Skyrim EP50: Learn to Fight Fair!

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jul 3, 2014

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 92 comments

Link (YouTube)

Man, I’m so glad that Josh broke the combat system so we don’t have to waste a third of every episode on pointless battles. That sure is a timesaver.


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92 thoughts on “Skyrim EP50: Learn to Fight Fair!

  1. Tizzy says:

    I haven’t watched the episode yet, but after reading the short post, I simply cannot wait! I am sure there is no sarcasm at all in these remarks…

    1. ET says:

      Dude! Spoilers… :P

      1. MrGuy says:

        Yeah, dude. Let people watch the episode before pointing out that Shamus mentioned Josh.

  2. Um, is it just me or did something happen to the twitter widget box on the rightside? The text is light scrawny and stuff, is a smaller font being used all of a sudden? Or have I been staring at code too intensely today… *rubs eyes*

    1. Mintskittle says:

      I just got glasses a couple weeks ago, and I’m having a harder time reading the twitter feed, so I would say yes, the text did get tiny and scrawny.

    2. Dragomok says:

      I’m on the same computer, using same browser, and the font definitely changed. Though I’m not sure whether it’s just smaller or smaller and in different font type.

    3. Chamomile says:

      Twitter feeds on other websites are showing up similarly altered, at least in my browser. I think this is on Twitter’s end.

      1. ET says:

        Damn you, Twitter!

    4. Twitter began switching from Helvetica Neue to Gotham Narrow at the end of May, and design-hipsterism aside, it is harder to read for a lot of people. (I believe embedded tweets were among the last elements affected by the rollout.)

  3. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    Dragonsearch: Looking for the Next Pop Dragon, do you have the Voice.

    Voice? They’re punning when they don’t even intend to, now.

    1. guy says:

      I am almost sure that was on purpose.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        Aye, I’m pretty certain that was perpetrated with intent!

    2. Atarlost says:

      No, Dragonsearch is that thing from the Pern books where the dragonriders go out and look for people with telempathic potential when they have a new clutch of eggs and don’t have enough candidates on hand already.

  4. Tizzy says:

    There are couriers running all over Skyrim. Why the hell does that quest have you go around getting to say a couple of lines of dialogue to every one of these clowns? So, it’s Greybeards to Dragonsreach to Greybeards again to Tulius to Ulfric to greybeards again and finally the council which is mostly spent listening.

    Truly gripping stuff…

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      “Housecarl, I have written some important letters, send out the couriers immediately”; t, wait a week; read answers. Seriously though, I would play a narrative driven fantasy nobleman simulator, something between Crusader Kings and dealing with the nobles portion of DA:Awakening.

    1. ET says:

      Ugh. That’s like friggin’ DnD and it’s stupid critical hits on monsters with ten billion more armor than you…long live GURPS!

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      I thought it capped at 95%. Still, in either case, that was simply poor luck on Josh’s part.

    3. Coblen says:

      this drove me insane when I was a pickpocket based character.

      I’m a fucking master pickpocketer, but 1 in 10 times I will fail to steal a small worthless trinket from somebody.

      I feel like this just encouraged save scumming because if you try to level pick pocketing there is no way you aren’t gonna get caught a lot.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Yeah,its the d&d logic.No matter how good you are,every 20th time you will screw up royally.Its just ridiculous.

        If they want to cap it,make it so that percentages multiply,not add,then you could have your chances be 99,99999999….You could still technically fail then,but much much harder.

        1. guy says:

          Honestly, that’s one of the huge problems with pickpocket in pretty much any video game that has it. The risk associated with getting caught is so high it’s not really worth attempting except for particularly critical items. Which is a particularly large problem in the Elder Scrolls because you level through use. Now, in this case theoretically you only pay a nuisance fine, but when that happens the guards also take all your stolen items, which you have because you’ve been pickpocketing people.

          Incidentally, in DnD you can’t get crit successes or failures on skill checks.

          1. syal says:

            True, that’s technically just a universally accepted house rule in DnD.

            Pickpocket skills in games really need a separate stat for getting caught. When every failure results in trouble it becomes way too much of a pain to ever bother with it.

            Even just a buildup like they do with the lockpicks; one failure, they don’t notice, try again and they get a worse opinion of you, fail three times and now they know you’re trying to steal from them.

