Why I love Skyrim

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by CT Phipps, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016

    For me, I think Skyrim is probably one of the few games I would say I think works as a fantasy novel. Morrowind gets a lot of praise for its deconstruction of the Chosen One Mythos and yeah, it's a highly intelligent plot blah blah blah, but it's one which I felt worn down by the relentless cynicism thereof.

    I was genuinely touched by Skyrim's storyline, characters, and writing. It's a world which really feels interconnected and affected by the events of the backstory. Because of the open-world nature, you can't really see how things will be affected by your actions in the future but it's a world which isn't just one big series of interconnected set pieces. Every one of the towns is affected by the Civil War amd previous war with the Thalmor.

    I think what worked for me most about the game was the role of religion and trauma of losing a conflict in the game. Talos is something which is deeply meaningful not only for the main characters but side characters as well. You come across a lot of people who have deep belief in the God of the Empire (even though he was an asshole in real life) with adventures reflecting that both big and small.

    Elisef's story where she asks you to put her husband's horn on the Shrine of Talos, even though she's an Imperial touched me. I also loved Colonel Rikke and how she keeps her faith even as she struggles with her loyalty to the Empire. I was going through a really bad time in my life and questioning a lot of things when I first played Skyrim. Relatives were suffering badly and I was confronted with a nasty side of my local religious bedrocks--I had to deal with hypocrisy and use of my faith to hurt people rather than uplift them. Skyrim helped me work through those mental issues and reconcile myself.

    I also really enjoyed the massive amount of focus Skyrim had on the commoners rather than the nobility of the world. You had the rich, the poor, and varying degrees of aristocrats acting out their various ideas of what it means to be a proper member of society.

    The Companions are a bunch of mercenaries doing bland mercenary work but take pride in their ancient pedigree even as they also are very deliberately keeping out of a Civil War lest they be on the losing side or split apart by it. I like the discussion of anti-intellectualism in the toxic masculinity culture of the Nords with the College of Mages being a bunch of unappreciated nerds despite the fact they are potentially the only thing which would restore Winterhold.

    Much of the fetch quests and locations have histories associated with them and a sense of general antiquity ranging from the fact that Skyrim is where the Nords "heroically" defeated the Elves (only for it to actually be a genocide--sort of like how America used to treat the Native Americans) to how Ulfric is trying to portray himself as a legendary hero when a REAL legendary hero is going to come to pass.

    The town design was also great as you learned so much about the individual "character" of holds by its architecture. Solitude was the "Disneyland" version of Nord culture where they put on plays and acted like they were Nords but had whiteashed all of the darker elements from themselves. Windhelm, by contrast, was the harsher fundamentalist ideals of Nord culture with the darker elements intact. Whiterun had a comfortable middle while Riften had obliterated all Nord elements of culture from them whatsoever to the point it was an Imperial stronghold despite its leader acting as a Nord loyalist.

    Morrowind did a great job of deconstructing the Chosen OneTM myth while Skyrim is all about reconstructing it. You're basically a living legend but it's up to you to get them to put aside their petty feuds and senseless wars to embrace this is more important than that. In some cases, you just CAN'T and have to be content things will play out as they must. There's no option to end the Skryim Civil War without murdering hundreds of innocent soldiers and I did that with a heavy heart. I still recall listening to the smiths in Windhelm talk about their broken dreams and trying to figure out what they were going to do with their lives after.

    That was some damned good writing there.

    Another being where if you assassinate a woman, her mother commits suicide.

    The hundreds of relationships between characters in how their families, friendships, and rivalries interact is a monument to game development. Rikke's past with Ulfric and Gamlen. The interaction between the various siblings of the Black-Briar family. Little stories like Jalia Law-Giver trying to have son brainwashed because he's Pro-Imperial since he had to be insane.

