The last time I did a wee Elder Scrolls binge, I played Morrowind and then went straight to Skyrim. I’ve never had much of a thing for Oblivion; while I find Skyrim‘s viking aesthetic reasonably boring, it’s not half as boring as Oblivion‘s extremely straight trad-fantasy trappings. But these feelings come and go regardless of how your conscious mind might object, and sometimes you just need to float around grassy hills and bash some glass-hammer-wielding minotaurs.Continue reading
I’ve been replaying The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I’ve been thinking about level scaling — the way the game adjusts the power of enemies to match your own, so no matter where in the world you go, you’ll get an appropriate level of challenge.
I don’t think it works.
I have some thoughts.
According to this blog, I last played Morrowind a whopping seven years ago. How can a game linger on in your mind for such periods of time? By all means, it’s a massive game and so is best reconsumed after long breaks, but even across such gulfs it is never far from my mind.
Well, for whatever reason, those thoughts bubbled closer and closer to the surface and I could resist no more. I got out my old GOTY edition CDs, lay the printed map on the desk beside me, and stepped into Vvardenfell once again…
They always say “never meet your heroes”, but I get the impression they should also say “never attempt to rebuild your heroes” because it invariably doesn’t work. I might gripe about bits and pieces of Skyrim but overall I enjoy it, though after 50-odd hours it gets a bit samey. The answer to such saminess? Why, an expansion pack!
The Dragonborn DLC is more than a year old now, but fuelled by a desire for just a bit more variety and not yet ready to drop this unhealthy but oh-so-addictive game, I was enticed to pick up this pack because it’s set on Solstheim, that same snowy place first brought to us in the Morrowind expansion pack Bloodmoon. A pack of which I enjoyed many elements, sure, though (guess what?) I found the frigid landscape just a teensy bit monotonous.
Oh well, that’s what disposable income is for. Let’s see if a little bit of mechanically-recovered Morrrowind magic can liven up the drab chill of Skyrim…
Since I am working on a sci-fi right now, it is only fitting that, in my off times, I immerse myself in the fantasies of others. So the lore doesn’t get too grungy, right? While I’m finally re-reading The Wheel of Time before going to bed (at the current consumption rate, I will be reading the series for approximately two years), I decided I needed a break from the hard graft of game development during the day with a bit of Elder Scrolls action.
I’ve only played Skyrim once before, but I haven’t bought any DLC or added any mods. I just kind of… felt like giving it another go. This triggered a train of thought about “perks”.
So, here we are at the modern age, having climbed up from the darkness of 1994.
I’ve been the Eternal Champion, rescuing Uriel Septim from Jagar Tharn by rebuilding the Staff of Chaos. I’ve been the random Blades agent who caused the Warp in the West, handing Numidium back to the Empire to crush those pesky warring kingdoms into line. I’ve been the Incarnate, Nerevar Reborn, ending Dagoth Ur’s evil blight and fulfilling the Bloodmoon Prophecy along the way. I’ve been the Hero of Kvatch and Saviour of Bruma, the Imperial Dogsbody who ushered in the end of the Third Era.
Now I have been the Dragonborn.
I haven’t played Oblivion since the first time. I skittered off it, though in a totally different manner than my first encounters with Morrowind. I played it through, played quite a lot of it, but it ultimately left me cold.
That was, however, a stupid number of years ago. It’s high time for a re-examination.
The thing that really stokes me about Bloodmoon is that it’s basically Vvardenfell in miniature, on a scale comprehensible to its players — and that means it’s possible to be a completist about it.
No tomb will be left unraided, no naked nord left standing. All of Solstheim will be mine.