            1. Thomas says:

              I love that idea. It still fits perfectly narratively too. When someone bumps you in the street and you’ve been thinking about pickpockets, you’d probably check your stuff and give them a glare but nothing else. If it happens again you’d be suspicious to the point of treating the person very differently, but you’re still unlikely to act on it. Once more and you’ll take action.

              Although I guess you should be flexible with how it works depending on the situation you’re in and the rolls being made. If you’re trying to pickpocket a king in his throne room, giving people 3 shots at it before serious consequences would be a bit cheap

              1. Grudgeal says:

                Of course, given that, in order to pickpocket someone in Skyrim you have to crouch down right behind them, I’d probably overreact too if I felt someone stealing from me in that position.

              2. MrGuy says:

                I’d agree that I’m not calling the authorities the first time someone brushes up against me in a suspicious manner. But if the very same person does it again, in relatively quick succession? I’m calling the cops, not waiting to see if they’ll try a third time…

                1. syal says:

                  There’s no reason they should feel anything on a failed pickpocket attempt; you can fail way before you have your hand in their pocket.

                  The idea; the first pickpocket attempt, you’re cautious. You don’t bump against them, you see it won’t work before you get that far. They don’t know you’re doing anything at all, because you pretty much haven’t.

                  The second time, you obviously want to pull this off. You’re willing to be a bit riskier. Maybe you brush against them, and pass it off as wiping mud off their shirt. Now they don’t like you but don’t necessarily think you’re stealing something.

                  The third time, you’re hell-bent on this thing. You will get it or die trying. And that’s where failure starts fights.

                  And like Thomas implies, you can adjust it based on factors like how many people are there and how perceptive they are. Maybe a peasant gives you ten attempts, and a thief catches you the first time around.

            2. krellen says:

              Critical failures are a stupid idea and never have been part of D&D’s base rules, and they’re ALSO a terrible house rule that I have never used, because screw that.

              1. Cinebeast says:

                I’m speaking as a guy who’s never actually played a real tabletop game, just read rulebooks and such, so this is all theory on my part.

                Total critical failure is pretty punishing, I agree, but I would love it if it were minimized in some way. For instance, suppose that whenever the player chooses their primary skills they set which ones they’re trained/proficient in, and which ones they’re not. (Perhaps you automatically become “trained” in a skill at 25 points or whatever.)

                So, take a character who’s trained in Sneak Attacks, but untrained in Archery. If they roll a 1 on a Sneak Attack it’s treated like any other roll — there’s still a chance they’ll succeed, particularly if their skill bonus is pretty high.

                But if they roll a 1 while trying to shoot somebody they get a critical failure — they break their bowstring, snap their arrow, sprain their hand, etc. (Whatever a critical failure calls for.)

                I would think this encourages players to fine-tune their skills, or else branch out and try to become a Jack-of-all-trades who’s proficient in multiple skills.

          2. hewhosaysfish says:

            Couldn’t you do what real world pickpockets do and pass the stolen goods of to an accomplice? Get yourself a Lydia/Jenessa?

          3. ET says:

            Do any games have different outcomes for pickpocketing failure, based on how hard you fail the dice roll? Like, hard fail/low skill in pickpocket, you get caught red-handed. Small fail/high skill, you pretend to grope them, angering them slightly, allowing your to retry after a few minutes?

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Not of the video variety.But you can use such things in tabletop games.

    4. Raygereio says:

      More importantly: There’s a bug in vanilla Skyrim with the Fortify Pickpocket effect where it will lower your chance of success.

      Bethesda QA![/jazzhands]

  5. Neko says:

    I wasn’t expecting the Council Scene either. That’s pretty cool. In general though it does need a better mechanic than occasionally grabbing the camera and asking “Well, what do you think, Dragonborn?”

    Also Catbert, God-King of Skyrim should be a valid option. What better way to get the two sides to cooperate?

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      What this scene should have been was General Tullis and/or Ulfric going “Ah yes, ‘Alduin’, the mysterious World-Eater from dark-space. We’ve dismissed the claim.”

      1. Spammy says:

        I’ll admit, I lost it when I read your comment. Started imagining Colonel Tigh giving me Imperial Fingerquotes and that was it.

      2. Grudgeal says:

        …You just made me realize that Mass Effect 2 has, relatively speaking, *good* writing.

        Darn you.

