So, something I should confess: while my first playthrough was on the old Survival mode, lately I’ve been trying to rush through my other playthroughs to get endings as quick as I could on the Normal difficulty and I’ve been avoiding Survival like the plague; however, ever since Bethesda started talking about bumping up the Survival difficulty I’ve been coming back to my first character and thinking about whether or not I’m really ready for the changes coming to it.
If you want to read about the changes coming to Survival Mode, you can check it out on VG247 for a comprehensive write-up about the changes made and I won’t talk too much about them because they’ve already made the rounds on Facebook, Twitter, reddit, and just about everywhere else you can write about video games.
What I will talk about, rather, is what I’m going to be doing to prepare for Survival Mode…
Now, here’s the one big thing that I’m going to have to worry about most when the changes to Survival Mode is my companions: on Normal difficulty, they do well enough but on Survival difficulty, as it is now, they’re more human shields than anything else, that I used to gauge just how difficult a battle might be or to soak up a few mines, because they just get back up and into the fray after they get knocked down for a while. There’s no real permanent consequence for abusing them, honestly, and that’s going to be changing: they don’t heal on their own, apparently, and if you leave them for dead, they’ll leave you and head back to a settlement. Considering battles are going to be way more difficult, generally speaking, companions are something I’m going to have to concentrate a lot more on when it comes to keeping them alive and keeping them well-equipped.
I would hope that this would also mean that any changes to enemy and NPC AI would reflect onto companions, as well, but seeing as I feel I shouldn’t count on that, this means the first thing I’m going to do before Automatron drops is put a lot of caps and resources into equipping my companions. I’m going to really have to change a few other things as well, as a result: I’m going to have to reserve Stimpaks for my companions and focus more on crafting and healing through food consumption.
Crafting and Consumables
I don’t do chems and I hate most of the crafting related to items that aren’t weapons and armor. There’s no real customization in those items and compared to the work needed to get most of those items crafted it would be a lot more prudent to just find them in the wild and, most times, you can predict where some can be found. Even with cooking, it’s just a matter of killing so many enemy types, looting the meat, and taking it back home to get some cooking done. With the introduction of “wellness” in Survival Mode, I’m going to have to change how I approach crafting and I’m going to have to be more open to certain circumstances being possible: such as taking on rads in order to keep fed and keep well.
This also means worrying a lot more about my carry weight and being more thorough when raiding camps but for more than the reasons above: apparently, loot and enemy camps won’t regenerate at the same rate, becoming much slower, so I’m going to have to concentrate a lot more on where I go and what I plan to loot when I do go. I’m kind of hoping, somewhere down the line, as this would make things much easier on me and, I’m assuming, many others, that we would be allowed, with a certain perk, to break down chems and other certain items for ingredients to put towards other items. I have no use for Psycho, for example, and I would like it if I could break them all down for components to use in other items.
Travel and Settlements
As far as travelling is concerned, I’m not too worried: one of the things I liked about the franchise was how relatively diverse the different locations were and each settlement had its own realistic quirks, advantages, and disadvantages. However, as I progressed through the game the first time around, it became more and more of a novelty as rads and carrying capacity became more and more of a concern. I either didn’t have time to waste on enjoying scenery or it was more of a nuisance as, even with the right perks, carrying over capacity was slowing me down quite literally.
This is actually going to force me to expand and appreciate the things I started appreciating when the game was still fresh and new for me and this is something I’m extremely cool with: however, it’s still going to be a bit forced, as saving will only occur when sleeping on an owned bed and the benefits from sleeping change with the type of bed you’re using. This is going to force me to make better use of my settlements and better use of travelling well.
Will I Survive?
If I play using my first character on Survival, I think I have a pretty good chance against Survival Mode. However, if I were to start a new game on Survival Mode, I would likely be eaten alive and perhaps a little more literally than I’d like. Imagine what that first battle against the Raider party that gets interrupted by a deathclaw would be like. Imagine what running into Swan for the first time would be like. They were tense, as it was, on Survival Mode, at the time. I was lucky because of one of the weapons I’d gotten that I modded well, early on. Would I be as lucky the next time around? Somehow, I doubt it.
What do you guys think? I think it would be a nice addition to the already existing challenge but I’m looking forward to it for a lot of the non-combat reasons.