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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim


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#1 of 341 joshEH

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Posted December 11 2010 - 03:19 PM





...And there goes the rest of my thirties. Dear God in heaven above. It's finally official, and it's almost here.

November 11, 2011.


I've actually got tears in my eyes. I'm so fucking happy right now. Can't wait to see Bethesda's new game engine at work. The land of Skyrim WILL create a feast for the eyes. NORDS FTW, Viking-style! Plus, there will dragons. And Max von-Fucking-Sydow.


The snow-theme is awesome. Remember Bloodmoon? That island was awesome. And the icing on it all?

It will only be 11 months between announcement and release.

Less than one year is what we have to wait.

Most games spend half that time simply to go from announcement to reveal, and another year to go from reveal to release. This is the kind of development I've been looking for.

Memo to all gaming companies: Don't tell me about your long-term plans; I don't care. Tell me about what I can expect in a year or less.

Now I can maintain maximum hype, instead of allowing my hype to die out and becoming turned off with how long I have to wait.

With Elder Scrolls V, Dragon Age II, Two Worlds 2, the first StarCraft 2 expansion, and Mass Effect 3, this will be the best year for RPGs ever, and just maybe the best year for gaming overall. Thanksgiving 2011 is going to be epic..


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#2 of 341 Bryan^H

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Posted December 12 2010 - 07:38 AM

Right there with ya brother.  I'm 37, and if all goes well I will I should conquer the main quest by the time I'm 40.  I'm a sucker for sidequests.


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#3 of 341 Russell G

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Posted December 15 2010 - 09:26 AM

Originally Posted by Bryan^H 

Right there with ya brother.  I'm 37, and if all goes well I will I should conquer the main quest by the time I'm 40.  I'm a sucker for sidequests.


Agreed!  I'm nowhere near completing "Oblivion", it's been a while since I sat down with it, but I still spin it every so often.  I thought my big game for next year would be "LA Noir", but this has me dead excited!  I've followed the game since the arena days.  :)



#4 of 341 joshEH

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Posted June 07 2011 - 12:28 PM

The G4 Skyrim special at E3, with Todd Howard.


GOTY already; there's no point in anyone else even trying this year.


Goddamn -- that epic Jeremy Soule music. Those animations when the dragon appeared, and when it crashed down and totally changed the landscape around it...goddamn.


Listening to that male Redguard having a conversation in that cave easily made me squee like a little bitch, and made me realize that a brand-spanking-new Elder Scrolls game *IS* indeed finally almost here. Come to think, having to shout the dragon-spells through Kinect would be pretty badass, if not also completely and utterly humiliating.


I want to hunt Mammoths while riding a Dragon. Or hunt Dragons while riding a Mammoth.


At the very least, I want the ability to fluff dead Minotaurs.


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#5 of 341 Sam Posten

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Posted June 08 2011 - 01:08 AM

300 hours?  NO THANKS!  =p


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#6 of 341 Radioman970

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Posted June 08 2011 - 05:11 AM

nice!  Very exciting to see it in gameplay action finally.  I rarely buy something right away but this will probably be different unless some reviews I trust come out and say it's broken or something.  haha!  Can happen!

I really like that you can cook food and stuff.  Arc Fatalis really had fun with that idea.

Hopefully those dungeons will look real different...moreso than Oblivion. ..erm, spoke too soon.  "150 hand crafted dungeons".  Hell, day one purchase!  I'm hoping it reminds me more of Morrowind than Oblivion.

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#7 of 341 Russell G

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Posted June 08 2011 - 05:27 AM

Another Elder Scrolls for me to spend hours on and never finish ha ha! This one sounds amazing, but I'm a little worried that it might get a bit Grand Theft Auto IV. Don;t get me wrong, GTAIV was a great game, but there was so much to do that it felt like you were always on the verge of not being able to keep up. I got so busy maintaining the friendships that I never did finish the main missions. Cooking food is neat, but hopefully it's not completely essential ha ha.


Still a pre-order game for me though! I'll take my chances!



#8 of 341 Josh Dial

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Posted June 08 2011 - 06:18 AM

Oblivion had the absolute worst levelling system ever, in any RPG, on any platform.  Seriously, the designers who were responsible should be fired.  If Skyrim has anything remotely similar, no amount of eye candy will bring to play it.


Edit: judging from that preview, they are doing the same, utterly stupid thing as Oblivion.  Sorry, no thanks.



