First Person: Skyrim is Soulless

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Your actions do matter in Skyrim. I killed a chicken, and everyone in Skyrim was tyring to kill me. Awesome living world with consequences...

And lol at people suggesting LARPing in a video game.

Zachary Amaranth:
Isn't open and without consequence exactly what gamers want out of Skyrim, though?

Maybe, but I am not one of those. I don't play video games as often as I'd like, so when I play an open world game (or any game), I want to feel like I am actually doing something with the short amounts of time I put into it. With games like Fallout, Skyrim, and even Borderlands, there sometimes feels like there is never any progression when people don't give two shits about you. It feels like your not doing anything.

Red Dead Redemption, in my opinion, made even the side quests feel very important by putting some serious feelings and emotions behind each quest giver and person you interfered with. You feel like you are changing these people's lives. It makes even the shortest amounts of playtime interesting and full of weight. This is also the appeal of linear games to me.

Just a personal preference, but it really makes all the difference to me.

TheMatsjo:

Jonluw:
I don't think "people who need to have all the gold in the game" is such a big subgroup of RPG gamers that Bethesda should sacrifice realism

Just a funny little tidbit: I like how you call having a carrying limit realistic in a game where you can carry a dozen pieces of armor without as much as a back pack.

I know. The limit is quite unrealistic. What I see it as is introducing a semblance of realism, while catering to the common player's need to carry many items, while avoiding absolute imbalance.

I just need the fact that you can't carry infinity items to sustain the realism, because this introduces the gameplay aspects of priority and a need for storage separate from your own body cavities (where Elder scrolls characters evidently store their items).

Athinira:
A game that invites you to play in many different ways and SUCCEED in making all of them enjoyable is after all a rare gem that should be treasured.

"A Jack of all trades is a master of none."

I respect both of your viewpoints, I think an accurate summary would be that you have a fundamental disagreement over what this game should try to accomplish.

The Elder Scrolls series has gone the way of the jack of all trades, offering many things, but excelling in very little. This is a very justifiable choice, especially considering the mod-ability of the games. It's a compromise on many levels that delivers an extremely diverse, but ultimately hollow experience. So yes (Jonluw), the game is geared to cast a very wide net.

If TES had gone the way of the master it would have by necessity (in all likelihood) have become a far more narrow, focused game. I agree that if a game includes something, it can also be criticised on those aspects if it fails to deliver. So yes, from a mastery standpoint Skyrim fails in many ways to deliver on its promises. I think your (Athinira) criticisms are valid, but I think it's been a conscious choice on Bethesda's part.

The only way to satisfy both viewpoints would be to build a master of all trades game, but that's quite a tall order. I think Bethesda chose to go the way of the jack of all trades, and so far it's worked out well for them, and offers a lot of something for everyone. But, I do agree with the OP.

PS: just realised my wording's not exactly smooth, but I hope the content is at least legible.

I agree, they are casting a wide net.
And while they can't make all paths satisfying they do focus on making the most used ones more polished.
The point where I disagree with OP and Athniria is on which paths they should polish, evidently. I am completely okay with the game not placing focus on the role of "marrying, and living a humble blacksmith's life", because I feel this is not the kind of experience the game is mainly trying to deliver.

A few gripes about Skyrim:
- No perception marks for enemies (like in Fallout)
- Pacing at the end of the main quest is horrible
- I don't know if the game can decide if Dragons returning or Stormcloaks vs Imperials is a better main story
- The intro quest is an awful introduction to Stormcloaks vs Imperials (the Imperial character actually has the decency to apologize)

But apart from those things its my favourite game of the year, I love it so much.

PhantomEcho:
You're just talking in circles now.

You call me hypocritical in an argument which is at least as hypocritical as you claim for mine to be, all the while failing to understand the point. The point is that you're not SEEING the compromises that others, like me, have had to make to accommodate others. You only see what YOU perceive to be a flaw, and base your argument around that.

Well I see your PLAY-STYLE as being a flaw. And yet I welcome you to it.

What I don't welcome is Bethesda changing the entire structure of their game to suit you. Because you're not a majority, nor are you more important than me and folks who like to play like me. We all make compromises so that other folks can get the things they want.

