Fallout 4: How to Melee Build and Wreck Everyone

I've received a few different direct messages after my last blog about doing a melee build in Fallout 4, and I figured "what the hell, I'll give everyone the secrets." Now, I'm not going to say that this is an end-all be-all of melee builds, but it will give you a good idea of where to start and what to look for. There MAY be spoilers somewhere in these parts, so be aware of that (though I doubt there will be).

Let's start with some simple information: doing a melee build in Fallout 4 is fun as hell. It's INCREDIBLY fun. However, it will cheese the hell out of this game on low difficulties, and it will be somewhere between fairly difficult to nigh impossible on Hard and above. Much of this is because you will have a ton of damage up front with very little genuine survivability until you have worked up some legendary gear with great affixes (Sentinel, Martyr, and stuff that generally has percentage damage reduction on it). You'll also need to get Armorer and Blacksmith at some point in order to improve that armor and weaponry, which is what you'll focus on past level 20 or so.

Skill points

Here is a basic breakdown of where you'll need to allocate your SPECIAL points as well as what perks to focus on for the first 20 levels or so:

Basic build

  • 9 points in Strength (use the SPECIAL book at Shaun's crib to give you a 10th point if you are going to use power armor and Pain Train)
  • 9 points in Endurance
  • 6 points in Luck
  • 2 points in Intelligence
  • 2 points in Charisma (use the SPECIAL book at Shaun's crib to give you a 3rd point if you are not going to use Pain Train)

With this build, you are looking to unlock the following perks as fast as possible...

  • 2 points in Idiot Savant
  • Full points in Iron Fist (if unarmed) or Big Leagues (if melee weapon)
  • Full points in Rooted
  • 1 point in Ghoulish
  • Full points in Medic
  • Full points in Bloody Mess
  • Full points in Lone Wanderer
  • Full points in Toughness
  • 1 point in Cannibal
  • 1 point in Aquaboy

This will cover about the first 20 levels or so for you.

Idiot Savant is ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT, as it's going to level you insanely fast. Some people like to go three points into it so they can essentially get mini-quest levels of XP from enemies in the game. However, I prefer the 5x XP from popping a quest. Fun trick - you can quicksave before turning the quest in, then turn it in. If Idiot Savant doesn't proc, reload your quicksave and try it again. If it does not proc on the second turn-in, it won't happen at all.

Iron Fist and Big Leagues are your bread and butter for getting big damage out of your fists and weaponry.

Rooted gives you additional damage when standing still. Fun fact: when you are in VATS, you are considered standing still.

Ghoulish means that food that would give you radiation will actually heal you for MORE. You will still get RADS on your health bar, but it's really great for making the low end stuff heal you really big early in the game.

Medic is just great survivability, and when you eventually get a legendary piece of gear that offers Legendary Slow Time, it makes it that much more worthwhile.

Full points into Bloody Mess gives you 15% increased overall damage, as well as an essential Exploding Palm proc.

Lone Wanderer is excellent for you, as it'll give 30% damage reduction and 50% additional damage. That's just killer, and you can have this active WHILE having Dogmeat with you. Fun fact - Dogmeat is NOT considered a traditional companion, so Lone Wanderer STILL works while having him around. Moreover, he's actually really good crowd control for you, and with good dog armor on him, he's survivable enough. We'll explain some of that in a second, though.

Toughness is base damage resistance. That should be self-explanatory in and of itself.

Cannibal only needs to have 1 point put into it, and this is only because of Mr. Strong. We'll explain that in a minute.

Aquaboy is good solely because it lets you swim around freely, and there is quite a bit of water to traverse that makes trips far shorter.

Once you've gotten these levels grinded out (which shouldn't take long with Idiot Savant), you'll want to get your points in Armorer and Blacksmith (both located in Strength). Put full points into both of them. If you are interested in lockpicking, you can take points into that as well. That doesn't mean you'll have to put points into Perception (requires Rank 4 Perception to get Locksmith perk). If you want to hack things, then you could do that as well...I guess...but it's going to make Idiot Savant proc less, which will slow your leveling. Honestly, I don't feel like many things that are hacked lead to many great things anyways. One point in Awareness is also decent so you can see what your enemy's level and resistances look like, and points into Refractor also aren't bad for energy resistance. You can focus on these later in the game, and in all honesty, you are going to be one-shotting almost everything you encounter on difficulties below Hard anyways, so Awareness is kind of here or there really.

If you are going to use Pain Train (which is the highest melee damage move in the game), then...I can't help you. I don't use Power Armor. I'm a man, goddammit. I would suggest finding a guide somewhere else for that.

Skills to AVOID are Lead Belly, Rad Resistant, Basher, Penetrator, and Pickpocket. The first two are simple: radiation heals you from Ghoulish. Moreover, Rad-X will give you all the radiation resistance you need, and RadAway is not hard to get. Basher is if you use a gun to melee someone, and that's pointless since...you know...you'll be a melee build. It just won't do much damage. Just hotkey your melee weapons, then switch over quickly. It doesn't take much longer to do that, and you'll be able to knock the shit out of someone. Penetrator is really only good for guns. Pickpocket is for rogues. You aren't a rogue. You are a goddamn barbarian. Barbarians don't steal stuff. They kill and take what they want.

