Now I’m running Skyrim on a fairly old machine – still running Windows XP and using a 8600 GT video card. As a result, I get a little choppiness, which you will probably also encounter if you’re on an older machine like mine. But, despite that, it’s a lovely game, a world with great mountain vistas and lots of leafy forests which seems to be composed solely for screenshots.
Like that. Sometimes I feel like a tourist in Skyrim.
Initial character generation is not very time consuming in this installment, because you don’t pick a starting class. Instead, you pick your character’s race and facial attributes, then are sent in to the world and given a lot of initial starting options during a basic combat tutorial. Your skills level up as you use them. Level up enough skills, and you get a character level, which moves you to a character level-up screen. In this screen, you can choose perks that will allow you to get better at certain skills that you aspire to. In this way, your in-game actions have some control over your character’s destiny, but you still get to guide it a little.
I like to cause trouble, so I decided that I wanted to start with a thief character, and chose the cat-person race which seems to be one of the races most skilled at thievery. It turns out though that being a pure thief may not be the way to go, since the game focuses heavily on combat and you’ll need some way to cause damage. Stealing also isn’t so profitable in the early game, since, as in older installments, shopkeepers won’t buy stolen goods from you. Somehow, they know. I’ve heard that you can fence stolen goods when you reach a speech skill of 90, but that sounds like much later in the game, so, for now, I’ve settled on only stealing goods I can use myself, like food and potions. But yes, if you’re wondering, the bucket trick does work. I did find it a bit harder to do than the video implies, because of the way the game controls.
And that segues me in to talking about how the game controls, which, with mouse and keyboard, turned out to be surprisingly poor. The mouse sensitivity is just bad, even at the highest setting, and I felt as if I had to run the thing off of my desk numerous times just to see where I was going. The tutorial for some reason started me out at the lowest mouse sensitivity setting, and I thought for a long time that I just had no control during that part at all. My experience improved significantly when I hooked up an Xbox 360 controller to my computer. I could blame the fact that I actually played the previous Elder Scrolls, Oblivion, on the 360 (yes, I know, doing it wrong), but this just felt like a way more comfortable experience for me. The controller was recognized automatically and the sensitivity for looking around with the right thumbstick is much better than it is with the mouse. I’ve heard that there are some user fixes for the mouse experience floating around already, so if you haven’t got a controller to use, and you’re having the same problems I was, you might want to try getting some help with the mouse controls. I actually can’t recommend playing the game with a mouse, which is weird for what ought to be a PC-first sort of title.
The combat in the game is actually fairly neat, as it’s improved on Oblivion by introducing a dual-wield setup. You can put one weapon in one hand, and another weapon in the other; these are activated by using the left and right mouse buttons, or, if you don’t want to be terrible, the left and right triggers on the Xbox controller. The setup I’ve found nicest here, after some experimentation, is to hold a destruction spell in one hand, and my thief dagger in the other for a sort of Bioshock feeling. You don’t have to lower your spell hand to attack with your weapon hand, so being able to quickly blast out a few fireballs, then go in for the stab, is pretty fun.
Now the big question, really, in an Elder Scrolls game is that of personal freedom. This tends to be polarizing. Some people thought Oblivion was the best of the series, whereas others, like myself (and Steerpike apparently) have come to prefer Morrowind for its relatively unbounded exploratory freedom. (The difference between Morrowind and Oblivion: “I played 30 hours of Oblivion, and I never even entered an Oblivion Gate!” compared to “I played 30 hours of Morrowind, and I’m not even sure what the main quest is!” Obviously, your mileage may vary.) Keeping in mind this is only my first five hours in, but, Skyrim seems to walk… somewhere in the middle, here. Anecdotally, my first five hours are a lot like the first five hours of my friends who are playing, despite our different choices of race and favored weapons. The main quest is pretty clearly landmarked, with an NPC that leads you to the town exit and points in the direction of the first dungeon (for your convenience, pictured above). The game start is also sprinkled with lots of little tutorials to help you learn crafting and other systems that used to be a lot less documented than this. I could blame “the kids these days” for this kind of signposting, but the truth is it’s really pretty helpful and I could just as easily blame myself for taking people’s advice instead of exploring on my own accord.
So, yeah, first impressions: it’s fun. Combat is pretty juicy and there’s thousands of little quests and random things to meddle with and do. If you really liked Oblivion, this should be a no-brainer, but if you didn’t like Oblivion so much, Skyrim might still grab you. Just play with a controller.
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The mouse issues you’re experiencing have something to do with mouse smoothing/hardware acceleration. You can turn this off through editing your .ini file, and plenty of instructions are online. I turned mine up to about 75%, and it handles really well now. Think you might be experiencing more trouble due to the older rig.
As for freedom, scope, and size, it’s one of those things where the longer you play, the larger it becomes. At about 17 hours, I’m actually starting to feel overwhelmed. There is just SO MUCH TO DO! I already have my next 2-3 characters planned out, and feel like dedicating a 3 day weekend to lay this game was just scratching the surface.
It’s just… wow.
Thank you for the tip. I’m sure my computer has something to do with it, but, just from people I’ve straw polled I’m not the only one having trouble with the mouse on this title. For whatever reason the controller is a much better experience I think… ymmv of course.
Thanks Amanda, for plunking down full retail to bring us the news. Any sign of the dread levelling issues in Oblivion? This is an odd numbered offering, so it’s supposed to be the heir to Morrowind.
What I’d like to know is how the level scaling looks in the game. Bethesda said it’d be closer to Fallout 3 than to Oblivion, but my impressions after about 20 minutes of playing (PC) are somewhat strange: we ran into a bear in the first cave and I shot it with two arrows and then stuck it with my war mace and it just died??? Maybe it was exhausted from hibernating for months, but still????
Keeping in mind that I’m only about … 10 hours in, now (and hoping to play more all week), the leveling curve seems to be more Fallout-like. I’m still encountering the same bandits as I did at level 1, but splattering them instead of them leveling with me. Some critters are definitely easier than others – I fought a wild saber-toothed cat, and it was pretty tough.
Nice work, Amanda! Saves me the trouble of doing the same.
Far as I can tell, the “enemies-level-with-you” crap from Oblivion is gone or hugely toned down. Like Meho I killed a bear when I was only first level, but later on I was schooled many times by saber cats and frost trolls when I went to an area I didn’t belong. There may be a certain degree of foes leveling with you, but it’s a lot less noticeable than the bandits in full Ebony plate that riddled the shitgasm of Oblivion.
