The BETA testing continues…

•July 11, 2013 • Leave a Comment

TES:O has had two waves of BETA testers since the flood gates opened in January.  I honestly haven’t heard very much, and have been a little preoccupied in general over the past six months or so, and I apologize.  However, I will tell you that a new (third) set of closed BETA invites just went out.  So if you’ve been wasting away in front of your computer screen waiting for your invite.  This just might be you time. Check your email!

BUT, make sure you take a look at this hefty NDA you have to abide by as a tester.  Now, I haven’t read much of NDAs, but I was curious just how under wraps they want it.  Well, yeah, that bold part right there, is kinda important.  And all encompassing.  Geez.


Confidential Information includes, but is not limited to, all information relating to the Beta Trial, Your selection as a Beta Trial participant, the Game (including but not limited to information and ideas relating to the Game, software, software code, designs, graphics, rules, playing strategies, artwork, visual depictions, plot, theme, settings, characters, characterizations, skills, emails, screenshots, marketing emails, marketing and promotional plans, current, future or proposed products or services of ZeniMax, written or printed documents, announcements or prereleases, product samples, artwork, graphics, promotional and/or marketing items), the Beta Trial forums and other private ZeniMax forums, business and/or trade secrets, testing protocols, processes, and standards relating to the Game and/or associated products or services of ZeniMax.

And in addition…

In particular, You must not discuss the Beta Trial with anyone associated with a competing videogame, any videogame publisher or developer, any news or information service (whether television, magazine, online, newspaper or otherwise), or review, report, online blog, or in any online forum or chat room, other than the official Beta Trial forum or specifically designated private ZeniMax forum.

Read all the paperwork you sign your name to, folks.  It’s pretty hefty.  And they can sue you if you violate it.  This probably would have been more helpful in January.  No excuses here.

So bloggers that have applied for the BETA are like sleepers for ZeniMax.  Your friends and neighbors, too.  When they decide to activate us, you won’t even know it.

We won’t even know it.

Okay…. that’s a little dramatic.

Well, maybe someday between now and release, we’ll see each other there.  Or after, if it lives up to its potential.


TES:O: Buying Into The Behemoth

•October 21, 2012 • 1 Comment

Will I try to get my hands on the BETA?  You bet.  Am I excited?  Well…

No, not really.  Elder Scrolls fans, and when I say “Elder Scrolls fans” I don’t mean everyone who’s liked what they’ve played, are a special sort of people.  In my experience most people who pick up the series don’t put it down and play the sequels as well.  Arena, Daggerfall, and Redguard were cult classics, but the series received a lot of acclaim when Morrowind was released back in 2002, 8 years after the series debut.  This was due in part to the large modding community that cropped up and the user accessibility of modifying the content of the game.  At the time there was nothing like it, and honestly, apart from other games Bethesda has fathered, there hasn’t been anything since.  The trend continued with Oblivion, and the series gained more notoriety.  People who played Morrowind moved on to Oblivion, but they series gained many new fans as well.  Sometimes I really feel like Skyrim was TES’s “public” release because that is the point where the series really blew up.  Skyrim was on the lips of everyone who ever played an RPG or even a console game.  Those players would never be able to go back and enjoy the humble beginnings of Morrowind or Oblivion, just as I cannot bring myself to get through TES:I or TES:II.

It’s not really a terrible shame, but with the advent of TES: Online I’m not confident in the integrity of the series any longer.   Allow me to make a parallel with the situation of another popular game which had its beginnings in 1994. Warcraft I, II, and III were real-time strategy (RTS) games released by Blizzard Entertainment.  They were RTS with rich story lines and that was all.  They had their own following until 2004 when World Of Warcraft (WoW) was released.  Since, there have been 4 expansions over the past 8 years, and Blizzard has never looked back.  Warcraft was completely removed from the RTS genre and has become a permanent fixture in the realm of MMORPG.  It’s a HUGE cash cow.