The one talking in circles is you. You see, you keep having the illusion that any change i want in the game is gonna ruin your experience, when in fact it's not.

I haven't ONCE argued that they need to change the entire structure to please me. I said that they could have done it, and they could do it without ruining your gameplay and with very simple changes. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

All they need to do is understand that limitations can improve a game.

In my previous post before this one (it's a seperate post to my last reply to you, you can find it here), i demonstrated how i would solve the min-maxer problem in Skyrim by simply making any dungeon/keep only lootable once after you cleared it. This makes min-maxers not feel they missed out and makes them capable of moving forward, it doesn't ruin anyone elses gameplay, it makes sense within the game world and it fixes a problem. See the point?

TheMatsjo:
"A Jack of all trades is a master of none."

I respect both of your viewpoints, I think an accurate summary would be that you have a fundamental disagreement over what this game should try to accomplish.

The Elder Scrolls series has gone the way of the jack of all trades, offering many things, but excelling in very little. This is a very justifiable choice, especially considering the mod-ability of the games. It's a compromise on many levels that delivers an extremely diverse, but ultimately hollow experience. So yes (Jonluw), the game is geared to cast a very wide net.

Except that it's not a disagreement over what it should try to accomplish. My argument is that the game could accomplish EVERYTHING if the developers just did it right. Being the "master of all trades" isn't impossible :o) It does, however, require dedication, intuition, talent and above all else, common sense in game design.

weirdguy:
btw, due to the "radiant" wild encounter system, you WILL be attacked for things you've done earlier, although to be fair most wild encounters are hostile anyway.

I like random encounters - really adds to travelling. So far found 26 different encounters.

Athinira:

Jonluw:
But including a function in the game is not the same as inviting the players to take it to its logical extreme.
Modern warfare lets you use grenade launchers. Is the fact that there isn't enought grenade launcher ammunition in the game to let the tube-enthusiasts play through the game using only that? No, I wouldn't say so.

Features/functions without limitations ARE going to be exploited by players to the logical extreme. They always will. And that is why your analogy is not appropriate, because grenade launcher ammo being limited is, ironically enough, a LIMITATION, and like i said earlier, limitations can be good. Even though there isn't infinite grenade launcher ammunition, Modern Warfare still allows you to play with it for a while, which is enough. You don't see the min-maxer complaining that there isn't infinite loot in the keep either do you? The mere fact that there is limited ammunition in Modern Warfare is in itself an appropriate limitation which only hightens the fun, because it makes the time that you actually CARRY the grenade launcher more enjoyable, knowing that you can't do it all the time.

No, but I did see the min-maxer complaining about merchants not having infinite amounts of money and players not having infinite amounts of inventory space.

Let me give you an appropriate example of how i would fix the min-maxing problem in Skyrim by imposing a limitation.

Imagine if the keep talked about in the original article got devoid of items after you leave it the first time. You clear out the keep, loot it, go to sell the stuff you looted, but when you come back to loot the rest, it's gone.

Not only can this limitation make sense in the context of the game (someone else looted the keep while you were gone), but it would also improve it for the min-maxers. Why? Because the goal of the min-maxer is to make the absolutely best performance with what he got, and by limiting what he got (you can only loot the keep once instead of coming back several times), you make him able to min-max faster and help him progress faster in the game without having to feel that he wasted an opportunity to min-max, and at the same time you also make him do a min-maxing consideration about which loot to bring and which loot to abandon, which further stimulates his min-maxing-mind for more enjoyment?

See how this works?

Yes. And like I've been saying: Skyrim isn't catering to the min-maxing crowd, so they have no incentive to include this feature.

And as I've also been saying: I really need to finish my homework before going to bed, so I really can't put any more effort into this debate.

He has got a point; hints of a souless experience without any real recognition of your efforts or decisions.

My own examples:
-Became Harbinger of the Companions and the guards still ask if I "fetch the mead" and I'm still talked down to by guild members.

-The info I found at the Thalmore Embassy shows it doesn't matter which faction I decide to help win the war, which I was really debating with myself on.

-I have no option when dealing with the gods' demands, I either accept or leave the quests unfinished, but if I do comply, it doesn't show in the world anyway beyond an artifact that I've advanced beyond using anyway.