My key complaint is that the menu/interface system, while better than Oblivion’s, is not the “liquid sex” described by Rock Paper Shotgun. If “passable to mediocre” equals “liquid sex,” then there you go; otherwise the interface is an improvement but far from a revelation. The control mapping, as well, leaves a hell of a lot to be desired.
All that said, so far I’m enjoying it much, much more than I did Oblivion. Bethesda has clearly learned a lot from its mistakes.
I figured I could count on you to write a deeper review at some point, Steerpike, considering you did the others! But this game is so big that writing a comprehensive review would take me… well, a lot longer than Zelda did. I’m /still/ playing New Vegas off and on.
Any chance of a little more detail on your system specs, Amanda? I’d been assuming I’d need a new machine before being able to play Skyrim (though I still preordered for the map).
I figured someone would ask that, and I almost don’t want to say for real because this computer is starting to need upgrades. It runs most things ok though, but it’s choking on some of Skyrim’s water textures.
AMD Athlon 64 x2 Dual Core, 2.4 GHz, 2 gig of RAM. All cutting edge specs when I built it, um, 4 years ago?
Mine is more like 6 years old, but it was a meaty spec at the time (and it was just before multicore machines became standard, so its faster single core still performs pretty well on anything that doesn’t actually use the multiple cores). Hmm. Maybe…
The “liquid sex” remark was from a preview ages ago. It occurs to me that it may not have been liquid sex, but it was some sort of sex. In any case, what’s written there is a lot closer to accurate than calling anything about the game’s interface sex.
All these shitgasms of liquid sex, I’m just not sure what to think.
The interface on PC is pretty disgraceful if nothing then for the fact that in some cases it won’t accept mouse input and in some it will but it’s never immediately clear which is which.
Here are my first impressions of Skyrim…
Awful, fucking awful interface
Inability to change graphical settings in game is disgraceful
Some of the worst AI I’ve ever witnessed in a game. EVER.
Visually, on maximum detail, it isn’t actually all that appealing (no character shadows underfoot?)
Characters look appalling
Combat is ludicrously simplistic (it can only get better, right..right?)
Enemies don’t even flinch when your hitting them with a 60lb hammer
Already buggy as hell (I had a dead enemy stuck to my foot for 15 minutes)
That’s just my first impressions from 45 minutes play. God I hope it gets better.
@ Steerpike, I honestly fail to even see what Bethesda have even improved upon. I’m undoubtedly going to write a review of Skyrim I just pray it improves as at the moment, I’m lost for words how every respectable media outlet is kissing this games arse. In the next 39 hours and 15 minutes (minimum) I’m expecting wonders otherwise I’ve lost all faith in journalism.
And RPS can kiss my ass with their “Judged: Skyrim). They criticise it all the way through (acting, bugs, scripting) yet decide they love it to pieces and yet in an entirely separate article 1 day later annihilate its UI for 1000 words (something they failed to mentioned in the “Judged”) whilst still failing to point out its combat, or appalling AI.
People are fricking mad!
My two comments about the combat and characters:
Combat does get better, but… only a little. It’s still sort of circle-strafe, run-and-gun type stuff. I use sneak attack a lot, which is just starting to get useful at a 40-some sneak.
Characters looking bad… honestly I think these are some of the most attractive Bethesda characters to date, except for the elves. Elves are so ugly.
Amanda, if these characters are attractive then I’ve lost all sanity!
Meho: That bear was just part of the tutorial. The game is much tougher than any previous Bethesda RPG, and with a lot of monsters, it’s best to just run away.
Phlebas: The game actually runs more smoothly on my PC than either Oblivion or Fallout 3. Surprisingly smooth frame rate for such a lovely looking game.
I’ve played an hour or so, and I’m enjoying it. The characters are attractive compared to Morrowind and Oblivion, that’s for sure – but the elves are ugly as mentioned above (although I’m still playing an elf).
Double-wielding spells is a lot of fun, and the interface seems custom made for game-pads (sorry PC players). Can’t wait to see what the enchanting and spell-making abilities are like, two of the most rewarding aspects of the game especially when ‘customising’ your character.
Armand, why would I not be serious?
Not one of you has, in these comments, picked out the fundamental flaws in Skyrim’s design and yet its lauded over as if it’s the new messiah of RPGs.
When a game fails on the very basics, so catastrophically as this, we would in almost every circumstance, and deservedly, point them out for all to see. And yet Skyrim, because it’s a Bethesda game, seems immune to even have such criticism acknowledged, never mind raised in a constructive way. If criticism is levelled at Skyrim, it is swiftly paired with a caveat: “these are some of the most attractive Bethesda characters to date” (Bethesda characters being the emphasis) or “it doesn’t matter if the UI is horrendous, the modding community will fix it” or “it doesn’t matter if its bugged, patches and modders will fix that”.
The primary elements that make up Skyrim are so riddled with problems it is likely that after my review of it, it will be the last piece of games journalism I write. I’m so dismayed by the industry and players reaction to flock to a game from a company that continues to spew formulaic RPGs, with fault lines so deep, that I’m simply lost for words. I’m angry about it.
To add some credibility to such accusations I sincerely suggest you all step back and genuinely look at the game you are playing.
• Striking an enemy with any weapon provides no tactile feedback besides a minor blood splatter, resulting in combat that feels light and unsatisfying with basic ‘hit’ animations missing entirely.
• Combat is so fundamentally basic (little more than a power attack and repeatedly using M1) that there is no room for tactical play or any feeling of control. Replicating Dark Messiah Might and Magic would at the very least be leagues ahead of what it has now.
• Duel wielding a weapon and spell is not a new concept, with Bioshock 2 doing it better.
• Enemy A.I is on such a basic level, irrespective of the enemy (whether human or other) that their only approach to a combat situation is to charge you, like the Borg. I remember years ago the industry criticised Star Trek Elite Force II so fiercely for such basic A.I and yet here we are, 8 years later, with Bethesda doing the exact same thing.
• Inexcusable bugs that for a AAA title are absolutely shameful. How are you supposed to be immersed in a game when the game world continues to undermine any you had had built up? One example saw a enemies corpse stuck to me for 15 minutes, whilst the game has crashed twice for no reason or has simply frozen.
