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Default Skyrim - On compass and journal and the road to nowhere

January 8th, 2012, 19:23
GameRanx has written an editorial about the compass and journal in Skyrim. They find that they affect how the player's play the game in a negative way. Here' two snips the first one about the compass: (spoiler alert - so read your own risk).
This has a moral element. Or rather, it has an amoral element. Skyrim's arrow will force you to be an asshole. This is most apparent when you go to Riften, the town in the far southeast of Skyrim where the Thieves' Guild is headquartered. The first quest that points you to Riften will probably occur if you pick an “unusual gem”, possibly in the temple crypts of the first major city you visit. Picking the unusual gem up immediately triggers a quest to find an appraiser. That appraiser – the only appraiser in the entirety of the province of Skyrim, apparently – lives in Riften. So, heading there and asking questions of the right people (whom you can distinguish because of, yes, the magical arrow pointing at them) leads to the quest to join the Thieves' Guild. Which involves framing someone for a theft that sends them to prison, and then extorting a bunch of local merchants for protection money.
And the second one about the journal:
The culprit is the journal system. When you are assigned a quest, it's added to your journal automatically. If it is set as active, an arrow is added to the map, as well as adding an arrow to the compass, both of which tell you exactly where it is. You activate the quest by selecting it from the journal. The journal is unspecific. Its words provide you with the bare minimum of information needed to know what the quest is, and not how or where to accomplish the quest.
More information.
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January 8th, 2012, 19:23
Yeah, that stuff does kinda suck. At least there aren't any red blips on my radar in Skyrim. Also, there isn't an "undiscovered point of interest" for every spawn point in the game. So that's something. I guess. Another half dozen Bethesda games and a cynical person might start suspecting that they don't want their games to be very challenging.
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January 8th, 2012, 19:44
IT doesn't even matter
as long as there are no emotional repercussions at the end, What moral compass? You do as you please, and you forget about it a moment later. in most cases.
The best thing they come up with is punishment of some sort, no way is there something to make you feel bad, like emotional blackmail
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January 8th, 2012, 20:17
I think this article demonstrates that the theives' guild recruitment quest is a good example of how the journal and compass can cause gamers to feel like they're being forced downs specific paths - even when they're not. I suppose it's not surprising that people who first experience the quest do not realize they do not actually have to frame the shopkeeper to join because the journal does not specifically tell them that.

I don't think the complaint about the theives' guild asking you to do things a character might feel uncomfortable doing is a problem though. It's a criminal conspiracy and so taking part in it shouldn't feel particularly comfortable for a character with strong moral convictions. I do think there should be options for players who want to play characters who would be uncomfortable or ambivalent about these actions to express that though. Paying off the extortion debt of the shopkeepers might not be the way to do that since the purpose of that quest was not the money as much as it was asserting guild dominance since nobody takes them seriously anymore.

The option I felt was missing was the option to voice feelings of remorse or regret; even if they just included this as a relatively inconsequential dialogue option it would have made a difference. T
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January 8th, 2012, 20:18
Reading this article still reminds me of Morrowind… Terrible default map/journal? Probably, but at least there was just description of what you were supposed to go, and not some stupid GPS system.

I'm not a noob, I'm just differently skilled.
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January 8th, 2012, 20:35
While I don't have a problem with keeping unwanted quests in my journal, I do love the idea of being able to delete a quest I'm not interested in accepting. I'm not a thief-y type so I'm really not interested in that guild's quests. However, they tied all merchants with lots of gold to that group, which is a mistake. There are several merchants that should be the "best" of their group and thus have much more money. The Companion's blacksmith, the famed White Vial alchemist, etc. Since Whiterun is supposed to be the trade hub of the whole province, I think there should be many more shops there and the merchants should all have more money than other shops.
There are just several spots where it'd be logical. The fletcher and armorer for the Imperials in Solitude, the East Empire Trading Company, etc. Of course, it'd real cool if I wasn't the only person in the universe making purchases.

