Fallout 3 New Content, Adventures In GFWL

Staring into the abyss.

Fallout 3 has released its first batch of downloadable newness. The DLC, called Operation Anchorage, is apparently available now. You’re trying to gain access to a shelter, which requires you complete a military simulation of the liberation of Anchorage, Alaska, set between 2076 and 2077. Once it’s installed, it’s announced on the radio, and you can hot-leap to its location. There’s a smattering of new content, including a new perk: Covert Ops. What follows is my attempt to get it.

You need to know that I’ve not read previews of this, nor indeed about the DLC for the game at all. I am now aware that it’s a Games For Windows Live affair, but this wasn’t a piece of information I’d picked up before today. I’ve not touched GFWL since its redesign. None of this may be relevant to you, or happen to anyone else. This is what happened to me.

My first instinct, and you’ll laugh, was to launch the game. I have the Steam version, and wondered if it would auto-update to let me choose to buy the new content. It costs 800 Microsoft Points, it seems, and while I’m not sure how one would spend those on a PC, I was confident I’d find out.

There was first a hefty update. I hadn’t tried to run the game since before Christmas, and the patch has appeared since then. The game opens. Sadly, the “DOWNLOADS” option was greyed out. Never mind, I thought, I’ll look on the Fallout 3 website for details. With the announcement of the launch today, it must surely be the big news story… Um, no. Instead the patch from the 13th presided. (Steam Update News? Last entry, October 31st.) In fact, if there’s a clue about it on Bethesda’s site, I can’t find it. There’s nothing under Downloads either.

Shhhhhhh, it's a secret!

Looking in the comments on the ShackNews story, I saw that it requires Games For Windows Live. Aha! Back into the game, and the “LIVE” option. Down pops the slick new interface, and asks me to log in or create an account. I have one, of course, so popped in the details. It needed to update. Good old Windows. Without asking my permission it quit out the game and downloaded its updates, then vanished without telling me it was done. Nice.

So I restart Fallout 3 and DOWNLOADS is still greyed out. Go into Live, tell it my account details again, and this time it downloads my account. Ta-da! The DOWNLOADS option is there! I’m surely almost there. I click it.

“No new content available.”

I see.

Back to the ShackNews comments. Ah, it seems you need to run GFWL. Quick search of my hard drive, as I’m sure I installed it once. Maybe not. Let’s screw that, I thought, and just download it again. I find the download on the site, get it, run it, and it’s installed. No option for a shortcut on the desktop, etc, but it’s there in the Start Menu. Any second now!

Run it. I require a hotfix for Windows XP to install GFWL. Apparently this couldn’t be included in any of the four hundred thousand updates Windows XP likes to install each week. So I click the option to get it, and find myself on this page, which eventually has the link after discussing error codes I haven’t seen. Download it, run it, and I have successfully completed the KB938759 Setup Wizard! It now requires a restart. Oh good Lord.


Restarted. Run GFWL. Log in. And there it is. The evidence that Operation Anchorage exists. My MS points balance is empty, which means it needs to launch IE (dust flying everywhere) and asks me to log in again 30 seconds after logging in. You can’t buy 800 points, obviously. You have to buy 500 or 1000. I don’t want 500 or 1000, I want 800. £8.50 for 1000. Of course it requires a credit card, there’s no option for Paypal or Google Checkout. Nor even a Switch card. It’s gotta be about those credit cards! Fortunately mine’s already registered from 360 excursions, so that will save time.

No it won’t! Of course it won’t! It was funny when I said it would save time, wasn’t it? The valid, working card is greyed out, the radio button next to it unavailable for checking. “You have no valid cards on file.” Apart from THE ONE YOU’VE GOT LISTED THERE. Ah well, there’s an “Edit” button next to the card entry – I’ll reassure it that it’s fine. Oh no, silly me. The “Edit” button doesn’t do anything, does it. Nor does “Add a new Credit Card”. I click on another link to another page of the site. Click the link back to the “buy” page. Re-enter my password, because it’s been over a minute. This time I’m allowed to add a new card. Well, exactly the same card. Money spent.