#9 of 341 joshEH

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Posted June 08 2011 - 08:58 AM

Worry not -- Bethesda has confirmed that Skyrim will be using the Fallout 3 leveling-system, which is essentially the same one used in Morrowind.


I had a few issues with Oblivion's leveling-system, but I've never felt it to be nearly as game-breaking as some folks think it is, even when playing it on mod-less consoles. The Elder Scrolls IV had a pretty strict adherence to the idea that everything should be balanced, in every facet of game play.


Scaled leveling would work if it were given smart limitations. If enemies scaled down to your current level, you'd have the freedom to go anywhere, and still receive a modest challenge. You'd never be restricted from an area simply because the enemies are too strong.


Bethesda developed a scaling system such that, at Level 1, you would never find powerful loot, no matter what enemies you defeated in the game world or regions you explored, and as you advanced in level, the loot tables would provide you with level-appropriate loot from the dynamically-generated contents of treasure chests and the corpses of enemies.

The problem is when they scale upward. It eliminates the sense of reward when bandits are just as hard to kill after 100 hours of investment and advancement. It also hurts the immersion when they're demanding a handful of pocket-money while sporting enchanted Daedric armor and an Ebony pWnmaul.


But it was still an incredible game, and a strong contender for "Best Game of the 2000s." And this time, they're returning to what's worked extremely well in the past, instead of reinventing the wheel like they did in the last Elder Scrolls game.



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#10 of 341 Josh Dial

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Posted June 08 2011 - 10:42 AM



Originally Posted by joshEH 

Worry not -- Bethesda has confirmed that Skyrim will be using the Fallout 3 leveling-system, which is essentially the same one used in Morrowind.





The guy in that clip said that you would gain advancement by using a skill, but that you wouldn't be limited to a set of skills for a given "class," and instead have access to them all.  Advancing in enough skills gives you levels.  That's *exactly* the system used in Oblivion.  Further, they've seemed to have attached skill trees (that constellation system), so that you *must* advance a certain skill (and thus bring  you closer to a levelup) to branch into the tree (for example, using a shield to unlock bash-type moves).


Don't even get me started on the scaling "feature."  Best game of the 2000s?  Please.  Borderlands was a better RPG, and it wasn't even a true RPG!


If Skyrim truly uses the Fallout/Morrowind system where you kill stuff and complete quests to gain levels, upon which you choose a perk (the constellation system is fine here), then we're in business.  That clip doesn't seem to show that, though.  I saw a lot of skills with bars "filled" to varying degrees--that smacks of Oblivion.



#11 of 341 joshEH

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Posted June 09 2011 - 02:39 AM

Re-reading your first post, I just realized I misunderstood what you were saying, up there (was typing while at work, and doing three things at once) -- the enemy-scaling system uses the Morrowind/Fallout 3 mechanism, but the player-leveling system is the same one used in all but the very first Elder Scrolls game, correct (i.e., advancing through skill-use). Apologies about that.


But yeah, the skill-leveling system is exactly the same as it's always been, except this time, all pre-made character classes (Spellsword, Assassin, Battlemage, etc.) and stats (STR, DEX, INT, WIS, etc.) are gone, and have been largely replaced by Fallout's perk-system. Each time you gain a level through skill-use (as seen briefly in the video), you'll allocate skill-points to either Health, Magicka, or Stamina (where the old stats have been re-aligned), and choose a number of perks to custom-build your character class with (warrior, bard, sorcerer, agent, stealth-user, alchemist, enchanter, dual-wielder, summoner, assassin-type, etc.).


Regarding the enemy-leveling system, the number-one most important thing is that, this time, creatures DO scale-up in terms of abilities to match your own level. Meaning, each Mountain Giant you encounter in Skyrim will have different attributes, depending upon your own attributes when you encounter them.

In Fallout 3, each territory in the game was assigned an encounter level that determined the level and equipment of the creatures when you discover that specific area. This basically means that, when you're at Level 1 and wander into a Level 5 encounter-territory, you're in for a fight. Loot is, in general, also scaled to the territory's encounter-level, but some items are also hand-placed, like in Morrowind.

The territories' levels don't remain static as you level up yourself, however -- as soon as you enter an area or territory, its level will be locked, and will NOT scale up in difficulty as you do.


As previously mentioned, undiscovered areas and territories will level up in difficulty, but it won't be to specifically match YOUR level. So, say, when you begin the game, an area that is designated a Level 5 encounter-level will become, say, a Level 8 encounter-level when you're at Level 15 yourself.

