The Enclave: Evil or Machiavellian?

Discussion in 'Fallout 3 Discussion' started by KingArthur, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. KingArthur

    KingArthur You Have Alerted the Horse [REDACTED]

    Jun 25, 2018
    So I saw a lot of threads with similar reasons for being but 1) I don't wanna gravedig and 2) I was hoping for more of an argument discussion like in @Apollyon's Lanius thread. So without further ado...

    I believe that the Enclave, as a group, are not strictly "evil", in the conventional sense. More aggressive in their methods, perhaps, than even the Legion, but not evil. Looking at the Enclave portrayed in Fallout 3, we see typical villains, with the only reasonable character in their ranks being the ZAX unit that serves as their current president; but we'll get to Eden. To explain what I want to, how I want to, we have to go back to Fallout 2.

    The Enclave in 2 have a point. The filth and mutated humans that infest the wasteland are pushing the soul of America further down when it should be on the rise; should be returning. Perhaps their methods are extreme; but the situation in the wastes is extreme as well. To talk softly and carry a big stick, one must first possess a stick to begin with, and the Enclave, as the most technologically advanced faction by far, undoubtedly have the biggest stick. In order to truly threaten the problems they perceive as plaguing the wastes, the Enclave needs to have a fist of iron.

    Now, one might argue that the NCR embodies that "soul of America" I mentioned. Perhaps; but a later America. When the bombs dropped, humanity went back to the stone age. The clock was reset. Simply put, the world of Fallout isn't yet ready for a faction as progressive as the Republic. The Enclave, on the other hand, embody early America. Manifest destiny, and settling a strange land. The Enclave, harsh as they are, are perhaps what the wasteland needs.

    Again, I don't believe that the Enclave is evil. They simply see the wasteland in a different light than the other factions, who label them as such because they 1) feel threatened by the Enclave, for obvious reasons, or 2) they simply don't believe that the ends justify the means as much as the Enclave do. Look at Orion Moreno; even years after the fall of Navarro, Arcade describes him as truly having believed in the Enclave's cause and motives, truly feeling that he was creating a better world. If it takes some eggs to make an omelet, then the Enclave has thrown the whole dozen into the mixer; and while the methods resulting are certainly harsh, in the minds of those fighting for the Enclave (for the most part), the work they're doing is worth the slaughter of civilians and cleansing of ghouls and other mutants because it's getting America back on its feet; they're rebuilding Western imperialism and uniting the Disunited States, at all costs.

    Finally, John Henry Eden, Fallout 3, and the future of the Enclave as I see it. JH Eden is an understandable character in a game where the vast majority of NPCs are not characters at all, but caricatures. He's well spoken, polite, and treats the Lone Wanderer with all respect due to a prisoner of war when they're captured. He also wants them to sabotage Project Purity. In keeping with Enclave methods, Eden's plan for those who didn't play 3 is to insert a modified strand of the FEV into a water purifier, sparking death and decimation across the Capital Wasteland as those considered genetic "mutants" are killed off in droves. In the short term, death across the wasteland is obviously a bad thing. But in the long term? The FEV in Project Purity accomplishes everything the Enclave wanted from the beginning, and arguably creates a better world... for those left.

    Finally, where the Enclave is going. As of Broken Steel, they're on the way out, obviously. Hunted by the New California Republic and the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel, the Enclave and their plans for the wasteland are dying. In addition, the Raven Rock sequence in 3 shows a breakdown of chain of command when the Enclave soldiers choose to follow Augustus Autumn over their own commander-in-chief, Eden. The rot and corruption that the NCR experiences by New Vegas is happening much more rapidly to the Enclave remnants, as the old breed dies and the new East Coast Enclave can't even follow orders.

    Put simply, the Enclave is on their way out. And while their methods were brutal, their ideals were, in a skewed, fucked-up way, noble. They truly wanted to make a better life (for those they deemed worthy), a life akin to the Pre-War US. And while other factions arguably provide better freedoms or governance or less heavy-handed methods, one cannot deny that the Enclave, had they won, would've provided more security and stability than any other faction could dream of doing.

    The Enclave are fascists, in a world of pure chaos. Sometimes it takes less-than-kind methods to tame a savage world. In their eyes, they truly are doing what's right. And if you don't agree (as I don't), you can, at the very least, respect their conviction, and their desires for a better, more stable future.
  2. I dispute that they're Fascist - just Ultranationalist Militarists with a Supremacist bent. I also think they're still idiotic because of that supremacist bent.