It’s a 352MB download, which begins.

Thank goodness the uncontrolled madness of being able to buy the content from the publisher’s website, or worse, from inside the game, has come to an end. I’d love to tell you all about it, but I’ve run out of time. However, there’s lots of info here on this unofficial page.

PS. If I’m logged into Live I can’t access my save games. Sign out and they come back, but I get this message:

Oh good grief.

Edit: Eurogamer have given the DLC 5/10. Also, solutions for this savegame bullshit are in the comments below – thanks guys.


  1. Helm says:

    This is wrong.

  2. Heliocentric says:

    GFWL has Steam beat for sure now!

    I’m so glad that i can spend 80% of £8.50 (£6.80 is more than i paid for mount and blade just the other day) on a sex-spansion for fallout 3, sex-clusively on GFWL as buying things on Steam is such a chore.

    So, as the first piece of DLC, i need to ask is it horse armor? Instead of sand do i now get snow?

  3. Dan Lawrence says:

    The manager of Games for Windows was fired today or yesterday. I suspect things like this are part of the reason.

  4. Jonas says:

    I’m not using Live precisely because of the savegame issue. If anybody knows how to solve that, I would appreciate it.

  5. Zaphid says:

    GFWL is the sole reason why i cannot play DoW 2 beta, simply because the hotfix everyone who has english windows XP can install without a problem DOESNT F***ING WORK with other languages and reinstalling your windows in english just so it can find the default install path is something that lies aproximately billion miles past the “Scre it!” point.

    So yeah, another DLC the obviously don’t want people to buy.

  6. Bremze says:

    Yay for content that should be a free patch. Thanks Microsoft for the wonder that is DLC!

  7. Markoff Chaney says:

    Leave it to Microsoft to mess up the first real offering they have for GFWL. Like an obscure, undocumented, arcane offering attempting to tie in to their hardware offerings isn’t worthless to a PC Gamer who probably has at least 3 other like services already installed and running. At least it doesn’t take 50 bucks a year anymore (or whatever it was that was more than free).

    I found this for those trying to find their saves – “Thanks Toms Hardware!”
    The way it works is simple. There are 2 sets of save files. If you are connected to live and save a game it is saved in username/documents/My Games/Fallout3/saves/. BUT if you are not using live then when you save the files are just in username/documents/My Games/Fallout3/saves/. There are both live saves and non-live saves.

    I’ve been looking forward to playing this DLC, but not playing the metagame to get them… I’d love a backuppable standalone executable I give Bethesda money for, but cest la vie.

    -EDIT- Heliocentric sounds like he’s listening to GWAR this morning…

  8. jamscones says:

    John, you need to copy the savegame files from your offline profile to the GFW profile name folder. You’ll find all of this under your Documents->Games->Fallout3 directory. Once you do this, you’ll get access to your saves while logged in to GFW Live when in-game.

  9. MisterBritish says:

    What is it Valve said about offering a better service than piracy? And why has neither of these two listened?

  10. Ofoug says:

    Three cheers for the wonders of Microsoft design =) Horrible stuff this, I wonder if they even understand how much money they lose by scaring away customers like this? A quick easy process that leads a potential customer into the buying process right away is what makes any web-based shopping a success.

    Anyways, you can solve the issue with savegames dissapearing by copying the saved files in My Documents\My Games\Fallout 3 (I think that was the correct path… the folder all your saves are stored in, put simply) to the subfolder that should have been created there with the name of your Live account. Log in to live in-game and you should now be able to access your old copied saves. Worked for me when I had to do it a few months ago =)

  11. Heliocentric says:


    *Gooh gles*

    link to azlyrics.com


    Anyone wondering about the point of buying this exclusive GWFL DOWNLOADABLE entertainment expansion Know this, it WILL end up on a retail disk (est 15 quid) with all the other horse armor and fetch quests they want you to buy.