-I can't play a "good guy" and take down the thieves guild if I feel like it; I have to frame a guy that I just helped and called me a friend, but if I do to progress the story, he doesn't act any differently.

-A whole town watches me kill a dragon and absorb its soul, but then goes back to making smart-ass remarks "Let me guess, someone stole your sweetroll"

-Same goes for being a thane; I punch someone for disrespecting my position and suddenly I'm getting my ass kicked by the whole damn town.

Jonluw:
No, but I did see the min-maxer complaining about merchants not having infinite amounts of money and players not having infinite amounts of inventory space.

That's because it's a limitation you can get around (but it's very bothersome to do so), which in the end means that it's not really a limitation. You can get around the inventory problem by returning to the keep multiple times, and you can get around the merchant problem by searching far and wide for more merchants. These are bothersome solutions, but they are there, and the min-maxer is going to put himself through them to satisfy his desire to min-max.

Jonluw:
Yes. And like I've been saying: Skyrim isn't catering to the min-maxing crowd, so they have no incentive to include this feature.

And as I've also been saying: I really need to finish my homework before going to bed, so I really can't put any more effort into this debate.

And like I've been saying, that's a blatant lie. Skyrim is only second to WoW in a game that invites to min-maxing, and ALOT of the players who bought the game play it because they enjoy min-maxing. If it wasn't catering to min-maxers, it wouldn't allow you to min-max to the degree it does in the first place. Bethesda understands that many of their customers are min-maxers, so they don't ignore it (they just don't understand what to do with it). It's a ridiculous statement, just as ridiculous as vanilla raiders in WoW saying that the game wasn't ever going to cater to casuals.

But enjoy homework and sleep well.

Yes. Yes, yes a thousand times yes.

What point is a game in which you're "free to do anything and everything" if npc's don't acknowledge and react to whatever you do.

Imagine a skyrim but where dialogue would exist calling you out for only killing women. Or where you'd actually get yelled at for selling a questreward right in front of the quest-giver's eyes. "That was a gift, you callous jerk!" Or "Where on earth has all my cookware gone?" after robbing a household. Where people would starve if you stole all their food and they were out in a distant guardstation. Better yet, where the guards will get annoyed and desert if you leave them nothing to eat but biscuits and steal the rest.

I wouldn't care if the world is half as big, if you could actually interact with the world.

Zachary Amaranth:

SonicWaffle:

If you make big, world-changing decisions and the world fails to change notably, it can be an immersion-breaker to say the least.

Honey, EVERYTHING is an immersion breaker.

The sooner you learn how useless the word "immersion" is, the better.

"First person breaks my immersion!"

"Third person breaks my immersion!"

"Health packs break my immersion!"

"Regenerating health breaks my immersion!"

"Lens flare breaks my immersion!"

"HUDs break my immersion!"

"The inability to see my status breaks my immersion!"

"Immortal kids in a fantasy game break my immersion!"

Lack of consequence may be an immersion breaker, but I'm sure not being able to roleplay out a consequence-free murder fantasy breaks a few thousand other people's immersion.

I find the biggets immersion breaker when playing Skyrim is still being able to see the room in which the console and TV I'm playing the game on is contained. Until Bethesda fix this glaring flaw, I'm just not going to be able to get fully immersed in any of their games.

Though really, none of that matters, just as long as I'm able to send a group of bears hurtling off the edge of a mountain just by shouting at them, the rest is just gravy...:)

Therumancer:

winter2:
Agnis? I could have sworn I killed her as part of the Dark Brotherhood storyline. Maybe I'm wrong.

For me, Skyrims soul lives in the environment it gives us. I have spent hours just jaunting through the hills enjoying the snow and wind.

I believe you are correct Agnis is a Dark Brotherhood target.

Most NPCs seem to have some use, if you haven't found it, then chances are you don't have the relevent quest/storyline.

You might be going "huh, what" only to find out what was going on later on down the road.

Going by the other games in the series, The Dark Brotherhood isn't as evil as they are portrayed even if the members are kind of twisted. The concept is similar to that whole Wanted/Weapons of Fate thing, where they kill people for the greater good without it nessicarly being obvious why. I get the impression Sithis and The Night Mother play the role of nilistic murder machines for a higher purpose and I believe that was spelled out in some other games. If you look into some of the things going on (the stories told through the enviroment) there is oftentimes a clear reason why your killing someone... like say a cult shrine in their basement, relation to another NPC, or whatever else.

