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December 29th, 2011, 01:39
I'm posting this primarily for Twenty Sided's examination of the Thieves Guild quest line in Skyrim but I'll tack a couple of other things at the end.
Shamus Young has a critical three-part look at the writing and structure of the Thieves Guild quest line in Skyrim (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), finding it poorly designed and executed. I'd argue he misses the point on a couple of things but, overall, the first piece notes a number of obvious inconsistencies. I havent read the others (haven't finished the quest line) and obviously, massive spoilers apply: this pulls apart the quest line, so you need to have finished it:
The Thieves Guild is not the worst bit of writing in Skyrim. (I think Iíd give that honor to the quest in Markarth where you have to deal with the Forsworn.) But I donít want you to think Iím cherry-picking some halfhearted sidequest. This is a major part of Skyrim and a lot of environments, characters, and cutscenes are dedicated it This is a shame, because the Thieves Guild questline is a mess. Itís unnecessarily terrible, failing at multiple levels and attempting things that arenít even needed. But Iím getting ahead of myself. Letís start at the beginningÖ
In other Skyrim news, Jay 'Rampant Coyote' Barnson recently started playing the game and, for any Italian readers, La Maschera Riposta let us know they have their review up.
Finally, IGN has an article on what a "Legendary" sample of developers are playing and Skyrim comes up an awful lot.
More information.
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December 29th, 2011, 01:39
I haven't read these articles but seeing that there is a negative article specifically about the thieves guild quest is interesting to me because I felt that was one of the most enjoyable quest chains in the great game. I could see where there are inconsistencies, though.
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December 29th, 2011, 01:54
It's defiantly very poorly written material, but what else would we expect from the writers of oblivion and fallout 3? I hope he continues this analysis of all the major/minor quests.

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December 29th, 2011, 02:08
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December 29th, 2011, 02:36
I wish they would do it with the other beloved games out there…could you imagine if they did?

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December 29th, 2011, 04:47
Admittedly I haven't read this article because I haven't even started Skyrim yet and I don't want to read spoilers. But I've seen articles like this one in the past criticizing the story and writing of major quests for other RPGs including past TES games.

I never expect novel-quality writing and quests from a CRPG. Some games do a good job in that department, but still, I don't expect it.

The TES series is a sort of jack-of-all-trades in that the games have a wide variety of features but with few exceptions, none of them go very deep. Expecting spectacular writing in Skyrim can only lead to a let down. I don't expect that in a TES game and as a result I usually enjoy quests and writing for what they have to offer.

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December 29th, 2011, 05:31
Who's Shamus Young? Is he some type of web-based writer or does he have a real job? Is he perhaps an indie game developer? Most/all of those guys are super-jealous of Bethesda, so you could throw out anything they write. I don't follow a bunch of online sites, so I really have never heard of this dude. What has he done that would make me value his opinion?

Just curious…

Okay, read his "about the guy who writes on the web" bio and nearly all my guesses were right. Hard to take him serious after reading that. Still it's a newsbit, and caught my interest

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December 29th, 2011, 05:33
I hadn't heard of most of the "Legendary" folks at IGN either, so Shameus is in good company in this newsbit!

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December 29th, 2011, 05:49
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
Who's Shamus Young? Is he some type of web-based writer or does he have a real job? Is he perhaps an indie game developer? Most/all of those guys are super-jealous of Bethesda, so you could throw out anything they write. I don't follow a bunch of online sites, so I really have never heard of this dude. What has he done that would make me value his opinion?

Just curiousÖ

Okay, read his "about the guy who writes on the web" bio and nearly all my guesses were right. Hard to take him serious after reading that. Still it's a newsbit, and caught my interest
Dude, you discredit someone's writing on the internet, because of ALLEGED jealousy?

As for what he's done, he's been an active blogger for about 6 years, he wrote columns on the escapist magazine(Experienced Points, and Shamus Plays) as well as comics, namely Stolen Pixels, and DM of the Rings, he does a let's play series with some of his friends, playing various sandbox and RPG games, most recently Assassin's Creed 2, but previous fallout 3 and fallout new vegas, as well as the Mass Effect series.
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December 29th, 2011, 05:57
Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
Admittedly I haven't read this article because I haven't even started Skyrim yet and I don't want to read spoilers. But I've seen articles like this one in the past criticizing the story and writing of major quests for other RPGs including past TES games.

I never expect novel-quality writing and quests from a CRPG. Some games do a good job in that department, but still, I don't expect it.

The TES series is a sort of jack-of-all-trades in that the games have a wide variety of features but with few exceptions, none of them go very deep. Expecting spectacular writing in Skyrim can only lead to a let down. I don't expect that in a TES game and as a result I usually enjoy quests and writing for what they have to offer.
Ken Rolston said it well. He said video games as a platform are more like a sonnet, rather than a novel. If you approach it from that sort of mindset, you will never be let down. I approach Skyrim and all RPGs this way, and I too enjoy them for what they have to offer. I'm 26 years old, have read quite a few books in my time and still really enjoy the writing in Skyrim. A lot of quests have me on the edge of my seat like a total goon, waiting to see what happens next. Even the simple fetch quests are generally well written, and always immersive. I take it all in stride and enjoy all the time spent with it.

