The Skyrim Idiosyncrasies

November 15, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Posted in rpg | 17 Comments
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Valthiem Towers

It’s the little things in Skyrim that make it special. That make all Bathesda type games sepcial. They’ve created the illusion of their own functioning world, and all the hiccups that come with that.

I was sneaking around a tower of a keep. This keep stretched from one tower to another across a river for no discernible reason. I had lured the guards away, killed them outside the range of their friends and snuck inside. Immediately I found a chest, and crouched my way over to open it. Opening it set off a trap I hadn’t noticed but because I was hunched over, the falling mace swung over my head and into the wall. I was surprised but unharmed.

And that’s exactly the type of thing I love to find in Skyrim.

Another example might be what I found while wandering around in the wilderness. I was somewhere near Swindler’s Den, due south, and lovingly lost when I came across some rocks sticking out of the ground. These weren’t on my map, but looked to be a ruin of some type. I approached and discovered a mini-puzzle. A small well-like structure with a gate over it was protecting a treasure chest. Nearby 3 stones with 3 sides stood by, and a 4th stone with an activation device. Turn the stones so that they faced the right direction in the right combination and the gate would open. Fun.

Not a quest, not an important part of the game or even marked on the map. Just a fun thing to do.

Also located within sight of necromancers at work.

I was reading my friend Heatha’s blog and noticed she seems to play the game in a similar manner. She leaves all the primary quests until the very end, taking great note of the books, and paying attention to the details. I too read a lot of the books, but not all, and discovered the same book she takes note of. A choose your own adventure style book. In Skyrim. Awesome.

Unlike Heatha I’ll do some of the main quests to get rolling and then stop midway. Already I’m reaping the benefits of this with learning a new and interesting shout. I’ve got 3 now and I’m still learning to use them in combat.

It’s the idiosyncrasies of the world Bathesda makes. I can discover a person in distress, tell them the way is clear to escape, and if I’m lying, or wrong, they’ll run off to their doom. I can loot their body after they’ve been killed or just murder them myself. Or I can leave them there or by the light of my own altruism truly clear the way for them allowing them to escape.

Skyrim. It’s what most MMOs want to be. An alive experience where anything can happen. I can kill a dragon one day and be taken out by a sabercat the next. It’s just too bad I can’t do this with friends.



  1. Good to see you are enjoying it so far. I played a TON of it this weekend. I have to admit, I never liked Oblivion or Fallout 3, but this game really has me hooked. I have been doing almost exclusively side quests and wandering around getting everything I can find in the wild. I think I am only about 3 steps past where you are in the main story (so, not far) but I’m level 25… lots of wandering.

    They have so many great details in the little things. I found a guy named “Blind (Someone)” and he was sitting at a desk with a book. Upon looking at the book, it was named (his) book… and it was just completely empty. I snorted uncontrollably.

    • If you follow further into that cave the other bandits are complaining about how much of a terrible guard he is.

    • You never liked oblivion or fallout 3? Those are some of the best RPGs of the past 10 years. Skyrim may be slightly more polished and more in depth but those games do not pale in comparison.

      • Yeah, I just couldn’t get into either. It isn’t so much about the quality of the game as just some nagging things that bug me and I just couldn’t invest in them. For example, I don’t really like post-apocalypse wastelands… so that made fallout pretty hard to get into. Oblivion I had more issues with the leveling system and how lots of the choices were just utter garbage. The world was fine enough but I just didn’t get into it. Don’t get me wrong, I know that most people loved both of those games, I just had some weird personal issues with them ;D Still loving Skyrim though!

  2. I disarmed that trap 😉

    • As did I, gotta level that lockpicking. My guy is a sneaky archer so it fits the bill.

      • I’m sure many people disarmed that trap. congratulations.

  3. I love Skyrim! This game really has me totally immersed in it; the graphical detail is amazing (I mean look at those gorgeous night skies *drool*), the NPCs are interesting and the voice acting is very well done, and boy is the radiant A.I. amazing! And of course there are heaps of other things that make this game great.

    And I love how this game rewards you for exploring. I’ve found awesome books and trinkets out in the wilderness that have no map marker. I also found this wooden mask thing, that when worn teleports me to some shrine with empty chests and stuff…. but this teleportation effect only works while I’m in this hut where I found the wooden mask. I have no clue what the hell this mask is…. this is awesome.

    • I love how much stuff just has no map marker. Shrines, puzzles, random necromancers, dudes lying in wait to kill you, traps, ruins, etc. One of the best parts of the game.

      I did think from the very beginning that the voice overs were reused too much, as with most bathesda games, but they are well done. better than previous games.

      • Well, Skyrim has 70 different voice actors compared to Oblivion’s 14 :p. So I say that is quite an improvement!

  4. I am of the mind that sandboxes in MMO’s cannot work (have not worked, except for EvE) due to the fact that if someone hears about your endeavors, and tries to do the same, and it does not exist…the forums will become aflame. QQ, why can’t I get the same thing?

    You state “It’s just too bad I can’t do this with friends.” – Like what? Lets say the trap you mention where the hammer swings overhead took place with you and another. There is your friend standing behind you waiting for you to open that chest and HE gets smacked with that hammer..

    Fun times? (for some, I digress…it would be funny to see their friends get whapped)

    Mostly people will want to “chat” about what they did or found in their games…because our MMO’s are mainly social tools while playing. You CAN do that with Xbox…just send them a message or voice chat with them while playing..

    It will be like being in an MMO, just without looting constraints and the complaints of the whiners filling up your chat window.

    • I agree to an extent, but minecraft shows one example of how you could do sandboxes, and other games have elements of sandboxes going way back.

      And yes, my friend getting hit by that trap would be fun, and after we leave the trap could be reset for the next folks to come along.

      One thing that isn’t much fun, would be playing the same game entirely seperately. I don’t want to msg my friends I want them to be there experiencing the same thing.

  5. Thus far, I’ve been exploring and poking around more than I’ve been questing. I started, for instance, reading every single book I came across, because I saw in my menu a stat that tracked how many I read, and just for completion’s sake, I started doing it. Lo and behold, I’ve picked up 3 or 4 quests from random books already simply by doing that, and a lot more skill ups and stuff to boot. That’s how I like to play, grabbing as many quests I can at once and not caring whether or not I’m overloaded. I know sooner or later, because I’ve picked up so many, chances are good I’ll come across some of the objectives on my travels later on anyway.

    • That’s very cool, I didn’t know any of the books contained quests. I’ll have to start looking through more of them.

      • If you haven’t been reading books for the skill ups alone, you’re missing out.

        • Oh I do read them for the skillups. I’ve never noticed that I received a quest from one but thats likely because I only read the books that are worth enough where a skill point is possible.

          I have a huge book collection but I had planned to read them all after I beat the game.

    • Oh yeah, reading the books can be pretty profitable. Skill points and quests, not to mention the odd tip or hint at something. Also they’re fairly profitable at times, 1 pound and valued at 50g or something. I think one of the best things is if you’re interested in the lore, the books are pretty much the only way to get a history of the empire and the previous ages. For instance if you haven’t played oblivion, morrowind, daggerfall or arena.

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