Skyrim EP40: Escape Goat Simulator

By Shamus
on Jun 4, 2014
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

I am thinking that we need to wrap this season up. We’re in the slow descent at the end where we’re starting to repeat our criticismsActually, just me. and complaintsMe again.. We’re also at the limits of what I can meaningfully recall. I mean, I’ve played my share of Skyrim…

skyrim_played.jpg

…but I’ve only done the main quest once, and that was something like two years ago. Later this week you’re going to see just how little I remember. The point being, my ability to offer commentary beyond “Hey, this is kind of silly, amirite?” is diminishing quickly.

Having said that: This is kind of silly.

Here is the Skyrim 2012 sketch Mumbles was talking about.

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Footnotes:

[1] Actually, just me.

[2] Me again.



A Hundred!A hundred comments! Everybody wins!

From the Archives:

  1. Mersadeon says:

    I am sad that this season will end soon, I feel it has great comedic (if not analytical) potential.

    On a side note: Shamus, your annotation are weird. On some articles, I have to click them. On some others, I have to hover over them. How is that? Oo

    EDIT: Oh and also that damn wall of history or whatever it’s called. They really hyped it up, an in game book about it, people talking about it… I expected this huge mural wall with impressive carvings showing how to defeat the dragons and what do I get? A wall smaller than the one in my living room. GREAT.

    • Shamus says:

      The annotations work when viewing an individual post, but not on the front page. I did this on purpose because if I make it so that you click them on the front page, then for some baffling reason they begin open (as if already clicked) when viewing the front page. It’s on my lingering list of mysterious javascript problems to sort out.

      • SyrusRayne says:

        “javascript”

        There’s your problem.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          Um. This isn’t the early 00s or the late 90s. JQuery, Knockout, Node, Batman, Angular, Backbone and the coming update to ECMAScript. Javascript is the backbone of app development. Its front and center these days. (Oops, forgot Coffeescript, the list grows ever)

          • Neko says:

            Those sound like pretty cool libraries. How do I import them into my source file?

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              You just reference them before your script on the web pages you use it on. Each one has particulars.

              Well, except for Node which as I understand is actually an event driven Javascript based web server (Never tried to use it but its got a reputation for excellent resource management on the server side because it uses an event loop instead of threads).

              And Coffeescript which is just a more intuitive shorthand language that you then “compile” into Javascript before running. Its great if you’re getting into more advanced Javascript and want to actually work with objects and such. Coffeescript is much more straighforward than Javascript for that and its written with fewer lines of code.

    • evileeyore says:

      “I am sad that this season will end soon…”

      I’m not. It’s felt like it’s gone 19 episodes too long already. They’ve been repeating stuff for about that long.

      • James says:

        i feel the issue is

        It doesn’t have the nonsense of josh breaking it that Fallout 3 can do, Skyrim be comparison is fairly “stable” and grounded

        It doesn’t have the clever(er) writing of New Vegas.

        Like the rest of the Elder Scrolls series, its kinda bland basic and dull. whereas other fantasy games have gone on to do interesting things Elder Scrolls just doesn’t. “Its a vast ocean with the depth of a tea spoon” as TB once said, Huge sure, but shallow and bland.

        • Tizzy says:

          In general, I don’t feel like it’s necessary to have played the games to enjoy SW, but I’ll make an exception for this season. I really don’t mind this season at all since I have played a *ton* of Skyrim (though I need to check, I think Shamus has me beat). Thus, I can recognize the bugs, appreciate the kind of crazy shennanigans that Josh gets up to, and I am keenly aware that there isn’t anything deeper to be mined from the game anyway… I really doubt I would be quite as patient with the season otherwise…

        • Ithilanor says:

          I’d agree with this. Even the New Vegas season went on a bit too long for my tastes; the game’s good writing didn’t make up for how long that season dragged on, in my eyes.

          • Zombie says:

            I feel that was mainly on the part of the DLCs. Wild Hearts was good, but the Casio one was just not the best one to show off. If they had done Old World Blues and Wild Hearts, I’m sure the season would have felt just the right length.

            • Humanoid says:

              Due to timing issues, that wasn’t really possible – at the time the episode was recorded, Dead Casio was the only real option. Honest Hurts was released the week they started recording the first DLC segment and therefore not ready to play as it’d be too spoilery for even Spoiler Warning, and the other two DLC did not yet exist.

              Sure, with the power of hindsight maybe they could have kept going with the core game for longer, do Honest Hurts a few weeks later, then wrap up after doing Old World Booze, which was released a couple weeks or so before the season ended.

              With even longer hindsight perhaps the best outcome would have been for New Vegas to be pushed back a season, with some other relatively short game (say 20 episodes worth) taking its place in season 5, which would have allowed the crew to choose from the full slate of DLC available.

        • Thomas says:

          I think one of the big things is that the world of Skyrim as experienced not through long chunks of text, is completely flat and characterless.