• A user interface that has clearly been designed for a game pad, that is so cumbersome and slow, whilst failing to provide the most basic of information clearly, is yet another testament to Bethesda’s basic failings as a company.
• The game world, engine and characters all look incredibly poor even on the highest detail settings. Not one character has had the care and attention lavished upon them to actually make them memorable and for an RPG this is unforgivable.
Despite all this, I do intend to continue playing Skyrim. Not because I’m enjoying it (yet) but because I’ve spent £30 on what is potentially the most overrated game I’ve ever encountered and I am desperate to find what people are clambering for. Having played MMOGs for years, I’ve experienced some of the most amazing game worlds ever made and I would say that even Age of Conan or Mortal Online’s world is more visually appealing.
I can understand those things being frustrating, Lewis – but I’m not sure I’d describe many of them as fundamental design flaws. Severe issues, perhaps, but not fundamental. The only one that stands out as a basic flaw rather than a matter of polish is that the combat is still boring – but I’ve always found combat the least interesting part of RPGs, so it’s less likely to bother me than most people.
I’m annoyed about the UI because it was an obvious thing that people were asking about from the start. I gather the way it’s implemented means it’ll harder to mod into something better (whereas it would have been relatively easy to do a better job from the source level), so that’ll take longer. But it’ll happen before too long. Hopefully they’ll improve keyboard mapping too.
Out of interest, did you play and/or enjoy Morrowind or Oblivion?
I’d rather play a massive, ambitious, imaginative, beautiful, complex game with some bugs in than a highly polished corridor shooter. The more complexity, the more freedom the player gets, the more scope for bugs and the more testing it’d take to find them, let alone fix them. Exponentially more. You’re welcome to prefer the less ambitious option – but ‘inexcusable’ is going a bit far.
I’m still very much looking forward to playing this.
@ Phlebas, I did play Oblivion. Roughly about 10 hours. I really didn’t enjoy that either, for the exact same reasons. The games are incredibly similar to one another; you start with your hands tied in both, escape in both right at the very start and thus begin your adventure, but to a great extent Oblivion shares the exact same faults as Skyrim.
• The same lacklustre combat (What Oblivion did have was enemies that reacted based on you hitting them, unlike Skyrim).
• Some of the very same bugs
• The continued used of a poor engine that pales in comparison to Cryteks efforts
• The terrible UI (though Oblivions UI is way better, it was still awful)
• Terrible characters.
I really was hoping for something more this time around.
Whilst I agree that a freeform game of this nature is susceptible to significant quantities of bugs, much more so than any other, lets not hide behind the fact that this is a multimillion dollar game, marketed as a AAA title, that suffers from so many faults. Having the game fail to load, crash for no reason, see enemies or NPCs glitch within the first 10 minutes or worse having a corpse strapped to your foot for 15 is a disgrace. With Bethesda’s financial muscle it is inexcusable- we are talking millions upon millions of dollars to make and this is what we get?
Please, lets also not run ahead of ourselves about what Skyrim is- ambitious? On what basis? A large land mass populated by NPCs? How is that any different to an MMOG that has to house thousand upon thousands of real players, plus NPCs, scripted dungeons, instances, auction houses, scenarios and PVP arenas. Skyrim isn’t something out of the ordinary. Mortal Online shares many similarities with Skyrim and whilst it lacks some polish, it is in many respects more ambitious than Skyrim and arguably has better architecture and a better setting.
No one is saying I like less ambition, but I fail to see why we should continue to accept and applaud such a game where its faults are on such obvious display. If this wasn’t a game from Bethesda, it would be crucified.
As I’ve said, I will continue to play it until I feel at the stage where I can write a review but my opinion is less than glowing and certainly against the grain, so please don’t be offended if you love it- each to their own.
I’m just hoping everything in between the combat and the awful characters redeems it.
The bugs don’t bother me too much; they are annoying, and I spend some time worrying that I’ve broken this or that by not standing in the proper place, but given the scale and scope of the game it doesn’t surprise me that bugs would be a problem. The key for Bethesda is to identify and fix the serious ones.
The interface, now that gets on my nerves. It’s not as bad as Oblivion’s, but it suffers from a key flaw: insufficient information, insufficiently organized. Setting aside its simple clumsiness and awkward handling with a mouse, in an RPG like this you need a much stronger interface that keeps key information front and center.
The UI is built with the Autodesk ScaleForm middleware, which is pretty ubiquitous; this is not a failure of technology but of design. Bethesda shouldn’t rely on modders to fix interface flaws. The Skyrim interface needs to be completely redone, as soon as possible.
Lewis’s remarks about the lack of tactility in combat wasn’t something I’d thought about until he mentioned it. I do see what you mean, though I’ve felt a little more “punch” than you have – things like shield bashing and arrow shots feel satisfying to me – but it’s hardly the most kinetic experience. My core issue with the combat system is that neither first nor third person works very well. It’s hard to see, hard to control, hard to keep up, and again, that terrible interface (in this case the appalling Favorites menu) makes everything harder than it ought to be.
I am having a lot of fun playing Skyrim, despite its flaws. That’s not something I could honestly say about Oblivion. For this admittedly subjective reason alone, I’m willing to cut it more slack, but I hope Bethesda are developing a strategy to address some of the more serious issues.
And the A.I Steerpike?…
I think this is an interesting discussion, so I’m not going to treat it like an argument since I know this game is a little polarizing. I’m now at about hour 20. I’m not really in the ‘love’ or ‘hate’ camp on it, but I’m enjoying it more than Oblivion. I know the dual-wielding combat isn’t a new idea (you can see I mentioned Bioshock, because that’s exactly what it reminds me of).
I agree with every angry person about the UI. It’s no good. It’s obviously designed for the game pad and as PC player I found that frustrating. The rumble on a controller does a lot of the work in communicating hits in combat. You miss that entirely with a keyboard. It’s absolutely not designed for it at all. I wanted to do lockpicking, but that, too, is missing all haptic feedback with a keyboard and needs a controller to function properly.
I don’t agree with you, Lewis, about the graphics. I think it’s a pretty attractive game. I may be comparing it favorably to its predecessors in this regard (as I said, these are attractive characters: for Bethesda). But I am pretty impressed by the attention to detail on all the characters and armor. I don’t think the majority of characters are necessarily designed for classic appeal or to be pretty: they’re supposed to look, well, kind of weatherbeaten. I also think that they’ve done a good job communicating the affordability of environment objects and laying them out in the world in a way that invites curiosity and exploration.
