Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Skyrim - Basic Smithing guide

It’s crafting skill for combat. You can craft your favorite armor, weapon, and even jewelry using this crafting skill. You can perform Smithing at set locations and will need raw ingredients like Ingots and Leather, which can be bought from Merchants or by Mining Nodes and Animal Skins. Higher your skill level, the more you can improve your weapon or armor.
Just as you can perform Alchemy at Alchemy Labs, you can perform Smithing at designated Smithing locations. In these locations, you will find different tools that serve different purposes. Following is the complete rundown of these tools:
You can sharpen your weapons at Grindstone for extra damage. Higher your Smithing Skill, more you can improve the damage of your weapon.
It allows you to improve your armor. High your Smithing Skill, more effective will be the armor.
You can create new weapons and armor by combining raw materials at the Forge.
Tanning Rack
You can process hides into Leather and Leather Strips at the Tanning Rack.
You can create Ingots (Crafting Ingredient) from raw ores – Iron and Gold.
How To Obtain Raw Materials For Smithing
You can get raw materials for Smithing by mining ores and smelting them at Smelter. You can get Hides by killing animals and then process them at Tanning Rock to create Leather Strips – which in turn, help you customize your items.
Mine/Vein Locations
Ore veins can be found mostly at higher elevations in mines – which can be mined to extract all types of ores. These Veins are represented by a crossed hammer and pickaxe symbol on your compass and map. They typically yield two pieces of ore – but can yield more than that. You may also receive a random gem when you mine veins.
Smithing Skill Perk Tree
Can be found here

How To Make Smithed Item
There is a Forging place in Whiterun in the main town area, by the first building. It also has a Smelter so it would be easy to make a Smithed item. To get the first ingredients to make a Smithed Item, talk to Adrianne Avenicci outside Warmaiden Shop, by Smithing area. Offer to help him and you will get first ingredients to make Smithed Item as a reward.
Use these ingredients to create your first Smithed item. It’s easy to make Smithed Items, you just need the required raw ingredients. Let’s say you want to create an Iron Helmet, you need 3 Iron Ingots and 2 Leather Strips for that.
Once you have these items, click on the item and select create. If you haven’t, then find these items. You can loot, purchase or steal these items for NPCs. Follow any path you want and everything else is self explanatory.
How To Create Iron Ingots – Mine some iron ore and then smelt that at any Smelter location and you should have Iron Ingots.
How To Create Leather Strips – Kill animals and get Hides. Process Hides in Tanning Rock to create Leather Stripes.
Workbench, Grindstones, Tanning Rack, Smelter, Forge Locations
  • Workbench, Grindstone, Forge and Tanning Rack can be found in Riverwood.
  • There is a Grindstone, Tanning Rack and Forge in Orotheim.
  • There is a Forge, Smelter, Grindstone, Tanning Rack and Workbench in Whiterun.


  • Choosing Heavy Armor smithing skill perks is recommended regardless of whether you choose to use Light or Heavy armor, as it gives you access to both the best weapons (Daedric Weapons) as well as the best armors for both types of armor.
  • Unlike other Elder Scrolls games, weapons and armor do not degrade, and therefore repairs are not necessary
  • Creating iron Daggers is by far the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to level smithing. You can reach 100 smithing by simply traveling to every smith in Skyrim, buy all their Leather Strips (though buying Leather and converting it to Leather Strips is cheaper) and Iron Ingots and just build Iron Daggers over and over again. If trying to work very cheaply, leather bracers can be made purely from materials gathered from slain animals.
  • The perk Advanced Armor only allows scale and plate made of steel. Scale seems comparable to elven, while steel plate is comparable to orcish, just slightly heavier. Steel is easier to acquire than moonstone and quicksilver (for elven) or orichalcum (for orcish), so it might be an alternative path to armor upgrades if you're lacking materials.
  • There are no weapons to be made from dragonbone. Dragonbone (plate) is not quite as strong as daedric, but again dragon bones and scales are far more plentiful than daedra hearts.
  • When making basic jewlery, it's better to make rings over necklaces. They cost the same to produce and have the same value total, but you get two rings instead of one necklace, giving you twice as many things to enchant to level enchanting and more things to sell to level speech.
  • You cannot go any further from Dragon Armor. It may appear as if it is a circle, but it doesnt behave as one. If you want to max Blacksmithing regardless of your character go up the Tree to the RIGHT. Skip Elven, Advanced and Glass in favored of the Ebony and Daedric path It takes 1 more perk point but you get access to best weapons as well as best armor.
Since there are no perks for artifacts and the default craftable items of leather, hide, and iron, they can only be upgraded to Flawless quality as opposed to Legendary, even with 100 Smithing skill.
If you have tips and suggestions on how to go about crafting in Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, recommend them in comments, and we will improve this guide with your suggestions. I will definitely like more crafting locations.

