Skyrim: The Field Report

Guys, I am officially to busy playing Skyrim to blog about right now. Also, I am terribly lazy. Fortunately, I have been more or less live tweeting my gaming sessions so those of you who follow me on twitter have already seen some of my early comments. So in lieu of traditional first-impression review I have decided to do something different. I’m going to take the most interesting tweets out of my stream, re-post them here and expand upon them. There is only so much you can say in 140 characters, and I do have a lot of opinions I would like to share. I just don’t feel like constructing a narrative and transitions right now. So this will be a first-impression micro-review in a tweet-list form. Or something like that.

I guess the first and most important thing about Skyrim is that you don’t have to buy a brand new computer to play it. I bought my current gaming rig back in 2009. Under normal gaming hardware depreciation rules, my computer should now be somewhere in the “middle of the road” category. I could probably still play new releases, but only after cranking down the textures, resolution and shadow effects quite a bit. This is no longer the case. The game runs beautifully on my computer – I have almost all the settings maxed out, and it is fast, crisp and responsive. Should the credit for this go to Bethesda for designing a game that will work very, very well on few year old machines? Or perhaps this is a byproduct of the decline of the PC as a gaming platform. I highly suspect it is the latter. New PC’s outperform current gen consoles quite a bit already, but the mainstream gaming industry is increasingly console centric. Case in point – I have been waiting to ply Arkham City for weeks now – ever since it was released for the consoles. Unfortunately the PC release date kept getting pushed, and not that it fell beyond Skyrim release I no longer care. Batman can now go stand in the corner and wait till I get bored slaying dragons. Just a few years ago, such a discrepancy would be unthinkable. Unless the game was a console exclusive, the PC release date would be very important to the publisher. Now it is an afterthought for many of them. That said, I’m glad Bethesda still supports PC as a first class platform (well, more or less) and released all versions on one day.

Bethesda loves to have gameplay driven character creation sequences. In Oblivion the entire tutorial dungeon was nothing but an extended character creation sequence. Same goes for the “growing up in the vault” sequence in Fallout 3. These things have been getting progressively longer with each game. Skyrim is no different. The starting sequence involves being driven in a cart, waiting to be executed, running away from a dragon and a tutorial dungeon. One significant departure is that the game no longer asks you if you want to change anything upon exiting said dungeon. Probably because the character creation has been dumbed down quite a bit. But let’s not dwell on this just yet.

But yes, you do start as a prisoner. Every single Elder Scrolls game I have played started like this. It is a running theme I think. It’s not a bad thing – I just figured out it bears mentioning.

This is actually a really, really big improvement for me. When I play Elder Scrolls game, I tend to spend a lot of time on the facial feature design screen. I want my characters to look decent when I play them – especially when I’m making a female avatar. It usually takes a lot of tweaking to make a borderline passable face out of the potato-head looking presets supplied by Bethesda. In fact, I often resort to mods to fix this shortcoming, but alas – there aren’t any out there yet. Both Oblivion and Fallout 3 have been horrible about this screen. In both games you would design your face in dim, flickering artificial light which would cast unnatural shadows on your face. Almost always you would over-compensate for this when picking skin tones, and only after stepping into the daylight you would realize your character is essentially wearing clown makeup. Skyrim fixes this by letting you design your face in natural daylight, so you have a very good idea how it will look during most of the game play. Good job!

It seems that Bethesda put quite a bit of work into the face design this time around. In pretty much every single game they have released so far, the most popular mods are face-swapping ones which exchange the potato shaped lumps they use for heads with lovingly designed fan-made meshes and textures. Skyrim faces definitely look better than ones in Oblivion or even Fallout. That said, they still give you that fish-eye stare in conversations. Bethesda could learn a lot from watching how Edios approached scripted conversations in Deus Ex – where characters have expressive body language that more than makes up for limited amount facial expressions.


