Skyrim, where's the fun?

Casual Shinji

Should've gone before we left.
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Apr 4, 2020
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The quests lack depth and variety, and the leveling system is broken. And the dragons drop out of the sky like flies, which turns fighting them into a hassle rather than a spectacular event.

Also, stealth is insanely overpowered.

As a dungeon crawler it can be enjoyable up to a point, but as a real role-playing experience it falls flat on its ass.
 

Overusedname

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Jun 26, 2012
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I really think it's just that the series is not for everybody.

And it's not really for me at all. I always admire the ambition and detail of Bethesda games, but I never find myself forming a meaningful connection with the characters and world. Without that emotional connection, there's no investment, so I never care about my goals, unfortunately.
 

Soopy

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Jul 15, 2011
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I'm a big fan of TES, or at least was. I started with Daggerfall have enjoyed each major installment.

Up until Skyrim at least.

The biggest issue for me is, there is no real motivation to do anything. There are no rewards for completing quests. The pitiful amount of gold or a totally useless item is not a reward.
The story line is bogus, I mean TES MQ story lines have always been fairly generic, but at least had an under story that was woven through everything else going on in the world. Skyrim doesn't have this.

People sight "exploration" as the key driving force in the TES series. Well, there is no point exploring anything in Skyrim. There is nothing to find. You won't find a powerful unique item, because everything is level scaled.
You won't find a unique location, not unless you're doing a major quest line.
The guild quest lines are so short its insulting. I mean look back to Morrowind or even Oblivion. The guild quest lines shammed allot of full games by themselves!

The game actively works against its self in the sense that there is no point in Character progression. As you get stronger, so does the world around you. But if you want any sort of development from the enemy's or loot then you have no choice. The sense of progression is almost non existent.

The character motivations within the story are ridiculous (The blades??), The character interactions with the player character are absurd, "You're the Dragonborn!, Saviour of existence as we know it!, now do exactly as I say peasant..." What?

The games recognition of the player character is down right broken, I mean why the fuck do NPC's still taunt my character who is encased in Daedric armour and leader of every possible faction?

It's not quirky, it's poor game design. Very poor.
What's worse is that it retailed for $120aud, and is still $110aud on XBL...
 

Stavros Dimou

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Once I decided to write a blog on another site comparing my experience with Skyrim and my experience with Oblivion.
I copy&paste my blog:




It has come to my attention that there seems to be an unusual pattern that can be recognized by examining facts of The Elder Scrolls series. If you look at the forums,you will probably see that there will be groups of people saying that an older game of the series is better than the new one. That doesn't happen only now,but it happens for years. I get in to the series with Oblivion,the fourth part of the series,and it had come to my attention that there where many people saying that Oblivion was a bad game,and that Morrowind was much better. But Oblivion was far from a bad game,it was a unique experience that left me surprised when I played it,because I had played nothing like it before. Time passed and Skyrim came out. After finishing playing it I realized that I enjoyed Oblivion more. And it wasn't only me who enjoyed Oblivion more than Skyrim,but other people who got in to the series with Oblivion also liked Oblivion more than Skyrim. But at the same time Oblivion had multiple sales than Morrowind,and Skyrim has multiple sales than Oblivion. What is happening here ? Why do Elder Scrolls fans say that the game that got them in to the series is better than later games,even if said later games receive critical acclaim,sell more copies,and got loved by more people ?
To answer that we will have to examine the games,how each game of the series changed in comparison to the older one. My main comparison will be between Skyrim and Oblivion because they are the latest games of the series,and the ones that probably most people would have played,but I'll refer to Morrowind many times. For this comparison I will note some specific important features of the series,and compare how they where executed on different games. Let's start.

1) Attributes

In all Elder Scrolls games from Arena to Oblivion,when you leveled up you where allowed to spend 3 points in the attributes of your preference. Attributes like Strength, Intelligence, Willpower, Endurance, Agility, Speed, Personality and Luck. These were working pretty much the same as the attributes of the classic pen&paper Dungeons and Dragons game. Strength governed how much weight you can carry,and how powerful your melee attacks where. Intelligence governed how much Magicka you had. Willpower governed how fast Magicka would regenerate.Endurance gave you more Health Points and Stamina Points.Agility allowed your character to maneuver faster,be better at using a crossbow,and Sneaking better.Speed made you move faster.Personality determined your charisma,how average people feel about you when they meet you. Luck governed a variety of things like your chances in winning in-game luck games (like betting on the soldier of the Blue Team in the Arena), the chances of critical strikes,the chances of getting non-leveled unique items in random containers,etc.
In Skyrim we got to hear from Bethesda that leveling up your character by spending 3 points in a menu was frustrating and thus had to be removed from the game for the shake of "streamlining" the game.
So instead of having 3 points to spend in 8 attributes,in Skyrim you can only spend 1 point in 3 attributes. Skyrim's 3 attributes are the basic Health,Stamina Magicka. I don't know for others and I don't want to play it smart,but I really don't think that by reducing the attributes to 3 and the points to 1 point,suddenly the leveling process is easier to understand or something. What I do see is that there is less choice in this game,and less character customization options,which in my opinion is a bad thing. By scrapping the attribute of Luck, everything the attribute was responsible for is scrapped too. There are no luck games in Skyrim,and there is no chance you will find rare unique loot by chance,as all Skyrim's loot is leveled. By scrapping Personality, a part of the immersion past games provided to me is absent,since NPCs now can't dynamically feel something for me,be it hate or liking. I could continue with examples,but I think you get the point. It wasn't only the leveling system that got streamlined in Skyrim,but a number of many gameplay features where also scrapped too,leading to an experience that overall has less choice and options,and is more directed and empty.


