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Which was the first Elder Scrolls game you played?

Friday, 1 July 2011

A good, stealthy life

All in favor of sneaking in there and taking out all the guys with a few well placed arrows in their soon-to-be not so pretty nor complete skulls, raise your hand!

Is your hand raised? Mine sure is! My first play through Oblivion, I based my character completely on stealth, 'cause I thought that the system was the coolest I had ever seen in an RPG, which I still stand by today. Stealth games are great - Just think about Splinter Cell!

Still, it can always get better! In Skyrim they turn great into awesome on many points, but one has got to get high over the new stealth gameplay. If you've played Fallout 3, or New Vegas for that matter, you'll recognize these three stages of stealth:

  • Hidden: Duh, you are hidden! No one sees you!
  • Caution: Enemies are aware of your presence, but have not yet located you.
  • Danger: You've been spotted and are most likely to get stabbed
I marvelled over this simple, yet entertaining system. If you did so too, then you'll be happy to know that it also exists in Skyrim! But there are more to it, my hairy friends! Once you reach the "Caution" phase, an eye on your screen will begin to open. The closer your enemies are to spotting you, the more the eye will open. This gives you time to adjust your movements, in case you wish to stay hidden. We are totally gonna go ninja on their ASSES!

But wait! There is more! Weapons! We all know that the classic RPG weapons for stealth-types are daggers, as well as bow and arrow. They got the ranged part right in Oblivion, which has even been improves. It takes longer to sting your bow in this game, but arrows damage a lot more, so now we can get the one-hit kills we deserve. That is the point of stealth after all.

Distracting a patron
Still, the melee thing didn't quite come across in Oblivion. It was actually more favorable to use a bigger weapon, given that it provided more damage. Again, Bethesda corrects their gruesome mistake. This time around, daggers will gain a much greater damage bonus, making it the most lucrative weapon of choice for us sneaky-types. There might even be a back-stab animation, but that is just speculation.

So that should be pretty simple. Weapons and Sneaking. That's all that there is to stealth, right? WRONG!! If you just thought that, then you are not a true ninja! There is in fact a crafting skill for all the major play styles, which includes Magic, Melee and Stealth.

The skill belonging to stealth is Alchemy, which will be a lot more interesting in Skyrim. I don't exactly know how, but Todd Howard said so. He also mentioned that it has something to do with the different climates, which probably means that if you want some of the "good" poison, you will have to travel all over to get the right ingredients. 

Frost Trap
I've also noticed that there are stealth-friendly spells! Like fire, frost and lightning. You can use them to place traps on the ground, that explodes when your enemies step on them. There are also detect life spells again and then there are what i suppose is a "frenzy" spell. Todd used it in the E3 demo, to get rid of two guards. He tossed the spell at one of them and he suddenly went nuts on the other one, thus eliminating 50% of the enemy pool. Huzzah! After such a trick, one may casually string ones bow and offer the remaining guard a poisoned arrow to one of his respective organs. 

I suppose that my cynical nature reveals my excitement for this function.

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