Something a lot of people have said they want to see is the possibility to enter an area that is absolutely WAY too difficult for you to handle, then return at a later level with better equipment and stats and just cleaning house -- this scaling system allows that 100%, as when you entered that dungeon with those difficult enemies, it will be "locked" to those, and will not change as you level up.


(In other words, those Dread Zombies you saw in there earlier in the game will remain when you return in 10 levels, and they won't have gone up in stats.)


Originally Posted by Josh Dial 

Don't even get me started on the scaling "feature."  Best game of the 2000s?  Please.  Borderlands was a better RPG, and it wasn't even a true RPG!


We'll simply just have to agree to disagree on that one, I guess -- the hundreds of hours I logged in it certainly makes it a strong "Best Game of the Last Decade" contender for me, at least (not to mention all of the GOTY awards it swept from the critics the following year).


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#12 of 341 Josh Dial

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Posted June 09 2011 - 04:51 AM

Nothing is quite as fun as being forced to jump 1000 times or swim 20 miles for no reason just so I can choose a particular perk tied to that skill.  It's seriously moronic.


Why can't they just copy over the Fallout 3 system?  Especially since, as the other Josh points out, a number of video game fans hate the Oblivion levelling system as I do.  Kill things and get experience.  Complete quests and get experience.  Level up and choose a perk.



#13 of 341 Sam Posten

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Posted June 09 2011 - 06:15 AM

Wired has an in depth walktrhough...


http://www.wired.com...im-e3-hands-on/


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#14 of 341 Russell G

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Posted June 09 2011 - 06:57 AM



Originally Posted by Sam Posten 

Wired has an in depth walktrhough...


http://www.wired.com...im-e3-hands-on/




These walkthroughs' always make the game sound impossibly complex, more so then the games actually are to play. I'm trying not to scare myself off it! :P



#15 of 341 joshEH

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Posted June 09 2011 - 08:18 AM

     Quote:

Originally Posted by Josh Dial 

Nothing is quite as fun as being forced to jump 1000 times or swim 20 miles for no reason just so I can choose a particular perk tied to that skill.  It's seriously moronic.


Why can't they just copy over the Fallout 3 system?  Especially since, as the other Josh points out, a number of video game fans hate the Oblivion levelling system as I do.  Kill things and get experience.  Complete quests and get experience.  Level up and choose a perk.


Coincidentally, both the Athletics and Acrobatics skills have been removed (realigned into other skills), so that won't be an issue this time around for those particular traits. I've never had any problems with the Elder Scrolls skills-system as it's existed in past games (only Arena used an XP system), and, just as in real life, it makes a certain kind of sense -- the more you use a skill, the better you get at it.


I've always felt that advancing specific skills and abilities based on experience points and arbitrary levels of said experience was an inelegant way of setting up character-advancement, regardless. This new system allows for the sense of development that makes RPGs more than just pure exploration and action. You develop a character over time, rather than observing the story as a static piece of the landscape.


I don't think the specific numerical system is, or has ever been, an important part of that process. I recognize that many people do feel this way, but I don't quite understand why, beyond nostalgia. I'm into things like D&D for the communal storytelling, and the, well, "dungeons and dragons." The romp through a fantasy world. I don't want it to be all action, no. But my character advancing strictly by the numbers isn't all that much better.


A use-based skill system makes a lot more sense to me, and seems a far more elegant way to add flavor to a character in a very personal way.



     Quote:

Originally Posted by Russell G 

These walkthroughs' always make the game sound impossibly complex, more so then the games actually are to play. I'm trying not to scare myself off it! :P


Yup. In fact, whenever I purchase a new Elder Scrolls game (or just about any Bethesda RPG in general), there's always a period of time where they each sat there, unwrapped on the shelf for about 10 or 15 minutes each, as I sit there, gulping, too intimidated to even work up the nerve to create a character.


I expect nothing less than the exact same, pure, pants-shitting terror this time around, too.




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#16 of 341 Josh Dial

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Posted June 09 2011 - 03:25 PM



Originally Posted by joshEH 

A use-based skill system makes a lot more sense to me, and seems a far more elegant way to add flavor to a character in a very personal way.





I understand the draw, just as you appear to understand why many dislike it--one of the rare agree to disagree moments on the internet!