Please, share your own ideas!
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Skyrim - How To Get A Dog In Skyrim

It's fairly simple. All you have to do is travel to Falkreath (its the town in the far South-Western corner of the world).
Once your there your ready to start, go to the eastern gate of the village and you should be approached by the guard who will ask you if you have seen a dog on the road. This dialogue will prompt a miscellaneous quest called "Talk to Jed" (I may be mistaken about his name). 

Speak to Jed, he is located inside the village of Falkreath. He will tell you that he saw a dog on the road and he wants it as a pet! he will give you some meat and asks you to bring the dog to him. head outside the eastern gate and take a right on the road and you will be approached by a friendly mutt named Barbas! There is a surprise here and I will not ruin it for you, but suffice to say he's a bit yappy ;D

Barbas will take you on a quest and you will have to follow him. In order to keep Barbas complete the first stage of the quest by following Barbas to his old owner, during your dialogue with him select the speech option "I wish for you to be reunited with Barbas" his owner will consider it then will give you a quest to find an axe for him. Accept and Barbas will follow you on this quest. As long as you never finish the quest you get to keep Barbas!

And there you have it a lovely little pet to call your own! I hope it works out for all of you :D
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Skyrim - Basic Enchanting and Soul Gem Guide

Soul Gems and Soul Trapping:
  • Soul gems come in five standard sizes (here in ascending order): petty, lesser, common, greater, and grand. Each soul gem can capture the soul of any creature with a soul of it's size or smaller. For example, Skeevers have Petty souls and can be captured in any soul gem (except Black, see below). Creatures with Common souls can be captured in Common, Greater, and Grand gems, but not Petty or Lesser.
  • Human (and elf and argonian and khajit) souls cannot be trapped save by the sixth type of soul gem, the Black Soul Gem. Black soul gems can capture NPC souls but cannot capture creature souls. NPC souls are always Grand sized.
  • Souls display in your inventory with the size following the gem name. For example, a Grand gem containing a Greater soul shows up as "Grand Soul Gem (Greater)."
  • There exist two reusable soul gems. They're granted to you by completing the Daedric Prince Azura's quest, and you can choose to either gain Azura's Star, a reusable Grand soul gem, or the Black Star, a reusable Black soul gem.
  • Soul Trap is the spell that captures souls. You can get it three ways: first, an enchanted weapon with soul trap on it; second, the Soul Trap spell in the Conjuration school; third, the perk in Conjuration that makes Bound Weapons cast Soul Trap. If a creature dies while Soul Trap is affecting them, and you have a large enough gem, you will capture their soul. Beware: if you soul trap a Skeever and only have an empty Grand soul gem, you'll trap that petty soul in the valuable Grand soul gem!
Enchanting and Disenchanting:
  • Enchantment effects are gained by disenchanting items at an Enchanting Altar. Non-unique magical items can be brought to the Enchanting Altar (found near mages, usually) and destroyed to add their enchantment effect to your library of enchantments.
  • Enchantments can be added to blank (un-enchanted) apparel and weapons. Weapons are all enchanted with on-hit effects (like Fire Damage, for example). Apparel enchantments grant passive bonuses. Each piece of apparel has a different set of possible enchantments.
  • Enchanting an item requires the item you want to enchant, a soul gem to power the enchantment, and an unlocked enchantment effect (from disenchanting) that goes on the item you want to enchant.
  • When you enchant an item, you are given a one-time chance to change that item's name. The Smithing improvement level is appended to whatever you name it.
  • Enchanting consumes the soul gem.
  • The maximum magnitude and charges (for weapons) for the effect are determined by your enchanting skill and the size of the soul gem. Higher Enchanting and a bigger soul means a bigger effect and more charges.
  • You can reduce the magnitude of the effect on a weapon to increase max charges.
Recharging Weapons:
  • Enchanted weapons and staves are recharged by consuming soul gems. Select the weapon in your inventory and choose "recharge" to recharge an item. You can do this in combat and the item does not need to be completely drained to recharge it.
Unknowns and Oddness:
  • There is a hidden soul value. Two petty gems with petty souls can have a different monetary value. I have not discovered if this has any effect on enchanting; it did in Morrowind but not Oblivion.
  • The quality of the item being enchanted may have an effect on the max magnitude of the effect or the charges. Again; it did in Morrowind but not Oblivion.
Hints and Tips:
  • Recharge weapons with the smallest soul you have available. Petty gems are pretty worthless for enchanting but great for recharging (better than in previous games).
  • Don't sell blank rings or daggers. If you're like me you'll have a surplus of rings and daggers from leveling smithing (and just finding them). Enchanting them with a petty soul doubles the value of the rings and daggers AND increases enchanting quickly. (A word of caution: the game scales enemies based on your level, not your combat ability. If you gain a bunch of levels off enchanting and smithing you'll have a tough time with enemies because you haven't gained combat skills).
  • Recharging items gives skill-ups. If you have an abundance of soul gems and you want to level enchanting, avoid the recharge perks on the right of the tree. Later, though, those perks are invaluable.
  • Be careful trapping souls. Filling a Grand gem with a petty soul kind of sucks.
  • There's a set of really useful enchantments in Labyrinthia, as part of the Winterhold College quest line. Deep in the dungeon you'll find disenchantable weapons with Absorb Health, Absorb Magicka, and Absorb Stamina enchantments.
  • Dragons will not fill soul gems. You consume their soul for your shouts.
Updated info:

