A recent leak surfaced that suggests Starfield will have 50 achievements at launch. While we don’t have official confirmation, or any insight into what we’ll have to do to earn these achievements, it’s got me thinking about a Fallout 4 trophy that continues to elude me almost eight years later. Having successfully earned the platinum for Skyrim, I’ve long since been trying to do the same in Bethesda’s rad-filled world. But despite my best efforts, I just can’t seem to secure one achievement that has often felt impossible to pull off without any sort of guidance.
I close my eyes and I can see it. On Fallout 4’s map, an illuminated smiley face looks out at me from the screen of my Pip Boy, next to the marker for the Sanctuary settlement. Taunting me. Hovering over it shows a percentage number that never quite reaches 100%, no matter what I do. The same goes for just about every settlement in the Wastelands. Try as I might to make my residents happy, I never quite do enough to earn myself what I consider to be the hardest trophy in Fallout 4: Benevolent Leader.
Just like Skyrim, Fallout 4 has just over 50 achievements to earn. While lots of them require some legwork and dedication, Benevolent Leader is by the far the trickiest one to earn in my book. As you may know if you’ve tucked into Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic RPG, you’re able to build up, grow, and protect your own settlements. Dotted around the wasteland, each settlement differs in size and act as little safe havens from the nasty dangers that roam the Commonwealth.
To bag the trophy in question, you need to reach maximum happiness at a large settlement by providing occupants with enough beds, food, water, and ensuring they’re defended from the elements and nearby raiders with shelter, turrets, guard posts, and the like. Once all of these needs are met, you can also add to their overall happiness by adding shops, clinics, and other special items by investing in the Local Leader perk.
The residents’ happiness then steadily increases over time, and the percentage next to that haunting smiley face will rise. Sanctuary is the first settlement you’ll get, and it’s where you’ll learn how to use the workshop, assign your settlers to different tasks, and set up to go out and find more settlements thanks to Minutemen member and trusted companion, Preston Garvey. Sounds simple enough, right? Yeah, that’s exactly what I thought. But it’s far from it. After doing absolutely everything I could to raise up the happiness at Sanctuary, all seemed to be going well. Happiness levels were soaring, my settlers seemed content, and when I reached 90%, the trophy seemed to be within my grasp.
But for some unknown reason, as I went about doing quests, the settlement’s happiness began to decline. Returning to check the coast was clear of danger and nothing had changed in my absence yielded no discernible answers. Their sudden change in mood was a complete mystery. After I had given them everything they needed to live comfortably in this hellscape, they apparently required more. It started to feel like every settler was a Tamagotchi I was desperately trying to cater to.
I’m not artistic by any means, and I can’t say I built them impressive structures or anything of the sort, but I tried to give them enough to keep their moods high. But no matter what I did, that smiley face refused to reach 100%. As it turns out, many other players have found Sanctuary quite buggy when it comes to trying to secure this achievement, but even after several attempts at other settlements, I still can’t call myself a Benevolent Leader. I’m sure there’s some trick I’m missing and there’s undoubtedly a quick and easy way to secure the trophy that I haven’t figured out yet, but why does it gotta be so hard?
What’s in store for us when it comes to Starfield remains to be seen, but there appears to be plenty for us to try and earn just like Fallout 4 and Skyrim. Here’s hoping I won’t get another trophy that eludes me when it comes to Bethesda’s space-faring RPG. Someday I’ll earn that leader moniker and close the book on Fallout for good, but for now, that smiley face will continue to goad me.