2) Birthsigns / Standing Stones

In Oblivion and past games of the series,early on in the game you where able to choose your birthsign,from Tamriel's Zodiac.It was something you would do only once. Bethesda seems to think that a menu where the player can choose something is hard,so they scrapped the concept of choosing your birthsign via a menu,and instead applied the powers each sign gave to the character, to 'Standing Stones' that the player can find throughout Skyrim. I'll disagree that choosing something through a menu is complex and frustrating,but I can't say that the alternative method Skyrim has is bad. It actually feels nice finding a Standing Stone and activating in your travel. It's a good idea for exploration,and perhaps it actually is a better way to provide bonuses to the player, as every time you will find one,it will be like an Easter egg. While I disagree with the reasoning behind that,I can say that I prefer it now that you get bonuses by easter eggs.

3) Races

In Skyrim the 10 races of the series got nerfed. The idea behind it was once more that the had to be streamlined,so it's not complex and players won't get frustrated. By choosing a race in Oblivion,you where actually choosing your gamestyle in a way. Each race played differently,had unique abilities, and would gather different reactions from NPCs. In Skyrim though when you choose your race, you basically choose your character's skin and almost nothing more. If you where a Khajit you could see in the dark,and thus you wouldn't need to carry torches with you.If you where an Argonian you would never care about carrying Cure Disease and Cure Poison potions with you. If you where an Imperial it would be easier for you to get people to trust you and hand over valuable information. In Skyrim for the shake of streamlining a lot of the series's features where scrapped,because of this decision of the developers to make choosing your race have no impact in how you play the game.
It is interesting to see how they managed to make it so races doesn't matter in Skyrim. They basically scrapped all the mechanics that the race's abilities where counting on.
There is no environmental hazards like Cold Weather in Skyrim,so your Nord who has natural resistance to cold won't have an advantage over the other races. There are no diseases in Skyrim,so your Argonian that is immune to diseases won't have an advantage either.There are no dark places in Skyrim,so your Khajit who can see in the dark won't have an advantage,there is no dynamic persuasion system,so your Imperial who has natural charisma won't have an advantage either. It is clear to me that when Bethesda is fixing one thing,it kills 10 other things or so in the process. This huge nerf of the races greatly reduced the replay value of Skyrim for me. In Oblivion I'd wanted to play with the difference races,so I can play the game drastically different,and approach the various situations in different ways. There was a quest in Oblivion where the character had to jump deep in a well,find a dead body,and retrieve and bring back a ring on the surface. The ring was enchanted and the moment you picked it up,it added 150 weight points to you,probably not allowing you to get outside in the surface in time,and ending up drowning yourself. If you where an Imperial you would probably have to drink a potion that would fortify your Strength.If you where a High Elf you could use a Magicka-Expensive Water Breathing spell to get outside alive. If you where an Argonian,you would just swim without having a time limit at all. This kind of choice,the choice you had to complete same objectives and quests,but with an entirely different way,added lot of replay value to Oblivion. Unfortunately Skyrim misses lot of that replay value,and it also misses something more important: Gameplay variety,and the choice of having different playstyles to choose from. From my perspective what have been done in Skyrim's races is a bad thing. If you don't care about more variety of gameplay mechanics and choices in the game,you might even find it convenient that now you can choose a race without also choosing your gamestyle at the same time, meaning that all the other gamestyles where completely removed from the game just for that.

4) Persuasion and Charisma

This is about something that Skyrim completely misses: the gameplay mechanic of alternating people's feelings towards your characters dynamically. In Oblivion each NPC had a feeling-meter ranging from the low 0 to the high 100,with the lowest being hate and the highest being adoration and love. There where many ways to affect people's feelings towards you in Oblivion. Depending on your Personality Attribute each non-quest specific NPC would have a certain feeling towards you. If you didn't liked that,you could change how someone feels about you,by either attacking them or intimidating them,to make them fear you or hate you,or by adoring them and bribing them to make them like you. In Skyrim you can get some NPCs to become "friends" of you,but the difference is that this happens not dynamically,but because of pre-scripted events. And even that is not that much fleshed out. When you got someone to lets say like you in Oblivion,the words they would say to greet you,even the look on their faces would be different,but in Skyrim even if someone is considered a friend of you,he will have the exact same lines of dialogue,spoken at the same tone,and he will have the same look. Delphine becomes friend of you in Skyrim,and her look is always the same.Her voice tone is always the same. Only thing that changes that lets you now that this person is a friend of yours now,is that you can take everything from her room without being considered a thief. But she becomes a friend because it's scripted. It wasn't because you specifically wanted it to be that way and you did something for it. If you wonder why Persuasion seems that big of a deal for me,it's because up on that mechanic I managed to role-play my own roles,and set my own goals in Oblivion,something I can't do in Skyrim. One of those roles was a charismatic and well known bard that everyone seems to like. So I added lots of points on my Personality Attribute,and I started playing the persuasion mini-game and got everyone in the Imperial City to like me. Thus every time I passed from Imperial City after that,everyone would stop to happily great me,and I would see everyone's faces happy. It made much of an experience to me. I spent time setting my own goal (getting everyone in IC to like me) and role-playing the person I really wanted. I can't do that on Skyrim. And I can't play the opposite guy (someone who everyone hates him) either. I don't have the freedom to role play these roles,or other roles,because a whole mechanic that could do so much in Oblivion is completely absent in Skyrim. We supposedly got "Speech" as a substitute,but it's nothing like the original Persuasion system. All the Speechcraft skill does is that it makes it so you can buy things for cheaper and sell things for more money. Absolutely nothing to do with how characters feel about you.

5) Facegen

Facegen is a third party program that was added in the Gamebryo Engine,the Engine used for Oblivion. It is a program dedicated to everything that has to do with faces. What it did for Oblivion was to generate random faces,and also animate them. There have been a lot criticism about Oblivion's faces looking ugly,and I'll say that yes,looking back at most of Oblivion's faces,most people in it look ugly. Partially the reason for that was,that Bethesda decided to not use the full definition Facegen provided for performance reasons,which ended in-game faces to look a uglier and cartoonish. Yet there are two things that Facegen did right: Thing number 1 is that in Oblivion every single NPC looks like a different person. Thing 2 is that NPCs had facial animations. Bethesda decided to create their own face generation system,which is lets say less sophisticated than Facegen. Where Facegen allowed you to completely adjust every single line and part of your character's face dynamically,allowing for both very ridiculous looking people,and also very identical to real-life people,Bethesda's face generation solution uses pre-made parts like noses and eyes,and the problem is that they are very few. So in Skyrim most people ended up to look much like someone else. Most NPCs except from Main Quest characters,look very much the same,which is one of the things that make Skyrim overall feel somewhat bland. Another bad thing is that in Skyrim NPCs have no facial animations to show their feelings. Their eyes only open and close,as their mouths when they are talking to you. Other than that,it's like the don't have face muscles. In Oblivion it was different though. You could see the disappointment in their faces, their fear,their happiness,their surprise,their sadness... In Skyrim NPCs feel less alive and believable.
The samey faces on Skyrim's NPCs,and their lack of facial expressions had a big hit on my immersion after having played Oblivion.

