and get another hook for a trip to the NCR.

    What happens now is that you don't find the raiders easily when you attempt the trek south, so there are less reasons not only to go to NCR with the full Broken Hills - small New Reno detour, but it's easy to arrive there with a mission to kill Westin, no indication that this will impact anything (and it does), and you break the economy with pedestrian 9000 XP + books quests and way above your level loot (since you've still got VC and New Reno stuff going on - as well as probably the Raiders).

    So if it's left like this, the changes to the raiders that are currently in place actually mess the core game up in several ways (if you attempt to play it like the core game, that is without the bit obscure teleport to raiders via outdorsman thing). The "trip to NCR" thing I don't mind at all, but that mission was placed where it is with deeper intentions in mind for the core. This wouldn't be a change as much as a fix, an adjustment to what was changed allready to make it more in line with the core game.

    Work needed: Nothing much, really, just a "scout hexes around Broken Hills" mission between the gecko scouting and the NCR scouting. That's it.
    Bonus Points: Add an easy hook or two at Renesco, Eldridge or both (you'll be visiting Renosco for the mine parts, and eldrige because he's a merchant), about how bishop has bought meds and weapons for them, and possibly have them point to someone you can then get to tell you about the map in Bishops safe (or even flat out tell you where it is). This would put the Raiders on your map after you've done the Broken Hills -> New Reno detour and are likely to head north anyway. You'd still need the map and the notebook to prove anything, but the whole VC-New Reno politcs stuff, as well as the Raiders battle itself, could play out before you hit the XP and the stores in NCR and really break the game.


    Conclusion: The first 3 are simply adjustments to make the implemented locations available as choices at more appropriate times considering the story/items/level/map progression. It's the only major complaint people have had about the RP, and that is that the implemented stuff feels "off". That's because people ussually miss it when it's experienced best as the game doesn't encourage/enable it ATM (it doesn't have to implore or demand it, just hint at it).

    The fourth thing is a fix to make a lot of the original content fit back in place as he progression had been shaken up quite a bit by the raiders change inadvertedly. The raiders were like Modoc and Broken Hills, places you discover while traveling to another place but deffinitely interact with at the time you discover them and they affected your choices. Modoc made you return to the Den for Karl, Broken Hills sent you to New Reno for the mine parts, Raiders had you turn back from the scouting trip to report which changed your priorities when you went back to scouting the path to NCR again. This just gives you that "check VC again before you go to NCR" hook again. That's it. Ought to do the economy a world of good, trust me on that one :) (I'd even test it if the Vault Village unlocked without a trip to NCR)




    And a bonus thing I had on that list that didn't make it to the long writeup but is relatively small:

    The Redding Jet Addiction dialogue lines and the Gecko power plant lines with McClure are left hanging in the air after you've done everything. Some sense of closure to both those questlines would be much appreciated. No reward needed, just when you deliver the antidote and the doctor distributes it, have McClure thank you when you mention it and remove the dialogue. Same with Gecko Power plant when you're absolutely done with it. Please :)

    EDIT: Seeing any of this implemented would make me very, very happy and he RP probably much more enjoyble for the average user :)

    EDIT No.2 - What exactly is the deal with the "Stop officer Jack from blowing himself up?" giving out more XP + books than finding the Geck does? All it takes is 80% speech and a bit of dialogue and BAM! 6000XP for Jack, 3000XP (according to Per's guide) + 4 books. o.O If I were a modder with experience, I'd cut a zero off both those numbers and whip up a 3-4 quests in redding for people coming from the Den and going in the direction of New Reno, but that's just me. But those numers have got to be off somehow.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  9. UniversalWolf

    UniversalWolf eaten by a grue.

    Aug 28, 2005
    I almost always go Den->Redding->New Reno->VC. Why? Because I can hit Modoc on the way back from VC, but more importantly, I like to have a pliers when I first get to VC so I can tear up Curtis's Nixon doll. If I don't choose that option, I regret it for the rest of the game.
     
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  10. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    334
    Jun 14, 2013
    A nice metagaming path is Den - Redding - Modoc - VC, because you can steal a mentats off the doctor in Redding, and the a metats off of Lynette and pass the test immediately provided you have enouh luck. And I seem to have the pliers every time if I go Den - Modoc - VC, allthough I'm not sure where I get them.
     
