Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Things Fallout 3 Taught Me About Surviving EOTWAWKI Part 1

I have never been much of a video game player. My mom never let me sit around and play video games as a child. While I did go through a Halo phase while in college, the only real game addiction I ever had was to Fallout 3.

Fallout 3 is a roll playing game/first person shooter that  takes place in the year 2277, over 200 years after the great war. You play a self-styled character who has escaped The Vault and you find yourself in an extremely hostile world of which you are completely unprepared for. How the game goes is now on you. For more information on this awesome game, check out the Fallout Wiki.

I don't know how many hours I logged in this game, and while there is an "official" end of the game, you can play this game forever. There are a finite amount of missions and side quests, but the game is never truly over. I know at one point that I had 40 hours logged and I had completed about a 5 missions. Anyways, while it's just a game and all 100% fictional, there are some very important things to learn from this game on dealing with the post-apocalyptic world. This is on in fun, now....so...let's hear some of yours!

  • There is a reason it's called The Wasteland. Traipsing through the bush is a way to find new places, discover caches of weapons and riches untold, but there is a reason why no one lives out here. Additionally, when you randomly come across corpses, there is usually a reason. Go ahead and loot the corpse, but it may be best to find another way. It's awfully easy to fall in a deep hole. Or stumble across a pack of ravenous animals. Or worse. 
  • Radiation is a bad thing, but it isn't what people commonly think of it. Radiation doesn't just cold-cock you. It kills you slowly. And, surprisingly, the body can deal with a lot of it over time. If you are forced to either take a little radiation that MIGHT hurt you or skirt a radiated zone through an area populated with miscreants who will surely hurt you, maybe you should suck it up. 
  • When in a populated area, never show your cards. Specifically, if you are armed, don't announce it by openly carrying. It's almost always better to have people underestimate you. Furthermore, some people may see you as a direct threat and may open fire on you for no reason other than they really like what you have. And, they typically do it behind your back. 
  • Rocket launchers in an enclosed environment are always a bad idea. So are hand grenades and Molotov cocktails. Just avoid incendiary devices inside at all times. Too many bad things can happen too quickly. 
  • Just because there was no one on your path heading one way doesn't mean there won't be one on the way back. And when you are tracking someone, never forget that someone may be tracking you...or hoping you are following. 
  • Travel light whenever possible. Believe it or not, there is only so much weapons and ammo that you can carry. If you find something extremely important that you want to take with you, it's better not to have to decide whether to drop the missile launcher or the sniper rifle just to have a free hand. Furthermore, the more you carry, the more clumsy and slow you are. If you are overburdened with armor, an assault rifle, and rocket launcher, and 50 pounds of other supplies, its hard to move quietly or quickly. 
  • Gauge confrontations very carefully.  If you really want to ambush someone, make sure you do an adequate job scouting. Sometimes it's better just to make a note and keep on walking. Anything nice won't be yours for the taking without a fight. And, like my grandfather always said...for every 1 that you see are 4 that you don't. 
  • Know when to run. Believe it or not, sometimes you will stumble into situations that you don't want to shoot out of. Sometimes  the tables can get turned on  an otherwise good looking situations and even really bad shots can get a lucky one in every once in awhile. Your first instinct in any unplanned encounter should be to run. 
  • Always have a planned exit strategy if things go to pot. You never want to run through an area you have never been through before. It's hard to pay much attention while you are running fill-tilt. You may not pay any attention to all the trip wires set up to the landmines of someone's booby trap. 
  • Never take people at face value and always consider what would happen if they get a better deal elsewhere. People get desperate. People are also selfish and greedy. You always have to assume that if there is something you want from someone, someone else will want it to. And, they may pay more. 
  • Weapon maintenance is extremely important. Take care of your own weapons. Never pick up a weapon off the ground and expect it to save your life. It may simply not fire at all or it just might blow up in your face entirely. 
  • Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when entering a conflict. Know where to fight from and where to run to. You may have thought it out and have a great ambush spot with hard cover and great angles. You may not have considered that your hard cover is a car filled with gas. Maybe your opponent does and rolls a grenade under it. Or maybe he just gets a lucky shot in and blows the gas tank. You may have picked out a great water tower to pick people off with your sniper rifle. But what happens if they figure out where you are and surround the bottom of the ladder? That could make for a long few days. 
  • It's amazing what you can learn if you sit still and listen. This applies for everything from a crowded bar to the wilderness. Just sit still and listen. The world will tell you all you need to know. It's truly sad how free people are with information. 
  • Even in the EOTWAWKI, people will always want a way out through drugs. Things can get bad, but you will only make them worse by partaking. People on drugs are willing to do anything to feel better. Sometimes you can use this to your advantage. When you come across drugs, they provide an easy means of making some cash or procuring a favor from an addict. Conversely, always be aware of addicts. Never trust them or turn your back on them. 
  • It really is a small world. Realize that how you deal with 1 person can drastically change your outlook in life. You never know when you are dealing with someone's great great uncle's cousin's best friend. Months or years after an encounter with someone, don't be surprised when someone you never met before sits down across from you while pointing a gun at your face. When in doubt, treat people cautiously and professionally if you don't know them. And remember, as we said before, you may be a straight shooter, but that doesn't mean everyone else isn't a lying cheater, deadbeat, or desperate individual. 
  • Never take on a job until you know the whole story and both sides of it. The well dressed, hospitable person that approached you to take a job eliminating some grubby deadbeat farmer may seem like the good guy and the job may seem to be on the up and up. Or maybe he is making you do his dirty work so that he can profit off the deaths of innocent people.  Make sure you address all the angles. You may be working for the wrong guy. Furthermore, any time you take a secret mission of great importance, specifically to off someone, realize that you are probably the next one on the list. 
  • People in woe and want will almost always turn to a cooky religion to explain their plight. Many times they will idolize random things. So don't be surprised when you walk into a town where the people worship an unexploded nuclear weapon. And while you might not align with their beliefs, respect them. It may just be an object to you. It may be worth killing over for them. 
There are a ton of other fun facts I learned from Fallout 3, though many of you will question the validity of dealing with rad-scorpions and mutants. So, I decided to stick with more....useful...tidbits of knowledge I learned from Fallout. Again, these are all in fun an I don't expect you to truly be mystified by any of it.