Oh and if you attack Agnis if I remember she's a little tougher than you might expect... I'm just saying. :)

"Oh please don't hurt me..." :P Gullible much.

A response to the article as much as to the message I'm quoting.

Hmm.. for me personally I happened upon her while she was sleeping I think. A sneaky arrow made short work of her.

Overall I have to say that the Dark Brotherhood storyline felt a little more tame than in Oblivion. I seem to remember having chills going down my back towards the end of it.

Or maybe I'm just remembering it with a slight sense of nostalgia. Hard to say these days. :D

"I have just realised NPCs in games aren't always 100% perfectly finished and that I don't have reasons to care about them," Is basically what I read from this.

Athinira:
If a game can be played "wrong" in the first place, then it's the fault of the game, not the player, because for some players, playing the game "right" isn't enjoyable.

That is the silliest, most untrue statement I have seen in a long time. Any game can be "played wrong."

When I first played Ocarina of Time (my third console game ever), I honestly tried to play it like Mario. I get to Queen Gohma and thought, like with bosses like King Bob-Omb or Whomp, I only needed to strike the boss once every time it got stunned. You know what happened? The battled dragged, and dragged, and I eventually died because I ran out of means to stun it. I fought it this way multiple times for over two hours and I got really, really angry with the game.

I WAS PLAYING IT WRONG!

I eventually figured out that I was supposed to, oh yeah, keep attacking it. It wasn't like Mario and I wasn't supposed to play it like that.

So don't you go spewing nonsense like "if a game can be played 'wrong,' it's the fault of the game," because that is complete and utter bullshit.

Athinira:

StriderShinryu:
While I get the general point of teh article, I can't help but think that part of the problem was the author's own expectations and approach. It may be true that the Agnis situation is odd, and I felt the same thing when I ran into her, but there is some responsibility on the part of the player to put themselves in the role rather than have it be handed them entirely by the game.

No it's not.

It's a games responsibility to draw you into an immersive experience. You can't just tell a player to take up a very specific mindset (in this case particularly, you are telling the player to take up a mindset where he ignores all the faults and shallow areas of the game on purpose, but by that argument, any game can be great).

If a game requires you to go into it with "the right mindset", then it's not GotY material, because i can mention a lot of games out there who have succeeded drawing in different audiences who normally didn't play that sort of game and didn't know what to expect. Take a game series like Modern Warfare. Even though they use a very generic formula, the gameplay is so compelling that most people will be able to pick that up and enjoy it without any particular mindset. In fact, it's almost impossible to go into Modern Warfare with the wrong mindset.

Skyrim is, at its best, a game which offers you a great amount of freedom, but 'freedom' isn't what everyone wants, and more importantly: The freedom is in most cases rather shallow (which is why this article was written in the first place).

Which is also why I'm going to pick up this quote for the last part of this post...

Zachary Amaranth:
And they probably never will.

But it hasn't really stopped people from being "immersed," regardless of what you've argued.

...and point out that it hasn't stopped a lot of people from NOT being immersed either :o)

And i feel this really is the core problem of Skyrim: People keep claiming it's a deep and expansive game, but while it's certainly huge, it's also in fact a rather shallow game. Now, there isn't anything wrong with a game being shallow (hell, Modern Warfare is rather Shallow too, and it's still the best selling game series ever), but there is something wrong with trying to pretend to be something else, and this rather breaks up the immersion for many people.

I would disagree. You (as in the player) define your own happiness. If you watch a movie and enjoy it, that is all you. You may enjoy the hell out of a movie that your neighbor hated. Happiness is defined by disposition, not by circumstance. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can make you happy, but you.

Someone gives you something, you either like it or you don't. The thing they gave you is completely indifferent to your level of enjoyment.

By the time I had logged as many hours into New Vegas as I have in Skyrim, I felt like I had big decisions to make that were really going to change the world of New Vegas.

That's how I felt. Preparing for the big battle, preparing for taking over New Vegas.
Bam, end, finish, a nice powerpoint shows how everything has changed.