  11. CPL

    CPL Still Mildly Glowing
    Modder

    294
    Mar 16, 2013
    Yes, because he needs to learn that life is cruel and unfair. I will say he's not as annoying as that brat in Redding that always runs around and gets in your way. It's too bad you couldn't do something like give him a wedgie and stuff him into a dumpster. That would be a good mod. :razz:
     
  12. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    334
    Jun 14, 2013
    Ok, a small update on the third testing run:

    - If Abbey is cannonicaly made to be included as appearing during the VC-Gecko questing time (as suggested), there might be no need to tone down the skillbook-loot bonanza. I've just tried it with a low skill points charcter, and I was very thankful for visition the Abbey just for the handbooks. However, I'm using one of the "make shopping murderous" mods, so I couldn't really obtain any of the skillbooks in the VC shop. In a regular game those books are an important gold sink, and having a bunch of handbooks handed out to you might leave you with more money than intended.

    - A small suggestion, though, would be to swap the order of fix the pump and find the book quests from the head monk. I always do them that way when I'm visiting the Abbey.


    OPTIONAL stuff worth consideration:

    If adjustments to the core game are up for discussion (conservative and sensible tweaks, not rewrites), I'm going to make note of stuff which could use a bit of a touch-up if possible. Also included are tweaks to RP exclusive content to help integration into the core game, and all suggestions are modest. For now it's just:

    Characters:

    - There is robed guy in the tent in Umbra Tribe who is inacessible untill you do all the Umbra Tribe quests, and once you acess him he doesn't do anything or say anything useful. Do anything with him. Anything at all. I suspect he gives you the Kurisu quest if you arrive there without meeting Sulik (which is unlikely), but if you arrive after having rescued Kurisu, you "unlock" him by doing all the quests and then he does nothing. Have him put Abbey on your map and a quest to deliver something there which you can do at some point, or whatever. See the Items comments section for suggestions.

    Dialogues:

    - The buckner girl dialogue always starting with "I'm glad to have helped" node after you rescued Torr to move on to the proper node. It's rather unnecessary. Being thanked once is probably enough (unless that node is necessary to involve a discount or something) :)

    - The McClure reactor and redding nodes really could "end" somehow. The redding one for instance truly leads nowhere. This should probably be done, and I'd volunteer but I seem to be unable to compile stuff.

    Quests:

    - The "buy a plow" quest in VC costs 800 gold (650% with good barter), and the reward is 150 XP and a Desert Eagle. This is terrible for several reasons - 1) You get 1-2 Desert Eagles for the Lara-Tyler quest in the Den, and you can be swimming in them by the time you reach VC since they're rather common in random encounters, 2) At this point money is still relevant and you're saving up for the car, so walking into an 800 expense for a meager reward can and probably will send you scrounging/grinding. Especially if you also buy the Abbey pump part for 500, and then there's also the gun upgrades and purchasing a colt you also might be interested in. 800 is pocket change later on, but deffinitely not at this point, and the quest is a bad deal at any point.

    Suggestion: Do anything with it. It might be that selling the gun gives you more money and the "murderous bartering" mod is messing with me, but what you're interested in at that point probably isn't a deagle. I'd take just about anything instead of it, or at least have a decent gold/xp ratio. Getting an upgraded Desert Eagle, on the other hand, would probably be enough.

    - The 9000 XP reward for talking the cop out of the suicide in NCR is truly preposterous. It's so preposterous that it's part of a very dedicated "only evil even if no rewards" walkthourgh, since it's too much of a good deal, pretty much the only place where the author goes "screw evil just this once, you can't pass that up". Toning down this overkill really might be a good idea.


    ITEMS:

    - There are a few items which have jarringly disproportionate weight/price/relevance ratios, namely: Rope, Scorpion Tail, Fish, Junk. An infinite supply of gamebreaking chems is weightless, rope is so heavy that you'd think having 2 on you at all times would break the game in half. I'd love it if they were more user friendly, halving their weights wouldn't harm anything probably.

    - Several items seem to be leftovers from mods which needed them but seem to have no relevance or no integration in the core game, making added stuff stand out and seem less integrated. Namely:

    1) Fish. i know there's some in san francisco, and it's possible it was in the core files, but fish graphics look like rather obvious photoshops of actual fish and it sort of breaks immersion - I'd do away with them for aesthetic reasons and preserving the original art style as much as possible). There's no quests involving them, they're heavy as all hell, the meats at least have a use with Gecko's chasing after them (not sure about fish), and all it seems to do is make the places they appear in "tacked on".

    2) The two books you can find in the Abbey are a complete mystery to me - one is an Army Manual and another is some sort of binder which I can also find no use for. I really, really, really whish those two either get a clear purpose within the game or GTFO.

    A thoughtful suggestion: One good way to make all the "only useful in one location" or "leftover from a broader mod" items to work for the RP instead of against it is to have them appear in a different location. If those books have no purpose in the game, one purpose you could make them have is to give them small fetch quests to deliver them TO the abbey and have them appear elsewhere.

