Elder Scrolls V!!!

This forum is to be used for all discussions pertaining to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and its inevitable addons.
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endboss
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Elder Scrolls V!!!

Postby endboss » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:55 pm

So I had a great night tonight and come home and what do I find? ESV announced! The score was great, the animated wall carving was really cool, and it didn't have that bleh narrative that the Oblivion trailer had. I didn't like FO3 mainly because I don't like post-apocalyptic worlds but I did recognize that it improved on a bunch of things Oblivion screwed up. This is probably naive but I'm hoping ESV will be a further improvement. Hell, it might even stack up with Morrowind (if they got their good writers back)! Can't wait to see some screens and get info. One thing that's guaranteed is a large world to explore. We'll also probably get an awesome construction set. I'm really hoping they get rid of all the level scaling and genericness that plagued Oblivion, along with the limited voice actors and illogical main story (you must quickly save the world!!!! but it's okay if you mess around for months...).

So.... anyone else excited?
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Postby Tricky » Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:39 am

Was that Max von Sydow I heard?
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]

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Postby Demiath » Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:50 am

Excited? No. Hopeful? Yes, as always.

I've not truly enjoyed a Bethesda game since Daggerfall way back in 1996-1997 - and even that was of course a train wreck in many ways - but every time they announce a new game I can't help but hope that it'll be a genuinely great one this time around. Morrowind and Oblivion were the exact same game (it amazes me to no end that so many seem to believe that there's any kind of functional difference between those two Gamebryo titles) and Fallout 3 was just a Total Conversion of TES4.

But maybe Skyrim is the point at which Bethesda finally gets good, and puts out a technically sound product featuring a diverse open world which is actually fun to explore, a balanced skill system which doesn't have a tendency to break in various extreme ways and combat which is enhanced rather than held down by its realtime structure? Hell, maybe even a game about which no one has to say "at least it's better with mods"!

Ah, but who am I kidding...

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Postby endboss » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:54 am

If you look at the mechanics, then yes, Morrowind and Oblivion were basically the same game. Of course, magic was easier to cast in Oblivion, and Morrowind had hit rolls more in line with classic RPGs than action games. But that's not what people refer to when they talk about the huge difference (at least it isn't to me, and isn't to most comparisons I've read). Morrowind had a massive, unique landscape. You could ask people with different professions a variety of topics. It had many different factions that had overlapping missions and their own politics. It featured a ton of well written books and interesting dialog. The lore surrounding the main story was much stronger (and the main story was much more well constructed for this type of free roaming game). The voice acting was more diverse, and there wasn't that much of it. The races all looked different. There were many different nooks and crannies. There was no level scaling - everything had been hand placed, and you could do some serious treasure hunting in cool places. Not to mention that it was up to you whether to take the safe road or risk challenging the toughest creatures. The armor and weapons were more diverse and the artifacts more unique. Cities and towns blended seamlessly into the environment and were all different. There was no quest compass, so you had to rely on landmarks and ask for directions to get around the world. Even the modes of fast travel had their own unique flair. To say Morrowind and Oblivion were the same game would be like saying Zeppelin and Linkin Park are basically the same band because they're white males playing loud music with guitars.

I read a while back that Oblivion was originally going to be more like Morrowind. The nine divines religion was going to be like in Daggerfall, there were going to be competing political faction and local lords vying against each other in the wake of the assassination, ambassadors from different provinces, and so on. Hell, if you go back and read the description for Cyrodiil in the pocket guide from Redguard, it's like reading about a completely different place.

The Elder Scrolls, at least in my opinion, is about freedom and exploration. So, Oblivion was an Elder Scrolls game since it stuck to this formula. However, the world surrounding it, you know - the thing that you actually want to have freedom in and go exploring - fell far short, making it a very weak entry in the series.

Now I'm not faulting you for not liking Morrowind. I personally didn't like Daggerfall that much - never even finished it. I also found Battlespire to be very fun, and count Redguard as one of my favorite games of all time, when a ton of people hate both and can't get over the faults in those games. I'm just saying it is just frankly wrong to call Morrowind and Oblivion the same game.