Another thing to point out: YOU ARE GOING TO BE THE BIGGEST DRUG ADDICT AND ALCOHOLIC EVER! You are a damn barbarian, so act like it! When you are going to fight something big, get fucking SMASHED! The best part is that the penalties you'll be taking for being wasted DON'T MATTER! They are not going to affect your damage in any way, and when you lose -1 Charisma or -1 Int, it just means you are losing the effective stats from them. You can still unlock and use the perks, even with these losses. There are few things that will make you lose Strength and Endurance in the game once addicted, so just be wasted whenever you want. If you WANT to take some Addictol or a Refreshing Beverage here and there, have a doctor cure your addictions, or take those dumb perks for not getting addicted, I...GUESS you could do that, as well.


With an unarmed build, it's actually easy as hell to get your endgame weapon: the Furious Power Fist. Just head to the Boston Common, then go to the little pond there and hit the boat. A behemoth named Swan will come out of the pond. Kill him and he will give you the weapon guaranteed. Congratulations. You never need another weapon, as Furious weapons will add damage to eat attack after your first if you haven't killed the target. Specifically, it adds an additional 40 damage to each attack. Furious weapons are ridiculous. Another solid option is the Deathclaw Gauntlet, which you can get from the Museum of Witchcraft. Go there, kill the Deathclaw, pick up the Pristine Deathclaw Egg, and then put it back in the nest. It will give you the weapon. It's up to you how you want to play that out. One option is a burst weapon, while the other is a DPS weapon.

If you are going the melee weapon route, your options are a bit crazier. A good starting option would be Grognak's Axe. The weapon has stagger when you hit someone, and the damage scales pretty well until you get my personal favorite options. You can find this (and Grognak's Costume) in Hubris Comics.

My personal favorite options are the 2076 World Series Baseball Bat/Rockville Slugger or the Kremvh's Tooth/Furious Machete combo. The World Series bat is located in Jamaica Plain, on display in a case in the treasure room. It has a unique ability that can send an enemy flying through the air on a proc chance. It's hilarious and makes me giggle with glee every time it happens. It also has a TON of damage on it, but like the Furious Power Fist for unarmed builds, it is a burst weapon. It is also not very VATS-friendly. Therefore, you might want to consider trading it in to Moe in Diamond City for some caps and buy the Rockville Slugger from him. It's a small decrease in damage from the World Series bat, but the bonus is that your attacks will cost 40% less in VATS. Where the World Series bat can usually get two or three swings, the Rockville can get about five or six. Therefore, it's technically a damage INCREASE against bigger enemies that you (for some reason) don't one-shot.

Kremvh's Tooth is located in Dunwich Borers, and it has a really...interesting...quest to do with it. If you played Point Lookout in Fallout 3 and remember the Dunwich quest there...and you are a fan of Lovecraft, this is going to be fun for you. Nonetheless, Kremvh's Tooth is a sacrifical blade, which means that it deals bleed AND poison damage.

If you can get a Furious Machete, however, then you are winning. Break down the Kremvh's Tooth to a regular machete, and the sacrifical blade mod will be added your inventory (which gives the bleed and poison damage). You cannot upgrade the Furious Machete past a serrated blade at your Weapons Workshop, but you CAN add the mod from Kremvh's Tooth to ANY LEGENDARY MACHETE! This takes the Furious Machete from being a weapon that does good base damage and gains increased damage with each swing, but it ALSO gains supplementary bleeding and poison damage for the mod you added from Kremvh's Tooth.

With both builds, however, you are going to have to have at least two guns on you at any point. I know. I know. This feels like a cop out, but there is one genuine reason for it: turrets. They are in all kinds of places, and in higher levels, you'll find that MKII and higher turrets can have staggering bullets that will rip you apart. On higher difficulties, they will hit you like trucks. Therefore, having a Combat Rifle and Combat Shotgun will help you greatly with ensuring you can take them down. I personally have a legendary Combat Rifle that I found which is converted over to .308 rounds, and it's my go-to gun. With the ammo being more scarce than others, the Combat Shotgun is just solid backup. If you ever find an improvement to either of these laying around, pick it up and turn it into your new main.


When it comes to gearing, you have multiple options. The best options are legendary pieces that will give you as much DR and ER as possible while also being able to be improved to higher quality. Affixes that you want are Sentinel/Titan (15% damage reduction while standing and not moving), Assassin (15% damage reduction vs Humans, the most common enemy type in the Wastelands), Fortifying (+1 STR and +1 END), Cavalier (15% damage reduction while blocking or sprinting), and Bolstering (up to +35 energy and damage resistance the lower your health). You will need at LEAST one piece of Martyr gear, which will give you a temporary slow-motion effect when you hit 20% or lower health. This is a perfect spot to pop a Stimpak and get your health back up, or you can use it to utilize your Bolstering gear and do some severe damage to people. As far as what type of gear you want, that is totally up to you. Combat Armor offers probably the best pound-for-pound DR/ER hybrid, but some people care about vanity a little bit more. I know that I do, and we'll explain that in just a second. With a helmet, I'd go for Combat Armor helmets, but if you can't get on, just about anything will work. Frankly, headgear isn't the most important piece (unless, again, you care about vanity).

Now look... I'm a barbarian in this game, literally. One of the best pieces of melee weapon armor that I've found in the game is Grognak's Costume, in terms of damage at least. I've tried replacing it with a +1 STR and +1 END chestpiece (Black Ops Chestpiece, specifically), and it's just not as much damage. However, you CANNOT upgrade the Costume at all, which means it is constantly going to leave you with less DR and ER than you'd like to be super survivable. I also personally wear the Mascot Head (which you can get from Bosco in D.B. Technical School), as it does actually give 5 DR (the only things higher are basically Synth Helmet or Combat Armor Helmet), and...it makes me a BAR-BEAR-IAN. It's basically amazing.