I have mixed feelings about the inventory screen. On one hand it is slightly better designed than the Oblivion one, in the sense that you can now see more than five items on the screen without scrolling. It also separates it from spell list, map and character stats. So instead of a single pip-boy like contraction, you know have several separate areas, all bout to convenient keyboard shortcuts which is great. That said, the entire thing is still very console centric. In fact the most convenient way to navigate is by using keyboard keys to move through the items, and the mouse just gets in the way half of the time. The stats screen is absolutely horrible – it is all style, and no substance. Only about five of your skill stats are visible on the screen at once, and navigating trough the perk trees is slow and cumbersome. It’s virtually impossible to get a good glimpse of your build with this interface, and I am impatiently waiting for a mode that will make it more readable. I just want all the info on a single screen. Is it that much to ask?

Oh, and the character silhouette is gone from the inventory screen. So if you want to play dress-up (like I do) you need to go in and out of the inventory screen. Either that or switch to third person view, swivel the camera. Since the inventory interface is a transparent overlay, you can actually see how the gear looks on you in the background.

Skyrim has scripted take down moves – kinda like the stealth kills in Deus Ex. Apparently they are trigger every time you kill your opponent with a critical. I highly suspect they will get really annoying as I was planning for a stealth build which usually involves some crit stacking. They can also get confusing in the heat of the battle. Few times when I was in a dungeon I triggered a take down without even knowing it, and was convinced that I just died – because the camera does exactly the same type of third person switch to show you your own demise. So yeah, this is not my favorite feature.

The Fallout style lockpicking is sort of the golden standard for door-based mini-games now. I’m glad they kept this mechanic instead of inventing something else. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

Key bindings in this game are really strange. Alt is for sprinting and shift is for walking slowly. LMB is an active block, unless you dual wield weapons / spells in which case it becomes an extra attack key. Assigng weapons to number keys is needlessly complex. In previous Bethesda games to assign your favorite sword to 1, you would hold down 1 and click on the sword in the inventory. Now you have to do this:

  1. Favorite the sword in the inventory with the F key
  2. Exit inventory
  3. Pull up the favorites menu with the Q key
  4. Click on the sword in the favorites menu
  5. Hit 1 to assign it to #1 key and approve your selection when a dialog pops up

Skyrim managed to take a two second task, and drag it into a minute long ordeal. Oh, and they also broke the Oblivion convention of using Z to move objects using the physics engine. Now you accomplish that by holding the E key.

I guess I need to show off my first character here. Feel free to post screenshots of yours in the comments:

Meet my Bosmer thief girl.

I’m actually pretty happy with the way her face came out. The presets for wood elves were beyond ugly. I’m not terribly impressed with her hair, but then again Bethesda was always really bad with their hair design. I’ll wait for some mods to rectify this.

This is essentially my biggest complain with Skyrim so far. Bethesda threw away the entire class / birth sign system. You can no longer pick the skills that you want to specialize in or the attributes you want to tag. The only choice that seems to have any gameplay impact is race. After you do that, you are essentially done. The only way you can tweak your character further is through leveling up.

This is a sort of brain dead approach to character design. Some people just want to jump into the game right away and I get that. But many of us really enjoy agonizing over these choices and making highly specialized builds. In the past Bethesda was able to appease both groups by providing pre-made classes (warrior, mage, thief, etc..) while at the same time letting you create custom ones, by tagging skills and picking perks manually. Now they dumped that all out and the game got instantly dumber because of it. Yes, it is more difficult to screw up your build now, but what if I wanted to play with an unbalanced character with specific strengths and crippling vulnerabilities. Bethesda took that choice away from me and I’m not happy.

Another per peeve – the map is horrible. I liked the map or Cyrodil and how it outlined the actual shape of the Imperial province. It really gave you an illusion that you are in the middle of a huge continent. It also very clearly shown the topology, landmarks and points of interest. Skyrim map is difficult to read. It is surrounded by snowy peaks and “fog of war” that obscure it’s borders to the point it is difficult to see the exact shape of the province. You also can’t zoom out all the way to have a birds eye view on the playable area. The fog and snow blend together and create an illusion that the map keeps on going. If you do pan around it though, you will quickly notice that it is in fact very small. Bethesda took great pains to obscure this fact, but the playable area in Skyrim is much, much smaller than that in Oblivion.

