Posted by : Wendy B Sunday, 11 August 2013

A surefire way to get my attention is to tell me that I can fashion a game to my heart's content. That's how digitaltempest sucked me into playing Skyrim, a game I have had no interest in ever since trying out Oblivion years ago. Oblivion was horrible frustration. Skill ups that require spreadsheets to track? A process to speak to people just so I can sell my junk at a good price? And Patrick Stewart dead just ten minutes into the game? F this! I said, and quit that game forever.

With that in mind, I had no interest in playing Skyrim, even though I bought it on release day for my husband and he tried hard to entice me to play, showing me all the pretty sconces he was making for the house he built.

What he should have showed me was this:

Oh yes. Fashion mods! For glory! I do so love mods! My Dragon Age Origins and II are happily modded out the ying yang and I sincerely hope Bioware will continue to allow modders to play with their world with Inquisition. Modding can truly make a game personal and extend its play value. Some of the modders truly blow me away with their skills and I can only assume that game companies review sites like Nexus when they are hunting for talent. Though I didn't play it as much as I thought I would, The Foundry was one of the best things about the new Neverwinter MMO. Officially giving modders (casual and experienced) the opportunity to create their own content is an amazing idea. 
Dragon Age II : ever so slightly modded
And so it was that I spent a good week planning out what my characters would wear, well before Steam actually put Skyrim back on sale just for me. My characters aren't dressed quite to my satisfaction yet, as I'm still learning the process. Skyrim modders don't make this easy! I have to work for my goodies, hunting them down in dungeons, or crafting them (or just bringing up the console once I figure out the filenames). I've got a few mods for convenience, like auto-ammo and follower fixes. But more importantly, I have actually fallen in love with the game.

I knew about the open world and all that, but I truly had no idea how wonderful it is. Since I started about a week ago, I have happily wandered all over the place, promising myself I'd stop playing as soon as I finish this... one.... last -- oh look a cave! The Greybeards summoned Asharwe ages ago and the Jarl told her to hurry to see them, but my little High Elf has done no such thing. "LOL BRT" needs to be a dialogue option.

Asharwe, High Elf - DW axes, archery
sneaky sneaky
Speaking of dialogue, recent games have spoiled me with voiced characters and I have a hard time going back to unvoiced, but not so with Skyrim. Asharwe's silence plays into my headcanon anyway of an orphan who prefers to observe, rather than talk. She's become fast friends with Jenassa, loves books and can't help stealing them and she may or may not have vampirisim in her future. We'll see.

I also love the subtly of the questing process. Overhearing a conversation, a bounty added if you ask about it. And none of the quests make you feel obligated to do them. Or rather, I don't feel obligated to do them in order to level up. Leveling up is such a distant biproduct that sometimes I don't even realize it's happening. Though I'm not currently considering The Elder Scrolls Online, I sincerely hope they incorporate this kind of leveling into the MMO game play. The level grind is one of the worst parts of an MMO. If someone can figure out how to do it in a way that doesn't make it so, they would win the world. I'd be happier still if they could do so in a way that does not make leveling as fast a process as it has become lately, with everyone racing to the level cap as if yelling "FIRST' is such a grand achievement.

Not that I'm planning to play Elder Scrolls Online...

WHAT IS THIS?

This is my mindspill. Mostly about comics, books, video games, movies of the science fiction and fantasy leanings. Sometimes recipes and parenting stuff will sneak in, along with a real world rant or two.

I also write about geek culture at Women Write About Comics, and I review genre fiction at The BiblioSanctum.

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