    The genuine camaraderie of the Thieves Guild and how the Dark Brotherhood is a family which has started putting its own bonds before the Satanic cult elements of the Dark Mother. I stopped dozens of times just to listen to the causal conversations of the public and watch the scenes play out like listening to the angry mob of Morthal lose its nerve before entering the vampire's lair. The horrible discovery that the little girl ghost you're playing hide and go seek with is hiding in HER OWN GRAVE.

    There's even the purely gameplay based elements of how genuinely terrifying I found the exploration of the Falmer's dark underground tombs to be. The Draugr might have just been zombies to me but I got all my claustrophobia buttons pushed by seeking their layers out.

    There's hundreds of characters I remember from the game both important and unimportant. We get to hear about their feuds (Battleborn! Gray-Mane!), the fact Adrianne wants to be the greatest Smith in Skyrim (which she could be) while her husband is content to be behind the counter, and little things like locking up the priest of Talos when the Imperial army helps retake the place.

    Skyrim and Fallout 3 are among the few games which felt they truly truly TRANSPORTED me to another world and I sometimes wish I could live there.

    In simple terms, I BELIEVED and that is an experience all video games should have.

    Skyrim is a game I call more than a video game. It is art.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  2. ikazuchi87

    ikazuchi87 First time out of the vault

    Jun 16, 2007
    TL, DR: Hello my name is CT Phipps I'm deluded bethesta fanboy, I like writing autistic essays and fanfic theories.
    • [Like] [Like] x 5
  3. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    I felt the Alduin fight sucked because you get 4 other Epic Heroes to help.

  4. ikazuchi87

    ikazuchi87 First time out of the vault

    Jun 16, 2007
    plz leave NMA and go write one of yours cheap fanfic "books"
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  5. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016

  6. ikazuchi87

    ikazuchi87 First time out of the vault

    Jun 16, 2007
  7. Jogre

    Jogre It's all JO'Ger now

    Oct 25, 2015
    That would have been a cool discussion HAD IT ACTUALLY BEEN IN THE GAME.

    You are completely talking out your arse here, creating a debate where there is none.
    That's just your own interpretation of what happened.

    Bethesda never went out of there way to make you feel guilty for killing those soldiers, for the most part they are treated as nameless mooks
    So basically what you are saying is "Morrowind did a great job of trying something new, but Skyrim wasn't trying to do something new, they were just rehashing the same old Chosen One story, but because they were honest about doing the same old shit, that somehow puts it on the same level as actually doing something original.
    • [Like] [Like] x 9
  8. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    There's a lot of shit about how Nords hate magic and you can talk to the Nord magicians there (the one poor bastard who had to run away from his family). Plus, Winterhold has a Jarl who blames the college for everything. This is in the game.

    Go talk to the citizens about the War and you'll get dialogue about how they feel about their side losing.

    Yes, it's almost like if you did a Superman movie about how being Superman and saving people was awesome.
  9. SarcasticGoodGuy

    SarcasticGoodGuy *R O T T E N*

    Aug 31, 2016
    This is like trying to convince a fanatic. Here I go.

    You say you were going through a tough time when Skyrim came out, and it's great that this piece of entertaining media helped you through it, but this is a personal example of why the game is good and can't be applied to the bigger picture of 'what makes Skyrim a good game'.

    You seem to gloss over certain facts, like the bland companions- and then focus on a paragraph about two (a minority) that were actually good. And again, emotive language might be your strong suit (haven't read your books yet- sorry), but talking about personal experiences doesn't equate to good. What you were describing was a member of a faction having a conflict of interest with their ideals and their respective faction. This was handled superbly in NV where you could debate Chief Hanlon, and I presume in Skyrim you can do the sa- oh wait you can't have a meaningful discussion about beliefs with Rikke.

    And this brings me onto my next point- you're not a character in Skyrim but rather a tool. It's one character tasking you with killing another. It's one NPC asking you to go to a dungeon to find an artifact. The dialogue between characters is stale and you don't interact, you follow orders. One of the earliest interactions in Riverwood is the two guys both trying to win over a girl- the conversation consists of "x likes girl, sabotage y's plan" "tell y about x's plan to sabotage y" "decide between x and y who to help". You can't work out a compromise and are given no reason to help other than a quest reward. These men just like this woman "because". It's artificial, they have no reason to even like this woman, you can't discuss why they like her or how this conflict has affected them. My point is that you just do what these characters tell you, or you could always kill them. It's not real, it's not deep and there's no substance behind any interaction.