6) Journal

The Journal also lost functionality in Skyrim. But that actually lead me to get more frustrated in Skyrim,instead of removing my frustration. In the past games quest where nicely organized,and you would get much detailed and helpful information by its entries. You could also read all the entries of a given quest at any time,even of the quests you had completed. Skyrim only shows you the latest entry of a quest in the Journal. That brought problems to me sometimes as the latest entries of some quests assumed you remembered the info that past entries gave to you,and didn't included some information that was valuable,leaving me with no clues. And in a game like Skyrim,where you discover 5-8 new quests in your way to complete a single quest,you can't remember all the quest entries you have read. It's impossible with so many quests. To make things worse,some quests (the Miscellaneous Quests) doesn't even get a detailed entries,but you only get the quest's title. At a point I wanted to do a quest that I didn't remember its name,but only its story. So I went to the list of my Miscellaneous quests,and I came to face around 60 quests,and none had some words under it explaining what is going on on these quests,so I couldn't recognize the quest I wanted to play. In most cases even the titles are bland and doesn't offer any helpful info,something that killed my motivation and interest in actually playing these quests.Why to travel so far to meet a person I don't remember,if I don't even know why am I supposed to meet him in first place ?
I don't know how they managed to fuck up the journal,honestly. Such an essential piece of the games,that was working so flawlessly in past games.

7) Radiant Story

Skyrim brings a new feature,called Radiant Story. This feature will automatically generate new quests,choosing in random an NPC,a dungeon,and an Item,to generate a new quest. The idea behind that is that the game should offer you the most quests available,and what's more than unlimited ? So Skyrim's quests will never end,but after doing about 2-3 of those quests,you easily recognize the pattern they follow,and they become bland and boring very fast. To make a never ending game is a nice and romantic idea,but one has to put some limits somewhere. It might work on games who are only mechanics like Chess,but if your game has any story at all,then it's not possible. The only way to make a story to never end is to repeat it again and again for an eternity. But as the classic tale from the fairy tale compilation 1001 nights tells us,eventually the never ending story will get so stale and boring it will bore everyone to death.More isn't always better. Perhaps Bethesda should really think about the matter of Quantity vs Quality.

8) Main Hero

I often hear that what Skyrim gets better than Oblivion is the story of the main character you play as,the Dragonborn. I might say that yes,power-wise the Dragonborn is much more powerful and an important person than the Hero of Cyrodill from Oblivion. In Skyrim your character is your classic chosen badass with supernatural powers that beats everyone and saves the world. It's a tried and used concept that works,as the majority of people do want to feel more powerful than others in their games,and be the heroes and center of the worlds. But it sticks to the cliches of video gaming. If you think about,in about 80% of the games you play,your character has a super gift which is why he is winning. Few games have the main character of the game be a simple man / woman like everyone else,the common folk. In Oblivion though,you weren't a prophecized legendary super-hero. You where just someone who decided to fight for the good of the world,with his courage. An ordinary man or woman. The gifted person of the story was Martin Septim,the emperor's son,which was the last (at that time) Dragonborn. But Martin didn't knew he was a Dragonborn,he was just a monk grown by monks,so he didn't knew how to fight at all,and you had to tell him how to act like he should! Some people say that the fact that the one who is 'chosen one' in the game isn't the player's character but someone else,is a bad thing. It seems gamers have become too used to playing characters who are way better than everyone else without doing anything for it,that they can't stand playing a game where its story doesn't make the playable character a person who has a unique overpowered feature over all other characters. I will say that I felt more of a badass as a dragonborn,and that I really liked that. But I wouldn't say that Oblivion had a bad story,just because in this game you are not the 'chosen one',but instead you are a random person who has to tell the chosen one that he is a chosen one. While I agree that playing a badass character is a nice experience,a story doesn't have to give to its protagonist supernatural abilities to be good. I see being a Dragonborn more enjoyable than be an ordinary man,but I also see that Bethesda's move on writing Oblivion's story was an attempt for originality.

9) Athletics and Acrobatics

Athletics and Acrobatics where two skills that where on Oblivion but where not in Skyrim. By raising your Athletics you would walk faster,run faster,and swim faster,while by raising your Acrobatics you would jump higher and would get less damage when falling from high places. By running fast you could roleplay a runner,or get yourself out of hairy situation and escape easily some really hard battles.By jumping high you could reach places that could give you a battle advantage in some fights,or jump over hurdles and reach faster your destination by travelling using different routes.
In Skyrim you can't change your running speed,neither the high of your jump or the damage you get when you land from a fall. These skills where not for everyone,but they could be very precious to some who liked them.

10) Smith and Enchanting

In Oblivion you could enchant anytime considering you had an Enchantments Workstation in front of you,and enchanting wasn't a skill. The power of your enchantments was dependent on the size of the soul you had captured on your soul gem. Skyrim scraps that system and makes enchanting a skill,so the power of your enchantments is tied on your skill level. Personally I don't see the reason for such a change,and I can't say that its something worse or better. Smith is a new skill that allows you to make new weapons and armor,and reinforce them. By the time you will be able to smith a weapon,you will already have found it in your travels,but you can still upgrade your weapons. But there is still something here that makes it seem pointless to me. That is that what counts most on how easily you get killed or you kill in this game isn't dependent on the rating of your weapon or armor,but on your character's level and the enemy's level. Even if you have the most powerful weapon you can find at a given level,and have reinforced it,you will still drop like a fly if you try to fight some enemies who are at a higher level than you. Your reinforced weapon will still not do them enough damage,while your reinforced armor won't do that much more to protect you from a higher leveled enemy.

