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Which was the first Elder Scrolls game you played?

Thursday, 15 September 2011

PC requirements - Remember to check in!

With barely two months away from the release of Skyrim, the long sought PC requirements will most definitely soon be released. Around two weeks ago, Pete Hines was asked about when we would be informed of them and to this he partially answered: "I don't know. A month?"

The specs for Rage were released about a month prior to release, I believe, therefor I am now reminding you: Check in! As soon as the PC specs are up, I'll post them on this site, and if you are not to keen on IT, I'll gladly answer questions for you if you are a confused turtle.

So personally I am guessing in 2-3 weeks, maybe earlier, maybe later, but that is my guess. Be on the lookout.


This may seem a bit redundant, but I hate to leave stuff incomplete, so I've decided to add bandits to our little encyclopedia of enemies.

Although known for a long time, I hereby declare that bandits are in Skyrim, obviously!
Come to think of, I've never seen an RPG without bandits! There were bandits in FFVII right?
That aside, so far we've only seen the ones called "Bandit" - No marauders, hedge wizards or highwaymen, not that I am doubting their presence in Skyrim at all, so fell free to consider them a part of our adventure.

Like in Oblivion, bandits will, unless scripted, draw their weapon and attack you on sight, not leaving you with a chance to surrender you possessions and leave in blissful peace. As always they will probably be a welcome morning exercise for swinging our blade and wielding our flamethrower firespell. Basically they are just cocky canonfodder.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

McBraas responds: Thoughts on the 20 minute demo video - Part I

It is the inevitable truth that we will all have regrets at some point in our lives and I think one of mine is not speaking out enough. First due to being 5, then due to low confidence and now because most people are so incredibly stupid on atomic levels that I don't even want to bother. With that in mind, I will now express my feelings on the Skyrim demo video that Bethesda just released.

It's not footage we haven't seen before, 'cause it's the same video at QuakeCon, although there were some small parts I missed. Plus, it's in HD, so it's easier to pay attention to detail, which I dare say is stunning.

That aside, lets start at the beginning and work our way forward on the longest literary journey since The Lord of The Rings.

The first thing we see, is Todd, our chaotic neutral deity, prancing around, down a road in the hills. Throughout the video, Lord Todd will occasionally narrate, making sure that we focus on what he probably think we'll leave out, as well as making us understand what's going on. All of the stuff he says are already known facts, but his narration is still welcome, since he has a soothing voice that we, not I, we want to hear as much of as possible.
But where was I? He was walking in the hills, showing us the detail in every plant, log and rock, and you know what? Saying that they are beautiful would be wrong, since it's an incredible understatement. Every little piece of anything looks absolutely hand-crafted and carefully placed in as stunning a way as possible, ensuring not only that they won't pull an Oblivion, making everything look like the same dull piece of land, but also that it looks as real and engaging as a fantasy world can get. I am seriously serious: I actually want to walk around to every dark corner and every rock, log and flower, in order to properly examine every little minuscule particle of beauty.

As Lord Todd journeys on, he passes by, but ignores, a fox chasing a rabbit, showing off their new ecological system, which is clearly not getting enough attention. A thing I don't quite understand is why he can ignore such an opportunity - if it was me, I'd have chased the fox, sending a steel arrow to its skull, saving the rabbit in the process. The rabbit would most definitely thank me by offering me its treasure in such a situation, I think; Alas, I don't know if they included such a realistic feature. Not unlike what you may have guessed, I would then brutally murder the rabbit in order to acquire its foot, for luck; But I digress.

So far I've covered about 1:30 minutes of the video, so I should move on to the wolves. First off, Todd engages the fierce "Alpha Wolf." If you know anything about etymology, you'll instantly recognize the 'alpha' as a pretty good sign that this wolf is the pack leader. Todd takes it down and kills 2 more and much to our amusement, he use a finish move to remove one o' them. Unlike previous games, especially Oblivion, Bethesda is making engaging enemies more fun, by putting them in groups that match your strength. Now, lone wolves do exist, but they are extremely rare and most often die, so to have them in packs is a gift not to be neglected. 

Im'a skip some time and just say that before he reaches Riverwood, the things worth noticing is the branches which are rustling in the wind, the incredible water effects, that he came by some guardian stones and took care of a bandit who turned out to have an unlucky day, running into our lord and all. Eventually he reaches the little, cozy town and if we pay attention, we can hear an old lady claiming that she saw a dragon, but she is quickly hushed by her either concerned or embarrassed son, whom doesn't want the townsfolk to think of her as a crazy old hag. Passing by conversations like that is an incredibly effective immersion tool; Bethesda is known for making the world look alive and they are surely perfecting this with their creativity! It's even better than in Oblivion, where they just spewed the same random nonsense all the time.

