The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – My thoughts and ideas for improving whatever game comes next

I didn’t want to write this post until I had gotten all of the main game’s achievements/trophies, including the platinum. I know it’s late coming, but Skyrim was a long, long game for me. 230+ hours! I’m the kind of person that likes to play parts of games, move on, and come back later when I feel like it, so it took me a while (since 2011!) to finally complete it (but I did!).

I absolutely MUST start off by explaining the way I felt being a PS3 player. The unfinished product I purchased at game’s launch kept me from playing at around level 30 until the patch finally arrived to fix the bugs. Also, the DLC came so much later than it did for other users. It made me feel poorly treated as a consumer. When I finally got the DLC, it was exceedingly glitchy. The vampire DLC glitched out to the point where I couldn’t complete it because the castle gate locked and wouldn’t open. This issue had been noted for many PS3 players, so, after some research, I resolved that I had to reset my game to an earlier save file. The only problem was that the save file had to be a MUCH earlier save file because of an earlier action I made that set the glitch off. I lost about 15 hours of progress, which is more than what I put in for the entirety of most full games. It was awful. Also, the Build-A-House DLC was fun but really, really glitchy. None of the build-a-statues wear the armor I put on them, instead duplicating old items and standing naked. The items I placed in my house moved sporadically as if I had a poltergeist, and all the doors in my house, which I wanted to leave open, would close themselves for no reason.

PS3-specific awfulness aside, what can I say? I believe Skyrim is probably the best game that has ever been made.I truly loved every second of gameplay. Even with losing a whopping 15 hours due to a glitch, I wanted to keep going. I played through the glitches because the game was so immersive, such a wonderful escape, and so much gerd-derned fun that I couldn’t stop. Bethesda is the best studio in the world. I can’t stress this enough. The game, even though it is from 2011, is still the best game out there, imo. I could go on and on forever about the things I love about this game, but that would be pointless.

This blog isn’t meant to butter people up. It’s also not meant to tear game developers down.

My blog is a blog of ideas. I call it, Creative Enhancement for Nerd Culture for a reason. I’m not a game dev, so I know that I’m ignorant to the work it takes to make a game, so don’t feel like I’m chiding anyone. I think Bethesda is insanely talented. This is just my dreams and desires. Anyway, without further ado, here is my want-list for whatever next Elder Scrolls game Bethesda does next…

 
 

 

1. Make less followers, but make them more in-depth

There are a billion-trillion followers you can pick to join you during your 200+hour journey. Almost every player I know picked Lydia and kept her for the entire game.

Why Lydia?

Because you got her in Whiterun, which is where most people go in the beginning. She’s quick to get. On the main quest line. She’s also not much better or worse than anyone else you can get.

Why is that?

 

Maybe your follower could be a golem that needs help to become a man again

Because Lydia, like almost every follower, is not all that interesting. Followers in Skyrim don’t have much to say. Some particular ones have city-specific things to say. Some have more dialog than others. I tried a few followers, but I mostly stuck with Mjoll the Lioness for the game because she was the most chatty (although, I would also recommend spending some time with Cicero if you let him live). There’s not much of a reason to choose Lydia over the mercenary at the inn, because Lydia doesn’t have desires, needs, or much to offer to the plot. She’s just a mindless follower who you can send in the kill a giant for you or hold your gear when you’re overburdened.

My suggestion is this: The developers should make one or two REALLY awesome personal followers rather than a million boring ones. Why have 50 followers if most people will just pick the first one they get and stick with her? Bethesda, don’t waste time on that. Make one follower, and make her really, really interesting. I think the one thing New Vegas did right was have interesting followers with their own quest lines. You can talk to them more. Now, Mjoll, for sake of example, had a quest. Returning her sword, only then could she be made a follower. Not a very complex quest, truly, and by the time she was a follower, there wasn’t much else she had to say.

Imagine if your one well-imagined follower had involvement in several of the quests? Imagine if the one follower had ideas to add during conversations with other NPCs? If you only had to make one follower, then you could make her have more unique dialog. Mjoll would often talk over the quest-giver with her canned dialog. What if Mjoll would have added to the conversation instead? You could create relationship building mechanics, depending on how you treat her or talk to her. She could have her own desires, goals.

So, make one follower, and make her awesome. Don’t make a million boring followers.

 

 

Click the jump for more!
 