11) Werewolves

In Skyrim you can become a Werewolf,and be one gives you special bonuses as well as weaknesses. Being able to become a werewolf was a much requested feature that Oblivion missed,and fans were waiting and asking for years for them to be included. Skyrim has a clear advantage here over Oblivion.

12) Dungeon Puzzles

One thing that made Skyrim's dungeon experience better than Oblivion's was the addition of puzzles. Still,I wish they had more variety of puzzles,as turning the turning stones and finding the Golden Claw,the Ember Claw,the Silver Claw,the Iron Claw etc gets stale after a while. Non the less,puzzles where a great enhancement for the dungeons. I hope and wish than in a future Elder Scrolls game they won't get scrapped by Bethesda for poor excuses like "They frustrated the players",like so many features from previous games where absent on Skyrim. Instead I want Bethesda to spend more time in creating a larger variety of puzzles,and adding more of them in the dungeons. I love puzzles!

13) Leveling System

The leveling system also differs in the two games. In Oblivion the game always scanned your level and presented you only with the enemies appropriate for your level,so the game's difficulty never gets too hard or too easy. In Skyrim some areas have a predetermined level,meaning in all enemies on that area are on a specific level. That means you will often visit places that aren't for your level yet,and thus get killed very easily,in a few seconds. Now both systems have their positives and negatives. Oblivion's system good was that it never allowed the game to become to hard or to easy for you. Skyrim's system good is that after you level up enough,you will feel more powerful than you where before. Oblivion's system bad is that you will always get to fight enemies on your level,so you will never feel as a super-powerful badass. Skyrim's bad is that you can get stuck somewhere and not be able to progress,which could lead you to frustration. Personally I can't choose one of them. I enjoyed both games and their leveling systems.

14) The Ending & After Ending

An ending can make or break an otherwise good game. There have been games like Mass Effect 3 that frustrated and disappointed the fans so much,only because of its ending. So which game has the best ending,is it Skyrim or Oblivion ? Well I didn't enjoyed Skyrim's ending that much. I was all excited until the point where I got out of The Hall of Heroes and started shouting to spread the myst away.But the Final Boss fight disappointed me.The so much hyped final boss was a rather easy opponent,even easier than most of the ordinary dragons you get to fight.After you kill him along with 3 other people,you get back to the mountain where Parthurnax calmly talks to you like he did before,and that's it. The closure you get is some words from Parthurnax in the same tone he talked before. Oblivion in the other hand didn't had a Final Boss,at least with the traditional term. Instead the last thing you do yourself is to talk to Martin,and then a cutscene plays. But oh,boy what a cutscene that was! The Daedric Prince of Destruction Mehrunes Dagon jumps out of a portal and forms up in Tamriel,and specifically in the Imperial City,the largest city of the Empire throughout Tamriel. He is 7 stories tall,has 4 arms and is wreaking havoc! I watch the so beautiful Imperial City getting devastated by this gigantic demonic being feeling that the world has come to an end,and then Martin makes a ritual to summon Akatosh,the King of the Aedra and protector of the Mortal Realm known as Mundus where Tamriel is located.Martin sacrifices himself so that Akatosh can take over his body and use it as an avatar,and I watch Martin's body getting transformed to shape up the true shape of Akatosh,and there he is,a Huge Dragon made out of Golden Light. But it's not over. The two deities are fighting each other in an epic and colossal battle and I stand there watching this feeling so much awe by the deities's power and size,so helpless like I can't do nothing else but hope and pray for Akatosh to win.And he does,and banishes the Daedric Prince to his realm of Oblivion forever,and then Akatosh gets petrified and turns to a statue left in the Imperial City. I might didn't gave the final fight myself,but the emotions I felt during Oblivion's last battle where unique and Skyrim didn't manage to reproduce them,let away surpass them. What's interesting is also how completing the main quest changes the game's world. In Oblivion you get everybody talking about this even. You eavesdrop conversations about how huge Mehrune's Dagon was and how Akatosh saved the world. The people you meet recognize you,and greet you as a hero . In Skyrim it's like nobody knows what happened. You even pay a visit to Delphine and Esbern,and if you didn't killed Parthurnax they are still mad at you and only tell you to kill him,like never killed Alduin. Except from the Greybeards and Parthurnax no one knows you killed Alduin. Heck,most people don't even seem to know that there was a dragon named Alduin,and seem to think all dragons are the same. I will confess that up until the end Skyrim's main story was more interesting than Oblivion's. But in the end,I felt that Oblivion's main storyline was more rewarding. You get Credits rolling on your screen,and you even get the Imperial Council to give you as a present a unique set of armor as a token of gratitude.


Conclusion
I could go on and keep on writing about things that Oblivion did better than Skyrim,and features of Skyrim that weren't at all in Oblivion. If you take a list of each game's features,the list of Skyrim's features will be larger,and many of those features will sound cooler too. Yet Skyrim suffer from blandness,you get the feeling that everyone in it looks the same,talks the same,behaves the same, dress the same,whatever NPCs tell you after you complete the game is the same they would tell you before you do it,most quests play the same... Oblivion had less features in numbers,and perhaps they don't sound as cool. But the thing is that Oblivion had more variety in its less features. Every NPC looked and felt as a different person,you could see their feelings by the look of their faces and the tone of their voice,you could make them like you or hate you,there where more playstyles,more choices,more quest variants with better written plots... It felt like everything that was included in the game was included for a reason and it made sense for it to be there,as everything was more fleshed out. I believe I know the reason behind it. Perhaps it is because Oblivion's development lasted 5 whole years,while Skyrim was developed in only 3,as the 2 years right after Oblivion was released Bethesda was busy making Fallout 3. Perhaps if Skyrim had been worked another 2 years its features would be as fleshed out as Oblivion's where,but that would also mean that the game would come out on 2013,probably on new consoles.
 

