The story of Fallout 4 incinerating Tobold

Seeing Tobold put his foot in a fire, and then vehemently deny that said foot is on fire has always been one of the better (only?) reasons to read his blog for a while now. The latest fire Tobold found to place his foot in was Fallout 4, and it’s been a dozy of a ride for the thin-skinned one.

First there was his failed attempt to organize a boycott for pre-ordering Fallout 4, because as Tobold said in earlish 2015, who would ever pre-order a game that won’t be released for two years. I sure hope that when 2017 comes around, Fallout 4 is worth the wait everyone!

Then, in ‘deny foot fire’ fashion, Tobold tries to justify his failed boycott post (Fallout 4 broke the record for day 1 activity on Steam) by pointing out that the user score (yes, the score that includes one-line 0/10 scores by internet randoms who are ‘protesting’ dialog changes) on metacritic for F4 isn’t that high, so he was right about that whole pre-order thing (note: he was 100% wrong, not just with the release date, but with the preorder ‘bonuses’ prediction a month before release). That caused Tobold to go from a man with a foot fire to setting himself completely ablaze just to show his foot is fine:

Show me *one* Game of the Year award that isn’t handed out by you, or some Fallout fansite website! – Inferno Tobold

Sadly I can’t show you one clownshoes, but I can show you 29+. Vegas odds are set at even that Tobold will call those 29+ sites all Fallout fanboy sites. Huffpost, who knew you were a dirty little wasteland fanboy!?

Fear not dear reader, just because he is now a smoldering corpse, that doesn’t mean the husk of Tobold is done denying the temperature around him has increased. Oh no no no.

This entire post is comedy gold (saying F4 sold because it’s a sequel when also talking about The Witcher THREE), but this line in particular is worth digging into:

I think the explanation is that Fallout 4 is only attractive to true fans of the series – Charred bones of Tobold

Keep in mind that Fallout 4 has outsold Witcher 3 by at least 2x on Steam, and my guess is console lemmings increase that gap even further. But sales aren’t the whole story. Look at the time played on Steam Spy for W3 vs F4. F4 is 10hr+ higher, despite being a far newer game without any DLC or major mods released yet. So more people have played F4 longer than W3, but Tobold will tell you with a straight (burned and skeletal) face F4 is only attractive to true fans. Corpses say the funniest things, don’t they?

Happy New Year buddy, never stop being you!

PS: I’d love to dig through W3 reviews and note how many reference only the Bloody Baron as an example of content but give it a high score, vs how many F4 reviews mention the reviewer playing for way more hours than they expected, and then giving it a lower score. Traditional thinking says opinions can’t be wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is proof that they can be. I know a lot of people ‘think’ they liked W3, and didn’t like F4, but if you are one of those people and have more hours played of F4 than W3, your opinion is wrong.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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22 Responses to The story of Fallout 4 incinerating Tobold

  1. maljjin says:

    Do you know if there are public stats for the Galaxy client from GOG ? I don’t think it would change much the overall picture of W3 playtime, but it would provide a more complete picture. I’m probably not the only one using this client that haven’t linked their game to their Steam account.

    • SynCaine says:

      I having nothing to back this up, but I sense that GoG is a very small player in terms of sales volume. I’d be shocked if more than 100k copies were sold on that platform.

  2. In before Tobold response of, “But Witcher 3 got more GotY awards, so my point was essentially correct.” logic.

    • Esteban says:

      I have no dog in this fight, but when the ratio is over 4:1, with most (all?) significant gaming publications giving FO:4 a miss, that logic starts looking logical. HuffPo and Maxim, illustrious though they may be, aren’t exactly weather-makers in gaming, surely?

      • SynCaine says:

        That wasn’t the point though. The point was Tobold said not a single source other than ‘fanboys’ would give F4 GotY. That list shows he was very wrong. The conversation was never whether F4 would win more GotY awards over W3, because as Mik noted below, GotY historically has gone to story over gameplay, and with Bloody Baron being within the timeframe most reviews spend on a game, it makes it an easy pick, even if some major sites (Polygon, IGN) had F4 rated higher than W3 in reviews.