Now, what really scares me is the revealed footage of TES:O “gameplay.”  I say “gameplay” because there’s not a whole lot of action going on, just sweeping landscapes and idle animations.  The environments are beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but the things I’ve been hearing, and the NPCs/PCs I see say “hi-rez WoW.”  To go on, this article on Sandboxer reveals that some (read probably as “most”) dungeons will be “instanced” as they are in WoW.  We’ll also have PvP, and PC characters will be faction-ized upon creation in much the same spirit as PCs are divided up as Horde an Alliance in WoW. The final nail in the coffin is the report that TES:O will not be a sandbox game.

Oh, but that’s okay, right?  It’s only what repeat customers to the series have enjoyed and come to expect for the past 10 years.  It’s only what originally brought the series acclaim.

Yes, ZeniMax Online, the online division of Bethesda’s parent company, will be heading the project, and for that reason we can still hope to have our sandboxes for years to come from Bethesda Game Studios.  However, let’s think a moment about Fallout 3.  How many people were upset when Bethesda took on the project?  Some of those who loved the original flavors of Fallout 1 and 2 were heartbroken and couldn’t bring themselves to play Fallout 3.  In fact, it was nicknamed by many players “Oblivion with guns.”  I’m sure there was an equal amount of mixed feelings about ZeniMax acquiring id Software (Doom series) among long time Doom…ers.  Here we may have the same case, but it is not due to some acquisition or selling of rights– passionate sandboxers and lovers of the old TES spirit are potentially being sold out by their own company.

And at the same time, well, we don’t know that yet.  TES:O still has the time and potential to wow and astound even hard-core TES and RPG fans.  From here on out, though, revenue will make all the decisions for the future of the TES franchise. So, let’s cross our fingers and see what’s next.

One thing that always busts my watermelons is the lack of authenticity and role-playing in MMORPGs.  You might say, “gee, but how can an MMORPG lack the role-playing element?”  This comic from Sandboxer explains it so much better than words alone ever will…

It’s simply what happens when companies try to make game worlds “accessible” to the general public.

Morrowind: Busting Through the Fourth Wall

•November 29, 2011 • 2 Comments

I am guilty of constantly mixing my business with pleasure.  So much so that I can no longer distinguish between the two.

Being a lore-oriented blogger, I usually leave the fourth-wall, the invisible wall between the player and the game, untouched.  We exist in our world, and they in theirs, and my only goal is to speculate and make sense of it.  Recently, while perusing the UESP forums, I stumbled upon a stub thread that praised a series of articles on a fellow wordpress blogger’s account with regard to the fourth wall and the metaphysics of TES III: Morrowind.  How might one go about analyzing the Elder Scrolls in such a way?  Well, Kate, the author of Falling Awkwardly, does this magical thing in no less than 10,000 words.  The star of the show is her interpretation of of the 36 Lessons of Vivec, and her analysis depicts Vivec as a god modding, console-using, self-aware god, and claims that you are, too.  In fact, the Lessons seem like a conversation literally directed AT the player, and show strange parallels to things we very well might do in-game (all you alternate-route Nerevarines know what I’m talking about)  We all know that these sermons are no less than cryptic, however when the message clearly destroys the concept of the fourth wall and grabs us by the shirt collar, it better damn well be wrapped so tightly in lore that we don’t notice it.  Otherwise, it’d be both immersion and game-breaking!

I will say however, although this series is wonderful, refreshing, and absolutely eye-opening, I am disappointed that M’aiq the Liar did not make an appearance.  He is the most brazen of all the wall-breaking devices in the TES world and he makes repeat appearances.  He does not converse with the PC, but with you, the player, poking fun and having casual conversation.  Maybe it’s so obvious that it is often overlooked?

