Friday, 5 October 2012

The Important Pieces of Paper - Skyrim, I return much more quietly, Part 1

I'm going to sneak another post topic in here, since I seem to be playing Skyrim a lot more than I thought and I'll possibly be playing the next Elder Scrolls game too, so I present : “The Important Pieces of Paper” I have also decided since this post is so goddamned huge I'm going to split it up between two parts which I should have done since I took a break in playing GTA4 The Ballad of Gay Tony so this post will be titled "Part 1" because that's so original.

Well I’ve started playing Skyrim again, I thought I’d write this just to detail my new experience through the game as I had to go through it again at least twice. I’d previously played the whole way through as a 2-hand Warrior which was a lot of fun and wrote my Usual Spiel review on the game roughly back in January 2012.

I’d always thought about trying it again playing as Mage as it sounded quite fun to use Magic and fling fire and lightning spells around and it was fun for a little while to begin with. I soon found that even with the new magic kill animations (which looked quite cool I might add) and the two handed lightning and flame throwing and the conjuring of undead and animal spirits to help you wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. I found myself still reverting to being stealthy and using my bow, I also found that actively fighting with only cloth armor and magical spells to protect me was actually quite difficult, and probably the most annoying thing was all of the spells  you had to juggle around as you could only have one in each hand at the time. It was miles away from the simplicity of being a Warrior in heavy armor swinging around a two handed weapon, also I realized that one of the good points of playing Skyrim is that you could really get the feel of combat swinging your swords and maces around and really feel the “thunk” of your arrows penetrating their skull.

A detailed and well made video on the new "killcam" finishing moves of the 1.5 update, man I didn't even know you could some of these things, unarmed finishing moves? I've never even tried that.

So I thought since I’ve already done a Warrior the logical character type to play would be a Thief, as I’ve always wanted to heavily use bows and this wasn’t the case as a warrior and also I wanted to do some stealth killing with knives Tenchu-style, I decided on a Wood Elf (or Bosmer) for the race as I didn’t really want to go as a Khajit which was the other one of the two suited for the Thief style. It’s been great so far. All the stealth kills with bows and daggers look awesome especially the new arrow kill-cam sequences which gives a great “oh yehhh hwoooo!” feel and I use one or two swords if I have to melee.  Another reason for playing the game a second time around was that I could join the Thieves Guild and possibly the Dark Brotherhood and play through their quest storylines and get the gear etc.

Interesting looking dude aren't I? like some kind of emo indie rocker.
I started to notice however that npc's still weren't exactly that smart (maybe because of the difficulty level) for example if they found a colleague shot with an arrow they can be heard saying "I'll get whoever did this" but when shot themselves they just end up giving up the search and going back to their normal routine often with more then two arrows in them.

For some reason this guy took not one but arrows to the head before he went down, I think he had a helmet on but I don't see how that would make any difference, must have been one tough motherfudger.
This time though I was not going to repeat the same annoying necessity of quick travelling  to several towns in order to sell my collected items, so from the start I used the console commands to give myself two Speech perks: Merchant and Master Trader which allows me to sell any item to any trader and gives all trader’s 1000 more gold for bartering. I did this because I didn’t want to waste any time running around trying to find merchants who still had some bartering gold left. Also last time I went through the game I finished at about level 42 and never ended up getting the higher perks so this time I decided that as I levelled up the skills and the skill the point became available I would get whatever I could right then through the console commands regardless of how many points I had to spend, this would make sure that I could experience all the perks even if I didn’t get to level 50.

My current speech perk tree, notice how the top one is bright but not linked? I'm sorry I just had to
Doing the main storyline is kind of weird since I’m playing as a thief but it’s ok. I’ve found that being stealthy takes somewhat longer to finish missions and also I find if I have to resort to melee using a 1H sword isn’t damaging enough and using two 1h swords and not being able to block with only light armor to protect myself is quite hazardous so I sometimes just melee anyway against weaker opponents just to raise my light armor skill. Plus it’s so much faster just running in and slicing them up and if you have any trouble just use the Sanguine Rose which is a very useful item I can tell you. I feel like I last finished this game so long ago and just want to create a warrior again for fun and go round upgrading my sets of armor and weapons as I go (i.e. Iron, Steel, Plate). With my Thief it seems that my Thieves Guild armor is the best around for a long while and you also have the option to upgrade the enchants which is something I’ve never seen before, not to mention better armor as you progress along the Thieves Guild  storyline, I think I’d better hurry up with it actually otherwise I’ll spend half the game playing in the entry-level guild armor. Once I finished the appropriate mission I chose to upgrade my chestpiece to carry more stuff, as I couldn’t really decide so I just decided to do that.

