Thursday, December 29, 2011

Everyone else is talking about Skyrim, so I will too.

I've been taking some time away from the toolset to play Skyrim. Let me get this out of the way; it's great and the money was well spent. They fixed essentially everything that was wrong with Oblivion. I've played for some 40 hours and totally ignored the main plot in favor of pursuing the backstory I came up with for my character. Also, I'd buy Morrowind again if they remade Morrowind with this engine.

Now, on to the nitpicking. (If you just want to read something very cool, skip down to the last two paragraphs.)


Being told that there's a big conflict between some rebels and the Empire I took a logical (for an adventurer) tack and head for the border. That's where the conflict should be sharp right? Nope. I followed a path and found a border to the empire, and there was a gate marking the end of the gameworld. The gate was unmarked on the main map, meaning it was unimportant. It was also unmanned, I thought there was conflict? Right next to the unimportant, unmanned gate to the empire, and five feet from the road, valuable ore (gold iirc). Was that ore just ignored when they built the gate?

Later I found a map showing where the forces were, and found a number of camps from both sides. The empire's invading force was not near the border with the empire, instead they are all as far away from the border as they can be. The rebels? Close to the border. Shouldn't that be reversed?

I found two dungeons where I could turn off a few of the torches. Presumably this would improve my sneaking. Unfortunately, these were the only dungeons I could do so in the 40-50 I've been in. Either let me turn them off, or don't. 


500 feet underground and it's light as day. Everything natural apparently glows in the world of Skyrim, water, fog etc. The natural world underground is actually brighter than the dungeons.  Yes, I know, gameplay reasons... If you look up, many of those "light beams from the sky" are coming from hard rock. Not all of them though, some come from actual holes in the ceiling, so I know the maps can have holes in the ceiling.

I've entered a number of places where no living creature has been for centuries, and there are torches and candles everywhere lighting the place up? Apparently torches and candles last for hundreds of years in Skyrim, or maybe zombies like them? Also, dust in the air, hundreds of years and it didn't settle.

The sunlight in the various grottoes on the world map does not match the high mountains surrounding them, instead the areas are lit as if there were no mountains, or much lower ones. Daylight reaching the ground in some of these should be an hour long, at best. Some grottoes do not have a day/night cycle, despite even large openings to the surface.


The "cleared" notification for dungeons is a great idea. The game tracks it as a stat. There's a Steam achievement for clearing enough places. So why aren't some places clearable? I'm positive I've emptied out a number of places (Skrim's levels are almost entirely linear), yet not received "cleared" or a notification that a place isn't clearable for some reason. It would also be nice if I got an information message of cleared instead of having to look at my map, though maybe I've just missed that.

Dragons are awesome, except when they stink. The tutorial dragon wrecks an entire town. So when I found my first dragon I thought, "This is going to be epic!" Nope. Three hits and it was dead. It didn't even get a chance to use it's breath on me. Perhaps the game should take note of it being the first time you fight a dragon, and make sure it's difficult.

The random "superboss" mob member. In one area I fought a boss, a master level wizard opponent using ice magic, and learned one of the dragon shouts for my trouble. The level of difficulty was such that I could take 5-6 hits before dying. 15 minutes later I was in another area fighting mobs, and one generic mob member, who also happened to be an ice wizard like the boss I'd just recently fought, kills me in two hits. Repeatedly.

This is a Steam one, and maybe the Xbox/PS3 as well since it's an achievement thing. The "Master Criminal" achievement is when you've got a high bounty everywhere. That's not a "Master Criminal", that's a bad criminal, the good crooks get away with it. Wanted Outlaw maybe, Scourge of Skyrim perhaps?


Dwemer armor is quite valuable, so naturally dwemer scrap (used to make the armor) is fairly valuable too, right? Nope. It's seems to be least valuable type of "ore" for smithing, and it's value to weight ratio is worse that virtually any useful item, even the lowly iron dagger.

Light armor versus heavy armor. The light armors elven, glass, and dragonscale all have a hard plate armor look. This visually groups them with the "heavy" armors. It also would mean in practice that the usage would be more akin to "heavy armor" usage, the hard plates deflecting blows. Except light and heavy armor are different skill trees. I've purposely avoided "upgrading" to these armors just from the look. I'm not playing a melee fighter, I don't want to look like one.

Falmer are blind, so their helmets have no eyeholes. When the player wears a falmer helmet, they can apparently still see despite wearing a helmet with no eyeholes. I know npc's can be blind, see the infamous bucket stealing trick.

Some non-realistic looking weapons. I was granted a unique ghostly sword for completing a quest. That was pretty cool, everything else in skyrim goes for a realistic if sometimes stylized look. So I liked the sword even though I'm not playing a swordsman. Shortly thereafter, I found a dungeon full of lootable ghost weapons. So much for the uniqueness of my quest reward, and the ghost weapons are out of the "look" of the rest of the game.


Oddly inconsistent texture work. The texture work is mostly great, but in a few places it's not nearly the same quality/resolution. Fast travel to the mage college and look at the snowy bridge for an example.

All the jarls have the same "bored slouch" pose, even the ones that take an active interest in things.


Best moment ingame: Fairly early on, I wandered into an archery trainer, who has the player complete several ingame archery tests for training. She gave me a bow for completing them. It was about the same as the bow I already had, but I started to use it anyway since I quite enjoyed the ingame tutorial. I kept using the bow even as I got better one, until I got one that was much better. I still kept the bow out of fondness for the training/trainer, and carried it around since I didn't have a home or anywhere to store it. It even meant having to leave loot in dungeons sometimes.

Much later ingame, I wound up against a boss enemy, who used it's dragonshouts to disarm me of the bow I was using. So I pulled out another bow from my inventory that I'd picked up in order to sell. That too got disarmed. Now what? I looked through my inventory and there it was, the bow from the archery trainer I'd met in the middle of nowhere, and carried around solely because of my fondness for the training. That bow, "obsolete" and carried around solely because of my character's fond memories, saved my character's life. That's a gaming moment that will last.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kamal,

    Interesting read ... especially in the "light" of my current blog. ;) I also like to see the points you pick up on in games, as they are similar to my own tastes by the looks of it.

    I am currently playing Oblivion, so this was good to hear. Actually, I still also need to play Morrowind as I never finished that, but my wife is having a bash at that one for now.

    I will probably catch up playing this one in about 3-4 years time. ;)