I am ending this article and continuing later, but lets just sum up what we've seen:

  • Impressively and beautifully hand-crafted world
  • New dynamic features
  • Wolves :D And they're in packs!
  • Townsfolk having conversations
  • Fox chasing a rabbit (The best part)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Factions - Part II

One of my first posts in June was about the factions available to us in Skyrim - A number which has since grown and thus deserve a new, glorious post of awesomeness! Unfortunately I couldn't get Neil Patrick Harris to write a piece on it, so I have to do it instead.

A thing I noticed in August was how ahead I was, news wise, than some others - I've known since June that The Dark Brotherhood would be in the game (Todd let it slip one time, if I recall correctly,) but most people didn't find out until QuakeCon. Yet another reason to hang around, eh?

As last time, I will be writing a small section for each faction, covering what the heck they are all about (apart from being awesome,) but first I will mention some "overall" stuff, which shall be briefly covered as there is next to nothing to talk about on that end and therefore you should expect a lot of adjectives and synonyms, provided I can think of some.

Morrowinds faction-life was tedious, to say the least. It was anything but enjoyable if you ask me. They did remedy that in Oblivion, where they really got every factions quest-line to feel like a sort of epic story, not unlike that of the main quest, although, less influential. They all had one thing in common: They had some great endings with a welcome twists or two, making us go: "OMFG, what an epic adventure I embarked on!," be that whether you stole an Elder Scrolls from the heart of the Imperial City, Cleared Lucius LeChance's name and earned the title as The Listener in the process, or maimed that horrible excuse for The King of Worms (Okay, maybe that wasn't as epic as it could have been.)

Another thing they also had in common, was that you always ended up being the leader of said faction, but apart from being able to be a messenger boy for The Night Mother, there wasn't really anything to it. It was more dull than watching "Open Water." Nah, I don't mean that - Nothing is as boring as "Open Water."

Crappy movies aside, Pete Hines and Todd Howard have both mentioned that this time around, it wont' stop there: We will, much to our joy, be able to do stuff afterwards, but exactly what that entails, I have no idea of - the most important thing is the awesomeness and nirnroot (you know, for a random reason.)

As this post drags on, I become decreasingly aware of how much I am forgetting to write about the factions, so we better move to that part now, or the world will be forever lost. Probably.

The Companions
First up, we've got the companions! Skyrims alternative to The Fighters Guild, which we saw in Cyrodiil. A preview of the game has revealed to us that you can encounter a bunch of them fighting a giant, near some sort of farm if I recall correctly - should you help them out, the leader of the group (some woman,) suggests that you go join The Companions. Although centered around Whiterun, Skyrims former capital city (when they had a king,) The Companions will also be elsewhere to be found, as they have at least one known sub-division called "The Shield-Brothers" and possibly more.

The College of Winterhold
The College of Winterhold, which I will now abbreviate to CW, which amusingly enough is the opposite of WC, is the Mages' guild of Skyrim, which ensures that us spellweavers also have something to do. As they are centered around, you guessed it: Winterhold, I don't know how influential they'll be across the land, but hopefully it won't all be local play. Winterhold, which is a city rich on culture, knowledge and economy is the perfect setting for CW (teehee,) if you ask me.

The Dark Brotherhood
I'd expect to see a riot, should this not have been included - No wait! A full scale, bloody war!! You know, to make up for the lives we didn't get to take for our favorite guild: The Dark Brotherhood! Being a secretive organisation comprised of often maniacal and homicidal assassins with disregard for all human life, the brotherhood serves as a great stress relief for the scorned player. It is, as always, lead by The Black Hand, with a person to symbolize each of the human hands fingers, with the thumb, being the listener whom communes with The Night Mother, in order to find new potential and other random crap. The Speakers then go recruit the mentioned people and takes care of administrative stuff, as well as give contracts to their very own most trusted assassins, hand-picked due to skill and a befitting personality.
We haven't seen much to them so far, during the various hands-on previews we with eager have read through, raping word by word - However: In the demo video shown at QuakeCon, and as far as I know, also the HD video version of it, which will be released today, we see a folded note from the Brotherhood, in the inventory of our friendly neighborhood Dovahkiin. It shows a drawing of their symbol, a black hand, and the short, direct message: "We know," making me think that Todd may have murdered an innocent at some point, which he is in his full right to, being god and all.

The Thieves' Guild
I know squat apart from the fact that there is a Thieves Guild in Skyrim. Delighted as I am that it's a part of the game, I can't help but fear that we once again with be introduced to so few and unambitious quests as in Oblivion. Granted, the final quest was as awesome as can be and the one in Skingrad castle were quite entertaining as well, but the others were nothing but disappointment - Quests in this "Thiefy" theme should include more unforeseen plot twists and greater stakes. Huzzah!
Will the leader of the guild once again be the grey fox? Has the cowl passed on during the 200 years of hiatus we've been through? I guess we'll have to wait and see about that.