So far I have voiced a lot of complaints, but am I enjoying the game? @Ludonaut asked me the same thing and this was my response:

Yes, I am. Very much in fact. Skyrim is flawed, but I wouldn’t be live tweeting it, and writing 2k word summaries if I wasn’t into it. I am a big fan of the Elder Scroll series, and I’m looking forward to spending many, many hours exploring the Skyrim province and slaying dragons. If I complain about it, it is because I care.

What are your thoughts on the game so far? What type of character are you playing? What build are you going for. Post screenshots if you will – I recommend imgur.com for hosting. Use links, because I don’t believe that WordPress will let you embed images.

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29 Responses to Skyrim: The Field Report

  1. Mart SINGAPORE Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Also Skyrimming right now!

    The only major thing I hate about Skyrim is the Skill Tree, (or should we call it a Skill Constellation now?). It seems like the designer has put in absolutely no thought to usability and the whole interface just screams “LOOKATMEEEEE” in a high girly pitch voice. There is no way to see all of your skills and perks at a glance. Perk navigation is also a huge huge biatch. It is so frustratingly difficult to navigate the whole…star map thing-y. It’s a huge huge failure in design. As bad as the inventory and magic UI goes, at least I can still navigate via WASD and E. Perks? Good luck.

    Minor quibbles: remapping keys does not remap the small shortcut key display beside an action in the UI. Drove me nuts, so I switched back to default. And the only way to view magic effects is to go into the Magic menu and bla-bla… Too much work which can be solved by a simple overlay.

    Really looking forward to UI mods. Everything else is quite the A-list though.

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  2. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Mart:

    The only thing I remapped was Shift and Alt. Holding Alt to sprint forced me to contort my hand in a weird way whereas holding shift with my pinky is effortless. Seeing how there is never a time in the game where I would rather walk slowly than run really fast (unless I’m like getting into character and RP-ing) it was a no-brainer. The rest of the controls I can live with.

    I have no clue who designed the “constellation carousel” interface, but it is abhorrent. I suspect this was a pet-project of some VP who pushed hard for this despite play-testing feedback. I mean, yes it looks cool the first time you see it, but as soon as you try to actually use it, it just falls apart.

    And yeah, I have absolutely no clue why couldn’t they put a tiny icon overlay for active effects somewhere in the HUD. Both Morrowind and Oblivion did it, and it worked well.

    Also, I hate that the quest Journal is under the game settings menu (Esc) instead under the Tab menu where everything else is. WTF?

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  3. xWittaker UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows says:

    Initially started with a mage, but after the first few dungeons, flamethrowering everyone to death started to get old.

    So I’ve set up two new characters, ones an orc tank with 1h, block, and restoration as his main abilities. Second is wood elf with sneak, bows, enchanting, and alchemy as main abilities. Not terribly creative I know, but they both scratch different itches. I can’t imagine going any race other than orc for a melee character considering how indispensable their racial is for boss fights.

    Also, I had to switch the difficulty from adept to expert. Adept is just a cakewalk. FOV to 90 degrees is also recommended.

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  4. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    @ xWittaker:

    Dual wielded flame spells are fun. :) I also just found a fire breath shout the other day – now I just have to activate it. :P

    Wood elf racial daily is the worst one. I used it exactly once. There is a dungeon somewhere in the game where some mooks are talking about training a wild wolf in the cage. You can creep towards a leaver and release said wolf upon them. I made the whole thing even better by casting control animal at that exact moment. I don’t anticipate using that power ever again. :P

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  5. Sameer NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Haven’t gotten around to Skyrim yet, need to finish my new 1155 build first but I’ve heard all kinds of rants and mass praise as well. I’m really interested what the ‘hardcore’ Morrowind crowd thinks. One thing to keep an eye on: DarN is back! That GUI will be better :)

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  6. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Sameer:

    Oh shit. DarN needs to hurry up! I can’t wait. :D

    As for what “hardcore Morrowind crowd” thinks – I can tell you what I think. I don’t know how hardcore others are, but Morrowind remains my favorite Elder Scrolls game, so I guess I’m up there somewhere. It’s like this: Skyrim is dumber than Oblivion. They took out attributes, they further reduced the number of skills (Mystycism is out, amount other things). The combat is even more twitch based. The UI is the worst possible thing Bethesda has ever made. Worse than a 100 pip-boys strapped together with twine and duct tape.