Lovely Mixture

New member
Jul 12, 2011
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nexus said:
See a lot of talk about "the lowest common denominator" in this thread, and how Skyrim must appeal to it, considering you don't find they game appealing. Here's something I bet you never thought about, maybe you are the lowest common denominator.
WHAT A TWIIIST!

Yeah the streamlining/dumbing down/appealing to the lowest common etc/made casual thing is an interesting topic of discussion. But I don't understand why we can't use a less vitriolic term like "made simpler." It's not inherently positive or negative to make something simpler, it depends on how it's done and what audience you're looking at.

Of course, you can DEFINITELY argue that if everyone begins simplifying their games in the same way (which is already arguably the case) then creativity is gonna hit an all time low.
 

Sight Unseen

The North Remembers
Nov 18, 2009
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woodaba said:
Rooster Cogburn said:
woodaba said:
Please tell me where Skyrim is more sophisticated than Oblivion. And don't say Story/Quests or I will HURT you. Not really. Symbolically.
lol Consider it noted. There are lots of little ways, but I'll try to focus on a few of big ones. I think the elephant in the room is the removal of stats. Rather than repeat myself, I will ask you to please view my earlier post to see why I think removing stats actually added sophistication to Skyrim, even though superficially that sounds dissonant. The expansion of the perk system added new depth, specialization, and meaningful choice that Oblivion simply never had.

Another big one is exposition. By far the most shocking disappointment of Oblivion was how the region of Cyrodiil itself did not feel explained and explored and examined in depth. Oh, any old game has these qualities to some extent, but Morrowind had a detailed and interesting explanation for every goddamn thing. And everything fit together and played off everything else to create a really interesting and believable landscape. There was so much to learn, and every location 'felt' real. Dwemer ruins contained Dwemer artifacts. A slavers' hideout contained things you would expect to find there. Oblivion didn't lack these expository elements completely, but they were emphasized much more in Skyrim. This may sound like a small thing to worry about, but in The Elder Scrolls it's everything.

And at the risk of being symbolically hurt, I am going to bring up the story lol. But maybe not in the way you think. This ties in to my point about exposition. Politically, culturally, and economically, Oblivion was fucking boring town. No one was having any kind of major political struggle or upheaval. In a game that is specifically about a region. Oh god, someone kill me! Maybe you'll call me an idiot because the Emperor just got assassinated, but that was an external threat for all intents and purposes. I mean, the man got murdered, and what happened to his Empire? Absolutely nothing. Talk about a missed opportunity for storytelling and world-building! Skyrim's attempts at reintroducing these elements were a little awkward, but they were very effective sometimes and they definitely weren't such colossal failures that we would have been better off without them.
I see your point in regards to stats, but I don't agree. While part of me likes kyrim's more fluid approach to character building, it robs the game of any and all replayability. In Morrowind or Oblivion, I could be a completely different character right from the very beginning, and that would alter the way I played the game, at least initally. It felt different from character to character. Skyrim does not have this. Instead, every player starts off as Standard McDefault, with all the customization relegated to physical appearance, and maybe some racial bonuses. This was a huge mark against Skyrim.

I also agree with you in regards to Oblivion, but I would say that Skyrim did not improve the situation. We still never actually see what the Civil War does to Skyrim, we are only told that it is dividing the nation and there's fighting in the streets yadda yadda. We don't see a single destroyed settlement, the Civil War quests are set in already ruined castles, and, fuck, the final quest of the questlines, even though they take place in the two biggest cities in the ENTIRE COUNTRY, all the damage is cleared up overnight. Poof! Gone. Hopw you weren't getting invested! Both Oblivion and Skyrim forget the cardinal rule of writing: show, don't tell.

In regards to exposition, I kinda agree, but there was also far less to exposit in Skyrim. You can explore ancient temples, bandit hideouts, Vampire covens, forests inside paintings, Ayelid ruins, and all sorts in Oblivion. What is there in Skyrim? Draugr Tombs. And Caves. Aside from a VERY small number of exceptions, that is it.
A couple things here:

Your choice of race actually does have a pretty big effect on your starting stats, even though it doesn't explicitely say this. If you start as say a wood elf, your archery and sneak skills among others will start at a much higher level than if you had played as an orc. so in this way, your choice of race does lead itself into a certain playstyle. but the beautiful thing about Skyrim is that you're not FORCED to adhere religiously to one playstyle and if you find that you dont like one way or another, that you can still completely change how you fight, and within a few hours be competant enough to hold your own. There is no need to restart with a new character like you would have to in older TES games. which I think is great because the player never feels trapped by the leveling system. They also don't have to worry as much about getting the most out of the leveling system because the system isn't broken and counter-intuitive like Oblivion was. On the other hand, the game DOES still reward you being consistent with your early vision of your character by giving you additional perks for the skills you favour which can really make a huge difference and make you much better than just your raw skills alone. And since there are WAY WAY more perks than you could ever get on one character, a character who has a focused vision will be much more successful and powerful by the end than one who has a mix-n-match of perks from wildly different areas.

I agree that the racial powers are a bit lacking in usefulness, but I play with a mod called Skyrim Redone that tweaks a lot of those and makes them all more unique and powerful, and as I said, the differences in starter skills does make a difference.

I agree a lot that the civil war questline wasn't really done that effectively and could have been much much better. One thing though is that those ruined forts you mentioned actually change hands quite a lot over the course of the game, which could *partially* explain the level of destruction. I remember seeing one that was filled with bandits at the beginning and when I went back to it later on, was holding an imperial army. So at some point, the imperials must have routed this fort and taken it over. It would have been nice if they had done a better job of showing this, but the game isn't completely static like a lot of people say it is.

Personally, one of my favourite things about Skyrim are the stories that you have to search a little to find. The journals in the dungeons that chronicle how a brilliant archaeologist lost his mind and became a raving cultist. The stories of raiding parties before you raiding a dwemer ruin and got picked off one by one until only one was left. the tragedy of the lighthouse near Dawnstar. All of these are really interesting stories to me that you only ever see if you look for them and read the journals and other notes you find.