    2. IFS says:

      How great would the council scene have been if it had more than one possible conclusion though? (And also if the persuasion system worked at all well of course). Say use it as an excuse to gather Ulfric and/or Tullius in one place mostly unguarded and then assassinate them. You’d certainly piss off the Greybeards by doing so but at this point only Paarthunax is really helping you. Or get the Thalmor person out of the room and then try to set up a secret alliance against the Thalmor between the groups, or even show off the Ulfric dossier you stole and use that to accomplish some end or another. I do think its a cool scene in theory even with the one outcome but its also a pretty huge wasted opportunity.

      1. Neko says:

        Oh man, that Ulfric dossier! I’d completely forgotten! How badass would it be to slap that down on the table and announce to both sides that the Thalmor have been playing them for fools, and if they’re smart they should focus on getting rid of them and the dragons.

        1. James Porter says:

          The problem is that skyrim would make the book undroppable, because they don’t want players to think about items like that, only as loot. You could have also already beat the civil war by then, so that meeting doesn’t happen. It really seems like skyrim doesn’t trust the player enough to play the game
          (although, thinking about it, with how buggy these games can be, i wonder if its just a holdover from them trying to keep this jenga tower from collapsing )

          1. guy says:

            Speaking as someone who on his first real attempt at Morrowind literally sold my critical encrypted plothook entirely by mistake (It wasn’t even worth much if any money) and had to retrace my steps and visit every vendor I’d been to, I like this weightless quest items which can never leave your inventory thing.

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              I just wish that they could be placed in their own “Quest” category of items so that they didn’t clutter up my inventory. If they just did that, I’d be perfect.

  6. Ledel says:

    I do remember that on my first playthrough that after I finished the signing of the truce quest, I was able to continue doing quests for the Empire. It does seem odd that after negotiating a treaty to not attack each other I then leave and kill Ulfric.

    In my defense, I only did it because of him and his entire inner circle being racists and not letting me join his army until I did some fetch quest to “prove my loyalty.”

  7. MrGuy says:

    I loved at the 5 minute mark, just after Josh reloads after trying to kill everyone in Whiterun after the Great Pickpocket Misadventure, that the guard at the door says “I mostly just deal with petty thievery….it’s been too long since we had a good bandit raid.”

    I mean, it’s like he’s DARING Josh to show him how dealing with “petty thievery” can still be more than “random guard” can handle.

  8. hborrgg says:

    So this game came out around 3 years ago, and today it is apparently the 6th most popular game on steam with 33,508 people playing at this time.

    1. Thomas says:

      That’s pretty cool, it’s also (I believe) the best-selling Steam game ever that wasn’t published by Valve. Skyrim definitely satisfies people’s value for money

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        As much as we harp on the game a lot of it is fun to play (especially in parts not relating to any of the major questlines, or if you can turn off critical thinking). In addition since Morrowind TES games have been extensively moddable, which adds to replayability and lets people customize the games to their heart’s content, on top of which Skyrim had Steam workshop added, which makes said mods more available to an average player.

  9. Michael R. says:

    I’m glad Josh decided not to attack everyone in the council, because, as everyone knows, there is no fighting in the bore-room.

    1. Tizzy says:

      According to the end credits, that peaceful attitude will end at the door though. I for one cannot wait to see the Thalmor embassador getting what’s coming to her.

  10. hborrgg says:

    If I remember, to even out the odd number of territories by the end of the council one side gets an extra territory while the other has to pay reparations for some massacre they committed.

  11. djshire says:

    Killing the Jarls mage is just going too Faren!

  12. Blov says:

    Clearly the correct order for Fallouts is

    Fallout: New Vegas
    Fallout 2
    Fallout Tactics

    Fallout 3

    Also amazebroke. I hope you guys remark how needlessly hard a lot of the end of the main quest stuff is when you don’t have trollpowers, especially given you get locked in a shopless land.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Eeehhhhh…..Depends on whether you go by mechanics or by story.Sure,the original fallout*drink* introduced the genre and all,but it is mechanically the weakest.So Id definitely put 2 in front of 1.

      As to whether Id go with NV or 2….Well NV has an insane super mutant radio host,but 2 has you becoming a porn star.NV has a dlc where one of the quests requires you to breathe,but on the other hand,its just a dlc.So I guess Id put 2 in first spot,and NV in the close second.Then the original fallout*drink*,then tactics.3 wouldnt go on the list,since Ive never even finished it.

