The Divide - 2
Who are you, that you do not know your history?”— Ulysses
Last week's results
The Divide was tested by the wiki last week, and it produced astounding results! It looks to me as though this will be a regular blog from now on. Before I reveal last week's poll results, let me first give my personal thanks to everyone to who voted and commented on the Divide. Your opinions and new ideas keep this place running smoothly, so keep up the good work! Now, you all had three poll options to choose from, and these are how they fared:
- Coming in first place is the undecided vote. You all chose this answer because both of our debaters put up great arguments and you just couldn't decide!
- Coming in second place is the anti-CWBoS vote. You all chose this answer because the sheer charisma that Tag possesses when talking about this subject managed to woo you over. Bravo, Tag!
- Coming in third place is the pro-CWBoS vote. You all chose this answer because Agent c put up a stonewall defense for Lyons and his group. Though coming in third, all of the votes were very close together. Great job, Chad!
What is going to be tested in the Divide this week?
This week's poll idea was submitted by The Old World Relics, who is also one of our debaters. His idea was that since this is the Divide, it should be fitting that Ulysses be argued about. Since he is, after all, a very controversial character, I decided to feature him on the Divide. The questions are as follows:
- What do you think of Ulysses overall as a person? Do you think he is a very wise character or just some loon who sits on a cliff?
- In the long run, do you feel that Ulysses helped or hurt the Courier? It does not matter if you fought him/killed him or not, but rather what he taught/gave you and helped you accomplish.
- What did you do with Ulysses at the end of Lonesome Road? Did you kill him in the silo? Did you fight alongside him and let him live on the cliffside? Did you fight alongside him and kill him at the cliffside? Why?
Who will be Dividing this subject?
Well, you can't have the Divide without debaters, and here they are:
- In the pro-Ulysses corner, we have The Old World Relics.
- In the anti-Ulysses corner, we have Yes Man.
First user's side
My history isn't revenge, or hate. The road that brought us both here - isn't about that. It's about the message you carried. The one in that package whether you knew it or not.”— Ulysses
Ulysses. The sole man who would become a Frumentarii for Ceaser's Legion. Who would first discover Hoover Dam and lead to the conflict which has consumed the Mojave for many many years. The sole man who had the enormous power to rally a non-English speaking tribe, against the established settlement of New Canaan, and completely destroyed it, with his knowledge of the Old World and it's treasures. Ulysses is a man of many skills, ranging from political things to, less, political things. To have the ability to track storms from the Divide possibly kilometers to the Big MT, now that's something. And then continuing to question the smartest scientist from before the war in what they believe? For as he questioned them, "Who are you, that you don't know your own history?"
The question still stands I guess. Did I like the man? And to that I answer, by asking you, how could one not like a man who would risk everything, for what he believed in. When he sent for you that fateful day in the Mojave, he knew, that if you came knocking, he could very well die. That did not faze him though. He continued to fight for what he believed. What would fulfill him. If you can't admire the man for that, then surely you can for him being a smart and fast thinker.If he wasn't, then he would of never have been able to survive Caesar's assimilation of his old tribe, The Twisted Hairs. To get side tracked by another reason to like the man. He is a man of honour, and he is a man of understanding. He still honours his old tribe by keeping there traditional hair style. When the White Legs began to model this hair style, Ulysses continued to respect his tribe by feeling this was mockery of his tribe and non deserving of the White Legs. Now Ulysses understood A. how to use technology right, and B. how influential tech can be. He knew that in order to lead the White Legs against New Canaan he had to get an upper hand. He had the knowledge and know how, to lead them onto Spanish Fork where he armed them, then lead them to victory. Everybody loves a winner am I right? I can undoubtedly say, I both admired the man for his calm smart head, and his unique Old World Charm. The way he talked, of both current events, and past. The way he spoke, it mad one, stop, and think about everything. It made you understand just how important everything is, in relation to everything else. He saw the power the past held if you learned to controlled it. He understood history, and because of that, I was able to connect to him. He seemed like on of the only "real" NPCs. He had a real cause, and a real way of understanding the past. I personally just love history and in real life, it's sometimes hard to find those who share my vision. I thought of Ulysses as a person who would finally shared my views on the Old World, and the power of history in general. I guess overall you can see why I liked the man.
Ulysses in my opinion could have defiantly helped out the courier. He know how to read the land, unlike most NCR. He knew the location of much pre-war technology unlike most Legion. He would fight until the end, unlike the Enclave and the Brotherhood of Steel who both have fallen into hiding. He had no allegiances left to look after unlike all those parties, as well as Mr House. He could then focus all his efforts onto the wishes of the courier. All of his knowledge, all of his skills, could be put forward to help the courier. He could help the courier find an end to any problem, be it diplomatic, evident by his ability of smooth talking, or by force, evident in his sacking of New Canaan. And of course, Ulysses could always just nuke anybody that stood in the way of the courier, for he is the only, I mean only, person ever to have the capability to use ICBMs for personal interests. Ulysses could undoubtedly help the courier in any problem he faced.
