My walking challenge

fallout 1 - My walking challenge

A very long (by reddit standards), almost-entirely-pointless post follows. It's mostly aimed at people who like to roleplay and stuff. If you don't like that sort of thing, I don't care, it's happening anyway.

Some backstory to my 'walking challenge': A couple of months ago I started binge-watching The Walking Dead. I'd never seen it before, I have nothing better to do what with the real-life apocalypse going on, and everybody spent years telling me to watch it, so I did. And have! Bear with me, this will be relevant, I promise.

A lot of established characters die in TWD, but I was (and still am) most distraught about Beth dying. I thought her character was finally getting a proper arc, but then she was pointlessly shot in the head! I tried to give her new life in a different apocalypse about a month ago not long after. It was just going to be a throwaway character to see if I could do it, but I got to playing her as if it was "Beth from TWD but hardened-up and doing things for herself", and I had fun, so I carried on.

Another thing I noticed in TWD is how they always walk everywhere. I guess that's not too surprising, as peeps be lazy, but as I was getting so many Fallout vibes from the series I couldn't help but contrast that with all of my Fallout 4 characters pelting it around the wastes like lunatics. I already stopped using fast travel in games like this a few years back (it started with Oblivion, actually) and found that it really improved my experience, so I decided, with 'Beth', to walk everywhere too.

Preston was lazy and needed a suit of power armour.

The rules were that I could turn off the walk toggle if I was attacked, if I heard gunfire and wanted to investigate, or if I saw something interesting that needed investigating, but otherwise I had to walk everywhere rather than run. Like regular people do!

I'm two days, four hours, and thirty-seven minutes into this savegame now, and here's what I've learnt so far:

  • The wasteland is absolutely fecking huge if you walk everywhere. Everything is so much farther away from everything else if you walk everywhere. What would have been a short jaunt becomes a journey that needs to be planned-out. If you end up building-out settlements like I have, you also need to be meticulous about scrounging resources. For the first week of 'Beth's' time in the Commonwealth, she mounted numerous supply runs to Lexington, because Lexington was only a half-day's walk away. She'd grab as much as she and Preston could carry before setting off back home, because it really was a long journey.
  • The wasteland seems bigger than it actually is, too***.*** One of my biggest immersion-breakers with Fallout 4, and games like this in general, has always been how 'small' cities feel. Boston is not a small city in the real-life place, yet you can run across the whole thing in Fallout 4 in a couple of minutes. When you're walking, though, suddenly it feels much bigger. It can take an in-game day to go from one side to the other.
  • Walking through built-up areas somehow feels more tense. Even if you know where all the encounter spots are, you just find yourself looking around more, eying the rooftops, watching for threats, and you won't even realise you're doing it.
  • You learn shortcuts that you didn't realise were there (or that you needed). When journeys are such considerable excursions, you start to look for shortcuts on regularly-travelled routes. You get to know the map better.
  • You find more 'stuff'. I've been playing Fallout 4 since it came out, first on Xbox One, then more recently on PC. I thought I'd found everything there was to find, but I was wrong. As a combination of simply spending more time eying your immediate surroundings, and of being forced to find short-cuts you'd never have tried before, you notice a lot more stuff! Bethesda is famous for littering their game worlds with weird assortment of atmospheric storytelling, but I was amazed at how much of that I'd missed up until now! When you're running from place to place you tend not to spot it, but when you're walking, there's so much stuff hidden in nooks and crannies all over the place. At least, there was for me.
  • 'Needs' are more pressing. I run the Advanced Needs 2 mod, but I expect that Survival mode would be the same – when your journey can amount to two or three days, suddenly the prospect of travelling across the map becomes even more harrowing than it was before, and you need to prepare accordingly. A camping mod goes from being a nice novelty to a necessity, and as the sun starts to set, you start to instinctively look for good places to set-up a camp and rest.
  • Planning your journey becomes a metagame in its own right. Even moreso than simply fobbing off fast travel, when you're walking everywhere, suddenly there becomes a pressing need to make the most of your journey. You'll end up studying the map, trying to figure out the best route to get everything done that you can in one smooth route.
  • 'Urgent' quests feel somewhat more urgent. When you realise that it can take a couple of in-game days to reach somewhere (for instance, The Castle, when it's announced over radio that it's about to be attacked), there's a sudden sense of urgency to things that I haven't felt before. The Castle is a two or three day walk from Sanctuary at best, so suddenly I felt like I had to set-out immediately – even though, in my brain, I knew that it would be fine.
  • You'll probably never be surprised by enemy attacks. If you're a stealthy type (I'm not, but even so managed to get the drop on enemies I'd have otherwise blundered into), you'll likely spot enemies before they spot you, and react accordingly. Walking is also quieter than running, so you'll be unlikely to ever face an ambush that you haven't seen coming a mile away.

I should clarify that this is probably only a thing that roleplayers should try. Even I got bored while walking along well-travelled routes. The urge to hit CAPS LOCK again was real at first.

But I've now started doing it habitually. I'm the kind of person who tries to 'live' in the world when I'm playing it, and this has really helped me to do that. I find it a lot more immersive. I'd encourage anybody like me to at least give it a try, if they haven't already!

If you do try it, let me know what you think!

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