You can read The Metaphysics of Morrowind in its entirety through these links:

The Metaphysics of Morrowind: Part 1

The Metaphysics of Morrowind: Part 2

The Metaphysics of Morrowind: Part 3

The Metaphysics of Morrowind: Part 4

It’s  a wonderful read if you have the time.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither in a day were these entries written, so you might very well have to digest this over a period of a few days, too!

Thank you, Kate. 😀

The Skinny on the Great War

•November 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Let’s face it: There’s a lot more going on in Skyrim that we travelers can reasonably shake a stick at.  Also, a lot has happened in the past 200 years since the Oblivion Crisis.  All I can attempt to do is give you an overview of events that should hopefully clear up any ambiguity we inevitably face when we blunder through our first play through of a TES title.

Let us begin with a brief summary of the events that transpired since the Dragonfires were last lit:

When we last left our heroes (heh)… When the Oblivion Crisis came to a close, the Dragonfires were lit and the Elder Council ruled the Empire under Chancellor Ocato in the absence of an Emperor.  Although there has been a long run of relative peace between the Tamrielic nations, certain nations begin to take advantage of the lack of a heir to the throne, and the Empire’s weakened ability to govern.  The civil unrest begins in Black Marsh, and if we remember correctly, most people of Argonian lineage were recalled during the Oblivion crisis.  Black Marsh therefore had strength and numbers and used this opportunity to secede from the Empire.  Emperor Titus Mede I, a conqueror and father to Attrebus Mede, is crowned and soon after, Red Mountain in Vvardenfell, Morrowind erupts due to the instability and crashing of the Ministry of Truth, due to Vivec’s absence.  This destroys the island, and also makes much of mainland Morrowind uninhabitable.  As if their desertion by the Nerevarine, the disappearance of Vivec, and fall of the Tribunal weren’t enough.  As you can imagine Morrowind isn’t fit for fighting when Black Marsh decides to invade what’s left of it.  At this point, and over the years, many Dunmer fled for Skyrim, specifically Windhelm hold.

Black Marsh isn’t the only nation with their hands in the cookie jar.  A long-running Altmeri political group in the Summerset Isles, called the Thalmor, eventually enact a hostile takeover of the nation, with the intent of re-constructing the ancient and long fallen Aldmeri Dominion of the second era.   Valenwood was next on the Thalmor’s to-conquer list, and a successful coup and overthrow of the government was achieved.  With the successful annexation and take over of Valenwood, the Aldmeri Dominion is officially declared, and named Alinor to pay respect to the long-fallen kingdom.  This can only mean outright war between the Tamrielic Empire and the newly re-founded Aldmeri Dominion.

During the Void Nights, a time when Masser and Secunda disappeared, the Khajiit of Elseweyr were deeply disturbed.  When the moons finally did return, the Thalmor claimed responsibility for their return and won the hearts of the Khajiiti nation.  Elseweyr officially secedes from the Empire and is divided into two states called Anequina and Pelletine, and basically get in bed with Alinor.  Civil war begins in Hammerfell, between ancient Crowns and the Forbear sects.  It seems that civil war is cropping up on all sides.

At this time, Emperor Titus Mede II, son of  Emperor Attrebus Mede (allegedly— we’re not sure how many emperor’s were crowned between Mede I and Mede II, or if Attrebus was was emperor at all [NOTE: The Infernal City mentions Attrebus as “crown prince.”]) inherits a broken Empire that is only a shell of its former glory.  There is little he can do to repair the damage that has been done in Tamriel’s outlying nations.  As if things weren’t bad enough, the Thalmor threaten an invasion of Cyrodiil (simply to cripple the hub of the Empire) and Hammerfell.  For the moment, Emperor Titus II refuses to make concessions to the invading forces to stop the war; one of the chief demands included the relinquishment of southern Hammerfell, which seems to speak to the true intention of the war.  Camps of enemy forces are holed up in Elsewyer and execute a sneak attack on Cyrodiil, causing Leyawiin and Bravil to fall almost immediately.  Similar troops are hidden in Valenwood and launch a successful attack on Imperial troops in Hammerfell.