That's it, not stop playing the game or make a new characer.

*Sigh*

HUGE disappointment. Really, I loved the game, but I was so disappointed in the end that I have never touched the game since I've seen the end credits.

Kimarous:
...
So don't you go spewing nonsense like "if a game can be played 'wrong,' it's the fault of the game," because that is complete and utter bullshit.

LOL, well said.

Maybe Agnis didn't react because that was the 5th time that had happened that week, and it was only Tuesday.

PH3NOmenon:
Yes. Yes, yes a thousand times yes.

What point is a game in which you're "free to do anything and everything" if npc's don't acknowledge and react to whatever you do.

Imagine a skyrim but where dialogue would exist calling you out for only killing women. Or where you'd actually get yelled at for selling a questreward right in front of the quest-giver's eyes. "That was a gift, you callous jerk!" Or "Where on earth has all my cookware gone?" after robbing a household. Where people would starve if you stole all their food and they were out in a distant guardstation. Better yet, where the guards will get annoyed and desert if you leave them nothing to eat but biscuits and steal the rest.

I wouldn't care if the world is half as big, if you could actually interact with the world.

Seriously, can I forward your post to Bethesda? I think that idea is good stuff.

On second thought, if I had too much fun having the world reacting to all of my shenanigans, I'd probably be divorced for ignoring my wife and family. :)

Athinira:
An "invitation" is something that carries a benefit... Picking up every item in the game and selling it has a gameplay benefit for the min-maxing crowd

I don't disagree. Only, it's strange that Dennis is compulsively obsessed with the net sale value of every item in Skyrim, and yet so thrown by an 'off' response from an NPC. I didn't know min-max'ers overlapped with serious role-players. I am educated.

Nurb:
He has got a point; hints of a souless experience without any real recognition of your efforts or decisions.

My own examples:
-Became Harbinger of the Companions and the guards still ask if I "fetch the mead" and I'm still talked down to by guild members.

-A whole town watches me kill a dragon and absorb its soul, but then goes back to making smart-ass remarks "Let me guess, someone stole your sweetroll"

Totally commiserate. My experience with the killing a dragon in town was quite different - Afterwards, they encircled the dragon, amazed at the beast and to be in the presence of Dragonborn. It was a great moment.

The only immersion-killer there was that they killed the dragon, I just shot at it from behind a bush.

The pursuit of this degree of freedom is admirable, even if Bethesda has a ways to go yet.

I fucking slaughtered that old bitch. i get way to exited when I'm killing shit.

Kimarous:

Athinira:
If a game can be played "wrong" in the first place, then it's the fault of the game, not the player, because for some players, playing the game "right" isn't enjoyable.

That is the silliest, most untrue statement I have seen in a long time. Any game can be "played wrong."

When I first played Ocarina of Time (my third console game ever), I honestly tried to play it like Mario. I get to Queen Gohma and thought, like with bosses like King Bob-Omb or Whomp, I only needed to strike the boss once every time it got stunned. You know what happened? The battled dragged, and dragged, and I eventually died because I ran out of means to stun it. I fought it this way multiple times for over two hours and I got really, really angry with the game.

I WAS PLAYING IT WRONG!

Using the wrong tactics/making the wrong decisions and "playing a game wrong" are two different things. It's not the same at all. When I'm talking about "playing the game wrong", i mean playing the game in a way the game doesn't invite you to in the first place.

From your description (having never played the game), it seems like Ocarina of Time is a game that doesn't paint a flowing weak spot on a boss and instead invites you to experiment until you find the right tactic, which you eventually did. So you didn't play the game wrong ;o)

Skratt:
I would disagree. You (as in the player) define your own happiness. If you watch a movie and enjoy it, that is all you. You may enjoy the hell out of a movie that your neighbor hated. Happiness is defined by disposition, not by circumstance. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can make you happy, but you.

Someone gives you something, you either like it or you don't. The thing they gave you is completely indifferent to your level of enjoyment.

Except that you don't define that yourself. What you enjoy or don't enjoy as a human is a product of your personality, NOT of your free will. I can't "decide" what i like or don't like. At best, i can try to enforce a mindset upon myself, but that's still a "fake" mindset in the same way that trying to convince myself that I'm in love with a chair doesn't make me in love with it.