Me looking out over Whiterun. You can't really see my Thieves guild armor in this picture but it looks pretty cool nonetheless as if I'm lookout out over a town that's ripe for the plucking.

Well I’m back after a brief ‘episode’ (hah!) enjoying GTA4: Episodes from Liberty City, The Ballad of Gay Tony, which I have detailed in this post. I needed a break as I think I’ve taken longer to get through Skyrim this time than on my warrior, most probably because all the sneaking and stealthing around does take longer than running in like a maniac and cleaving your enemies in two. I’ve also started to go all out with my two swords more often now as I get more powerful, it’s unfortunately a bit more dangerous wearing only light armor and not having all the perks but that’s the way it is when your usually sneaking around all the time  I also think I’ve done more missions this time and found more things not to mention I’m doing both the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood missions. Speaking which I have now finished the Thieves Guild storyline which I’m not going to spoil but was quite the exciting, even got the quite nice looking Nightingale Blade out of it which has a damn good enchant on it but drains it’s power like anything making you constantly having to fill it up, not to mention the Nightingale Bow though this wasn’t as good as my current glass bow.

I also acquired the Dawnbreaker which looks like it’s some kind of opposite of the Nightingale Blade. You get it from cleansing the Shrine of one of Daedric Princes Meridia (who is actually female) this thing one of the best undead killing enchants around, kill an undead with this sword and it creates a fiery explosion that turns or destroys nearby undead.  

My Nightingale Blade and the Dawnbreaker
I also finally obtained the Nightingale Armor this armor was highly recommended by my brother who got it previously which looked awesome and was pretty cool though it had a few flaws, I couldn’t wear the hood as it had “Illusion spells cost 17% less to cast.” And I didn’t cast spells at all plus I had a hard time deciding whether to wear the Nightingale armor which had a stamina increase and frost resistance but looks really cool or my Glass armor which was a higher armor rating and I had put an increased health enchant on it. I decided to switch between the two and use the glass armor for Dragon fights along with my glass gauntlets which have an archery bonus. As I said before I’m not going to spill the questline but I did obtain the Skeleton Key which acts as an unbreakable lockpick which unfortunately you have to return in order to finish the questline, I kind of wish I had waited, though there’s always the “Unbreakable” perk if I ever get up that far.

Here's a shot of me, Brynjolf and Karliah in our Nightingale get-up, I'm wearing the Krosis Mask but you get the idea
I also have joined the Dark Brotherhood and started the quests, which are pretty easy I can tell you with me now having 100 Sneak skill and all the perks for it, I mean when I’m sneaking I’m almost undetectable unless I actually dry hump someone, I’ve killed a few people now and made a few bucks, I can also say that the storyline is quite entertaining and will continue to be from what I've heard.

That giant's in for it, cause I'm such a stealthy guy, oh yeh.
My (dark) brother (ahah!) also informed me of something I’d kind of forgotten, namely the Dragon Priest Masks he said that the Krosis one was very good for Thieves, and if you look at the stats that is quite true, apparently if you collect all the masks you can combine them to create a very powerful one, but since it’s Heavy Armor I’ll wait until I do a warrior again. It’s kind of funny walking around talking to people with one of these things on, they can’t see your face at all I almost forgot to take mine off when I got married, not that your bride kisses you anyway, I guess that’s one area where Skyrim is lacking, no sex, gah a game without sex what’s the world coming to? I suppose Bethesda isn’t as kinky as Bioware, though they had to tone it down for SWTOR no tainting the LucasArts image eh?

"Hey there good-lookin, no this isn't my face, my actual face is pretty damn sexy"
Another thing I have recently tried out is player-made housing after paying a hefty amount of gold for Proudspire Manor in Solitude and yes I know I’m not part of the Imperials I just wanted it as it was the most expensive house and I wanted to see what it was like, and to be honest, it wasn’t all that crash hot, compared to Hjerim in Windhelm, it was smaller and didn’t really have very much amenities such as bookshelves or any display cases for weapons, so I decided I’d go online and try out some more game modifications. Now mods, in case you didn’t know, are a very large part of Skyrim, one of the main websites Skyrim Nexus where I get my mods from has almost 20,000 files worth of player made, mods, fixes and game changes a few of which I’ll recommend below.

These are all pretty easy to install, just remember to read the instructions on the site.