          In Fallout 3, killing Three Dog means something because Three Dog is a big obvious personality who came across just from watching the program. There are tons of other NPCs in Fallout 3 who are also meaningful to screw with. And when it makes mistakes those mistakes have character and personality. At least the kids in Little Lamplight were noticeable, even if it was because they’re so annoying.

          As a non-player, Skyrim completely lacks this quality. I can’t name a single NPC (apart from Jenna). There has been no-one worth killing and it wouldn’t let you kill them if you did. The problem isn’t the quests are hilariously poorly written and implemented, the problem is they’re all frigging _undistinguishable_ from one another.

          The bugs have been whats kept this season entertaining, along with the conscious attempt of the crew to find a way to kill time. Also Josh has 13000 gold, can he either spend that all on health potions, or stop picking up vender junk now? =D

    • Henson says:

      Oh, how cute. You think the season’s almost over.

      Blackreach, my friend. Blackreach.

  2. Lord Nyax says:

    Man you have a lot of Steam friends.

    ….or maybe I have far too few? Perspective is difficult.

    • SharpeRifle says:

      Hmmm he does indeed.

      He should learn to subsist solely off of his shattered hopes and dreams like the rest of us cool kids.

    • TMTVL says:

      Well, Shamus is (somewhat) famous, so high friend count might be skewed towards higher numbers if only because of the larger social circles.

      • Michael says:

        There’s still a hard cap, even though Steam has softened it a lot. Used to be you couldn’t have more than 250 friends under any circumstances, now as you level up, you get more friend slots.

        I think it’s more an issue that Skyrim is just absurdly popular. I’ve got 23 friends with it… not sure what my total friend count is, but I can’t imagine it’s much over 40.

    • Humanoid says:

      My Steam friends list consists of three immediate family members who are only on there because of a Monaco binge we had, and two people who I traded games with but have never played with (Steam automatically adds people you trade with to the friends list, which is a little silly to me).

    • McNutcase says:

      Eh, for comparison I’m an internet nobody and my Skyrim-playing friends count is 69. Skyrim is just that popular. For something a bit more niche, let’s try Torchlight 2; 56 friends of mine play that. Hmm. Or for less niche, Portal 2: 86.

      So a lot depends on what your friends are into. I’d expect a high rate of Skyrim-playing among twentysiders, who probably make up the lion’s share of Shamus’s friends list. For perspective, he has 95 people listed as friends. I have 128.

  3. Guys! I figured it out! Catbert’s spirit guide is the Inventory! Think about it, he spends lots of time with it, it inspires him to fill it, and how often is his motivation “stuffs”!

  4. Skyrim 2012 was pretty fun, there are four in total, Ep 1, Ep2, Ep 3 then there is Skyrim 2013 (which is Ep 4 I guess). really funny if you know your Skyrim. Even a instance of a NPC going “must have been the wind”.

  5. TMTVL says:

    So Shamus wants a little cabin with a lot of containers? Like a house made entirely of cupboards or something?

    I disagree with Skyrim being a simulation, if only because it really sucks as a simulation. As a generic fantasy adventure it is fun enough, though. I’ve played better, I’ve played worse.

    • Tizzy says:

      Skyrim sucks as a simulation, but it’s definitely the spirit.

      In a RPG, no-one minds if the stores are open 24 hours, and if most characters stand in place forever. It’s not realistic, but we’re willing to strain our suspension of disbelief a little for the added gameplay convenience.

      In Elder Scroll games, everyone needs to have a simulated routine, including eating, sleeping, and working. I’m surprised bathroom breaks weren’t included. And few people ever have anything worthwhile to say. Realistic, yes. Interesting? Hmmm…

      Anyway, implementing daily routines is a fair amount of work, complex enough that a bunch of those scripts are actually broken and don’t do what they’re supposed to. Oh, and animals hunt each other… To me, it really illustrates a certain simulationist bent in the way the devs conceived the game.

  6. Dragon Age (Origins) did let you be a ruler sort of.
    And I know there are a few other RPGs that let you upgrade a fortress or a city. (Assasins Creed did let you do that).
    Stuff like that is fun as a side mission/long term project in a open world game.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      Fable 3. In fact, you have to do some ruling to win the game, either choosing harsh policies that make your people hate you so you can win, or choosing kind policies that leave your kingdom undefended.

      Or understand that economics is not a zero sum game and raise money from your land holdings to win without being cruel. I love this about the game even if others think its broken.

    • Thomas says:

      I was thinking expanding the Assassins Creed 2 system would be the best way to do it, but tie city progression to the main quest lines too.

      That way you can sell the game as ‘epic quest’ and then when people play the epic quest it just so happens that they’re actually upgrading their town and enjoying that a lot more than the epic quest…

      It’s not like the quests in Skyrim involve massive unique set pieces. They have time to do it like this

  7. Phantos says:

    I sold dragon bones to that blacksmith all the time. Maybe you need a certain perk for that?

