Fallout 4's Home Plate: the perfect, hassle-free one-man settlement
There has been some wild controversy over some of my more recent articles on GameSkinny regarding settlements (links can be found at the bottom of the article under "Additional Reading"). Where I choose to neglect settlements, many players tell me that they like to keep at least one settlements purely for personal purposes. A base of operations, if you will.
Besides the small benefits of random junk gathering, purified water generation, and adhesive farming, settlements are often more trouble than they are worth requiring repairs and supervision on a regular basis.
Home Plate is a small home found in the market of Diamond City. Purchasable for 2,000 caps from the Mayor's secretary, Geneva, this home is on prime real-estate and offers more than you might think.
Despite one small issue, which we'll discuss later in this article, Home Plate can serve as a hassle-free personal settlement area. Fully customizable with decorations, furniture, power, and more, Home Plate offers an owned bed to get the Well Rested bonus, as well as infinite storage to put all of your goodies.
Home Plate vs. Settlements
Settlements offer players a lot of benefits, and Home Plate can compete with the best of them. A topical comparison is available below.
The number one use of settlements, according to commenters, is storing junk. In the Commonwealth you'll pick up tons of scrap that needs to be dumped nearly every time you finish a quest or after every dungeon you clear.
All settlements, including Home Plate have a workbench with infinite storage capacity. In addition, furniture can be built within Home Plate to store certain items of value.
For instance, I keep an epic collection of all of the trendy items I find in my travels. I have magazine racks for my Grognak-and-company comic books, a safe for my wedding rings and other important jewelry/expensive items I find, containers for legendary weapons and armor, filing cabinets for notes and holotapes, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Ease of Access
I might as well get this small topic out of the way before anyone gets any ideas. No, you don't need to walk all the way through Diamond City to get to Home Plate. Using the mini-map, a player can fast travel to the interior of Home Plate. This works in reverse as well. No need to go back outside to fast travel, just open the Pip-boy and away you go.
On a side note, Diamond City is conveniently located in the center of the map, making it an ideal spot to begin a random adventure, whereas Sanctuary or other settlements aren't so nicely placed.
Of course, players often like to do something with all of the junk they collect, and what better than to craft things out of it? Most settlements come with a cooking station, though Sanctuary (among others) comes with a weapons, armor, Power Armor, and chemistry station as well. If you want to build work stations in settlements you'll need the second rank of the Local Leader perk (Level 14, 6 Charisma) and a bunch of scrap materials.
Home Plate offers the more useful of these workbenches for your crafting pleasure. Just outside of the townhouse you'll find a weapons and an armor workbench next to Diamond City Surplus. There is also a Power Armor station conveniently placed on the side of Home Plate.
There is a small downside to this portion, though it isn't so large that you can use it as a scapegoat to scoff at the entirety of Home Plate. Because the work stations are technically in a different area from Home Plate, the storage isn't transferable.
In other words, you can't open up the armor workbench and find all of your junk in it, whereas in settlements you can. On the bright side, this is pretty easy to get over. Just find out what you'll need by looking at the upgrades you want in the workbenches, then grab the junk from Home Plate and go craft.
There are a few items that you simply can't craft with, or maybe you already crafted and are now obsolete. What do you do with those items? Sell them!
A few larger settlements will have a merchant caravan roll through them every once in a while, though this in no way can compare to the Diamond City marketplace, a few steps from Home Plate's front door. Clothing, weapons, food, medicine, general merchandise, you can find it all right downtown Diamond City. Each merchant will refill their caps stock by the time you get back from your questing so you never need to worry about them running out of coin, and if you need to sell a big ticket item, you have multiple NPCs to sell to! Don't worry about selling too much to one guy and having to make up for it by buying 397 .45 shells.
You may argue that merchant shops can be built in any settlement, and I'm sure it would be a good argument with earning extra caps on the side, etcetera, etcetera, but those shops cost an initial amount of caps and junk to produce - and you can't just build them, you need special perks to do so.
This is one instance where a settlement will do you more good than Home Plate will. Mentioned very briefly in the introduction, settlements constantly provide players with purified water, scavenged junk, and adhesive from farming. There isn't a water source, garden, or settlers to scavenge at Home Plate, so you don't receive these benefits.
Home Plate users will have to search for some extra wonderglues during their travels. As for purified water, find a nearby vault. A single vault-run can get you between ten and twenty purified waters.
Despite my dislike for the settlement system, I quite enjoy crafting and customizing a small area to my liking. A single house can be fun to decorate to your personal style. Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (among other Bethesda titles) played with customization on singular homes.
Home Plate comes with its own brand of nostalgia, allowing the player to completely personalize their own home to their liking. As mentioned above, I have a showroom of collectible goodies, but I also keep a small sitting room complete with jukebox at the opposite end of my house. I've decorated the entirety of the place with special futuristic lamps which required a skill magazine to unlock.
Of course, settlements can be customized just as well as Home Plate, but they will fill up quicker. Settlements have a size restriction keeping them from getting too large. If you want to craft a large bunkhouse for your settlers and make it appealing with some nice furniture, you won't have the room to put up decorations as well.
Home Plate takes the cake in this category!
Even though the vault-dweller in Fallout 4 is super-human and never actually needs sleep, it can be beneficial to grab some shut-eye from time to time. The Well Rested status effect will give the player 10% bonus XP for a limited time. Additionally, Lover's Embrace, available when sleeping with a romantic companion, will give the player 15% bonus XP for a limited time. The thing is, you can't just sleep anywhere to grab these perks.
Beds that grant the Well Rested/Lover's Embrace perks can't be owned by anyone but the player. Naturally, the easiest beds to use for the bonus are settlement beds. Home Plate comes with a pre-installed bed, and other, fancier beds can be added.
Although it isn't a huge issue, it can be annoying to go into your special, customized room in Sanctuary and have someone sleeping in your bed. Home Plate can be nice for its privacy.
This is the dreaded difference between Home Plate and a standard settlement. The one area where the small Diamond City home falls short. When splitting up from companions, you can't send them to Home Plate. Companions will go to any settlement you send them to, or they will go back to their natural home (which can be a pain to return to).
On top of this, there is a character towards the end of the game that must be sent to a settlement, and they cannot be sent to Home Plate.
However! If you use the console on PC, you can skirt this problem.
All-in-all Home Plate makes for a great base of operations for those of us that don't have the time or energy for the creation and maintenance of a full-fledged settlement. You have storage, crafting opportunities, ease of access, a fresh bed to snooze in, a fully stocked market place, and the ability to personalize to your heart's content. You're missing out on collecting some extra materials, and building actual structures, but you'll probably find this isn't a big problem.
The serious issue with Home Plate exclusivity is with companions and the issue of sending that special someone somewhere. It can be worthwhile to build a very small settlement in Sanctuary. Early in-game you're asked to help build Sanctuary as part of a mission, so a little extra maintenance can go a long way, but if you're a lone ranger or a one companion type of survivor, don't even bother.