Elder Scrolls V Skyrim is probably one of the most anticipated RPGs, nay, games, of 2011. Its predecessor Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has been out for 6 years now and is still one of my favourite games. No matter how much I love Oblivion, I am aware it has problems. Skyrim news and features are trickling in but there are some main points I really hope they hit. I also hope I am not looked at as that-guy-who-writes-list-articles so please don’t hold me to it.
1. Dragons/Enemies must be Spectacular
The announcement that dragons would be in Skyrim added to the already overflowing amount of excitement I had for its release. I have no doubts in the power of Bethesda but hope that they do everything in their power to make dragons, and all enemies, epic to fight and slay. The enemies were great in Oblivion, but who doesn’t like a good upgrade?
2. Enemy Scaling needs to be changed
One of my problems with Oblivion was the level scaling. For those who don’t know, the level scaling used in Oblivion meant no matter what level you were your enemies’ level would also adjust accordingly. One problem this caused is the fact that your allies’ level didn’t change. If you were partaking in a mission where you had an ally and you were a higher level then this character, then so were your enemies and therefore your ally would be massacred. Games like Borderlands show that level scaling is not needed to make a balanced game and that having places where high level players dominate is not a bad idea. The level scaling is said to be similar to Fallout which is okay with me, but luckily the word similar was wedged in there.
3. Handcrafted Environments cannot be overlooked
Many games with numerous dungeons to traverse use randomly generated environments to provide a new challenge for players each time. Although this is a fine way to go about, handcrafted dungeons feel much more organic. They allow the developers to make the experience more fluid and adventurous than confusing or sloppy. It also allows them to add special items throughout making your spelunking worth while (being my point).
4. Adventuring Should Uncover Riches
This leads me to my next point of rare loot. Skyrim should also have rare items scattered throughout dungeons, forests, caves, and even cities for players to collect. The accomplishment of finding a powerful item from just taking a stroll can be quite exciting and urge you to continue to do so.
5. Quests and Dialog should have more Choice
Like many RPGs, Oblivion gave the player choice in dialog. It was a solid system and had few to no problems. After playing some more recent RPGs however, the actual changes that occur because of your choices seem more meager than epic. Skyrim should really take a cue from BioWare (in this one aspect!) and make choice really matter. If I say something rude to someone it should make them really tighten up with info, both now, and until I apologize. If they just come trotting back during the storyline to forget what I said that’s a bit odd. I offended his mother and now he is giving me blade training?
6. Bring the Masses!
One great thing about Oblivion when it was released was the feeling that you were in a living world with living people and creatures. Looking back on it, the world does not seem quite as populated. Adding more characters to form bustling cities would provide a good contrast to what can become a depressing solitary experience. When I come back from a long quest and walk through large city gates I’d like to see hundreds of people walking around. Maybe the number is exaggerated considering the interaction that is needed, but not every character needs to have something special to say as RPGs like Mass Effect have shown. I still fully support and understand not all areas need to be populated but some just don’t feel right without that rushing feeling in them.
7. Plagiarizing will get you Expelled
Coming off of such a long break in the RPG world (disregarding Fallout 3) you have to wonder if Bethesda will maybe take some ideas from their competitors who are gaining momentum. The last thing I want to see is some Krogan coming after me with a glass dagger. I don’t think “borrowing” other’s ideas is wrong but I really hope that Bethesda treads lightly in the “borrowing” field. I wouldn’t mind a more epic storyline but I don’t want a ship, space treading or water treading, named the Normandy.
8. Don’t Forget your Fans
I think that most gamers have a special place in their heart for Oblivion. I have many chats with my pals about our experiences in the game and we all reminisce about the great adventures. All fans want change and upgrades but we also want all of those elements that came together to create what is Oblivion. Sometimes after a long hiatus franchises can forget who they are (in many formats and mediums) and this is one thing RPG fans in particular dislike. I want a game that feels like Elder Scrolls but is also improved in every way. That’s not that much to ask for is it?
9. Personal Request
This last point ends on a personal note. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes for this but then again I can’t read minds. I’d really be excited to hear that Skyrim will have mod support for the consoles, either directly on disc tools or PC to console support. That would blow the doors, windows, curtains, and drapes right open for amazing and steady content for console gamers who are often shunned for proper mod support. I would also be very grateful if people stopped making nude skins for every character. But alas, that seems unlikely.
I cannot wait for Skyrim and hope that all of our hopes and dreams come true for this greatly anticipated game.
What are your wishes for Skyrim? Any gripes with Oblivion? Will Skyrim beat out Mass Effect 3 for RPG of the year? Can Skyrim provide the epic experience we all want it to be?