Skyrim EP24: Hover Horse

 By Shamus Apr 13, 2014 65 comments


Link (YouTube)

I was pretty mad at Josh for everything he did this week and every way he failed to progress in the game. But then he found the glitch with the horse so I figure we’re even.

I had a lot to say about this stuff, but I might as well save it for the next time I’m on the show. It’s going to be a long season and I don’t want to run out of things to complain about analyze.


202020565 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.


  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “I was pretty mad at Josh for everything he did this week and every way he failed to progress in the game. But then he found the glitch with the horse so I figure we’re even.”

    Thats basically my(and probably everyone elses)experience with skyrim.You are pretty mad at what it does with story and stuff,but then you stumble upon this awesome glitch that amuses you for hours.Hence,game of the year.

  2. czhah says:

    Killing isn’t the only means of interaction avaivable to the player, but sadly you can’t inventory manage them to death, either.

    • Merzendi says:

      Well, you say that… If you enchant armour with so much fortify health that it goes over the HP cap, and then reverse pickpocket it onto them, you can pickpocket it off of them and that kills them.

  3. Quent says:

    I recently found a keynote speech by Todd Howard (project leader and designer for Morrowind to Skyrim) about how Bethesda approaches game development.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7awkYKbKHik

    In one part he talks about how they try to get to the point that they can play the game sooner so that they can polish sooner.

    I don’t want to talk about the talk to much because it could be a good topic when there is little progress being made on the show.

    On the bland dialogue: It’s like they’re giving premises of an argument with each sentence.

    Premise 1. You asked me for my opinion on this subject.
    2. I think imperials are economicaly lucrative
    2.1 They give us money and resources
    2.2 In return we give soldiers

    (I cannot be bothered to structure this argument properly. It would be a waste of my life.). Considering the talk above the Bethesda writers can talk like real people. It is a mystery.

    i think the problem is mostly (well.. more than half) the story telling and not the story its self. Like the main questline is pretty interesting from a lore angle. If the dialogue was more economical it would remove a lot of boredom.

    Oh, and a small request to Rutskarn. could you talk about some of the things you liked about Skyrim. Because you keep saying that you have mixed feelings but we only see one side of it. And I want the same amount of detail you give to things you criticize.

    Actually that is one thing this show could improve on, constructive praise. You’ve all ready got the criticism part down pat. It’s probably got allot to do with the game as the Human revolution season got it right but I don’t think that most games will have as many parts which will get you talking about the good pieces within them. Then again Humans find bad things terrible, neutral things bad, and good things normal. But some effort to try to counteract this would be appreciated. Personalty, I think it would make the discussion more 3 dimensional. The Human Revolution season is what I think Spoiler Warning should aim for, but alas not every game is like that.

    EDIT: I don’t think that Skyrim would be anywhere near as funny if it didn’t take it’s self so siriusly. It has a element of Saints Row 2 in it… except it’s unintentional.

    • MichaelGC says:

      Thanks for the link! (That guy at normal speed sounds just like the sped-up Extra Credits guy.) The game vs. polish point is interesting, as many of the SW criticisms could be boiled down to wanting more game but less polish. (Although ‘boiling down’ is necessarily distortative, of course!)

      e.g.

      -Shamus wants 100-room dungeons stuffed full of draugr.
      -Chris would like more things to do besides fightin’ dudes.
      -Rutskarn bemoans the lack of quest/dungeon variety.
      -For Mumbles there should be an expanded crafting system which includes the ability to forge Lydia into jewellery.
      -Joshbert’s predilection for glitches and game-breaking stat combinations make him the very enemy of polish.

      And I’d certainly like it if there were more options for NPC interaction, even if that meant some weren’t fully voiced. That said, it’s a tricky dilemma, and I don’t want to sound too negative: they have to set the game vs. polish slider somewhere or it’d never be released!