    You've conveniently left out the weakest points of Skyrim I see. The bugs in this game are some of the worst. Quests that can't be completed, frequent clipping, crashing etc. This shows how poorly made the game was from a technical level, and I'm not going to bother to cite any sources on this one because you've obviously played Skyrim and that alone is enough proof of its bugs. It's great that you think its a work of art, but it's not a very well made work of art.

    I'll admit that the lore is good, but your argument begins grasping at straws when you say that (paraphrased)
    "a radiant dungeon quest is better because it took place in a dungeon with importance to the lore". But it's not, it adds nothing except maybe a select few players going "hey this book talked about this place". Making things interconnected can be good, but praising to this extent is just puzzling.

    Which brings me to my final point- trivial praise. There have been people gushing over this game for doors opening, for the ability to put armor on display, for bugs that look funny etc. This doesn't make the game bad, but when this is the only coherent argument people make about a game it goes to show a) that the game isn't very good and b) tribal fanboyism at its worst. You don't see me praising the Royal Conservatory in D2 because "holy shit this is that place from a poster in the previous mission"- why? Because it's fluff; glitter; sprinkles; a bit of nothing that developers can add to make the world look bigger and more expansive.

    In short Phipps, I'm glad that you enjoyed Skyrim, but it is too flawed to be considered a 10/10 game. It lacks good writing and fails miserably on the technical side. I won't stop you from enjoying it, but for me Skyrim is one of the worst games I have ever played and it is without a doubt in my mind undeserving of 99% of the praise that it gets.
    • [Like] [Like] x 12
  10. Prone Squanderer

    Prone Squanderer A bit of a Sillius Soddus.

    Jan 3, 2016
    I am tempted to just post a gif of some kind and leave.

    Anyway, pretty much what Sarc and JO said. I do like Skyrim's environment though, when it's not being a buggy bastard anyway.
  11. Arnust

    Arnust Maybe you've seen it, maybe, in a dream...

    Feb 2, 2016
    Mods. What? He wrote something different?

    This is the reason on why i love Skyrim:

    And Phipps; just play Dark Souls 1 and then look back on Skyrim.
    If Dark Souls is Lego, Skyrim is Duplo
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  12. Jogre

    Jogre It's all JO'Ger now

    Oct 25, 2015
    Your exact words were "I like the discussion of anti-intellectualism in the toxic masculinity culture of the Nords with the College of Mages"

    You are now looping back and saying "It is in the game because The Nords hate magic."

    The Nord's hatred of magic probably has nothing to do with anti-intellectualism or toxic masculinity. Hell, a better explanation would be that Bethesda saw that Nords sucked at using magic in the previous games, so justified it with them not trusting mages.

    I'd say you are creating "Good writing of the gaps", finding things that go without explanation, and then assuming there was a clever intention
    Moving the goal posts here.

    You said you felt guilt over all the soldiers you had to kill, something which is not supported in game.

    You are now saying that people feeling bad about being on the losing side of the war is proof that what you said above was intended.
    What I was saying was that the whole "Dragonborn" thing, isn't proof of good writing at all. In fact, I'd expect at least some inch of originality for it not to count as bad writing.

    Had they taken the idea of a chosen one and put a lot of depth in to it, discussed what it means to be prophesized to save the realm, ect., it would be good writing.

    The whole "Dragonborn" thing is utterly bland. The whole depth can be boiled down to "You were born a dragonborn, you can eat the souls of dragons, you are going to one day kill Alduin.", there is literally no more depth beyond that.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  13. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    I admit, it's like how I feel at times around here but I understand where people are coming from. If something is close to your heart, they get defensive as well as aggressive. I am willing to recognize the faults of the game, however, even as I recognize the good outweighed them IMHO.