    An idea I've had is that the guy in the Umbra Tribe could give you those books when you unlock him by doing all the quests. If you then take the books to the Abbey and acess their database (after killing the Deathclaws) that could put the locations of EPA and/or SAD on your map. Or simply deliver them there for a small reward. Or they could be found at the "information centre" in the Vault City as a hook for the Abbey or whatever.

    Ok, I hope at least some of these sound reasonable and give the people in charge impetus to smooth out a few kinks before there is a definitive "final" version of the RP :) Or someone helps me out with setting up a working sfall editor and compiler for XP sp3 so I can do this stuff and just hand it over :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
  13. Drobovik

    Drobovik Vault Archivarius Modder

    417
    Jun 20, 2011
    lujo,

    You can use sfall script editor from modderspack 2.17. It works on XP. Here is the link. But you would still need script sources for RP, since Killap uses headers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  14. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    334
    Jun 14, 2013
    Thank you!

    Well, if any of these got approved I could probably help by doing what I can with the code in advance so implementing it isn't intruding on other people's time. Editing dialogues and fixing nodes can be a lot of work for a small change. I wouldn't be able to compile, but if Killap likes the job done he can...

    Also, I just found two more unnecessarily silly interactions:

    - If you get married in Modoc, Grisham's stops talking to you (he only floats stuff, doesn't enter dialogue). This cuts you off from guarding his brahmin, trading with him and taking Bess to the slaughterhouse unless you've done it before you got married which is really random and silly. It's also bound to let down any people using the wonderful Miria for real mod.

    - Also, Per's guide mentions a quest which I've never ever done due to the same kind of sillyness. Apparently, if you kill the supermutant for Merk, the bartender's, Mira's dialogue also changes disallowing the "Deal with officer Jack for Mira" quest. I don't know if this was ever adressed, but probably ought to be. I'll check it out better when I get to NCR in the current walkthrough.

    EDIT: - Also, solving the Gecko power plant problem seems to cut you off from doing the citizenship test "just for the hell of it" (The guy stops dialogueing and starts "floating"). Which is a shame as you're unlikley to be able to do it unless you metagame or edit your save game with it in mind when you first come to VC because of luck (mentats would get you through otherwise). But you can substantially improve your luck with the Zeta scan and the +1 luck perk later (especially since a quest has you go to NCR and back), so being able to do the test after that even if you're allready a citizen might be a nice idea.*

    *Heck, it would make a cool info chain if someone (I mean me) were to find the time to implement it. You could find out that the test is ment to be impossible to solve through dialogue, copying it and having someone smart analyse it, anywho find out that you'd have to be smart, perceptive and... Lucky! Then you could get hints about the hubologist luck from somewhere and work your way to figuring out you need a zeta scan an then obtaining one. And then go back an do it like a boss. This is probably more work than anyone but me would be willing to do for it, and would probably never get into a build of the RP, but I'd love to be able to provide this as a mod :) (i also think I know of a nifty way to do this and make it smooth using the Thomas Moore guy in VC).
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
  15. CPL

    CPL Still Mildly Glowing
    Modder

    294
    Mar 16, 2013
    I like these ideas. By the way, in case you didn't know about it, you can change the weight (as well as other things) of items with Cubik's editor http://cubik2k.w.interia.pl/en_index.htm if you want to do it yourself. I use this thing all of the time and it's a good program for that.
     
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  16. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    334
    Jun 14, 2013
    Ty, that will come in handy :)

    Also, I found another good reason to make the adjustment to the VC scouting quest chain (namely inserting a broken hills scouting run between the two currently in place) - Kaga! If Kaga is RP cannon, this probably has to be done, and I have another observation which may help with some complaints I've seen about people not liking Kaga (I might've figured it out :) )

    - What happened on the current run (low skill point gain, low lockpick until very recently, very, very little stealing, outdoorsman only from books) is that I went for the NRC scouting with nothing left in VC (and I didn't find the raiders, obv, and I didn't stop at BH). I ran into Kaga who is, if I'm not much mistaken, programmed to appear when you enter certain regions. He had combat armor, a minigun and a laser rifle! I was impossibly lucky that he didn't just use the minigun and mow my entire squad down, because he won sequence, and he went for me instead of someone with lower hit points with the laser rifle and I barely survived (he even missed once! And so did all his goons!).

