Skyrim. In a word: Mead!
Yes, yes, an entire game based on the better of the two Morrowind expansions - it’s bonkers exciting. Snow, Nords, large creatures for which to be stabbing with swords, etc. etc. And, of course, Bethesda’s trademark: a huge explorable world with all the trappings and quirks you’d expect in such a place.
Bethesda’s other trademark is well known to those playing on the PC - the Elder Scrolls games are among the industry’s most mod friendly. Morrowind is almost a decade old, but it remains completely (re)playable today. Oblivion, a game which, frankly, didn’t have quite Morrowind’s inherent staying power, has been transformed into an almost completely new game thanks to large scale mods like Martigen’s Monster Mod, Oscuro’s Oblivion Overhaul, and many others.
Skyrim will be no different. Bethesda has confirmed that the game will launch with the Creation Kit, an analogue to the old Gamebryo engine Construction Sets. This is good. Very, very good. Because just looking at the preview material available for Skyrim, it’s clear the game already needs a few mods. Such as…
1. UI redux
There hasn’t been much press on the PC version of the revamped user interface, so I could be wrong on this one. But while the fancy astronomy based menu might be a godsend for those console based players, it looks like torture for my mouse and keyboard setup. Morrowind’s menus were beautiful - one click, everything instantly before your eyes. Oblivion’s were passable - the only unpardonable problem was the size of the text meant you had to scroll for miles to get through your inventory.
If Skyrim’s menus on the PC are anything like the console version, it’ll need to be modded into next week to be usable.
2. Level scaling adjustments
It’s a well-documented fact that Oblivion’s level scaling was a problem - the goblin that gave you a run for your money at level one grew in strength as you did, meaning he still raced you to the bank at level 30. Bethesda’s said they’re using a system more similar to Fallout 3’s, which was better, but still made the game a little too easy in the long run, and reduced the sense of character progression.
Unless the game goes back to a old school Morrowind-like model, it’s likely this will need to be tweaked to improve the leveling experience.
3. Magic expansion
If you’ve played vanilla (unmodded) Oblivion, you may not realize how much wasted potential the magic system had. Mods like Midas Magic put the original system to shame (watch this. You can summon a Balrog, for crying out loud). While the revamped combat system in Skyrim will likely improve things overall, chances are high it’ll take a dedicated mod to really bring out the magic.
Jerod Jarvis is an independent gaming journalist and founder of Duality Games. He maintains a gaming column for The Washington Times Communities. When not blogging madly about games, he plays League of Legends and attends school at Whitworth University. Check out his presence on Facebook and Twitter to stay up on Duality Games updates and the inside scoop on the gaming news you care about.
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