2. Perhaps followers, or Leadership (you might call it), could be a skill.

Much like conjuration, Leadership could give YOU exp for the enemies your followers kill. That way, if you’ve outfitted, treated kindly, and worked to make your follower all she can be, then perhaps you’ll get more exp from the actions she does. This would also allow for new follower-specific perks. Perks for the dogs at your side. Perks for your battle trolls. Whatever! Tell me this isn’t an awesome idea. It seems like there could be good alternative options for keeping a follower alive than simply making them revive after a period of time. Let them become stronger as I do!

 

 

 

 

3. One more thing about followers (including dogs, other pets, battle trolls, etc…) allow CLIPPING!

I really hate getting stuck in a small closet or room because my follower is blocking the doorway. Just allow me to pass through followers. Just do it. I know that’s unrealistic, but just do it. It’s a video game. It’s more unrealistic for a game character to stand there looking at me stupidly because I’m trapped in a small room with no space to move. Maybe just allow clipping when the jump button is used or something. Anything. This is the reason I couldn’t allow my dog Meeko to follow me around on my quests: he would trip me up CONSTANTLY. I would be stuck almost every time I entered a door or cave. Let me walk through them. This is a gripe I’ve had with all Bethesda games.

 

 

 

4. Allow me to craft any style of armor with any type of metal

I really like the look of Dwarven armor, but I was already finding orc by the time I had the perk to craft it. I had this thought: what if you could craft any look to armor using any metal. That would mean I could craft ebony-Dwarven armor. It would be differently colored, but it would be the same shape and ebony-level of defense. I think that would add more variety to the armor aesthetics and variety in the loot drops. I want to be able to look awesome and have the best defense! I don’t want to have to wear demonic armor just to have the best defense! I play as a white knight!

 

5. Custom sigils, banners, and armor.

There are so many options to change the face/look of your character at the beginning of the game. The only problem I have with this is that you never see your character. Like, ever. Once you put on a helm, you’re done looking at your character’s face. It would be more awesome to have more options to customize armor than facial structure, imo. Like, just the ability to add a spike on the shoulders or a cape draping down your back. It would be cool if you could “plate” your armor in a color, which would essentially mean a put a lens of color over whatever armor you want. Nothing too complex, I mean, but just a semi-transparent color on top of the normal texture.

It would also be really awesome if players could design their own banners and sigils. I would love to be able to slap my customized logo on my shield, on the hilt of my sword, my breastplate, or as a flag above my house. It wouldn’t have to be too complex. You know how Illustrator has a Livetrace function? Maybe players could draw a picture irl and then show it to the Kinect or Playstation camera, and then the game could livetrace it into a pure black sigil. Then, the player could select what color the sigil should be. Done. They could use it like a stamp on armor or flags. Sort of like how LittleBIGPlanet uses stickers.

 

 

 

6. So, you now have a custom banner… now, where to hang it? My freaking CASTLE, of course!

beautiful sunset hypnotizes you into giving me a castle

Bethesda, I want a castle.

You’ve allowed us to purchase houses in almost every town, but, much like followers, most players just pick the best place and use that. Actually, most players buy two houses during the course of the game. 1. The cheapest one so that they can store their stuff safely. 2. The most expensive/awesome house in the game. The rest of the houses usually go-either untouched, or bought only to complete a quest.

Forget all of that. In the next game, allow us to own one, giant, awesome, powerful, spectacular CASTLE! Of course, a castle needs a town below it. Peasants at your disposal. Guards. Defenses. Etc. Etc.

I’ve been the Master of Wizard’s Colleges, Fighter’s Guilds, Assassin’s layers, etc, etc… But once you’ve beaten a guild’s questline, you don’t feel all that powerful. Next game, I would LOVE to be the Lord of my own town, with true ruling power. Maybe this is a long-term game goal, but wouldn’t it be amazing if I could rule an entire city? I want to be able to select which merchants are allowed to set up in the marketplace. I want to select with defenses line the towers and walls of my city.

 

Perhaps I come to own this castle which is in shambles, and as the player, I am in charge of rebuilding the ruined town and fixing the place up. Maybe, with the world once again at war (War never changes, I hear), I must hire guards, soldiers, even an army to man the defenses. Is that a cockatrice I see in the distance? Better make sure my guard towers are ready to heave firebombs at it. When I’m out questing, of course my steward can keep the peace (perhaps he even goes mad with power and attempts to take over… he can be replaced). I could create laws (skooma is legal here, prostitution isn’t, gamboling is on Thursdays). The best part is the money. This time, I’m not raking in a few gold coins here and there, I’m pulling in taxes so I can build new towers on my castle and better defenses. Town money can be a different wallet than my personal fund.