'nut
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January 8th, 2012, 20:41
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
While I don't have a problem with keeping unwanted quests in my journal, I do love the idea of being able to delete a quest I'm not interested in accepting. I'm not a thief-y type so I'm really not interested in that guild's quests. However, they tied all merchants with lots of gold to that group, which is a mistake. There are several merchants that should be the "best" of their group and thus have much more money. The Companion's blacksmith, the famed White Vial alchemist, etc. Since Whiterun is supposed to be the trade hub of the whole province, I think there should be many more shops there and the merchants should all have more money than other shops.
There are just several spots where it'd be logical. The fletcher and armorer for the Imperials in Solitude, the East Empire Trading Company, etc. Of course, it'd real cool if I wasn't the only person in the universe making purchases.
Yeah it would be nice to be able to remove a quest. It would probably make people who see their quest log as a set of commands issued from the game feel like they are less so.

On a related and serious note:

http://www.bethblog.com/2012/01/07/oh-yeeeeeah/
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January 8th, 2012, 21:02
Even better would be more chances to simply tell somone "No, I won't do this.", in other words, chances to remove quests by declining to do them in game.
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January 8th, 2012, 21:07
Originally Posted by borcanu View Post
IT doesn't even matter
as long as there are no emotional repercussions at the end, What moral compass? You do as you please, and you forget about it a moment later. in most cases.
The best thing they come up with is punishment of some sort, no way is there something to make you feel bad, like emotional blackmail
You expect a game to provide you with moral compass? I thought that the whole point of RPG was that you picked what kind of character you want to play and act accordingly? And, unfortunately (from my point of view), Skyrim actually does provide you with moral compass since it is much easier to play an evil than a good character.
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January 8th, 2012, 21:09
I really wish that the quest descriptions in the journal were more extensive so that I could turn the compass and quest markers off.
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January 8th, 2012, 22:43
I really don't have too much of a problem with it. I don't always like that I can get an exactly location of where and what I need to do next as I prefer discovering it myself. Several quests are nice and vague like getting the master level destruction spell. Anyway I just disable the compass on my UI and never click on quests in the journal unless I really want to follow it. I have been guilty of completing quests just so they disappear from the journal.

But like crpgnut, I wouldn't mind an option to delete a quest or mark as failed and it won't be long before the CK is released someone will write it. Heck there are enough tools to do it now with a little effort.
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January 8th, 2012, 23:28
Removing quests would be great, but I really don't care about the arrows/compass.
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January 8th, 2012, 23:33
I think in terms of their first point its not the compass that forces you to be an asshole it's just that particular quest and the fact that you can't cancel or delete quests or drop quest items, which is particularly annoying when they weigh a lot or lead you to an action that you don't want to do, in this case joining the thieves guild.

To be fair you can turn off the quest marker by not having an active quest.

But I think the journal itself is terrible in how there is a lack of description on many of them, and some quests are foisted on you without you accepting them. You may not have any intention of doing them and you can't delete them so you end up with a very cluttered journal. The only way to avoid getting some quests is to not speak to the quest giver, which sucks.

They had a far better system in Fallout 3 in that they had a seperate page for notes, and a page for actual quests. Here they seem to have merged the notes page with the minor quests page which is just stupid.

Another big problem is the lack of descriptions of some of the quests, so you forget why you're doing what you're doing and who gave you the quest. It relies on the quest marker too much. I ended up keeping my own notes for the misc quests which doesn't say much for the game.
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January 8th, 2012, 23:51
Edit your SkyrimPrefs.ini as follows:

Change "bShowCompass=1" to "bShowCompass=0"

Much more fun to play this way, especially if you try studying the map before you set out on a journey and using landmarks and visual cues to reach your destination.