The true shock comes when the Aldmeri forces invade the Imperial City in Cyrodiil and take the palace and the adjoining tower (once the White-Gold Tower).  The Emperor was able to escape to Skyrim before the city was sacked, but many of its civilians were left defenseless.

The culmination of the Imperial war effort comes a year later in the form of a battle called the Battle of the Red Ring, which references the circular road of the same name that encircles the Imperial City.  With this brilliant strategy, which included surrounding the captured city on all sides with Imperial troops, Tamriel was able to take back its capitol.  Afterward, it became apparent to Emperor Titus II that the fighting could no longer continue if he was hoping to still have a nation and people to rule when it was finished.  He begins to seek a treaty with Alinor to end the bloody fighting.  Surprisingly many if not all of the demands of the Alinor were identical to the demands that were presented before the invasion of Cyrodiil.  The two chief conditions of the White-Gold Concordat were that southern Hammerfell be given to the Aldmeri Dominion and the worship of Talos (Tiber Septim) of the Nine Divines be outlawed.  Emperor Titus II had no choice but to accept these terms by this time.

Hammerfell refused to accept the Concordat and cede much of their land to the Dominion, despite already being heavily occupied by their forces.  The Emperor was forced to relinquish Hammerfell as an Imperial province in order to maintain the parameters of the peace treaty.  The Redguards’ war with Alinor ends in a stalemate after five years, and the signing of the Second Treaty of Stros M’kai.  The Aldmeri Dominion withdraw their troops as per the treaty and Hammerfell is left to govern itself, orphaned by the Empire and decidedly angry about it.  This hints that perhaps the war could have been won for all of remaining Tamriel if Titus II hadn’t given in to the demands, which leaves a sense of bitterness all around.  By the end of it, the Blades, the Imperial bodyguards to the Emperor, are all but extinct.

Twenty years after the signing of the Second Treaty of Stros M’kai, Skyrim breaks out into civil war between those loyal to the Empire and the nationalistic Stormcloaks, led by the Jarl of Windhelm, Ulfric Stormcloak. Civil war officially begins when Ulfric allegedly “shouts” the high king of Skyrim, Torygg, in Solitude to death.  Some say it was a fair duel; others say an assassination.  The truth has yet to come to light.  Either way, the stationed Imperial forces will not stand for it.

One may ask where High Rock stood in all of this.  The Bretons are a hybrid of both men and mer which originated from the union between the ruling Aldmer and Nedic slaves during the first era.  We can assume present day Bretons have a high distaste for elven rule, and are firm supporters of the Empire.   The Bretons were responsible for supplying supporting troops to help fight for the Imperial City during the Great War as well as providing support to the Redguards during the March of Thirst in which Hammerfell fought to maintain control of their land.  It is rumored that the Aldmeri Dominion has gained control of the island Balferia in High Rock, but other than that High Rock is thought to still be relatively prosperous, or at least as prosperous as a nation in decline can be.

The Thalmor’s Game Plan

The Aldmeri Strategy:

The main goal of the Thalmor was to re-establish the glory of the Aldmeri Dominion of the second era and expand their territory further if possible.  Alinor once consisted of both the Summerset Isles and Valenwood during its 70-year reign, and its influence stretched out across most of the would-be nations of Tamriel.  The Aldmeri Dominion took hold of Valenwood when they discovered that the Bosmeri people were planning to cede some of their land to their Colovian enemies.  The Dominion then stepped in and using a thousand year old treaty’s clause, claimed stewardship of the nation and added it to their territory.  The political transition was also made easier due to that the Bosmer were fighting over which son of the Camoran Dynasty should be appointed as king.  Amongst the chaos the Aldmer were able to slip in and “dissolve” the problem.