I guess my big problem I had with the system, and indeed the one that made me stop playing Oblivion many times, is that I would constantly reach a point where I was about to gain a level, but my attributes that would benefit weren't the ones I wanted.  I would be forced to start using spells I wouldn't normally use, or swing a weapon I didn't like, just to ensure a bonus I wanted.  Make no mistake, I wasn't in any way attempting to powergame or make a godly character, but I shouldn't have to sketch out my levels beforehand ("okay this level I'll use fireball and acrobatics and heavy armour, next level I'll use heal and mace and swimming...").


It would be different if the organic, use-based system actually resulted in a character I liked, but it didn't.  Many times I completely avoided any attempt at planning my character, and instead relied on "the system" to sculpt one for me, simply based on the ad hoc way I approached the game.  The result was a boring, jack-of-all-trades that wasn't just a master of none, but subpar at everything.


I don't want to be "that guy" who comes into threads and crap all over everyone's fun, so I'll stop running down the levelling system.


Clearly the game looks gorgeous, and many of the other mechanics sound really cool.  I may eventually break down and pick up the inevitable game-of-the-year edition for 20 bucks or whatever, but sadly this is another Elder Scrolls game that I'll have to pass on at launch.



#17 of 341 joshEH

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Posted June 10 2011 - 08:34 AM

True story -- just yesterday afternoon, I got into a E3-related conversation with a guy at work, and the discussion soon shifted to Skyrim, where he basically laid out the exact same leveling-rant you did, Josh, practically word-for-word. Seriously, it was pretty much identical, and when I read your latest post, I couldn't help but chuckle a little. Posted Image


But yeah, as much as I love TES, the skill/stat system really brings out the obsessive inside of me. Like you, I always end up having to control myself, constantly planning what attacks/skills to use per level, just to get the best possible stat-spread.


From what many industry folks who saw the game demoed are now saying, with the removal of the base-stats, it should, for the most part, eliminate the kind of non-intuitive leveling process of some of the previous Elder Scrolls games, which might make it a bit easier for some folks to get immersed in the game world.


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#18 of 341 Radioman970

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Posted June 11 2011 - 08:14 AM

I was going to fire up Fallout 3 "for 15 or 20 minutes" last night because of the discussion in the thread.

2 hours later...  had to get a crowbar to pry myself away.  Damn.

I was noticing how great my character was.  I'm very guilty of not advancing through the quests quickly enough.  I end up with a super character that breezes through the quests when I finally get around to doing them.  Same thing happened in Gothic 1 and Oblivion.  I got bored with a character in Oblivion because he was too good as sneaking around and could clear out dark dungeons with ease and then spend days and days hauling stuff out of there.  They need a U-Haul rental place in Chorral!

Anyway, I like challenge above all.  I'm moving to do more quests in FO3 to make it more difficult.

well...carry on...  :D


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#19 of 341 Ken Chan

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Posted June 16 2011 - 09:45 PM


Originally Posted by Josh Dial 

I don't want to be "that guy" who comes into threads and crap all over everyone's fun, so I'll stop running down the levelling system.


That's OK, I'll do it Posted Image


The problem with leveling in Oblivion has two parts: (1) how your character rises; and (2) that everyone rises with you. #2 is magnified by #1 when you don't "optimally" level or near to it. And the problem with #1 is that if you "do what comes naturally", you end with a slightly below average leveling, which compounds itself over time. So you do silly stuff like mentioned above, hopping all over the place, never sleeping, etc.


I've tried to come back to the game a few times, reading various blog masterpieces detailing how to workaround that disaster, but I can't just bring myself to do it. Instead, I started and finished Dragon Age: Origins -- several times in fact -- and enjoyed myself immensely. Best Game Ever. (Not too hard, I don't play that many.) With #1, the system is old school XP where you pick what you want to level up. It's not "natural", but at least it's not frustrating and counter-intuitive. For #2, they have scaled leveling with caps, and use gating encounters to (try to) scare you off if a place should be too tough for you.


When Skyrim comes out, the question will be answered definitively, and I will choose accordingly. Definitely won't buy it on release day, though.



#20 of 341 Radioman970

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Posted June 17 2011 - 04:41 AM

I bought and started Dragon Age... seems excellent.  Glad I picked it up when it was on sale.  I'm trying to put a dent in NWN2 but it's just doesn't seem as good and doesn't have the big hooks as DA.

Reading my post above...hell, all I've been playing is Fallout 3 now.  I bought New Vegas during the sale...but I can't stop playing the first one.. even though my roof leaked on my keyboard and center speaker.  grrr... still... the thing works and I can't stop playing it.

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