5 Tiny Things I Hope Get Changed in Skyrim

Susan Arendt | 29 Apr 2011 21:47
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3. Better Banter

If you stopped to listen to a pair of Oblivion's NPC mid-chat, you'd quickly become convinced not only that everyone in the province was part of some kind of world-wide hive mind, but that the mind in question belonged to a paint-eating moron. Whether you were in Anvil, Chorral, or Skingrad, everyone seemed to be talking about the same, stupid things. "I saw a mudcrab the other day." You live in the SWAMP. You must see a mudcrab EVERY day, do you really feel the need to bring it up like it's hot news? I mean, ok, maybe it's kind of noteworthy in Imperial City, but with the Emperor dying and demon-spewing Oblivion gates popping up all over the countryside, you'd think people would have something slightly more interesting to talk about besides their dislike of mudcrabs. I think I'd actually prefer walking through an entirely silent populace than hear this kind of mind-numbingly stupid natter in the background for another 300 hours.

4. More Voices

If you could overlook the uncanny valley-ness of the NPCs and weren't put off by the supermegazoom-in whenever you started chatting with someone, you probably couldn't help but notice that there were maybe six voices in all of Oblivion, not counting Sean Bean and Patrick Stewart. I could deal with the hyper-Botox nature of the characters, but hearing the same voice coming out of five people in the same town killed any sense that I was inhabiting a real world and reminded me forcefully that I was playing a game - and one with limited resources for voice work, at that. Yes, I know that Oblivion was huge, with umpteen quintillion lines of dialog, and perhaps when Oblivion was released we didn't really understand how important really good voicework was for an immersive RPG experience. Ok, I totally made that last part up in a desperate attempt to give Bethesda the benefit of the doubt. Just hire some more actors, ok?

5. Bring Back Silt Striders

Silt Striders are actually a holdover from Morrowind - Oblivion didn't have them, opting instead for a simple fast travel system that let you move between locations by selecting them on a map. The huge bugs were basically bus lines that ran between certain cities; in order to get where you were going, you had to know where to pick up the nearest silt strider that serviced that location. Oblivion's fast transit system is certainly easier, but I miss the insider feeling I got from knowing which silt strider line went where. It was a small bit of information that made me feel like a local, as opposed to some out-of-towner with their nose stuck in a map. Abandoning Oblivion's easier system of getting around would undoubtedly just piss people off - and understandably so - but how about bringing back the silt striders (or something like them) for the rest of us?

See? Told you they were minor. But Bethesda already knows about all the big stuff it has to fix - like the scaling difficulty and the skills that nobody ever used - so someone has to remind them that the little things matter, too. Feel free to add your own suggestions to the Wishlist, but make sure they're tiny!

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