In Elder Scrolls, you always ascend to be the top of everything you join, but becoming a town’s Lord might finally give my character the feeling of true power. This leads me to my next sentiment.

 

 

7. I don’t have to be the top-ranking member of every guild.

It gets a little ridiculous to be the Master of the Thief’s Guild, the Dark Brotherhood, the Companions, the College of Winterhold, and the leader of the Empire’s Army. Did I mention that I’m the freaking Dragonborn? To be sure, it fell off the believability scale by a few miles. Also, once I was leader, there wasn’t really much power in the title. My first act as leader to all of these guilds was to leave and never return. Quests over, there’s nothing left for me there.
Instead, I would like it better to watch other character become the leader. I always felt bad for abandoning the guild after the quests, but there was never anything left to do after the quests.

What if I left the guild, thinking that the questline for it was over… and a month later, after doing other things and forgetting, I received a message asking for help, and a new mission would begin. That would surprise me. If you need to make me the Master by the end, at least give me something real to do with my power. Perhaps I could become the leader of the guild quicker and then be forced to struggle with the position from the seat of power. Then the questline could end with me deciding on someone to rule in my place.

It feels bad to abandon the guilds after becoming the Master. What if, instead, I appointed a replacement who would occasionally report to me or ask me to come back and deal with something? It would be cool if new quests would occur this way, so that the old guild does not feel dead and gone after I’ve conquered it.

 

 

 

8. Destruction spells need to be reworked. Drop mana.

I always pick Brenton, because I want the mana boost. However, I always have to force myself to use spells. The spells are never as effective as using swords. The mana costs are always too high, the recharge rate is too slow. I loved the feel of using fireball and the flamethrowing spells, but it always became one and done. Swords are always what you end up using. Always.

I say take out the mana cost altogether. Does it cost mana to swing a sword? It might cost stamina, but I can still swing a sword when my stamina is depleted. Let me use Destruction spells as much as I want. Perhaps you can keep mana, but if you have mana you deal bonus damage, kind of like how with more stamina you can do harder sword swings. I still should be able to cast a fireball without mana, though. The cooldown is pointless, since it’s so hard to hit your target anyway. Seriously, about 75% of my fireballs miss their target. I have better aim with the bow. It makes the mana cost all the more. If you still need a cooldown, then make it voluntary… the more you hold and charge, the more damage. So, if I want to fire a hundred fireballs, let me, it just won’t deal as much as one well charged one.

Also, I found the top fire and ice destruction spells a letdown. They cost too much to use, even after investing most of my skill increases in mana. Also, they weren’t fun because they took too long to cast, and I would end up getting hit before being able to use them, more likely than not. Let me be able to run/move while casting the best spells.

 

 

 

9. Firebolts are not as fun as fireballs.

Let’s be clear, here. Don’t make firebolt the better spell. Sure, it’s more accurate, but it’s not more fun. I want to see the BOOM. Make the fun spells the best spells, not the other way around.

 

 

 

10. Frost shields are annoying because it obscures your view.

Cool spell, useless because it’s annoying and loud and I won’t use it.

 

11. The flamethrower spell is awesome.

I wish it had a bigger, broader, longer version as an expert level spell.

 

 

12. NEW TOPIC: Horses.

Horses should be way faster. Done.

 

 

13. I played Dragonborn DLC. That was not dragon riding.

That was being on a dragon as it went wherever it wanted. You know what we want. Let us fly that thing wherever and however we want. Maybe there could be giant eagles in the next game or something. Flying mounts would rule, but only if I get to control them.

Also, it’s annoying when your horse spawns every single time I use fast travel. Just let me “call” the horse when I need it. Oftentimes, it would spawn and then get killed by a monster or something.

 

 

14. The map was pretty and pretty confusing.

The new overview map was a step in the right direction. I loved that it told me when dungeons were cleared. It was gorgeous.

For the next game, give it a functionality upgrade over the aesthetic one. It was hard to find where I was and where my quest markers were. Make them glow red or something. There are too many icons to see one from another like that.