      1. Blov says:

        I dunno. I kinda feel like Fallout 1 has the most compelling quest and more freedom in your approach to it. I like 2 but the horrific bugginess sort of puts me off it, and I just didn’t enjoy the whole ‘you is a tribesman you save these people because I dunno’ shtick. And it’s a bit more railroady in some ways. It’s still alright but I don’t think it does the same thing for me. NV is awesome but FO just scratches a particular itch for me.

        1. Tizzy says:

          Fallout 2 had nicely improved mechanics, esp. as far as companions went, a much expanded world and factions, but the beginning was really underwhelming, and the self-aware tone was a lot less compelling. Fallout had fewer jokes, but they were funnier because the game wasn’t constantly elbowing you to say: “hey, you get it? it’s a joke!”

    2. Isaac says:

      1)Fallout 3
      2)Fallout New Vegas
      3)Fallout 1

      *Haven’t played F2 or Tactics yet

    3. Humanoid says:

      Anyone want to admit that they’ve played FO:BoS?

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        A friend of mine did a way back.Which is why I havent.Honest…Im not making it up……Why doesnt anyone believe me?

        1. evileeyore says:

          So, Mr. Lucifer, Lightbringer, King of Lies….

          It says here you claim you’ve never played FO: BoS? And you expect people to believe you?

          It’s like if I tried to convince people I was good or happy or competent at building shelters out of sticks…

    4. IFS says:

      Personally I’d rank them:

      FO2 (rated lower than 1 because it was honestly too big and took far too great a step up in difficulty for my tastes, which coupled with the various bugs have prevented me from ever completing it.)
      FO: tactics (personally I don’t consider 3 or tactics to be true fallout games though both can be fun in their own right. Tactics would be a lot better if enemies didn’t tend to just sit on overwatch all the time though)

    5. Grudgeal says:

      Of the ones I’ve played that I consider the ‘core Fallout experience’…

      1. Fallout 2 (slightly better gameplay and options from the original)
      2. Fallout 1 (the best atmosphere and ‘feeling’ of living a post-apocalypse)
      3. Fallout: New Vegas (best graphics and character gallery)
      4. Fallout Tactics (…One of them had to come last. It’s ok, but nowhere near as good as the others.)

    6. StashAugustine says:

      1. New Vegas
      2. Fallout 1
      3. Fallout 3
      4. Fallout 2

      Personally I feel 2 had a lot of the same problems with its plot and world as 3- it felt too much like a series of disconnected theme parks that didn’t make a whole lot of sense on their own. It was much more open than 3, but I was put off by a lot of the freedom being edgy ‘mature’ stuff. And 3 was more fun to play because I’d rather play a broken action game than a broken strategy game.

  13. Coblen says:

    For the record there are fortify Persuasion enchantments. There is even a necklace that makes you pass all persuasion tests regardless of skill.

    Also persuasion checks are not random, but rather you need a set speech skill to pass them.

    Personally I think the way speech works is absolutely terrible. Its stupidly hard to level up, and there is no way of knowing whether the quest you are on will have persuasion tests of your level or not.

    1. Grudgeal says:

      Also, there are no conditional modifiers. I once had my werewolf character being stopped by a waylaying bandit, while in werewolf form, and being offered the standard “money or your life” spiel and failing his Intimidate option because, in the bandit’s own words, “you don’t scare me”.

      While in werewolf form.

      1. IFS says:

        Man Skyrim bandits are hardcore, that or stupid. Probably just stupid.

        1. Corpital says:

          Thinking back to Oblivion, I’d say stupid. All these idiots with their levelscaled endgame glass armor worth thousands of septims attacking us for 40gold or something like that…such stupid. Much idiot. Wow.

  14. Ilseroth says:

    I do agree that the council scene genuinely surprised me when I got to it. For the record Josh, the reason why you only had the choice of Winterhold as a trade for marakarth is the fact you already claimed Riften in the war storyline.

    Since Riften is a significantly more important city then Winterhold, the game considered the Winterhold choice to be more in Ulfric’s favor, hence why he implied that you “respected him.” You respected him because you already took the good stuff.

    As for the scene itself; I have seen that scene more then most people, as I used to speedrun Skyrim competitively. While large chunks of the game are skippable; this council scene is not. While I do give it credit for trying to do something different, and actually introduce a small amount of politics and choice to the game, it is a shame that the actual war storyline doesn’t do the same.

