Ever been on a date that went unexpectedly well, and suddenly you're on your way home with someone you want to impress, but you're regretting that you didn't give the bathroom a good clean, or that you didn't change your sheets, or you didn't pick up the laundry lying around, or you didn't, you know... groom a few things?
I experienced a similar sudden panic in Fallout 76 shortly after I met astronaut Sofia Deguerre, one of Fallout 76's new allies (opens in new tab). I knew that you could recruit allies to come live at your camp, but I was surprised it happened so quickly. A couple little quests and then I was able to build her astronaut console and place it in my camp.
I assumed once the console was built I'd use it to call her when I was ready. But the second I plunked down her console she just popped out from behind a tree and ran right into my house.
Did I say house? I don't have a house. I don't have anything but a floor, and it's a crappy floor at that. My camp is a pile of shit, and it's not even a big pile of shit, which would at least be something. When Sofia abruptly arrived I felt a dreadful sense of shame and self-consciousness because my camp is utter garbage. And now she's living in it. Sorry, living on it.
I mean, just look at my dump. The first time I played Fallout 76 two years ago I laid down six floor panels and pooped out a bunch of workbenches all over it. And that's it. In the past two years, I have done essentially nothing to improve it.
For a while there was a single square of wall attached to the floor because I needed to hang a poster on something for a quest I can barely remember, and that's as close as I've ever gotten to living in a box instead of on a plank. I put down patterned linoleum for an episode of The PC Gamer Show in 2018 (opens in new tab), but I didn't even try to make sure the pattern lined up. Even my disgusting bed, which consists of a soiled brown mattress on a rusty frame doesn't sit completely on the platform. One of the legs is sticking off the edge. That's how little I care.
It doesn't help that I've chosen to live in a place called Toxic Valley. Not the most pleasant view when you're gazing out of the windows I never built.
Unlike James, who is loving all the base-building in Fallout 76 (opens in new tab), I just can't get into it. Maybe it's that Fallout 4's endless settlement management completely burned away any interest I had in slapping together floor squares and wall squares and roof squares and filling my house-box with furniture and wiring generators to water purifiers and hanging neon signs.
It's always been a mild source of embarrassment for me when other players wander over and walk around on the grubby planks of wood I call a home. It's compounded occasionally when I stumble across a camp that another player has obviously spent a lot of time and effort on. And yet, I have still done nothing to improve my plank-house after all this time.
Maybe things will change now that Sofia is here living on my plank, working at her console, sometimes taking a thoughtful stroll around as if there's somewhere to walk to in my shitpile of a camp. She even lays down on my ugly brown soiled mattress to sleep a while, which is quite honestly heartbreaking to see. She was an astronaut! And now she's sleeping on filth.
Of all the crapshacks in all the wastelands in all the world, she was unlucky enough to walk into mine. I guess I better start working on a front door.