  12. Rosti says:

    I had a quick glance at this before lunch and whilst my journey hasn’t been as epic as John’s it was still painfully obtuse.

    : (

  13. Bhazor says:

    Personally I haven’t had a problem with GFWL in the two years I’ve owned it and I find it loads about a bajillion times faster than Steam (well steam takes a good twenty seconds just to get to the my games page) but I guess that doesn’t matter when there’s something to get AIM frothing.

    To those of you talking about not having a Live account. So you’ve never played Viva Pinata? You get the hell out of my internet.

  14. Yargh says:

    I guess I won’t be buying this expansion then. I’m enjoying my leisurely trek through the wasteland but I already have one online games account (Steam) and I’m certainly not getting one that requires you to preload it with funny money instead of letting you buy stuff up front.

  15. Tei says:

    This is another problem. The day Microsoft stop distributing this patch, that day you will be unable to buy or install it. Is DLC, so is suppose to be downloaded.

    Microsoft horrible bloat.

    Pay for things that use to be random. Pay 1000 points to buy 800 points.

    Strange error messages that only make sense on a 8 bits console. I suppose in this day and age all consoles have hard disk. This stuff about “your storage device” is bullshit.

    I suppose you will get this faster downloading from usenet / pando / dc++ / emule or other p2p network. If you pay this, Microsoft will get his money and this why dont let dev’s to give stuff for free.

  16. bansama says:

    It could be far worse! Bethesda or Microsoft (possibly both) in their infinite wisdom have decided not to sell the DLC for PC gamers in Japan – despite selling Fallout 3 to us in English over Steam. Guess I’ll just have to enjoy the screen shots, I think that’s probably the closest I’m going to get to the DLC for the forseeable future =/ It’s time’s like this that make me wish I still living in the UK. This and cornish pasties, anyhow.

  17. GibletHead2000 says:

    I got around the GFWL save game problem like this:
    * Log out of GFWL
    * Load a saved game
    * Go back to the menu and log in to GFWL
    * Save the game

    Now, the new games are available when logged in, the ond ones are available when you aren’t.

    Note: You don’t get any achievements from your old saves. You have to manually unlock them once you’ve signed in.

    Note also: You’d think with all of the above behaviour, it would at least work like steamcloud so that the saves became available on other machines. It doesn’t.

  18. Heliocentric says:

    Yes, i need to mae a point of this, keep yout fucking intergalactic space bucks. Charge me in either USD or GBP if you want, but i’m not wasting extra money on the provision i might want things in the future.


    pack 1 800
    pack 2 800
    pack 3 500

    Means i have 900 spare points worth 7.65 gbp, thats more than any one of the expansions and you wont let me have it back.

    Nah, i’m holding out for the retail, if that.

  19. Markoff Chaney says:

    Heh. I was more going for this song – “Sexecutioner”

    I’d also wager for collected DLC on a disc sooner or later. Maybe if we can prove we spend 2400 MS points on the 3 DLCs then we get it free, right? Am I Right? Bethesda? Zenimax? (I know better than to ask Microsoft. In their own words that make me spit venom and bile “Well, I think you know the answer to that.”)

  20. Gap Gen says:

    To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll get all I can from Fallout 3 as it is. Only just got to the Pentagon, and I’ve been playing in pretty much all my free time for the past week.

  21. Xerxes says:

    link to majornelson.com

    I thought the DLC was meant to be free for PC, obviously not…

  22. SwiftRanger says:

    “Personally I haven’t had a problem with GFWL in the two years I’ve owned it and I find it loads about a bajillion times faster than Steam (well steam takes a good twenty seconds just to get to the my games page) but I guess that doesn’t matter when there’s something to get AIM frothing.”

