E3: Skyrim

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I don't want to take anything away from what Skyrim is trying to do or how great it is sounding, but I don't understand this point:

"the game lets you fight however you like simply by choosing what you'd like each hand to do."

Didn't we already do this in Oblivion? I often had a character that would blast away with spells from long range and once the enemy got closer I'd switch to melee. I guess what I'm not getting is how fundamentally different or superior the new version is. Game journalists keep touting the choice we have in combat, but it doesn't really sound new to me, just slightly evolved. Am I missing something here?

Zom-B:
I don't want to take anything away from what Skyrim is trying to do or how great it is sounding, but I don't understand this point:

"the game lets you fight however you like simply by choosing what you'd like each hand to do."

Didn't we already do this in Oblivion? I often had a character that would blast away with spells from long range and once the enemy got closer I'd switch to melee. I guess what I'm not getting is how fundamentally different or superior the new version is. Game journalists keep touting the choice we have in combat, but it doesn't really sound new to me, just slightly evolved. Am I missing something here?

Ah, ok, let me clarify. In Oblivion, you were either casting spells, or you were using weapons. In Skyrim, you put whatever you like in your left hand - a spell, a staff, a dagger, an axe, a shield, whatever - and then do the same for your right. Want to carry a shield and be armed with a heal spell? You can. Want to put a fire spell in each hand so that you can effectively wield a more powerful spell? No problem.

It's a more flexible mix-and-match approach to combat/defense. But I don't think you're wrong calling it an evolution of what was already there, though this allows for greater blending of playstyles, especially when it's combined with the new skill system.

plainlake:
Did the landscapes look generic or did you feel that you needed to explore every nook and cranny? I know this is hard to say from a hands-off demo.

Well, the outdoor environments were very much like Oblivion - there are points of interest, like towns and caves and monuments scattered around, so exploring will definitely be beneficial. We didn't see a whole lot of dungeon, but I really liked what we were shown.

Susan Arendt:

Zom-B:
I don't want to take anything away from what Skyrim is trying to do or how great it is sounding, but I don't understand this point:

"the game lets you fight however you like simply by choosing what you'd like each hand to do."

Didn't we already do this in Oblivion? I often had a character that would blast away with spells from long range and once the enemy got closer I'd switch to melee. I guess what I'm not getting is how fundamentally different or superior the new version is. Game journalists keep touting the choice we have in combat, but it doesn't really sound new to me, just slightly evolved. Am I missing something here?

Ah, ok, let me clarify. In Oblivion, you were either casting spells, or you were using weapons. In Skyrim, you put whatever you like in your left hand - a spell, a staff, a dagger, an axe, a shield, whatever - and then do the same for your right. Want to carry a shield and be armed with a heal spell? You can. Want to put a fire spell in each hand so that you can effectively wield a more powerful spell? No problem.

It's a more flexible mix-and-match approach to combat/defense. But I don't think you're wrong calling it an evolution of what was already there, though this allows for greater blending of playstyles, especially when it's combined with the new skill system.

No, no, I get that but even so, it doesn't really sound that different. I get that it's probably much better, but I think the emphasis that it's a "new" feature is misleading. Oblivion gave us lots of choice too and didn't really hammer us into a predefined class either. Sure, you chose or created one which gave your stats a starting point, but from there on out you could fight and cast spells however you saw fit, within your abilities.

Again, I'm getting that Skyrim will do it better, I just think the hype on the "choice" aspect is a bit disingenuous in some ways.

/drool

(tried to say more, but my mouth was full)

okay I'm better. I hope the people I knew don't actually hope to see me anytime during those holidays...

This is looking very intriguing as always. For one I'm so extremely glad that Bethesda have finally thrown away their extremely obsolete game engine for a much newer, much slicker one. If there was one thing that annoyed me about games like Oblivion and Fallout 3 it was that it was much too CPU-intensive for what was actually going on in game. My PC has run prettier games like Crysis and Crysis 2 with pretty much no framerate hitches whatsoever, and my PC still grinds down to a single-digit fps count during the final battle of Oblivion's main storyline unless I set all graphics slider to moderate-minimum. It was just plain inefficient. My hope is that Skyrim will run much better at a decent video quality. For the rest, I'm just plain looking forward to seeing it on my shelf as Blizzard, Valve and Bethesda are pretty much the only developers I care to spend money on.

