Content of the article: "Why are the most important resources and scrap the rarest find?"
Might go on a bit of a rant here, so bare with me. It's likely gonna be a long one. TL;DR at the bottom.
One of my favorite things that Fallout 4 did well, was it's modifications, but there is also a few things about it that are completely asinine.
Namely the whole resource and scrap mechanic. Now on paper, it's works Just fine. I want to add a suppressor to my pistol, well I just need 2 steel, 2 adhesive, 3 screws, and a spring.
However, in practice it couldn't be any more impractical. 2 steel you can find pretty much anywhere, and springs select few products, but if you think that tube of wonder glue is gonna work for the adhesive you'd be wrong. Same goes for screws.
Now I can understand to an extent some resources, like adhesive can be quite rare. But take a look around your house, and maybe even your desk. Just at a glance, how many of your items have screws in them? At my desk alone, I counted 17. All of various sizes.
While you can argue "Oh it's post apocalyptic, and different setting so therefore screws might not be as common." and to that, I disagree.
I'm willing to bet, even a vast majority of the items out there would likely have screws in them, and aren't made up of, or contain the items listed in the junk pile.
My biggest gripe is if you're going to have a modification or crafting system in your game, then the rarity of the resource needs to match the rarity of the item your trying to craft. If adhesive is such a rare find, why is it used in almost all the different modifications? Same goes for screws. Why are the two rarest resources, used in every mod?
That means, if an mod needs 4 adhesive, you have 3, you end up running all across the wasteland looking for some wonder glue, duct tape, or vegetable starch. And with screws you end up dropping that rocket launcher or fatman you were carrying in case a Deathclaw decides to play peek-a-boo with your asshole so you can carry more typewriters, hot plates, and desk fans.
While the Scrapper perk alleviates this problem just a tad, this pretty much becomes essential in any build because of how much you'll likely be modding throughout the game, and don't want to spend a lot of time walking around looking for screws.
Not to mention, some of these mods are sometimes just straight up essential for surviving harder difficulties, or just making the game tolerable as is. Especially if it's the receiver mods. What baffles me is not only the resources required to make a mod, but also the level cap. Why do I need to wait until I'm level 13 to slap a suppressor on my pistol when I already have the resources for it? Why do I need to be level 25 for a whole 5 more damage on that same pistol? If I already meet the prerequisites, in terms of resources, then there really isn't need for a level cap.
While I can understand a level cap being there for "balance" at the same time, by that level, it's extremely likely that I will have already found a better weapon, or mod to replace, giving me no incentive to actually use it.
It just doesn't make sense from a design perspective, and gameplay perspective. Look at any other type of survival crafting game. Like Minecraft, for example. Diamonds are probably one of the rarest resources and crafting material in the game, next to emeralds. When you find diamonds, it feels good, and it feels like you made some actual progress and the items you get from it, are some of the best in the game. Iron isn't particularly rare, but when you do find a good vein or abundance of it you still have a reputable amount of protection and resources and can make a lot of good things with it.
In Fallout 4, there's no cathartic progression, it feels like you're going from one roadblock to another. And trying to find those "rare" resources becomes a tedious grind, scouring Boston for that one piece of duct tape, or hot plate you overlooked.
I can already think of better ways to implement this crafting system and make it more enjoyable. For example, add a perk called "Budget cuts" which allows you reduce the number of resources needed for crafting. Also add "Budget" mods or "Scrap" mods. These could be cheaper alternatives, if you lack the resources needed to create the mod. A scrap suppressor might not make the weapon totally suppressed, but does give you a lower chance at being detected. A scrap scope might not be that high in terms of magnification, but offers you decent alternative if you can't afford the higher end parts to make a functioning scope.
You could also have varying types of resources. For example, with screws, you could have large, medium and small screws. large screws go with a lot of different mods or weapons, medium for slightly more complex devices, and small screws being the rarest for the most intricate series of tinkering. With adhesive, you can have strong adhesive and weak adhesive. Weak for small changes, or bare minimum gluing, and strong adhesive for a lot of gluing or sticking together.
However, like with a lot of Fallout 4, there were some good ideas, but they ended up getting buried underneath my collection of typewriters that I got from the ruins of Bethesda Game Studios.
TL;DR: The crafting system sucks by making the "Rarest" resources being used in nearly every mod, and doesn't have the same sense of progression as other survival crafting games. If they had added more depth or changed things around, it would have been really great, but is disappointing much like all of Fallout 4.
- Fallout 76 “scrap to learn” calculator
- Fallout 4 X-02 Power Armor statistics
- Please add good exploration features to any MMORPG
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