  8. Nano Proksee says:

    Yep, is getting kinda repetitive, but there may be some hidden gems somewhere, maybe asking the audience (us) if there’s some cool quest missing that we want to see and hear your commentary about? I say that, and then I realize I cannot come up with a single one… So yeah. I dunno.

    • Humanoid says:

      The only really repetitive thing for me is the title of this episode, since we’ve had Escape Guard prior. Indeed relative to the length of the season thus far there’s been surprisingly few dungeons traversed.

      But yeah, while I’m not shy in saying I’m happy for the season to go on a while yet, I appreciate those seeking more insightful commentary instead of slapstick may have shown symptoms of fatigue some time ago.

      • nerdpride says:

        But consider that we’ve put off insightful commentary for that very same slapstick humor or random junk like “oh look a wood elf in the water haha lol” since when Skyrim was fresh. It’s not like there’s a bucket that the cast reaches for when they run out of quality stuff. Nope, it all gets slopped together.

        I’m in favor of having them to do this until they know exactly how to fix Skyrim and make it awesome. So pull yourselves together, crew! Possibly add some new cast like George and hopefully some really smart chick with a great singing voice. And try to get Scott Manley too. Could you have some kind of Steve Irwin clone too? Adam and Jamie? Pawn Stars?

        Contrary to some above comments, I don’t think having not played Skyrim makes this at all boring. No, I am eager to find out why Josh is hoarding all these resources and money. Another piece of the puzzle has fallen with the cartful of soulgems he got today. There has got to be some kind of reason for spending almost a third of the season managing that inventory.

        • Ithilanor says:

          I’m pretty sure Josh is just hoarding things out of obsessive instinct; I know I get that way when I play sandbox games.

        • Alexander The 1st says:

          So for you, managing the inventory to a useful end-goal is like “Winter is coming” for Game of Thrones viewers?

          (That said, the whole thing with the soul gems does make me think he’ll be trying to enchant stuff later on – IIRC, that was the original intent behind the Fists of Steel perk being taken.)

  9. Hydralysk says:

    I feel that you could’ve made running a town work in Skyrim, and even have it tie directly into the plot.

    Imagine if instead of just being named Thane of Whiterun and just being given Lydia and a get out of jail free card, you were actually made a sort of military advisor to the Jarl. Whiterun is already an important part of the civil war quest and the main plot, so you could be put in charge of fortifying Whiterun against attacks. Depending on what you wanted for fights you could upgrade the standard infantry weapons and armor by sinking money into better forges, or set up a mages guild in the city and improve your mages by giving them more advanced spells as you funded their library or some such nonsense. Maybe even invest in the shops for higher tier items and more gold.

    Then, with a couple of tweaks to the civil war quest line, you could have Whiterun come under assault by whichever faction you made enemies of, and your forces need to defend it while waiting for your faction to send reinforcements. The more damage that is done to Whiterun during the assault, the less money the shops have available for selling goods, since that money is being taking as taxes for repairs.

    Even if you skip the civil war quest you capture a dragon and bring it to Whiterun anyways during the main story line. You could easily justify a massive dragon attack at that point that tests how well you built up the city’s defences in the same way.

    It wouldn’t be Animal Crossing by any means, but it would give you some semblance of running a town, and most of the changes I’m suggesting would just require changing the gear/spells available to guards and maybe increasing the number of them patrolling.

    • SyrusRayne says:

      This could also be worked into the whole radiant quest thing. “Oh, Jarl Dragonborn, our mages heard about this Spell in That One Place, you should go get it!” and then once you retrieve the spellbook your casters will actually use it.

    • Ithilanor says:

      A really good inspiration for this would be NWN2; borrow some of the mechanics from Crossroad Keep, give them a bit of polish, integrate with some quests like SyrusRayne is suggesting, and it’d be great.

    • Ben Hilton says:

      They sort of did something like this in Morrowind (Drink). After you built your faction house there were always a few missions associated with it.

      You have to find and hire workers and guards (both of which you can get from multiple sources). Then the workers complain that there aren’t enough women so you need to convince women to come to town. Later on the Kwama queen in your mine gets sick and you need to heal her….

      I loved it, and I would definitely be on board for more of that.

  10. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Chris mentions that its interesting that the game is mostly gender balanced aside from the Greybeards.

    But the Temple of Dibella is a women’s only order and they’re kind of a lot more outspoken in their sexism.

    And to agree with Chris on something. I absolutely agree with you about powers like Clear Skies. I feel the same way about Auriel’s Bow. Mechanically they have little impact but it makes me feel epic to be able to dismiss clouds, summon storms and blot out the sun.

    There aren’t enough powers like this in games period because everyone is so obsessed with PVP balance and whether things are “broken” which leads to very limited imaginations. They could have also had this if they’d been willing to let the illusion spells off of their tight leash.