 Whether you are a warrior, a blacksmith, a mage, or a thief, enchantments can give you the edge you need to out-do your opponents. Here are a few tricks I have learned over time.
Making money: Enchanting is a rather good way to mass funds. (This method can be used at a lower level to quickly train enchanting)
What you will need: Petty soul gems (Or higher)
A weapon (If you still have them stockpiled from 100 smiting, iron daggers work great)
A Banish Enchantment.
Enchanting any weapon, even an Iron Dagger, with Banish and a petty soul, will increase the value by 1000-2000 depending on your level, allowing you to increase your enchanting and gold quickly. (Note: If you cannot find a Banish enchantment, a Absorb Heath enchantment is quite valuable as well.
Anti-Dragon Shield: This is a fun little toy that can make dragons much less of a threat. Depending on perks, here is what you will need:
A Shield(One you like to use, preferably Dragonscale/Daedric)
A Grand Soul
100 Enchanting(And the Double Enchantment perk)
Resist Fire and Frost Enchantments
Optional Enchantment potions, depending on your perks.
With related perks, or potions, you can enchant a shield to have "50% Resist Fire", Using the double enchantment, you can have both frost and fire at 50%. This is quite useful when combined with gloved/boots with the same enchantments, allowing you to completely negate damage from dragonfire, along with most mages.

Easy Money In Skyrim

Looking to make some good coin reasonably early in Skyrim? Don't feel like stealing? Here's a fairly straightforward method that's good returns without being fun-ruining broken.
  1. Find some Dwemer ruins. Markarth excavation site is easy to get to as you can hire a wagon from Whiterun, though there are others, notably in the region between Windhelm and Riften.
  2. Collect as much Bent Scrap Metal, Small Metal Plates, and Large Metal Plates as possible. If you have the carrying capacity then grab struts and solid blocks as well. Plates are the best value at 3 bars for a weight of 2 (3:2) where a solid block gets you 5 bars for a weight of 25 (1:5). Struts weigh less than blocks, but are also 1:5. Ignore plain "Scrap Metal." It's useless, even though it doesn't sound that way. Only bent scrap metal can be smelted.
  3. Smelt that crap. You can easily wind up with several hundred ingots, and 2 lbs. of plate metal becomes 3 lbs. of ingots, so you may want to do the smelting near a safe storage place.
  4. Get your Smithing up to 30 and put a perk into Dwarven Smithing.
  5. Buy iron ingots and make Dwarven Bows. The pattern costs 1 Iron and 2 Dwemer ingots, and sells to a vendor for ~100g. You paid nothing but time for the Dwemer metal and Iron ingots will only cost ~14g each. Whiterun has four vendors who will buy weapons: two at the Blacksmith (1100g each), the General Goods vendor (600g), and the Skyforge smith (1100g).