Now the AI…. yeah, Ok, it’s not so hot. Dragon AI I thought was pretty good, until I saw the sucker fly around to breathe fire at a harmless rock. Human hostiles charge and charge directly, but won’t run in to a 1-foot puddle, so you can hit and run them that way using any convenient water. These aren’t issues that bothered me at Hour 5; they do bother me at hour 20-some. I honestly don’t want the AI to be too much smarter, because these guys would probably cream me if they used basic tactics, and any time more than 2 bad guys gang up on me I may as well reload my save, because it’s not going to happen. There’s a lot to complain about here. I think having a better interface would help combat a lot, though; the newer Fallout games are a lot more playable because of VATS.
Dude, you played for 45 minutes, then had a laundry list of complaints. You haven’t even given it a chance, or hell, even finished the tutorial portion of the game. Why are you even playing this? You don’t like Bethesda games, you complain about the tiniest details relating to them, and the phrase “missing the forest for the trees” has never had greater meaning. I don’t even know why you bothered picking this up.
Your “review” above doesn’t have a shred of objectivity. You came in ready to hate this with everything you got, and succeeded with flying colors.
I would like to hear your thoughts on the story. I ‘played’ Oblivion for just a few hours, as I got bored in the tutorial, and after I left it I was left with no reason to do anything. Not only did the game fail to grab me, but it actually alienated me.
I decided not to grab this game because of it, but I watched day9 stream in hope it might change my views. I felt the same thing despite his enthusiasm. Your character is nobody in middle of nowhere with no goal. I am not against freedom by all means but at least some context would be nice.
I realise I’m probably rather alone in my sentiment, but what are your thought on story engagement in this game?
Cheers, a noob.
If you follow the main quest marker when you first see it (and it’s hard to miss), there is definitely a story where you are a protagonist with a particular goal (and that goal is to slay dragons). You’re free to ignore it though if you want to just do other things, in which case, it really becomes up to you to choose the goal you like to do.
The story ends up being more like a to-do list. I personally like this sort of thing, but if you want a more directed experience than that it might not be right for you. The NPCs are not as interesting to me personally as say Fallout New Vegas, but that game is really tough to beat in the interesting NPC department.
The story interests me more than the one in Oblivion did, because it’s a little less pushy and a little more traditional Elder Scrolls – i.e., it’s “your” story, small or large, but it’s yours. One problem I had with the narrative of Oblivion was that from a roleplaying perspective, doing anything other than trying to avert the crisis as quickly as possible felt false. Meanwhile, in Morrowind and Daggerfall (and even Arena, sort of), the plots were less world-shaking and therefore it encouraged you to do your own thing rather than racing to a finish line.
Skyrim is more even-handed with allowing you to set your own motivations, and whether or not you intend to take the whole Dragonborn storyline seriously. I’m not articulating this well, but basically it feels more like Morrowind’s and Daggerfall’s narrative structure. As the game opened I thought to myself, “okay, who am I?” And I decided I was a sort of wanderer without a fixed profession, someone who decided to seek adventure in Skyrim because he enjoys cold weather and because the place is so untamed. Getting drawn into the Dragonborn plot is sort of an unexpected potential avenue, but not one I feel I need to explore.
As for the looks of the game, I’ll split my answer: the majority of the game – the sweeping gray vistas, the blowing snow, the endless bleak tundra, the attention to detail in towns, I think all that stuff is great. In many ways one of the prettiest games I’ve seen. I also appreciate that they didn’t chicken out with their visuals. Skyrim’s a gloomy frozen wasteland (like Northern Michigan), and I think they ran with that well. Lots of gray, sure, but they use that gray well.
The character models and faces aren’t great. They don’t horrify me, but they’re certainly nothing special.
As to the AI… tricky question. Again, there are two parts to the game. The Radiant Story stuff works reasonably well, and I’m impressed by how ambitious it is. The actual granular combat and pathing AI is much more awkward, but not the worst I’ve seen. Mostly I’m bugged by the fact that in this day and age they still refuse to make companions GET OUT OF THE WAY. As I recall this was well done in… was it Mass Effect 2? I think so. So it’s not hard to implement, and failure to do so is kind of lazy.
So far my serious complaints about this game are limited to the clumsy interface. It’s not that I disagree with some of the other gripes, just that I’m prepared to overlook them since I’m enjoying myself.
My take on combat and AI is this: The game lets you approach it in so many ways. Duel wield weapons, weapon/shield, two handed weapon, weapon/magic, all magic, or bow and arrow. Each plays and feels different, hell, even switching between types of two-handed weapons feels different. Plus, as you level weapon skills, new combat styles and mechanics open up, allowing for even more varied approaches. You take all that, and give all those abilities to NPCs as well, and you suddenly have a much more complex combat mechanic than most games ever even attempt.
And the enemies may occasionally get stuck in the geometry, but otherwise, they flank you, they retreat if they take too much damage, if too many guys are rushing you, a few will pull back and go ranged, or run off and look for backup… If you find a way to hit a guy that can’t get at you, they will find cover (in a non-cover based game). A mage and a warrior will work together to compliment their strengths. It all adds up to some really fun combat.
I love how the bow and arrow feel, I love switching up fighting styles as the situation changes, I love having my companion rush in just as I’m about to go down, and hold them off long enough for me to recover… All this together just feels so fun and action packed. Easily the best combat of any Bethesda game, and more fun than most action/melee games. I’m playing in 3rd person mode, and it feels so visceral and deadly. The animation is smooth and beautiful, weapon impact feels great, the way the screen moves when you take a heavy hit, or your character stumbles… The way in which you can use the environment to help fight guys… It all adds up to some damned fun combat I think.
As for companions blocking your way, I’ve only really had that trouble in some narrow areas. Usually, I even like it, as I’m playing ranged, and when a companion rushes in for the melee, it has that Hollywood movie feel where they’re circling each other, moving in and out, and I’m there in the back trying to aim with my bow, and REALLY hoping my buddy doesn’t move in the way in the last second. Suspense!!
I’ve still not played this yet, but the general feeling I get with Bethesda games (well games in general, but particularly ones by Bethesda) is that the experience is often more than the sum of the parts.
Fallout New Vegas had me in hysterics at times with some of the bugs, particularly the elongated limbs and glitching characters on the slow motion death cams. I do generally find that sort of stuff funny rather than an annoyance, but those and similar bugs never removed me from the experience. It was still one of the most atmospheric games I’ve ever played, with an awesome sense of exploration and adventure. I was IN the world, even though the game often did everything in it’s power to remove me from that.