    I’m not going to lie, I wrote probably a solid thousand words after this which degenerated into a rant about choice in video games, voice acting vs writing and so on; but I decided it wasn’t coherent enough to post.

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Why oh why did you guys not make Josh pick fortify health over fortify magicka regen?Yeah,this thing is nice,but being completely invincible wouldve been much nicer.Less running around,more punching of faces.

    1. Eric says:

      One thousand times this.

      Fortify Magicka Regen is cute, but Fortify Health and/or Fortify Heavy Armor would have been much better choices.

      1. Thomas says:

        I can understand why they chose that. If the idea was just that ‘Josh can’t die now’ it would rule out a lot of the opportunities for fun/tension in the last few episodes. This way he should be able to win any fight and win it quickly but the doors still open for him to accidentally kill himself in stupid ways.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Josh said something like “I dont want to be immortal,but what do you guys think?”,then he suggested magicka regen,and they listened to him.The moral of this event is:Never listen to Josh.

      2. newdarkcloud says:

        Fortify Heavy Armor might not have been a great choice. Any armor passed about 560 or so (which would be equal to 85% damage reduction) doesn’t count.

        Fortify health or health regen, would basically make Josh the equivalent to an ubercharged Heavy in TF2.

  16. SyrusRayne says:

    So, during this episode they mention a difference in the feeling of scale in Skyrim vs. Oblivion. I’ve been thinking about this myself, and I absolutely agree. I think it goes a lot deeper than the area design, however.

    I’m not quite sure how to say this, but the player character feels physically bigger, within the context of the world. Not out of scale with other characters, but out of scale with the world itself. There’s other things that add to that feeling; the way weapons are displayed in your view, for instance, makes them seem like dinky little things. This is a sword, really? It looks like a dagger. There’s no sense of depth to the first person weapon models.

    One of the reasons I like Blackreach so much is because it doesn’t feel like that; You can see the ceiling, and it’s way up there; all the mushrooms are big, towering over you; the walls are spaced far apart. There’s a sense of scale that the rest of Skyrim, regardless of how long it takes to walk from one end to the other and regardless of whether or not you fast travel, just does not have.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Yeah. In Oblivion, when you equip a greatsword, you don’t see the tip of it. You also see the bottom half of the blade.

      In Skyrim, the entire sword is in view, making it look like a toothpick in comparison to swords in Oblivion.

      1. Corpital says:

        Isn’t that just this orcish greatsword? That thing is TINY, but the iron and steel greatswords I have at hand are somewhat sensibly proportioned.
        Heck, even the normal iron and steel swords I just looked at were a bit too long for the screen.

        I still agree with the PC feeling too big though. You run past a table and sometimes everything on it just falls over or even explodes in every corner of the room without you actually touching anything.

        I also think it somewhat ties in with your speed. I’m pretty sure the Dragonborn sneaks/walks/runs/swims faster than normal NPCs and that makes me feel a bit bigger. If that makes any sense.
        Remember Guild Wars2? Every character has the same base speed, but the tiny asura with their frantic waddling feel so much faster than the big charr/norn with their painfully slow strides. A lot of people have problems completing jumping puzzles etc with these big characters.

  17. David F says:

    I hate this conference. I wish I could just say something like, “There’s nothing to negotiate here. Nobody needs to give anything up. Either you stop fighting for a few days, or everyone gets eaten by dragons. If you want to go for choice 2, maybe your successors will decide to not get eaten by dragons.”

    1. Thomas says:

      As a viewer, this was the first time anything these guys said was remotely worth reading and I actually loved the way the personalities were playing out in this negotiation and the logic behind it.

      …but I do agree it’s made kind of silly by the fact they’re negotiating for a 2 day truce to kill a common enemy. The Dragon is going to be dead before they even begin to start to transfer sovereignty in those cities.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        The dragon will be dead when the PC, in their unwavering sense of duty, decides to stop prancing around and goes to kill it. This sounds like a great time to go do all the faction quests and several story intense mods, also, DLCs.

  18. Thomas says:

    Yep, this season really seems to have improved your opinions of Oblivion (If only by comparison).