    But, the setting is interesting. The game looks gorgeous (except the parts where it is not, due to butt ugly textures on some weapons and shields), the characters are still potato headed but better than in Oblivion. The story is pretty good so far, and the quests seem to be intelligently designed around the hubs, and they form narratives so you get sucked into them.

    The game also has a crafting system now – you can mine ore, smelt it, use ingots to craft armor or improve the stuff you already have, or tan pelts into leather, create jewelry and etc. It seems more involved than in Oblivion. Crafting, enchanting, alchemy and trading gives you stuff to do when you get combat fatigue from dungeon raiding for quest givers.

    It works, and I’m enjoying it. It’s not Morrowind but I was not expecting it to be anything close to it. I sort of lost all hope that Bethesda will make a game as complex, nuanced and awesome as Morrowind.

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  7. Sameer NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ Luke:

    That doesn’t sound half bad! Especially crafting and a good story. I’m only hoping that combat is not the main focus of this game. I hear you can do all kinds of amazing flashy things in combat/magic but it should be part of the Skyrim-experience. It seems that character development/RP-ing would be a bit difficult with the loss of so many attributes and complexity. That complex world is what makes Morrowind my favorite game of all time; I can do anything whenever feel like it. There are many days I don’t even draw a weapon other than to look at it.

    I did gather from the forums that it is indeed (even) dumber than Oblivion, which was such a shame considering what Oblivion could’ve been like. I did very much enjoy Oblivion though and I’m sure I’ll enjoy Skyrim once I get around to it but I wasn’t as hyped for Skyrim compared to OB’s release. I guess I also kinda knew what to expect but obviously, the jury is still out until I’ve played :)

    Thing is I’m still enjoying Morrowind so very much! Honestly, with a char that looks this good, how could I not? ;) (Yes, I really wanted to show off!)

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  8. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    OK, I have been Skyrimming around for the last three days like you guys and I have pretty much the same issues and praises. First, I have to say that I love the game. Despite the many criticisms I have, it feels much better than Oblivion in many ways. Animations are less clunky and the world feels more real (despite being indeed slower). I love that there are more “easter eggs” (all the crafts, pretty much) and yet less stupid mini-games to break immersion. The lockpicking is perfect. It feels real and not too hard. I have to agree with Luke: the game works on high res on my relatively oldish computer and I noticed no bug, clipping or significant graphics issue. A note about the music: while still really nice and well done, it doesn’t become a forefront thing as in the previous games of the series. Thanks Bethesda for this: it is discrete yet supports the story well.

    I absolutely loved the way the world feels real. There small ants on a tree slump. Birds are not just singing and flying around. They also come and go to their nest. You can catch butterflies or lightworms. The craft system is excellent and feels logical, without impeding the game. I walked the first mission to a pass in the mountain. The wind got blowing and lifting the snow, making visibility more difficult. As long as I was on the slope, it was fine, but when I reached the actual pass, the blizzard was blinding. I have done a LOT of mountain hiking over the years, in similar conditions, and it felt so freaking real!

    Like Luke, I made a (male) Bosmer, thief oriented. Like him I picked some Imperial Armor. Unlike in Oblivion, what you wear does have an impact on your interactions. That is a well done thing: wearing imperial stuff makes you liked by the guards in the first towns you enter, because they are a pro-Empire faction.

    I only got annoyed by two things: yes the world is too small. It is really a case of “not enough of a good thing”. This game rocks, why make it so smallish? The second problem is indeed the character interface. While better designed than Oblivion’s, it is still very unfamiliar, not well designed and it looks seriously ugly. I can’t wait for a decent mod.

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  9. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Luke Maciak wrote:

    You can creep towards a leaver and release said wolf upon them. I made the whole thing even better by casting control animal at that exact moment. I don’t anticipate using that power ever again.

