Nigmabox Adventures With Skyrim Hours 41-65

2014-07-04_00002After indulging myself in another 25 hours of Skyrim, I have come with another series of things that popped into my head, but this time I took notes meaning things will be a hair more rigid in the structure, but I will cover more subjects and give more criticism at the same time.  So without further ado, let’s get up in them guts!  Oh, and why is this post going out when it is… right after the first?  Because I had it ready beforehand… Simple as that.

Let’s frame this as I enter a town, particularly Whiterun as it acted as my main throughout the game.  In just about every single direction there are NPCs roaming the town I modded to be full of greenery and plants, and with that comes their few instances of dialog.  I honestly am not sure of what the repercussions of implementing some form of dialog utterance counter to limit how often the player hears how wonderful the Battleborn are, of how an orphaned child would like for my character to be her mother, which was an amazing line the first time I heard it, but after seven times?  The effect evaporates.  I understand the reasoning though, but I don’t so much understand why if I wanted to get a wider view of the town or see my decked out main character strut around this town in third person, that the mode needs to feel so much like an afterthought.  Not so much for running around, but in terms of combat, it feels more than a whee bit cramped and difficult to understand seeing as how it was constructed.2014-07-02_00002

The term DPS race pops into my head while attempting to describe it, and it is very accurate as most instances of combat had me and a foe swing big sticks at one another while I periodically backed off to heal or punched them in the face with a big circle of metal.  It does, however, manage to stay more than a little engaging as there is a form of tension in a lot of battles, yet the fact that so many enemies do engage in melee combat does also add less justification for playing the game as a character who is not properly prepared for clashing with foes using clumps of metal.  But I don’t get how poison can be used effectively, as I always treated it as a to-be-sold item with good VOW instead of using it to dispatch a foe whilst gaining no additional skill experience.2014-06-29_00007

Now, you are naturally wondering what the hell I meant by VOW, as I made up the term while playing the game, and it stands for Value over Weight, as in Skyrim you are given a stat dependant weight of items which your character may carry in their magical pockets, and you naturally want to get the most gold for your every trip out to the 186 dungeons.  However, doing so brings with it a problem, as shopkeepers not have a finite amount of money that restocks after… two days I believe, they also only purchase certain items, meaning you will need to run around selling your wares while going down the same basic route.  You can fix both of these irritations by purchasing perks for your Speech skill, but leveling it up is a very slow process, as getting to the halfway point of level 50 took me until this string of play sessions to achieve.2014-06-30_00002

Sessions that included very little of one of the more evident examples of care placed in the game, as there are hundreds of readable books in the title, but I ignored them unless they either glowed thanks to a mod which did so if the book could level up a character’s skill, or had a high VOW rating.  I essentially never read the books in this game because, well, it is a very clear stop in the action that doesn’t have much benefit as far as the game is concerned.  It’s not that they are uninteresting or boring, it’s just that stopping to read of book while there are Necromancers out and about seems more than a whee bit dull.  Instead, I wish that the game would provide a bit more information and lore while sifting through the massive quantities of things I’d obtained throughout, as there is no form of flavor text applied to anything that doesn’t have a tangible in-game effect, which I find to be something of a waste.  Even randomly generating where a sword came from and who made it seems like it would give the world a bit more life to what can be gathered from NPCs, quest lines, or simply exploring the world, which is oddly filled with fixtures that the player has essentially no ability to repair after they disrupt it, in part due to wonky physics, and how easy it is to have a platter be glitched for what I enjoy assuming to be an eternity.2014-07-03_00002

Actually, I was actually a bit saddened by the lack of a glitch on par with the teleporting dragon skeleton that followed me around in my first playthrough, but that hardly means the game is built exquisitely in every facet, namely that of companions.  Now, I very much enjoy the idea of travelling around a massive world with a friend who can drop in and out by taking control of a preset character, so it is confusing why Skyrim strips the co-op aspect out, and leaves you with an AI that seems designed to ruin the experience in many regards, as you cannot level up skills as quickly, and, at least if a mage is your side character, properly comprehend what is going on as there are fiery explosions every few seconds.  Hence why I was glad when I completed the quest that stapled me to one, as I believe the only time I shall willingly accept a companion will be to have them be sacrificed, as Skyrim doesn’t give a care if 90% of its population is dead.  In fact, if a dragon attacks a city it is more than likely that some poor schmuck will.2014-07-02_00004

Just like the poor sod who decided that it would be a peachy keen concept to devote any bit of attention to Skyrim’s cooking.  Yes, I understand the joys of making a digital pie by gathering the proper ingredients, but even pies do next to nothing after the first few hours of the game, with health potions becoming the norm, and a well balanced Restoration Skill tree making them even more obsolete.  Much like the idea of discovering through experimentation in a video game when the internet can hold the answers, as seen by how Skyrim handles the ingredients it uses for its Alchemy system, which I regularly dabbled in for two reasons.  One, it raises your level, and two, it is something to do with the 100 pounds of mushrooms my character fit inside of a hand sized satchel.2014-07-02_00010

Yes, practicality is not Skyrim’s strongest suit, as the main character has a bang of limited holding that is unrestricted to space.  It is also a game where the concept of mountain climbing is reduced to looking for gaps in the world geometry and structure where one can jump up alongside an incredibly steep incline as opposed to looking for a path like a sane person.  And if the game is merely more silly due to contrivances such as that, I see not a single problem with it.  That said, the uncanny sensation mixed with the meme warranting irritation I received from hearing the same non-playable-characters loop through their same dialog for the, and I’m not exaggerating here, thirtieth time, is not one of those silly easy to ignore things, at least if you decide to have a central storefront for when you decide to sell the literal tons of useless crap.  Said storefront included an occurrence I did not recall from my original playthrough, one where a Master Vampire broke into the town of Whiterun and killed a certain NPC who was one of the three biggest coin purses I’d found thus far.  However, console commands are a very handy feature, and they were enough to prevent me from elongating the process, which I recall finding to be needlessly droll and repetitious in, say, New Vegas, a game with the same basic DNA as Skyrim.2014-06-28_00021

Yet that comparison extends to how the game houses a third person system that I very much wish to attempt to use to play the title, when that simply does not work as well as one would hope.  While your field of view is far larger, battles feel less controller and interacting with objects is less intuitive.  Meaning that all the trouble I went to by hunting for a helmetless mod that I liked was fairly futile as third person mode is only all that useful for exploring, when even then the animations and fixed camera angle on the character lessen the fun factor by a notable amount.2014-07-01_00010

As I should have expected, the game is certainly starting to wear on me after all this time I’ve placed into it.  Not because it is necessarily bad at what it does, as regardless of what I may and will say about Skyrim, the game is a ton of fun to play, but indulging it as my sole game of choice for long enough to rack up 65 hours is likely not the best way to experience it.  Skyrim is an absurdly sizable adventure heavy open world RPG that has many imperfections when you look closely at it, but taking a step back, there are few games that house as much content and exploration in both the literal and mechanical standpoints than the great majority of games… at least the ones I know of.  Well, if I preface it by excluding any games with procedural world crafting.

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