      • MichaelGC says:

        Oh, and Jarenth just got here so I couldn’t think how to shoehorn him in above… He no doubt has trenchant & amusing criticisms which would be expressed with great linguistic facility!

    • krellen says:

      I respectfully disagree with your request for more positive statements on the show. Positive statements are boring, especially forced positive statements. The show is fine the way it is.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Positive statements are not boring(the forced ones are,with that I agree).They did say a lot of positive things about even fallout 3,and that was not boring.

        The thing is,however,that positive statements usually end up being short,because the cast simply says “Oooh,this is a cool thing,I like this”,and thats about it.But when they stumble upon something bad,they often go on to discuss how this couldve been done better,or how it was done better in other games.This is why it seems the negatives outweigh the positives,when that is not the case.Its simply that they talk more about the negatives because they have more to say than just “this was bad”.

        And really,what more could you say about the good things?You dont need to point out how to fix them,how to improve them more,or how other games botched it(though sometimes they do this).

        • Raygereio says:

          And really,what more could you say about the good things?
          You can talk about what makes those good things work and be good.

          • And if nothing else, it provides contrast. Nothing makes a rotten cherry tomato stand out all the more than being surrounded by otherwise delicious salad.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            But they do that,and thats short.You get a sentence or two why it works,and thats it.Meanwhile,you get an essay on how to fix something that is broken.Sure,you could do the same essay on how to break something that works,but why would you do that?

        • Quent says:

          That give context to the criticism. It’s the difference between saying this game sucks for these reasons and this game could have been wonderful but it caught a disease on the way over and we are trying to find out how it caught it and what exactly it is.

          I just want to find out what Rutskan likes about the game and why he likes it so that the mixed feelings come across in the show, not just the negatives. As they talk about the negatives so much it becomes interesting to wonder why they have put so many h in to it yet not like it. So far they have said that it does a lot wrong and how theses things have gone wrong (and sometimes why). They have mentioned how it does some things right but haven’t elaborated on how and why it manages to counterbalance the bad and tern it into a love-hate relationship.

          In love-hate relationships you need to analyse both parts, not just the bits you hate.

          • Quent says:

            I’m trying to edit but I can only delete letters not add them. I’m doing this on an iPad if that helps in anyway.

            The first sentence should read: It gives context to the criticism. And in the second sentence it should have some quotation marks in it for the different statements, and there is more in the second paragraph which starts with one subject and then shifts to a slightly different one and ok il stop now.

          • Wide And Nerdy says:

            I think positive criticism is harder to give off the cuff. There’s a saying regarding editing that I think applies here. If you’re doing your job right, nobody notices.

            Game design is similar. If its working, the pieces are harder to notice. It just flows. It takes more thought and focus to stop and try to figure out why it was good. This is something you’re more likely to see in their scripted reviews.

            I think Rutskarn is perhaps more focused on telling jokes when he’s on. And that humor rounds out the content. You have jokes, goofy play, critique and thoughtful analysis. They don’t all have to come from the same guy.

  4. imtoolazy says:

    @9:20

    Rutskarn, you shoulda said ‘Hashtag foodsrohdah’!

    (Edit)
    Wait, did Chris go ten minutes without talking??

    That’s less Campster Insight(tm) than we want! Nay, that we deserve by right!

    (The discussion/commentary about Skyrim being weirdly ‘asexual’ brought up interesting stuff.)

    • C0Mmander says:

      This isn’t a criticism of what Chris said but I find it weird that in this environment where people complain about most games being too sexualized we could consider an other to be too asexual.

  5. MichaelGC says:

    Josh: “I’m not trespassing! I’m loitering with intent!”

    PS The wiki says there are fourteen farms in the game.

  6. Hold on!

    Hadvar was just talking about how killing people was giving him nightmares about all the people he killed.
    Then, right after taking over the caravan, we goes “I can’t wait to kill another one of Ulfric’s boys.”

    What the flying fuck?

    I double checked, the subtitles said Hadvar was saying both lines.