You can guide yourself by identifying lakes, ponds, rivers, hills, mountains, ruins, etc., on the map and you can see these landmarks from a very long distance, even if you only use the default number of uGrids.
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January 9th, 2012, 01:43
This is just another case of making mountains out of molehills to give the writer something to write about a popular subject, i.e., Skyrim. It not hard to make mountains out of molehills. That's why so many of these overblown Skyrim critiques are popping up.

The opposite, making molehills out of mountains, is hard. One needs more skills than the ability to complain, for example, an understanding of the game and it's mechanics. See for example CountChocula's easy resolution of the compass issue, above, for a mountain made into a molehill.

Give me a balanced view of the issue along with a solution where possible, and you've got my attention. This article, on the other hand, goes into the "chronic complainers" bin, never to be seen again.

BTW, a wise individual once told me the saying, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease," is typically untrue in the real world. "More often," he said, "the squeaky wheel gets turned off or replaced."

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Last edited by RPGFool; January 9th, 2012 at 02:13.
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January 9th, 2012, 02:24
Originally Posted by RPGFool View Post
The opposite, making molehills out of mountains, is hard. One needs more skills than the ability to complain, for example, an understanding of the game and it's mechanics. See for example CountChocula's easy resolution of the compass issue, above, for a mountain made into a molehill.
Your righteous indignation is quite misplaced. Simple expedient of turning off compass and/or quest markers is not a solution for any but the most dedicated of players. I have played Morrowind I didn't feel a need for compass or guests markers. In Skyrim quest descriptions are so vague that only few players seems to be maso… I mean hardcore enough to turn compass and/or markers off.
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January 9th, 2012, 02:43
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
In Skyrim quest descriptions are so vague that only few players seems to be maso… I mean hardcore enough to turn compass and/or markers off.
Try it before you knock it, it's actually a lot of fun! It should have been included in the menu as an optional gameplay setting for everyone.

The landscape is designed in a way that there are lots of visual cues and landmarks that you can see from a distance.
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January 9th, 2012, 03:17
Originally Posted by CountChocula View Post
The landscape is designed in a way that there are lots of visual cues and landmarks that you can see from a distance.
This reminds me that Archaeologists have found out that these things existed in prehistoric times, too : Stones which could be seen from a distance, the sun shining through between two mountains at summer solstice … These things.

I once read that a hill's side somewhere here in Germany was very likely formed so (by taking away soil) that this side because a flat side, but no-one understands nowadays what for. The suggestion was that there could have been an alignment of some sorts to something now forgotten.

I also once read that the Grand Menhir Brisé, which is broken now http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_B…hir_bris.C3.A9 probably could have been seen from almost all places within Brittany, when it still stood upright. Putting a light or a fire on the top of it would have been a clear sign in nights, then.

If someone is interested : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnac_stones

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January 9th, 2012, 03:22
Originally Posted by Ball_Breaker View Post
Reading this article still reminds me of Morrowind… Terrible default map/journal? Probably, but at least there was just description of what you were supposed to go, and not some stupid GPS system.
Do you remember some of the directions in Morrowind? Cross the bridge, go east from the big rock, cross the foyada, make a left at the signpost and the cave will be to the northwest. I don't think there's many people that want to go back to that system. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing it go back the Morrowind way, I find that style of playing fun. And honestly, I rarely got lost in Morrowind, the directions were always good enough to get you where you needed to go. But people like me are probably in the minority.

That said, I don't mind Skyrim's way of doing things either. It just makes the game a little more convenient really.
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January 9th, 2012, 08:25
I don't agree with having the markers on the compass but having markers on your map is realistic. If I was someone in this game giving a quest to some adventurer I would be thinking it is a waste of time trying to direct them to some remote location and instead would ask him/her if they have a map and then mark down on it where to go. If someone pulled over and asked me for directions to some place (and I knew the location) and they had a map I would just show them where they are on their map and put an X on their destination. (It is much more likely they will get to where they are going that way)
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