@Tricky
I was sitting there thinking that voice sounded familiar. It could be. I just hope they didn't blow their whole voice acting budget on him like they did with Stewart back in Oblivion.
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Postby Tricky » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:48 am

If they did, I doubt he'd live enough years to spend it all. :laugh:
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]

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Postby endboss » Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:05 pm

I like to think they pay out some of it in golden yachts.
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Postby vio » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:38 am

after the disappointment of Oblivion I'm not getting my hopes up too high, but I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this one
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Postby Demiath » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:37 pm

endboss wrote:If you look at the mechanics, then yes, Morrowind and Oblivion were basically the same game.


Thanks for proving my point; core gameplay mechanics is all that matters to me, and whenever there's a substantial similarity in that respect there's bound to be more to the comparison than the Zeppelin/Linkin Park analogy. Your exhaustive and admirably precise description of differences between Morrowind and Oblivion was an interesting read, but apart from the level scaling (which is indeed a huge deal!) I can't see how any of it is truly consequential from a mechanics-oriented perspective. While things like a relative sparsity of voice acting, lack of quest compass and a conversation system involving a HTML-esque collection of key words certainly make a difference on some level, it's most definitely not the kind of features which would convince me that there's any real substance to the constant Morrowind/Oblivion dichotomies which so many RPG fans obsess about.

To be perfectly fair, though, one way of interpreting my "core gameplay mechanics is all that matters to me" assertion is that I'm simply categorically against any open world game in the Morrowind/Oblivion school of action RPGs; whereas you and many other respectable RPG gamers are perfectly fine with the overall concept, which is then expressed in different ways by the mechanics of various games in that general category. Thus, from your perspective every part of the implementation of the concept matters, whereas I would not be satisfied with anything less than a complete change of subgenre. In that respect (and that respect only) I can admit to being a tad bit unfair. Then again, I did like New Vegas a lot more than I thought I would, so that's not an uncomplicated theory, either...

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Postby Stworca » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:39 pm

If TES 5 will be more of a morrowind than oblivion.. I'm all for it! If they'll continue what they did in TES 4.. Meh.
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Postby Darth Gavinius » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:15 pm

I hope it is better than Oblivion - Oblivion was the RPG equivalent of Playboy... sure it looks Hot to start with, but once the eyes have glazed over (admittedly that takes a long time of going Wow, Ewww, Neat!)... you realise there is only one good Article (Dark Bortherhood), the Editorial sucks (main quest), it is the same 5 models (erm.. the same 5 faces and voice actors and conversations) and you feel dirty when you think of how long you spent on it (unsatisfying Level system) and you feel dirty when you go back years later to find the pages stuck together (Never in an open world has there been so little new to do each time you play it!) Then you browse round the internet and see a lot of 'do it yourself stuff' that is like so much better! (Windfall, thing with the Archeology Guild etc).

Morrowind was fun... but now looking back at the Vanilla game it is like getting your kicks looking through a mail order catalogue... Ugly models... OOOOh look at the Shiny Shiny Water!"
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Postby endboss » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:33 pm

Demiath wrote:Thanks for proving my point; core gameplay mechanics is all that matters to me, and whenever there's a substantial similarity in that respect there's bound to be more to the comparison than the Zeppelin/Linkin Park analogy. Your exhaustive and admirably precise description of differences between Morrowind and Oblivion was an interesting read, but apart from the level scaling (which is indeed a huge deal!) I can't see how any of it is truly consequential from a mechanics-oriented perspective. While things like a relative sparsity of voice acting, lack of quest compass and a conversation system involving a HTML-esque collection of key words certainly make a difference on some level, it's most definitely not the kind of features which would convince me that there's any real substance to the constant Morrowind/Oblivion dichotomies which so many RPG fans obsess about.