Also, I personally disagree completely with you about the quality of the dungeons in Oblivion vs Skyrim. To me I felt like almost every dungeon in Oblivion looked the same. There were basically the cave dungeons and the Ayleid ruins, and both types had way too many dungeons which looked too similar. In Skyrim, I feel like they greatly increased the uniqueness both the number of types of dungeons, and in the variety of dungeons within the same archetype (ie. the draugr ruins) I never feel like two dungeons are exactly alike in skyrim like I did with Oblivion. And in terms of dungeon types, in skyrim there were the nord burial grounds, underground forests, dwemer ruins, amazing ice caves and crystal caves, underground CASTLES, and other types I can't think of right now. Also, skyrim has a TON of dungeons which have AMAZING vistas and just look incredible to me. I have been in complete awe more than once in a dungeon in skyrim. I mean, how can you find dungeons like this and not be taken aback a bit.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=54838194&insideModal=1
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=54838207&insideModal=1

I can't seem to find my other really good screenshots that I know that I had >_< but there is some amazing scenery to be found in some of the dungeons. There are too many draugr ruins though.
 

Rooster Cogburn

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Lovely Mixture said:
nexus said:
See a lot of talk about "the lowest common denominator" in this thread, and how Skyrim must appeal to it, considering you don't find they game appealing. Here's something I bet you never thought about, maybe you are the lowest common denominator.
WHAT A TWIIIST!

Yeah the streamlining/dumbing down/appealing to the lowest common etc/made casual thing is an interesting topic of discussion. But I don't understand why we can't use a less vitriolic term like "made simpler." It's not inherently positive or negative to make something simpler, it depends on how it's done and what audience you're looking at.

Of course, you can DEFINITELY argue that if everyone begins simplifying their games in the same way (which is already arguably the case) then creativity is gonna hit an all time low.
Saying something appeals to the "Lowest Common Denominator" has become completely meaningless, like pretty much everything else. It has no meaning beside "I don't think it's good". There is no rule that everyone has to like Skyrim, but there is no goddamn way that phrase could possibly apply.
 

Ihateregistering1

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Honestly, when I first started playing Skyrim I was bored out of my mind too. Then I decided to try playing as a stealthy, Assassin type character and I fell in love with it. Don't know why but playing the game like that is just a lot more fun. You'll get into your character a lot more,waiting till nightfall so you can sneak into an encampment and silently kill everyone, and even though there isn't an achievement for it you'll feel a sense of accomplishment butchering everyone without anyone ever knowing you were there.

Make sure to try the Dark Brotherhood questline, it's easily better than the main questline and is nearly as long. Additionally, playing on the PC VASTLY improves the experience thanks to Mods and cheats.
 

Lovely Mixture

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Rooster Cogburn said:
Saying something appeals to the "Lowest Common Denominator" has become completely meaningless, like pretty much everything else. It has no meaning beside "I don't think it's good". There is no rule that everyone has to like Skyrim, but there is no goddamn way that phrase could possibly apply.
Yep, it's a buzzword (or a buzz-phrase if that works).
 

Skratt

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NotALiberal said:
I don't get what's so compelling about exploring in Skyrim? It's tedious as you run out of Stamina every 5 seconds, riding a horse is godawful (seriously? I've seen games from 2004 with better animations), and then when you finally get to the place, its just more landscape with nothing to do in it, or an (instanced) dungeon filled with Draugr in which you go in and engage in the game's tedious, pathetic, unrefined, godawful combat system.

They have the "open world" part down, but there's just nothing to do. Quests are all of the "go here fetch/kill" variety, and writing and characterization are barely non-existent. They are just objectively bad games. Animations are below sub-par, combat is pathetic, story is non existent, "exploring" consists of roaming around an empty wasteland with nothing to do but fight more people (see above about how pathetic combat is). The game has potential, Bethesda are just a bunch of monkeys incapable of getting the little things like MAKING COMBAT FUN or NOT HAVING ANIMATIONS FROM CIRCA 2001 correct. It's a shame, TES games all had potential, but as they are, they're just bug riddled, over hyped pieces of shit. Yes, this applies to Daggerfall too, people need to take off the nostalgia goggles.

EDIT: Please note I can tell the difference when "a game isn't for me" and when a game just flat out sucks. Which Skyrim does.
If a game is not for you, wouldn't you also think it sucked? There aren't really any games that suck, just games that aren't for everyone. Take JRPGs for example. Biggest steaming piles of repetative shit out there. But that's just my opinion because they aren't for me.
 

Haukur Isleifsson

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I love it, 170 hours and counting. But I role-play a lot, making a continued back-story from my favorite character from Oblivion. I love the progression of my character from rags to riches to retirement. The moral dilemmas and the little details. If it's not for you than that makes me a little sad. It has given me so much joy.
 

Soopy

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Skratt said:
NotALiberal said:
I don't get what's so compelling about exploring in Skyrim? It's tedious as you run out of Stamina every 5 seconds, riding a horse is godawful (seriously? I've seen games from 2004 with better animations), and then when you finally get to the place, its just more landscape with nothing to do in it, or an (instanced) dungeon filled with Draugr in which you go in and engage in the game's tedious, pathetic, unrefined, godawful combat system.

They have the "open world" part down, but there's just nothing to do. Quests are all of the "go here fetch/kill" variety, and writing and characterization are barely non-existent. They are just objectively bad games. Animations are below sub-par, combat is pathetic, story is non existent, "exploring" consists of roaming around an empty wasteland with nothing to do but fight more people (see above about how pathetic combat is). The game has potential, Bethesda are just a bunch of monkeys incapable of getting the little things like MAKING COMBAT FUN or NOT HAVING ANIMATIONS FROM CIRCA 2001 correct. It's a shame, TES games all had potential, but as they are, they're just bug riddled, over hyped pieces of shit. Yes, this applies to Daggerfall too, people need to take off the nostalgia goggles.

