First Impressions of… Loop Hero

Once more unto the abyss.

Gaze not into the emptiness of this nightmarish domain, lest something gazes back. Something gelatinous. Something that probably doesn’t have eyes now that I’m thinking about it. But then I don’t suppose that they need eyes, as their sole purpose seems to be endlessly travelling around this perpetual loop. And dropping cards. Cards that they’re carrying. Somehow. Loop Hero is an immensely satisfying jaunt through a post-apocalyptic universe, which features delightfully distinct character classes and surprisingly creative deck building mechanics.

Creative and deceptively complex.

Placing different cards next to each other often results in fascinating interactions. If, for example, you place a Vampire Mansion next to a Village, it results in the creation of a Ransacked Village. Which is dangerous, but eventually becomes a Count’s Land which affords even greater benefits.

Few of these interactions are solely beneficial to you, but are necessary despite the drawbacks that they introduce. The cards that you’ve placed influence the raw materials that are available on any given attempt, and the rarest materials often require increasingly dangerous, or complex, interactions. Which became painfully apparent when I tried to acquire two Astral Orbs. Raw materials can be used to improve your camp, to craft supply items, or as reagents in alchemy. New cards are unlocked by placing (or upgrading) various different things, and new character classes are unlocked by placing specific buildings. Most of these can only be built and placed once, but there are a few, such as the Farm and the Forest, that can be built multiple times (should you have the space) for multiplicative bonuses.

The hunt is upon us.

Of the character classes, each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and two exhibit unique mechanics. The first, the Warrior, is the hardiest, and utilises different defensive statistics. The second, the Rogue, has unique trophy mechanics, and can dual-wield weapons. While the third, the Necromancer, has unique summoning mechanics, and relies on their skeletons to deal (and take) damage for them. Placing the Arsenal card unlocks an additional equipment slot, which allows each to utilise statistics otherwise unavailable to their character class.

Such as the Rogue utilising magical health.

It’s refreshing to see such creativity, and I can’t praise the developers highly enough for their meticulous attention to detail. I doubt that I’ll ever be able to see every interaction that exists between different cards,
and I couldn’t be happier about that. As it perfectly suits this experience.

One of constant experimentation. One of taking risks while carrying precious resources. One of embarking
on another loop even when you know that you shouldn’t. And one of being wholly absorbed in the enjoyment of these (often questionable) actions. Taking risks is a part of this experience, though. You can never be sure of what might change on the next loop, or how that is going to affect your survival. And that’s why I enjoy pushing each build to its limits. Failure is likely, but there are numerous mechanics which contribute to the longevity of this experience and keep it fresh. Hence why I’ve greatly enjoyed the time that I’ve spent with Loop Hero, and highly recommend it to those seeking exhilarating adventures on a perpetual loop. It really has been such a wonderfully engaging experience throughout.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Who Dares Wins

Leaving devastation in her wake.

Megaton was reduced to a smouldering crater, the waters of Project Purity were poisoned with a modified strain of the Forced Evolutionary Virus, the honourable Brotherhood of Steel were slaughtered where they stood, and The Citadel was obliterated by an orbital strike. There’s not much else that can be done to make the lives of the irradiated inhabitants of the Capital Wasteland any worse, besides leaving the remnants of the Enclave to seize control of the Capital Wasteland in the Brotherhood of Steel’s absence. Which is what I’d like to believe happens if the Enclave survives.

It fits my twisted narrative perfectly.

These events are only made worse when you consider that they never needed to happen. No-one benefits from them. And there is no conceivable reason to knowingly encourage them, as inciting senseless violence and exhibiting soulless depravity earns fewer rewards than helping others.

Naturally, this build, named for its murderous inclinations, would commit these atrocities without question. But most would lean towards a morally good outcome. Which is curious, as RPGs often offer comparable rewards for either morally good or morally evil outcomes, but Fallout 3 clearly defines the morally evil outcome as the lesser, and rewards far less for it. Karma quickly becomes the measure of your character, and dictates how (or even if) NPCs will interact with you. Or whether they’ll be hostile to you. Affording you the freedom to make decisions, but also ensuring that there will be repercussions for your actions, with the most severe removing NPCs (or settlements) from the map. Even if the preceding decision made absolutely no sense. But then it would hardly be senseless violence if it made sense.

America will never fall to Communist invasion.

For that reason, Homicidal Harriet is the most diverse build that I’ve ever attempted. I expected an atypical close quarters build, but instead I was able to experience Fallout 3 from a fresh perspective and in a way that I’d not thought possible. Which resulted in numerous misadventures. Trekking through the perilous Deathclaw Sanctuary to recover Vengeance, completing Operation: Anchorage to acquire the Chinese Stealth Armor, trudging through the eerie swamps of Point Lookout, and waging an intergalactic war with extraterrestrials in Mothership Zeta to name but a few.

It’s an interesting build.

One that I’ve enjoyed writing about as I’ve overcome its many challenges. I hadn’t intended for Murderous Mabel to result in a series of posts, but I was hoping that I could reproduce an equally as entertaining series of posts for Homicidal Harriet. And I believe that I’ve managed to do so.

