Fallout 4

 

Two new items have appeared in Fallout 4's Creation Club store, both related to another Bethesda release: Doom. For 400 credits each, you can buy Doom's BFG and Marine armor and bring a little Hell to the Commonwealth.

Having already spent $15 in the Creation Club, I wasn't super-keen to drop more dough, but I figured the BFG deserved a try. And, since the lowest number of credits you can purchase is 750 (for $8), I couldn't buy both anyway since they come to a total of 800 credits. I would have had to spend another $15 for 1500 credits just to spend the 800 on the Doom gear. You can probably guess my feelings about that pricing structure. (If you can't guess, my feelings are: booooooo.) 

Update: As was pointed out, I totally forgot to add an image of the armor. Here's how it looks on the store page:

Anyway, yeah, the BFG is pretty cool looking and fun to shoot. Above, I tested it on my settlers, and their feelings on the matter were probably 'boooooo' as well except they died horribly from green before they could express that sentiment. Below, here's a look at how the BFG should be fired, in classic first-person centered view:

 

It's worth noting there's a free mod on Nexus Mods that also adds a BFG. I installed it and tried it though I couldn't get the weapon to appear (the mod hasn't been updated since 2015, which may be why). Maybe you'll have more luck. You can see a video of it below.

Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

All social problems can be solved by data, any naive tech company can tell you, which is why Valve are attempting to solve Steam ‘review bombing’ by adding graphs to its player reviews. Review bombing is the practice of players organising to leave negative reviews that drive down a game’s rating in an attempt to punish or manipulate developers by damaging their future sales prospects. Games bombed over the past month range from Firewatch to Grand Theft Auto V. This is a known and old problem with Steam’s reviews, and one Valve aren’t happy with. So, to counterattack disproportionate bursts of negative reviews, Valve have added unusual activity warnings to Steam store pages with histograms tracking reviews over time. (more…)

Fallout 4 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jamie Wallace)

ROW_Wolfenstein_II_Weird_Shit_1503395627

As you may have spotted, Humble has been running an ‘End of Summer Sale’ over the past few days to ring in the Autumn and, well, discount a bunch of games. The sale only has a few days left to run and the final wave of titles has been added as of today. This batch is entirely from Bethesda and features some of the company’s best stuff – from Doom to Wolfenstein to Call of Cthulu. Just me on that last one? (it did sneak into our list of best horror games! – ed>).

You have a few days left to pick up this range or any number of discounts (like Hitman’s entire first season) before the sale is gone for good.

(more…)

Fallout 4

Well, um, if you use the mod that removes Creation Club news from Fallout 4's main menu that I wrote about yesterday, you may have missed this Creation Club news: a few items from Bethesda's content shop are discounted or free for a limited time. Both the 'horse armor' and Morgan's space suit from Prey are free at the moment, and items like the modular military backpack and modern furniture workshop pack are 25% off.

It's not clear how long a 'limited time' is, and after clicking around Bethesda's site for a minute I didn't see an end date listed for this sale and giveaway. If you want some freebies or discounted items, I'd jump on it quickly. By the way, I recently bought  $15 worth of Creation Club stuff, if you're curious about what else the shop currently offers.

Fallout 4

Bethesda's Creation Club, which sells small pieces of content created by paid modders, hasn't received an entirely warm welcome from the Fallout 4 community. Among other concerns and complaints, there's the fact that since updating to version 1.10.20, a rather large and unsubtle advertisement for the Creation Club now appears in the upper right corner of the main menu. Well, leave it to a modder to figure out a way to remove it.

The mod, created by 'InAComaDial999', is called No More Creation Club News, and it's currently the second most voted-for mod this month on Nexus Mods' Fallout 4 page. Once installed, you won't need to see the Creation Club announcement (and the offer of 100 credits to use in the store) every time you start the game. I suppose you can read it as an objection to the Club itself, or as a simple desire to remove an unwanted element from the menu. Either way, it's what mods are for: to tailor a game in a way that suits you.

I recently spent $15 on Creation Club doodads, and while I think the content I purchased is just fine, there's not really anything currently that I see as a must-buy. (And no, I didn't buy the horse armor because that joke is too ancient to acknowledge.) If you are looking for some great free mods, though, you can check our list of the best mods for Fallout 4—which even includes a mod called The Creation Club.