And I'm having fun with Skyrim. What I'm arguing, however, is that I (and MANY other people) could have had so much more fun if Bethesda has just improved on some of the games flaws and had a better sense of game and world design. The worst part is that they are actually really close.... but still no cigar :-(

Like it or not, as human beings we react to stimuli (including digital entertainment), and while every human is different, there is typically some stimuli that we statistically react to more than others. It's not that Skyrim lacks good stimuli, to me it's more like it's attempting to drown us in some of it while withholding the rest.... i just want to taste it all and live to see the day! ;P

Levethian:
I don't disagree. Only, it's strange that Dennis is compulsively obsessed with the net sale value of every item in Skyrim, and yet so thrown by an 'off' response from an NPC. I didn't know min-max'ers overlapped with serious role-players. I am educated.

I don't get people who always say that "I didn't know X overlapped with Y". Everything can overlap with almost everything. Human diversity at its finest ;-)

Danyal:

By the time I had logged as many hours into New Vegas as I have in Skyrim, I felt like I had big decisions to make that were really going to change the world of New Vegas.

That's how I felt. Preparing for the big battle, preparing for taking over New Vegas.
Bam, end, finish, a nice powerpoint shows how everything has changed.

That's it, not stop playing the game or make a new characer.

*Sigh*

HUGE disappointment. Really, I loved the game, but I was so disappointed in the end that I have never touched the game since I've seen the end credits.

That's the primary reason I wasn't quite as oogly-boogly over New Vegas as some of the other older fans were: it doesn't really feel like I've made an impact when the game feels the need to sit me down and explain that I've made an impact, then casually change the subject if I ask for any details. It's still a good game, and to be honest, none of the games really did this well; it's as if the entire franchise has some crippling fear of the "falling action" portion of the plot. But the original Fallout at least gave a token falling action with the conversation with the Overseer, and you got to witness the results of some of your choices firsthand after the resolution in 2 & 3 (with the expansion). I still liked the game, and I understand why they couldn't personally demonstrate all of your choices, but the ending just felt dramatically unsatisfying to me.

I wish people would stop referring to Fallout NV as if it represents Bethesda getting it right, so to speak. Yes, they published it, but Obsidian developed it, and it shows.

Obsidian is, imo, an underrated developer; their execution seems to fall short of their intentions more often than not (KotOR 2 is a great example). I suspect they just need more money and time.

I've always felt that Obsidian lies somewhere between Bethesda and Bioware: content-drive vs character-driven. YMMV.

Hal10k:

That's the primary reason I wasn't quite as oogly-boogly over New Vegas as some of the other older fans were: it doesn't really feel like I've made an impact when the game feels the need to sit me down and explain that I've made an impact, then casually change the subject if I ask for any details. It's still a good game, and to be honest, none of the games really did this well; it's as if the entire franchise has some crippling fear of the "falling action" portion of the plot. But the original Fallout at least gave a token falling action with the conversation with the Overseer, and you got to witness the results of some of your choices firsthand after the resolution in 2 & 3 (with the expansion). I still liked the game, and I understand why they couldn't personally demonstrate all of your choices, but the ending just felt dramatically unsatisfying to me.

Please watch from 2:44;

This really touched me. I really felt like I fucked up, I felt sorry, and I immediately replayed with good karma, helping people and not blowing up Megaton. The ending felt so much better than NV's ending.

Seriously, the Powerpoint started ranting about all kinds of villages and groups ending and withering away. Why? Because I had never found them, had never started their quests, and certainly not finished them. I didn't feel responsible or engaged in anyway.

Also, Freeway prospered because I helped New Vegas, and became fucked up because I didn't complete all of it's quest. That's what they told me in sheet 3 and sheet 4, at least.
WTF, seriously.

I haven't played Skyrim yet, and I probably won't for a long time, but I guess I'm lucky since this wouldn't affect me. I probably would've just happily stolen everything in the fort without a second thought.

Fair comment. By the 500th time Adrianne the Warmaiden blacksmith lady said "you get things done, I like that" (my personal "arrow through the knee"), what began as an affirmation that I was making a difference became a meaningless, rote reminder that this was a game and this was all I was going to hear from her. At least people have stopped trying to start a conversation with me while I am trying to fight a goddam dragon. Or maybe I just stopped noticing.