 

 

15. Get rid of the map’s clouds or let me turn them off.

Often, I wanted to look at the map’s terrain but couldn’t because there were too many clouds.

 

taken near Seattle, which has Skyrim-like landscape

The clouds change the look of the map constantly. It’s a big map; it takes hours and hours of use to learn where everything is at, especially because it gains new icons every time you look at it. The clouds over the map add to this problem, because it turns a previously green section of the map white, and leaves a previously white section of the map orange. It’s hard for a visual learner like me to learn a map that changes color depending on the weather. If I could turn clouds off, I would have been much less annoyed by the map.

 

16. I want to know why the snow elves now hide in dwarven ruins.

The story of the dwarves’ disappearance is BEGGING to be told. Please, tell it! Maybe the next game should be about the dwarves, set in a time right before they disappeared! Please!

 

 

 

17. The load times were extremely long, make them more interesting.

I get that it’s a big world, but if I forgot a sword in a castle, going back inside was a huge pain because I’d be faced with a few minutes of loading screens.

I LOVED looking at the models. What a great idea. Please expand upon this idea by making the appearing model completely random. I’m telling you, I saw the werewolf and the lizard bartender every other loading screen. It got old. I saw Whiterun’s sigil a billion times.

Don’t make the model based on the location that is loading, because it means that I’ll just see the same few models over and over again. Make the models completely random, so that way I can get a broader range of models to look at and admire. By the way, the models are wonderfully made. Thank you for putting in the detail.

 

 

18. I want an Endless Dungeon mode.

What this means is that there should be one randomized dungeon that never ends. When I’ve beaten the main storylines, give me a final challenge. Make this final dungeon have “rooms” that increase in difficulty as they go. You can bring in anything you want, because it doesn’t affect the main game. You never come out of the dungeon. You go until you die. There’s no loot, only points. That’s right. Kills are worth points, here.

In the Endless Dungeon, you go from room to room until you’re dead. The enemies get harder. Sometimes you rechallenge the bosses from before. Whatever. You die, and your score is posted to a leaderboard, and then you’re sent back into the main game. You cannot save while inside the Endless Dungeon. You can only play until you die.

This would be a fun way to bring a leaderboard and online challenge to your friends. Perhaps player could even design rooms and throw them into the “Friends’ Dungeons” which would mix friend-designed levels in with the standard, or the ominous “Players’ Dungeon” which would house ONLY levels created by random players from the Internet. Of course, posted levels would only be allowed to be added if the designer could beat them themselves! This would check the difficulty. Perhaps then, as each monster would have a different score, the score totals could be used to measure difficulty and placement in the room factor. You get me, right?

 

 

19. My final idea is Duel Mode.

It’s simple. Players can leave the main game with their characters, taking whatever they want, and enter a set and limited location to duel with other players online. This would have no effect on the main game, but it would allow you to test your gile against the other characters people have built. This would extend the life of the game indefinitely.

There could be two modes. Open Arena and Showdown.

Open arena would be for up to six players all at once. Showdown would be one-on-one duels. Simple.

The arenas would be locations within the game, only all the doors and caves would be shut and the boundaries would be limited. Perhaps a giant force field or wall would encase the locations. So, Whiterun could have been a stage, ending at the walls. Players placed on opposite sides. Find each other, duel. First to four kills wins. Done.

The Throat of the World could have been a good level. The inside of a Dwarven ruin. A giant open grassy field. Wherever. There doesn’t have to be NPCs or wildlife (save maybe a few horses) during Duel mode, just you and the other player in a limited space. Once the match was done, then you could go back to your single player game, with nothing gained or lost (except pride).

Instead of a leaderboard, which would be pointless as you’d be fighting people at all levels, you’d get a “trophy room” displaying the heads and names of all of the players you’ve killed. How awesome would that be? You could view your friends’ trophy rooms and compare. OR maybe you could send the severed heads by letter carrier to your friends’ games. Also, finally there’d be a reason to have such a detailed character editor at the beginning of the game. A room devoted to looking at the faces that are usually hidden under those helmets.

 

 

 

Well, there it is. My Skyrim thoughts and wishes for the next Elder Scrolls game. Don’t take my criticism as me hating the game. Like I said, I believe Skyrim to be the BEST game ever made. Truly, I do. It’s just my wishes and constructive feedback. 


If you have feedback or ideas, post them in the comments! I’d love to know what you think!

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