    There's nothing stopping the Enclave of just taking over, ruling as a detached and aloof caste, regulating everyone else to untouchables, ruling by proxy and agents and maybe Vault Pures, and THEN wiping out everyone, slowly, while also rebuilding and nurturing their numbers.

    Think more of the Aliens from X:Com 2 than the murderous fiends we got, that, as soon as they arrived, everyone knew what they were doing and ganged up on them and they're remembered as one of the most potent threats to Post-War civilization along with the Master.
  3. Atomkilla

    Atomkilla Hazel Hegemon oTO Orderite

    Dec 26, 2010
    Enclave are so blatantly evil it's almost comical.

    Their plan of cleansing the wasteland from irradiated human filth is nothing more but a cheap parallel to Nazi regime and them cleansing untermensch. Their methods are also horrific, and horrifically over-the-top (remember when Frank Horrigan massacred that wasteland family for no discernible reason? Apparently, sending your top-man/right hand/mad dog to do such a menial job is warranted). They are genocidal as a principle, and I think it's hard to justify such drastic actions, to say it mildly, even in a bleak post-apocalyptic world of Fallout 2.

    But the thing with Enclave is that their whole ideology and plan is, even within the context of the setting, completely wrong and simply idiotic (which is another nod to Nazi regime and their brilliance).
    "Cleansing" the wasteland from humans which are mutated due to radiation is ridiculous due to several reasons, mostly relating to physics and human biology. Even if Enclave is truly somehow "pure" due to their isolation (which I doubt, but let's go with their definition/game's portrayal), the moment they set their foot on the irradiated continent, they themselves will become filth in their own definition of the word.
    Accumulative dose of radiation will work slowly but finely on each and every one of their members, and while they will be free from massive radiation exposure or FEV, a level of contamination is inevitable. Enclave simply cannot stay pure.

    Not to mention the logistics issue here.
    Enclave plans to exterminate massive number of exactly? Sure, they have superior weapons, but they lack in numbers. And their overall organization isn't actually the best (or a backwater tribal wouldn't have so easily blown them up), but regarding those numbers - they will be spread thin, eventually. They'll need a new crop of fresh meat for the grinder, and the only source is...yep, the wasteland folk. So they would eventually have to accept wastelanders into their ranks (and depending on your interpretation of Navarro's security, they already have), which would technically bring them bad genes into their perfect genepool. Sure, they'd have some level of screening and selection, but the cold fact is permafrost - wasteland "untermensch" blood will inevitably be mixed with "ubermensch".

    The only potentially viable aspect of their ideology is ghoul and Super Mutant extermination, but the obvious irony is obvious, given that Enclave already employs what is basically a Super Mutant in their ranks. Well, this isn't so much of an irony as it is pure hypocrisy on their part, which isn't exactly unheard of when it comes to totalitarian regimes.

    FNV's portrayal of ex-Enclave officers does give them more character and shows how ignorant, deluded, blinded by principles or simply naive were. Some obviously thought they were doing the right thing - which is, again, pretty common. Your average Wehrmacht was hardly informed about what was actually going on and what his own country was doing to civilians, and the similar thing applies here.
    Some of there might have had their heart in the right place, given the circumstances, but they participated in continental and century long delusion and bland idiocy.

    Looking at Enclave outside of the game's borders, they are simply rushed and poorly written. Compare them to Unity and the Master, the villain and his organization who:
    a) make sense;
    b) are more than relatable in the context of the setting;
    c) have a reasonably working plan, with infrastructure and means to support it;
    d) said plan has a insanely large, but hidden, flaw which gets recognized by their Master thanks to the player character, and this leads to their subsequent demise;
    e) aren't cliche;
    f) interesting endgame boss;

    Enclave has none of that. They are a cheap knock-off of Nazis mixed with American (ultra)nationalism and retro-futuristic tech which is adequate given the setting, with a plan that has more holes than a Swiss cheese, bad introduction into the game (they are basically hamfisted as a villain at some point with poor exposition), little to no nuance and their endgame boss, while intimidating, literally has only the purpose of being a bossfight. Just that.
    You meet him at the end of the dark corridor, and that's it. If it weren't for that previously mentioned encounter with him in the wastes, you'd have no idea who he/it is (which is, in my opinion, the reason why they clumsily added him in that encounter - devs realized there is no proper foreshadowing for Frank at any point of the game, and meeting him only at the end would be a surprise followed by "wat"). Compare that to The Master, who is slowly and meticulously built up as a dark leader of this obscure organization, and when you finally meet the beast, it is more than satisfying. And horrifying.

