Wot I Think: Fallout 4 – Wasteland Workshop

Wasteland Workshop is the second serving of Fallout 4 [official site] DLC that offers players new settlement items, crafting options, and the chance to capture wild creatures before pitting them against one another in purpose-built arenas. Beyond that, there’s not much else to it, no quests, no story, which is a fact reflected by its modest £3.99/$4.99 price tag. But is it worth your time? Here’s Wot I Think.

When Bethesda first announced Wasteland Workshop a couple of months back, it was certainly the least auspicious of Fallout 4’s planned trio of expansions scheduled for release in the first half of the year. Against its more wholesome-sounding counterparts, the add on’s budget price and relatively bland title appeared to portray something not only quite basic, but also something a number of the game’s existing user mods could already offer for free.

Yet for me, the idea of designing cages to “capture live creatures” nevertheless stirred visions of Wile E. Coyote’s laughably haphazard handiwork and me trying – and most likely failing in comical fashion – to snare a Deathclaw or a Mirelurk or a Radscorpion in a huge wooden box propped up by a stick with a string tied to the end. The idea of having my victims “face off in battle” conjured thoughts of Mad Max’s Thunderdome.

Wasteland Workshop does let you imprison all of the above in your own homespun cages (as well as docile animals and raiders, among a number of other unlucky hostages), however the process of doing so is really rather boring. Perhaps my over-elaborate Warner Brothers cartoon aspirations were a tad optimistic, but in order to impound any one of the wild critters, savage humans, or irradiated ghouls the expansion lets you choose from, simply constructing the appropriate cage, hooking it up to a power supply, and waiting “a week or less” makes it so – which either means going off and doing other things or sleeping through a few consecutive in-game days until the allotted time has passed. Returning to a closed cage marks success, and only by cutting the power can whatever’s trapped inside by released.

Setting the traps themselves is an even less inspiring ordeal, as each demands a set amount of resources relevant to the size of varmint you’re out to seize. Besides varying amounts of copper, gear and steel, Deathclaw cages, for example, require four portions of Yao Guai meat; whereas Brahmin cages ask for four helpings of Razorgrain. This requires you venture into the Wasteland to gather provisions before you can get even started – a task which can seem especially superfluous in the occasions when you’re after smaller, less threatening targets. If I can attract a dog’s attention with a few cans of dog food, do I really need two servings of Softshell Mirelurk Meat to temp a small house cat into this tiny metal box? The answer is yes, apparently. I don’t think I’d have as much of an issue with all of this if the hunting process itself were more nuanced. Clicking through generic menus before having an outcome unfold automatically and independently of me and my hard work isn’t exactly my idea of fun.

Once you’ve detained your unsuspecting prey, you’re left with two options: pit them against one another, or tame them as your own. As you might expect, raiders, gunners, and Super Mutants can’t be tamed, however it is possible to employ, say, Mirelurks as settlement security, should you want them to guard your perimeter. Bear in mind that in order to do that, you’ll need to install a Beta Wave Emitter – a beacon that tames wild creatures – which requires four portions of crystal (a somewhat rare/expensive resource in this post-apocalyptic world) and both the Animal Friend and Wasteland Whisperer perks unlocked at rank one. If you’re missing any one of those, it’s back into the Commonwealth you go.

Wasteland Workshop’s main event, then, is its arena-based matchups whereby you can set raiders, creatures and/or settlers against one another in last-man-standing-type bloodbaths. Sadly, these bouts are as tedious as the process of capturing the competitors, which is mostly down to the fact that Fallout 4’s animations are neither violent nor convincing enough in a forced deathmatch context. Each time I set up a fight, I found the amount of effort that went into constructing the arenas, devising the traps, and capturing the prey far outweighed the amount of interest I had in any one battle’s outcome. Simply put: Thunderdome it ain’t.

Furthermore, settlers can be assigned to colour-coded Arena Contestant platforms which forces those involved into a settlement-wide team deathmatch. I had fun with this initially, however quickly tired of the whole thing when the rest of my community became unhappy whenever a warring settler bit the dust. Which seems fair enough, as I’d probably be annoyed too if my sister survived nuclear war but copped it by way of hide and seek with guns.