Following the conclusion of the misadventures of Homicidal Harriet, and those of Murderous Mabel, both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas now feature prominently on Moggie’s Proclamations, which I couldn’t be happier about. They’re both very dear to me. Not only because they’re both exhilarating post-apocalyptic RPGs, but because they’ve influenced my interest in different gaming experiences. I’m glad that they’ve finally found their place on the blog. I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to write about them again, as I’d like to revisit each more thoroughly with a build that can experience the majority of the content. But, for now, we bid farewell to the Capital Wasteland and Fallout 3, which is still an incredibly enjoyable and deceptively complex post-apocalyptic RPG that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Grades of Sausage

An unusual measure of competency.

A measure which, as you’re a slave, is entirely apt, as you’re the meat that they send to recover Steel Ingots. You could also become literal meat should the horrifically mutated inhabitants of The Steelyard catch you. And even if you earn your freedom, you’ll only become the highest grade of sausage that there is. It’s also possible- and entirely likely- that the NPC who refers to you as such is a cannibal. So this might not be existential commentary at all. It might literally mean that he regards you as meat, and would like nothing more than to turn your supple flesh into sausages.

Trust nothing about The Pitt.

Even if it is one of the rare examples of functional post-apocalyptic industry. It’s an industry built on a foundation of corpses, those of slaves, who either earn their freedom or succumb to fatal disease, and who toil in pursuit of a better life for those that enslaved them but not for themselves.

Now that’s existential commentary if ever I’ve seen it. Of the Fallout 3 DLC, Point Lookout is definitely my favourite, and The Pitt is a close second, if for no other reason than it has better content than the relatively uninspiring Operation: Anchorage or Mothership Zeta. Not that I’ve ever finished Mothership Zeta before. It is, without a doubt, the most monotonous and linear DLC of the five. Its only redeeming qualities are that you get ludicrous amounts of experience in a short amount of time, and that the alien technology (tied to Energy Weapons) is among the best equipment that you’ll find in the Capital Wasteland. Otherwise, it is a tiring slog through repetitive interior areas with only a handful of distinct aliens to encounter. But, now that Homicidal Harriet has experienced it, I can finally say that it’s done. Forever.

Don’t stray too close to the wreckage…

Prior to being abducted by aliens, I spent some time in the Capital Wasteland collecting various things. Firstly, the final S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Bobblehead that I was missing, that of Perception, from the humorously named Republic of Dave. Secondly, I visited the lush greenery of Oasis and earned the Barkskin perk. Her base damage resistance is now 34% even without armour. Thirdly, I crafted the Shishkebab and added that to her arsenal. And then I murdered various NPCs for various reasons. Some were actually required for quests, but most had equipment that I wanted.

It is a liberating experience.

Given that I’d usually try to resolve situations diplomatically, to be able to quickly resolve them through violence is refreshing if not worryingly easy. That’s not how things should be done, nor how I will do things with other builds, but it’s basically the entire reason behind this particular build.

With the majority of the main campaign (and the DLC) completed, this build is rapidly reaching its natural conclusion. I’ve still got to complete Take It Back and experience the entirety of Broken Steel. But it won’t be too long before she retires to her luxury penthouse suite in Tenpenny Tower for the final time, resigned to the annals of history as the last conceivable build that I could attempt. Unless I wanted to try an Explosives build. Which could also be Homicidal Harriet should I continue to gain experience, as I could easily fully invest in Explosives and make use of the wealth of Bottlecap Mines that she has. I could then invest in perks such as Demolition Expert and Pyromaniac. The latter of which would actually benefit the Shishkebab, and was a consideration should I have an excess of skill points.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Scourge of Humanity

Tread softly in these caves.

Sneaking through the Deathclaw Sanctuary (with a Stealth Boy or two) was arguably Homicidal Harriet’s most dangerous excursion yet. Especially when the second Stealth Boy wore off just as I collected Vengeance, leaving me armed and exposed for the trek back out of the cave. Thankfully, as one would expect, Vengeance reduced everything to giblets, and being seen wasn’t nearly as fatal as it could’ve been. I’d been buying Electron Charge Packs for some time, and while I didn’t have enough for continued usage, I did have enough to get this ludicrous weapon back home.

And now I carry it with me always.

Vengeance is a costly acquisition, though. It tears through Electron Charge Packs as quickly as it tears through the opposition. It’s also difficult (and expensive) to repair, as its condition degrades quickly, and there are few who can fully repair it. But it fundamentally changes the build.

Homicidal Harriet can’t usually deal ranged damage, and Big Guns allow her to, which won’t necessarily be a concern once I’ve recovered the Chinese Stealth Armor, but some enemies are super-absorbent bullet sponges. Even a sneak attack critical with the Deathclaw Gauntlet won’t be enough, but the rapid fire of Vengeance might be. Operation: Anchorage was now, due to my unusual approach, necessary for the continued success of the build, and so to Alaska she went. If you’ve invested in Small Guns (as most do) the simulation isn’t that difficult, but if you haven’t then you’ve got few ways to actually deal damage. Sneaking isn’t an option, either. Stealth Boys are rare and any that you’ve found are lost when reporting to General Chase. Not that it’s impossible if you’ve not invested in Small Guns. It’s just tedious.