    My games takes a few seconds here, still a bit odd though idd. Steam has a faster login time, at least has a proper seperate executable and friends chat and is so smart as not to direct the overlay shortcut to a single button like Live does with the Home key. Live has some cool stuff but in practical terms it’s still lightyears away from being decent or even a good matchmaking solution on PC. Just play the DoW II beta and you’ll know why…

    More competition is good so I’d love to see it succeed but then MS needs to get rid of the many issues and their stupid idea to get a link to their own console platform.

  23. Schmung says:

    Yikes. A silly question, because I know the answer, but it’s still somewhat remarkable – how can they get it so right on 360 and so wrong on PC?

    What’s wrong with the old way of doing things where the installer for extra content just sees your current game and patches it instead of trying to emulate 360 functionality – which is very, very bad idea because the PC isn’t a single closed platform with one path to all content and treating it as such is wrong-headed and bad. Bad Microsoft, BAD.

  24. Meat Circus says:


    PC Gamers have spoken. GFWL is a big pile of leathery old cunt. Please abort it now. I’ll bring the stirrups.

  25. l1ddl3monkey says:

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again (in a moment in fact, although technically I’m not saying it…except in my own head…I dunno if that counts..erm – where was I?): Microsoft Games for Windows is ruining gaming on Windows. I’ve got several titles that use Windows live and with every single one I’ve had problems with Windows Live. Please stick to making buggy spreadsheet software and poorly optimised OS’ and keep away from my games.

  26. Bhazor says:

    Reply to SwiftRanger

    Well personally I can’t stand front ends as it slows everything right down. As it is Steam takes upto a minute just to start up even when I’m offline. Steam makes me have to jump through far too many hoops to get into a single player game, especially when it refuses to start until you’ve fully updated it. Live may take as long to start but crucially it loads while the game is loading.

  27. Joe Russell says:

    *Launches XBox 360*
    *Downloads Content*
    *Plays Fallout 3*

    Thank christ I have yet to run into the GFW system…

  28. pauleyc says:

    Epic tale indeed. In my case it starts with Step 0. – “Games for Windows Live is not available in your territory”. Well played, MS.

    As Ofoug said, just copy your saves manually, they reside in the My Documents/Crap/Other Crap/Fallout 3/Saves (or something; why do games insist on putting data in the “My Documents” folder anyway? What’s wrong with “Program Files”?).

  29. Turin Turambar says:

    Fucking Lol, Walker. I laughed a lot here with this article. Microsoft really should improve this.

    And do you know what is it the most fun thing here? The DLC is only some files in the form of a mod for Fallout 3/Oblivion: the normal bsa, esm, esp format files from Bethesda. It seems you can copy and paste the files in the correct carpet and it will work. So a normal user will have to go this hell, and the pirate user will unzip a file downloaded from a rapidshare link.

  30. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    I’m astonished they’ve ported their utterly abhorrent points system over onto PC. Hopefully no one will stand for it, and they’ll abandon it like they did requiring an Xbox Live gold account to play PC games online.

    Microsoft: stupid stupid stupid.

  31. Bremze says:

    Oh gosh , are there people that are playing games using the pc instead of buying or xbox 360?
    I know, GFWL!

  32. Scott Kevill says:

    Wow, what an experience. Thanks for going into such detail, John. That’s embarrassingly bad.

  33. Jockel says:

    I’ll wait until all three DLCs are released and hope for an expansion disc like they did for Oblivion.

  34. Nick Mailer says:

    Heh. And there are people who complain that Linux wouldn’t be a viable gaming platform because of esoteric configuration/patching/install requirements.

  35. Gregorix says:

    Nice article – the familiar pain of pissing about with Windows..
    This is why console players are such smart gits all the time.

  36. Jante says:

    Enjoy your horse armour. I, on the other hand, welcome our new modding overlords.

  37. Colthor says:

    Yeah, I’ll wait for the “DLC” pack on CD, or for them to put it on Impulse or Steam, both of which work quite straightforwardly without mucking around with stupid points scams.

    And I really, really like Fallout 3.