On the items front, Wasteland Workshop introduces a host of new cosmetic and practical fittings and decorations that can be installed to your settlement, such as mounted animals heads, neon lighting, and a rad-removing decontamination arch – similar to the one found in the Automatron DLC’s Mechanist’s Lair. New building structures, such as concrete floors, walls, roofs and stairs; a new 100x unit power generator; and a new water pump have been added, not to mention defence items such as reciprocating spikes and automated blade traps – all of which will entertain those players that thrive in the minutiae of Fallout 4’s settlement and crafting features.

Then again, while this suite of options is probably something those playing on console will find interesting, I can’t see it appealing to all too many PC players – simply because there are already a multitude of Fallout 4 mods out there that do a similar, if not better, job for free. If you’ve already bought the Season Pass then great, give Wasteland Workshop a whirl and let me know what you think. For everyone else – Fallout 4’s second slice of DLC is under a fiver, yet still somehow feels overpriced. Granted, there’s a good idea hiding in there somewhere – capturing wild creatures for defense or spectator sport purposes is a genuinely interesting concept, particularly against the end of the world scenario – but Wasteland Workshop fails to execute it with the finesse needed to see it through. As such, it instead feels like a paid, and therefore largely underwhelming, mod.

Fallout 4: Wasteland Workshop is out now.


  1. Moonracer says:

    I’m already feeling I made the right decision to pass on the season pass and wait to see reviews and sales later on. My main gripe with mods like this (especially for Bethesda games) is often key (or at least very good) mods will require them. A perfect example is a very well made alternate start mod for Skyrim requires the Hearthfire DLC (which is about as exciting).

    • Bostec says:

      I’m already feeling I made the right decision to pass on the whole game, to wait and see the reviews and the sales later on. My main gripe with games like this (especially a Besthesda game) is often that there are better games out there. A perfect example would be The Witcher 3 which doesn’t require the DLC to be brilliant(but made it more exciting anyway)

    • heystreethawk says:

      Oh, I don’t know; I think Hearthfire had some legitimate charm to it. I constructed all of the houses that the God of houses would allot me, and I kept the kids in the miserable swamp house, far away from my very important library (somewhere, on some external hard drive, I have a text file with a list of books I’m missing to complete a series, and the locations for them. Just one volume from the Song of Pelinal remains!)

      I appreciated that the children were aware of this, and upon my return home from adventuring / organizing books in my other, preferred house, they would say something to the effect of “Daddy, why do we have to live in the swamp?”

      I also managed to stock my home with I believe three separate Claudia Christian voiced characters (wife, housecarl, bard?). It was a horrible swamp home full of Ivanovas, fully justifying the price of the vanity DLC.

      • gi_ty says:

        You have made my afternoon with this story! I too am a voracious (e)book collector. I built myself a wondrous library near Falkreath.

      • TeenyTasmin says:

        That was a funny read, ty! I love ppl who have a quirky take on game-worlds. In Fallout4, I like to have all female settlments (erm, I kill off male visitors) with gorgeous houses and all my women wearing nice clothes (you can get reinforced dresses from the railroad vendor!). I have contrasted this with one all male settlements where they wore rags and lived in a slum :). I sent any females to ther settlements cos I couldn’t bring myself to cull them. I have misandrist issues.

        Just make sure you have no companion living at a settlement in which you are culling half the population, or they will never forgive you and will fire on you each time they see you. The NPC settlers conveniently forget.

    • sinkitsune says:

      But it’s 5$ how about get it next time you go out and buy some garbage food you don’t need to eat.

  2. SomeDuder says:

    Yeaaaaaaaaaaaa I’ll just wait till the GotY/complete/whatever dumb name they’ll think of edition is available for a 75% discount, because Bethesda games are nothing but a glitchy mess set in a massive world with generally interesting settings.

