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Default Skyrim - Previews [Updated]

April 18th, 2011, 23:02
Tom Bramwell has a very positive preview of the early moments, and GUI, of Skyrim.
Today Bethesda Game Studios game director Todd Howard is leading us on a magical mystery tour of the early sections of Skyrim, the fifth Elder Scrolls game. He is commenting on how his team ripped up a lot of the previous engine to accommodate the huge variations in scale.
Howard angles the first-person camera down at a flower and explains that stuff like this needs to look good. It does. Butterflies dance around the flower's detailed leaves as they sway gently in the spring breeze.
But stuff further away needs to look good too, Howard says. So he angles the camera upwards, past moss-covered boulders and away from the thick brush covering the ground, and settles on a mountain. Later we'll be told it's called The Throat of the World. One day you will go there, climb the 7000 steps to the top and meet the Grey Beards, who will teach you some more of the language of dragons.
However cynical I may have become, I can't look at this game without wanting to do just that. Skyrim makes adventuring feel exciting again.
Gamespot have their Skyrim preview up with a Todd Howard video interview.
The Elder Scrolls series has come a long way since its humble beginnings on the PC back in the early '90s. Throughout the years, these games have gathered a loyal following enamored with their massive worlds and open-ended gameplay. At Bethesda Softworks BFG 2011 press event, located deep in the mountains of Utah, we got our first peek at what's to come for this venerable role-playing series. The hands-off demonstration, hosted by Bethesda Softworks' executive producer Todd Howard, took us through a short adventure centered on the theft of a golden dragon's claw. From combat to character customization, Skyrim is bringing a lot of tweaks and changes to the Elder Scrolls formula, so let's get right to it.
Bethsoft has posted a list of new previews at the Bethblog - too many to take quotes from, so here's a rip of their list for you to choose the sites you like:
Worthplaying also has eight screens, which you'll probably see in the previews.
More information.
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April 18th, 2011, 23:02
Howard noted that the eight original character attributes from previous Elder Scrolls games have been condensed into three: magica, health, and stamina. He justified this by stating that the original eight all "trickled down" into each other and that this change allowed players more direct control over their characters.
I don't like this.
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April 18th, 2011, 23:16
Originally Posted by blackcanopus View Post
I don't like this.
I agree - but I guess too many people go cross-eyed when they see 'stats'. Sign of the times. The other changes sound interesting, for the most part.
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April 18th, 2011, 23:18
I actually think it's a good idea. I'm all for deep character stat-building, but not if it's a case of "breadth over depth," which I feel was the case with previous Elder Scrolls games. Why would speed and agility be separate from each other, for example? It just makes building a strong character more of a redundant grind than a process of creating a well-thought out plan for your character. "Streamlining" is often a case of dumbing down, which I hate with a passion, but I would say that this is a rare exception where streamlining might actually make the game more enjoyable. A game should only have 8+ attributes if each one is unique and serves a clear purpose, as seen in Dn'D RPGs, Arcanum, the Drakensang series, etc. Otherwise, it serves no purpose and provides only arbitrary depth, which is exactly the case (in my opinion) with the previous ES stats/attributes/skills. This change is more along the lines of Gothic/Risen, which proved that you can make a deep RPG without going extremely stat-heavy.
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April 18th, 2011, 23:22
280-something perks sounds good imo.

I'm really eager to see some gameplay vids.
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April 18th, 2011, 23:37
Originally Posted by vurt View Post
280-something perks sounds good imo.

I'm really eager to see some gameplay vids.
I agree, and this is a good example of what I mean by "depth over breadth." Being able to customize your skills is much more appealing than having the static, "Oh good! My blade went from 33 to 34…that's great, I guess."
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April 18th, 2011, 23:39
Not even Stats anymore ? wow… well on the bright side now I don't have to buy it; I guess there are shooters with better RPG-Mechanics…

The Germans are a cruel race. Their operas last for six hours and they have no word for "fluffy".

