So I’m spending an obscene amount of time playing Skyrim these days. I can’t help it. Elder Scrolls games just do this to me – I get sucked into their world for months at a time. Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas games were a lot of fun. I enjoyed them very much, but they gave me nowhere near the amount of joy that Morrowind, Oblivion and now Skyrim. I have been a huge fan of this series for years now, and I tend to play these games to their breaking point – until my character has all the end-game artifacts and is nearly invincible due to my abuse of the rules, item combinations and the enchanting system.
Elder Scrolls games are where I release my inner munchkin and let him run wild. And one of the biggest issues I have with Skyrim right now is that Bethesda balanced out the enchanting system. Granted, perhaps I haven’t leveled up that skill quite far enough, but I just don’t see it as an endless well of abuse. In Morrowind I crafted a character who could leap over buildings, never took fall damage, had constant 100% chameleon effect making her nearly undetectable when crouched, and wielded one-hit-kill weapons. In Oblivion I made a blade that would temporarily decrease the targets available HP pool by 100 with each hit, and paralyzing them for a second at the same time making everything go down in at most 3 hits. These nasty combos seem to be absent from Skyrim. So far, I’m only able to use one enchantment per item making it severely limited, and causing my inner munchkin to stir uncomfortably.
That’s when I let him run wild as a werewolf:
Skyrim is a first Elder Scrolls game where I actually ended up taking on one of the two available curses (other being Vampirism), mostly because the game sort of steers you in that direction introducing the Companions faction early on. I must say I rather like the wolf form, and the fact I can use it to run faster than my horse, though it’s utility as a “travel form” is limited by your inability to use a map while you use it. It is great for mopping up low level mobs. The roar power I abused in the video above is extremely effective – as you can see, it allowed me to storm the Jarl’s castle virtually unopposed.
I also like the fact that after you become a Warewolf, NPC’s will sometimes remark that you smell like a wet dog. In fact, NPC’s will often comment on the stuff you are wearing. For example, if you don a Thieves Guild armor and proceed to prance around the city, the guards will recognize it and warn you that they are watching you. Little touches like this really make the game world come alive.
The aforementioned Thieves Guild armor is one of the faction specific armor sets. Most factions worth joining will actually bestow one upon you upon becoming a full-fledged member, and often give you an upgrade at the end of their quest chain. Here are the armor sets I have collected so far:
Ironically, I am still trying to complete a full Dwemer armor set, but despite rummaging through several ruins I have only found some boots and gauntlets, and about three cart-loads of swords and axes that are useless to me as I’m playing an archer. Not that I would need a heavy Dwemer armor either, but I want one nevertheless.
You see, I used to collect Dwemer artifacts in Morrowind. Exploring their murky, mysterious and haunted ruins was one of my favorite past times. In fact I almost pissed my pants out of joy when I found the museum in Tel Vos. Sadly, Dwemer ruins and the Museum in Skyrim are not nearly as exciting as I remembered them. I remember creeping through the rather spartan, claustrophobic industrial looking Dwemer halls filled with dilapidated steam machines and ghosts and being genuinely creeped out by their atmosphere. Skyrim ruins are very Ayleid like – very ornamental, very spacious and overrun by the Falmer who feel rather out of place. I’m not really a big fan of fighting feral, degenerate descendants of snow elves when exploring and contemplating the fall of the Dwarves. I think that making their abandoned underground cities very empty, and populated solely by strong and resistant automatons and freak-out ghost hauntings made these dungeons vastly more memorable in Morrowind. In Skyrim they are just like any other dungeon, just with industrial machinery sounds playing in the background.
What are your likes and dislikes so far? What are your favorite factions? Favorite dungeon types? Favorite items? Let me know in the comments.