I don't often see this brought up but there is an aspect so crucial to Fallout I consider it the reason Bethesda Fallout's come off as generic and shallow in terms of role-playing to so much of the community. So I created this post to incite discussion on it.
There are no real minor factions in Bethesda Fallout's. None. Most of the factions in the Bethesda Fallout's feel more like clubs than actual factions with ideas, identity, and a Brotherhood among them.
Children of Atom? The Andale Cannibals? The Atom Cats? Pillars of the Community? They have no impact over anything in the large scale, and you have no options to do multiple quests for each of them. The "sub factions" are just towns of generic settlers. No ideas or philosophy. This is why the ending slides for the 3rd and 4th installment are short, shallow, and vague, there's nothing really to cover besides the main factions. Far Harbor seemed to dance around this idea, in which there are multiple factions interacting with one-another, and you get to decide who gets to stay and who doesn't, and after all that, bring The Institute or The BoS in to clean up.
In Vegas, there's the Khans, the Boomers, the Fiends, Powder Gangers, separate divisions within the NCR. Oh, and don't forget the tribals who got cleaned up and run casinos on the strip. And the Van Graffs. And the Gun Runners. And the Crimson Caravan. The Brotherhood is around too. Power struggles are visible and frequent. You are involved and deciding the fate of each of these groups, and engaging in quests which improve or destroy relationships between these smaller groups and the larger groups.
In Fallout 4 this is even more apparent than in 3. There are the three major factions and… Diamond City. The Atom Cats are a fucking shop with a few lines of dialogue and that's it. All the rest of the Wasteland besides Goodneighbor are either generic settlers or hostiles, whether they are raiders, the Gunners, or Children of Atom alike.
Imagine if all that existed in Fallout one were Vault 13 and the Master and his followers, the rest being generic settlers or hostiles. Or if New Vegas only had Mr. House, NCR, and Legion and that's it. It would end up playing much more like Fallout 3 or 4 and end with just a few generic slides. It is the minor and sub factions which are taken for granted by nearly everyone, whom make an RPG worth playing a dozen times.
I often hear Fallout 4 compared to Mass effect in terms of the dialogue wheel and voice acting, but in Mass Effect, there are multiple groups and civilizations to interact with. Imagine if all that existed in the Mass Effect universe were Humans and Reapers and no minor and distinguishable alien species with their own inter-galactic conflicts. That's what Fallout 3 is like.
Then once they brought in the settlement system, all these semi-interesting settlements with named characters they did create (Republic of Dave, Arefu), etc. they just started to say to hell with it, so here's some raiders to kill and throw a workbench in that bitch and let the player finish it.
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