Fallout 3 Game Guide: Tour of the Capital Wasteland Overview

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David Hodgson, author of the Fallout 3 Game Guide, continues his series of blog posts today with an overview focusing on the chapter devoted to covering ALL of the Capital Wasteland.

Fallout, then Fall Over: Guide Creation Blog

Part 06: Tour of the Capital Wasteland: Overview

In an attempt to craft the most valuable guide imaginable, we went kinda crazy with this section. Clocking in at over 200 pages (just over two-fifths of the total pages in the Limited Edition guide), the Tour of the Capital Wasteland was to serve two main purposes: 1: To allow you to instantly locate an area you’re needing help with, and 2: To reveal the items available, so you can judge whether a sortie is worth the risk of possible (and almost always grisly) death. This took around two months of hard graft to achieve, but the results were definitely worth it: You have a complete atlas of the entire game world at your fingertips.

Written with the map poster in mind (although all the poster maps also appear inside the guide too), the Tour begins with explanations on the information each location has to offer. To start with, if the location is featured in a Main, Miscellaneous, or Freeform Quest, this is noted. Then comes the Threat Level (rated from one to five), so you can quickly ascertain whether to bring a 10mm Pistol, or a hulking great Follower armed to the teeth with a Minigun and a bad attitude. Then comes a Faction flag; showing you which Wasteland group controls this area; especially useful as you can bring preferred killing equipment to the expedition. Services are flagged for each location, too; so you can instantly know whether you’ll find a Healer, Repairer, or Trader. Next up are possible dangers (aside from the regular enemies); such as the types of traps to watch out for. Finally, the type and number of Collectibles the location has is shown, as well as more “miscellaneous” information; like whether you can find a Follower, sizable ammo caches, Perks, Radio Signals, and even a place to live in.

Delve a little deeper, and there’s information on the dozens of Mini-Encounters that you might run into. Following that, the entire Wasteland is subdivided into nine sprawling Zones. Each Zone gets an Overview (which shows the Collectibles present in the entire area, as well as Primary and Secondary locations). Every single location can be found by either tracing the Latitude/Longitude on the Map Poster, or by its own Zone number. Naturally, the overview map looks just like the one on your Pip-Boy, so you can easily spot where you are. Once the overview is out of the way, you can dig into each specific area. Let’s take the church in the screenshot as an example.

This is the eighth Primary location in Zone 1, so it is flagged as location 1.08. Instantly locatable on a map, there’s a list of assets, and a biography of any inhabitant living at the location (in this case, no one important enough is around). If the area has a likelihood of an enemy encounter, it is listed here, too. Then comes general and succinct tactical advice for the location, along with any Freeform Quests. Freeform Quests are smaller and optional tasks, usually taking place at one or two locations, and every single one of them is shown during this chapter.

For larger settlements, such as Megaton, every single location within town is revealed, the type of Terminal and Locked Doors are shown (so you know whether your Skills are good enough to allow you access), and more importantly still, every location that needs it gets its own map. Maps have waypoints labeled on them so you know where every major occurrence is. With well over 150 “interior” maps (that aren’t on the poster), it took a team of four map makers around three months to finish them all, and they look superb. Naturally, they’re all extremely detailed (down to computers on tables, floor tiles, and debris piles), and are a great way to learn the topography of a location without blindly trekking through increasingly hostile corridors without any knowledge of how vast an area is.

Around a third of the Tour showcases the labyrinth of the D.C. Metro Area itself. A massive series of locations that join the exterior Wasteland via dozens of snaking underground tunnels, finding your way around here is almost impossible without an “underground” map. Fortunately, there is one, so you can figure out the quickest routes between major areas. Naturally, each underground location gets its own map, too. There are 11 D.C. Metro areas to witness too; whether it’s the somber gloom of Arlington Cemetery, or the awe-inspiring Mall and Capitol Building, these get a meticulous going-over, too.

Whether you’re out on a jaunt and want to find some specific enemies to slaughter, you’re out to grab every single particular type of collectible, or you’re encroaching an area that looks foreboding, this chapter can be dipped into and skipped across in a multitude of ways. Whatever you’re doing, and wherever you’re going, try utilizing the Tour to get there and back with a greater chance of living than you thought possible!

Come back on launch day (Tuesday 28th October), where we finish off this blog in style with some extra-cool Appendices, and Limited Edition content information.

Check out both the regular edition game guide and the collector’s edition game guide.

Reader Comments

  1. Great gloom of the wastelands! There be graveyards in FALLOUT 3! This time next week millions will be enjoying this violent dead world.

    Talking about time am surprised theres no death clock countdown in these last hours before release. Oh well i still can listen to Gary Numan’s I Almost Married A Human Being while soaking in the anticipation.

  2. Oh wait a minute there is a countdown clock. But its so cheery. Ooo that Fallout Boy makes me so happy in the hopelessness.

  3. fallout3 has the best lighting graphical effects in any 360 game ever i hope they add new areas onto the map and add new items gear and stores to the upcoming downloads … as well as graphic performance the npc and computer a.i highly responds to the gamer interactions in the world of fallout 3.. not only the facts of its new engine it will continue to respect all platforms but i own a my copy on 360. i hope that they will make the expack to a 360 copy as well as pc. ive just started the game at lvl 4-5 im still exploring the wasteland and i love the pep boy targeting system it works like a federal agent sniper on the job.. i love the game and i hope you all would read my info thx

    GM GAmer andys :P

  4. One of the developers tried to claim that the target time for this game is just 20 hrs, IF you just go through storyline. that my frends is not true at all, i had all house upgrades and finished story in like 10 hrs @ lvl 16.