    • everblue says:

      Tobold just says stuff like this to drive engagement in his website (remember back in the days of WoW when he claimed to be Gevlon?). I wouldn’t take it too seriously.

      • After nearly a decade poking around this corner of web, I am familiar with the ways of Tobold; he trolls and claims he isn’t trolling, he says he wants discussion but gets his panties in a twist if you disagree with him, he is pedantic in defining things to mean exactly (and only) what he says they mean, if you hurt his feels he deletes your comment (but he will jump straight to personal attacks himself), if too many people disagree with him he’ll post about how he’s going to give up blogging, and, as I alluded to in my above comment, he’ll twist his terms at need to make himself correct. SynCaine links to a post above where he essentially puts words in SynCaine’s mouth and then argues against them. (I forgot to list serial offender when it comes to the straw man fallacy.) So “seriously” is hardly a term I would use for how one should take Tobold.

        But I wouldn’t claim anybody should take me or my blog seriously either. We all have our issues and this is all essentially low budget entertainment. He could be doing it on purpose just to drive rage traffic for all I know.

  3. Caldazar says:

    I don’t particularly care either way which game is best, as imo its just up to personal preference.

    But I prefer witcher 3 and have more hours on it, does that mean my opinion is correct then? :p

  4. I won’t dive into the whole Witcher 3 vs Fallout 4 any more then I already have (and at extended lengths with you Syn).

    I’ll just sum up the difference between the two titles;

    Witcher 2 vs Witcher 3? Huge evolutionary leap. Open World, Combat, Story, Mini-games, Etc.
    Fallout 3 vs Fallout 4? Crafting system?

    Its easier to give kudos to a developer who took risks with their IP then simply reiterated on the same tired path they’ve always tread. I don’t think Bethesda and think “wow they certainly took risks with Fallout 4!”

    Does that mean that Fallout 4 was a bad game? Certainly not. I played it extensively, despite a sour taste in my mouth that I was simply buying a new story line and new points of interest to explore.

    Does that mean Witcher 3 was game of the year? That’s unfortunately a decision best left to the individual player. If we start trying to force our opinions of which title is better than the other, without being actually critical of the title, you are left with some sort of nazi-esqe mission to convert people to your opinion on a title.

    I have yet to hear you say one bad thing about Fallout 4 Syn, which really lumps you into the Fanboy reviewer status versus an honest reviewer in my opinion. Even my own reviews acknowledge things they did well.

    Do all of the Witcher 3 reviews cite the Bloody Baron quest? Sure, why wouldn’t they? Its a great example of the story line and the players decisions upon it. Did most reviewers of the game get past this point? Who knows. That’s a condemnation of the game review industry and not the review itself. Lets just assume they played all of the titles they reviewed with such inconsistency. The fact that no such readily identifiable highlight exists within the main story line of Fallout 4 surely says something though to me.

    • SynCaine says:

      The risks taken in W3 didn’t pan out in terms of execution. The main quest theme (a chase/hunt) doesn’t mesh with large zones full of random POI to casually wander across, especially when said POI are often the same flawed POI over and over again (drowners/bandits around a chest containing garbage loot). W1 had a better story/gameplay balance (W2 is just a bleh game overall). Same with the crafting, its a greatly expanded mess. Consumables? A boring mess. The card game? Meh after a few games because the AI is braindead; at least the dice minigame was full-on diceroll randomness rather than AI cheesing that undermines the entire ‘collect cards’ aspect. The less said about horse racing and fist-fighting the better.

      F4 on the other hand refined the most important aspect of the game (combat) by a very noticeable amount (go play F3 to remind yourself of the difference), added crafting that made the core theme of Fallout (exploring a wasteland, salvaging junk) even more meaningful without the flawed execution found in W3, and did an amazing job in recreating the Boston area and capturing its spirit, and expanded the Fallout universe without screwing it up, which is hugely important considering the value of that IP.