    Chopping wood
    Locate a woodcutters axe (buy it from a store, or find one lying around) then look for a woodcutting block. There's one in Riverwood by the mill if you're struggling. Activate the block and your character will start chopping.
    Each 'chop' earns you 2 pieces of firewood, which you can then sell for 5 gold each. This is a decent way of making money, as 18 blocks of wood - that's three chopping sessions - will get you 90 gold in total. It's dull, but hey, that's work for you.
    All that food you find lying around isn't just for eating. If you find a cooking pot and activate it, you'll see a large list of pre-made recipes. By combining ingredients you can cook meat and create entire meals, then sell them on to general goods merchants (or keep for eating yourself).
    If you get the Investor perk from the speechcraft skill tree, you'll be able to invest in certain stores and take a cut of their profits whenever you visit them.
    If you're after something a little more lucrative, try mining. There are nine types of ore in Skyrim - gold, iron, ebony, silver, corundum, malachite, moonstone, orichalcum and quicksilver. Of these, ebony is the most expensive.
    First, get a pickaxe. If you've been to the Throat of the World, travel there and climb to the peak and you can get a special tool called the 'Notched Pickaxe' that raises your smithing stats. Then it's simply a matter of finding an ore vein and activating it. As you mine, you'll get a mixture of ore and precious gems.
    To mine faster, dual-wield pickaxes like weapons and 'attack' the ore veins rather than activating them. When a vein depletes, move on to the next one. It won't regenerate for several weeks.
    When you have a pile of ore, look for a smelter. There's usually one outside mines, or you can find one directly to the right of the main fast travel point in Whiterun. The smelter lets you turn ore into ingots, which sell for more, and can be used to craft and upgrade armour and weapons. Blacksmiths will buy ore from you, and sometimes the foreman of the mine.
    Here are some locations that are perfect for mining...
    • Ebony - Gloombound Mine (16 veins), Throat of the World (2 veins), Redbelly Mine (3 veins)
    • Corundum - Darkwater Crossing (5 veins), Blackreach (3 veins), Snowpoint Beacon (2 veins)
    • Iron - Embershard Mine (8 veins), Halted Stream Camp (16 veins), Stonehills (4 veins)
    • Quicksilver - The Tower Stone (2 veins)
    • Moonstone - Mzulft (7 veins), Soljund's Sinkhole (5 veins)
    • Orichalcum - Bilegulch Mine (9 veins), Dushnikh Mine (9 veins), Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon (3 veins)
    • Gold - Kolskeggr Mine (24 veins)
    • Malachite - Steamscorch Mine (7 veins)
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Skyrim - Review

Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil anything here – I’ll steer clear of anything story-related beyond the premise. With another game, that would be tricky. With Skyrim, the stories that come from how the game works are often the best ones.
It’s a frozen nation, just to the north of where the previous game, Oblivion, took place. A pleasantly brief introduction sets up the plot: Skyrim is in the middle of a revolt, you’ve been sentenced to death, and dragons have just shown up. Good luck!
At that point, you emerge from a cave into 40 square kilometres of cold and mountainous country, and that’s it. Everything else is up to you.
Even after spending hundreds of hours in Morrowind and Oblivion, the sense of freedom in Skyrim is dizzying. The vast mountains in every direction make the landscape seem limitless, and even after exploring it for 55 hours, this world feels huge and unknown on a scale neither of the previous two games did.

Spells: cooler than previously realised.
Not all of the landscape is subzero, and even among the frosty climes there’s an exciting variety: ice caverns that tinkle with dripping frost crystals, hulking mountains with curls of snow whipped up by the howling wind, coniferous forests in rocky river valleys.
The mountains change everything. Wherever you decide to head, your journey is split between scrambling up treacherous rocks and skidding down heart-stopping slopes. The landscape is a challenge, and travel becomes a game.
It’s hard to walk for a minute in any direction without encountering an intriguing cave, a lonely shack, some strange stones, a wandering traveller, a haunted fort. These were sparse and quickly repetitive in Oblivion, but they’re neither in Skyrim: it’s teeming with fascinating places, all distinct. It was 40 hours before I blundered into a dungeon that looked like one I’d seen before, and even then what I was doing there was drastically different.
These places are the meat of Skyrim, and they’re what makes it feel exciting to explore. You creep through them with your heart in your mouth, your only soundtrack the dull groan of the wind outside, to discover old legends, dead heroes, weird artefacts, dark gods, forgotten depths, underground waterfalls, lost ships, hideous insects and vicious traps. It’s the best Indiana Jones game ever made.