EDIT: Please note I can tell the difference when "a game isn't for me" and when a game just flat out sucks. Which Skyrim does.
If a game is not for you, wouldn't you also think it sucked? There aren't really any games that suck, just games that aren't for everyone. Take JRPGs for example. Biggest steaming piles of repetative shit out there. But that's just my opinion because they aren't for me.
You could apply what you just said to movies, you don't. Movies can and do flat out suck.
So why are video games not subject to the same criticism?
 

eternal-chaplain

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On Friday I got home and had a 90 minute discussion with my brother concerning Skyrim. The surprising part of it being that we did not just go back and forth, one supporting, one against. No we literally found enough things wrong with Skyrim to make a list that takes 90 minutes to read. Really the people who are meant to enjoy this game are those too stupid and easily amused to think for more than a few minutes, lest they peel away the veil of muddy lighting and blurry textures and see this game for what it really is, and that is a boring waste of lazy programming and piss poor design. It would be easier to stop trying to find a single good thing in the game and just start laughing at the developers and wondering how gullible do they think we are?
 

shrimpcel

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If you have to look for the fun, you're probably doing something wrong. I find playing the game on vanilla fun, and I find that certain mods make it even more fun. They also remove the need to buy the DLC.
 

Aaron Foltz

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Level 76 High Elf and just now hit a point where it's boring me. I mostly played as a ranger then moved to two handed tank style then to mage. The fun was all the side quest and exploring. Buying houses and such.

I never played Oblivion. I never was into the whole dragons, magic and shit. I was always a fallout fan so I figured I'd give Skyrim a try.
 

DoomyMcDoom

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Ihateregistering1 said:
Honestly, when I first started playing Skyrim I was bored out of my mind too. Then I decided to try playing as a stealthy, Assassin type character and I fell in love with it. Don't know why but playing the game like that is just a lot more fun. You'll get into your character a lot more,waiting till nightfall so you can sneak into an encampment and silently kill everyone, and even though there isn't an achievement for it you'll feel a sense of accomplishment butchering everyone without anyone ever knowing you were there.

Make sure to try the Dark Brotherhood questline, it's easily better than the main questline and is nearly as long. Additionally, playing on the PC VASTLY improves the experience thanks to Mods and cheats.
This^ so much this, honestly just gotta find your fun in it, I played oblivion as a stealthy archer, because all the other playstyles got old/boring, in skyrim it's all about poisons and daggers in the darkness :D hehehe.
 

Rooster Cogburn

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Eternal-Chaplain said:
On Friday I got home and had a 90 minute discussion with my brother concerning Skyrim. The surprising part of it being that we did not just go back and forth, one supporting, one against. No we literally found enough things wrong with Skyrim to make a list that takes 90 minutes to read. Really the people who are meant to enjoy this game are those too stupid and easily amused to think for more than a few minutes, lest they peel away the veil of muddy lighting and blurry textures and see this game for what it really is, and that is a boring waste of lazy programming and piss poor design. It would be easier to stop trying to find a single good thing in the game and just start laughing at the developers and wondering how gullible do they think we are?
Nope. This game is intended for people who appreciate an open, realized world, extreme freedom and depth of choice, and great music, visuals and landscapes, organic, unscripted gameplay, and so on and so forth. Bethesda delivers an experience with scope, grandeur, and freedom that no one else even attempts. If you like a carefully crafted, on the rails, set-piece heavy CoD experience then more power to you. If you are not enthralled as I am by the Elder Scrolls concept, then there probably isn't a lot here you can't get done better somewhere else. I don't hold that against you. But it's crazy to talk like those of us who want more out of our games and are willing to forgive a sloppy animation or a 90 minute long list of flaws to get it are bunch of gibbering magpies. Fuck that.

When someone else makes a game like Skyrim and does it half as well, then you can call me whatever you want.
shrimpcel said:
They [mods] also remove the need to buy the DLC.
It depends. Usually official plugins are a much higher quality than mods. But even if you don't think so, the official plugins will be much better for compatibility. And you're going to want that DLC because modders will use the resources it offers to make cool new mods. So if you're all about the mods, you might be able to replace an official DLC with mods, but you still have to buy the DLC so you don't miss out on cool mods that use it's resources. You may need the DLC one way or the other lol.
Stavros Dimou said:
Once I decided to write a blog on another site comparing my experience with Skyrim and my experience with Oblivion.
I copy&paste my blog:

-snip-
Oblivion was a good game in the grand scheme of things. A great game really. But as an Elder Scrolls title it was a bitter disappointment. Skyrim by comparison feels like a triumphant return to form. OK, it's no Morrowind, but I feel Bethesda appreciates some of the things that went wrong with Oblivion and is trying to get back on track, with some success. While there are some things I regret like the reduced number of skills, Skyrim is a triumph of streamlining a game in the best sense of the word, of making it more meaningfully sophisticated at the same time you cut out the pointless tedium. Oblivion is a horseless carriage with a steam engine that only a pilot can operate that tends to explode. Skyrim is a rocket ship that anyone can drive.

Attributes in Oblivion were awful. I used to mod the game so that attributes would raise automatically along with my skills. They added very little to the game in the way of meaningful choice, and nothing that couldn't be accomplished better by other means. All they did was make leveling a grueling, frustrating, and broken experience. I was worried about getting rid of them entirely, but Bethesda filled the gap with player skills, expanding the perk system, and stats. We have more and more meaningful choices in Skyrim than we ever did in Oblivion by a mile. I certainly never agonized over which attributes to pick like I do with perks, only over how to survive the tedium of getting the multipliers I wanted. Or why I should bother with such a broken system in the first place instead of just going majors-is-minors. All or most of the stats are still in the game, they are just not tied to attributes now. Luck affected your skills primarily, as well as a few other random things that were neat but didn't amount to much. It did not affect loot or critical strikes. NPCs change how they interact with you based on your faction affiliation, skills, race, and other contextual things. It's all in there, it's just not tied to attributes now. And I don't miss the Persuasion games, either from Morrowind or Oblivion. Both were silly and meant an NPCs disposition toward you could be easily circumvented. Oblivion's NPCs were much too malleable, though I confess they may have overcompensated in Skyrim.