The Stormcloaks
Now here's something new: The Stormcloaks, which functions as sort of a rebel group in Skyrim. Now I know that there are 9 holds, which are like counties, and I bet they all have different ideals and goals, so I must admit, I don't quite see how The Stormcloaks fit into all of this, but they sure are welcome. If you ever played Gothic 3, you'll know that there is nothing better than liberating an entire city for the rebels, not that this is an option here, mind you, but still we can conclude: Rebels are fun! And they almost always have a stick up there ass! Some of the PAX and QC players came by a group of military-guards, transporting a Stormcloak captive, which they were able to either ignore, free, or give a weapon to. Some also ran into a guy, in Riverwood I think, offering the player to join the Stormcloaks. Glee!
The Imperial Legion
Rad it is, rad it is. Now the empire have been take over and are governed by Altmers, thanks to Tidus Mede, so I am not sure if the Imperial legion refers to the legion serving The Empire, or the legion serving the Imperials as a race - either way: Cool. I must admit, I am hoping for the first option, 'cause I really want the opportunity to meet Titus, but if not, it is still fine. They are 100% joinable and the more the merrier, I say.

The Blades
Finally we have The Blades. I assume that The Blades, like in Oblivion, will be a joinable faction with no quests and so minuscule benefits that even Danny DeVito is laughing at us, but I seriously hope I am WRONG. The Blades are thinning out, but are still as dedicated as always. Esbern, their current leader, is the one to rescue you from your execution and enlist your help as The Dragonborn. It is thus known that The Blades will be an important part of the storyline, as they always are for some reason, but whether you can actually officially join them, or if they have their own quest-line, is unknown.

What can't we do?

The Elder Scrolls is all about immersion. We all need to feel like we are in Tamriel and we can do whatever we want, with no boundaries or limits (synonyms are good fillers BTW.)  Players always subconsciously pick up on this at some point and then they develop needs and demands, which is totally not a bad thing, but it can sometimes be hard to meet all of the expectations, which has led Bethesda to leave out a few things which a concentrated group of fans really wanted.

This post is not news, as much as a list of stuff that Skyrim won't allow us to do (without mods, which will eventually come to consoles) and this list will be updates, should I recall the many things I have obviously left out. Apart from the things we will miss, I will also quell a few of the rumors that are 100% NOT TRUE!

So essentially, all the following statements are --> untrue: <--

  • You can ride a dragon
  • You can only play as a Nord
  • There are spears
  • There are short, medium and long swords instead of one- and two-handed
  • There is mounted combat
  • You can levitate
  • There are crossbows
  • There are throwing weapons (Shurikens, knives etc.)

2 months left

With only 2 months left before the release of Skyrim, my mind begins to wander the magical, never-ending plains of imagination: WTF should I do with this website afterwards?!

As you might know, I created this site back in the beginning of June, because I figured I'd do something for my fellow Skyrim fans, mostly because a lot of them didn't have the willpower to use google when they wanted to find the latest news - not that it is always easy, mind you; Most of the time I look for the same news several places to confirm, contact Dutch people with gaming magazines that may have had news or interviews with our favorite deity: Todd Howard and I'm also to known to not having a problem with listening to podcasts, watching videos and learn lore to make it all seem more interesting.

All this was interesting and fun, although sometimes it was tedious. Alas, it was nothing compared to what I totally hate spending my time doing: Advertising; Letting people know that there here is a database and that I will fill it with all they want to know, be that shattering your dreams by telling you that there are no polearms and that you can't ride dragons, or by informing you what Todd Howard ate for breakfast (Roasted squirrel.)
It's beginning to sort itself out, so I don't care enough to go around throwing my site out everywhere, especially since I get linked to mostly by some strange Spanish site, I've never even been to - It's overwhelmingly strange. I am digressing!

on 11.11.11 Skyrim will be out and our lives will be complete, or at least we will think so until The Elder Scrolls VI which will probably fill us with so much ecstatic joy that we will die a blissful death. Right now, a pre-concern of mine is simply, and you might have guessed this, what the hell I should do with this website, once the game is out.

It won't hurt to have it standing around and I briefly thought of making it a kind of "Skyrim Wikipedia," but not more than 3 seconds passed until I realized what an utterly retarded idea that was, since we have uesp, which is also known as "The Bible."

I was also thinking of making a Skyrim Journal, detailing my first experiences in Skyrim, written with an element of rolepay and a twist of humor - I saw it done once, with Oblivion, and it was more glorious than watching a rainbow or eating Kinder chocolate for that matter. I remember a that he wrote about wanting to kill a woman due to her horse prices, which were way too high, and of course also the brutal deaths at the hands of a wild swine, which naturally harbors evil intentions, 'cause all pigs do.

But we all recognize the evolution of swine as the doom of mankind, so I don't really need to get into that. Another thing I was thinking of instead of writing about Skyrim, was making a "Let's play Skyrim" video series, but I don't know how much fire there is under that pot.

If you have any ideas, let me know and I will try not to totally ignore everything you do or say.

- [Join the facebook page "Skyrim Coverage" or feel the inglorious wrath of the pigs!]