Supplementary Things

There are multiple other things to consider getting for the build, some of which are companion-related, some quest-related, and some just general pickups in the world. Here's a short list of the most important ones:

  • When you reach the maximum positive relationship status with your companions, they will give you a permanent perk each. The most useful ones are Paladin Danse (20% damage to ghouls, super mutants, and synths), Codsworth (+10 damage resistance against robot energy attacks), Preston (20% more DR and 20% more damage when outnumbered), Curie (heal for 100 health if under 10% HP), X6-88 (20% more ER if hit by energy weapon), Mr. Strong (20% more unarmed/melee damage if under 25% HP), and...if you are really daring, Hancock (20% crit hit if you are over 250 RADS).
    Of these, the two most important ones are Mr. Strong and Curie. The combat heal from Curie will save your ass so many times, and Mr. Strong just gives us more damage. Danse also does this, but it's to particular enemy types. You'll find yourself in situations with little health more than you'll find yourself against three specific enemy types. Mr. Strong...likes it when you kill innocent people...and when you eat corpses...which is why you took that one point in Cannibal. Makes sense now, right? Meanwhile, Curie likes it when you say good things about synths, are nice and kind to people, and heal Dogmeat or give her items.
  • Grognak the Barbarian comics are an obvious thing you need in order to beef your damage up further. However, there are a couple of other really good magazines to keep your eyes out for: Massachusetts Surgery Journal (increases limb damage with any weapon by 2% per per magazine) and Unstoppables (1% chance to completely avoid all damage dealt to you per magazine). Beyond that, there are a few issues of Astoundingly Awesome Tales andWasteland Survival Guide that can get you some good additional damage, DR, healing abilities, etc.
  • Chems and alcohol are your friend. You love them. Booze almost always give you more strength and endurance, which leads to more damage and survivability. Alcohol of the same category cannot give you a corresponding stack. For instance, if you drink two forms of alcohol that gives +1 STR, then you only get +1 STR. Therefore, what you want to do is drink something that gives +1, something that gives +2, and something that gives +3 for a total of +6. The other option is to drink whatever the fuck you want. Who cares, right? Just get shitfaced for the fuck of getting shitfaced and hit things really goddamn hard. Each point of Strength you gain gives you 10% more unarmed or melee damage, so it's worth it!
  • The Cabot House quest line will lead you to making a decision: either kill Jack Cabot and his family or kill Lorenzo Cabot, the patriarch housed within the Parsons Insane Asylum. If you want to be awesome at melee, then you kill Jack and his family. Lorenzo will give you an endless FREE supply of Mysterious Serum, which will give you +5 STR, 50 damage resistance, and take away -36,000 RADS. Yes. That was correct. -36,000 RADS. Ridiculous.
  • There will be at least one Bobblehead for Strength and one Bobblehead for Endurance that you can find in the game. Get them and be happy with your permanent +1 increase.


There's not much else beyond that to the unarmed/melee setup. Utilize your entire toolbox of tricks and you should find the Commonwealth to be your own personal punching bag of dastardly fun! I hope that this guide has been able to help you substantially in learning more about an unarmed/melee build in Fallout 4. The last thing you need to know is simple, though: praise be unto the One True Grognak, for He is the Light and the Savior of the Commonwealth. I will share with you all very soon pictures and a blog about my founding of the Church of Grognak soon enough, and you'll understand it all.

Take it easy and good luck out there!

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On Fallout 4 and Its Density...

Finlee Kilgore, the Wasteland Bar-bear-ian has entered Vault 81. As he walks in for his second visit, to the jeers of many for being Commonwealth trash, he helps save a small boy's life and gain the adoration of everyone. Despite still being questioned about whether that is his Pip-Boy or not, Finlee journeys back into the Wasteland, wearing his Grognak loincloth and wielding the great barbarian's axe with the dilapidated head of a former sports mascot. He seeks revenge against whoever murdered his wife and stole his son.

This has been my experience with Fallout 4, and it's going to be a LOOOOONG time until I find my son.

The delay in finding Shaun isn't because he isn't important to me. As a matter of fact, Fallout 4 didn't have to do much to get me attached to my main story mission. As a man who has always wanted to be a husband and a father (but am neither), that motivation alone is enough to get my blood boiling. The reason it's taking so long is because...well...there's so much shit to do!

Fallout 3 and New Vegas had their density, but it just can't quite reach the level of how Fallout 4 has achieved it. There's a ton of places to venture to, little "dungeons" with hidden secrets and cool side-quests that offer a one-off experience. This is typical of the franchise at this point. It's the additions to all of this that make matters so much larger. The innumerable number of companions available to you, the absolute depth of the perk chart coupled with the lack of level cap, and even the addition of legendary enemies with special versions of weaponry give the game far more flavor than it already had.

The crafting system even gives you depth, letting you turn your gear into whatever you need it to be for your play style: stealthy, gun-toting, melee-wielding, broad-shouldered tank, and the list goes on and on.

The settlement building lets you create towns that, to many, won't matter. However, the fact that you can essentially build your OWN Megaton, that YOU can be the one who creates the new crown jewel of the Wasteland...and that you might have to defend it... This idea is just extravagant in ways that the series has never known outside of community mods.

