I love the game and am trying an Ironman run. However, there is one frustrating aspect to it that really needs to be fixed.
I have lots of settlements. I try to keep their defenses high, but still get notices that they are being attacked. The issue is that I then need to rush off and defend them as there is timer before the mission fails.
The problem is that I may be on the other side of the map. I may be embroiled in some long mission, and perhaps overloaded and unable to run. Worse, as an Ironman player, we don’t use fast-travel. This is considered cheating, as you can miss all the potentially dangerous encounters between locations. Ironman players walk/run to each location in the game.
So, twice now recently I get a notice of a settlement being attacked. Once was clear across the other side of the map in my most far-flung settlement location. I headed out as soon as I saw the notice (dropped my current quest) and still saw a failure notice before I could trudge in power armor all that distance (through enemy territory for part of it). So, I had to reload a saved game and fast-travel to have a 30 second fight with some super mutants. All of the enemies, locations, loot, and XP I had encountered along the way while trying to walk over was gone now, of course. Immersion in the game was lost.
Next I had to rush off to defend a location already bristling with turrets. I got there to have a fight that lasted maybe five seconds with some robots. I gathered up loot from the fallen mechs and then headed back to my main base at Sanctuary.
A similar situation exists when you get missions to rescue NPCs. Take too long and the mission fails.
Again, this just ruins the exploration and quest-driven aspects of the game. I shouldn’t be expected to go from my main base all the way to a quest location on the other side of the map — and then turn around to go back because some farm near Sanctuary is being hit by a couple of raiders.
Here are my proposed fixes. Either one will work, though the first one is preferable:
1. Remove all timers from the settlement defense and hostage rescue missions. Let us get to them just like any other mission in the game. This lets me finish up quests I am on at the time.
2. If we simply must have a sense of urgency on some missions, then add a countdown timer. Give the player feedback on how long they have to do the settlement defense or NPC hostage rescue mission. Get rid of the drop everything to do it now or risk failing it aspects. Also, allow enough time to go to the mission location WITHOUT having to resort to fast-traveling and having to abandon missions they are already on.
This should be a simple patch. Someone may have done one or both of these with a mod.
One other change would be to offer clear guidance on a level of settlement defenses where NOBODY will attack. If I need to maintain 2X food and water in defense, well OK. I can do that. If I need 3X to stop all attacks, well I can go nuts on defenses. The issue I have is that settlements with high defenses still seem to be targeted. Tell me how much is enough and I will put it in. I do want my little NPCs to be safe.
One option would be to pop in a simple settlement attack risk calculator into the HUD that looked at assets cs. defenses. That is admittedly a tad complicated, since it gets into HUD redesign. Or, just have some NPC dialog that talks about how they can see their strong defenses on their base should keep attacks from happening. Have them worry aloud if they see defense ratings below the full safety measure. The player then gets feedback on whether to keep adding defenses.
Or, to be really simple, Bethesda could simply patch in a “no attacks on is defense is X times food + water” functionality. Then, tell everyone what it is so we can exceed it (post it to the forums).
Again, great game, but judging from other player comments, I am not the only one who finds these seeming random settlement attacks annoying.