    It should be mentioned that Enclave does essentially serve as a critique of several aspects of US governance (and governance in general), but it is too bland to offer anything meaningful/original.

    I don't remember much of FO3's Enclave, except that it too was full of incompetent idiots with no coherent or sensible plan.

    To sum it up, Enclave is evil simply because they are so poorly written that they can be nothing else but mustache-twirling evil. The few redeeming qualities they have were added in FNV, long after they have already been established as a very bland villain which is remembered simply because it's FO2 after all, Bethesda keeps reusing them and all those people who got into series with FO3 have a strong impression of Enclave because they were the main villain in FO3 too, which as we all know, was a massive hit.
    Oh and visually they are superbly done. Seriously, that APA they wear is just so menacing and memorable.
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 4
  4. TheHouseAlwaysWins

    TheHouseAlwaysWins Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Nov 28, 2015
    The enclave aren't paced that well throughout the story but I disagree with you on the rest of everything. The master and legion aren't neutral grey groups. The master and the legion are both black as far as morality is. The master's slogan is literally "one race, one goal, one people". It's a slogan that's meant to be very similar to nazi Germany. The master wants to fix the world by exterminating humanity.

    The legion are hypocrities that believe that the NCR is a ghost (which they are right about) but dress in legion armor while using chemicals on enemies, enslaving an entire gender, and crucifying everyone that blocks them to their victory.
  5. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    Many years ago I suggested a theory that it might have been interesting if the player discovered that the Enclave itself would be revealed to be a Social Experiment, and that the xenophobia and jingoism was part of it. Scientists wanted to find out if a group perceiving itself as the successors of the pre war US government could survive and be successful in building a new nation.

    So certain government officials, military leaders, and even heads of corporations, the people who felt that they represented the best of humanity and had to survive were selected for the experiment along with scientists, technicians, soldiers etc.
    And all the while they would be observed and information would be collected.

    The player would be able to confront president Richardson with this information, and when convinced that he was nothing but a puppet or a statistic in some dead scientist's planned experiment he would cooperate with the player. (yeah I know that is a 180 degree change of outlook/personality but the Master also changed his tune when confronted with the fact that his new humanity would be extinct after one generation)

    I know this would feel like a mind fuck but in the context of Fallout 2's main plotline it seems pretty fitting.

    But who would collecting this information? Another more secretive Enclave like group?
    Well it could have been used as a setup for a plotline in a sequel. Personally I would have two answers;

    1. The information would be send to a bunker full of corpses (Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center for example)

    2. Or that the information would be collected by a computer (not a true AI) to be worked into a true plan of rebuilding the United States (perhaps influencing emerging nations such as the NCR)

    Heh one idea I had was that all information would be send to an orbiting space station that monitored the destruction of the oil rig. Onboard was the brain of the pre war president (he had undergone this medical procedure so that his brain could survive in life extending chemicals) that was accompanied by dozens of computers programmed to serve him.
    At the end of Fallout 2 he would give the order to his computer secretary to start gestating pure human clones in some kind of underground facility while he would work on a strategy to deal with the "mutations" on the surface.
    It would take twenty to thirty years for the clones to reach maturity, putting a sequel around that time with the player character being one of those clones.

    As for the Enclave being the best option/hope for the Fallout world, I have heard this one before and I strongly disagree.
    I don't think that the Enclave would necessarily need outside blood to replenish their rank. (they probably have a gene bank full of frozen ova and sperm from suitable pre war donors (selected of course because they were the best of Pre War humanity) to ensure genetic diversity and I would not rule out that they even have the means to artificially gestate these.

    One of the main problems I see with the Enclave is their very own nature, they need an outside enemy to maintain the organization. As long as there is a threat the people more or less stay united and under control of the president and his people and they can continue to rule as they do now.

    Without any outside enemies sooner or later the organization would start to fall apart should it have returned to the mainland. You can not keep dissenting thoughts from happening.
    Oh the Enclave could do purges from time to time but in time some people would take their chances in the wilderness and even the military guys might start to question this state of military alertness when there are only animals, although some quite dangerous, left in the wasteland. You don't need power armor, energy weapons, and vertibirds and who knows what other weapons the Enclave had in storage or was working on to fight those.
    People might even question the ridiculous expenses on weaponry and other military technologies when there much more pressing needs.