The game is packaged with all of the stuff that I wanted, and I can only hope that the DLC will expand on it.

This is why I say that Fallout 4 is my Game of the Year, even with a month and a half left and only 24 hours played on my main character. I already know that I'll be playing this for hundreds of hours to come.


I don't want anything.

I'll never understand the need for people to overcomplicate things because it goes against what they think they need to do. I give them the reasons, and they don't think they are good enough by their own fucking standards. It pisses me off, and then they wonder what is wrong.

To reference what this is about, my family and friends feel the incessant need to get me gifts for my birthday and for Christmas. For most people, this is a usual thing, and they don't think twice about it. Personally, though, I don't like receiving gifts. I just don't.

It's not like I'm trying to make someone feel bad when I say "I don't want anything." That's not the purpose, and it's never the way it is delivered.

"What do you want for Christmas," they ask me.

"I want nothing," I respond.

They call me a troll. They get me gifts like a toy sheep that shits candy called the Party Pooper. They wonder why I get pissed off at them afterwards.

"Oh, take a joke."

There's no joke there. I don't want gifts. I want nothing. You didn't get me nothing. You did not satisfy my wishes, which you apparently valued in some way because you asked what I wanted in the first place.

"Too bad. I'm getting you something anyways."

I didn't make the suggestion of "I want nothing" with some form of hostility. I made the suggestion because I appreciate simplicity. I don't need material possessions from someone in order to feel like I'm some goddamn special snowflake. I would rather have the company of good people and conversation. Maybe I should just ask for that? I'd probably still be considered a troll or a party pooper in their eyes.

It annoys me to no end. Then, when they continue to drive the point and I finally blow up at them, I'm the bad guy. I'm spoiling their fun.

I don't give a fuck about your fun in that situation. I'm making it simple, and YOU...you overcomplicate it for no reason.

What do you have to get me? Literally nothing. It's fairly easy. You don't have to drive anywhere, pick anything up, purchase anything, find anything, spend time wondering if it's something I'll like, go without dinner for a night because you spent the money getting it for me, wonder how you are going to make the rest of your water bill, or whatever shit comes up.

You don't have to do anything but bring your ass over, sit down, hang out, and let me enjoy your goddamn company. That's it.

Why are people so hellbent on pushing some kind of goddamn gift on you? Is that really what we mean to someone - material possessions handed over as some token of appreciation? Some sign that you mean something in their life? If you are in my life at all, then you've already achieved that shit. I don't need a new video game, a shirt, a pair of socks, or anything else of the sort to signify that shit.

I don't want anything. Don't get me anything. Simple words. Simple logic. End of conversation.


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I don't give a shit about a title.

I haven't blogged in a long time. It always feels pretentious to me when I type into this pale white box, believing that any of the words on the screen will mean anything at all beyond my own bullshit ideals.

Today is not a good day. This week is not a good week. This month...this year...none of it is any good at all.

Where to begin... Let's go back a year.

My girlfriend leaves. She dumps me for her ex-roommate, who lives in Montana...and leaves dog shit laying in the middle of his kitchen floor. This killed me. It destroyed whatever remained of my already scarred and calloused heart. It took 31 years to find someone I felt I could spend forever with, and it took her only a year and a half to crush it completely, thrown away in a dumpster with the other trash.

Because the life we were building was based around two incomes, this made paying bills much more difficult. I was tied up in a lease already, and leaving would've cost too much. I made her pay her rent until the end of the lease. Her parents made her as well (because they took my side...of course, why wouldn't they take the side of a good guy that got dumped by a cheating cunt?). She did...until the last month.

I kept trying to get her to wire the money to me each month. It was easier and far more reliable than mailing a check or money order to the apartment complex. She wanted to be difficult about it. That's no fucking surprise. She wouldn't even take the time to properly check her A1C every goddamn day (I had to get onto her about it regularly). Why the fuck would she be able to wrap her head around the idea of wiring money? Man, I picked a winner, didn't I?

The money order she sent on the last month was late...and also sent back to her... This led to a downward spiral. I had to use my car payment for that month in order to pay the rent, and she would get the money back to me. That wouldn't happen for a little while (a couple of months). She had to get a refund on the money order, and then of course, excuses came up with her. I didn't budge. She finally got the money to me.

It was already too late. I had to borrow $400 from my parents to help cover some stuff, and I had to start taking some payday advances from my boss (getting my check early, not a loan or anything necessarily). This threw my budget completely out of whack.

I called my car payment company multiple times. They wouldn't budge on anything. Finally, they told me that I could have my payment date changed once I'm caught up on my car payments, and that the payment for the month would be pushed to the new date on the next month. For example:

Make payment on February 27th

Payment due on March 27th

Call before March 27th to have payment moved to April 11th

11th of each month is new payment, and I've been given a two week gap to catch up on everything

It was all working to plan. I was doing it. I was getting back up, recovering from this depression I was falling into. I had become lethargic, like nothing I did was going to get me ahead in life. I was destined to be broke, playing catch up, and never getting anywhere.

I get caught up...

...and then April rent happens.

I go to the same corner store I've went to for the last six years to get money orders. I get my money order for rent. I take it to the front office, drop it off, and think nothing of it...like always. Five days later, I get a call saying that the money order was being denied by the apartment complex's bank because it was "either fraudulent or printed on expired paper."