That's a giant he's roasting, to give you an idea of scale.
The dragons don’t show up until you do the first few steps of the game’s main quest, so it’s up to you whether you want them terrorising the world as you wander around. A world where you can crest a mountain to find a 40-foot flying lizard spitting jets of ice at the village below is a much more interesting one to be in. But fighting them never changes much: you can just ignore them until they land, then shoot them from a distance when they do.
Your first dragon kill is a profound, weird moment. I rushed to the crashed carcass to loot it, then looked up. The whole town had come out to stand around and stare at the body, a thing as vast and alien to them as a T-rex in a museum.
I tried shooting an ice bolt at it, just to demonstrate it was dead, and the force unexpectedly catapulted the whole thing violently into the distance. A beggar looked at me and said, “Oh sure, just throw your trash around.”

Save the world: electrocute a dog today.
Your character gets better at whatever you do: firing a bow, sneaking up on people, casting healing spells, mixing potions, swinging an axe. There’s always been an element of this practice-based system in Elder Scrolls games, but in Skyrim it’s unrestricted – you don’t have to decide what you’re going to focus on when you create your character, you can just let it develop organically.
That alone would feel a little too hands-off, but you also level up. When that happens, you get a perk point: something you can spend on a powerful improvement to a skill you particularly like. Every hour, you’re making a major decision about your character’s abilities.
They’re dramatic. The first point you put into Destruction magic lets you stream jets of flame from your hands for twice as long as before. As you continue to invest in one skill, you can get more interesting tweaks: I now have an Archery perk that slows down time when I aim my bow, and one for the Sneak skill that lets me do a stealthy forward roll.
Again, the freedom is dizzying: every one of 18 skills has a tree of around 15 perks, and the range of heroes you could build is vast. I focused on Sneak to the point of absurdity – now I’m almost invisible, and I get a 3,000% damage bonus for backstabs with daggers. It’s the play style I’ve always wanted in an RPG, but I’ve never been able to achieve it before.

I don't care about the environment, Spriggans damn well have this coming.
The enemies you encounter are, in some cases, generated by the game to match the level of your character. In Oblivion that sometimes felt like treading water: progress was just a stat increase, and your enemies kept pace. That doesn’t apply now that your character is defined more by his or her perks, because the way you play is always changing.
Levelled content is also just used less: at level 30, my most common enemies are still bandits with low-level weapons. And I still run into things too dangerous for me to tackle.
Taking a narrow mountain path to a quest, something stops me in my tracks: a dragon roar. I check the skies – nothing, but I hear it again three more times before the peak.
At the top I find a camp full of bodies, with a large black bear roaring over them. Hah. He’s still more than I can handle in straight combat, but as he reaches me I use a Dragon Shout. It befriends any animal instantly, and he saunters casually away. Feeling slightly guilty, I stab him in the back before it wears off.
Which is when the dragon lands, with an almighty crash, six feet from my face.
I run.

Oh this thing? I thought it was a Cliff Racer.
A roar of frozen air catches me in the back, but I keep going – over a ridge, down a short drop, and straight into a bandit. I dodge the bandit, straight into a Flame Atronarch. There are five more bandits behind it. The dragon is airborne. I throw myself off the mountain, several hundred metres into the river below.
I plummet to the riverbed, and swim until I run out of breath. When I surface, the sky is alight with fireballs and flaming arrows, the dragon is spewing a stream of ice down on the bandits, and I’m laughing.
The stealthy character I built in Skyrim would have been less fun in Oblivion. Whether you were detected was a binary and erratic matter. Skyrim cleverly gives you an on-screen indication of how suspicious your enemies are, and where they are as they hunt for you. It makes stealth viable even against large groups: if you’re rumbled, you can retreat and hide. And there’s a slow, methodical pace to it – long minutes of tension broken by sudden rushes of gratification or panic.
Magic, meanwhile, has been given an incredible crackle of raw power. Emperor Palpatine would be a level one mage in Skyrim – unleashing two torrents of thrashing electrical arcs is literally the first trick you learn, and it doesn’t even get you tossed into a reactor shaft.