    • Henson says:

      Clear Skies is actually really useful with Frostfall. Snowstorms bring chilling winds and rainstorms soak your character, which leads to a faster rate of heat loss. I spent the whole game in dread of storms, so getting the power to dismiss them with a shout was super cool.

    • Tizzy says:

      I think Campster was overthinking the Greybeards thing. The devs probably thought “monastery”, therefore, all dudes, and didn’t even try to dig any deeper.

  11. The idea of taking an underdeveloped town/area and becoming the Lord of the place reminded me of when that happened in an actual fantasy novel. In one of the many, many “Wheel of Time” books (I never finished the series), the town where the story begins in the first book becomes this model for a Skyrim build-up-a-town game.

    One of the heroes returns to this town, called The Two Rivers, and the people start calling him a Lord because he’s become a decent warrior (and he’s starting to show supernatural powers, but that’s neither here nor there). He’s trying to get his home town to defend itself from enemy forces, and that earns him even more respect. Other communities fall to the foe and their refugees come join The Two Rivers, adding new skills and labor to the hero’s efforts. It makes me think such a setup would’ve worked really well with Skyrim’s civil war plotline. A pity they didn’t implement it.

    • Indy says:

      I liked the development of Emond’s Field too. Even the political development such as when Perrin had to convince the queen he wasn’t a rebel.

  12. bloodsquirrel says:

    This has always driven me crazy:

    What kind of idiot shopkeeper meets every customer by telling them that people call their inventory junk?

    “Welcome to Bob’s Cafe! Our Yelp reviews say that our food is poisonous and that our kitchen is infested with roaches, but me? I saw that it’s just great!”

  13. Hal says:

    Three thoughts:

    1. If you’re going to at least try to complete the main quest, that means you’re going to Blackreach! Woo! (No, really. I feel like Blackreach is a very unique part of the game, so if you guys actually make it there, I’m looking forward to the discussion about it.)

    2. The thing with the Akaviri is one of the reasons Oblivion disappointed so many people. In previous Elder Scrolls games, the Cyrodiil Empire was sold as this crazy blend of ancient Roman and ancient Japanese cultures. Oblivion would have cashed in on that unique setting and culture. Instead? Generic medieval fantasy land. Woo.

    3. I suppose Hearthfire opened the door for the criticism about Animal Crossing/Skyrim, but it feels sort of unfair to criticize Skyrim for not having the ability to start your own city/hold. It seems like it criticizes the game for not being something that it wasn’t trying to be in the first place, like arguing that Call of Duty should give you the option to kill your opponents by jumping on their heads Mario-style.

    Oh, and an after thought: I love how Josh spends a good chunk of time at the start pouring through his inventory, clears out the detritus, and then immediately starts looting again. “Like a dog to its vomit,” etc.

    • It’s not so much that they’re criticizing Skyrim for not being something it never claimed it was–it’s that the action-adventure and role-playing aspects are so lackluster and you spend so much time doing, really, management stuff like making 1000 cheap iron daggers and finding people to teach you upside-down swimming that they might as well go whole hog and give you some really cool stuff to manage while they’re at it.

      Me, I wanted to adopt all the poor little orphan children (you can adopt ONE of them) and train them to be pickpockets and start my own Youth Thieves Guild. Since I was the Guildmaster and all.

      Baldur’s Gate 2 had more interesting PC housing than Skyrim.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I’ll believe the Spoiler Warning Crew would really like a game like that when they play Assassin’s Creed III. I thought building the city around Achilles’ house would be a lot of fun… yeah… it wasn’t.

      But I’m actually enjoying building manors and estates in Skyrim, and I’m not really sure what the crew wants. I’ve made my base of adventuring the Heljarchen Manor (located the family at Lakeview, and I built Windstad to allow me to observe Solitude as I plan the eventual conquest of the city…). It’s centrally located, stocked with supplies and horses. Periodically I will travel down to the nearby farm to trade. Or to the nearby mill for the same reason. I have a forge and smelter, and several nearby mines I can go to -2 in Dawnstar alone. And if I need to go into town, Whiterun is visible from the back door. I feel much more like I am establishing a homestead in Skyrim than the SW crew apparently does. I feel like I’m getting onto a first name basis with Vantus Loreius -who I see most often.

      If I wanted to play a non-adventuring type, I could easily see setting a forge here and acting as a blacksmith to the neighbors.

      At which point, the only problem is that getting the manor requires killing a giant. I guess that’s the “too much action adventure” problem.

    • Alexander The 1st says:


      It seems like it criticizes the game for not being something that it wasn’t trying to be in the first place, like arguing that Call of Duty should give you the option to kill your opponents by jumping on their heads Mario-style.