I call the store I got it from. They sound confused as hell. Expired paper? I call the apartment complex again. They have never heard of something like this happening. They call their bank, try to find out more. I call Western Union.

Their bank says that they can't cash the money order. Western Union says that the money order was cashed already.

Someone is lying...or fucking stupid...or both. I don't know. Western Union tells me to send in for a money order refund, so I do just that. It will take thirty days to get the money order refunded. The apartment complex has no problem with holding off from evicting me for thirty days while the refund is processed. I use my car payment money plus some extra money in order to just pay the rent (plus the bank's checking fee, the fucking bastards). I don't want that hanging over my head. What IS hanging over my head now, though...is my car payments. Rearing their ugly head all over again, the debt keeps creeping up on me like an infection that won't go way. However, when I get the refund on the money order, everything will be fine again. That'll cover the car payment I missed plus the next car payment. It all works out...

...until I call today to find out why I haven't received my money order refund.

They tell me they aren't sending it.

The money order was cashed. They can't refund it.

It's at this moment that I go into one of the most rage-induced tirades I've ever spouted to someone at a phone. I just made someone's day absolutely fucking terrible, and honestly, I don't even give a flying fuck. I just don't care anymore. I let it all loose, every single frustration with this whole situation and how it is financially "bending me over the hood of a Gremlin while your company shoves a pineapple up my ass and asks if I want KY, blood, or cum as my lube."

It wasn't pretty.

I called my family lawyer to see if there was anything I could do about this money order situation. He says "no."


There's nothing that can be done apparently, and even if he could do something, "it would cost more in court fees and other costs than what the money order was worth, and the chances of winning when their records show the money order as being cashed? Just let it go and cut your losses."

That man is no longer my family lawyer, by the way.

Meanwhile, all of this is happening...after I have now been a non-smoker for almost two months. That's right: no nicotine for two months, and I'm ready to light an entire town on fire.

Why am I dispensing this information? Because I have no one else to talk to. My parents will just give me the same answer as they do for everything: "find God." My brother has too many of his own problems that he can't help someone else with theirs. My friends...or the people that will soon no longer be my friends...could give a shit less about my overall existence, let alone whether I have problems. None of them perceive any of my issues as ever "actually being issues" and that I just over-dramatize the situations.

I'm out $700. That's not over-dramatized. That's fucked up, and it is in turn fucking up my life.

So I'm trusting in this pale white box that I get to fill with text. I'm sharing this with you so you can know that, whatever difficulty in your life, there is someone else who is just as down, just as pissed, and just as ready for the extinction of the human race as you are.



jakob187's 2014 Game of the Year: The Nemesis System from Shadow of Mordor

Everyone's going to be listing off their top 10 or top 5 or however many games they want to put together with numbers in front of them. We do it every year. Also, anyone who knows my previous GOTY entries is aware that I don't follow the norm with this shit.

In a year filled with mediocre releases and a handful of really awesome ones, there was nothing...NOTHING...that impressed me nearly as much as the Nemesis system in Shadow of Mordor.

"But Josh, wouldn't that mean that your Game of the Year is Shadow of Mordor?"

No. Shadow of Mordor in and of itself is little more than an amalgamation of Rocksteady's Batman combat system, Assassin's Creed's parkour and movement, and light-ended open-world exploration ala every fucking game that exists in this modern day and age. While some games can excel greatly at being an amalgamation (i.e. the original Dead Space), I didn't feel like this entire blend of gameplay mechanics would've mattered nearly as much if the game didn't have its Nemesis system.

When you first experience the Nemesis system, nothing seems special about it. You kill a few captains, then others replace them. It's the moment that you die where you really see the depth of it all. That Uruk that just killed you? Yeah, he's a captain now...because HE killed YOU, the Shadow of Mordor. Now HE matters in this world. Now HE is going to be dueling with others for a higher position. HE is going to be ambushing other captains in a coupe for more power. YOU might not even be the person who brings him down.

All in all, within the ecosystem of Shadow of Mordor, I began to realize that in the grand scheme of everything happening in Mordor, I was nothing but a ghost story. All of this motion within the ranks of Sauron's Army was the thing that really mattered.

That was the other thing that made me love the system: it DID matter to me. When a berserker killed me and it was revealed that his name was Raksha Black-Heart, he had a mouthful of shit to talk to me upon our next meeting. He killed me again, having been bestowed with poison on his axes and commanding about twenty other Uruk to slay me alongside him. Funny enough, he would no longer finish me off. He'd walk away from the fight at the last minute and let his minions take care of me. This created more and more captains, all of which had their personal names and stories.

At least eleven Uruk became promoted through my hunt for Raksha Black-Heart, who at this point had climbed to the rank of a level 20 Legendary Captain. I wanted him down. I seethed with anger that he kept getting away. I hated that I had not been able to kill him yet, especially because he was susceptible to stealth attacks. All I needed was to be stealthed, sneak up, and slit his fucking throat for all the setbacks he had caused me. I slayed every Uruk in my path, interrogating every one of them to find out everything I could about this goddamn army, how I could slay every one of those captains that killed me.

Finally, the moment arrived. Raksha Black-Heart was next to a bush, only two people next to him.


I sneaked up with a quickened pace. My heart was racing with excitement and vengeance.

I reached out of the brush, grabbed his hair, yanked him upward, and stabbed him repeatedly right in the chest. The two with him, frightened and demoralized, try to run. I chase them down, slitting one of their throats and decapitating the other. Everyone else runs, and I let out a battle cry of glory!