    This is clearly what should happen going forward, if you were to play a Mass Effect 3, you should do Ride to Hell Retribution first so the season can be ‘Well, they might have completely thrown away the canon here, but I’ll give Mass Effect 3 this, I’m not having awkward fully clothed sex with a random women whose husband I just shot in front of her’

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Doubtfull.There are plenty of games Ive encountered that are worse than me3.Great qin warriors stands as the technically worst one(Ive never played big rigs though,because that one would probably take the number 1 spot),but me3 was the only one that angered me.Within the first few lines no less,which is quite a feat.Its not a bad game,but it sure is an infuriating one.

  19. yeti434 says:

    So, here are some thoughts from a guy who swoons over Old Norse / English language, myth, and literature. Here comes a really long post, and actually I want to join this whole “youtube talking about games” thing, if only because I played this game alot, and have many different thoughts about it.

    First off, I think earlier Shamus mentioned something about being a murder clown, and how realistic this is. I get his point, but I think it comes more from the fact that the game sends conflicting messages with the dragons/war plot and the arrow in the knee jokes. But, go read Egil’s Saga. He is basically a video game protagonist, he runs around and murders everything.

    Ok, so suppose I got to re-write Skyrim, what would I change? Certainly combat, in general, needs heavy improvement. Weapons feel really flaccid, and there feels to be few options in an actual fight. Even at the highest difficulties, someone with a 2her is likely to walk in, swing swing swing, move on. A magic user might have a little more to do, and some of the more interesting mechanics, eg: charm, frenzy, fear, do allow for some cool situations. However, the problem is that these quickly became rarely worth the time, especially when you can dual cast incinerate and chain lock Alduin to death. Frankly, I played through as two types of characters: a stealthy Drizzt ripoff with a crossbow (because, unlike the other weapons, this felt really good to use) or a sword/shield/restoration Paladin. In both cases, I did so because I got to use alot of different mechanics. Blocking with shield, shield bashing, absorbing spells, a power attack, heals, and turning undead. With the ranger I could use some illusion spells to frenzy some guy, sneak, shoot my crossbow, backstab, or enter combat with two swords. In both cases, you had the merger of multiple simple mechanics to make interesting play styles (interesting as far as skyrim goes).

    The problem with most of the skills trees is that they give a % bonus to stuff. This means that most of the perks aren’t adding new mechanics that can potentially synergize with other mechanics. This is a big lost opportunity as far as I am concerned, because it marginalizes player choice and customization. As a note, most of the enchantments, including deadric weapons, were like this too. Other than the sword that made undead explode, the spell blocker, and Sheo’s staff, most of the artifacts and enchantments are “increase X”. Adding unique abilities to these specific weapons, however, could have vastly changed play styles. Skyrim could have, at a basic level, had some cool emergent mechanics that would have added alot of depth to the game.

    Ok, now on to the shouts, which suffer (mostly) from the problem that they aren’t very different from the spells. Most that are could have been better utilized as spells. Freezing enemies (that aren’t at 5% health) would have been a neat, if not original, perk, for example. What I would have done was made these spells essential to specific dungeons, and merged many of the dungeons together so that players can approach them from at least one angle if they had one of, say three, shouts. One dungeon might be completed by turning into a ghost to access an older time of that dungeon to progress. Alternatively, the player could use unrelenting force to progress through in alternative way. More difficult dungeons might require combinations of shouts. This could have really added some variety to the game, and added depth to the dungeons, and a greater feeling of satisfaction for completing them. To balance this all out, just require the shout to get in the dungeon in the first place. If players don’t have, their time is not wasted because they were able to do content inbetween and get a fast travel point. It also builds some anticipation, seeing an area you can go to, but not yet.


    So, this is a game about a Viking / North European culture coming into contact with a Roman culture, and also with the return of the dragons. It’s a cool concept, but the game doesn’t do much to go with it. Actually, for the former, this concept is not new in English/Vicking lit. Beowulf, a book which at least one of the developers for bloodmoon must have read (or at least read the wiki article) had this theme at its core.

    Here is where Skyrim failed. If I choose to side with Ulfric, how will the land of Skyrim be any different than it is now, say, 50 years in the future? I mean, both the Imperials and Stormcloaks have, what seems to be, the same laws. The cultures are just too homogenized. First, emphasize Roman virtue for the imperials. Imperial soldiers should talk about an idea of the glory of the empire and rule of law. The Empire should feel, for justifiable reasons, that its culture is superior to that of the Nords. For example, instead of just executing some guy for opening a gate, they hold a trial. You can’t pay out a bounty in Imperial towns, you instead go to jail. Joining the legion is not about seeking glory, and even supposing the player does, he should not be considered any differently than any other legionaire. Joining the legion is a duty and a service.