    Try that with a mammoth…

    More seriously, I have another criticism about the game: it is really too easy. I am playing at the medium level (like all other Bethesda games). And I think I will increase by one notch as soon as I kill my first dragon, because right now, I only had to reload the game once. Yes, you read that one right: I was killed only once, and that was because I was really playing stupidly AND my gf was talking to me at the same time. So I got surrounded by three big guys including a mage and they pawned me when I was not paying attention. I still manage to kill two and hurt the third real bad before going down. So my advice to people used to Oblivion and Morrowind: play above medium (adept, I think). It will be a bit more challenging.

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  10. Ľubomír Brindza SLOVAKIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I’ve installed Skyrim just yesterday, but the first thought that occurred to me after firing it up was that the controls get progressively more cumbersome with every new Elder Scrolls game.

    In completely unrelated news, I managed to bind the escape key to some-action-or-other while desperately trying to reset the key-binding, instead saving it by mistake and now I can’t get into the damn menu. Go me. >_>

    Had similar experience with Rage, that one does not accept numpad keys as “valid”, so it was either bind the damn arrows or unlearn 15+ years of “I like to grab my mouse with my my left hand thank you”. Skyrim likewise played coy when it came to binding numpad keys.

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  11. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Sameer:

    Wow, nice looking character you got there. Gotta love the fact that Morrowind modding community is still going strong. The game is how old now, and you can still make it look respectable using community made texture swaps, resolution enhancement tools and etc.

    @ Alphast:

    Really? I haven’t touched the difficulty but I have been struggling in some parts. Perhaps it’s because my character build is all over the place, I have not been grinding at all and I haven’t really found any good gear yet. Giants can two hit me, dragons can fuck me up real bad if I’m alone and I have been struggling with some dungeon bosses. My boss battles have been mostly circle strafing, gulping potions by the gallon and abusing paralyze spells/bound items so far. :P Then again, perhaps I just suck at video games. :P

    @ Ľubomír Brindza:

    There is a reset to defaults button inside of the menu so just hit esc… Oh, wait… I see what the problem is. :P

    And you are right – with every game Bethesda gives less of a fuck as to how well their game ports to the PC.

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  12. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    The good news is that the Mod community is all over the place already and their priority list is more or less the same as ours. The UI discussion is already 7-8 pages and growing fast. And the Unofficial Patch team has been reformed too. Sounds good for the future of this great game.

    And Luke, yes, I guess my character is probably a bit more specialized than yours. I have been doing only one-hand combat and long range “sneak” shooting. But again, I am still at the really beginning (after my first Dragon kill in Whiterun).

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  13. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Alphast:

    My focus skills so far are:

    - one handed
    - archery
    - sneak
    - lockpicking
    - heavy armor

    Yeah, I know – that last one does not fit at all, but I just couldn’t find any good light armor and my heavy started leveling up in the process.

    Of course I have also been doing some smithing (why not, it’s there) and some some resto magic (mostly healing up with the starting spell when I run out of potions). And of course my speech inadvertently levels up when I sell loot.

    Oh, if you killed your first dragon you now have the first shout, right? Unrelenting force? A word of advice – hightail to the graybeards fortress like now, they will upgrade that shout for you, and give you a second one for free – the whirlwind sprint. Essentially it is like a super-charge move, but you can use it to zip around the game world. I like to use it to jump up from high places because it cancels out the momentum. So if you can cover most of the fall distance with your shout, you only drop a small amount. :)

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  14. Mart SINGAPORE Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Luke Maciak wrote:

    Also, I hate that the quest Journal is under the game settings menu (Esc) instead under the Tab menu where everything else is. WTF?

    Just hit “J”. It’s a bit long from WASD though. Hope you have nice long slender fingers!

    @ Sameer:
    Awesomeness! Looking forward to a better UI!

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  15. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Mart:

    Long way from WASD is an understatement when you use a split keyboard. I use this one, so the J key is on the other fucking side of the planet as far as I’m concerned. :P

    But yeah, at the very least they let me go directly to it, unlike the Pip-Boy which made everything to be at least 4 clicks away.

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  16. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Thanks for the good idea Luke! I was actually planning to slack off and delay my visit to the Graybeards, but I will follow your advice now and get there asap. No idea how to get there, but I suppose I will beat the bush somehow. By the way, anyone knows how to change one’s horse name?