To be perfectly fair, though, one way of interpreting my "core gameplay mechanics is all that matters to me" assertion is that I'm simply categorically against any open world game in the Morrowind/Oblivion school of action RPGs; whereas you and many other respectable RPG gamers are perfectly fine with the overall concept, which is then expressed in different ways by the mechanics of various games in that general category. Thus, from your perspective every part of the implementation of the concept matters, whereas I would not be satisfied with anything less than a complete change of subgenre. In that respect (and that respect only) I can admit to being a tad bit unfair. Then again, I did like New Vegas a lot more than I thought I would, so that's not an uncomplicated theory, either...


Well, it seems we disagree on what makes a good Elder Scrolls, and open-world, game. In the grand tradition of the Internet, this means we must now fight to the death! (death of course meaning that one of us is unable to post for a day and the other declares himself the winner)

Anyhoo, you're right. It is completely inconsequential from a mechanics-oriented perspective. Had Oblivion been comparable to Morrowind in all other respects that I pointed out I would have immensely enjoyed it. As I mentioned before, from my own personal experience and time spent reading message boards (including the official Bethesda ones), the differences have nothing to do with mechanics. In fact, most seem to agree that (apart from level scaling, quest compass, etc.) Oblivion is actually better than Morrowind in the gameplay-mechanics department. I wish I could point to surveys and studies, but people don't do that kind of thing with games yet, so all I can really give you is a vague, "Yea, I've read some stuff..." unfortunately. What can be, however, easily pointed out is the outcry over the ending of Fallout 3 - specifically that it ended. As we all know, FO3 was basically an Oblivion mod, and was marketed not towards fans of Fallout but fans of Oblivion. The anger over the end, which was changed in one of the DLCs, was because people found themselves more involved with exploration. They didn't want to "win" the game, because to them, there was nothing to "win".

You are right in asserting that if you do not like the genre as a whole, it will be difficult to find games within that genre enjoyable. You are also right in asserting that from my perspective the "implementation of the concept" is the most important thing, while the tools you use to experience that concept are of lesser importance. In fact, the reason I rank Icewind Dale over Baldur's Gate (I and II) is because I enjoy the setting a whole lot more. In the Elder Scrolls, having bits of skooma around in a Khajiit's house, a love letter found inside a drawer, a corpse deep inside of a daedric ruin reaching for a broken potion bottle several feet away, the mention of a minor NPC from a past game in an obscure book... these are all infinitely more important to me than being able to shoot a fireball while wielding a sword, or a balanced method of leveling up your stats and attributes.

The problem with Oblivion, in my view, is that the team tried to focus more on correcting the physical mechanics of the system to the neglect of what actually made the games appealing in the first place. Of course, it did incredibly well because it opened up gamers who were used to crap like Halo to this amazing genre (imagine only eating bland rice your whole life, when not starving, and suddenly being given a McDonald's cheeseburger).

When I think of the upcoming Skyrim, I imagine vast mountain ranges, ancient architecture, and the scars of past wars dotting the landscape.

Would I prefer ESV having amazing balance and properly implemented mechanics? Of course. Would it detract me from the experience if it didn't? Not at all.
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Postby Curry » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:59 pm

Not gonna touch it. I didn't even like Morrowind much and Oblivion was a steaming turd. :mad:
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Postby endboss » Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:26 pm

I just read something the other day........ can't remember where...... but Todd Howard mentioned how they were going in a new direction with the art style. I'm hoping it's a return to Morrowind-style "uniqueness" instead of a Dragon Age 2 kind of thing. I really need to find time to listen to the new podcast and see what they said.
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Postby Stworca » Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:33 pm

Curry wrote:Not gonna touch it. I didn't even like Morrowind much..


*gasp* It's 31th Dec, 22;32 my time. So i'll forgive you in 1;28, but should i meet you before i shall ready my pitchfork! :D
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Postby Scottg » Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:14 pm

Demiath wrote:Thanks for proving my point; core gameplay mechanics is all that matters to me, and whenever there's a substantial similarity in that respect there's bound to be more to the comparison than the Zeppelin/Linkin Park analogy.


I can understand the bias, if not the logic behind it. ;)

There are a LOT of games with the same (or exceedingly similar) mechanical system, and yet each is judged for their own merit.