Before I begin what I personally did to Ulysses, I'd just like to say to anybody who hasn't played Lonesome Road. Stop reading this right now and go buy the DLC right now. It was my personal favourite. The whole feel of the DLC was awe inspiring. The eerie aura of the Cave of the Abandon was matched only by the sights along The High Road. The enemies of The Divide were overwhelming at points, but overwhelming in there sheer power and awesome. The weapons and armours? No comparison could be found in either the base game, or any of it's other DLCs. The story weaved through this broken wreck of a land, speechless at times. When you launched the nuke in Ashton, it rivaled the Second Battle for Hoover Dam in the lasting affects on the player. And if I may remind you, both of those events were caused by the acts of one man. Ulysses. If a man has that much power, an entire DLC, survived the Divide being blown apart in a hail of nuclear explosions only to challenge the one he felt responsible back to his door step, then I believe he has every right, to fall at his own accord, and not die to some courier that was too stupid to remember anything about himself, or that he was responsible for the destruction of The Divide. That's why, when the end of the DLC came, I decided not to strike him down in some pointless loss of an amazing man, but instead, I decided to fight along side him. I decided to fight along side the man who challenged the smartest pre-war scientists. The man who would lead a Brotherhood of Steel Elder to his grave. The man who was responsible for all the conflict in the Mojave. I decided to fight with a man I respected. Someone who shared my own views. Once the last Marked Man had fallen, and all eyebots but ED-E lay broken (for ED-E died for a greater cause, he died to stop the nukes) I turned to Ulysses and was sad. For, this great man who be forever last after this, much the same way Joshua Graham was after completion of Honest Hearts. We spoke for what seemed would be our last time, of the Old World. Of what still had to be done. But, when we finished, and Ulysses spoke, he'd sit above Hopeville I was overwhelmed with joy. It seemed this great man wasn't lost to history just quite yet, as I'm sure, he still had much to teach. So, he went hsi way, and I went mine. Every time I log onto Fallout New Vegas, I listen to his holotape he left for me. Every time I pick up on some important word he has for me, that I missed times before. Once that's done, I everything go and sit and talk with him, of the Old World, even if I've heard it times and times before, it still presents so much to be taken away. His words, still ring a truth that no other character is able to do. He, in my mind, is the perfect character. He knows the balance of power and knowledge needed to survive in this wreck of a world left over. He knows how important the smallest things are. He knows when to shoot, and how to shoot to kill. He is Ulysses... -- "This is my road, you'll walk it as I say"
- Author's note: The following are all my sources used along with my personal experiences. Feel free to check them out:
- Lonesome Road (add-on)
- Caesar's Legion
- Twisted Hairs
- White Legs
- New Canaan
- Spanish Fork
Second user's side
Ulysses. Since the first mention of him in New Vegas as Courier 5, Ulysses was a major person of interest in the grand scheme of Fallout: New Vegas. Many of you were probably intrigued by this mysterious man, who seemingly knew more about the Courier than the player did, and held a personal grudge that was left unexplained for the majority of the story. I know I was eager to know more about Courier 5 and what led him to hate me so fervently.
Then Lonesome Road was released, which in all respects proved to be a great experience and even offered answers to the questions that the man known as Ulysses posed. However, I found Ulysses to be a far more enigmatic and intriguing character before I came face to face with this apparent antagonist of the greater narrative.
Although Ulysses speaks with a certain Old-World charm which can be found enchanting, as though he has a greater understanding of his words, frankly I found him to be faux-wise. The man lived his life as a Frumentarius of Caesar, and was the discoverer of Hoover Dam making him arguably the reason for the events of Fallout: New Vegas. Through his travels, he came across The Divide, a land of great potential which showed Ulysses a new way of life and opportunity to rebuild the nation under the influence of the Old World. The Divide ended up becoming a Legion outpost (much to Ulysses' dismay) after the NCR set it's sights on this ambitious land. Fearing what the Legion could accomplish with such potential, the NCR hired the Courier to send a package to The Divide. This package contained a detonator which ended up causing the destruction of The Divide and effectively ruining the new nation (and with it the return of the Old World influence) which Ulysses planned to bring to fruition. Not only that, but Ulysses was almost killed in the resulting explosion. He blamed the Courier for this travesty; but he also learned that a single man had the power to change history. This inspired Ulysses with the belief that he could change history - or erase it.