      F4 isn’t perfect, no, but where it really counts (actually playing the game) it’s night and day compared to W3. W3 is the Bloody Baron quest line story, and then it falls completely apart in almost every system. Again, there is a reason people put in 100hrs into F4 without touching the main quest but sprinted to the finish to close out W3. One is a great game, the other is one good quest line early on.

  5. Mikrakov says:

    One thing that GOTY aggregate site shows is how reviewers favour story over gameplay. The Last of Us ahead of GTA V, Walking Dead ahead of Far Cry 3.

  6. n0th says:

    >F4 on the other hand refined the most important aspect of the game (combat)
    Do expand on that please, i’ve actually played F3:NV for a couple of hours lately. VATS is less painful to use in F4, and thats it.
    > added crafting that made the core theme of Fallout
    Or you could say that they went for the cashgrab off the minecraft/sims/”facebook farm type game” players and sacrificed immersion while doing it.
    > The card game? Meh after a few games because the AI is braindead;
    yeah, obvious cash grab off players that enjoy TCGs like Heartstone
    > Same with the crafting, its a greatly expanded mess. Consumables? A boring mess.
    Please do elaborate.

    I also strongly disagree on “F4 did more than W3”, to me F4 felt like a giant F3 mod to be honest.
    So they took F3 engine nearly unmodified. Designed a new map where all the POI are crammed together so tightly it actually breaks immersion. Streamlined looting. Added repeatable kill-ten-rats/fedex quests everywhere. Added minecraft-type gameplay with awful UI and without any actual purpose in the game. Optimized even more RPG elements out of the game (no karma, no skills, less actual choice in dialog options).

    Its still a Fallout and still a good game that i’ve spent 30ish or so hours playing through, i just strongly disagree its a “better” successor to Fallout 3/NV than Witcher 3 is to Witcher 2.

    • SynCaine says:

      Shooting is a lot smoother in F4 than in F:NV, from how ironsight works to the accuracy of enemy models and hit detection. Enemy AI is also significantly better in F4, including using the options from the new weapon crafting system. Ghouls in F4 vs F:NV, etc. I don’t even think its really opinion, F4 combat is just straight-out better than combat in F:NV from a FPS perspective.

      When I said crafting, I wasn’t just talking about settlements, which is more a side activity than a core system (and if you check F4 on Reddit, there are plenty of people who have spent more time on that side activity then the entire length of W3, so while not for everyone, its a very significant feature for some. Plus with DLC and mods, I have no doubt it will eventually be something truly amazing for more people). I was more talking about weapon and armor modding. Both games have you picking up random stuff to improve your weapons or armor. In F4 its fun, streamlined, and has real impact (you can completely change the feel and function of a weapon). Searching through a ruin is more fun than in F:NV now, both because of the improvement to looting itself (no more opening empty crates in a frozen UI), and because all the random junk that has always been in Fallout (glue, bears, bottles, etc) all matter for more than a single crafted weapon like in F:NV, and aren’t ignored.

      In W3 crafting is a fight with the UI to eek out a few percentage points of power that you likely won’t even notice, that gets dramatically worse as the game goes on and your endless list of junk gets larger and larger for zero additional gain. The RNG aspect of crafting drops in W3 is also a major pain/flaw. Crafting a potion with said junk once and then refiling it infinitely by hitting N and kneeling for one hour is… a bit silly at best, and trivializes something that was a major gameplay and lore focus in previous games (W1 had an entire main quest around the importance of witcher potion materials).

