Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, what we know

E3 is only 4 days away, we can expect news on a bunch of new games, but the one im most excited about is Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Since they revealed this game i have been foaming at the mouth for more info. Another thing I have been doing is collecting the info we already have into a convenient pile so that i can sort out new stuff from old.

One big gameplay change is the ability to put weapons, shields, spells, or a staff in each hand independently. This could lead to all kinds of different combinations like two blades, What about a spell and a shield? This is big improvement over previous titles that strictly had your left hand for shields and the like. Obviously two-handed weapons like claymores and bows will take both hands.

The 3rd person camera is reportedly much improved, as well as the animations overall. The improvement in the animations also led to some minor gameplay tweaks, that may mean a lot to you depending on how you play the game. In order to improve on the 3rd person view, Bethesda has slowed backward movement to a more realistic speed. There is no word on whether or not Side strafing is the same speed yet. This seems to go along the lines with the more weighty combat, when your character hits someone it looks like there was force behind the blow, they may stumble back or drop their weapon.

Bethesda has steadily improved the combat over time, if you played any of the older elder scrolls you no doubt understand exactly what this means, it is however a testament to the quality of the games that we suffered through the combat in games like morrowind. No more! Now every swing comes with a satisfying contact, and your skills determine the damage.

The skills, and character creation system have been drastically streamlined, typically in almost any RPG, you begin by investing points into things like strength and intelligence. In Skyrim, this process has been bypassed, instead you will improve your stats with blades, magic, and archery by using them. As you gain skills, your level will increase. Again for die-hard Elder Scrolls fans, this is somewhat familiar, and as one of the aforementioned die hards im very interested to see exactly what this translates to as you play the game. Of course you can still create your own character, and besides the fact that you can once again select a race, little is known.

Another thing that has been streamlined is the  menu system, one of the few criticisms leveled at Oblivion were the cumbersome menus. So Bethesda removed them. Thats right, in place of a skill menu, you see stars outlined in the sky, and as your skills improve you connect the dots of constellations, and each star represents a perk choice, just like Fallout. In place of a yellowed map, your character looks at the ground, and your view zooms way out. Each item can be viewed and manipulated, by turning and zooming.

The other complaint typically heard of Oblivion were the terrible faces, whether it be the lack of variety, the ugly appearance, or the masculine females. Well that is absolutely a thing of the past, along with overall better graphics thanks to the new engine, you can expect more variety, and better detail. We can also thank the new engine for more dynamic quests, previously, if there was a quest in town A to bring back the blacksmith’s wife from town B, and you happened to kill everyone in town B already, you were out of luck. They aim to fix this by changing the terms of quests on the fly based on what you have done.

In Oblivion the NPCs had a schedule, and certain behavior sets, but in Skyrim, they want this to be dynamic as well. Characters will react to you if you drop an item, perhaps trying to return it, perhaps going to sell it, maybe using it to rob you. It is innovations like this that make me so excited for this game. Well that and….

Dragons! As a Diehard fan, I have actually read those books you pick up and open to see if they give a skill point then close immediately. I have known there had been dragons in the past, but had never expected them to return, Which I suppose means I wasn’t reading very carefully. The entire pantheon of Elder Scrolls games has been leading up to this event, the return of dragons. Each game was a part of the prophecy leading up to this, and you are dragon born, the only people who can combat dragons, and the one prophesied to save the world.

As Dragon born you are able to use shouts, a magic like system enabling you to do things like slow time, knock enemies back, and summon a dragon of your own. It will be interesting to see how they differentiate shouts from spells, though it seems shouts are more world affecting, if slowing time is any indication. You actually customize shouts by building them out of three words in the dragon language, you obtain these words by finding them in temples your ancestors built, doing story quests, and defeating dragons. Currently there has been much speculation on the population of dragons in the game. Bethesda has thrown out a lot of numbers, but they always follow-up with saying they are randomly generated like all creatures.

I already can’t wait, and im sure all the news, and footage out of E3 will make the wait for 11:11:11, that much more unbearable.