Hey everyone. This week I’ve decided to put together some of my thoughts on what I hope they change for the next Elder Scrolls game. I love Skyrim, I really do. I’m still playing it, and while i’m taking the quests quite slowly, I’m more than happy with how it has come together. However, there’s a few things that rubbed me the wrong what in it. These are things that I only hope Bethesda address in the next game. Enjoy.
I loved Skyrim, both the game and the land itself. Skyrim is the rugged, unforgiving province in Tamriel. Home of the Nords, Skyrim nicely set itself apart from what came before it. However, as much as I did enjoy it, something was off, something missing that was present in both Morrowind and Oblivion. It’s quite simple really; I didn’t feel the want or need to explore Skyrim as much as I did with Cyrodil, or to a greater extent, Vvardenfell. I didn’t feel that great sense of wonder and awe that an Elder Scrolls title should, and usually does, evoke in me. Don’t get me wrong, dear readers. I’m still playing Skyrim. I’m still enjoying the act of exploration, those large open vistas, as well as those little simple moments. But if I compare this to the sense of pure wonder that Vvardenfell filled me with, it’s quite a different kettle of fish. For the next Elder Scrolls I’d like to see a location with a bit more wonder and imagination in it. Something that combines the hugely varied locations of Vvardenfell, and the more grounded, rich in colour surroundings of Cyrodil. Something in the middle would be nice. When playing Skyrim at times it just feels too “real”, too much like I’m walking through Norway, rather than a made up fantasy world.
I hope they can be a bit daring next time. Where would I like to see it set? A tough question! For now I’ll say either The Black Marsh, the main landmass of Morrowind (not Vvardenfell), or even Valenwood. Who knows.
No more kill cams. Sorry, as much as it’s fun to hit someone with a single arrow in slow motion, my appreciation for the kill cam has gone. I can’t see how the idea wasn’t born out of some way to get the “Call of Duty” audience interested. You know, a way they can think they’re good at the game by just pressing a single button. Maybe I’m alone here, but for me the kill cam is quite a jarring experience. I play the game is first person. I’ve always played these games in first person. So when a kill cam starts, and the camera suddenly jumps outside my typical point of view, I often feel like my immersion level has dropped slightly. As far as I’m concerned, I am Dragonborn, the very same way I was the Hero of Kvatch and the Nerevarine. I appreciate and respect the fact that all the in-game sequences happen from my own point of view. That aspect of this entire series helps me become my character. Kill cams hurt it. It’s in those moments during a kill cam that I feel a little disconnected from the experience. A shame, really. However, while some kill cams aren’t too bad, some are a little over the top, as if to say, “hey mom! Look at what I can do!” They’re overplayed a little too heavy, and any gameplay aspect that harms my level of immersion is a big no no.
In my second hour of playing Skyrim I found some Elvish armour. Sweet! I’m on my 90th hour in the game, and I still haven’t changed it. That’s a massive problem with Skyrim- they give you far too much loot too readily and easily. I mean, coming across an Orchish helmet once in every twenty caves would be interesting, unlike that time I found two in a single treasure chest. How about next time we cut back on the loot? The fact that good loot is so plentiful kills off any want or need to go adventuring for it. In Morrowind I adventured for loot and the sake of adventuring. In Skyrim I adventure to see pretty sights and kill things. This, more than anything else, is something I’d like to see changed. Loot in Skyrim doesn’t feel special, it doesn’t feel like you did anything particularly hard to be worthy of getting your hands on it. I hope the next Elder Scrolls title brings back that sense of wonder, that feeling of finding loot that “no one else has”.
I knew it would happen. Upon seeing the Dragons in action in Skyrim, I worried that they’d literally become Cliff Racers 2.0. While the first few Dragons were exciting experiences, it got to the point where they became a soul destroying chore. The Dragons are terrible in a two ways. First off, there’s nothing worse than when on your way to a mission location, a wild Dragon suddenly appears. There’s been many a time when the sound of the Dragon theme effectively killed my ability to enjoy the game, especially if it was one of those fucking Elder Dragons. Secondly, ever be in the midst of battling a Dragon until it decides to fly off, hover over a nearby camp or castle, and try and kill everyone inside? Jesus. Dealing with a situation like that is a woeful experience. I appreciate the sheer spectacle of the Dragons, I really do. There’s nothing more stunning than seeing a Dragon in the distant gliding around. It’s beautiful. But it doesn’t excuse how much of a bore fighting one is. Cliff Racers didn’t work, and neither do Dragons. No more flying enemies please. No more.
While I can see the logistics of it, I was utterly dismayed to find out the level of clothes/armour customization in Skyrim was toned down. In fact, it wasn’t just toned down, it was castrated to a very simple, watered down set up. Instead of letting you choose a cuirass, helmet, pauldrons, greaves, boots, and gauntlets, Skyrim cut it down to a basic helmet, cuirass, and boots combo. Sad really, Morrowind even like you have different paldrons and gaunlets on each arm and leg. An excellent feeling of customization compared to Skyrim. Beyond the fact that every second Dragonborn in Skyrim looks similar, in past Elder Scrolls games the act of choosing armour and clothes was incredibly important in making the player feel in complete control. In Morrowind I’d sit there for a good twenty minutes, looking through my available armour, trying different arrangements, and figuring out what was best for the adventure I was about to undertake. In Skyrim there’s almost none of that. The sense of preparing yourself for an upcoming battle or adventure is incredibly lacking. I usually just take two minutes to throw on the best armour available, and run headlong into battle.
It’s another aspect of Skyrim that I felt led the Elder Scrolls series in a wrong direction. Sure, it may be more accessible for a “wider audience” (don’t get me started on that), but don’t forget the strong fanbase, a fanbase who loved the in-depth customization of previous Elder Scrolls titles.
In Morrowind and Oblivion every second NPC had the same voice. In Skyrim every third NPC has the same voice. You’d think with the huge increase of voice talent, that the world of Skyrim would sound a little more diverse. Sadly not. What’s worse is that different voice actors read out the same lines. I’ll always remember entering Windhelm for the first time. There were two guards near one of the entrances. I talked to the first, a female Nord. She said, “Maybe I am the Dragonborn, I just don’t know it yet”. I moved onto the next guard, a nord male. He said, “Maybe I am the Dragonborn, I just don’t know it yet”. Lovely. It baffles me why they couldn’t just say something slightly different.
Another thing that rubbed me the wrong way was the lack of familiar voices from past games. I’m talking about voice actors like Wes Johnson, Jeff Baker, Michael Mack, and Linda Canyon. Sure, some of them are present in Skyrim, but not as much as I’d like. For instance, I miss Linda’s voice as the female Dark Elves, while Wes’ voice for the male Bretons almost became as staple of the franchise. I’m not saying both of these actors should once again voice every character of those races, but it’s always nice to hear a familiar voice. So, more voice actors for next time! Much more! But don’t forget who came before them.