True Nord – Thoughts On The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

December 7, 2011

Over the last month I’ve been racking up the hours on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but I know I haven’t been talking about it much. Quite simply, I’d always rather be playing the game than be writing about it. Certainly, I enjoy my time away from MMOs to be by myself and play games like this every once in a while.

I think I’m up to between 100-150 hours in that game (for some reason Raptr doesn’t always seem to log my time on the Xbox correctly, even when I’m connected) and yesterday I finally earned my last achievement. Not counting Arcade games, Skyrim is the only title I have for the Xbox right now that I’ve managed to fully “complete”. I think that alone is testament to how much I enjoyed it; there have been many other opportunities in the past to hit that 1000/1000 mark, but no other game has ever given me the delight and motivation to do it the way Skyrim has.

And yet, I’m still not done, judging by the dozen or so quests I still have left in my log, and I don’t doubt there’s probably a few more out there for me to find. But while I love huge games like this, at some point, I’m always wary of burnout. Despite the varied dungeon designs and gorgeous vistas, beyond doing the main quest lines, things could get a little repetitive.

I also have a tendency to want to do everything all at once — a dangerous habit for someone delving into a sandbox game, because I always end up spreading myself too thin. “A little bit of this, a little bit of that” is how I played, which is what happens when I’m not forced to prioritize. Friends I’ve told this to think I’m nuts, but I basically tracked every single quest (including the Misc. ones) so that my map would be filled with a mess of little markers. Instead of overwhelming me, the sight just made me happy. I think everyone tackles Skyrim a different way, but that’s how I did it — eclectically.

While I bounced between different quest lines with no rhyme or rhythm, I also varied using my abilities and took breaks out to craft whenever the fancy struck me. On the bright side, I think that’s how I reached level 50 so fast, because practically every skill was being leveled concurrently.

I also chose to play a Nord because I’ve always been drawn to the warrior archetype, but ended up being more “thievey” than anything. I love pickpocketing, but I think that has more to do with my curiosity with what everyone is carrying than any actual desire to steal.

I also enjoyed the dragon encounters. They definitely do their job of breaking up the old routine, being random and all. I’m sure everyone has an “unfortunate timing” story involving dragons. The funniest one I’ve heard belongs to a friend of mine, who was on the quest to burn 3 and exactly 3 beehives when a dragon descended upon him and incinerated the entire area, causing him to fail immediately. My own story involves a quest where I had to hand over all my gear in order to infiltrate a fancy function. Literally the second after the NPC took all my stuff, that was when I heard the dragon…and all I had were my party clothes.

So many quests of note in this game, but I think my favorite has to be the Dark Brotherhood story line. Funny how it turned out that way, since it creeped me out to do their quests initially, and I tried to save them for last.

Now all I need is the email that tells me my order of the epic soundtrack has shipped, and I’ll be a happy woman. Like many others, I also ended up purchasing the guide for Skyrim. It was invaluable to me in helping me get around the game’s massive world, and if the need ever arises I guess I can also use this monster of a book to bash in a dragon’s skull. And it’s not even the hardcover.


  1. Those fucking dragons! True bastards of Skyrim.

    • Love killing them ’em true bastards. Was collecting all my dragon bones and scales for crafting, but after a while I amassed more than I could handle. Started just selling them for good coin.

      • I have a chest full of those damn things. They’re so useless now since I need neither money or their armour.

  2. *sigh* I’d love to play Skyrim, but unfortunately I’m one of the second class citizens with a PS3 instead of an Xbox. Why do PS3 versions of great games always have be buggy and poorly ported? šŸ˜¦

    • That makes me sad about the PS3. My Xbox broke and my ever building frustration with Microsoft has made me decide to sell my games and never buy another. Guess I’ll have to keep thinking about that.

      As for the original post, I play Skyrim much the way you do (though I’m probably around 20 hours). However, if I put all the quest markers up at once, I’d be confused all the time. But I kind of have below average spatial skills — I assume that’s not a problem for an artist.

      • That’s what people told me, “I don’t know how you can do that without getting all confused!” But it’s weird and I don’t think it has anything to do with being an artist…for me it’s more like having a giant to-do list and nothing makes me feel as good as being able to tick those markers off one by one and to see it all dwindle down is just so damn satisfying. I just love that.

    • The Xbox version wasn’t without its bugs either (all platforms were similarly plagued, I hear) though I’m sorry it does sound like the PS3 has more severe issues than most. If it’s any consolation, I was unable to enter Markarth for a couple weeks without the entire city’s worth of guards trying to kill me with no option available to pay off my bounty. I was unable to get any of my quests done that involved going there…which were a lot.

      • I decided “What the hell?” and when I put some hours into Skyrim over the weekend, I put all the quest markers up at once. I found myself having to check the map just a little more closely to make sure I knew which direction I was heading and what other landmarks were in the area, but otherwise, I’m doing fine. I’ve grabbed so many quests without following through that my compass bar is covered in markers. I think it actually is pretty neat to see the clutter go down as I knock them off one by one.

  3. I thought they were going to have achievements that conflicted for some reason, since virtually every bathesda game has factions that cancel out your chance to do another factions major quests. And then it turns out its relatively easy to do all the achievements on one character, so I guess i’m liking that.

    I was also a nord, it just seemed appropriate for skyrim, though I do long to see more argonians and khajiit in skyrim.

    • I think they realized Skyrim is such a huuuuuuuge game, they took pity on us and made it so all the achievements are doable on one single character/playthrough. I liked that too.

  4. I love the game. I beat the main story line too early though. I was about level 22 when I completed the main story arc, and then I had to go back and complete all the side missions I missed. At that point I only completed the Companions quest line and the Thieves Guild quest line. I was just itching to move forward and progress.

    I had the opposite problem as you, when you explained that you spread your self a bit thin. I was actually overwhelmed by all the skill choices that I hardly used any perks until the end of the game. I played at a Khajiit, and at first I thought to go the warrior route. Then I was kind of enticed by the whole Assassin/Thief route. Quickly I realized, however, that I was terrible with dual-wielding daggers. I went right back to the sword and board.

    I created a new character after I completed the main story line, a Bretan Conjurer/Necromancer. But realizing that I had so much more to accomplish on my first character, I may shelve him for a bit and explore the other character archetypes using my Khajiit, just taking my time and leveling up all of the possible perk trees.

    I’m more of an MMO player myself. My main game is STO, and I lead a fleet in STO for a multi-gaming guild. With all the new content released on the live server, I had to put aside Skyrim for a bit. If for nothing else, but to get all my Duty Officers in line. After grinding the new versions of the STFs for a few days now, and ranking up quite a bit in the Duty Officer department, I think I’m just about ready to finish exploring everything that is left untouched by my Khajitt.

    • Yeah, I was opposite! šŸ˜€ I started sword and board, then gradually progressed to dual wielding. Tempted as I was to make another character, I couldn’t even imagine it — as I still had a ton of stuff to do on my original character and save.

      Nice, a STO player! I am sad that I don’t have time to play that game these days, I canceled my account earlier this year in the summer before the announcement came about F2P. I loved the weekly feature episodes and wished they would roll more out, but I know it’s been a very busy year for the STO devs. Hoping that I’ll have some free time in the near year to check in again on my Captain.

  5. the guide was worth every expensive penny šŸ˜‰

    • Agreed! I’ve gotten a LOT of use out of it!

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