Although I don't regret the purchase, I am less entranced by the world as the hardcore fans so that doesn't help. Having put close to 90 hours into Skyrim I can speak to it's addictive quality, but once the magic of upping skills and attaining gear wore off, everything became far less engaging so I'll probably sell up once the main quest is done. It feels that in the quest for scope, Bethesda sacrificed depth- a smaller cast with longer and more varied quests would have contributed enormously to it's longevity, for me at least.

This was one among many problems I had with skyrim. The first was the sheer ease of the game. Oblivion on the hardest difficulty required planning, strategy, and your build gave you the tools to overcome it yet there was always a way out of the most demanding and confounding confrontations.

In skyrim set to highest difficulty, you need none of that, dragons are soloable after a few levels and their novelty not-withstanding a level more, melee gives you a headstart and magic removes all difficulty in the later quests, and the guild quests are over and done with in a few hours. Even the dragonshout destroys would-be obstacles once you learn the one that knocks over and paralyzes foes for several seconds.

Oblivion before and after the game-enhancing mods gave me the challenge and open-world rpg experience I craved and still crave, many playthroughs had and completed. They should've took a look at what they had done and the mods that enhanced it and sought to make a game that exceeded that combined level of excellence but instead seemed to have felt out-done and under-shot what could've been a great opportunity. It'll take a long time before the skyrim mods catch up to the years of creating that oblivion spawned and is still spawning. I see the amount of things that came from it as reciprocity, bethesda gave so much and in return, the community gave back more, almost like a thank you . With what skyrim added... I don't know if that encourages anything more than the basic things modded bethesda games are given i.e. mod manager and fixes.

I could go on making this a blog-esque tear down of skyrim and seeing how disliking this game is "unpopular," usually warrants bashing but this gives me the opportunity to say the above and one last thing, I no longer believe bethesda brings challenge and substance that the previous games had. Elder scrolls is now the call of duty for rpgs and bethesda seems to be $atisfied with that.

Dennis Scimeca:
I was completely disinterested in the story and only cared about killing things and taking their stuff was my first clue that something was off about Skyrim,

Sounds to me that you simply don't like the game as it is, and there's your reasoning right there. I can understand your wanting to RP in the game and expect it to be fluidly conducive for doing so, however coming out and saying that you're utterly disinterested in the story and that all you really want to do is clear out dungeons and sell the loot kinda says that you have a very simplistic view of the game. If all you want to do is go around killing NPCs, why not give Saints Row 3 a try? I hear there's plenty of mindless NPC slaughter in there.

The point I'm trying to make is that if you don't like the story behind a game to the point that you can easily say "I was completely disinterested in the story and only cared about taking their stuff was my first clue that something was off about Skyrim." I suggest that deep down you never liked Skyrim in the first place...and if you're playing a game that deep down you don't like, of course you're going to feel that there's something wrong with it.

There's so much to do in Skyrim, all sorts of interesting and fun quests and storylines to get involved with, and yet you boiled your experience down to just dungeon clearing? Of course you're gonna think the game his hollow and souless, you haven't ACTUALLY been playing it! If you give up on the story(ies) presented in an RPG then you've given up on the game itself and as such are officially killing more time than NPCs. I'm certain any one of us who thoroughly enjoy the game would feel as bored as you do if we just said "Screw the story, I'm doing nothing but dungeon crawling." Skyrim is BUILT around the stories within it, if you ignore/avoid them then there is absolutely no point to be playing it. The same would be true about Oblivion if you just ignored its story, just as it would be true about the Fallout games or any other RPG for that matter.

:P That said, I will admit it's a bit iritating that after having won the Civil War for the Empire, people still talk about the Storm-Cloak leader as though he were still alive when I ask them what they think of the war.

warning, contains spoilers:

the most fun thing that happened to me, was when i finished that quest where you get the little girl for the temple of dibella. the little girl saw me steal something and ran around crying. she even followed me upstairs, where the priestess took out a dagger and ran screaming and slashing after the little girl!

this game is so disconnected from it's own reality it becomes a parody in and on itself.