    • Asimech says:

      I guess he likes having nightmares.

    • Sougo says:

      You talked as if you expect any form of consistency in Skyrim out of all things :p. My guess is that they just toss Hadvar a bunch of generic Imperial combat taunts without any thought about his character. No scratch that, it’s exactly what they did.

    • Ciennas says:

      Or he originally had a character arc, going from ‘gung-ho warrior recruit’ to ‘slowly shell shocked veteran’ but that angle got scrapped, or his combat dialogue table was supposed to do that, but it glitched and pulled the other, or the guy’s in the midst of a breakdown because he can’t stomach killing, but he’s still a soldier for the long haul and sees no escape.

      It’s an oversight on Bethesda’s part, but it does make him a more interesting character with it.

    • Artur CalDazar says:

      The generic Imperial soldier dialogue is about how much they love killing stormcloaks. Hadvar is an imperial and thus gets given their lines.

      Ralof has the exact same progression as Hadvar but the stormcloaks don’t have any dialogue that is as bloodthirsty as the Imperials so he escapes this inconsistency. Oddly this means we have two characters that are designed to be identical, but one still ends up being better than the other. Something about that makes me smile.

  7. sofawall says:

    I’ll be honest, until halfway into the episode I thought Chris had disappeared for this one with everyone else.

  8. Hal says:

    This seems like a good opportunity for a weird AI story.

    I chose Hjerim, the Windhelm house, as my base of operations. I’ve loaded up the weapon racks in there with all of my rare gear, such as the daedric artifacts. The Ebony Blade, however, doesn’t interact properly with these and won’t go on a weapon rack. That’s okay; I can just manually drop one into a display case and close the lid.

    When I do so, something bizarre happens. My housecarl cries out, “Hey, that’s MY weapon!” To which my wife replies, “No, it’s mine! You can take it over my dead body!” The Housecarl responds, “That can be arranged.”

    So both of them come running up the stairs, weapon drawn, and they gather around the weapon case, just staring at each other. After about 20 seconds of this, they finally break out into combat. And oddly enough, the Housecarl has grabbed the staff of Vaermina (The Skull of Corruption) off of the weapon rack for this battle. Why? No idea. So bizarre.

    • Irregular says:

      Well, the Ebony Blade is powered by betrayal. If it makes people sucuumb to a Sierra Madre-like greed, then it can better serve its function.

      • Kavonde says:

        That’s supposing Bethesda actually gave it some thought.

        The more likely explanation is that the game failed to differentiate between “dropped in a display case” and “dropped on the ground.” If you drop a valuable item in a crowded area, there’s a chance that some of the NPCs around you will decide that A) you don’t want it anymore, and B) they do. Hence, sudden deathmatch brawls.

    • Aerik says:

      lol, I read this as “a Weird Al story”, and I thought “Weird Al”? Why is this a good time for a Weird Al Yankovic story?

  9. silver Harloe says:

    Says Chris, “I’m surprised there aren’t more settled rural/farm settlements. For a place this big.” (paraphrased)

    How much farmland do you think it takes to service a population of 2000?

    • A. Hieronymus Bosch says:

      Well, if we remove the number of NPCs that are unkillable from the equation…. That leaves about twenty people in the game that need to eat.

      Using Bethesda logic, a cow and two small turnip gardens (say thirty square feet worth) should be plenty.

      • Trix2000 says:

        You’re forgetting the amount needed to feed the growing adventurer. It takes time to grow the dozens of potatoes they can down in seconds.

        And don’t forget the barrels! Where would we be without enough farmland to fill each and every barrel with three tomatoes or four cabbages?

    • Humanoid says:

      If they needed more food, they could just raid the plentiful fresh food supplies from thousands-of-years-old undisturbed dungeons, for which there are several in the vicinity of any given settlement.

      • Abnaxis says:

        Dungeons which, incidentally replenish in 10 days if you do not over-harvest them, 30 days if you get greedy.