Fallout 4 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Fraser Brown)

falloutmods

Bethesda VP Pete Hines strikes me as a man grown weary of discussing mod controversies, like 2015’s paid Skyrim mods hullabaloo. In less than a week since its release, Bethesda s Creation Club, which lets you buy mods for Fallout 4 [official site] with credits that cost real cash, has drummed up a fair amount of them. Hines, however, not only seeks to assuage fears that these premium mods were heralding something terrible, but also disputes the very idea that the Creation Club constitutes ‘paid mods’. (more…)

Fallout 4

Bethesda's Creation Club FAQ asks itself "Is Creation Club paid mods?" It also answers itself: No. In related news, today I paid for $15 worth of mods from the not-paid-mods Creation Club store to try them out.

Okay, fine, I know what Bethesda is trying to say. They have hired modders to be creators of new content, and since they don't call the creations mods, they don't have to cop to being a paid mods system. Either way, I'm mostly okay with it: modders are getting paid, and there's not a fusion gun being held to anyone's head forcing them to buy anything. I still think the mods—er, creations—should be free for players, since new content (such as free mods) extends the life of games, thus keeping older games relevant, thus leading to future sales.

Moving on. My first little gripe is that you can only shop in the Club store while in-game, which I sort of don't like, especially since when you buy something, you need to restart the game to update the data file anyway. Call me old fashioned, but when I shop for futuristic guns for my virtual character to shoot mutants in the face with, I prefer to do it in a web browser.

Another gripe, and this one is substantially bigger: I don't see a way for customers to rate the Creation Club mods—sorry, content—they've purchased. Bethesda's free mod library allows for ratings from 1 to 5 stars. Creation Club, as far as I can tell, does not. That feature needs to be added post-haste. Call them mods, don't call them mods, but let players tell each other if they like them or not.

There's currently not much to choose from in Fallout 4's Creation Club. There are two guns, a couple sets of power armor, a nice-looking customizable backpack, some Pip-Boy skins, a little cross-promotion action with a Morgan Yu outfit from Prey, and a pretty big set of modern furniture you can use in your settlements.

Bethesda has given everyone 100 credits to use in the Club, but there are no items that cost 100 credits. Pip-Boy skins cost 50 a pop, and everything else starts at more than a hundred Bethbux, so you can either buy two skins or kick in some real cash for something more. I threw down $15 on Steam, which gave me 1,500 credits. You can also buy 750 for $8, 3,000 for $25, or 5,500 for $40.

While browsing, I read that some of the items are acquired not just by paying for them but by completing a quest. I kind of hate when you download a mod or pay for an item and your character doesn't just materialize in the game holding it (unless the new content is a quest itself). In this case, the item having a quest attached feels like a bonus: you're not just getting a new item, but an adventure that leads to the new item.

Thing is, what Bethesda is calling a quest isn't really a quest, at least in terms of new content or a selling point. I bought the gauss rifle from the store, and the 'quest' was just a Pipboy notification that the rifle was located inside an existing building filled with Gunners. I followed the marker on the map, killed a bunch of jerks, took their big-ass gun, and used it to kill the rest of them.

On the plus side, it's a nice big-ass gun, and the handmade shotgun I purchased is also decent, though I already have a really nasty shotgun that it will never replace. The power armor I bought is also pretty attractive, and its 'quest' was similar: follow a map marker to the angry man wearing the armor (he wasn't even in a building, just standing around waiting to die) and kill him to death.

The backpack is really cool, with the added bonus of not having to fast-travel somewhere to kill someone for it. It's customizable at a crafting station, and has several different styles that can be crafted and applied to it, each which give you a different type of buff. Below I'm modeling some urban camo, a Nuka-Cola emblem, and a survivor style (gas mask, knife, cooking pot) with a bedroll hanging from it.

The furniture pack looks pretty attractive too, though I didn't buy it, instead opting for some Pip-Boy skins which I sort of regret because they're not that great. Everything else I like—none of it is especially thrilling, but I enjoy collecting power armor sets, I'll definitely take the backpack with me from now on, and the gauss rifle is nice addition to my arsenal.