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  17. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Alphast:

    Go west. I went some roundabout way, horse glitching over mountains but I eventually got there. Also, there is at least one snow troll somewhere near the graybeard fortress, but if you are low level or don’t feel like fighting it you can easily outrun him on a horse. :)

    I haven’t tried changing the name of my horse. The guy who sold it said I can, but then I forgot because I was like “look at my horse, my horse is amazing…”

    If there is a way to change it, I want to call it “Sir McDiesAlot” because it does that like it is it’s full time job… Nay, a career or something.

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  18. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Yeah, my friends on FB suggested to call it DeadMeat because that’s how it was supposed to end, sooner rather than later… Apparently, there is no other way to change it than tweaking system files. Probably they forgot to add a function for it but left the text about it in the seller dialogue.

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  19. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    Alphast wrote:

    Probably they forgot to add a function for it but left the text about it in the seller dialogue.

    Classic Bethesda. LOL

    This is why they always release the Construction Kit for their games. So that modders can patch the game for them. :P

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  20. peterix Google Chrome Linux says:

    It is an amazing game, but feels unfinished in many ways…

    Skyrim is a very cold, harsh place. Survival in such conditions should require at least some warm clothes. The game lets my character stand on top of a mountain almost naked and not take frost damage. Breaks my immersion. Female versions of armor that reveal more than they cover in the middle of an icy wasteland break my immersion.

    Navigation relies a bit too much on the super GPS/terrible 3d map. I’d love a proper map with no GPS. And proper directions to places! Not ‘go to place X’ without explaining where the place is or how to get there. Yes, I can follow the arrow. No, it doesn’t make me happy – especially when the arrow points into the middle of nowhere I’ve never been to and I have no explainable way of knowing that my goal should even be there. Remember the times when identifying items was part of the game? I want all the little known places start unnamed. I want to be able to ask the NPCs about places and learn their names. I want to make my own marks on the map.

    Teleporting with quick travel is too tempting ~_~

    It needs more kinds of monsters and a few more dungeon styles. Also devious puzzles. Most of the dungeon puzzles seem to be made for small children.

    Anyway, I just finished the main quest as a Nord named Brunhild. She’s a fierce warrior and specializes in one handed weapons, heavy armor, restoration spells, smithing and lockpicking(although with no perk points osed on lockpicking, because they aren’t needed). Most of the game I spent with a sword in right hand, a healing spell ready to cast and mixing some shouts in. No shields. Shields are for cowards and milk drinkers :P

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  21. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ peterix:

    Morrowind was like that – no fast travel, no “GPS arrow”. You had to follow the directions. Unfortunately the directions were horrible and useless half of the time. I played that game with a heavily annotated printed map, and would often look map coordinates online for those hard to find places. The quest arrow is not such a bad thing.

    Also, I like how they brought back in-world transport. There are dudes with horse driven carts in front of each big city, and you can pay them to take you to adjacent towns which gives you a non-immersion breaking fast transport. :)

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  22. peterix Google Chrome Linux says:

    @ Luke Maciak:
    I’m not saying it’s necessarily bad, I just disable the quest tracking. Sometimes it’s the only lead though…

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  23. 3rd Armpit AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Luke Maciak wrote:

    But yeah, at the very least they let me go directly to it, unlike the Pip-Boy which made everything to be at least 4 clicks away.

    Actually you could use the F1 – F4 keys to directly bring up different pages on the pipboy.

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  24. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ 3rd Armpit:

    What? Fuck. I wish I knew this back when I was playing Fallout 3… And it’s DLC’s. And New Vegas. And it’s DLC’s… So many hours cumulatively wasted just clicking pip-boy.

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  25. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Can’t resist publishing the following link: http://uk.pc.gamespy.com/pc/elder-scrolls-v/1212918p1.html

    I am sure most of you already knew these mods but for me, the one about remapping keys is the best.

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  26. Ľubomír Brindza SLOVAKIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    You are my hero and I would like to bear your offspring.

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  27. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    LOL. You are much welcome. Although I would rather not impregnate anyone so lightly… :D I have installed the UI mod and it makes my life a lot easier indeed.

