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So, I was all set to write an in-depth article about Skyrim. I mean, I can’t wait for the game and I’m literally chomping at the bit. But I’ve already done two. And this one would be even longer, as I look to compile everything I know about the game so far.  So I’m going to opt for a different approach, breaking it down into bullet point form. So here we go (in no particular order)!

  • For the first time in an Elder Scrolls game, you will be able to marry an NPC. As we understand it, there will be no restrictions to this, either in race or gender though not every NPC will be able to be married. (In fact, same-sex marriages have been confirmed)
  • You will be able to obtain companions throughout the game.
  • Dragons are the main attraction and their encounters will largely be random. But the winged reptilian fiends aren’t the only big prey to go hunting for in Northern Tamriel, with Giants and Mammoths making appearances in the series.
  • A new form of magic, Dragon Shouting will be strongly featured in the game. You find word walls that contain partial elements of a dragon shout, which can be completed (and the ability unlocked) by killing dragons and absorbing their essence.  Dragon shouts are particularly powerful! Although dragon shouts are an arcane form of magic, they do not use mana as regular magic does.
  • Combat has been overhauled to a more free form format. You can dual wield two one-handed weapons, a one-handed weapon and a shield, magic and a one-handed weapon, equip two-handed weapons and more.
  • Because of the above, new possibilities exist for magic. You can equip a spell to one hand (let’s say fireball) and use that, or you can equip that same spell to both hands, enabling you to use a more powerful version of the spell. You can also equip a different spell to each hand, though this does not create any combined effects.
  • Archery has also been made more powerful than it was in base Oblivion, though arrows will be in shorter supply.
  • In both Morrowind and Oblivion, it was possible to become to a Vampire. In Skyrim, you’ll still have that option (yay!).
  • Unlike Oblivion, Skyrim will be much more subtle in its content that is scaled to match the player’s level.
  • New to the Elder Scrolls series will be something influenced by Fallout 3 particularly, in the form of perks upon level up. The game is designed with levels 1-50 in mind but you can continue to level beyond that, to a theoretical cap of 75 (It may even be possible to go beyond that, hence theoretical cap).
  • As always, the theme of “Learn by doing” is present in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. What do I mean by that? Basically, as you use a skill you will get better at it. So hitting things with a sword will improve your relevant melee skill!
  • Also as in previous games, the increasing of skills is what leads to a level up (which increases health, mana and stamina) but has been changed slightly. Skills have been given a sort of ‘weighting’ system where by increasing a skill from 70 to 71 is worth more towards a level than increasing a skill from 1 to 2.
  • In Skyrim there will be no ‘classes’ like in previous games. Quite simply you will be able to do anything so the choice is yours and you aren’t tied down to one specific route of levelling if desired.
  • The schools of magic return once more, but have been altered. The school of mysticism is gone (its’ spells moved into other schools), leaving the following in the game: Destruction, Alteration, Conjuration, Restoration, Illusion and Enchantment.
  • Yes, you read correctly, once again Enchantment will be a player skill (which disappointingly, it wasn’t in Oblivion). So no more perfect enchantment every time and more variations (hopefully).
  • Like the previous two games, you will start out as an unknown prisoner with the stage set to rise to meteoritic fame. Everything you’ve done in the Elder Scrolls series has led to the events of this game. The civil war in Skyrim is the final portion in a sequence of prophetic events foretold in the Elder Scrolls that leads to return of the Nordic Alduin, god of destruction. Alduin is prophesied to consume all of Tamriel. As the Dovahkiin, it’s your job to stop him.
  • Like the Septim bloodline, the Blades have all but fallen off the map. However, the player will be mentored by Esbern – one of the last surviving members of the Blades.
  • Skyrim employs a new game engine called the Creation Engine (where Morrowind, Oblivion and Fallout 3 used the Gamebryo engine). This promises to give a more realistic feel in terms of physics, with the wind affecting the branches of a tree differently depending on their weight, the flow of water in rivers as well as dynamic snow fall.
  • The AI has been improved greatly upon what Oblivion tried to do. Townsfolk will now feel more authentic as they go about their daily tasks. Citizens won’t loiter around the town centre during the day, they’ll be off to farms or chopping wood (for example). After a hard day’s work, they might go to the tavern for a few drinks before heading home.
  • The way the NPCs form relationships with you now has been changed due to the AI and they will respond more appropriately to you based on how much you help them or terrorise them. For example, if you barge into a house during the middle of the night and are friends with the owner, they might offer you lodgings instead of calling the guards.
  • Skyrim will feature a new quest system that helps to deal with untimely deaths and more. For example, if you kill a quest giver it’s entirely possible that a new NPC will take their place. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to do the quest, the NPC might well be aware that you killed the other guy.
  • The Radiant Story system also allows for random encounters out in the wilderness, ala Fallout 3 or Red Dead Redemption (to name a few examples). It will also track the things you do, your friendships and grudges. If you drop a sword in the middle of town, someone might return it to you or two people might fight over it!
  • In addition to other things, the Radiant Story system will track where you have been (caves, towns etc), so that it is possible for the game to direct you to areas previously unexplored, like kidnapping quests and so forth.
  • Like many things in Skyrim, menus will be getting a redesign. They’re more fluid and accessible, the inventory will allow you to manipulate the object and look at it. On the Xbox 360 for example, menus will be easily accessible from the d-pad.
  • The skills menu also looks interesting – it takes the form of three prominent nebulae – the mage, thief and warrior which represents the three major skill sets. Each nebula will house six constellations, which will grow and become more visible as you increase your skills, learn new ones and so forth.
  • Finally, finishing animations make their way to Skyrim and will be dependant on the type of weapon you use as well as the enemies you face.

I’ll leave it at that and I hope you find the format enjoyable! If you want to feast on a wide selection of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim screenshots then check out our extensive gallery here. Now I’m off to go try to wait out the last month and a bit till the game releases, ciao.

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