The territories of the Aldmeri Dominion were robbed from them when Tiber Septim conquered and united the lands of High Rock, Skyrim, Cyrodiil, Elseweyr, Black Marsh, Hammerfell, Morrowind, Valenwood, and the Summerset Isles under the Empire.

The present-day Aldmeri Dominion holds a large grudge against the the races of men who established the Empire, since the land of Tamriel was once largely populated by elves and the men arriving from Atmora in the late Merethic era were subjugated and terrorized by the elves.  To have men essentially turn on them and succeed is a fatal wound to their pride.  Because of this, in addition to reclaiming their lost territory, the Thalmor make their mission to make the races which were the descendants of Atmora (which may or may not include the Redguards, as they’re from Yokuda, but still considered a race of men, not mer) suffer defeat and anguish at any cost.  Therefore, the Aldmeri strategy is half reclamation and half spite work.  The revival of the Aldmeri Dominion is as much a political movement as it is a cultural revival for these elves.  Elven supremacy is declared openly, and the treatment of men recalls a darker time since Aldmeri agents are determined to force the races of men to submit once again.

Why the Dominion is after southern Hammerfell is ambiguous at best.  It is clear that they want it, as it was listed in the initial ultimatum demands as well as a stipulation of the Concordat.  Southern Hammerfell was named Hegathe by the ancient Aldmer and Ayleid elves that lived in the area.  Its close vicinity to the nations of the Aldmeri Dominion suggests that it would be of interest to the Aldmer, as well as the nature of the population, but it does not seem that the Hegathe region of Hammerfell was ever officially a part of the Aldmeri Dominion.  Perhaps the Dominion was trying to obtain land that it felt it had almost attained before Tiber Septim crushed the Crown sect (and the civil war) in southern Hammerfell at the end of the second era.  Needless to say the current Yokudan inhabitants of the area want nothing to do with that.

Key Terms:

Thalmor: A political group which originated in the Summerset Isles and now controls the Isles, Valenwood, and Elseweyr’s states by subjugation.  There influence can be felt throughout the remaining occupied Tamrielic nations in accordance with the White-Gold Concordat’s demands.

Aldmeri Dominion: A term for the Aldmer’s ancient kingdom of the second era which ruled Summerset Isle and Valenwood.  The recapture of these two nations by the Thalmor signal the reappearance of the Aldmeri Dominion.

Aldmer: The Aldmer were considered to be the first elves and the forefathers of all resulting elven races.  They allegedly hailed from the lost city of Aldmeris and settled first in the Summerset Isles and eventually inhabited and settled most of mainland Tamriel.  They are considered to be long extinct and instead evolved to be the present day elven races of Nirn.  The Altmer are considered to be the most similar to the original Aldmer, as they first settled the Summerset Isles and remained largely unchanged.  Modern-day Altmer revere the wisdom and power of their elven forefathers, and strive to become more like them.  An example of this is the Thalmor political group and their agenda.

Alinor: The name of the Aldmeri nation of the second era that consisted of what was Summerset Isle and Valenwood.  Alinor is also the capitol of the Summerset Isles.

Camoran Dynasty: One of the most ancient dynasties in Tamriel.  The Camoran family rules Valenwood, and is both the home of the Camoran Usurper and the lovely Mankar Camoran, his alleged son.  It is unclear how Mankar is an Altmer if both his parents were Bosmer, though, suggesting that they are either not the same person, or that he was truly born to an Altmer woman.

Void Nights: A time during the first century of the fourth era in which the two moons Masser and Secunda disappear for two years.  The disappearance of the moons was particularly stressful for the Khajiit of the Empire because they link them to their gods, and even their consumption of moon sugar is linked to communing with them.  The Khajiit are also subject to the lunar cycle as it determines the breed of Khajiit at the time of birth.

Emperor Titus Mede II: The Imperial descendant of Emperor Titus Mede I, he is the current Emperor of Tamriel.  Titus Mede I was a warlord and king of Cyrodiil before he became Emperor.  It is likely if not certain that there is no Dragonblood in this bloodline.