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April 18th, 2011, 23:39
Nice collection of interviews - thanks for posting all those … I made it through my favorites and sounds really sweet so far.
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April 18th, 2011, 23:58
Originally Posted by Nerevarine View Post
I actually think it's a good idea. I'm all for deep character stat-building, but not if it's a case of "breadth over depth," which I feel was the case with previous Elder Scrolls games. Why would speed and agility be separate from each other, for example? It just makes building a strong character more of a redundant grind than a process of creating a well-thought out plan for your character. "Streamlining" is often a case of dumbing down, which I hate with a passion, but I would say that this is a rare exception where streamlining might actually make the game more enjoyable. A game should only have 8+ attributes if each one is unique and serves a clear purpose, as seen in Dn'D RPGs, Arcanum, the Drakensang series, etc. Otherwise, it serves no purpose and provides only arbitrary depth, which is exactly the case (in my opinion) with the previous ES stats/attributes/skills. This change is more along the lines of Gothic/Risen, which proved that you can make a deep RPG without going extremely stat-heavy.
But was it so broken they had to discard it completely - not simplify/condense? These 3 new 'stats' are really akin to derived stats, so they removed stats *completely* - that is more than simply streamlining…. And some of those old stats made sense and were interesting from a gaming perspective (personality for speechcraft, willpower for magic etc) Granted, some associations (e.g int/wis for diff schools) were tenuous, but that those could be refined. But no - out they go, all of them. What can people grok? Ah! Magic, health, and stamina - hey, like Diablo! Voila. Gothic 3 (which has the same 'stats' ) is a very different game - which I enjoyed, but for different reasons. Do we really want all our games to converge to one homogeneous mass? Interestingly, FO3 ("Oblivion with guns") had perks *and* stats. So it can be done. That's not to say I think the game will be poor, I like a lot of the things I have seen, but in my opinion at least, I see this particular aspect as being overly streamlined - but its just that, my opinion.
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April 19th, 2011, 00:26
I find it hard to be upset about the removal of most stats since perks make up for it a lot. If the perks are how they describe then it could make for the most unique and player created TES characters ever.

Sure, it smells of streamlining for people who hate numbers, but at least it could still work well.
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April 19th, 2011, 01:33
Originally Posted by booboo View Post
But was it so broken they had to discard it completely - not simplify/condense? These 3 new 'stats' are really akin to derived stats, so they removed stats *completely* - that is more than simply streamlining…. And some of those old stats made sense and were interesting from a gaming perspective (personality for speechcraft, willpower for magic etc) Granted, some associations (e.g int/wis for diff schools) were tenuous, but that those could be refined. But no - out they go, all of them. What can people grok? Ah! Magic, health, and stamina - hey, like Diablo! Voila. Gothic 3 (which has the same 'stats' ) is a very different game - which I enjoyed, but for different reasons. Do we really want all our games to converge to one homogeneous mass? Interestingly, FO3 ("Oblivion with guns") had perks *and* stats. So it can be done. That's not to say I think the game will be poor, I like a lot of the things I have seen, but in my opinion at least, I see this particular aspect as being overly streamlined - but its just that, my opinion.
I have to agree with your point, at least to a certain extent, because I recently criticized DA2 for removing mediocre elements of the game entirely rather than fleshing them out or fixing them. However, in DA2 the situation is a bit different; they took away certain elements of the game and replaced them with…nothing. For Skyrim, they are removing stats and replacing them with customizable skills, which sounds very innovative if it is as customizable as promised (I know, big 'if' ). My philosophy is that it's ok for certain elements to be taken away IF they are replaced with something of value and depth elsewhere. This rarely happens of course, but if the "perk" system is implemented well, having extremely customizable characters would be a fair trade-off for losing the ES' archaic and mediocre stat system.
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April 19th, 2011, 02:06
Who really knows until we install it on our hard drives and play it for a few hours…
At frist I didn't mind the changes to DA2(which I took 2 days of my yearly holidays to fully enjoy). Then by the four hour in i realized the changes had completely changed the feel and story of the game…Everytime a new quest was asked of me I said yes hoping something new would open on the map….
So lets not start getting all upset until we have confirmed we have wasted money yet again ….
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April 19th, 2011, 04:08
It looks like I'll be getting this when it is $10. I can understand if they combined or removed some stats but removing all attributes is just stupid. Just remember that they had all of it in the Fallout games and now they are removing attributes.
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April 19th, 2011, 07:35
I like the idea. I think it lends itself to having much more individualized characters. If this is implemented well, it could be a lot of fun. It would be nice not to be a jack of all trades by mid game.
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April 19th, 2011, 08:13
Originally Posted by Dean View Post
I like the idea. I think it lends itself to having much more individualized characters. If this is implemented well, it could be a lot of fun. It would be nice not to be a jack of all trades by mid game.
On the contrary. The idea is to encourage the player to be a jack of all trades.