Overall, I understand Ulysses and where he's coming from. He found a new life, he had the potential to bring back the glory of the Old World to the Wasteland, and he could have been a powerful and influential force to be reckoned with. Clearly he's an intelligent man (intelligent, not wise). But then why does he blame the Courier for all this? The Courier literally had no idea what s/he was doing. To them, it was a rudimentary delivery and it's clear from in-game dialogue that the Courier didn't even remember delivering the package to The Divide. Hell, they didn't even detonate the bombs - that was someone else's fault entirely, and you can hardly blame the Courier for some idiot detonating the warheads. If that's not enough for you, the Courier was just the middleman, per se - the NCR were the ones who made them send the package and planned the destruction of the Divide. Yet Ulysses is fixated on the Courier. He's obsessed to the point where he plans to nuke the Mojave, which isn't even the home of the Courier, in a revenge plan/psychopath god complex attempt at reshaping the Wastes to his own desire.
What desire, you ask? Hell if I know. After what transpired at the Divide - all that potential flushed down the drain because of nuclear weapons - wouldn't you think Ulysses would be against the whole idea of blowing anything up with nukes? What is there to shape when he's blown it all to smithereens? It would suffer the same fate as the Divide; a beacon of hope in an otherwise doomed Wasteland, turned to ruin due to the destructive nature of nuclear weapons. Ulysses is a hypocrite. A man who clings onto mixed feelings of hatred and awe of the Courier; who plans to do unto the Courier what was unintentionally done to him, and to shape the future of a land by destroying it's future. As wise and intelligent as Ulysses is portrayed as, I honestly don't think the man knows what he's doing.
This leads us to another issue - what exactly did he plan for the Courier? Did he want to kill them, did he want them to suffer the same fate as he did, or does he just like to taunt them while going about his own ambitions? Supposedly he wishes the Courier to die at the hands of the Wastes. Somehow knowing that the Courier survives the Wastes, he lures them to the Divide where he has several opportunities to put a round between his/her eyes. But instead he watches and waits until the Courier makes their way to the Missile Silo, where he acts like a super villain and stands before his missile menacingly. And only after he's divulged his pointless plan does he engage in combat with the Courier, when he could have easily fired a round in their head back when he was stalking them through Hopeville. Like, come on, even Benny did a better job, and he didn't mess around with sending death threats and spurted rehearsed lines upon meeting the Courier. Ulysses is a sub par villain, who had little knowledge or even comprehension of what he was doing and truly didn't think any deeper than "The Courier blew up the Divide so I have to blow up the Mojave". All he'd be left with would be an even more dead Wasteland with no potential to reshape America to his Old World dream.
Now, I could go on to argue that it's highly unlikely that Ulysses could have survived the destruction of the Divide, but frankly that point is moot considering if he had died, there would be nothing to argue. What I will argue, however, is my experience in the final confrontation with Ulysses. I opted to talk him out of fighting me to the death because frankly I wasn't in the mood for a big fight. Nor did I have any intention of nuking the Mojave after that. So after a few meaningless points of dialogue, Ulysses rolled over and became my super best friend. Yeah, that's right - he just gives up his life's ambitions (no matter how stupid they were), forgot his obsession with rewriting history and we fought some Marked Men together. Ehhh.... sort of wishing I'd killed him, to be honest. It just left me with an inconclusive ending where the main antagonist sat outside the canyon wreckage offering to mix herbs for me. I got the urge to shotgun him in the head and leave it at that, but by that point I'd made my choice to let him live and I was going to stick with it.
Overall, I think Ulysses was wasted potential. He was far more intriguing and even a bit eerie when I didn't know who he was - he was just a shadow, leaving a trail for me to follow while I learned more about him little by little. A man who seemingly had a grudge against me, but it was unknown why exactly. To learn that it was all for a detached reason which wasn't the Courier's fault in the slightest was more than a disappointment to an otherwise spectacular story arc.
In conclusion, Ulysses should have stayed a fleeting name. If Obsidian had planned to put him in the Courier's otherwise ambiguous backstory, they could have at least made it personal. I learned nothing from him other than that he believes that the only way to respond to a tragedy is to commit one in a pathetic and badly planned act of hypocrisy.
So...you've heard it, Nukapedians. With whom do you agree?
- Also, let me just add that the purpose of this blog is for you, the reader, to suspend all knowledge of the topic at hand. Think of it this way: if you knew nothing of Ulysses before coming in here, what would you think after reading these debates? That's what your vote should be based on.
Remember that if you have any poll ideas or suggestions to improve this blog and/or make it more user-friendly, please feel free to leave a message on my talk page.