The Battle of the Red Ring: This was the battle that lead to the treaty that ended the Great War.  Titus Mede II had fled the Imperial City as it was sacked by the Aldmeri Dominion and traveled to Skyrim.  There the war plan was formulated that would constitute this battle.  It included surrounding the city on all sides, unbeknownst to the Dominion, and all out attacking the enemy troops holding the city.  This battle ended with the suspending of the Aldmeri general from the White-Gold Tower for 33 days.

Talos and the ban of Talos worship: Talos is a favorite deity of the people of Tamriel who is part of the pantheon of the Nine Divines.  He is also known by the names Ysmir, Tiber Septim, and Wulfharth.  He was a great Nord general during the second era and is responsible for uniting the lands which became the Tamrielic Empire and the ejection of the elves from their seat of power.  Following his installment as Emperor, prosperity abounded and it was truly a great time to be a part of the Empire.  Upon his death he is said to have been honored by the Eight Divines for his great deeds and transformed into a god, the god Talos.  The names listed above may also be individual people who were assimilated as aspects of the god Talos upon their death.  Nonetheless, Talos is viewed chiefly as a son of Skyrim and a great general.

As per the White-Gold Concordat, Talos worship was outlawed.  This created discontent all across the remainder of the Empire, and severely stressed and angered the Nords, who regarded him as their personal champion.  At first it was doubted that worship was actually outlawed, until the Thalmor began to enforce the ban by persecuting worshipers.  The Thalmor regard the worship of Talos a mistake on the part of the people, rather than cultural warfare meant to extinguish the pride of men for their conqueror of the elven peoples.  The Thalmor “ideology” is that it is erroneous to worship a man who is not a god, but simply a great man in Tamriel’s history.  To worship him is actually an act of heresy in regard to the other Eight Divines.

(Ulfric) Stormcloak: Ulfric Stormcloak is the leader of the Stormcloak nationalist movement and the Jarl of Windhelm hold in Skyrim.  He possesses the knowledge of the Thu’um, or The Voice, and therefore can use shouts.  He uses his power to kill the king of Skyrim, presumably because he feels that he is weak in submitting to the Empire’s puppet government which is being controlled by the Thalmor.  The Stormcloaks consist of nationalist and often racist Nords who are determined to seize control of Skyrim, break away from or otherwise destroy the Empire, and establish their own sovereign nation.

White-Gold Concordat: The treaty that ended the Great War which is named for the tower at the center of the Imperial City which was once the Ayleid elves’ palace long ago.  The main stipulations of the treaty which was a great cause for alarm was the relinquishment of southern Hammerfell to Alinor and the ban on the worship of the Divine, Talos, or Tiber Septim.

Balferia: An island in the Iliac Bay which is home to the Adamantine Tower, which has been present for time immemorial.  When the Aldmer arrived to Tamriel the tower was already standing, and it has long been an inspiration to civilized nations to replicate such a structure (ie: the Ayleid’s White-Gold Tower).  The tower also has religious significance as it is the famed location at which the Aedra met to discuss the creation of the mortal realm.  For the Dominion to hold this island it not only grants them a sense of religious legitimization, but also links them to the nature of this ancient structure: ever present, grand, and to be emulated.

What it means for contemporary Skyrim:

Even the blind can see that the once prosperous Empire is on the verge of ceasing to exist.  Whether the citizens of Skyrim are pro-Empire or pro-Stormcloak, neither of them want to lose their nation to the Aldmeri Dominion, which burned down the first Nord city in Skyrim eras ago.  Many of the citizens are distraught over the ban on Talos worship, but some resign themselves to it being necessary for the time being, while others are in outrage and wish to proclaim an outright revolution.  The people at the same time fear capture by Aldmeri forces if they are discovered as Talos worshipers or otherwise plotting war.  With the return of the dragons to Skyrim, tensions have risen even higher.  Men were once slaves to dragon overlords, particularly Alduin, many eras ago, and their resurfacing calls back ancient and frightening times.  They are essentially facing the same kind of dominating enemy on both sides.  However, with the rumors of the legendary Dragonborn which could potentially reintroduce the Dragonblood back into the Empire, the weary Imperial forces and sons of Skyrim are hopeful that order will be restored, the Thalmor will be crushed, and the dragons banished from whence they came.