      The F4 is a F3 mod is a tired talking point honestly, and shows that people either aren’t paying attention to what they are playing, or don’t pick up on design changes and decisions unless they are so major they are impossible to ignore (or are spoon-fed to them in PR). Just because F4 isn’t a total revamp of Fallout like F3 was vs F2, doesn’t mean F4 isn’t a significant improvement over F3. It was the same thing said of Skyrim vs Oblivion, and it was just as wrong then. The list of changes from F3 to F4, in addition to the ones I laid out above, is very long, and in the end they all come together to make a game people play for hundreds of hours, while once again setting a baseline for modders and future DLC that will entertain people for even longer. It also expands the Fallout universe lore in a meaningful and fitting way, which again is a big deal when talking about an IP as significant and complex as Fallout.

      In a year from now F4 will still be relevant and a big deal. W3 won’t. In two years W3 won’t be mentioned. F4 will still be heavily played.

  7. hospina says:

    Yes the combat in FO4 is better and they added crafting. However, its just a better looking FO3.

    The dialogue system sucks, choices mean jack shit, character creation/development has been dumbed down so much its a joke, it only has 2 really interesting companions (valentine and danse), the UI sucks just like W3 UI. They took out everything that makes fallout Fallout.

    Dont get me wrong, im not saying FO4 is a bad game, (I put over a 100+ hours into it and I LOVE the franchise), but you make it out like its the end all be all messiah because mods?

    • SynCaine says:

      No, I’m saying its a game people put 100+ hours into, so clearly it does a lot of things right, while the stuff it does wrong clearly isn’t bad enough to get some people to put it down prior to the 100+ hour mark.

      If dialog options or character creation where so important and as flawed as people try to make them out to be, those people wouldn’t spend the time they do with the game. If W3’s core problems were as minor, more people would have more to say about the game than one early questline.

    • Trego says:

      Hospina, I salute you, as you have skipped completely past the step where you hold two contradictory thoughts in your head, believing both at once, and have gone straight to holding and believing 3 mutually contradictory thoughts in your head. That is deeply impressive.

      • CiaphasCain says:

        I dont think you need to be an ass to someone in comments because you disagree or want to suck Syncaine dong.
        i have almost the same opinion of FO4 and i say “almost” because it is a subpar game to me and to him it’s a better looking FO3.
        I finished it because I have a compulsive need to finish any game i start to play, and did it in around 40hours and the last few ones were a slog.
        The crafting system for weapons and armor can be safely ignored as the game will provide you with almost any weapon already modded by the enemy NPCs, the inventory UI is CRAP with capital letters, the settlement building might have been fun had they made the UI for it any good because as it stands it is just a piece of crap.
        All of the companions are more annoying the a mosquito buzzing in your ears when you want to go to sleep, ended using dogmeat for more then half the game.
        The main story is so full of plot holes you might as well call it a sieve.
        Going to stop or I will make a wall of text and end up deleting it because it became a jumble.

  8. Trego says:

    It’s funny to me how much we debate game reviews, and how personal it often becomes. I think it is because bloggers also tend to write some game reviews, so it becomes more personal to them. I look at reviews and awards from more of the movie perspective, where how much these reviews and awards matter is based on how much they are understood to sell tickets and create revenue, which seems to be fairly well understood. I get the feeling, although I don’t really know, that people don’t feel like they understand how reviews and awards impact game sales in the same fashion as they do in the movie world. Add into this the fact that the fluff vs serious movies distinction, while not a bright line, is still simpler than the gaming world where people tend to play one of many genres; and then also add in that the movie world seems to give a much more specific accounting of revenue vs cost for each movie. Responding to this uncertainty by making the arguments personal is very human, although not very logical. Tobold is a special case of this, as his predilection for making grand sweeping statements about subjects he has only a small amount of personal experience with leads him down this path fairly constantly. The gaming community is so fractured compared to other communities with dueling reviewers, though, if Tobold didn’t exist we’d have to create him, I think. He is the living embodiment of these fault lines. And, of course, if we wanted to create another Tobold, we’d create him in exactly the same way. We’d a tabletop gaming GM who dabbles in computer games, and have him play various games just enough to misunderstand them. Sometimes I imagine that his blog is written by the comic book guy from the Simpsons, to add even more humor to it.

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