  38. frymaster says:

    “(or something; why do games insist on putting data in the “My Documents” folder anyway? What’s wrong with “Program Files”?).”

    because dealing with a UAC escalation prompt when you wanted to save would get old, really fast.

    you need admin rights to write to program files; you don’t need them to write to your userspace. All tools that migrate profiles will copy the files if they are in your userspace, but they won’t if they are in program files.

    the gfwl interface itself is a lot better than it used to be (it doesn’t ask you to press joypad buttons anymore) but evidently interacting with other tentacles of microsoft is still a problem

    (like: any site that doesn’t use a universal payment system like paypal and operates in the uk really should support switch.)

  39. Surgeon says:

    Seeing as I have it for the PS3, this makes me feel slightly better for not being able to get any of the DLC at all.

  40. Dante says:

    @ Jockel

    That’s exactly what I’m waiting for.

  41. rocketman71 says:

    It’s a pity they didn’t fire the complete GfWL team. And the IE team. They are the worst of the worst at Microsoft. And that’s saying a lot.

  42. AbyssUK says:

    seriously… so wrong the pirates win again. I’ll torrent this and send Bethesda the money in the post.

    Note to Microsoft GfW isn’t going to work… stop it already your just making yourself look stupid.

  43. Steve says:

    John Walker = ‘Lord Of Persevere’.

    Christ… I think I’ll wait for a full disk too. There is no way I’m going to have the patience for that..

  44. Tworak says:

    Buy our dlc buy our dlc buy our dlc buy our dlcbuy our dlc buy our dlcbuy our dlc buy our dlc

    Fuck your shitty dlc, wankers.

  45. MrFake says:

    Oh, so this “DLC” costs money? Yeah, that’s a turn off. I get that GFWL is a chore, and I wouldn’t want to go through all those hoops either. But, like Walker, I bought Fallout3 through Steam, and I’ll only buy their expansions and whatnot when Steam offers them, if they ever do. Or otherwise I’ll find a standalone service that will let me install them into my Steam copy.

    If this is going to be GFWL exclusive, then fuck that. I won’t pay to have my game hosted by one online service and then pay to have a separate part of it, however large or small, hosted by another. Especially not another that I nor many others plan to ever use again.

  46. Gurrah says:

    How much did Bethesda get payed to use GFWL? Seriously, if I were a developer I’d never pay or receive money to include such a restricting and complicated piece of software into my own.

  47. AndrewC says:

    So does anybody have knowledge of what the modders have achieved yet?

  48. phil says:

    Considering the official process seems so utterly hateful, I’ll wait for one click install pirate version. Admitedly, that one click will probably also install the black death on my machine, but anything is better than GFWL.

  49. pauleyc says:


    UAC? That’s this hilarious Vista feature that asks your for permission if you as much as look at your files in a funny way, right? I’m one of those users that prefer XP, antique as it may be.

    • tomz says:

      I resolve the issue of saved games disappearing by copying the saved files in My Documents\My Games\Fallout 3. All of the saved files are stored in and later put to the subfolder that should have been created there with your active account.
      – – vigilon security


  50. Markoff Chaney says:

    LOL. Reading through GAF and this part had me laughing.

    “Then on the main menu, under LIVE, there’s Downloads. Click it.
    It’ll say no new content. CLICK THAT.
    Then it’ll open a program.”

    Oh yeah! Why didn’t I think to click on the link that says No New Content when I was looking for New Content?

    I much prefer Mr. Walker’s telling though…

    Nothing better than your consumers who WANT to give you money but, instead, they are forced to multiple third party message boards to try to figure out how to give you money. Idiots. Sometimes I wonder just how Microsoft made so much money. It boggles my mind the ineptitude and bungling that goes on there some times. It’s almost like they have a competing hardware service (competing with themselves naturally) that offers a similar experience that they get more money from so they are intentionally sabotaging the larger mind and market share they already have a hold over that they could make more money from if leveraged correctly. /sigh