        I find it funny to think of dungeons as agricultural resources that need managed. It tickles me to think there’s a Jarl in Skyrim subsidizing adventurers to make sure they leave a few mooks in there so the dungeons can be harvested more often.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          That needs to become a staple of a strategy game.You get your city,then you mine the dungeons for food and pick flowers in the countryside in order to make potions that you can sell for gold.

  10. Ofermod says:

    I’m always amused when writers have characters say “Fire!” in reference to shooting arrows. You’re not setting fire to gunpowder, which is why the word works in terms of guns, aka firearms. The command with bow is “Loose”, as in “loose arrows”.

    And by “amused”, I of course mean “annoyed”.

    Especially when it’s used in a pre-gunpowder setting, rather than in a setting where the character could conceivably just have the same misconceptions as the writer.

    • Flavius says:

      There is another example of this at the very beginning of the game:

      Horse Thief: Why are we stopping?
      Ralof: Why do you think? End of the line.

      While I am cannot confirm this, I am fairly certain that the expression “End of the Line” only came to be after the development of the railroad. Now, I am not going to be too picky; I am sure there are bound to be plenty of philological anachronisms whenever writing dialogue for a modern game taking place in a pseudo-medieval setting. But that was far from my only quibble about Skyrim’s writing, and since they could have just as easily said, “End of the road,” I am slightly petty about this.

    • TMTVL says:

      Commander: “Archers, fire!”
      Archers, confused: “What, fire? Where?”

    • Humanoid says:

      Actually it makes me curious. I don’t think there are any cats in this world, besides the Khajiit. “You’ll make a fine rug, cat!” would be a meaningless insult in this context.

      • Viktor says:

        There are Sabrecats, which could conceivably be made into rugs, so I’d be fine with that. And while I don’t think cats exist in the games, Mixed Unit Tactics mentions them, IIRC.

        • Nidokoenig says:

          I have this vague recollection of reading a book in Morrowind that described different kinds of Khajiit and one was described as being almost exactly like a a housecat, except they were powerful magic users or some shit like that. So housecat is a concept they apparently have, or I have a decidedly dodgy brain.

          • Kavonde says:

            No, you’re remembering it correctly (mostly). Depending on what time of year a khajit is born, they come in a wide variety of forms from cat-men to giant tigers to, yeah, housecats. The housecat khajit aren’t especially powerful in magic, but they’re amazing spies… which would only be possible if housecats exist normally in Tamriel.

            Here, have a really cool lore video on the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MteinMPdHP8

            Personally, I think whoever it is at Bethesda who loathes dogs hates cats even more, to the point of not including them at all.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well,technically its a fantasy setting,so you still have mages in your armies,and they do rain fire down on your enemies,so maybe it seeped in from there.

    • Aerik says:

      Slash agree!

      This is actually a pet peeve of mine.

      In The Hunger Games (the book), there’s a point where Katniss sets down “a loaded bow” next to her. A loaded bow? How does that work? Is it a crossbow now?

      Also, I had a GM once who would indicate a missed arrow by making a “twaannnggggg” sound, and I always pointed out that the bowstring made that sound whether the arrow hit its intended target or not.

      :) :)

  11. hborrgg says:

    Hey Josh, you should remember to actually craft that gold into jewelry before you sell it.

  12. I immediately thought “‘Hover Horse’, to the tune of ‘Hungry Heart’.”

    Josh went out for a ride and he never went back.

    • evileeyore says:

      Hey, hovering Friesian
      Gently waving in the air above the mountain
      With an idiot who wants to get his mount on
      Hovering Friesian, don’t be shy
      Don’t
      Don’t be shy
      Don’t be terrified (don’t)
      When Catbert takes you for granted (don’t)
      Feel rejected and unwanted, know
      You’re never just a horse (no)
      You’re never only just a horse, you know (no)
      Hovering Friesian
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      A Friesian is a breed of black horses made famous by the movie Ladyhawke (the massive black warhorse Etienne of Navarre (Rutger Hauer) rides is a Friesian).