The man in the silly hat is my companion. I make him wear it.
One tweak is a huge loss, though: you can’t design your own spells. Oblivion’s spellmaking opened up so many clever possibilities – now you’re mostly restricted to what you can buy in shops.
While we’re on the negatives, physical combat hasn’t improved much. There are cinematic kill moves when your enemy is low on health, but whether they trigger seems to be either random or dependent on whether the pre-canned animation fits into the space you’re in. Too much of the time, you wave your weapon around and enemies barely react to the hits.
The exception is archery: bows are now deliciously powerful, and stealth shots can skewer people in one supremely satisfying thwunk.
What does improve the general combat is a feature I didn’t quite expect: you can hire or befriend permanent companions. I did a minor favour for an elf at the start of the game that earned me his loyalty for the next 40 hours of play. Sidekicks add a wild side to fights: an arrow from nowhere can end a climactic battle, or a misplaced Dragon Shout can accidentally knock your friend into an abyss.
The Dragon Shouts, gained by exploration and killing dragons, are like a manlier version of conventional magic. One can send even a Giant flying, one lets you breathe fire, another makes you completely invincible for a few seconds. Even the one for befriending furry animals is macho: it can turn four bears and a wolf pack into obedient pets with one angry roar.

Two seconds before the most satisfying kill ever.
Before I got the animal shout, I had a Sabre Tooth problem. Crossing a fast-flowing river at the top of a waterfall, a huge feral cat spotted me. A good shot with a bow made no dent on its vast health bar, and it splashed into the water to get to me. The current was too strong to get away in time, so I did the one thing it couldn’t: turned invincible and threw myself off the waterfall.
After seconds of freefall, I hit the rocks, got my bearings, and looked up. The cat – a speck above – seemed to be looking over the falls at me. Then it slipped. Its lanky ragdoll smacked every rocky outcropping on the way down, and wedged between two stones directly above me, his huge head glaring emptily.
The first few quests you’re nudged towards get you the Dragon Shouts. After that, the main quest is a bizarre mix of some of the best moments in the game, and some of the worst.
It fails where the previous games fail: it tries to make your mission feel epic by making it about a prophecy, then does all its exposition in the time-honoured format of old men giving you interminable lectures. The acting is stagey at best, painful at worst. And it adds a new problem: your dialogue choices are now written out in full, and your only options are to react like an incredulous schoolchild to every predictable development. It doesn’t make it easy to feel like a hero.

Bears are tough. They're not that tough.
The main quests themselves are mostly good: a happy mix of secrecy, adventure, and exploring incredible new places. One location, which I won’t spoil, got an actual gasp. But then there’s an abysmal stealth mission that seems to work on a logic entirely its own: guards spot you from miles away, despite facing the wrong direction. And the boss dragons it keeps throwing at you never get any more interesting to fight – adding more hitpoints just makes the repetition even harder to ignore.
Everywhere else, the quests are magnificent. Chance encounters lead to sprawling epics that take you to breathtaking locations, uncover old secrets, and pull interesting twists. Even the faction quests are better here. It feels like Bethesda realised these became the main quest for many players, and built on that for Skyrim. They start small, but each one unravels into a larger story with higher stakes. Some of them feel like the personal epic that the main quest has always failed to be.
We got a review copy of Skyrim the day the game was officially finished, but it’s curiously buggy. Among a lot of minor problems such as issues reassigning controls, there’s glitchy character behaviour that can break quests, and AI flipouts that can turn a whole town against you. And the interface isn’t well adapted to PC: it sometimes ignores the position of your cursor in menus. There’s an update due as soon as the game’s out, but there’s a hell of a lot to patch here. Next time, maybe don’t commit to a specific release day just because it has a lot of elevens in it?

The aurora. Sweet Jesus.
These aren’t engine issues, though. Skyrim is based on tech Bethesda built specially for it, rather than the middleware engine used by Oblivion and Fallout 3. It’s a lean, swift, beautiful thing. New lighting techniques and a fluffy sort of frozen fog give the world a cold sparkle, and the previously puffy faces are sharp, mean and defined. Even load times are excitingly quick. On maximum settings, it runs at 30-40 frames per second on a PC that runs Oblivion at 50-60 – a decent trade off for the increase in scenery porn.
There’s a lot of that. There’s a lot of everything, and you have totally free rein of it. Skyrim feels twice the size of Oblivion, despite being the same acreage, just because there’s so much more to see and do. Searching for Dragon Shouts is a game in itself. Exploring every dungeon is a game in itself. Each one of the six factions is a game in itself. So the fact that the main quest is a mixed bag doesn’t hurt Skyrim’s huge stock of amazing experiences.
The games we normally call open worlds – the locked off cities and level-restricted grinding grounds – don’t compare to this. While everyone else is faffing around with how to control and restrict the player, Bethesda just put a fucking country in a box. It’s the best open world game I’ve ever played, the most liberating RPG I’ve ever played, and one of my favourite places in this or any other world.