    If I weren't impossibly lucky there'd be no way I'd be able to survive that! And I also allready reloaded once because I ran into some raiders near NCR minutes ago (this was a second attempt to scout) and one of them bursted down sulik in one round. But that's not the worst of it:

    - See, now that I've killed Kaga I got a H&K Caws (silver shotgun) and a H&K 10mm Submachinegun waaaaay out of turn so no money. And I've got quests and quest chains ahead of me with combat shotguns and grease guns as rewards. And since I haven't even seen the raiders or New Reno I'm going to be overequipped for both and whatever drops there is going to be meh (and seconds ago landing a grease gun would've made my squad orders of magnitude more powerful). I'm at leather armors, one combat leather jacket, a combat shogun I got out of sequence in Redding (killed 3 of Frogs goons while clearing rats), deagles, one assault rile, some grenades and throwing kinves and a 10 mm SMG. And now I got essentially end game gear, before I've seen half of the mid game :(

    - Also, unrelated to the NCR encounter which can break the game on it's own, the first encounter with Kaga is a bit impossible to win. I'd say his entire quest chain could do without the first "tribal" encounter. It easily sours him to any hapless newbie and disrupts the rather pleasant early game too much. This is not the first time this thought occured to me.

    - Another observation is that the very easy "Bridge" special encounter is too easy to encounter. I took no scouting perks so I don't have a high rate of special encounter popups and every playthrough I've managed to find the bridge (this time between the Den and Modoc), and what this does is set me up with a free combat armor way ahead of sequence. I'm not using it this time because it's just cheezy, but if possible I'd very much advize to set it up to only appear in the later stages of the game and possibly in a more remote area. A wightless combat armor dropping for free IS gamebreaking and silly and appears way to regularly.

    - EDIT: Dialogue - the king rat's dialogue seems to abruptly end for no reason when you accept renewal. He looks to ask you for a favour, and then when you ask him what to do instead of getting his reply the dialogue just ends.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  17. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    334
    Jun 14, 2013
    EPA is still crashing on any visit after the first. Is anyone else experiencing this? I've got it on every playthrough regardless of mods, and it's really limiting my experience of the place :(

    Three more tweaking notes, concerning encounters :) :

    - The 2 out of 3 raiders in combat armor graphics don't aggro with the rest of the guys. I've had them stuck in the far northeastern corner of the raiders map. They're sitting there while I kill everyone else and only aggro when I walk up the corridor, and they behave strange even then, sometimes using their entire turn to walk back and forth. A good idea might be to check it out and either have them all aggro at once, or have 2-3 separate groups of simmilar sizes who aggro on their own (to help decrease the manhole entrance's chokepoint benefits to the player, as detailed below)

    - Fighting the raiders from the cave entrance and fighting them from the manhole entrance is way too different in terms of difficulty. When you consider that finding the map is a rare truly reliable way of locating the raiders, and the map always seems to take me to the manhole entrance, it's sort of taking the challenge out of what is a rare decent-mid game fight. Simply put, one entrance puts you in a mine filled shooting gallery for the raiders, and the other entrance gives you one of the rare few (if not only) truly one-sided chokepoints in the game. It makes the challenge trivial.

    Solutions:

    a) Make the player work for the chokepoint - by transporting the cave with pitfalls and mines to lead from the manhole entrance to the base instead of the cave entrance. It would actually make sense since the raiders have the chainlink and the mines towards the cave entrance, so whoever comes through there is going to get dispatched easily, but since they're obviously using the other entrance they'd know where the traps are while whoever comes through there would get himself killed before he reaches their supplies/defensive chokepoint.
    b) Remove the rocks that make up the choke point. Having handy corners to turn is enough of an advantage compared to what you get if you come from the cave.
    c) Change the raider aggro so they don't all rush in and get killed one by one because this is ridiculous.

    - The wannamingos on the third level of the mine have a strange and seemingly endless aggro range. It's also inconsistent - sometimes the entire map full of aliens comes after you, sometimes the ones near the elevator don't. I'd be happy for either consistency, or a more reasonable aggro range for them - I don't mind fighting a map full of aliens, but it sort of takes forever and anyone who has any combat glitch, crash or anything like that has probably cursed this place very often. I know I avoided it on several occasions when I was having combat crashes simply because of the silly aggro range.
     
  18. J_Fred

    J_Fred Long time lurker

    286
    Dec 22, 2013
    I don't have any issues with the EPA.

    Any progress on your own mod, or has anyone involved with the RP (Killap...?) responded to your suggestions?
     
  19. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    334
    Jun 14, 2013
    Well, some suggestions have caught some people's attention, but nothing confirmed. I've been playtesting the economy rebalance mod, and managed to find what was wrong with EPA (a ddraw option seems to cause problems with it if enabled), so I haven't actualy don't anything yet. But I will, no rush.
     
  20. teukros

    teukros It Wandered In From the Wastes

    130
    Sep 5, 2010
    These are sensible and conservative changes to improve game flow and it is a shame that they did not make it into the RP. Maybe in 2.3.punkgirl?