I then realized that it was 3:00am in the real world, and that the battle cry I let out wasn't in the game. It was me. I just screamed in my apartment at 3:00am...because I killed a virtual character that had caused me to virtually die multiple times.

This is the depth and the level to which this particular, individual character was able to connect to me in my adventure. This is something I've never experienced to this level in a game. I was on a two-hour long journey just to kill one goddamn Uruk captain in a video game because of how emotionally distressed and angry he made me because of his actions against me.

I have completed MAYBE five or six story missions in this game.

I've thought on multiple occasions already how much better the Nemesis system could make multiple other games:

  1. Marvel Heroes
  2. Warframe
  3. Diablo 3
  4. Divinity: Original Sin
  5. Sunset Overdrive
  6. Borderlands

The list can go on and on and on.

My Game of the Year is the Nemesis System from Shadow of Mordor. Argue amongst yourselves if that is legit or not, but when it comes down to it, that entire system is a game in and of itself.


There is No Black Friday Blog This Year.

Every year, I've kept a blog going of all the deals that are happening on Black Friday. This was a thing I volunteered myself to do in order to make sure that you, my fellow gamers and Giant Bomb family, would be able to plan ahead and know where, what time, and how to get everything you wanted.

This year, I announce that I am no longer doing this.

It's not any type of moral choice or anything, so don't worry about that. I still firmly believe that if someone wants to work on the day after Thanksgiving or whenever they decide to make the store open, that is their choice. The people who are essentially forced to work? Yeah, your bosses/companies are dickstains, and there's not much I can do there. I choose to work on Thanksgivings, though. I like having extra money in my pocket, and my family's Thanksgiving lasts a grand total of about two hours.

It also has nothing to do with my general lack of participation on the forums. I used to post a lot. I don't anymore. That's just due to overall work schedule and creating content for my YouTube channel (which I'm not going to advertise here because that would be crummy as fuck to do).

It's because...well, it's fucking boring to do!

Seriously, trying to go through every single ad that has poorly been put onto the internet, find the deals, make sure that it's accurate, digging for all of that information...and then typing it up and posting it through a blog I made? It's actually way more time-consuming than you'd think, and I'll be honest: I could be playing Marvel Heroes instead...or Magic the Gathering...or Dicemasters...or Heroclix...or literally anything else.

Therefore, I open it up to whomsoever would like to carry the mantle: if you want to make the Official Giant Bomb Black Friday Thread this year, the torch is yours to take.

I want to thank everyone for the past however-many years for your support, and I hope that your Black Friday this year is as good as the previous ones.


In which I search for creativity once again in the abstracts of life...

As a method of keeping myself occupied as of late, I've taken to using my free time as a way to be productive and creative. Well, maybe not truly "creative," but to at least do something that I'm passionate about.

"Passionate" is the key word in this scenario. I used to be passionate about my work, but now it just feels...menial. It doesn't fulfill me, and I'm in the motions of looking for something else. Nonetheless, I still don't quite know what that is. Video games are something that I AM passionate about, but the LAN center just doesn't quench that same thirst anymore. I'm even getting to the point that I kind of hate it. Being that this is unhealthy, moving to another job would be the best thing for me.

In turn, trying to offer myself an opportunity to dig into other passions of mine, I've taken to creating video content for a YouTube channel called Point Zero Games. Originally, the channel was called Hoopaclox, and it was a place to talk about all things related to Heroclix, a miniatures tabletop game that I've played for the last two or three years (since the release of Galactic Guardians, so whenever that was). I made about seven videos on that channel, but I didn't enjoy doing it. I also started a relationship shortly afterwards, and I devoted my time to that. If you've read my past blog posts, you know how that turned out.

Point Zero Games is an extension of what Hoopaclox wanted to be. Rather than focus solely on Heroclix, however, Point Zero Games is a place to talk about all things gaming related. The primary focus at this moment is on Magic The Gathering (which I got back into around Magic 2014 Core Set) and Heroclix. However, I plan on expanding into other realms of gaming such as Dicemasters, board games, and even video games at some point (hopefully on that last one, we'll see how it goes).

Part of the convenience in this has been that I work at a gaming center, which means I have access to computers and a fast internet line that allows me to upload stuff quickly and effectively. Another part is that the local game shop (The Game Closet, for anyone that is curious) is right next door to us. Therefore, when I'm not playing video games, I'm probably next door playing card or tabletop games.

The biggest reason for this, however, was that I needed something to get my creative juices flowing again. In high school and most of college, I played guitar...a LOT. I quit playing sometime shortly after returning from Georgia with my father after he started working at Gulfstream (around 2003 or so). After that, I ended up writing for BonusStage.com, doing game reviews and such. It allowed me to write, another passion of mine (in case you couldn't tell from the mounds of paragraphs I write in literally any comment, reply, or blog that I make). Once I started working at the LAN center, I pretty much stopped being creative completely and dedicated myself to work.

With Point Zero Games, I'm hoping that I can find my creative self again. So far, the channel is doing well. We are over 120 subscribers (within the course of a month, which is fantastic to see). I'm also hoping, of course, that the channel can eventually generate some revenue as a way to supplement my hobbies. I don't expect that to happen anytime soon. It will take time, but it's not the reason I'm doing it. The primary reason is to talk, have conversations, reach out to people in the worldwide community of these games, and generally get excited or disappointed about things alongside others.