    I believe you were the one who mentioned Dark Souls had an affect on a lot of people for the better. I feel much the same way about Skyrim and felt the need to share that it made a net positive effect in my life. No one can say how art can change a person's life but it does and in shocking ways.

    Oh, the Companions are little more than pack mules and aids during combat. People can write fanfics about Lydia for her little amount of voice acting and make their cute little marriage but that is basically akin to Fable (albeit, the Skyrimites are prettier). People like Fable, I don't, but I understand where they're coming from.

    As for debate, no, the Dragonborn doesn't engage in much. Instead, he makes his choices entirely through his actions which doesn't necessarily mean that isn't a form of roleplaying. The choices to side with Empire or Stormcloak, Blade or Paarthunax, is done by a silent protagonist who is a representative of the player's will and beliefs.

    What you're debating is I think actually showing versus telling. No one really needs to be explained what a love triangle is. Camilla is the prettiest (perhaps only) single woman in Riverwood. There's not really a compromise option, albeit I do love the ending where she marries you instead. Emergent roleplaying is something Bethesda is very good at and a result of the freedom you possess in the game. It's why Essential NPCs are generally a bad idea as it prevents you from acting as you wish.

    To go with emergent roleplaying, there's a good deal to be had from George Lucas. If you were an PC in Star Wars, you might reasonably want to know about the Clone Wars as well as Obi-Wan's role in it. You don't need to know to appreciate the story and in the case of those two guys, you can just assume it's a fairly typical love triangle because there's no need to spell out they like her eyes or hope for financial stability by being the merchant's brother-in-law. You can learn a lot if you make use of books and questions but the fact is that there's hundreds of NPCs with these "small stories" that the world feels much more real and lived in, even if you can't analyze every bit of.

    I play console so I admit, I avoided that bullet. I also don't mod and when I tried the console mods, my game became a horrific mess.

    In fact, Fallout 4 and Skyrim's Radiant Quests are substantively different due to design differences. In Fallout 4, Radiant quests take you to one of the same damn identical villages you've visited over and over again. In Skyrim, they tend to take you to new locations which have their own stories. The vast majority of buildings in Boston, maybe barring the comics store and the Robot Dealership, don't.

    I dunno, I could talk all day about the levels in Dishonored.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  14. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Nords hate magic BECAUSE they think it's unmanly and that mages are awful. If you're the Archmage, you can get this confirmed that the Nord guardian of the afterlife says it didn't used to be this way but they've all become stupid over the centuries.

    Except for the part where they hate scholarship versus fighting and are all about being warriors.

    I do tend to believe inferences are better than spelling things out. One of the first things I was told as a writer was to remove any and all explanation from my books if I could and only have things demonstrated in text. Exposition was the absolute worst thing any sci-fi or fantasy author could rely on.

    It's about what you think the goal posts are. My post is about why *I* love Skyrim and how it made me feel about killing all those Nords and why. You are trying to make it about why it's explictly supposed to make you feel a certain way, which is not why Skyrim is good.

    You feel how the game makes you feel on different choices and consequences as well as pure art.

    Except, again, the part where there's part which are designed to make you feel guilty like talking to Jalia Lawbringer.


    Telling a good story is a good story and I prefer people who tell a traditional tale good than trying to tear it down.
    --Says the guy who writes deconstruction of superhero stories from the perspective of the villain and which are his, hands down, highest selling books.

    It does, however, show your effect on a more traditional grim and gritty war setting as well as "mundane" world by changing the rules they live by.

    Barring, of course, the fact as the Dragonborn you can change everything in the country for good or ill. Also, you're a Chosen One who can be good or evil.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  15. Arnust

    Arnust Maybe you've seen it, maybe, in a dream...