  13. Lachlan the Mad says:

    Two questions about the scene where Catbert stole the throne of Riften:

    1. Did Catbert slump into the Jarls’ ridiculous lounging pose?

    2. Is Catbert wearing a deerstalker?

    Also, the hover-horse should go into the credits please.

  14. Shamus, you’re the focuser. I’m so sorry. I’m the focuser for my Pathfinder group and I know what a pain in the arse it is vaguely attempting to keep things moving forward (or at least sideways in an amusing fashion). May I suggest getting a Josh plushy large enough to hit? (At least you’re not in person with the group, I can only knit and imagine hitting anyone who wanders off track (and takes the DM with them) for the 4th time in an hour when we need to end at a reasonable time because one member has to get up at 5 am the next day with a clue by four ((c)Nodwick by Aaron Williams aka PS238Principal here). Also, apologies, that sentence wandered away from me.

  15. Ravens Cry says:

    I wonder if that horse tastes like raisins, because that horse is amazing. Josh must have stroked its mane.

    • Corpital says:

      Yes, a stroke is probably the reason this horse is completely indifferent to anything happening around it. Blaming Josh for the stroke is a tad unfair, though.

  16. Naota says:

    I’m not sure I agree with Chris that Skyrim is particularly sexually ambivalent. Oh, it most certainly is, but more than that I find that its whole world, from the most epic quests to the daily lives of its farmers is emotionally barren. Nobody seems to care about anything. While emotions are frequently referenced by name, they almost never carry through in a believable manner.

    Did those two suitors trying to win a maiden’s hand really come off as lovestruck for the subject of their mutual affections? Did she seem particularly concerned which of them won, or even interested in them to begin with? Did Jarl Balgruf sell his anger, apprehension, resignation, pity, or any other human emotion towards the Stormcloaks when they attacked his town? Can you remember any NPC’s who legitimately felt angry, sad, happy, etc, in their interactions rather than just told you (unconvincingly) that they were?

    It’s not just sex that seems a foreign concept to Skyrim – it’s humanity. It’s emotion, needs, wants, and the other factors that motivate people to be people. It’s a game that understands that a man would avenge his family if they were killed, or that a pair of parted lovers would want to be reunited, but not why.

    • MichaelGC says:

      I’ve been trying to think of counterexamples, and other than an edge case or two (where I think it’s actually me doing the emotional work, as it were, rather than the NPC/writers themselves), haven’t been able to. (To put that another way: very good points; well made!)

      • Naota says:

        Thanks! Watching this season let me ruminate on some of the things I always felt were “off” with Skyrim’s world that I never got a chance to put into words while playing the game myself.

        The interesting thing is that there’s no one source of this emotional hole in the game’s core that bothers me so – it’s not solely the fault of the writing, the voice acting, the character models, the quest structure, or the game’s design. It feels like it’s the (unintended?) result of some very high-level decision or quirk of personality which coloured the rest of the game from its very inception.

    • Naota says:

      Come to think of it, the marriage system in Skyrim is very telling of this total lack of emotion. To Skyrim, marriage is a ring, a house, and children. That’s where it starts and where it ends, and what it means to either party outside of those parameters is a complete nonfactor. For all intents and purposes your spouse is your roommate.

      In fact, most NPC’s in the game aren’t married, though given the setting’s cultural influences you would strongly expect them to be. Who are the Jarls shacking up with every night to carry on their lineage? Where did Balgruf’s detestable children come from? The Emperor is a name known across Skyrim (and all TES for that matter), but is there even an empress sitting at his side? What about Ulfric? Is there a madam Stormcloak to speak of, or any heirs to his future kingdom?

      It’s downright weird how little the concept of family plays into Skyrim’s plot and characters, especially when it has DLC specifically dedicated to giving the player one.

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