•November 16, 2011 • 1 Comment

Original Article: Bethesda Blog

Cue Alduin.


No, really.  It’s cool.  Dovahkiin Tom Kellermeyer was born to Megan and Eric Kellermeyer on 11.11.11!

Lucky parents– free games for life.  I can see it now though:

Courtesy duchessa of stockxchng


Mom…? Dad…?  You named me for WHAT?!


It will be tender and lovely family moment fifteen years from now.


Anyway, congratulations and good on ya!

Culture Shock

•November 15, 2011 • 5 Comments

With all of the gameplay changes in Skyrim and the development of the Nordic people, the change that I find hardest to adjust to is quite surprising.  I’ve never thought I was particularly attached to the Divines as a religion; I always thought of myself as more partial to the Daedra or even the Temple before the “Imperial Cult.”  However, the outlawing of Talos worship as per the White-Gold Concordat, leaves me feeling personally violated.  In writing my fan fic As the Threads Come Loose, I had called upon the Nine Divines and Tiber Septim hundreds of times in text for a myriad of reasons.  In detailing the thoughts of a worshipper of the Divines, it became as though even I believed in it, and believed in the solidarity of this religion as I wrote about it.  It was the official religion of Cyrodiil, after all.  I had to write like it was an integral part of the citizens’ lives.  To have the Nine Divines suddenly become the Eight Divines… well, to be honest, I did a double-take when I first heard it in-game.  I was suddenly angry at the Thalmor and could not fathom in the least why they would see it fit to settle a treaty around these demands.  There was no cool, standoffish feeling regarding politics that I might have felt when dealing with the Dunmer’s house disputes 200 years earlier.  I find myself vehemently wanting them out!

Other matters that cause me to become disturbed are:

  • Summerset Isle, the sunny Altmer island with such a benevolent-sounding name, has been renamed Alinor under Thalmor rule.
  • Elseweyr has seceded and Black Marsh turned on the Empire.
  • Hammerfell has been renounced as an Imperial Province.
  • Vvardenfell is all ashland now.
  • Anyone of any importance in Cyrodiil is dead, whether it be the 200 years in-between or the sacking of Cyrodiil to be the cause.
In fact, let’s just rewrite the damned map!

Tamriel ~4 E 201

It seems as though knowledge of all this is enough to force most Nords to the nationalist Stormcloak movement.

Truly, these Altmer—Mankar Camoran, and now the Thalmor—seem to be much more trouble than they’re worth.  I always knew they were too stuck up for their own good.


… Are these events, occurring in relatively rapid succession– the reincarnation of St. Nerevar, the fall of the Tribunal, the coming of the Bloodmoon, the Oblivion crisis and return of Mehrunes Dagon, the end of the Septim line, the resurfacing of the King of Worms, Sheogorath’s dissappearance, the interim turmoil wrought by the Thalmor, and finally the return of both Dovahkiin and Alduin— signaling the end of Nirn?

It’s like everything’s been leading up to this moment.  All other crises seem like child’s play, unimportant in the grand scheme of things.  But this is it.

Even counting the crises in Arena and Daggerfall—they still occur frighteningly close together along with the rest of the major events in the timeline.  That is a lot of heavy stuff to happen in 250 years.

We shall see.

Skyrim: Second Look

•November 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Skyrim Map

So, playing through for two hours definitely does not give you a sound perception of our lovely new release, Skyrim.  At an additional four hours in, though, the big picture is beginning to come together and I’m starting to see more and more of things I like.  First impressions are important, but they are also usually flawed.  Let’s see what I have as far as new developments…


I still hate the map, but I guess the compass compensates for it.  Maybe once more of that damned fog is out of the way, I’ll be able to see some roads.