    But not €60,- worth of interesting.

    • abHowitzer says:

      Can they actually call it a GOTY? As far as I remember, that place went to The Witcher 3.

      • sinkitsune says:

        You don’t know anything about game sales do you?

        • XxBrentos9xX says:

          He has a valid point, there’s no need to be snarky. Most likely they will call it a collectors edition or some other “tempting” name.

          • Razumen says:

            It still did receive a GOTY, from the DICE awards for one I believe. Not that it matters really, a lot of games come out with “GOTY” editions, even though they weren’t really as such.

        • abHowitzer says:

          I understand GOTY isn’t an official, “protected” title like Platinum/Gold is for music. I was just remarking that it is pretty obvious Fallout 4 wasn’t a GOTY like Skyrim and other Bethesda titles *actually* were. I’d dare say this is actually the first RPG by Bethesda not being hailed as such.

    • sinkitsune says:

      Glitchy because it has more than a simple action rpg combat and awful horse movement. -coughwitcher3-

  3. Sakkura says:

    I don’t really care about Fallout 4 DLC. When is the Creation Kit arriving?

    • brucethemoose says:

      Probably after all the “easy” DLC (that don’t add new regions/tons of voice acting) is out.

      Which is no coincidence.

    • TheBloke says:

      It was released as a beta on Monday (same day as Wasteland Workshop released.)
      So that’s good as in some modders now have it in theirs hands, and we know it’s close.
      Bad as in, a beta implies at least some period of beta testing, so it’s not going to be fully released immediately. Survival has been in beta three weeks already, and shows no sign of imminent full release.
      Impossible to say if the CK will have as long. But I’d say Monday week – two weeks of beta testing – would be a reasonable hope.

  4. bostonbtnh says:

    This could be a stupid question, but its always bugged me. Why does he label these articles “Wot I Think?
    Wot doesn’t make any sense it’s not even a word?
    Is should be What

  5. SaintAn says:

    I continue to feel bad for the people that say they like this game and support these pathetic excuses of “Fallout” DLC.
    It’s all like the Skyrim Cabin DLC instead of The Pitt/Lookout/Zeta/Steel expansions we got with FO3.

    Though I shouldn’t feel bad for them because by mindlessly supporting and defending a horrible corporation instead of being pissed, criticizing and boycotting they are guaranteeing the future games and DLC will continue to be garbage for every one and not just those stupids.

    • sweenish says:

      How dare they enjoy something you don’t!

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      You’re not very nice are you?

    • FriendGaru says:

      I bet you’re super popular at parties.

    • sinkitsune says:

      Oh Boy! another one of these sobs.

      What would you rather they spend all that rich money on a cheese burger from Mc Donalds? You realize 10$ is nothing and even less than that is less than nothing…right?

      You’re just one of those doofuses that think they’re coo and know whats best by saying dumb garbage like this.

    • TeenyTasmin says:

      Gosh, I love this game. 375 hours spent inside the Commnwealth already and counting. Have you played it?

  6. Pinga says:

    Guys, I just came up with this crazy idea.

    What if, we were able to read what’s inside those images? I know, I know, that’s borderline editorial heresy!

    • TheBloke says:

      Yes, this regularly annoys me. I love RPS’ coverage, but I can’t for the life of me understand why they use such tiny images, with no larger image available on a click (which for those who use an Image Hover plugin, as I do, would be available immediately on, well, a hover.)
      Fairly regularly I can barely work out what part of the game the screenshot is even representing. And it’s even worse on games I’ve not heard of before, where I have little idea what the UI is supposed to look like.
      I understand they don’t want to take up large parts of the page, and that’s good. But I do feel like there are myriad ways they could make larger shots available for those who want to see them.

    • Razumen says:

      What if someone made a script that upon clicking said images, it would enlarge them, or open up a new window with the full size inside? I know, trickery and witchcraft you say, but nay, it be only technocraft!

      • TheBloke says:

        If you mean a user-side script (ie something we can do to the images RPS already provide), then I already do that sometimes and it doesn’t really help.
        Not a script, just Right Click -> Open Image In New Tab, and then I have a Chrome plugin that resizes any image to full size when it’s in its own tab.
        Unfortunately that doesn’t work great because the images they embed are hugely downsized, so will often look very blurry when blown up to full size again.
        In fact, if the images were full size to start with (just constrained by the small box they’re put in within the article), I wouldn’t even need to Open In New Tab; my Image Zoom plugin will automatically enlarge, on mouse hover, any image that’s either larger than the box it’s being shown in, or has a larger version behind a clickable link.
        So on 90% of sites I’m able to see a larger version of the image than is displayed on-page, without clicking anything.
        Sadly RPS is in the 10% of sites that both resize their images down to the exact size of the box they’re shown in, and also don’t provide a link to the original :(

  7. Geewhizbatman says:

    Gor blimey! Now wot’s this all about wot’s wot?

    link to imgur.com

    • Geewhizbatman says:

      AH bugger, the reply’s gone tits up! (reply meant for bostonbtnh x3)

  8. keefybabe says:

    It’s amazing bob-a-job shite DLC’s like this still get released in a post-witcher 3 world.

    For those who want this to stop: don’t buy it.

    • sinkitsune says:

      What to stop? a DLC that costs about as much as a small trip to Mc Donalds?

      Do you have ANY idea how much effort goes into anything in video games these days? and it’s not free to do these.

      So stop for a moment and think if you REALLY REALLY know what you’re talking about before you open your mouth.

      • dontnormally says:

        This is a dumb DLC that doesn’t add anything of value. I thought about that before typing it.

        • Razumen says:

          The thing with value, just like a Big Mac, is that it’s relative to whoever purchases it.

          • Coming Second says:

            Personally I think people who bring “it’s all relative” into arguments should have their nads wired up to a car battery, and then have it explained to them the pain they’re experiencing is nothing next to being melted alive. All relative, innit.

          • Razumen says:

            Your statement is meaningless. Relative value lies in the fact that I can give points for why some people might feel like $5 for this is justified, whereas you’ve just given a blanket, unjustified statement.

      • keefybabe says:

        Ok then…

        Have worked in the gaming industry — Check
        Have friends I speak to on a daily basis who work in the gaming industry — Check

        Yep. Yep, i know what I’m talking about.

        • kugetsu says:

          Suuuure you do, so does every other anonymous internet goer that might happen to come across this article and wants to prove a point.

          Even if you did, it just makes things worse for you since you somehow know what it takes to create products in the gaming industry, but are are also ignorant of the costs to do so.

          And seriously, Witcher 3? Really? Game was “good” at best, mediocre and boring at worst. Plus, who the hell gripes about $5 when easily $5 of gameplay can be gotten from said dlc, granted you even use settlements or the content provided?

          • bill says:

            The cost of making something is rarely related to the value to the consumer.

            It might have taken them a short time to make, or they might have had to re-write huge sections of code to allow it to work. Hence it might have been very cheap for them to do, or very expensive. But from a consumer side that isn’t really very important.

            This DLC apparently adds 3 things that are all not very interesting or fun. It costs $5 to do some things that are ok but not very fun.
            If you have $5 burning a hole in your pocket and you think you’d enjoy it then that’s fine, but I’d probably rather spend it on the McD burger that sinkitsune keeps bringing up in every comment.
            If I’m hunger and in the mood for McD then the burger would be better value for me, if I’m not hungry or in the mood for something healthy then maybe it wouldn’t.

            Although I’d still probably either spend the $5 on something that seemed more fun, or save it for something more fun later.

            Plus, who the hell gripes about the witcher 3 when easily $40 of gameplay can be gotten from said game?

  9. Rob Lang says:

    I do enjoy Fallout 4 but this DLC isn’t interesting. I like building bases and collecting (for some reason I chose teddy bears) but there isn’t a fiver’s worth of excitement. Nor do I get a warm fuzzy feeling about “supporting the developer” like I do when I buy an arguably over-priced car in Rocket League.

  10. sinkitsune says:

    I don’t know about all those tight ass jerks but I’ll be enjoying building a cooler settlement thanks to this Happy Meal price of a DLC.

    If you have time to come complain about a super cheap DLC, then you need to check your priorities. XD it’s so sad.

    • monsieurZb says:

      Well, I know quite a few people who will wait for free mods that do the same but better and for free, and then buy a Big Mac with their 5$. To each its own and all that jazz.

    • TeenyTasmin says:

      Its such a cheap dlc, I can’t get all worked up about it if its not all I want it to be.

  11. mobiius says:

    If only they gave us a better way to get wood etc. Once you have all settlements, there’s no way of getting more wood to expand other than buying it from traders.

    Look at all those trees, let us deforest the whole game simply to make better houses!

    • Razumen says:

      I agree. As a workaround, get the Scrap Everything mod, it lets you scrap stuff in settlements you can’t normally, such as vines, old houses, etc. and you’ll get more scrap from that.

  12. NephilimNexus says:

    And they said paid modding wouldn’t work…

  13. kugetsu says:

    I enjoy the assumptions in these comments that all PC players WANT to mod their games. *gasp* Many of them don’t.

  14. picollo7 says:

    Is it just me or do kugetsu and sinkitsune sound like paid Bethesda shills? “Why would you want to mod your games?” “It’s less than a Big Mac!”

    For most of the world, the price of a Big Mac is not something to fritter away. Just because something is “cheap” does not mean you should buy it.

  15. turohabaneero says:

    I want a settlement DLC with a simple menu where I can:
    – access my settlers’ inventories
    – assign them to jobs and trade routes
    – access their gear
    – name the settlers to remember who is who

    • Razumen says:

      I agree, if you could temporarily switch the view to a top down one, where settlers and things like crops are highlighted, that would increase the usability tenfold. Also, the settlement menus themselves are plainly terrible, you can tell the programmer’s put as little effort into them as possible. If you install mods that add a lot of new objects it becomes an especially terrible chore to navigate through-It definitely needs a major overhaul.

    • TeenyTasmin says:

      I agree. That sounds like an easy fix, too

  16. TeenyTasmin says:

    I am a tad dismayed at the overwhelming negativity of responses towards this wonderful game into which I have sunk a joyful 375 hours, thus far, a large part of that into “settlement-fiddling”. I build first defences, then grow food, assign settlers to tasks, arm them, dress them – mostly road leathers for women, raiders leathers for men (and I put full face helmets on ghouls, so as not to put other settlers off their food) and I build multi-story houses, with chairs, potted plants and the nice metal frame smaller beds, and I play with lighting, strobes and glitter balls on the ceiling. I’m female and perhaps its the nesting instinct that is aroused in me. My favourite companion is Piper, but I love the sweet-natured Currie as well.

    I was enormously looking forward to this next tranche of dlc, but I couldn’t care a jot for its trap mechanic, but will look into the defence-enhacements inherent in having captured deathclaws etc on a site.

    What I really really wanted are more build options and I shall be exploring the new toys and options, but the reviewer’s description is a tad underwhelming, but I hope there is more there than he alludes to. I have the season’s pass, bought before the price hike, but for this dlc, £3.99 would still hardly have been a deal-breaker for me.

    I think the dlc, both automatron and this wasteland workshop will make more sense as game-enhancing background mechanics enjoyed either during your first walkthrough of the game or during the vast forthcoming Safe Harbour dlc.

    A few commentators above have admitted not buying the game, and still see fit to slag it off. But for me, 375 hours of sheer joy justifies every penny I spent on it and every minute I spent inside it.

  17. Helldeskr says:

    Am I the only one who is considering the 3rd option ?
    Capturing just for the purpose of farming goodies..
    Apart from the evil satisfaction of constructing a deathtrap/cage setup where the captured poor Gunner will be released into an inescapable deathtrap surrounded by Turrets and maybe a buzzsaw or 2 :)

    link to youtu.be