I think with Bethesda there’s a general “jankiness” to everything that can be distracting depending on how seriously you take such things. Me and Lew had a conversation about this at work the other day, and I’m generally quite tolerant when it comes to such mechanical bugs and flaws so long as the overall experience of playing the game is so strong. For some people those things are distracting, though, and very difficult to get past. From what I’ve heard about Skyrim and having loved both the previous Fallout games despite their flaws, I can’t wait to dive into Skyrim even though some of these issues do sound pretty jarring. I get such a great vibe from watching videos of people doing nothing other than exploring in this game, and I can’t wait to get into that myself.
Saying that, I have just seen a screenshot of a dude whose character is currently exploring the world sans head.
Daggerfall is the benchmark of comparison for all TES titles for me. The fact that most people (present tappers excluded of course) have never heard of a world before Morrowind is boggling to my boggled head.
Freedom in a game, that’s all I ask. (and 2D enemies.)
Fascinating to read through every one of these comments. I have Skyrim, but I haven’t installed it yet (see Demon’s Souls/Dark Souls/Uncharted 3). I fully anticipate that by the time I do install it mods will have resolved most of the problems mentioned here. I also clearly remember that every TES game Bethesda ever has released shipped astonishingly buggy–and I mean all the way back to TES:Arena. Further, I wonder if Bethesda shipped the game this week anticipating that others would do its work for them. After all, at its heart, the mod community is free labor.
How good is the main plot itself? That’s the one thing about Morrowind nobody talked about – the main plot was a wonderful piece of writing. I always interpreted Vivec as a sympathetic character – a man who wanted to free his people from Azura’s benevolent overlordship as much as he wanted godhood for himself. Oblivion continued the “mortals vs gods” theme, but in a much less interesting manner. I’m curious if any of that made it into Skyrim. Or are you guys to busy exploring to be able to know much about the main plot yet?
I’d like to start by saying that I’ve played close to 700 hours of Bethesda’s RPGs from the late-nineties to the present. I love to hate to love the games. At their worse, the games are plagued by endless bugs too deep to solve and too extensive to catch prior to release, have laughable AI that involves (even in Fallout 3) NPCs running really close and hacking each other to bits, and loose the player in sweep of being the only person actually doing anything (such as becoming the leader of every guild or faction around). And combat has always been relatively boring as most are click fests with little concern for tactics. At their best, the players play the games internally as much as via the hardware, imagining what their characters thought when facing that the first gloomy cave, sweet beading up on their brow as they faced the terrifying sound, gulping with a throat dry from nerves as the pressed on. Or, trying to decide if they should steal everything not cemented in place, wondering if they should treat random strangers respectfully while remembering that they could cast that one destruction spell or illusion spell that would depopulate their stain called a town, and pondering what are video game morals when everything can be killed. I am saddened to learn that Skyrim is a console game ported to the PC, with all that entails.
That said, is the environment dynamic? I loved this about Oblivion, watching people and animals wonder around and go through the motions of living. Also, this was the first game I played that had a breeze! Brandon “Dix” Perdue wrote an excellent article at Tap Repeatedly about traveling which made me thing about the living world. This has always been the strengths of Bethesda RPGs: the create worlds to play in. (They people in these worlds do lack graphical polish!)
That said, I most likely wont be playing this game until the summer as I am really busy with school right now.
Sorry for the double post by I made some sever editing errors! Here are the fixes:
“and lose the player”
“facing that first gloomy cave, sweat beading on their brow”
“they create worlds to play in”
“I love to hate to love the games.”
Well said, Chris D. My sentiments exactly.
@ Armand, Please don’t ever assume I went into playing Skyrim with my decision on it already made, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I would never spend £35 on a product I knew I would dislike- I was incredibly excited to play Skyrim and in many respects I still am. Just because I have, in my limited play of it, pointed out glaring faults doesn’t mean I won’t go on to enjoy the game.
As Mat states, some people find it difficult to look past such glaring problems, me and Gregg are similar in this respect. But, it doesn’t mean I wont enjoy a lot of what Skyrim has to offer. After all, I adore MMOGs and as I’ve said many times over, Skyrim and games of the ilk are incredibly similar in many ways.
Perhaps you can also explain to me how my first impressions of Skyrim lacks objectivity? I’ve clearly put forward justified criticism, compared against other games that do things better. So unless you are able to disprove anything I’ve said I consider it more than fair; the basic combat, the poor A.I and terrible UI.
I would also very much like to see this amazing A.I you speak of. Not once has an enemy ever flanked me, retreated or done anything of interest besides charge me like the Borg. This isn’t just specific to humans; wolves, animals, spiders, heck- even the giant spider boss does exactly the same A.I routine making bow play almost impossible.
I very much look forward to some fraps footage from you proving me wrong. Either I have a buggy game or your interpretation of such A.I manoeuvres differs wildly from mine.
@ Chris D, I couldn’t agree with you more.
Just as a question, how are we determining ambition in a games development?
Re-launching APB as a free-to-play game is ambitious. Developing a new multimillion dollar IP to take on Modern Warfare is ambitious (or foolish!), but to create what is technically a sequel to two games you’ve made before (Morrowind, Oblivion) how is replicating them under a new setting ambitious?
Surely that is just doing what you do best?
Well, there’s a lot of technical ambition in Skyrim, just as there has been in all the Elder Scrolls games.
The Radiant Story system – which I’ll be first to admit doesn’t work all the time, but does work pretty well – is a highly ambitious effort to create a dynamic, adaptive quest mechanic. It’s trying to blur the line between computer and tabletop roleplaying, and make a game that reacts intelligently to you and what you’ve done so far. The simple mass of variables in such a system all but demands there be bugs, but really Radiant Story seems pretty solid to me.
The proprietary engine, called Creation, is also quite ambitious. Historically Bethesda has used GameBryo and its predecessor NetImmerse for Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Morrowind. They were pretty committed to that engine family (which was a great codebase), and creating your own engine is no mean feat. The Creation Engine is quite impressive in draw distance, use of advanced effects, and overall fidelity. I’m playing on PC and have been fortunate not to suffer some of the serious porting issues other gamers have endured. Again, I expect Bethesda to correct these issues as soon as possible. But any proprietary engine is ambitious (thought not always wisely so).