    The Enclave would have to fabricate itself a new enemy in order to continue as it did in the century since the War

    As for the Enclave being noble, perhaps some of its people could qualify, but the organization itself was rotten.
  6. Atomkilla

    Atomkilla Hazel Hegemon oTO Orderite

    Dec 26, 2010

    I've never said Unity is morally grey. I'm just saying that it is far better written and conceptualized than Enclave. Unlike Enclave, the Master isn't a bland Sunday morning cartoon villain.
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  7. KingArthur

    KingArthur You Have Alerted the Horse [REDACTED]

    Jun 25, 2018
    Hold your tongue, wastrel.
    Was less saying that the Enclave itself was noble than that their base cause might be misconstrued as such; as for them being the best chance for the wasteland? I agree, no. The perfect government is in the eyes of the beholder. For me it's Caesar's Legion or an Independent Vegas. For TheHouseAlwaysWins it's an old man in a tube. For you it might be none of the above, etc.
  8. Veers

    Veers Fire when ready.

    Jan 3, 2017
    Might be a controversial answer: neither. They're the good guys, in my honest opinion, and working in the right. The methods are extreme, but they remain the only faction with the mission of restoring the world to its prewar state. The NCR and the Legion just want to copy old governments and "nuclearize" them. The Brotherhood of Steel and Mr. House just want to horde technology and isolate themselves. The Master wanted to take life to a new evolutionary stage, despite a particular flaw cracking the plan wide open. Every other minor faction and tribe just wants their own slice of the Wasteland and that's it. The Enclave, and only the Enclave, wants the world back the way it was. Sad thing is, being correct on that is exactly why they lose. Every other faction has to fight them, and they'll always be hugely outnumbered, since their triumph would mean everyone else is gone. Short of the player stepping in and winning for them, they'd never totally succeed.

    As for the members of the Enclave itself, none of them are maniacal psychopaths about what they're doing. They're not doing it out of fun or glee. They're doing it because their mission is the only thing that could, potentially, preserve unmutated humanity and bring back the old world. To say they're cartoon villains is to completely misunderstand their entire premise, ideology, and methodology, and to totally ignore the people you meet within them and the things they say.

    There are things the Enclave could do better for sure. This is Fallout, nobody's perfect and no faction's a totally right or wrong choice, and the Enclave has plenty of problems. They should reform to incorporate Wastelanders who aren't obviously mutated, expand their PR and aim for control by other means besides fighting the world solo. Colonel Autumn was trying to do this, and I think it would've worked. Opening up their ranks and maintaning the goal of wiping out mutation and restoring the old world would help a lot. Gotta bend some to the circumstances or else you break.

    It's just a shame that even in Fallout 2 you're railroaded into fighting them, and the option to "join" them in 3 is halfassed and ultimately irrelevant. There've been enough requests for Enclave storylines and Enclave mods since the FO2 days that it's safe to say plenty of people would join them given the chance.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  9. KingArthur

    KingArthur You Have Alerted the Horse [REDACTED]

    Jun 25, 2018


    Controversial or not, this is the kind of response I was kinda hoping for when I made this thread. The Enclave is easily seen as evil, but in my opinion they aren’t, and in yours they’re good. I honestly believe that the Enclave are simply brutal in their methods, but ultimately are not truly evil. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one.
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  10. Veers

    Veers Fire when ready.

    Jan 3, 2017
    Don't worry, a third of me's true to Caesar, just the Enclave and House take up a little more room.

    It's an interesting subject though. There've been a lot of takes on the Enclave over the years.
  11. KingArthur

    KingArthur You Have Alerted the Horse [REDACTED]

    Jun 25, 2018
    Indeed. They’re fascinating characters, not nearly the one-dimensional villains everyone seems to think they are.

    Take Augustus Autumn for example. Of course he was gonna kill you after you gave him the purifier code; you were no longer useful to him. The Enclave does what they see themselves as having to, but they’re not just sadistic monsters. The only exception I can honestly think of is Frank “Now Who Wants Some Lunch” Horrigan, who was so fucking whacked out of his mind that he can’t be used to represent the Enclave as a whole.
  12. Apollyon

    Apollyon It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 29, 2017
    The question that pops up in my mind is, are genetic mutants really the biggest threat to the Wasteland?