Oblivion had Standing Stones, too. They were called doom stones or birthsign stones. The only real difference there was that Oblivion let you characterize yourself a little bit as you entered the world by picking a star-sign. I liked that system, but I also like the new one because it lets me enter as more of a blank slate. This is a good approach for the Elder Scrolls because the subject matter is the world itself and the unfolding prophecy, not the player character. And it encourages exploration and progression.

I wish the races were a lot more distinct, too. The more distinct the better. But we don't want to tie race to class too much. Ideally race options should provide me with ten different thieves to try, not define what I look like when I play a thief. I think the passive stat bonuses, skill bonuses, and active abilities in Skyrim provide a good balance. Skyrim is a mix-and-match where I can pick elements from all over to make something interesting. That's real depth of choice. In Oblivion you were quite a bit more railroaded. You just pick your class and the details aren't much of a choice, really. Back in Morrowind before the dark days of excessive world-leveling, this wasn't really an issue. Your race has a big impact on how you play Skyrim, especially early on. Your example for the Mages Guild quest is a good example of what I'm talking about. All that stuff is still in the game, it's just not tied to attributes any more. Races have different starting magicka, your pool and regen will be different depending on other factors, the racial abilities make a big difference, and Argonians can still breath underwater. And kitty-cats get Night Eye, and Dark Elves resist fire, and all that good stuff.

None of the Elder Scrolls games I've played have had very good journal/quest systems, but Oblivion's was the best. Skyrim's minimalist approach is just not appropriate for the experience they should be trying to convey to the player. It's one of the few areas where I throw my hands up and say, yea, they really are just dumbing this down. They probably thought they were trimming the fat and we would love them for it, but they were wrong.

To be fair, randomly generated quests was a very popular feature from Daggerfall (which I have hardly played). It usually comes up when people are waxing nostalgic. I think it was implemented very well indeed in Skyrim. The problem is they relied on it too much in the faction questlines, which just are not meaty enough even with the radiant quests.

I was disappointed when I heard about this "Dragonborn" stuff, and at first I didn't even know why. It's cool for what it is, but as I keep saying, everything has it's time and place. The Elder Scrolls should be about fulfilling prophecy and the land itself. They emphasized the player character and power fantasy way too much in Skyrim. It definitely brought them a new audience, because I have seen people tout Skyrim over Oblivion and Morrowind on that basis alone. The problem is, it isn't good. Imagine the look on my face when I'm trying to explain to someone why Morrowind's story was better than Skyrim's.

They do tend to get rid of things when they can't get them right like Acrobatics and Athletics. I'm conflicted about it. I want them to come back in some form, but I want them to be good for a change, too. I couldn't disagree more about smithing. It's really, really, really powerful. The other two crafting skills are strong too, and not just for min/maxers.

I want to see them do more with putting useful information on items like they did with the claws. That should happen all the time, not just for one item type.

Oblivion's world-leveling system was an abomination, there was nothing good about it. How dare you lol. You didn't mention how everyone ended up in glass and Daedric armor, how it made leveling your character not only pointless but harmful, how it encouraged bizarre player behavior like majors-is-minors and Level 1 builds, how it made gathering loot into a waiting game, how it stole the tension and mystery away from a game that is primarily about exploration, how it encouraged generic world-building over exposition, and how it murdered all the firstborns in Egypt. Skyrim wins by knockout on that one.

But forgetting all that, here is the fatal flaw that really damns Oblivion utterly. Oblivion sucked because Cyrodiil sucked. That being true, everything else is just details.

I could list a lot more reasons Skyrim is a way better Elder Scrolls than Oblivion was. I have listed some in this thread. Oblivion was not well thought out, it was a jumbled mess where every system like player leveling and world leveling and the world building seemed to frustrate every other system and fly in the face of the advantages that come with The Elder Scrolls' unique approach. Oblivion was such a disappointing follow-up to Morrowind. It's really weird for me to see it looked back on with nostalgia, especially when compared to Skyrim.
 

Ranylyn

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TopazFusion said:


If that font is too small, click here for full size.

So true.

Basically, Morrowind was my first Elder Scrolls game. I had a lot of fun. Melee combat sucked, sure, but the sheer spell variety... fun! You could mark a spot and teleport back there, as well as teleporting to the nearest temple or barracks, so you could often get back to somewhere to sell/ drop off loot before going back in the dungeons. You had things like the scrolls of Icaron Flight, which were amazing fun, and levitation magic to freely fly around. And let's not forget the exotic locales. Morrowind wasn't just some generic bland european fantasy. (I love Europe, I mean Morrowind's scenry wasn't cliche.)

Oblivion? Just some generic bland european fantasy. No, but in all seriousness, the melee combat was made better at the expense of the magic. No more hoptoad, no more levitation, bound gear toned down to hell, etc. It was still fun but it took a LOT of fun out of it....

Skyrim: I can't even make my own spells anymore? In order to enchant weapons, I need to destroy existing weapons I find to take their enchants to put on something else? Excuse me, what? Oh wait, they improved the melee combat more....?


Honestly, at the risk of sounding like a troll, screw Skyrim up the ass. I played it for 10 hours (on a "I bet you can't hate it if you play for 10 hours" dare after my initial 2 hour "Screw this") and not only did I not enjoy it for more than 5 minutes of it, but yeah, literally everything just had me fighting more Draugr.


Want to take the core combat elements of Skyrim and Oblivion with Morrowind's "fun" spells and customizing? Fine. But my freaking god you don't just carve out everything that made the old ones fun in favor of pretty graphics, ugh.
 

Ectoplasmicz

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Mirroga said:
I have analyzed some behaviors about the fun in different genre. All I can say is, if you're not into Skyrim it's either you never liked the RPG setting or you simply don't play too many games in different genres. The appeal of Skyrim and possibly other Bethesda games is the "freedom" found in it that are rare in today's videogames.
I think this is entirely untrue.

I play many games in different genres and I love the RPG setting.

Skyrim is simply lifeless and shallow compared to Oblivion and Morrowind.