The new combat system sounds especially intriguing. The interchangeability of the player character's hands sounds like unlike previous games it might actually be possible to swap between magic and combat without too much of a hassle. Still, what with the ability to switch between sword and shield, dual wielding, and magicing with either one or two hands, I hope it is still possible to wield two-handed weapons, since if magic can be made more powerful by loading a single spell in both hands, the same should be possible for melee, right? On that note, I hope that Skyrim will reintroduce a greater variety of weapons, since a lot of them went inexplicably missing between Morrowind and Oblivion.

Also, any one know if Skyrim will feature things like combat on horseback (which Oblivion, despite the ability to ride horses, sorely lacked) and better character animations? It would add a lot of immersion into the game that Oblivion in special failed to provide.

Ohe last thing; I hope that Skyrim will be a game that can stand on its own without the express need for mods. I realize that Morrowind and Oblivion thrive on its mod community, and that's not a bad thing; Morrowind, probably one of my top 3 most favorite games ever, as a game was greatly enriched by mods, adding detail and character to an already expansive game world backed by a mostly solid gameplay and interface (save for perhaps the infuriating lack of regenerating magicka and the clusterfuck quest journal), but in my opinion, Oblivion was much too reliant on third-party mods to enhance its gameplay to actual tolerable standards. When I first played through vanilla Oblivion and finished every quest I could find I was left feeling empty. The sights were wonderful and watching dead enemies ragdoll through the air in mad pirouettes after launching off of my magical lightning hammer was always fun, but as a whole the game didn't leave me with the same impression that Morrowind did, and the mods that added wandering adventurers and allegiances to the land of Cyrodiil, and new mobs to kill to the countryside of Cyrodiil, and more houses and stories to the cities of Cyrodiil and a risen water level to Leyawiin didn't manage to fill that void. All this third-party artifice made the experience more varied and enjoyable to a point, but I kept seeing things left and right and feeling that they shouldn't be there... No amount of added content could replicate whatever it was that Morrowind had and that Oblivion didn't, and as such I remained unfulfilled.

Many PC gamers today can't fathom playing Oblivion without inventory, gameplay and leveling overhauls. Between my real life friends and online acquaintances I can't find anyone that plays Oblivion without mods like O3 and Better Cities, and the fact that the actual mod support has developed actual third-party software like OBMM, designed for the express purpose of fluently incorporating mods into the game, is only further evidence of the necessity of mods to enhance Oblivion's core gameplay. All I'm saying is I hope Bethesda have been taking notes from all this third-party content, so that vanilla Skyrim will be an enjoyable experience without the whole rigmorall of mod-hunting to add spruces of substance and color to a bleak and empty shell of a game.

Has it yet been confirmed if you can duel-wield shields? Because I will be basing a character on that if it's viable.

Kahunaburger:

On the Oblivion vs. Morrowind thing, I actually played Morrowind first, then Oblivion, then went back to Morrowind with enough graphics mods to make my laptop cry, and ended up liking Morrowind a lot better on balance. There's just more stuff to do, and the NPCs are a few steps further away from the uncanny valley. IMHO, Oblivion was a step forward on graphics and melee, and a step back on aesthetics, setting, magic, and everything else. But I definitely think there's room for difference of opinion on this issue :)

I also played Morrowind first, (on the Xbox), then stopped for a few years, then played Oblivion when I got a 360, then I decided to go back and play Morrowind again (PC this time) because I felt like Oblivion was lacking in atmosphere. Only to find out, to my shock, that there were so many problems with Morrowind that I hadn't remembered, and although I still had a blast playing it, I found that some of these problems were way more prominent than I remembered. At which point I started playing Oblivion again, and I found out what a great game it really was once I stopped comparing it to my nostalgia of Morrowind, and instead compared it to Morrowind itself.

One more thing:

...and the NPCs are a few steps further away from the uncanny valley.