Is it worth the $15 I spent? I'm going to have to say no. I've just been spoiled by all the wonderful and creative free Fallout 4 mods (that everyone can comfortably call mods). I'm happy Bethesda is paying modders directly, and they're making some nice stuff, but at the moment the Creation Club isn't offering a heck of a lot worth paying for.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

We're still a ways out from VR becoming Mancubus-mainstream.

I’m not an athletic man, but in Doom VFR, the upcoming VR version of 2016’s hit reincarnation of id’s classic shooter, I am Death Himself. As a possessed soldier tries to shoot me, I point a teleport marker and watch as everything slows down. I duck his bullets, teleport close, and shoot him in the face with a shotgun.

After a few shots, a Mancubus starts to flash, indicating it's ready to be torn asunder. I point my cursor into the center of the Mancubus and release the trigger, teleporting myself into the center of the obese demon. The Mancubus explodes and his immense body sags to the floor, the corpse so large that I have to step out of the empty shell to move on with the fight. Clearly, VR is cool.

But even for a relatively young technology, there have been very few major game releases for virtual reality headsets. It makes Bethesda’s all-in approach a confounding surprise, but by bringing Skyrim, Fallout, and Doom to VR, the company is in a good position to change the pace. In associating some of the biggest names in gaming to VR, Bethesda is trying to set itself up as a leader in VR development, build its own internal expertise, and help jumpstart a technology that has grown in fits and starts.

“If you believe something is going to be big, you can't just say, ‘oh, this will be big in six or eight years, so let's ignore it until it's big, and then we'll jump on the bandwagon,’” Doom VRF executive producer Marty Stratton tells me at Quakecon this year. “There's so much to be learned, and there's so many opportunities to be leaders. We want to be technical innovators, so when we see something we believe in, we want to be at the forefront.”

Of the three VR prototypes heading for release this fall, Doom is by far the best. The closed-in spaces of the UAC’s corridors look sleek and sci-fi inside a VR headset, and teleporting up and down hallways to blast imps and shotgun cacodemons feels spectacular, fast, and smooth. Time slows for teleportation or switching weapons, so I always felt able to react faster and be more badass than my weak, fleshy mortal body could ever allow. No matter which weapons I used, pulling the trigger of the controller felt as natural as aiming down the sights.

Shooting for the Skyrim

Sadly, all of these reasons are exactly why Skyrim VR, which is coming to PSVR first in November and PC sometime in 2018, is the weakest of the bunch. The wide-open vistas of Skyrim look pixelated and low-res running on the Playstation headset, and the 180-degree motion detection of the PSVR meant that I had to constantly use physical buttons on my controller to rotate myself and change direction. 

Descending one of a Skyrim dungeon’s many spiral staircases was dizzying as I used a teleport button to hop down a step or two, then tap-tap-tap-tap-tap to rotate my body, teleport, then rotate again.

Instead of feeling bold as the Dovahkiin, legendary hero of Skyrim, I felt like a child playing Fruit Ninja on a Nintendo Wii.

None of this compares to how disappointed I was when I first heard the call of an enemy bandit. I readied my sword only to find myself waving a wand in space, awkward and unsure if I was even making contact. I wiggled it around a few times and the bad guy fell over. Both of us looked embarrassed about the whole thing. Instead of feeling bold as the Dovahkiin, legendary hero of Skyrim, I felt like a child playing Fruit Ninja on a Nintendo Wii.

“Everybody says that,” says Pete Hines, VP of Marketing for Bethesda, when I complain about how the melee weapons feel. “The problem is that when you do this [he pulls a trigger on a gun], you don't detect the funkiness of the action because it's on a predestined path.” The gun behaves like a gun, in other words, and you’re pulling a trigger just like you’d pull a real-life trigger. “But when the sword swings however you move it, you notice it a lot more, now it does feel more like Fruit Ninja.”

Even though Skyrim will be coming to VR mostly unchanged, with all its quests, dialog, and NPCs in place, Hines expects that players will change how they play the game based on what feels good. In particular, he expects more players to become mages. “Because of the nature of VR and magic, it works exactly like you'd expect it to, because you're not missing the feedback.” Dual-wielding magic, in particular, works better in VR. Being able to move your hands independently gives you the chance to shoot fireballs in two directions at once, or hold a shield against one enemy while you shoot lightning at another.