    Feb 2, 2016
    • [Like] [Like] x 3
  16. SarcasticGoodGuy

    SarcasticGoodGuy *R O T T E N*

    Aug 31, 2016
    Yeah I wasn't. I think that video games can be considered art if they are of a higher quality and have a deeper layer that promotes thinking- not writing Lydia fanfiction.

    See here, you're saying that companions = good, because people who were not working on the game expanded upon them. That's just like saying Skyrim is 10/10 because mods add stuff to do. Bethesda aren't making these fanfictions, so for you to say that companions are deep because people like them enough to write porn in text form or shitty hero stories doesn't form a good argument.

    As for the Fable argument, I enjoyed those games for what they were. But in a lot of aspects they were quite bad, much like Skyrim. And your point is that these problems are still prevalent within Fable and people still like the game. Yes you're correct- people can like a flawed product; you've proven that much yourself. Water is wet, next one.
    Yes but in a lot of instances you are denied choices that seem more reasonable than the ones the developers presented. Not going to give a list of examples because that would result in you trying to debunk each and every one, and me making counter arguments for each one. You're never given total freedom in any video game- even Minecraft stops eventually. This is a problem in a lot of games, but it is worse in Skyrim due to the fact that this limits the quests and as a result they become more linear, which leads to a worse experience in repeat playthroughs.
    So you like the lore (books maps whatever) but then say that having things explained to the player is bad and showing what happened is superior. You can have one or the other.

    And no, I don't think that "showing > telling". Imagine trying to join a faction and asking "what do you do?" and for the faction leader to say "have a look" to which you reply "not but I mean what are your goals, motivations and ideals?" and for him to repeat "just have a look around. Oh and we need you to kill 238 Draugr and bring their bones to us before an ancient evil destroys our arch-nemesis!"

    My point being is that the player, in order to go from being a mindless tool who follows orders to an actual character, needs a motivation. The Courier can go after Benny for revenge, a search for answers, or because they have a sense of duty for completing the delivery. The Dragonborn helps one of two guys because... they asked him to- it's genius! And if you think the comparison is unfair because one is a part of a main quest, then fair enough. The Courier helps the NCR chef to gather ingredients because it will lead to better meals and overall a better morale, which will then help the soldiers to be motivated when fighting the Legion. Sure it's explained to you, but it gives your character an extra reason- an extra push to do the quest; instead of, "whelp better clear out this quest log".

    From what I hear, console mods were horrific, so it looks like you dodged a full magazine there.

    And as for the argument involving F4's radiant quests, you can't just turn around and go "well it might be complete shit, but this other game did it even worse! So in comparison, it's not as shit." You're still completing the same menial task again and again with no motivation, you're contributing nothing in the game world, and it doesn't matter if the next Draugr infested dungeon is different in layout to the last one because at the end of the day it's still a Draugr infested dungeon.
    • [Like] [Like] x 8
  17. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Whoops, my bad, @SarcasticGoodGuy

    Your opinion is your opinion but I felt the sheer variety of quests allowed you to make whatever kind of Dragonborn you wanted. You could be a completitionist super-god being (which is supported) but for me and most others, the benefit of Skyrim was creating dozens of characters who could do their own roleplay and stories.

    The mage, the thief, the paladin, the assassin, and so on.

    Well you can choose to help the Stormcloaks, Imperials, or whatnot because of why those factions appeal to you. Your roleplaying is in choosing which groups to support and why with many being contradictory quests.
  18. Jogre

    Jogre It's all JO'Ger now

    Oct 25, 2015
    Anyone else remember that quest in Skyrim where you had to find proof that an inkeeper had been having a little bit of casual sex here and there, and you had to use that knowledge to blackmail her in to leaving town?

    Quality A* deep writing there Emil.
    • [Like] [Like] x 5
  19. SarcasticGoodGuy

    SarcasticGoodGuy *R O T T E N*

    Aug 31, 2016
    Sheer variety of quests...
    • [Like] [Like] x 7
  20. Jogre

    Jogre It's all JO'Ger now

    Oct 25, 2015
    Reminds me of this
    • [Like] [Like] x 5