Dogmeat and the Lone Wanderer. Exploring Fallout 4 Without Your Trusty Companion

Introduction

Fallout 4 is a post-apocalyptic action role-playing game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks in 2015. The game is set in Boston in the year 2287, 210 years after a devastating nuclear war. Players control a character known as the “Sole Survivor” as they explore the post-apocalyptic world of the Commonwealth.

One of the most iconic features of Fallout 4 is the companion Dogmeat, a German Shepherd dog that can accompany and aid the player throughout the game. Dogmeat has been present in previous Fallout games and is a beloved character by fans. This article will explore whether it is possible to complete Fallout 4’s main questline and side content without ever recruiting Dogmeat as a companion.

Is Dogmeat Required?

No, Dogmeat is not a required companion in Fallout 4. He is introduced early on in the game, but players have the option to decline recruiting him. Dogmeat can first be found outside of the Red Rocket truck stop near Sanctuary after leaving Vault 111. The Sole Survivor has the dialogue option to tell Dogmeat to go home, in which case he will leave and not join you. Players can also ignore Dogmeat at Red Rocket and leave him behind.

So while Dogmeat is an early companion option, he is not essential to complete the main story or side quests. Players can go through the entirety of Fallout 4 without ever recruiting or using Dogmeat if they so choose. The game is designed to allow completing all content solo or with the wide range of other companion options.
the sole survivor exploring the commonwealth

Early Game

Dogmeat is introduced very early in Fallout 4 during the quest When Freedom Calls. However, it’s actually possible to progress past this quest and continue through much of the early game without ever recruiting Dogmeat as a companion (1). Many players choose to take advantage of other early companions like Codsworth or the first companion you run into in Concord. These provide alternatives to Dogmeat for assistance during early combat and quests.

For example, Codsworth can be recruited as soon as you exit Vault 111 at the start of the game. As your robot butler, he is happy to accompany you on adventures and provide fire support with his buzzsaw and flamethrower attacks. Codsworth has the advantage of being able to carry gear and hack terminals, unlike Dogmeat. He makes an excellent companion choice for completing early quests like When Freedom Calls and joining factions like the Minutemen in Sanctuary.

Another option is to head to Concord early on and complete the quest When Freedom Calls by helping Preston and the other settlers fight raiders. After this quest, Preston Garvey can become a companion and assist you with combat and carrying gear. This allows you to continue the main story and side quests without ever recruiting Dogmeat in the first place (2).

While Dogmeat can be helpful for tracking enemies and finding items during early quests, he is by no means required. There are alternatives that allow you to fully experience the early game of Fallout 4 without ever using Dogmeat as your companion if you desire.

Combat

Dogmeat can be a useful companion in combat due to his abilities to distract enemies and deal damage. However, playing without Dogmeat is very viable as well. Some players find Dogmeat gets in the way during combat. As one Reddit user wrote, “Dogmeat plays so much better when used as a side companion, rather than a full companion” (Source). Without Dogmeat, the player has more control and doesn’t have to worry about Dogmeat getting hurt. Enemies will focus on the player rather than splitting attention between Dogmeat and the player.

On the other hand, Dogmeat can help draw enemy fire and distract them while you attack or flank. As a companion, Dogmeat can also deal damage to enemies. But ultimately, with the variety of weapons, armor, aid items, and character builds available to the player, Dogmeat’s aid in combat is not essential. Skilled players can handle combat fine without Dogmeat’s help. Stealthier players may also prefer operating alone rather than with a companion who can give away position.

In conclusion, while Dogmeat can be helpful in combat, he is far from necessary. His advantages are modest and he also brings disadvantages of getting in the way. Combat remains very manageable and fun without Dogmeat along.

Quests

Key quests like The First Step, Diamond City Blues, Libertalia, and Tradecraft are all completable without Dogmeat. For quests related to the main storyline like When Freedom Calls and Reunions that require tracking down the killer, players have found creative workarounds without using Dogmeat, such as free-roaming the potential locations or exploiting AI pathing.

the sole survivor fighting raiders without dogmeat

While Dogmeat can make certain quests easier by finding items or tracking, players on Reddit and Steam forums report that the entire main questline as well as nearly all side quests are doable without ever recruiting Dogmeat. The companion is helpful but not essential. As one Redditor said, “You don’t need Dogmeat at all in this game.”

Sources:

https://www.reddit.com/r/fo4/comments/gjuuko/is_it_possible_to_kill_kellog_without_having_to/


https://steamcommunity.com/app/377160/discussions/0/371918937263404828/

Companions

Dogmeat differs from other companions in Fallout 4 in a few key ways. Unlike human and robot companions, Dogmeat cannot carry items or equipment1. This limits his aid capacity compared to companions like Codsworth or Piper who can carry extra weapons, ammo, and aid items. Dogmeat also cannot be given equipment or armor to improve his defense or damage capabilities.

However, Dogmeat has advantages as well. His perk, Attack Dog, gives +20% damage and makes enemies less likely to detect you while sneaking. Dogmeat is also the only companion who does not count against the Lone Wanderer perk, allowing you to gain damage and defense bonuses while still having Dogmeat’s aid2. Overall, Dogmeat provides unique benefits, but lacks some utility of human and robot companions. Players must weigh aid capacity versus stealth and damage when choosing whether to take Dogmeat or another companion.

Late Game

Assessing the challenges in the late game without Dogmeat reveals some key difficulties. Many players note that Dogmeat’s aid in combat becomes less useful in later, more challenging battles against high-level enemies like deathclaws. His damage output is limited, and he can easily be downed in a couple hits (Source).

the sole survivor battling a deathclaw

Additionally, Dogmeat cannot equip armor or gear to boost his survival. This makes him a liability in dangerous high-level zones. Players recommend leaving Dogmeat in a settlement before embarking on late game missions (Source). Some workarounds include boosting his health via perks or commands, or avoiding him altogether and utilizing human companions instead.

In conclusion, while Dogmeat is a beloved companion, he has limitations in his usefulness for late game content. With some creative workarounds, however, he can still be kept for sentimental value.

DLC

Completing the DLC content in Fallout 4 without Dogmeat is very doable. The three main story DLCs – Automatron, Far Harbor, and Nuka World – do not require Dogmeat as a companion (source). These expansive new areas can be explored and quests completed with any companion or alone.

In fact, some players recommend not bringing Dogmeat to Far Harbor or Nuka World, as the dangerous new enemies pose a greater threat to the dog’s survival (source). The DLC stories put the Sole Survivor in conflict with groups like the Children of Atom and raider gangs which can make combat more perilous.

the sole survivor exploring far harbor

While it’s possible to finish the DLC without Dogmeat, he’s still a helpful companion for extra carrying capacity, combat assistance, and moral support. But his presence is not required in any way. Players have many options for building their character and selecting allies that suit their playstyle in the expansive Fallout 4 DLC.

Conclusion

In summary, it is certainly possible to complete Fallout 4 without ever acquiring Dogmeat as a companion. However, it presents some major challenges that make the game more difficult. By not having Dogmeat, you miss out on his useful perks in combat like holding enemies in place, providing extra damage, and finding hidden items. You also lose the benefit of having a companion for certain story quests and factions like the Brotherhood of Steel. While not impossible, avoiding Dogmeat means tackling the Wasteland solo without a loyal companion watching your back. With careful preparation and skilled combat abilities, determined players can finish the main story and DLC content without Dogmeat, but it is a much more arduous process.

TL;DR

Despite being a beloved companion, Dogmeat is not required to complete Fallout 4 or any of the main quest lines. You can play through the entirety of the game without ever recruiting Dogmeat as your companion.

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