QD Inventory – Makes your inventory interface easier to manage though I might possibly replace it with SkyUI which is quite possibly the most popular mod in the Skyrim Nexus
A Quality World map with Roads – pretty self explanatory adds paths and roads to the map
Glowing Ore Veins – Makes ore much easier to see
Auto Unequip Ammo – helpful mod that automatically removes the arrows from your back when not wielding a bow
Arrowsmith – Create arrows and bows using blacksmithing
Lost Art of the Blacksmith – Adds missing and extra blacksmith recipes

Glowing Ore veins: now imagine how hard that would be to spot wihtout the white paint, and yes I know it's not realistic but you try spotting the ore at night.
That’s only a few and there are a lot more good ones out there, but anyway where was I? ah yes I was looking for a new house, now Skyrim is an easily modified game, I’ve never tried it myself but with the amount of mods and changes people have made to the game it can’t be that hard. Now if any of you have played Skyrim you’ll know that your character requires certain world objects to store items and perform tasks for example you all know you have a carry limit, and those Dragon bones and scales are damn heavy and secondly the profession that your character can undertake inc Alchemy, Enchanting and Blacksmtihing all require certain tables, forges, smelters/etc to do your work, there are already houses in the game that can be bought with some of these amenities in them though this pales in comparison to the convenience, utility and coolness factor of most player-made housing which most often have everything you could possibly need included inside (and sometimes outside) the house.

The blacksmtihing section of the Asteria proving that even on a ship you can still have all of your blacksmithing needs. in the one place
So I had a look through the player-made houses section of the Nexus and found some pretty cool looking hunter/rustic inspired ones incl Ranger Ridge and Riverside Lodge, as I didn’t want some huge castle playing as a Thief/Ranger/Assassin type I also found some utterly ridiculous ones such as the Dragonborn House and some absolutely beautiful looking ones such as Deus Mons. Though my original intention was to find a mod which fixed up Proudspire Manor so I found a good one and installed it and it did make the manor one hell of a lot better as it gave all the things like a full smithy and larger trophy room for all your collected wares and also makes the housecarl room a bit nicer. I had a look at this and it looked pretty damn cool but then had a bit of a revelation, why would I stay in this normal looking, boring house when I could have something so much better free of charge. So had another look through the houses, I decided on Deus Mons for my Warrior (or future warrior) as it was a pretty epic medieval castle with actual NPC’s to fill it with made by this guy called ‘Eldiabs’ whose other player houses were equally as awesomely well made. But there was one which unfortunately for the sake of what realism there is in Skyrim I couldn’t pass over.

The Deus Mons Castle by Eldiabs, large, beautfiul, but functional

The Asteria, is a flying Dwemer Airship which according to the creator is %100 lore friendly which at first would be quite hard to believe, but if you’ve played most of the game you would know about the Dwemer race of dwarves and their steampunk style mechanical creations and the ship itself is entirely made up of objects from game so this thing wouldn’t be too far out of the ordinary.

One of the funniest comments I saw on the youtube video was this one: *gets married* wife: "we can live in my house if you want." me: "bitch, please..... i have a flying mansion." morgatron4639

Speaking of which there is a mod that helps with that which can be found here. I did get married actually and for some reason my bride walked away before the ceremony was even finished, I mean seriously I still have to find her and test out whether this mod works. I’ve noticed that mannequins behave rather strangely in player-made houses, if you can call being alive and moving around behaving strangely. It’s the weirdest thing ever, I walk through the door to the armory room of the ship and their all moving and walking around, some even look like their talking to each other, then about 5 or 10 seconds later they all zip back to their correct positions but stand in random poses, creepy.

Mannequins never learn to stay put do they? However this mod should help.

My brother was starting to play Skyrim again and he was looking for a house to inhibit for when he was first starting his character, something not too outlandish like a giant castle or a mansion on a cliff edge near a waterfall or a flying ship. So he found this snug little place called the Pinewood Cottage which sits in a pretty secluded spot between Falkreath and Helgen and needs no quests or prerequisites to get to and you can warp straight there. We had a good look inside and man it’s quite cramped but then how much room do you need? It almost has everything within arm’s reach apart from the smelter which he took quite a while to realise it was outside the “cottage”, I was wondering why they didn’t just extend the basement to fit the smelter in.It's truly a unique house which I will use if I ever start a warrior again.

The Pinewood Cottage, quaint-looking eh?
Real estate agent "Don't be worried by the size, it's actually quite spacious.... in the basement"
Surely with all the blacksmithing amenities within arms reach they could have done an extension or carved out the wall for the smelter? I mean it does belch smoke and that's probably why there's no forge in there but sure you could do a chimney coming out of the ground or something and not that I'm being picky but you can't forge armor with just an anvil.

So that will be all for now, I'll do another update with the ending of this blabbering journey soon as it'd be too much to read in the one post, hell, there might even be a part 3 the way I'm going.
The Northern Lights, with two moons!
I used to write good one-liners, then I took an arrow to the knee