Waiting for the Fallout

I enjoyed Fallout VR more than Skyrim VR at least, because the world running on a PC looked a lot better and my ability to turn in a full circle was unrestricted. Though I had the option of attacking raiders with a baseball bat, Fruit Ninja Skyrim style, I could easily ignore it since Fallout has a huge array of guns that feel good to use. Launching a mini-nuke at a Deathclaw and watching the blast in VR was every bit as fun as it sounds.

Still, it wasn’t quite right, and I’m not sure if the trade-offs are worth the momentary wow-factor of stepping into VR. Can I explore the Commonwealth Wasteland for hundreds of hours in this gear, or will I always start to feel green like an irradiated ghoul after half an hour?

These are limitations that come with taking an existing game and bringing it into VR. Problems with movement and feedback just aren’t solved yet, and these problems wouldn’t exist if a game was built for VR from the beginning. I can’t help but compare my time with Skyrim VR with Lone Echo, an incredible game that was built to showcase everything VR can do right now, and nothing that it can’t.

But for Bethesda, getting experience is worth it even if the end product isn’t quite perfect. They’ll put out the best version of their games that can exist in VR right now, and they’ll gain valuable internal experience with VR design. I can see how it’s a win-win for Bethesda to take a risk with these experiments, but I’m not as confident that buying these experiments offers much to long-time fans of these games desperate for a familiar experience in their seldom-used VR gear.

Skyrim VR is only scheduled to come to PSVR in November, with a PC release possibly coming in 2018. Fallout VR is coming to PC on December 12, and Doom VFR is coming to both platforms on December 1.

Fallout 4

Bethesda announced the Creation Club for Skyrim and Fallout 4 earlier this summer as a compromise response to the furious backlash against the paid mods scheme that Valve (very briefly) attempted to roll out in 2015. The idea is that "mods will remain a free and open system," but Creation Club content will require "credits," which must be purchased with "money," making the whole thing basically a matter of semantics: When is a paid mod not a paid mod? When it's in the Creation Club, apparently. 

None of which necessarily makes it a bad idea—in fact, we noted at the time that paid mods might actually make things better for everyone— and I don't think it's unreasonable to treat mods the same way as games: Some are free, some aren't, and you can govern yourselves accordingly. All of which is a very roundabout way of getting to the point that the Creation Club is now live, in beta at the moment but slated to go into full release sometime today, for Fallout 4, with Skyrim set to follow next month. 

"Featuring new items, abilities and gameplay created by Bethesda Games Studios and outside development partners – including the best community creators—Creation Club content is fully curated and compatible with the main game, official add-ons, and achievements," Bethesda said. "Currently available for Fallout 4, Creation Club will be coming to Skyrim Special Edition next month. All Creation Club content works on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. And of course, Mods will remain a free and open system where anyone can create and share what they’d like." 

To ease potential customers into the new system, Bethesda is giving 100 credits to everyone to blow on whatever they like. Alas, that won't get you much: The Club currently offers three Pip-boy paint jobs for 50 credits each, or an Onyx power armor paint job for 100. For anything else you'll need to spring for more credits, which can be purchased through Steam at prices ranging from $8 for 750 to $40 for 5500. Credits are transferable between Steam and Xbox Live, but not PSN.   

Creation Club content is accessible through its own category on the Fallout 4 menu, so you'll need to update your game to get it, and an account at bethesda.net is also required. While it's in beta, you'll have to opt in under the "Betas" tab in the Fallout 4 properties menu, but once it's live (which it may well be by the time you read this) it'll be rolled out to everyone via a normal update. More information, including a signup link for interested creators, is up at creationclub.bethesda.net

Fallout 4 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

The first digital fruits of Bethesda’s new kinda-sorta-paid-mods programme, the Creation Club, arrive today in Fallout 4 [official site]. It’ll then hit Skyrim in September. Unlike Bethesda’s disastrous first flirtation with paid mods for Skyrim in 2015, which was quickly abandoned, the Creation Club is more like a DLC microtransaction store partially outsourced to modders. It’s a selection of new content Bethesda are approving and commissioning themselves rather than Steam’s failed free-for-all marketplace where anyone could upload anything, see. The initial Creation Club lineup is pretty bland, mind, just odds and ends. (more…)

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