      Incidentally, while I don’t remember if it’s you or your opponent that dies if you do end up doing this, I do know that in at least one version of UDK’s default editor, if you run UDK_Deathmatch editor and try jumping on another spawned pawn’s head, one of you explodes if you manage to keep doing it.

      I want to say that it’s always the jumpee because I’m pretty sure it does health damage to them by having the jumper jump on them, but I do know it does it before health is completely dropped as well.

      Now more realistically, if you try to do this in real life, the other person is probably going to collapse and not have you bounce off their head (Speaking only from UDK experience, not real life experience), but if your opponent is low enough health, it totally should be a viable method of killing your opponent in Call of Duty by jumping on their heads as such.

  14. I think my favorite aspect of Hearthfire was that you could create a little garden outside of your house where you could plant your ingredient plants and then come back every couple days and harvest them FOREVER. SO useful for getting large numbers of some of the rarer ingredients in the game.

    On the down side, I somehow managed to build my house in Bandit Patrol Route #147 or something like that so EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I fast-traveled to my house there were 4 level-scaled bandits hanging around outside who instantly attacked me.

    Granted, this kind of meant that my house was a magical loot-and-ingredients-generating-machine, but I didn’t NEED more loot and all the dead bandits lying around really didn’t improve my landscaping very much.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      I liked that a lot of the odds and ends you could pick up on the road could be used to build things in the house. So I’d drop by every now and then and build some more stuff, and add more things to shelves and racks. Just having something to sink my loot and money into was nice.

      • I also did like that all the storage racks and weapon racks and armor stands etc. meant that I had somewhere to put my unique items that I never used but didn’t want to just throw away.

        Although considering all the buildup around those Daedric artifacts you’d expect the house to eventually just explode and leave a massive crater in Skyrim.

    • Henson says:

      “This charming Fourth Era house was built on an actual burial ground…”

      • Corpital says:

        It was rather built out of cursed stones or maybe it’s these sometimes respawning necromancers with their little stone circle directly below the house in Falkreath, but it really is insane what you get attacked by. A few attacks by giants, some dragons and dozens of these 4 bandit groups.

        One time, I entered the house and they spawned inside, attacking my bard, my dog and my wife. One of them had a letter explaning that they kidnapped my wife and how to get her back. I they got the heroic quest to save my wife, while she was standing in the same room, right beside me, on the dead bodies. Went to the cave/castle/can’t remember anyway, but found nothing related to the quest. After running back home, my wife was still there, but my bard was suddenly missing. Very definitely a haunted house.

    • They were just going where the money was. :)

    • Jokerman says:

      Yea sounds annoying, i seem to get a dragon outside mine every 2-3 times i fast travel, setting my kids on fire. They don’t mind to much, i worry about the wife though.

  15. Neko says:

    Personally I’m loving the Skyrim series and hope it lasts forever. It won’t, obviously, but even if you run dry of insightful commentary there’s still the casual funtime conversations between everyone.

    Do you want more questions to answer during the show? We can give you more questions.

  16. Ithilanor says:

    This might be more suited for a Diecast question, but since we’re talking about the ideal length of a SW season:
    Shamus (and the rest of the crew), what do you think are the best and worst seasons of Spoiler Warning? How would you compare them? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on how good the various seasons seem, looking back.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      I think they said their worst season over all was Bioshock because of how negative they got. The worst game they did was Mass Effect 3 (and some of them thought that it was also their worst season).

      I don’t think they discussed their best season. I tried to find the episode of Diecast where they address that but couldn’t.

  17. Wide And Nerdy says:

    You know I’m just gonna say to all the guys dumping on Skyrim, the games industry owes something to that game. Skyrim was the game that got me back into gaming after over a decade. My Steam library now includes probably 50 games (including games a lot of you more serious games like like both Witcher installments). I wouldn’t have bought any of them if not for Skyrim. I wouldn’t be on this site. I probably wouldn’t be a Patreon supporter for Shamus or Spoiler Warning because I wouldn’t have rediscovered him or discovered them.

    I’d bought Dragon Age Origins previously and just couldn’t get into it at first. I didn’t revisit that one till after I got Skyrim. So again, Skyrim did something for the industry.

    • Tizzy says:

      Did you see how many hours Shamus has logged on that game??? Or, based on the comments, how many other people have played the game as well?

      Whatever else people are saying, I think everyone agrees that it’s a game that is easy to get into. And I have yet to see anyone write that they regretted playing it, when it’s such a commonly expressed sentiment with other games.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        I know the Spoiler Warning guys don’t hate it. That comes through just in how Josh plays, not even talking about all the time and enthusiasm the others have put in.

        Its not so clear with the commenters on each video. I don’t know where they’re all coming from when they complain. Usually, unlike SW crew themselves, commenters aren’t balancing praise and criticism (and I’m not saying they should, I’m just saying its harder to judge their true attitudes because of it).