    Viking culture, on the other hand, should have a sense of justice based on hierarchy, where governments are much less formal. Kings are just big landowners with strong families. Family feud is a big theme, as is weregild. In vicking towns, a player who is caught murdering would be able to pay a weregild, but the price depends on the person he kills. Not paying the fine does not result in jail, however. It results in loosing the allegiance of an important family, who will try to kill you until you pay a weregild.

    You guys have not played the companions quest in this playthrough, and while it fell short, it was the most “Vicking” thing in the game. You saw escalation on both sides. You kill some werewolf hunters, they kill skjor, you kill more of them, they eventually kill Whitemane, resulting in loss on both sides, though you only see it on your side alone. It’s not on the level of any of the great Sagas or Poems, but it did a serviceable job of getting that idea off.

    As far as a main plot goes, get rid of it, or at least get rid of it as a single long quest. Also, get rid of, probably, half of the cities. Combine them together, I suppose. This is the cold north, it should not be this urban. Have some important characters who are involved in many quests in the, say, 2 big cities. The rest should basically be small towns where you have one or two families (large families, allbeit). Also, where the hell is sailing?

    The last theme should be oral history, song, and poetry. Instead of “dragonborn”, just make the main character a Skald, maybe a “dovahskald” to justify that these are magical. Shouts are not learned from giant stoneslabs. They are, instead, words that the player character makes himself to describe important moments in his life. A big battle between two families might offer an option of two shouts. Maybe one describes the glory of the protagonist, while the other the grim and tragic reality of war. It’s not moral choice, but I think it allows for better interactivity than “Save little sister/kill little sister”.

    1. ZekeCool says:

      I would play this. Though it sounds like you’ve put a bit too much thought into one of those things that will never happen, I would enjoy the idea of different words as a choice a lot.

    2. MichaelGC says:

      You’d need something like this to keep track of Catbert’s weregild obligations!

      1. yeti434 says:

        Well, way, way back I was working on modding at the very least the shouts as puzzle solving elements in dungeons. It wasn’t going to be anything crazy complex. However, after the 1billionth editor crash, and the fact that I had gotten a new job, I stopped.

    3. Cinebeast says:

      Fantastic suggestions. If you do make a Youtube series on this, post a link, it sounds great.

  20. Vect says:

    I find it amusing that Josh hates Ulfric enough that he’s willing to appease Nazi Elves.

    But yeah, I do agree that there could have been more done with this council. Like, organizing an actual treaty rather than a temporary cease-fire or using that Dossier to get Ulfric and Tullius to cooperate against the Thalmor. And heck, killing Ulfric and Tullius before the Civil War would be amazing.

    1. Thomas says:

      It would be nice if you could Christmas Day massacre here.

      Makes me want to see more games copy New Vegas. If they just pushed the ideas a bit more, since no-one is immortal, but the high-ups tend to place themselves in bases surrounded by elite troops, setting up a ‘truce’ agreement where you then betray everyone is something the player might actually want to do.

      1. James Porter says:

        Why can’t more games just copy new vegas?

  21. newdarkcloud says:

    I pretty much agree with Chris when it comes to this conference. I appreciate the effort, but it’s not particularly good.

  22. BitFever says:

    The group I play D&D with has a tenancy of going completely off the rails and driving the GM insane. Eventually it reached a point where he made an NPC that had magic that made us go asleep that you couldn’t have a saving throw against and tied us up with inescapable ropes that we weren’t allowed to have an escape artist attempt at so he could actually manage to tell us what the the main quest line was even supposed to be before letting us go again. I think we may have broken the poor mans mind to drive him that far.

  23. Benjamin Hilton says:

    I agree with the notion, that Places and people in Oblivion felt more real.

    The One town that had a Bower instead of a blacksmith comes to mind. Sure it may have been inconvenient if you were looking for a sword, but it gave the place character.

    Also I liked the fact that most towns had multiple inns/bars. There was usually a nice inn run by a family or something, and then there was a dive bar sort of place. Not only did this make the town seem larger and more realistic, but by extension it let you infer things about characters by observing which establishment they frequented.

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