It's been an interesting trip so far, as I knew very little about the actual background of creating video content, being dedicated to getting content out in a timely fashion, knowing analytics of video content, and more. If anything, it's given me a much deeper appreciation for the work that Giant Bomb and many other sites do over the course of a given week than I ever could've had. It's time-consuming, but in the end, it typically feels like it's worth it.

For anyone that is interested in checking the channel out, you can check it out by clicking here. If not, that's cool as well.

Thanks for reading, and I hope your days are ever bright and full of life.


Start the Conversation

I don't know what this is, but it's words on a screen at least.

I thought about this on July 3rd: Ryan was someone that we all knew, whether we met him or not. He was never shy to let himself be known as a quantity and as quality. He was a fine Islay peated whisky in a sea of bourbon: strong, abrasive, but there's no way you could hate it because of how good it truly was. He made the rest of us seem dull as fuck. The continued heartfelt messages that people left for July 3rd, the creation of the hashtags to make him trend again on Twitter (because let's be real, he'd still flip shit about that), and the fact that thousands...if not millions...of people that are around the world felt their hearts sink into their stomachs, tears swell up in their eyes, and cry like babies in the corners like we had all lost our best friend...

...yeah, that's Ryan. He'd fucking love it, too. He'd giggle incessantly that we're all blubbery messes about his passing, and that's the best thing ever to know.

I recently lost a good friend in the last few months, someone who worked with me as well for many years. He was very much an incredible guy, and dealing with that has been difficult. Patrick, in his blog, mentioned the part about scrolling past Ryan's number in his phone, having that little moment. I had that same moment no more than a week ago, as I realized that my friend's number was still in my phone. I deleted it. I just couldn't look at it without busting out in tears.

Actually, come to think of it, it's been a rough two months for me all around...and I don't even know how I'm making it through all this shit. I hadn't even thought about it. A good friend passed away, my girlfriend betrays me two weeks later, my grandfather's condition has worsened substantially in the last three weeks, and my mother has been put on new medications that has made it difficult for her to get anything done. Hell, my youngest brother is sitting in jail because he'd rather do time than take probation (which I don't blame him for), and it's all for throwing a beer bottle at an asshole's car window. Three months for that shit.

I'm just now realizing that. I haven't had a mental breakdown. I just keep myself occupied, finding what I can to keep myself busy. I have a YouTube channel that I've started (which I'm not going to go linking in this because that'd be disgusting to do). I have Magic The Gathering and FNM on Fridays, Heroclix on Thursdays, playtesting and video games... I'm literally doing everything I can to just avoid breaking down into a mess in the middle of my empty living room (save the couch and my small 12" TV with a DVD player and PS2 hooked up to it).

I've literally been creating the illusion to everyone that everything is okay...and what's worse?

The fact that I'm more comfortable telling all of you, my Giant Bomb family, about this rather than anyone around me. I don't trust them anymore. I don't feel like I can talk to them without hearing shit like "maybe it's a sign you should find God" or pretending to listen and spouting generalized advice handed down through the ages. I also just don't care to say any of it because I don't want to bring someone else down. I don't like being depressed around people.

In short, I don't care to be vulnerable, emotional, and look weak.

God, I'm fucked up. Maybe I need help.

This all turned into something completely different than where it started. I wanted to write a tribute to Ryan, but in the process, I've done what I always seem to find a way of doing: turned it into something about myself. In a stream of consciousness, I've literally just said all the shit I've wanted to say but can't bring myself to actually do. Even then, I still can't shed a tear about how shitty things feel.

I don't want to sound pretentious. I know that it does, but it's not my aim. I just write. I let my mind and my fingers do the work, and hopefully, what comes from it is something that can be reflective for someone other than just myself. Maybe it isn't. Maybe it's just the random spouting of some egomaniac.

That's all. My fingers can't find anything else to type. Thanks for reading. Until next time, piece.


Songs Sound Much Sadder

The longest relationship of my life has lasted from November 3rd, 2012 until this past Friday.

I was informed by my girlfriend of the last year and a half that she wanted to break up. The news was a shocker to not just me, but everyone. Her reason? She has none other than deciding that she wants to break up, not try to fix it at all, move to Montana, and try to start a relationship with her ex-roommate. She claims all of this changed for her within the last month.

We never argued. We never fought. We were happy as hell. As I deleted all of the pictures we had of each other, the happiness could be seen. We were ecstatic for each other. Even though these last two days, every person she has talked to said that she had literally not one bad thing to say about me. They couldn't understand it.

I understand it less.

I came home last night to our cat gone (which is breaking my fucking heart severely as well), half of her shit gone, and all I could think about was "why?"

Why the hell is this happening? If I did nothing wrong, if I have made sacrifices, paid tribute at the alter of my girlfriend, worked to build a life with her (we moved into a new apartment on an eight month lease back in January)...

...then why am I being punished? What did I do to deserve any of this? Did I not save enough kids from cancer? Did I litter too much? Did I jaywalk on our trip to San Antonio in March? I have no idea.

She wants to talk. I want that talk to be at our apartment. She does not want that talk to be at our apartment. I say fuck that. If you want to stab me in the back and betray me, then you look around at the life we built, stare me in the face afterwards, and then tell me how you betrayed me. You don't get to ignore all of that. You simply don't.

I buried a friend this week. I found out that my friend since high school is getting a divorce after nine years and there is a kid involved. I found out that my mother is taking new medicine and it's fucking with her badly.