Gaze upon the Mother Punga in awe.

Having previously crafted the Deathclaw Gauntlet, the acquisition of the Chinese Stealth Armor, alongside the acquisition of Vengeance, meant that this build was rapidly realising its true potential. Proving to be as diverse as I’d hoped that it would be. Not all situations are created equally, and while the Deathclaw Gauntlet is powerful, it’s not going to be the answer to every problem. Vengeance still has its uses. And that’s why I enjoy these quirky builds, as they encourage you to be creative and that creativity often results in seeing things that you’ve not seen before.

Or it highlights glitches.

As was the case with Haley, of Haley’s Hardware, in Point Lookout, who I had always believed to be one of the few NPCs who could fully repair equipment. When inherently he can’t, and it’s actually a glitch, as his Repair increases with each visit, and so he eventually gains the ability to do so.

Revisiting Point Lookout is one of the highlights of this build. I do love it so. Sailing in through the fog on the Duchess Gambit to greet the eerie shores of Point Lookout, then meandering through a decaying shell of society and hazardous swamps. It’s a great atmosphere. One of being truly alone in a harsh, unforgiving, and unpredictable world. Something that Fallout 3 done incredibly well. Fallout: New Vegas was impressive in its own way, but it never felt as lonely as Fallout 3 did, and that’s why I’ve always enjoyed the Capital Wasteland. It feels like a post-apocalyptic landscape. Devoid of humanity, but rife with dangerous creatures and murderous marauders. Fallout 3 also allowed the more distasteful pursuits, which suit this character, and suit the wasteland, but were absent in later instalments.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Homicidal Harriet

The G.O.A.T. couldn’t predict this.

You could try to blame Butch for her predilection towards violence, but her childhood trauma doesn’t explain why those who haven’t done her wrong are just as likely to be ceremoniously dismembered. Or atomised by a nuclear bomb. As was the fate of the inhabitants of Megaton. Who welcomed her, and whose kindness was repaid with undoubtedly the most heinous atrocity that she will ever commit. Executed under instruction from Mr. Burke, in service to Alistair Tenpenny, owner of the illustrious Tenpenny Tower, which is soon to experience a hostile takeover.

An incredibly hostile takeover.

If the residents of Tenpenny Tower weren’t insufferable elitist bigots a peaceful resolution might be possible, but they are, so a violent resolution becomes necessary, as she proudly advocates equality for all who reside in the Capital Wasteland. They’re all equally as likely to be murdered.

Following the success of Murderous Mabel, the courier who sowed despair across the entire Mojave Wasteland, Homicidal Harriet was born, and after being exiled from Vault 101 began her own misadventures. Homicidal Harriet will attempt to experience the aspects of Fallout 3 that I’ve not seen before, much like Murderous Mabel did in Fallout: New Vegas, and will be unequivocally evil. I’ll be building around Melee Weapons, Unarmed, and Big Guns as I’ve not (solely) built around those before. I’ll also be relying on the Intense Training perk for the first time. Her S.P.E.C.I.A.L. distribution requires adjustment before she can fully realise her potential. Notably her Charisma, as I’d hoped to avoid the Child at Heart perk, but it’s the easiest way to bypass Little Lamplight without making Paradise Falls hostile.

I’m glad that she survived the nuclear detonation.

Despite being an atypical close quarters build, I’ve been deliberating between the Chinese Stealth Armor and the Winterized T51-b Power Armor. With certain perks, such as Ninja and Better Criticals, she could deal ludicrous sneak attack critical damage with the Chinese Stealth Armor, and would be rendered (mostly) invisible while crouching. Whereas, the Winterized T51-b Power Armor favours the traditional approach. Taking damage and dealing it in equal measure. I’d never considered sneaking through Fallout 3 to be viable, but it could be with an appropriate build.

This could be that build.

I’d assumed that Homicidal Harriet would visit Point Lookout first, as my characters usually do, but Operation: Anchorage would be unusually lucrative should she utilise the Chinese Stealth Armor. It’s not particularly difficult, either. So it’s possible to venture to the Outcast Outpost early on.

Her progression has been slightly disjointed, though. I’ve been completing the Wasteland Survival Guide quests, but have been deviating when the opportunity presents itself, such as during The Replicated Man quest, which coincided with learning about the true history of Rivet City. I’ve also been trekking across the Capital Wasteland to put specific locations on the map. These will be of crucial importance when collecting Bobbleheads, or when searching for unique equipment and schematics. Few locations, such as the perilous Deathclaw Sanctuary, have both. Not only does it house the Endurance Bobblehead, but Vengeance can be recovered from deep within its caves, which I’d always believed to be governed by Energy Weapons, but is actually governed by Big Guns. I’ve just got to survive long enough to recover it.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie