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I've been spending a lot of time gathering resources and hauling them back to my base. The novelty of building things has worn off and I'm not having fun doing it anymore.

Does it actually matter if I build and protect my settlement? Are there any major story points (or quests that become available) by doing so after the initial base building tutorial missions? Is this an aspect of gameplay I can pretty much ignore?

  • I believe there are 2 achievements related to settlements. Other than that and the fact that you can have extra merchants in your settlements, I don't know. – Nolonar Nov 12 '15 at 19:12
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    I kind of feel that they did "us" a slight disservice by distracting us with settlements too early. But then again, they don't really force you into either (like the car racing in Rage for example). I decided to leave it aside for now and do some exploring etc. So far it hasn't really had an impact that I noticed, and mods/weapon benches are fairly easy to find "in the wild." Not that far in though, so I am curious if anyone sees a brick-wall or choke point where a well-designed settlement is a requirement (spoiler free plz) – Yorik Nov 12 '15 at 19:20
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No

You don't have to look after that beyond the first few missions for the Minutemen (you don't even have to do these, if you don't want to). The first few missions for Preston and Sturges will have you setting up power, water and food in Sanctuary and from there onwards settlements can be largely ignored and depending on how you play the game. There are spoilers below. I'm not marking them up and you have been warned.

But...

You'll get Sanctuary early on and meet up with Preston at Concord and this will fully establish a settlement with people in it. This settlement is the primary base of the Minutemen and will remain as such unless you progress the Minutemen quest line and retake the Castle, at which point this becomes the primary Minutemen settlement but the original survivors will remain in Sanctuary.

In addition to these two settlements, if you continue with the Minutemen you will frequently find yourself in a position where Preston wants to expand by helping another settlement, which will then join your cause and potentially get attacked, prompting you for assistance (which you can ignore if you don't mind them dying or if that settlement is properly secured).

If you do not progress the Minutemen quest line and instead go with the Institute, you won't end up getting any additional settlements throughout the game.

If you follow the Railroad, they'll ask you to take a settlement as their new safehouse after one of their existing safehouses is destroyed by the Institute. This settlement doesn't need a broadcast tower as part of the mission and therefore won't generate a population of settlers that need looking after.

If you follow the Brotherhood of Steel, the airport ends up becoming one of your settlements during their quest line.

The additional settlement (or in the instance of the Minutemen, a settlement of your choosing) is required in order to build the Signal Interceptor which is used to infiltrate the Institute later in the game.

  • Note: For all the Minutemen quests that require building a broadcast tower, you can always tear it down immediately after the quest completes if you don't want to accrue settlers. I've got at least a handful of settlements with zero population because I either never built towers or tore them down right away. – Iszi Dec 9 '15 at 22:09
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Once you get a settlement established it is a good source of income also nice to have a safe place to stay in. Also if you build a few scavenger benches and assign people to them they will start bringing in resources even rare things like nuclear materials so if you have several of them it makes future construction much easier. Another thing to be noted some people claim (hasn't been confirmed yet) that if you flag build items and recipes in their respective menus that the salvage will start to skew towards the items needed to create it so might be worth flagging a bunch of stuff that you want in the future then go do other things for a while and come back just to test it at least. New resources will be in the settlements inventory so just go look through it after you have been gone for a while.

Of course you can choose to ignore it if you wish they even stated its not required for the game. Just hope my answer might make the settlement mechanic more enjoyable

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    they even stated its not required for the game could use a source - though it doesn't really answer much either way, look at (for example) Mass Effect how much stuff wasn't required and yet mattered – Deltharis Nov 12 '15 at 23:28
  • Well I never really have done forum stuff till recently was never my thing so I haven't tried posting a link yet like other people have. If I knew how I would of put a link to a youtube video of the e3 presentation where they stated it was purely optional. – Nightmare Nov 12 '15 at 23:39
  • Just put the link to the best of your abilities - it's the content that counts, and since it's a community driven site there is a high probability someone with more editing skills will come and fix the formatting (if it indeed will need fixing) – Deltharis Nov 13 '15 at 0:36
  • I have some settlements going pretty well, but I haven't noticed them giving me any money. How is it a source of income? – DCShannon Nov 13 '15 at 2:03
  • Caps get added to the workshop inventory when you have the Trade Stands built. A few people claimed you get money faster if you have more people who aren't assigned to anything but I haven't been able to confirm if that is true or false yet. – Nightmare Nov 13 '15 at 2:22
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I am maybe about halfway through the game almost finished the main quest line,and so far I haven't done anything to my settlements except the first mission with beds water etc... So I don't think it matters unless you actually start focusing on them.

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Settlements aren:t required at all for the main quest unless you choose the minutmen but once you take a certain number of settlements you can take the castle which will provide you with some artillery. Another thing is that you will get a flargun after you become general which will become more useful as you get more settlements. So it's not requires but can be very useful.

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