What did you mean by that? The NPC's in Morrowind were essentially walking menus. They didn't do anything except wander in a predefined area. In Oblivion, NPC's have actual schedules (buggy, glitchy schedules, but still a damn impressive feat nonetheless), and they feel like real people instead of clouds of ones and zeroes. It was so endearing to me the first time I stepped into the Arena, and saw other people in there, cheering a team on. It made me feel really immersed into a world full of people.

T8B95:

Kahunaburger:

On the Oblivion vs. Morrowind thing, I actually played Morrowind first, then Oblivion, then went back to Morrowind with enough graphics mods to make my laptop cry, and ended up liking Morrowind a lot better on balance. There's just more stuff to do, and the NPCs are a few steps further away from the uncanny valley. IMHO, Oblivion was a step forward on graphics and melee, and a step back on aesthetics, setting, magic, and everything else. But I definitely think there's room for difference of opinion on this issue :)

I also played Morrowind first, (on the Xbox), then stopped for a few years, then played Oblivion when I got a 360, then I decided to go back and play Morrowind again (PC this time) because I felt like Oblivion was lacking in atmosphere. Only to find out, to my shock, that there were so many problems with Morrowind that I hadn't remembered, and although I still had a blast playing it, I found that some of these problems were way more prominent than I remembered. At which point I started playing Oblivion again, and I found out what a great game it really was once I stopped comparing it to my nostalgia of Morrowind, and instead compared it to Morrowind itself.

One more thing:

...and the NPCs are a few steps further away from the uncanny valley.

What did you mean by that? The NPC's in Morrowind were essentially walking menus. They didn't do anything except wander in a predefined area. In Oblivion, NPC's have actual schedules (buggy, glitchy schedules, but still a damn impressive feat nonetheless), and they feel like real people instead of clouds of ones and zeroes. It was so endearing to me the first time I stepped into the Arena, and saw other people in there, cheering a team on. It made me feel really immersed into a world full of people.

It might boil down to a personal preference thing. There are many things Morrowind does worse than Oblivion (melee combat, theft, and cliff racers being at the forefront) and many things it does better (world-building, magic, better mods, etc.) I personally like Morrowind a lot more, but I can see why other people might disagree with me, especially if you play anything other than a pure caster haha.

The uncanny valley thing is also a pure value judgment - for me, Morrowind NPCs aren't quite as off-putting as Oblivion NPCs because they're not trying as hard to be realistic. You can imagine what the text sounds like and so on. Oblivion NPCs annoy me because they talk about mudcrabs all the time and have questionable voice acting, so that's one case where I think more technology can actually be a bad thing. But once again, this is more my opinion than a factual statement, and I can see why someone else would disagree :)

hello drizzit clones

a topographical map will a godsend, i cant remember how times i tried to go somewhere in Oblivion and ended up climbing a mountain, or two

and the modding, love modding bethesda games

Klagermeister:
11/11/11: The day I say goodbye to society to play Skyrim forever in my basement.
Friends, activities, family, food... All meaningless distractions from the glory that is Skyrim.

This.

OT: I am actually annoyed about that UI font. Though the PC gaming master race being what it is, a mod'll pop up within 10 minutes to change it.

Zom-B:

Susan Arendt:

Zom-B:
I don't want to take anything away from what Skyrim is trying to do or how great it is sounding, but I don't understand this point:

"the game lets you fight however you like simply by choosing what you'd like each hand to do."

Didn't we already do this in Oblivion? I often had a character that would blast away with spells from long range and once the enemy got closer I'd switch to melee. I guess what I'm not getting is how fundamentally different or superior the new version is. Game journalists keep touting the choice we have in combat, but it doesn't really sound new to me, just slightly evolved. Am I missing something here?

Ah, ok, let me clarify. In Oblivion, you were either casting spells, or you were using weapons. In Skyrim, you put whatever you like in your left hand - a spell, a staff, a dagger, an axe, a shield, whatever - and then do the same for your right. Want to carry a shield and be armed with a heal spell? You can. Want to put a fire spell in each hand so that you can effectively wield a more powerful spell? No problem.

It's a more flexible mix-and-match approach to combat/defense. But I don't think you're wrong calling it an evolution of what was already there, though this allows for greater blending of playstyles, especially when it's combined with the new skill system.