    This said, a word of warning on the FXAA mod. I tried it and it crashed my game horribly (could not even load the loader). Disinstalling the mod fixed the problem. I would not use it until the next version is issued. There is a lovely and balanced fletching mod I am using here: http://www.curse.com/mods/skyrim/category/skills

    It is absolutely unnecessary (as most bandits and draugr drop arrows like it’s gone out of fashion). But I find it a nice little extra immersion point. I also installed a couple of other mods like the better eyes one and the better dragon armor. They are purely cosmetic and haven’t broken anything as far as I can tell.

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  28. Neonomide FINLAND Google Chrome Windows says:

    After several stereotypical thief/assassin bosmer builds with an intent of maximizing the “uglyful” face creating factor in Oblivion I actually made an badass looking bosmer (I think) for Skyrim effortlessly. In Skyrim, character creation is horribly simple and even boringly “pop” as the choices are mostly just pretty/gritty/cool and that’s it, folks. Looking at my char was more of an obsessive ritual in Oblivion and even small mistakes and differing in opinion made me want to start over from the starting cave save to do some plastic surgery. In the end I found beauty mods dull too so I simply made as ugly mofos as possible. It worked. Now with Skyrim, nearly everyone seems too “ready”- I really expept this to change with mods quite soon. At least I do not have to look at my char anymore, which seemed too intimate. Skyrim’s “active posing” feels much better.

    My skill build went for a thief/balanced/no armor perks with 100 enchant/smithing grindage first just to see the potential and yes, minimal (0, zero, nada) armor perks to keep things interesting (I put difficulty setting to max pretty soon as well) and death remains a huge problem at 51 level as I’m writing (just the way I like it!). I think one build cannot say about the game balance much, but most of the stuff seems balanced and perk system gives a player great freedom to make up own weaknesses and playing styles. Sneaking again levels up far too fast, alchemy is a bit too slow though. Most of the rest is interesting and semi-leveling of enemies works well enough. Fighting may not me mount & blade but a nice step up from oblivion and involving. Shield bashing is a promising concept.

    Oblivion levelling system and enemy leveling was absolutely snoozed up, even if a painful character creation was indeed nice and hardcore thing (that they now dropped). Many people want to grow into their visionary hero and Skyrim surely does that very well imho. I was fearing this would not work, but esp at early levels grinding is so fast and choices have to be made all the time which keeps it nearly always fresh. Knowing that only a third or less perks can realistically be selected per build is even better. Modding may make this even more intelligent so I only see potential here. (never played Fallout though)

    My secondary build is pale skinned, dark eyed imperial, a bit vampirish looking woman, which I wish to try as a battle mage. We’ll see how it works out, I’m not too confident for being a pure mage because of too-easy-to-exploit but quite essential(?) flesh skill perks. Yet.

    I know I’m in minority, but I really like the skill tree screen. With mouse it just works and I like the nice looking minigame of trying to get to see with WASD what a perk X does. :-) Seeing the learned perks fast enough was perhaps the reason for the UI inconvenience. (how would you design it; how to show the learned perks in an info screen?)

    By the way, putting item/magic and map to mouse buttons speeds up the UI and playing generally nicely. Even that does not remedy the insanely long list of unused potion though (I’d rather WRITE the name of the potion/poison to use it).

    Skyrim’s world may be quite small, but a lot ot it is climbing and dropping so the actual geography seems bigger. Places are geographically interesting and the milieu feels really familiar (I live in Scandinavia and nature is very similar here). Having a snowstorm outside and window open brings the immersion of snowy exploration to a whole new level. :-D
    The insane amount of findable places in oblivion is missed though.

    Console -> FOW 75 all the way too. We want to see more of the world! ;-=)

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  29. Neonomide FINLAND Google Chrome Windows says:

    Luke said:

    ” I wish I knew this back when I was playing Fallout 3… And it’s DLC’s. And New Vegas. And it’s DLC’s… So many hours cumulatively wasted just clicking pip-boy.”

    According to Bethesda update sheets, the F1-F4 shortcuts were not in the first version. I’m not sure if they were in the manual either.

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