My Open Letter to Bethesda Software:
I don't mind the floating mammoths, really I don't. Sometimes when my character is hunting across the wilds of Eastmarch, I'll come across a mammoth. He'll painfully walk across a rock, then slowly lift into the air. Maintaining a steady gait, the mammoth will rise upwards, gaining speed with altitude. Finally, the mammoth will be nothing but a speck in the sky, fading from view. It's amusing, kind of funny. I don't mind the flying mammoths.
The people who sink to the ground though. That's a little different. It's especially bad in the city of Markath, a city built on a stone staircase. Someone will be walking along and then sink into the ground, their head bobbing along for a bit before vanishing into the earth. That's bothersome, especially when I think that I might need to talk to some of those guys later on.
Now the dragons that can bite through walls. Okay. That is very annoying. My tough wizard will roll behind a pillar or low wall, seeking cover from this murderous reptile. The dragon's head will clip right through the wall, as if it isn't even there. I got bit once through the wall at the College of Winterhold from a dragon that was standing... well, the dragon as standing on nothing, not flying, just walking on ground that no one could see.
The broken quest lines really bothered me. Yes, I have Pantea's flute. No, I do not know why I cannot offer it to her. In fact, I have a lot of these quest items I cannot get rid of. Yes, I have Finn's Lute. The Bards' College was very glad to see it and even rewarded me with returning it to them. But why do I still have it? And what is a "Curious Silver Mold" and why can't I simply drop it? I don't care about the Forsworn Conspiracy, so why do I still have Nepo's Journal? I killed that guy. I know how his story ends. But still. The actually broken quests upset me. Okay, I am supposed to kill the dragon on Bonestrewn Crest. Hey, I killed that Dragon, like, three weeks ago. I can go back and confirm the absence of a dragon. Yet the quest doesn't go away. Hey, Skald asked me to kill a giant in Bleakwind Basin and I butchered that guy. Now my quest list says I am supposed to get a reward from Skald. I can go talk to Skald. I can look at Skald. No option for a reward comes up in the dialogue options. Bothersome. Not a deal breaker, but bothersome. I want to be paid for my bit of giant-butchery.
When one of the major storylines broke, I should have been more alarmed. In pursuing the "Forsworn Conspiracy," I decided that I didn't want my all-powerful dark wizard going to prison. So, in the middle of my arrest, I simply walked away. The guards paused, then forgot all about me. Quest over. It was weird, but, I thought the storyline rather lame, so I didn't care too much.
The floating weapons didn't bug me. My pathologically violent horse with no sense of self-preservation didn't bug me. The fact that all my companions get lost in forests didn't bother me. Even when the game itself completely crashed, it didn't harsh my zen. The screen would flicker and turn a spotted yellow-green. I would sigh and reload. Not a deal-breaker.
Then the main storyline crashed. And crashed badly. I go through the motions to get into the Thalmor Embassy party. Okay, I lose all my weapons and armor, get an invitation, and take the carriage to the embassy. According to the videos I have since looked up, I am supposed to walk to the guard. He takes my invitation and I go in. No. I walked up to the guard and the game crashed.
I sigh and reload. I walk up to the guard. He looks at me. I look at him. He looks back. No cutscene. Do I still have the invitation? Yes, there it is in the inventory, next to Pantea's Flute, Finn's Lute, and Nepo's Journal. Can I go into the party? No, that door is locked. No cutscene.
I sigh and reload. I walk up to the guard. He looks at me. I look at him. He looks back. No cutscene.
I sigh and reload an even earlier save. I go through the motions. I get the invitation. I go to the embassy. I walk up to the guard. He looks at me. I look at him. He looks back. No cutscene.
I sigh and reload. Let me try... this. Nothing. I sigh and reload. Let me try... that. Nothing. I sigh and reload. I go on-line. Nothing. Let me try something else. I sigh and reload. I walk up to the guard. He looks at me. I look at him. He looks back. I sigh and reload.
This is not a floating mammoth. This is not a sword that mysteriously hangs about in mid-air. This is not Pantea's flute. This is the main story line. The main story line of the game. What everything is built around. Skyrim is a very pretty game. But all that pretty terrain is the setting for the main story line of the game. And the main story line crashed and broke. Your game crashed and broke. The game cannot be played. Your game is unplayable.
My character cannot proceed past this point. I look at the guard. He looks back. Silently, we stare at each other. For me, that is the conclusion of your epic fantasy adventure.
I wonder if he can play Pantea's flute.