I’m sorry you’re having problems with the archery, Lewis. I find it one of the most satisfying effects of combat – the only one that has that kinetic feel. You can hear an arrow zip through the air and almost sense the meaty smack when it hits a target. I enjoy bringing down mountain goats just because of that. The melee combat and casting are a little less weighty, I do agree.
As for the AI, what I have observed is entities in the environment interacting with one another realistically, which is always cool because it makes me feel like I’m part of the world rather than its fulcrum. Combat’s a bit head-on, but of course, so’s the combat in Rage and any number of other combat intensive games. Granular combat AI is insanely hard to program; only the original STALKER, to my recollection, actually had enemies that responded intelligently in battle.
Part of this is because when something is taught to respond intelligently in battle, it doesn’t make for a very fun game. There’s a classic anecdote about the AI system that Wingnut Films created for the Lord of the Rings movies: it was developed to make individual entities in huge armies react appropriately in battle conditions, so the team didn’t have to mocap/animate each of ten thousand troops. When they ran the first simulation, the two armies approached each other, then broke and ran away.
Each Elder Scrolls game makes an effort to build on the last; they’re not mere replications. While some have failed significantly, all put forth new ideas and innovations in CRPGs. In a way I think of the Elder Scrolls games as a sort of game design laboratory, where Bethesda is constantly trying new things. Mostly I fault them for staying with things that don’t work while dropping things that do (or never fixing stuff that obviously needs fixing), but all in all I can’t support the notion that Skyrim’s just a rehash of its predecessors.
I’m very much with Mat C on a lot of this.
I played Morrowind very recently with a lot of mods that ironed out various kinks while keeping it as close to vanilla as possible and there were just a whole heap of things I couldn’t clamber over. I loved the world (and yes that includes the vanilla textures and terrain), I loved the music and dynamic weather and the overall atmosphere. I loved the exploration and the unknowing and the sense of dread that came with that. Man, it’s making me want to load it up again… (http://imgur.com/a/qieZs#0) …but:
The dialogue system (clicking on topics) seemed neat at first until I realised I’d have to click on every single topic to see if a given NPC would have anything useful to say as opposed to blurting out the same generic remark I’d heard a gazillion times before. The dialogue itself bored me to tears (even if there was some interesting lore tucked away in there). I also don’t recall a single character having any sort of memorable personality. Everyone just seemed so po-faced, and it’s not like I was expecting Zelda flamboyancy either! It got to the stage where I didn’t want to talk to anyone about anything in any town I came across, which is a pretty bad state to be in. The interface didn’t hold up so well but that didn’t bother me too much because hey, it was old, I could let that slide. The melee felt uninvolving mashing the attack button, the shear breadth of stats and potions and items and alchemical ingredients just got so unwieldy so quickly that I just buckled underneath it all. I tried, I really did, but damn, if I don’t want to give it another go at some point.
With regards to Skyrim, I don’t own it and I’ve little to say having not played it for any respectable amount of time. I had a few reservations following my very brief session with it at the Eurogamer Expo but they’re far from robust or decisive. I’ve heard a lot from both sides so I’m looking forward to settling into it and seeing what the hell everyone is (or is not) talking about! Roll on The Steam Christmas Blowout Sale!
Thanks for that Steerpike, very much appreciated.
I don’t propose that Skyrim is a re-hash, but one would assume Bethesda are relatively good at creating a game of this nature by now, much like Rockstar are heavily experienced in ‘open world’ design from their efforts with the GTA series. Far from a case of copy and pasting, but the challenge must be much more straight forward than that of a company attempting something similar from nothing.
I can also entirely understand your sentiments on A.I. I think Stalker was very much a one off (besides Half Life 1 & 2 which also had some dubious A.I at times). Stalkers A.I when working is unquestionably the finest I’ve ever encountered. I’m certainly not suggesting Skyrim requires something on a similar scale but we have surely gone beyond the realms of what is on show here.
To enter a room with several enemies and have all of them aimlessly charge you- and to repeatedly do so even when being struck (I’ve yet to see a single enemy retreat, circle me, back away or approach me slowly) is a little disheartening.
I should also add it isn’t the physical bow that is the problem. As you say, the whizzing of an arrow and draw animation is lovely, it’s the fact that once I’ve struck someone with an arrow they react as if they haven’t been hit (a similar circumstance with melee weapons) and thus enemies run at me without injury, resulting in an inability to fire a second or third arrow to kill them forcing a change in weapon. Rarely in Oblivion did I have to switch from bow to blade and yet in Skyrim the game is by default making me do this because of a simple oversight on how a human or creature reacts when struck with an arrow from meters away.
In Oblivion when you hit someone with an arrow they would stagger and stumble, providing the opportunity to fire again. This just doesn’t happen in Skyrim making bow play incredibly difficult, all as a result of Bethesda for one reason or another failing to implement (or bugs stopping) enemies reacting to damage.
I must stress though, I’m really trying to see past all this and have already begun to mod the game in an effort to mend some of my issues…
Yesterday I saw the AI do something interesting: I was fighting a couple of bandits, and one was an elf using a frost staff. She blasted it with me several times, before my bow and arrow took it out.
The other bandit behind her, a man with a short sword, walked up to her body and looted the ice staff before I got a chance, then started blasting me with it. I gotta say I did not expect that kind of intelligence from the NPCs there.
Then later, my hopes were dashed when I watched a friendly NPC unable to figure out “stairs.”
There’s a graphics tuning guide here if that helps.
A couple of things I was meaning to ask because they frustrated me in Oblivion:
Are the interior and exterior of towns, houses etc connected this time, or do you still see an empty model from outside (so that you could throw something over a town wall, it would land in the model and be lost forever rather than landing in the actual town interior)?
Do objects disappear if you put them in a container and come back later? In Morrowind you could leave stuff pretty much anywhere and come back to it, but in Oblivion only the containers in houses you owned were persistent.
@Phlebas: nope, interiors and exteriors remain separate cells for the most part, as they did in Oblivion and Morrowind (and Daggerfall and Arena). I’d love it to be fully open, but there are a lot of technical reasons why that would be undesirable from a performance standpoint. Apparently load times are pretty bad on the consoles, which sucks. They’re nonexistent on PC.
As to objects in chests disappearing… I don’t know, actually. I have been afraid to put anything in chests that aren’t mine (I still smart from the loss of my Varla Stones in Oblivion). If you don’t want to buy a house, one trick is to join the Mage’s College – you get a dorm room with your own bed, plus furniture.
