Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Skyrim Thoughts

The WoW era of this blog is nearing an end. In two days Skyrim will be released.

Since I can't await immersing myself into a poor guy in a vast world, I played Fallout: New Vegas the last few days. Trying hard to have fun, I succeeded after about 30 minutes of ignoring everything bad and concentrating on being a poor guy in a vast world. I sneaked a lot, listened to all the dialogue options and focused on not gaming the game. This is hard! Fallout:NV, like all TES games, employs strong incentives to be gamed (=optimize the fun out of it).

I stopped yesterday evening, when I realized that the most difficult quest during the last hours /played was the one that ordered me to bring in the unmangled heads of bandits. This was hard, because at that point everything I shot with my tuned Laser Rifle either disintegrated or exploded. And that was just the Laser Rifle. The Gatling Laser turned out to mangle everything no matter where I aimed and the nuclear bombs were useless, too.

Here's how I am going to play Skyrim:
  1. I will only carry as much as one guy can reasonably be carrying. This means only one suit of armor and only a few weapons in addition to the ones I use. Once I know the weight system, I might figure out a hard limit on how much I allow myself to carry for the rest of the game.
  2. I will only save the game in towns or other very safe places and never during an adventure. I will only reload when I die. At all times, I will try my best to not die. Survival has utmost priority. When I die, I will take a break of at least 30 minutes.
  3. I will listen carefully to all dialogues.
  4. I will start the game at the highest difficulty setting and only adjust down if strictly necessary. If there is a “hardcore mode” that makes you have to drink every two real life hours I will use it.
  5. I will try to walk when running doesn't make sense. I will use the time to have a look at the environment and everything around me.
  6. I will not start the main story until I explored everything else the world has to offer.
  7. I will not use teleports unless it makes sense.
  8. I will concentrate on one adventure at a time. While on that adventure I will decline all other quests that don't fit.
  9. I will decide on a specific, yet flexible style and stick to it for the rest of the game. Effectively, I will introduce a class. I don't want to play no two-handed sword wielding firemage in magic plate mail who can throw grenades and heal himself while taking cover behind his Tower Shield of Unending Protection.
  10. I will not try to game the game. I will treat any skill increases purely as a reaction to my actions. I will not allow them to influence my actions. I will stay in character.

Will I succeed? You'll find out in the coming weeks ;)


  1. You won't start the main till everything else is done? Do you know that in Fallout 3 there was 115 primary locations and almost 200 secondary locations. In Skyrim there are 350 primary locations (3 times as many) and over 250 secondary locations.

    This means you might not start the main quest till January or February.

  2. The main quests in TES games are traditionally bad. Do you remember your radiation-immune mutant friend who refused to enter the chamber with deadly raditation in your place because he "didn't want to interfere with your destiny"? And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

    But the real reason is that I don't want to be a hero in these games. I don't want to be dragon born and have super powerful shouts. I want to feel lost in a huge world full of adventure and mystery. I want to work hard to survive.

    Time and time again have I learnd that this is the only way for me to have fun in these games long-term. The second I become a super-powerful hero I have fun for a few more hours and then that's it. I have to avoid that.

  3. Agreed. But that was because you learned that chameleon 100% or magic resistance 100% mad you that god. It wasn't the main quest but just leveling up and us being humans figuring who to game the system.

    The good news so far is that Skyrim supposedly has fixed many of these 'issues'. They redid weapon damage, armor stats and spells. And with the perks being limited you no longer can be that OP character that excells at everything. Or at least in theory.

    One clarification TES is not Fallout. You sort of cross referenced them.

  4. TES and Bethesda's Fallout games have been very similar. In fact, even though I like the TES setting more, the Fallout series has been a bit better, because it wasn't that easy (yet still possible) to optimize the fun out of it.

    I really hope that Bethesda has learnd. Constraining myself is not fun. I want to use all my intellectual potential to game a game and still be unable to optimize the fun out of it.

    Hopefully somebody makes an iron man mode where I only have to constrain myself once when the game starts and not constantly have to fight temptation.

  5. I would suggest changing the difficulty settings. From what I read there will be more than one this time.

    But do realize that as you hit level 50+ you are going to be really strong even without the gimmicks. So your sneaky character with an uber bow can one shot kill most mobs. But that's WAD and not really broken. Up the difficulty and maybe it now takes two shots. LOL

  6. I forgot to mention a critical point. In Skyrim you have two hands. DUH. :) What I mean is that you need a hand free to cast spells. So using 2H weapons means no spell for you unless you change weapons. Using a sword and shield means no spells till you change the shield.

    What I don't know is if you can change on the fly and it becomes instant or not. I hope there is a small timeframe where you are open to attack when changing.

    As mentioned I think the perk system will do more to limit a character and what they can do. Yes you can use a shield but without block perks it's not effective. Same goes for weapons and magic.

  7. Todd Howard announced today that due to the radiant AI/quest feature you will never run out of quests to do. All guilds and many NPC's/towns will continue giving quests.

  8. Then let's hope that these quests don't become real boring real soon ..

  9. But the real reason is that I don't want to be a hero in these games. I don't want to be dragon born and have super powerful shouts. I want to feel lost in a huge world full of adventure and mystery. I want to work hard to survive.

    Have you ever tried playing D&D with other people? That is the only way I can imagine you having fun - a game with reactive and dynamic inputs.

    Because let's face it: you know too much about game design and underlying systems to ever be able to force it from your mind. All these extra rules simply sound like choosing to making something harder by not playing with a mouse, playing without glasses, or otherwise tying a hand behind your back.

    As we both know, there is a HUGE difference between straining your abilities to their limits, and simply not utilizing them under arbitrary conditions.

    Good luck all the same.

  10. I did play D&D and other systems, Azuriel. It's lots of fun, but mostly for social reasons.

    One thing about increasing the challenge: That's not the reason I do this kind of stuff. It's mostly a side effect and I will decrease the difficulty setting, until the challenge is right. The reason I do this is because I like "acting"; often more than "playing" these games.