    Maybe I am biased, because in F:NV the Super Mutants are little more than a side note and some are even shown as being mentally healthy. In F:3 they are more menacing, especially due to their large presence in the ruins of D.C., but in the end they seemed disorganized and aimless to me; little more than a slightly out of control infestation of wasteland critters. Even small communities of the Capital Wasteland are (for now) able to resist, and the Enclave and the Brotherhood of Steel have enough firepower to bring the fight to the mutants. In this light, 'cleansing' the Wasteland with the F.E.V. may be an unnecessarily brutal short-cut, since the defeat of the Super Mutants seems to be inevitable.

    In the end, the biggest threat to humanity is its greed and degeneracy, and purging the Wasteland of mutants does little to protect against that 'threat from within'.
  13. KingArthur

    KingArthur You Have Alerted the Horse [REDACTED]

    Jun 25, 2018
    I see that; but you can’t deny that the Master and his Unity left a definite mark on the Wasteland. For an organization like the Enclave, the idea of another mutant uprising to replace humanity led by other shadowy and powerful forces must be terrifying.
  14. Apollyon

    Apollyon It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 29, 2017
    I certainly don't think they're outright evil. They did some experiments on people, but what pre-war government didn't? And a case could be made for the conditions of the Wasteland being more pressing, justifying their methods. Their priorities seem off, though. If they want to become the successor to pre-war America, why aren't they carving out/expanding their territory? If they would use their hardware to provide security to people, I'm sure they would muster a lot of support. Instead they are out conducting "evil" experiments and poisoning water supplies. To what end? I have trouble following the logic. To be honest, I think the reason for this is simply that the narrative needed an antagonistic faction that could wear the label "evil baddies", a phenomenon we are all too familiar with.
  15. Sublime

    Sublime Still Mildly Glowing

    Jun 5, 2018
    Fallout 2 Enclave is just space nazi. If Bethesda hadn't fucked up as they have, Fallout 3's Enclave could have been an interesting faction. They should have been presented as a fascist and totalitaria organization trying to restore old world America. Heck, the way Bethesda turned Supermutants into orcs and ghouls into monster, combined with the shitload of raiders and maniacs would have been the strongest argument for the Enclave.
    (Especially considering how the Brotherhood ended up)
  16. KingArthur

    KingArthur You Have Alerted the Horse [REDACTED]

    Jun 25, 2018
    I mean, I suppose their idea was to consolidate what they already had, rather than expand outright. Like building up major settlements rather than conquering more in Total War, to use a synonym. That's just a theory though. Tbh I would like to think that the Enclave does provide security to people in places like Navarro for sure, but helping people F3 Brotherhood-style would be "assisting mutants", in their ideology.
    The biggest tragedy of Fallout 3 is what they did to my beloved metal monks (yes that is an OST reference). Jokes aside, the Enclave really was more interesting than any other faction in that game, if only because they were all so shallow. I think the argument for the Enclave is more implied than stated, no doubt unintentionally on Bethesda's part. Their whole "we have a huge open world, let's just fill it with enemies and shit" makes the Enclave seem a viable alternative despite them obviously being the "villains" of the game.
  17. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Yer fond of me Lobster!

    Oct 26, 2016
    I'm finding it difficult to process that a faction of power armor Nazis, were in fact just misunderstood good guys fighting for America.
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 4
  18. Veers

    Veers Fire when ready.

    Jan 3, 2017
    Godwin's law wasn't meant to be an actual method of arguing.
  19. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Yer fond of me Lobster!

    Oct 26, 2016
    Godwin's law is about topics that go on so long they eventually spiral into direct comparisons to Nazis even though they're mostly unrelated.

    The entire ideology of the Enclave, and by extension their actions, mirror the day to day business operations of 1930's Germany. Do we actually want to get into the semantic differences between experimenting on vault dwellers vs. Jews?
  20. KingArthur

    KingArthur You Have Alerted the Horse [REDACTED]

    Jun 25, 2018
    I’m literally not saying they’re good guys. At no point have I sided with the Enclave.

    Misunderstood and Machiavellian does not = good.

    Not evil does not = good.

    It means that they’re more morally grey than people like to believe, but that doesn’t mean they’re “good guys”. Heads up, the world isn’t black and white. Things aren’t only good or evil, there’s middle ground. With the Enclave, that middle ground ABSOLUTELY TENDS TOWARDS EVIL. But it’s still middle ground.