Still confused about its correlation to the compass sometimes, and really miss my faithful journal.  But, it’s alright.

Character Aesthetics:

A large tv makes all the difference. A 27″ square screen tv definitely does not allow you to make the most of your game. The sliders (read: presets) need to be fiddled around with before you can get a pretty face, but it can be done with much less effort than in Oblivion.
I would however kill for a set of real bangs on a hairstyle, though!


It totally didn’t dawn on me during the opening sequence that there was a child on a porch in Helgen!  As I explored Riverwood and Whiterun, it eventually dawned on me– there’s children!  I use Children of Morrowind and briefly played Fallout 3, and I guess it desensitized me to the idea.  This is however, monumental.  We haven’t seen children since Daggerfall!  They’re what we might call “essential.”  Unkillable.  A good ethical move, but guess how I found out they were unkillable?  It just… slipped.


You learn spells by reading edible spell tomes.  I say they’re “edible” because they disappear after you read them and gain the spell.  Spell casting is easy, as long as you can manage to keep a hand free.  The longer you hold the trigger (in my case) the longer the affect of the spell, but the more magicka it spends.  If I remember correctly, you had to cast a spell a series of times to achieve the same in Oblivion.  In any case, it comes in handy.


RAWR!  Shouting is pure fun.  My first word wall was a bit of a nerdgasm moment for me.  I went through the dungeon once before and cleared out all of the chests in the room with the world wall, but I completely missed it!  There is a cool down on shouting; for the one you get initially its about 12 seconds.  Not sure if it varies with others.  Anyone ever see that movie Push?  It’s kinda like that.


Until they sit still, they’re kind of impossible to shoot at, at least with the thumbstick to aim.  They are massive, but decidedly killable.  It’s hard not to be awestruck.  The last time I saw something anywhere near that size that I could kill with my own two hands, it was an Ogrim. (Merhunes Dagon doesn’t count.  Wasn’t he scripted?)


Forging is awesome.  It’s a multi-step process to tan leather, use the forge, and then improve the item, but it’s very realistic and reminiscent of Morrowind Complete.  You can learn how to do it for free in Whiterun.  They’re finally listening to the modding community!  You need only ask to use someone’s forge.


I was so excited to catch me some salmon in the river the other night.  It’s kind of funny, literally like you’re a bear just swiping a them.  You “pick” them up and they completely destroy themselves in your awesome prescence and become salmon steaks, ready for cooking.  Speaking of which…


I’m too poor to have anything to cook at the moment, but food does replenish your health (unlike past games where it replenished fatigue).  The food is all highly detailed in texture, which is a godsend for people like me who love to look at pretty food.  In your inventory (or shop keepers inventory) you can rotate and zoom the objects in the menu, which makes for even more food ogling.  There are buyable and usable pots, food spits, etc. etc.


Fatigue has become stamina.  Stamina is unaffected  by running, and I’m glad someone finally took care of this.  After all, we all know that no one walks anywhere in a game.  Stamina is used for power attacks, and maybe other things.  Good news: if you use a power attack and your stamina is depleted, you can still swing, you just sound tired and do less damage, I believe.


Like forging, it seems the only way to have access to alchemy apparatus is to ask to use someone’s at the moment.  Perhaps they come with houses?  I haven’t had the opportunity to make potions (cause I’m poor).


Buyable houses make a reappearance in Skyrim.  You need permission from the Jarl or whoever is head of town in order to buy real estate, but I think it’s just a matter of schmoozing them or doing them a favor.

The UESP Wiki:

The wonderful UESP Wiki

The great people at the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages are hard at work making a guide for Skyrim as they have done since 1995.  Contribute if you can to this great resource!