Dennis Scimeca:

I suspected that nothing I did would ever matter, and that has been my experience as I've progressed through the game.

This is exactly why I don't even like the idea of Elder Scrolls games.

What's the point of Role Playing in a single player game like this?

At least when I play D&D, I'm role playing with others. Single player role playing just kinda reminds me of Text based role playing by yourself...

I think this is why that idea of a 'Skyrim-Dragon Age baby' came up. It would be awesome to have the openness and options and freedom of Skyrim with the story and character development and consequences of a Bioware game.

I enjoy playing Skyrim very much, but it is totally lacking in story. I mean, the best they could come up with was a ripoff of Romans vs Celts/Picts/Germans/northern tribespeople?
I know, I know, it's a fraction more complicated than that, but really, it's pretty bland. I can't actually even care enough about one side or the other to decide whether I should join the Stormcloaks or the Imperials yet...

In Dragon Age, on the other hand, although the world is more limited, I actually *felt* the injustice of the way Mages were treated (even though my character wasn't one), and I genuinely raged when

So, yeah. Skyrim is a great and entertaining series of diversions, and some very beautifully presented grind, but it would need a huge injection of story to become what *I* would consider the perfect WRPG. I still enjoy it very much, though, the same way I loved Dragon Age 2 but would have killed for a bit more variety in the dungeons!!

PhantomEcho:
See, when I met Agnis... I had the complete opposite reaction.

Here was the perfect character to exemplify how the game has a soul. It's self aware. She knew even before the bandits were killed at her feet that someone else was going to come along anyways, and it didn't matter in the least. She'd seen it before. She'd see it again.

What this story is describing? That's the limitations of a game that strives to be massive.

You can't have it both ways. You can't have a world TEEMING with infinite dialogue and interesting characters while also being enormous and filled with random interesting things to do. It's just one of the many little signs that say:

"Even though we were busy designing this big, beautiful world... we haven't forgotten the people who make it up."

She has a personality. It's a limited personality, because Agnis is NOBODY... but it's a personality. It's a mindset. It's a character. You can't develop EVERY character, but you -can- give minor set-piece characters a little flair.

I also agree with the F/b comments. The article is legit, but Skyrim (and similar games) are like a skeleton waiting for your own flesh to be added on it. Everything is made up by you; it's like a table-top, with a massive canvas. For example, I used my own imagination to explain who the hero was; why this was happening. Why he was going here next. Etc.

This is a contrast to the other RPGs that hold your hand and deliver things in a much more linear fashion and define most of the elements for you. Both game types have their flaws and strengths.

Edit: on a note, however, it is kind of annoying when NPCs repeat the same line 3,000 times. They start becoming defined by that one and single line

I know exactly the dungeon you are taking about. But you seem to have missed a VERY impotent thing.

IF you had covered her again, for a third time, she would have told you that she comes with the place.

The fort is her home, and she is a stubborn old coot who wont move, so when someone moves in she tells them she is not going any ware. THAT'S why she was not bothered by the bodys. She is used of it happening. In fact, I think she has more soul than any other NPC in the game, simply due to her stubborn-no-fuss attitude to the things going on around her.

Nurb:
He has got a point; hints of a souless experience without any real recognition of your efforts or decisions.

My own examples:
-Became Harbinger of the Companions and the guards still ask if I "fetch the mead" and I'm still talked down to by guild members.

-The info I found at the Thalmore Embassy shows it doesn't matter which faction I decide to help win the war, which I was really debating with myself on.

-I have no option when dealing with the gods' demands, I either accept or leave the quests unfinished, but if I do comply, it doesn't show in the world anyway beyond an artifact that I've advanced beyond using anyway.

-I can't play a "good guy" and take down the thieves guild if I feel like it; I have to frame a guy that I just helped and called me a friend, but if I do to progress the story, he doesn't act any differently.

-A whole town watches me kill a dragon and absorb its soul, but then goes back to making smart-ass remarks "Let me guess, someone stole your sweetroll"

-Same goes for being a thane; I punch someone for disrespecting my position and suddenly I'm getting my ass kicked by the whole damn town.

NPC's actually say "somone stoel your sweet roll?"

reference to fallout 3?

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