A new take on the skill system means that every skill effects your levelling, which Howard says will encourage you to use a broader range of them
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/20…preview?page=4

The same applies to the attribute system. If there are fewer attributes in a game, the players are more likely to end up with similar characters and create jacks of all trades. When there are more attributes, the chance of creating a unique character increases significantly.
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April 19th, 2011, 08:51
Well, I'll miss the representation of my characters "physis". Seems now we only have a representation of the characters "learning". Admittedly the role of attributes was minor in previous games, as they were closely tied to the class/skill system. I also doubt that the system itself will force more character differentiation. In TES that was always something the player had to seek out deliberately, and I don't see anything in this system that will change that. I think it fits the TES games, btw., although I wouldn't want all RPG's to go that route, obviously.
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April 19th, 2011, 09:11
It's all about the execution. Too much saliva in these previews to get anywhere near an objective analysis.

It certainly looks great - and I'm crossing my fingers hoping Beth learned something about game design from imitating Fallout. Fallout 3 was a step up, mechanics-wise, so there's hope.
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April 19th, 2011, 09:20
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It's all about the execution. Too much saliva in these previews to get anywhere near an objective analysis.

It certainly looks great - and I'm crossing my fingers hoping Beth learned something about game design from imitating Fallout. Fallout 3 was a step up, mechanics-wise, so there's hope.
I agree its about execution. I just think RPG veterans shouldn't expect a system that strongly forces you to make irrevocable choices about our character (which many prefer). That has never been part of the TES philosophy. It's a good TES system if it gives us the possibility to make unique characters.
And yes, I guess the new emphasis on perks is one effect of the time the team spent with Fallout. On the other hand Fallout does have attributes (SPECIAL ones, even )
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April 19th, 2011, 09:37
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
I agree its about execution. I just think RPG veterans shouldn't expect a system that strongly forces you to make irrevocable choices about our character (which many prefer). That has never been part of the TES philosophy. It's a good TES system if it gives us the possibility to make unique characters.
It's true that TES was never about that, which is probably one of the reasons I never liked TES systems.

I find them relatively bland and pointless.

I think all choices in a game should be meaningful and have consequences - at least ideally. It doesn't mean they should be overly strict or demand intricate knowledge - but at least they should not all feel equally efficient. Otherwise the power of making smart choices is never felt.

But I understand that Beth is targeting the larger audience, and I think it's enough for them to present the ILLUSION of having actual choices. It's enough that most of the people playing feel empowered by their perks - and whether the end-result is actually any better than another series of choices is less important.

Unfortunately for me, I'm all about end-results and I hate illusions. But I would never expect a TES game to cater to me in this way.

So, actual meaningful mechanics is more a forgotten dream where these games are concerned.

I'm hoping for meaningful exploration and the opportunity to play a stealthy assassin character with neat toys. If I get that, I'll probably be happy.

And yes, I guess the new emphasis on perks is one effect of the time the team spent with Fallout. On the other hand Fallout does have attributes (SPECIAL ones, even )
Attributes are only as meaningful as what you do with them. So, if they're removed - it would only matter if they don't take such gameplay and apply it elsewhere.

If it's part of an overall streamlining paradigm - then I think the game will suffer for it. But only if you're like me and enjoy intricate mechanics and interesting choices.
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April 19th, 2011, 09:46
Everyone is giving positive previews … yet i don't like the gfx and they have removed a ton of abilities / attributes .
I don't like the idea of perks at all , numbers worked fine.
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