Hmm. Does that count as owned for this purpose? I remember being caught out in Oblivion leaving something in a guild house and losing it when the container respawned. Might serve me right for all the stuff I took from there, I suppose.
House interiors were separate cells in Daggerfall and Morrowind, but towns were usually a continuous part of the environment, you could see people walking around in them from a distance and fly in over the wall if you wanted rather than using the gate. That wasn’t the case in Oblivion – presumably the main reason flying isn’t allowed any more.
Lewis, you have played .6 hours of this game. That’s what, 35 minutes or so? Assuming about 15 minutes of the opening cut scenes, another 5 minutes (minimum) character creation, and you have actually only played for about 15 minutes. You haven’t even finished the tutorial. It would be safe to say you’ve spent about 3 times as much time writing about everything that’s “wrong” with the game than you have actually playing the game.
It’s staggering to me to think you have seen so many flaws with the game in such a short time. It’s the opening tutorial section man! Of course the game isn’t going to throw advance enemy AI at you. You hardly know how to hold your weapon yet!
You are using this 15 minutes of playtime to claim that the entirety of the gaming world has collectively lost their shit, and fallen in love with what you seem to think is absolute shit.
Play the fucking game! Spend at least a good 10 hours with it, and then come back. Until then, how else am I supposed to interpret your view as anything other then the opinion of someone who hates everything Bethesda has done, and is now carrying this rage onto the next game without ever even trying it out.
Armand, do you selectively choose to ignore what I write?
This is an impressions thread.
I have written my impressions based on playing the game for an hour.
Yes I’ve encountered these issues with a very short space of time.
Yes I intend on continuing to play the game, despite these issues.
Unlike you, I have two jobs and a 4 month old baby to look after; it tends to restrict when I can and cannot play. Thankfully, mobile devices in the modern age allow me to post on forums in moments, but unfortunately they cannot yet run Skyrim.
I think it’s probably time for everyone to cool off.
Too late for that. I’ve already been un-friended on Steam!
Haha it’s for your benefit Armand, I don’t want to say something I’ll regret on Steam 😉 ill re add you shortly when I’ve taken a chill-pill 😉
No worries Lew. We’re both passionate about our games, and passion can lead to some flare ups.
I finally caved in and bought this game at full price. Ouch. So used to getting Steam deals…
I just got into the game world and am heading for the first town. I was eerily reminded of Gothic 3 for a bit. The graphics and weird interface are taking some getting used to but then I’ve always been off balance when starting an Elder Scrolls game. I’ve played everything from Daggerfall on up and am now starting Skyrim. I so loved Daggerfall and Morrowind, less so Oblivion. I am hoping to get some of that feeling back. I’m no mod fan but I hope some of the weaknesses I see so far are addressed. What’s bugging me most is the funky swordplay. Like Lewis said, there is no there there when you hit something or at least not so far. Still, I am feeling inordinately excited to be heading into such an open world. I think I’ll settle in after a while. I’m trying hard to avoid all the threads on the gaming forums but that said, I think I’ll go open a Skyrim thread in Bollocks for my (and anyone else’s) ramblings.
Lewis, do you remember having a hissy fit at me for giving my impressions of Brink despite only playing it for an hour?
Are you guys playing in 1st or 3rd person view? I feel like this is the first Bethesda RPG that actually plays betting in 3rd person, which I love as that’s how I like to play. It does feel kind of janky in 1st person though.
Also, this game officially surpassed Morrowind for me, a long time favorite. Oblivion was fun, but really, it could suck my left one.
Hint: (sort of spoiler) There is a massive subterranean world to explore in the game, though it’s well hidden. The design style down there though is freakin’ wild!
Pickpocketing in Skyrim: pushing realism to the max.
Armand, I’m switching back and forth between 1st and 3rd. I like to fight in 1st person and explore in 3rd person.
1st person Armand, the game seems a little clunky to me in the 3rd.
Last night I tried to go into Felgallow Keep (or something like that), but they were too tough, and I died. I re-loaded and saw there was a dragon nearby, and tried for him… and I died again.
Then an idea – slap the dragon, run to Felgallow Keep, and see if they fight each other.
I shouted at the dragon to get it’s attention, ran like all buggery to Felgallow Keep (almost dying from the dragon’s breathing attacks), went into the midst of the peeps at FelGal, then popped an invis pot. The ensuing mayhem was awesome, and the nearly dragon was victorious over the FelGal crowd.
I had dragon a-la flambe after that, feeling terribly clever, if not mighty.
* should read ‘nearly dead dragon’, not just ‘nearly dragon’. Of course, it was a full dragon.
I do remember Mat, and I definitely think 1 hour is enough to find faults, it isn’t enough to write a game off. I’m out in the wilds of Skyrim now and I don’t even know where to start its that daunting!
@Armand: You can undress and re-arm people without them realising? That’s just… wow. Simply wow.
Edit: Just in! http://deadendthrills.com/ Worth reading what DET’s got to say about his time with Skyrim so far.
Actually I am just following this thread to see whether Lew and Armand will have sex in the end.
Anyway, this is the first Bethesda game where third person feels kind of comfortable. I spend most my time in it because the FOV is better that way (and I can’t be arsed to modify the configs myself yet) and also the texture and modelling work is good enough to not have me want to heave just by looking at my avatar (well avataress in my case). Also, the mocap is slightly better than in previous games (including F3 and FNV) which is nice if you look at the character doing a running animation for 50 hours, but I have to say the horse is ATROCIOUS. I mean it’s so badly animated it’s kinda a parody on Ocarina of Time/ Shadow of the Colossus. I know it was crappy in Oblivion too but it’s been years since and you’d expect them to do domething about that since you look at it for such a long time.
As for the AI comments I’d say that all of them were fair. I haven’t seen much intelligent behaviour in combat and the only characters giving me any grief were able to do so just on the account of having ridiculously high amounts of HP, but Radiant Story system does show a lot of progress over Oblivion’s Radiant AI. The nature, for a change looks natural with animals acting intuitively and animals actually giving me a run after I come at them with intent to kill (just predators – I can’t force myself to slay those pretty herbivore). Coupled with the notably improved draw distance over Oblivion/ Fallouts, the world of Skyrim is pretty much a pleasure to travel through. Although my biggest gripe is that it’s too vertical for my liking but so was Oblivion so… I am probably a minority.