It's a shitty week, guys. The one solace that I'm finding is that I have the most amazing friends and family in the world, a support group that I probably don't deserve. Even HER mother can't believe this shit and is saddened for me, pissed off at her, and ready to tell her to fuck off. When THAT is the case, you know it's bad.

I don't believe in second chances, and I don't offer them. If she comes crawling back, I have a middle finger and directions to the nearest exit. I make clean breaks. When it's done, it's done.

Thanks for reading. Not looking for sympathy or anything. I just...I needed to get thoughts on paper, to vent, to say it somewhere to someone or something for the sake of getting it out. Keeping this shit pent up never does anyone any good.


Trying to Cope With Death

This past weekend, I was given the information that a good friend and one of my former co-workers passed away. His name was Todd. Well, his name was actually Walter Todd Courtney (triple first names are a threat, eh?), but everyone knew him as Todd. The blow hit hard. Very hard.

Death is not something that comes upon my life very often. As I grow older, and with Todd's passing, I realize that I'm 32 next month...so this is going to start becoming more common. It's the thing that no one tells you when you grow up, no book explains to you, and most of us never really think about: once we reach a specific age, death starts becoming far more commonplace in your life.

Enough about how I feel. I'm just a guy that was friends with Todd, that was his boss for some time. The reason I want to write this blog...that I NEED to write this blog...is because I need you as the reader to understand that you will never meet Todd. You will never know this wonderful human being. That's a fucking shame, and I'm sorry.

Todd was a guy that had his demons and his issues, but 90% of the time, that was never the case. Todd was a short, portly man that wore a "Jesus is my Lord" hat, wore simple clothes and a mustache, and wielded a redneck Arkansas accent. If you looked at him, at first glance, you would assume he was the most backwoods redneck imaginable.

He was a classic case of "don't judge a book by its cover."

Yes, he placed his faith in God, and he was a devout Christian. However, he hated organized religion. He was a member of my boss' fellowship, a group of Christians who would meet at random members' homes every Sunday to have service. He thought that organized religion was corrupt and idiotic. As an agnostic, he was always intrigued by how I viewed the world, what I believed in, where I stood on issues. He wanted and craved knowledge. Hell, he's one of the few Christians that I knew who would tell you that he believed homosexuality was a sin and personally disgusting, but that he believed they absolutely had the right to get married since marriage was not exclusively a Christian institution and that it was sad that mankind felt the need to hold any person's rights out of their reach.

He was also wickedly hilarious. He wanted YOU to laugh, YOU to smile, YOU to have joy and happiness in your life. He would crack any joke he could, and his wit was almost thoroughly unmatched by anyone I know, even myself. He was a child of language (as he spoke English, Spanish, El Salvadorian-Spanish, German, and fuck knows what else!), and he would always find a way to twist your words into a laugh. His favorite one was to use the word "decimate" against you. We both worked together at the LAN center, and kids would always talk about how they would "decimate" someone in an online match. He would always use the literal use of the word (to take down by one-tenth), and it was hilarious every time.

He could also be morbidly humorous. He had his raunchy jokes, but it was his clean jokes that were the best. They were always stupid and dumb in that way that clean jokes can be stupid and dumb, but you couldn't help but laugh because his delivery of it would be comedic perfection.

He was an incredible strategist. His favorite video games to play were strategy games, particularly League of Legends, Battle for Middle-Earth II, Command and Conquer, StarCraft II, Company of Heroes, and Faster Than Light. If you played against him, your chances of survival were pretty damn slim...except with League of Legends. He was the one person in our store that mained the support role, and he was using AP Soraka before AP Soraka was cool (I'm talking SEASON ONE)! He had a way of making you think about your decisions like you wouldn't imagine, and he always had some way to blow your mind.

He was also a humble man. Because of his faith, he never believed he was perfect or better than you. He was never someone that acted like he was above you. If you were wrong, he would point it out, correct it, and say "now you know, and I hope it helps you later in life." He never showed hubris.

Todd was 40. He died after a driver side blowout on the highway sent his Chevy S10 pickup rolling over four times onto the access road. It happened no more than two streets away from my parent's house. I hadn't cried yet since I heard the news. As my girlfriend and I drove to my parent's house last night, and we passed the spot where it happened, I saw the skid marks on the highway. It hit, but not with tears. It hit because I remembered a conversation that I had with Todd a few years ago.

I explained to him that I wanted an eventful death, something crazy, weird, or big. I wanted this not because I wanted people to say "that's a cool way to die" or anything else. I wanted this because I WANTED to know that I was about to die. I WANTED to be aware that it was coming. He told me quite simply "I don't want to know, because then it's a seamless transition."

Todd was unconscious after his accident, and he never became conscious again. People made an effort to save him, but to no avail.

It is a goddamn travesty that you will never know this unique, spiritual, and tremendous man. I feel sorrow for his family and friends, many of which I know personally. I feel sorrow for our store, as Todd was to Lansharx as Norm was to Cheers: everybody knew him.

However, the biggest piece of sorrow that I feel is that you will never know him, that you will never experience a five-hour long conversation with the man that you don't want to stop, that you will never feel the encouragement he gave you to become a better version of yourself, and that you will never get to laugh alongside him and experience honest joy and happiness.

The world lost a good one, and it happened way too fucking soon.

His visitation is tomorrow, and I'm more than positive that it will hit then. It always hits for me when that happens. I'll hit my knees, ball uncontrollably, and realize that another fantastic soul is gone.