No, no, I get that but even so, it doesn't really sound that different. I get that it's probably much better, but I think the emphasis that it's a "new" feature is misleading. Oblivion gave us lots of choice too and didn't really hammer us into a predefined class either. Sure, you chose or created one which gave your stats a starting point, but from there on out you could fight and cast spells however you saw fit, within your abilities.

Again, I'm getting that Skyrim will do it better, I just think the hype on the "choice" aspect is a bit disingenuous in some ways.

I saw this wasn't answered so I thought I'd clarify the differences for you.

In Oblivion you had Major, Minor and untagged skills. You either selected these by choosing a preset class or selecting the skills you wanted. Either way, your progression through the game was determined from those choices you made at the outset. Major skills increased dramatically through use, minor skills increased at a regular rate and untagged skills increased very, very slowly.

What this meant was, if you found a skill that you liked but didnt make a major skill it took a while to increase, and if it was untagged it took forever to increase.

Skyrim does away with the tagging. All skills increase at the same rate. Therefore, if there's a skill you like you can raise it at an except able rate. Also, since you're not locked into choices at the beginning, you can just do whatever and experiment.

There is a catch, however. Skill progression is linked to how your character levels up. Leveling skills is what increases your character level in Skyrim. The higher you level a skill the more it counts towards your character's next level. Therefore, working on a few skills will increase your character level faster than working on all of them equally. That may not seem like a big deal, however enemies don't scale 1to1 like they did in Oblivion, and you won't be able to play the entire game at level 3. Therefore, even though you can increase skills at the same rate, you might slow your progression by not trying to specialize in certain areas.

ultraddtd:
I saw this wasn't answered so I thought I'd clarify the differences for you.

In Oblivion you had Major, Minor and untagged skills. You either selected these by choosing a preset class or selecting the skills you wanted. Either way, your progression through the game was determined from those choices you made at the outset. Major skills increased dramatically through use, minor skills increased at a regular rate and untagged skills increased very, very slowly.

What this meant was, if you found a skill that you liked but didnt make a major skill it took a while to increase, and if it was untagged it took forever to increase.

Skyrim does away with the tagging. All skills increase at the same rate. Therefore, if there's a skill you like you can raise it at an except able rate. Also, since you're not locked into choices at the beginning, you can just do whatever and experiment.

There is a catch, however. Skill progression is linked to how your character levels up. Leveling skills is what increases your character level in Skyrim. The higher you level a skill the more it counts towards your character's next level. Therefore, working on a few skills will increase your character level faster than working on all of them equally. That may not seem like a big deal, however enemies don't scale 1to1 like they did in Oblivion, and you won't be able to play the entire game at level 3. Therefore, even though you can increase skills at the same rate, you might slow your progression by not trying to specialize in certain areas.

Uh, thanks? I guess? I know all this already. What I'm trying to say is that this is simply an improvement on how Oblivion handles character building.

More specifically, I'm referring to the fact that one of Skyrim's talked about features is the ability to "play how you want" with whatever weapon/spell in whatever hand. That's great and will be better than Oblivion.

However, in Oblivion I could still have a shield in one hand and a spell in the other. Or a sword and a spell. I realize that the Skyrim system is much improved, but Oblivion also allowed you to make any character you wanted and play it any way you liked, whether or not it was truly effective.

I guess I appreciate people trying to explain to me something they believe I don't comprehend, but at the same time, those very same people don't seem to be comprehending what I am saying. The behind the scenes mechanics and number crunching will be much improved, but in the end both Skyrim and Oblivion allow you to "play the character you want", albeit in different ways.

Imbechile:
Still not excited for this. I'm cautiosly optimistic.
300 books you say? Maybe they will do some actual fucking work instead of copy-pasting most of Morrowind's books like they did in Oblivion.

This made me laugh.

Do you not realize the story from Morrowind to Oblivion and from Oblivion to Skyrim is set just a few years apart not too far away from eachother? NOT including the older books would be idiotic and break all link to the previous game.

In case you haven't realized, Elder Scrolls is designed with immersion ahead of all other aspects, and by all I mean everything. Only a few times have they broken this rule, and most of them happened in Oblivion. Read: Fast travel. And then Fallout: Children gods.

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