Good voice acting on many an occassion. OK, it’s not perfect but I think the idea of using non-native English speakers for a lot of cast actually makes a lot of sense if you want a world where the idea si for many races and nations to speak a common lingua franca or however it’s spelled.
Actually my biggest immersion killer is the fact that I am missing a lot of sounds. Soule’s music is very nice and voices are usually solid but Most of the actions in the game miss sounds completely. I guess this is the game clashing with my hardware rather than the intent of the creators since I am sure that the lockpicking should have sounds (as it is taken wholesale from Fallouts) and in my version it’s completely silent.
Overall… I have to say that with bethesda you always know what you’re getting into and Skyrim DOES deliver it. You want relatable characters and engaging stories? You want intelligent, tactile combat? You SHOULD look elsewhere. But they have streamlined forging and alchemy and it’s… let’s say more comfortable than Oblivion in many ways.
Lew told me he was enjoying the game last night, and seemed genuinely excited about playing. I WIN!!!
I am really enjoying it and wish I had countless hours to pour into it. The UI still niggles and the combat lacks finesse (made worse by some very dubious AI) but, and a big but, everything else has completely sucked me in.
Lewis: the longer I keep playing it, the more there are so many things that bug me about it.
I…. must… keep playing it, keep playing it forever.
I admit, Skyrim is a really fun game (it’s the reason I’m now running off 30 hours without sleep), but some of the flaws really get to me. Besides some of the AI, UI and combat flaws mentioned, I’m starting to get really irritated at A) travelling from place to place, B) being punished for not saving every few minutes and C) not being able to find the right store.
Travelling is (pardon my French) a bit of a bitch. You may think that travelling by wagon will get you closer, but all the “holds” seem to twist away from the place you’re trying to get to and it’s extremely frustrating. Horses run at a slow canter, making some trips just you riding for 20 minutes (I’m not kidding about that). Eventually I learned to just ride past everything on my horse because if I died before getting to the “Save” button, I’d have to ride 20 minutes back to where I was.
Speaking of “saving” your game, I thought games nowadays had a feature which autosaved the game every few minutes… you know, something that “saves” you the trouble (oho!) of retracing your steps from twisty road A to twisty road B. Instead, I buy a horse, go down a trail for 15 minutes and then am boxed in and dismembered by Imperial soldiers. Next thing I know? I’m standing next to the FREAKING STABLE.
This last one is by no means as frustrating as the other two, but it definitely is quite annoying to observe.
Maybe Skyrim’s developers didn’t want to spoil the atmosphere of the game by pointing out exactly where you could get stuff, but if I want to buy specific items, why isn’t there a way for me to see which buildings are Inns, which are forges, etc? And since there’s no minimap, I get to turn corners in Whiterun only to smack into dead-ends at each turn.
Don’t even get me STARTED on running back and forth from the stable to the trade building. AARRGGH.
There’s a bit of dual-personality in the developers not wanting to spoil the atmosphere by pointing out exactly where you can get stuff, and the developers pointing out exactly where everything is. Tricks like fast travel and the constant “go here” markers on the compass tell me precisely how to complete a quest even if in-character I should have no idea how to, while as Bearwhale says, finding a shoe store is a fricking nightmare.
Another thing that gets me is the terrible, terrible Miscellaneous quest listing. One line, no details? “Take the Fjord of Aquavit to Helm Hlinsbrgdottir.” What? Who asked me to do that? When? Where? Why? And how do I know that Helm Hlinsbrgdottir lives in Dawnstar even though I’ve never been there?
I love the landscapes, I love the visuals of the world, but I too am annoyed by its many shortcomings. While I have no doubt that memory has caused Morrowind to be sort of perfect in my mind, it still stands (for me) as the high point of the series.
Oh, and by the way, I got a couple things wrong when I was lecturing Lewis on the technical innovations of the game – Creation is not an entirely proprietary engine, just a massive rewrite of Gamebryo. And Skyrim is a DirectX 9 game, which makes sense when you consider that the 360 is their primary dev platform. Still, pretty impressive, some of the visuals they managed with DX9.
The game autosaves when you transition from one area to another, as in going through a door. Beyond that, you’re on your own to make many, many, hard quicksaves. Because the difficulty can alter suddenly at times, and ambushes and dragon attacks can happen without much warning, I find myself saving a lot.
The lack of a mini-map in town absolutely sucks, but you can find the right store with some tricks. There are signs outside them. If you’re looking for a weapon store, they’re always next to the forge, and have an anvil hanging outside them. If you want to find one just listen for the sound of someone banging on metal.
The general store will buy anything, but they’ll run out of money (unless you invest in them) so I would recommend only selling your miscellaneous crap there unless you’re in a hurry. The sign outside it looks like scales. The potion shops also have a unique sign outside them.
None of that makes them easy to find from a distance of course. Last night I wandered around Solitude for at least ten minutes with my pockets overflowing with over-encumbered treasure, desperate to sell it all. Once you memorize a town layout it’s not too bad, but I’m like 70 hours on the game now and I still don’t have the hang of Windhelm.
When in the map view, hit L and it will bring up a mini-map of the town with all the store locations.
“While I have no doubt that memory has caused Morrowind to be sort of perfect in my mind, it still stands (for me) as the high point of the series.”
Ahh yes, Morrowind. With it’s smooth gameplay, easy to use UI, excellent conversation system, and streamlined quest system, how can it ever be surpassed? Oh wait a minute. Morrowind doesn’t have ANY OF THAT. Aside from its atmosphere and unique environment, the game was cumbersome and gangly. Try playing it for a few hours without mods now, and you’ll come running back to Skyrim weeping.
I miss the Morrowind diary. I needed a mod to be able to index relevant events by quest – don’t get me wrong, that functionality should have been included up front – but the diary format really reinforced the sense that it was an ongoing epic story of events in a person’s life. Going straight to the index and filtering out anything that isn’t part of an official quest is all very well if you’re trying to collect all the achievements but it’s terrible for immersion.
Well, I can’t play Skyrim with my current computer. I tried to play Oblivion in protest and found the game to be incredibly boring – exploring the countryside is fun, the actual quest doing just isn’t very interesting. Cyrodiil is kinda banal as far as worldcraft goes. So I’m going all the way back to Morrowind. Am I the only one who loved that game for it’s main story as much as anything else in the game or is it just me?