To be honest, with my type of mindset, I haven't played a bad RPG yet. I can always find something good about them to enjoy. And really, more gamers should approach games with a child-like sense of wonder, rather than a grumpy, jaded view. That would lead to less complaints overall, and less write-ups like this one. Though I didn't read it either, because I don't want spoilers. But you get the idea.
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December 29th, 2011, 05:59
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
I hadn't heard of most of the "Legendary" folks at IGN either, so Shameus is in good company in this newsbit!
Peter Molyneux Made populous, black and white, fable, dungeon master, and a few otherr games that aren't as notable.

Next dude made Crysis, Far Cry and Timesplitters.

Cliffy B made Gears and Unreal.

Tim Willis was one of the first modders turned devs at the company whose games they made mods for and is creative director at Id and was the former part owner before it got sold to Zenimax/Bethesda.

Patrick Niu I actually had to google, he's the man behind Battlefield Bad Company and Battlefield 3 apparently.

Will Wright made the Sims, Spore, anything with Sim in it prior to EA raping that title.

Scott Philips, was the lead designer for Saints Row 2 and 3.

Yoshinori Ono is responsible for Street Fighter and parts of Devil May Cry.

David Jaffe, made Twisted Metal, and God of War.

He made twisted metal with Jay Barnson.
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December 29th, 2011, 06:01
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
And really, more gamers should approach games with a child-like sense of wonder, rather than a grumpy, jaded view.
WHA?!?!? That's just crazy talk…

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December 29th, 2011, 06:54
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
To be honest, with my type of mindset, I haven't played a bad RPG yet. I can always find something good about them to enjoy. And really, more gamers should approach games with a child-like sense of wonder, rather than a grumpy, jaded view. That would lead to less complaints overall, and less write-ups like this one. Though I didn't read it either, because I don't want spoilers. But you get the idea.
No then video games and forums themselves would be more boring. Developers wouldn't improve anything either if there isn't anyone being critical of there games.

I'll simplify like the previous poster that's crazy talk you heathen

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December 29th, 2011, 08:50
What I really didn't like about the Thieves Guild quest line…

Spoiler


Of course, most of the things Shamus writes are also correct, some of them I also noticed myself, facepalming.
Last edited by Irian; December 29th, 2011 at 09:05.
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December 29th, 2011, 09:31
In my opinion, there's a handful of alarming quest lines in Skyrim. Like the Assassin's Brotherhood or the short one where the cannibalism is involved. On one hand the game gives you a possibility to break this quest line if you don't want to follow it (to kill innocent people, to eat human flash). But if you refuse these quest lines then the game does not give anything equal in exchange. So, it's kind of alarming to me. Either you play game as a bad guy, or you miss some stuff that you don't want to miss. This is a choice that I don't want to make . Give me the third option please! Exterminate Brotherhood, but do it within long and interesting quest line and not just like cleaning the yet another cave with some angry people to get "thank you" from some strange military guy.
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December 29th, 2011, 10:09
I had a really hard time with thieves guild because of the many bugs during the gameplay. The guy that wrote the article makes some very interesting points about the quest but I am sure most of the players never even noticed them.

As for the IGN article: NOBODY MENTIONED THE WITCHER 2 ????????

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December 29th, 2011, 10:15
Lev if you wanted such type of choices that drive the story, you should play TW2.

Sorry but I can't agree that Skyrim does stories badly. It delivers what is expected from a TES game. And thieves' guild chain is fun so I don't think it's "poorly designed and executed". If you need an example of a really poor one, then bard's quest series is a bit of disappointment. But thieves'? Absolutenly not.
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December 29th, 2011, 11:39
The twenty sided articles mostly focus on the purely story-side of things which is all fine and well since it *is* a mess. But I think it would be a bit more prudent for him to criticize the actual gameplay of the questline because you don't need to be stealthy or Thief-like at all.

Once I realized that, hey, there is basically no reason to stay stealthy throughout these missions, the thrill and sting of doing Thieves Guild quests kinda went out the window. There is one mission where there is a condition of "don't do this" and I had to try it out of course. The results? You get a small reprimand (two or three lines of dialogue) and then the questline goes on like nothing happened.

I really liked exploring the world of Skyrim but the various guild/faction questlines were a huge disappointment.
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December 29th, 2011, 12:10
Originally Posted by Starwars View Post
But I think it would be a bit more prudent for him to criticize the actual gameplay of the questline because you don't need to be stealthy or Thief-like at all.
Honestly, that's a typical Elder Scrolls problem, as it was already the case in Oblivion, where the whole mages guild questline was about fighting necromancers…. Compare the College Mage questline: You don't have to be a mage to become arch mage. When I did it (accidently, as I hoped for more "Learning Magic" gameplay) I found myself arch mage - just because I was a great sneak archer. Erm… When playing it again, I waited until I was at least Enchanting master, so that it didn't feel THAT wrong.

During the whole bard questline you never have to recite something, sing something or whatever. The only questline that forces you to do what the group does, is the companions questline - and even there you can rely on sneaky magic instead of really fighting, if you want.
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December 29th, 2011, 12:18
The main design goals of Skyrim:

a) do whatever you want, whenever you you want, in a role you like
b) don't fear the consequences of your choices
c) explore without limits
d) build a character without limits

a)+b)+c)+d) => good sandbox game
a)+b)+c)+d) <> traditional role playing, where limits and consequences are necessary

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