Buggerfall.. err, DAGGERFALL isn't that far removed from Morrowind mechanically so if we apply a similar logic here then Morrowind is what? Daggerfall II?

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Postby TAKR86 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:50 pm

I hope it will be a great game :) And I'll probably enjoy it. While some of the changes I've read about so far sound interesting, I don't like the reduction of skills (and hated it in Oblivion - How can you possibly classify axes as blunt weapons? :) . I'm still not sure what I think about the removal of classes. Anyone got any thoughts on the changes, that has been announced so far?

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Postby Tricky » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:03 pm

It will probably be an OK game, but in all likelihood we'll need to wait at least another a year for the modding community to iron it out.
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]

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Postby galraen » Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:20 am

So what were the biggest complaints about Oblivion? Crap leveling system and the reduction in skills.

What apparently has Bethesda done? According to what I've read, kept the leveling system and reduced the skills even further! Way to piss off your customers even more.

I definitely will not be buying the game until I can get it second hand, IF further information and trustworthy reviews indicate it's worth buying even then.

Tricky's right, the game won't be even worth getting dirt cheap until the modding community have had time to rescue the game. Of course if the modders also decide this is a piss take too far, it will never be worth getting, even as a freebee.
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Postby Tricky » Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:55 am

galraen wrote:Tricky's right, the game won't be even worth getting dirt cheap until the modding community have had time to rescue the game. Of course if the modders also decide this is a piss take too far, it will never be worth getting, even as a freebee.


I think they are very much aware how much of their success is due to the community improving on their games. It really depends on how much access the new toolset is going to give us to the core game. The Oblivion toolset was a small step down the ladder compared to Morrowind's toolset in that regard. There will probably be another script extender project too, regardless.

After two script extenders though, you would hope Bethsy is finally getting the hint about modders wanting access to more core features.
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]

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Postby Lemmus » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:28 pm

Honestly, I never had a problem with the reduction of skills in Oblivion. Most of those changes actually made a lot of sense. I thought that the story was weaker, and found that the Oblivion gate effect was much more disruptive than dealing with Sleepers, Dreamers, and Ambushers, but the game never really felt "dumbed down" to me, just different. Aside from the GUI, of course, but there was a zero day mod for that.

Most of the skill changes make sense from a real world skill point of view. In real combat, there isn't really a distinction between different armour types, because they don't actually fight each other. Light armour wearers/ unarmoured fighters are combat support, their armour protects against stray fire, but not direct attacks. Heavy armour wearers push into the fray and hope that their armour hold out longer than their opponent's. Blocking is more of a duelling skill, a grand mêlée is about stamina more than skill.

To answer TAKR86's question, Axes can be thought of as Blunt weapons if you look at the way they are used, rather than the damage they do. Axes, maces, flails, halberds, and clubs are all swinging weapons. Swords are hybrids, they can be swung or poked. Spears, knives, pole-arms, and most ranged weapons are poking weapons. Of course, spears and pole-arms have no real place in these sorts of games anyway, they're for field manoeuvres.

Now don't get me wrong, I am a little worried about the proposed loss of Mysticism in Skyrim, but I'm willing to wait and see what they have planned rather than worry about it now. As to levelling, they've stated explicitly that the levelling system is close to what was done in Fallout 3 than what was in Oblivion. Don't fool yourselves, all RPGs have some form of levelling system, including Morrowind and the earlier TES games. These systems are just implemented in different ways.

I think that Bethesda's knowledge of the modding community would best be described as aware, but not dependent. They're not going to make their games on the assumption that modders will "rescue the game". Rather, they make a game that will appeal to the widest range of players with the knowledge that the hardcore will never agree with anything they do, or even with each other. I expect that if everyone in this thread described their perfect version of TES, we'd get 20 different games. So instead Bethesda makes a solid core, and we each get to mod it to our own preferences. For the other 5 million gamers out there who are comparing it to what is for sale today, not what was for sale 10 years ago, the vanilla release will be fine, because it is still better than 90% of other new games.