        I mean, yeah, the game has a massive amount of bugs. The engine seems like it could be considerably more efficient. The stories could have more depth. The game could stand to give you more types of things to do sacrificing some of its breadth for some depth. And its not like The Elder Scrolls franchise is under any threat from Spoiler Warning or it’s fans, even if we wanted to be a threat.

        And this is a show primarily about criticism. But it too often feels gamers don’t really appreciate what we do get. Maybe I’ve just had my fill of internet critics who feel they can talk about what went wrong but hit a brick wall when they try to analyze what went right (or lose their motivation, which is more revealing of who we are.) There is just as much to be gained from analyzing the things that worked.

  18. MichaelGC says:

    Sounds like someone agrees with Campster:

    Northern Shadow is Skyrim meets a city builder

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/05/30/northern-shadow-skyrim-banished/

  19. hborrgg says:

    So, it’s probably worth pointing it out that unlike a lot of open world games Skyrim doesn’t actually end once you beat it, meaning that you could probably just rush the main quest and finish up any side quests and DLC you feel like getting to afterwords.

    And yeah, Josh, the Blades armor is actually pretty awesome looking. It’s basically Feudal Japan crossed with Ancient Rome crossed with those really terrible looking helmets which ruin the rest of the look. In addition it’s one of the few armors in the game that doesn’t look comically thick.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      I really wish they’d consider doing the Dragonborn DLC (maybe if they’re tired of doing Skyrim they could come back to this after doing another game).

      It may not address all of their complaints but I feel like they really tried to improve upon what they’d done with Dawnguard and the core game. Everything feels fresh, the shouts are interesting and fun, they bring back some of what worked with Morrowind, and I’m not just talking about Solstheim, I’m talking about Apocrypha (which is new but would have fit right in with the Morrowind game).

      The sidequests are more interesting too. You have the Kohlbjorn excavation, the Rieklings vs the Thirsk, the quest to help Raven Rock recover economically and perform a little investigation to become part of the community.

      You have fun new items like the blade that shoots energy bolts and the waterwalking boots (which now that I’ve played it, feels like something out of Morrowind) which are very useful in this region, and Miraak’s tentacle sword and squirmy staff.

      And as good as a lot of the additions made by modders look, I’d hold Nordic Carved Armor next to any of them.

      My one complaint about the DLC is my own fault for using Frostfall. Severin Manor has no heat source near the bed so I have to make sure to warm up next to the fire before going to bed then warm up again in the morning or I’ll be nigh frozen solid. Honestly, I like the whole thing so much that, rather than start a completely new game, I’ll sometimes just create a save of my current game without the DLC then load the game again with the DLC loaded so I can do it all over again immediately.

      EDIT: Whew, this ended up being a long detour, kind of forgot this was supposed to be a reply. I’d go a step further. If it meant they’d actually do Dragonborn DLC, I’d gladly have them abandon the main quest and never finish it. At the very least, changing tracks might help alleviate their fatigue.

  20. hborrgg says:

    Doesn’t siding with the greybeards just mean not killing Paarthurnax?

  21. The Rocketeer says:

    The thing about the Greybeards is that they and their place in the world, their whole deal, was pretty firmly established at least as far back as Morrowind. So that’s why they are how they are. Now, whether or not that’s a good reason, or if they shouldn’t have changed or played with it, is very much open to discussion.

    As far as I know, no female Dragonborns were ever recorded in history, nor any female who could use Thu’um- the Last Dragonborn notwithstanding, anyway. Wouldn’t it be odd if a female Dragonborn showed up at Hrothgar, and they could hardly believe a lady could Shout? Or if it turned out, no the breakdown of the Greybeards is actually half-and-half between the genders, but the “Greybeard” name had just kind of stuck hard since the Second Era or so and the Greybeards don’t get out often enough to change anyone’s impression, and all the lady Greybeards are exasperated when you ask them about the name except for the one lady with a GIANT GRAY BEARD that is just SO EXCITED to have ended up where she did in life.

    Of course, it wouldn’t have raised any eyebrows in the first place if Skyrim’s world was more arch or campy; like they said in this episode, who would sit on top of a mountain tending prophecies, lorekeeping, and perpetuating some silly order? Old men with gray beards and robes would do that, because of course they would do that.

  22. @3:00 “The sad thing is, this is just the menu system in Skyrim. In Alan Wake, it was the core gameplay.”

    It’s funny Chris should word it that way, because if you really think about it, isn’t that what Skyrim is? Is it not a game played through menus? I myself have played this game on multiple occasions and I can confirm for all the inventory fuckery Josh goes through, it actually doesn’t come close to the amount of inventory management that takes up a legit playthrough.

    It really is a game where the majority – hell, I’d go so far as to say the entirety – of non-combat based mechanics are completely removed from the actual world they built. Outside of combat, what mechanics does this game incorporate that are performed in real time and without opening up an overlay? You can pick up and drag things, but that has no gameplay purpose. Removing it entirely from the game would effect nothing.

    Skyrim’s menu is it’s core gameplay. The actual world you run around in is just a pretty shell.

    • MichaelGC says:

      Well, there’s mining rocks … but as Josh demonstrated earlier in the season, attacking the rocks works equally well (and is rather faster), so I assume what is actually going on when you mine (as far as the game is concerned) is … very slow-motion combat. Versus rocks.

      Talk about an exception that proves the rule!

      • Oddly enough I actually did remember about mining when I first thought about this issue, but forgot natch. It again reinforces the world as a shell not meant to be truly interacted with, and it’s the smoking gun proving Bethesda is shooting themselves in the foot.

        In terms of the kineasthetics, the clearly unintended method for mining is mechanically far superior in every way. It’s faster, it feels better and the ludovisual dissonance (achievement unlocked!) is rendered almost entirely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things due to the prior two points. Doing it through attack swings rather than a canned animation may look less realistic, but the canned animation actually breaks immersion much worse because it feels less realistic.

        To be honest I get why they made the game around the numbers rather than the world. Having the actual game design revolve around number-crunching and menu systems is what’s allowed its design to be so mod-friendly and malleable in the first place. I also can’t argue against just how difficult it is to refine real-time interactive mechanics as opposed to simple stats, especially with a world of such size and fidelity…but man, it’d be a helluva game.

    • What’s really odd to me is seeing how the Elder Scrolls influenced the newest Fallout games and how Fallout then seemed to shape Skyrim.

      Fallout got the FPS elements, the ability to grab even more nonfunctional junk, the voice characters, etc. However, the Fallout setting and held-over mechanics seems to have actually helped the games retain some semblance of an RPG. As flawed as the Karma system is, it seems to have forced the devs to put choices out there, even if they made little sense. It forced them to have SOME (in New Vegas, all but 2) NPCs be killable, quests fail-able, etc. While both games had crafting, they were completely optional, in keeping with the previous games and the setting (i.e. you don’t need to scrounge gun parts or forge a gun, you just loot them).

      Skyrim gained a perk system similar to Fallout, but using a tree like Oblivion. It then decided to make the alchemy system even more complicated than before (or at least, that’s how it seems to me) along with the skills/materials needed to craft the best armor and weapons, and the requisite vendor trash. All of this makes inventory management even more of a game element than in Fallout, which I’d previously thought impossible.

    • Humanoid says:

      The menus in Darklands are what made it a great game.

      The non-menu parts in Darklands are what made it a terrible game.

  23. Raygereio says:

    Re: The Blades armorr not improving all that well.
    You can reach the armour cap with pretty much any armour set. The tier of the armour really doesn’t matter. As long you invest in smithing and the armourperks, the only thing that’s really important is what armour set you like visually.
    Skyrim is secretly a pretty princess dress up simulator.

    I am thinking that we need to wrap this season up. We’re in the slow descent at the end where we’re starting to repeat our criticisms and complaints.

    I kinda think you’re suffering a bit from lack of planning.
    Skyrim throws a metric assload of quests the player’s way and doesn’t really give the player any direction. So it would probably have been a good idea if someone – not Josh, since he’s playing – worked out a path to follow with the quests you want to show.
    Similarly, that same person could have served as a moderator of sorts and prepared some topics beforehand to throw out during the more boring bits of gameplay and/or whenever the conversations become stale, repetitive and everyone begins to mentally check out.
    As for inventory management: It’s part of the game, but after the initial couple of “adventures in staring at Skyrim’s horrendous inventory GUI”, most of that would have been better of done off camera. Or better: Done by Josh before he sets up his stream for the rest of SW crew so that they don’t get bored and annoyed from having to watch inventory management.

  24. Neil W says:

    Clearly the problem with the Fellowship of the Ring was that when they turned Bill the Pony loose they couldn’t carry all the loot from Moria. When Boromir tried to carry some of the hobbits’ stuff, he accidentally clicked on the One Ring.

    Also that time when Frodo found an enchantment table and tried to disenchant the One Ring.

  25. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Shamoose,you really need to watch game of thrones,because it has such epic effects.You will be amazed with the clever use of puppets.

  26. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Episode starts,and not a minute goes by,when Shamoose complains about them not doing inventory management before the start because they cant do that minute once again.I dont know what people are complaining about,but thats great comedy right there.

    • Hal says:

      I’m still waiting for the inventory management elevator musak.

    • Shamus says:

      Not to ruin the fun, but for the curious:

      Re-starting an ep is a huge pain in the ass. We’ve got a timer running, fraps running, stream running, and two different vent recordings going. It doesn’t sound that hard, but in practice restarting the show is problematic. Then there’s the problem of needing to repeat everything you’ve already said, but make it still sound like it’s coming off the top of your head. And the fact that we’d just done a Diecast and were all a little tired by this point.

      If I’d called a do-over I would not have enriched my friendships with the rest of the cast.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        “If I’d called a do-over I would not have enriched my friendships with the rest of the cast.”

        See,theres a good thing to it as well.

  27. Wide and Nerdy says:

    You’re a traveler that does a lot of looting. It only makes sense that it should be a big part of the experience (though i’m a hypocrite because I generally play with a carry weight increasing mod.)

    EdIt: This was supposed to be a reply. The context is another commenter who said that inventory management is the majority of the game whicI i happen to think is an exaggeration and kind of depends on how OCD you are.

  28. Tobias says:

    Breath of Fire 2 had a surprise village simulator in an rpg. You started with you fishing cabin and build it up into a rebel base/robin hood village thing. It sucked.

    I do think Heartfire is just an inferior clone of unrealworld. That is a game you guys should play. It even has literally photorealistic graphics.

  29. RTBones says:

    For me, its usually just Breezehome in Whiterun, if I bother to buy it at all. If I don’t buy the house, the barrels outside the smith and the Drunken Huntsman work for storage. With the new homes you can build, getting jumped by bandits nearly every time you travel home gets a little old. I’m sure there are some homes that are better than others about that sort of thing, but I typically use Breezehome as a loot dumping ground. Its convenient because I have the smith next door with the accompanying shop, there is the Drunken Huntsman right there, the general store Josh sells dragon bones to, and the inn (if I haven’t bought the house). The worst thing about the other houses is that you cant just step outside and sell things or craft armour/weapons/whatever.

    • Hal says:

      Whiterun/Breezehome tend to be popular for those reasons. For me, in particular, Whiterun has four arms merchants (since the two folks at Warmaiden’s don’t share an inventory when she’s working the forge), which makes it a great place to unload gear for cash. Unfortunately, since the only enchanting table in town is up at Dragonsreach, it’s really inconvenient for training.

      I became a fan of Windhelm/Hjerim in my most recent playthrough. It’s one of the few houses with display cases, it’s got that cool workshop in the hidden alcove, and it has containers right by the door for the impatient. More importantly, the city has several merchants (including a blacksmith and a general store) all in one place, right outside the alchemist’s shop. There’s also a second general store if you’re needing the cash.

      Riften’s Honeyside has the nice advantage of a direct door between the outside world and the home, bypassing Riften entirely, but you can’t fast travel to anywhere near that entrance. It’s sort of a missed opportunity.

      • Corpital says:

        Wow, you make player housing sound like an analogy for the whole TES series and a lot of other things.
        Which house represents which game best? No, forget that question. The answers to that would probably contain enough TES lore to make me uncomfortable.

      • Humanoid says:

        I would probably opt out of buying a house which has as its most noteworthy feature the fact that it was used as a site for a ritual murder.

        P.S. Fast travel points are great, but fortunately they’re also the only thing I learned how to mod in Gamebryo engine games, which solves the convenience issue well enough.

    • MichaelGC says:

      Aye – and there’s the Abandoned House in Markarth (the one with something nasty in the basement), which has tonnes of persistent containers (although beware of the barrels), and is convenient for the shops, two forges and a fast-travel location.

      Now available for the low-low price of free!*

      * Terms & conditions & ritual daedra worship may apply.

  30. Will Riker says:

    I know you guys said that you weren’t going to do mods, but honestly, at this point, if the season is going to continue to be Inventory Management Simulator 2014, you really should start using SkyUI. It’s likely to make that whole process a lot smoother and, therefore, hopefully Josh would spend less time on it. Or maybe I’m just being optimistic.

  31. PlasmaPony says:

    As much as I’ve enjoyed the season for the most part, I must agree with Shamus, I think it’s time to focus on ending it. The episodes stopped feeling new and exciting, and are only being carried by the weird bugs and situations the game causes. The cast clearly has very little to talk about, the gameplay isn’t exciting to watch, the world is flat and boring, and it seems like half of every episode is staring at an inventory screen as Josh picks up all this crap he doesn’t need and hands it off to Janessa. It’s not that this game was a bad idea. The early episodes were awesome. It’s just getting a little tiresome and feels stale. Skyrim does not lend itself to the format of Spoiler Warning for this long thanks to how shallow it really is. It doesn’t do very much spectacularly cool but also doesn’t do anything outstandingly awful (outside the bugs), so the enjoyment in watching plateaued some time ago and now feels like we are just going through the motions.

    I love you guys, but I hope this game gets put out of it’s misery soon. And that Josh makes it smoother by not picking up so many things, or doing inventory management in between episodes whenever possible.

  32. Sleeping Dragon says:

    Whoah, that’s a lot of Skyrim, I wouldn’t expect the game to sustain this amount of playtime, even with mods. Then again I’m not really keen on replaying the same title several times in quick succession so maybe that’s the case.

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