My name is Jared Whittaker, one of the hosts and Audio Chewbacca of the Super-Fly Podcast and PCW! Welcome to Game Changer, a weekly burning missive about all aspects of video gaming with a little bit of opinion thrown in for fun. Proceed with caution and tread lightly, gentle gamers. It’s going to be good time. Like the first time you saw Super Mario 3 good time.
I have to admit, with all the blockbuster games having already been released for this holiday season for the most part, I was having a difficult time coming up with a topic for Game Changer this week. The closest thing to a news story this past week were rumors about the next Xbox coming between next year and 2014. So instead of talking about that, I’m taking a idea from my co-host on the Super-Fly Podcast and hetro workmate, Tony Berry and talk about the only thing that anyone is talking about/playing: The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim!
The game is pretty epic so far and from the people I’ve talked to about the game, no one has had to same experiences that I have had. Due to the game’s branching story mechanic, doing certain things, even as small as talking to someone, can greatly change the direction of your adventure. So this week, I decided to chronicle my journey through Skyrim so far and give you an idea of what’s out there that you may or may not have seen and done in the wide world of Skyrim
Hour 00:00 – 05:00
After the opening sequence and a very interesting tutorial, I was out in Skyrim, ready for whatever came my way. Like all of Bethesda’s games, it opens into an amazing looking vista shot, giving you a wide view of the world you’ll be making your way though soon. The forest and rivers looked pretty detailed. It looked like it was straight out of a camping supply magazine. I spent most of the first few hours exploring the area around Riverwood, the first town you happen upon. I spent time helping people out in town for a while. Everything from learning smithing, settling a lover’s quarrel and finding things in nearby caves. I started to wander up a nearby mountain to the mountain side Ivarstead for a quest. I was quickly introduced to the world of enemies that are WAY more powerful than I was ready for. An Ice Troll punched me in the face with a Mike Tyson-like intensity, killing me instantly. I spent the next few levels reading books I found and trying to gain so money to get some new armor and magic to survive getting punched out again.
Hours 05:00 – 10:00
During this time, my charator started taking shape. I had learned some magic, found some armor I know I shouldn’t have been able to find yet (uping my health 50 points!!) and starting my path to becoming the first Jedi in Skyrim. At this point, I was becoming very handy with two-handed swords and axes. I was very surprised that I didn’t find any one-handed weapons that I liked early on. By the time I started seeing them, I was already pretty adept with a enchanted ax that shocked bad guys while I was cutting them in the head. I also was working on my Sneak skill. As in Oblivion, I wanted to become a ninja, creeping up on people and jacking them for their loot. This meant using my bow and arrow a lot more and sneaking around. A lot more. I got so good at it that I decided to start putting skill points (Skyrim’s version of the perk system from the Fallout series) in Archery. Also around this time, I started developing a love of making things. Using Alchemy to make poisons and potions and mining different ores to make new gear became an obsession. At one point, I was stuck in a cave and was downing potions because I had made too many and picked up a quest item that I coulldn’t leave without, putting me over my encumberment limit.
I had finished my hike up the 7,000 steps leading up to High Hrothgar to talk to the Greybeards about my Dragonborn blood and, though a series of tests, learned the final word in my Unrelenting Force Dragon shout aka The Force Push. Things were coming together nicely….
Hours 10:00 – 20:00
This is where things start getting very random. After getting word about a Mages College in Winterhold in the northern part of Skyrim, I took off to the school. Among other things that happened on the way there, I was attacked by no less than THREE bears at once, gained the ability to use magic in both hands while learning the Shock spell, getting me that much closer to evil Sith-dom. Looted at least ten caves, got chummy with some bandits at a fort so they would let me inside only to shoot them in the back with fireballs and take the fort by force, learned to zoom in my bow AND knock people out with it, found out that Giants can kill you with one hit, got attacked by a pack of wolves in a snowstorm and couldn’t see when they were coming from because the snowfall was so heavy and came face to face with a HUGE spider in a battle for an ancient artifact. Games like this can get you off track quickly. But the amount of things to do and destract is astounding!
After an nearly 5 hours of getting off task with randomness, I finally got to the College in the snowy mountains of Winterhold. I came across a mage that wanted to test me to make sure that I was worthy to step inside the college. She asked if I knew the Firebolt spell. I told her I didn’t. She then promptly GAVE IT TO ME!! I wasn’t sure what kind of sense that made to just give a magic spell to me to allow me entry to the college that you were testing me to get into, but I wasn’t going to argue the point. I was in, and I was ready to learn all I could.
Hours 20:00 – 30:00
At this point, my character build is pretty much set. The closest you could come to putting a title on my character is a Battlemage. At this point in the game, I’ve heavily invested in magic, two-handed weapons and archery and it seems to be working out well. after doing a few quests for the Mage College, I decided to again go off the beaten path and see what I could find. One thing I like in Skyrim is that as you get new quests, they situate themselves in order of importance instead of the order that you get them. The main quests are in bigger type face, while the smaller quests are just listed as miscellaneous. I like those because by this stage in the game, you will have A LOT of them. This is the meat and potatoes of the game. The part of the game that will keep you playing for hours and hours get to see what the next quests is and where it’s going to take you. I managed to help people from a small town mine their iron and silver, which netted me more than a few rare gems. I also became a bounty hunter, starting on the seven bounty notes I’d accumulated as I played the game. I felt pretty confident that I could handle myself in most cases, if anything surprised me. And surprises I got.
One bounty had me going to a nearby mine to oust a group of bandits that where harassing a small village and I was tasked to go stop them. No problem there. I rolled in there with very little problem. At this point, I had learned trap spells, which are spells you cast on walls and floors. When a enemy passes the trap, it explodes in either fire or lightening. The interesting part came when I found the leader of the group. He was in a large room with about five cages and a large pit. In the cages: Saber Cats, which look exactly like what they sound like. As I approached the leader, he runs over to a row of switches and throws two of them, releasing three of the five Saber Cats. The cats attack me AND him and then becomes a fight for survival. The two cats focus on him and kill his small town bullying ass quick. The problem becomes now getting to hell out of there without getting turned into kitty litter. Instead of a fight, it becomes a race to get out of the mine in a move I call “Operation: Roll Out” in which I proceeded to sprint to the exit while giant cats are giving chase. It was a wild time for a just a handful of gold.
Another bounty had me hunting down a giant that had killed some livestock. So, I rolled over to Rock Ridge to deal with him. As it turns out, there were THREE giants hanging out. While I was getting better at getting around Skyrim without getting killed every five minutes, I wasn’t really ready to directly take on three giants at once. So after attempting to attack with a bow and arrow from far away, I quicksaved and just ran towards them, shooting arrows at them. Needless to say, this wasn’t going to stand and they rushed me. So I did what anyone would do when faced with such odds: I ran. So there I was, running from three giants when things took a turn for the worse. One of the randomly spawning dragons showed up. But I got an idea. I ran towards where the dragon was flying, shooting arrows at it to get it’s attention. It saw me and started attacking me with ice, hitting the pack of giants in the process. The giants didn’t take to kindly to that and the fight between me and the giants had ended and the fight between the giants and the dragon had just started. I marveled at the idea that a few minutes before, I was in danger, and now, I was watching a pretty brutal battle that wasn’t involving me. Funny how the tide can change in a fight.
The end came when the dragon killed one giant, but ended up dying at the hands of the other two. I then saw my chance. Using my force push dragon shout, I pushed the remaining two giants off a cliff, plunging to their deaths. I gained a dragon soul and finished my bounty in one swoop. I love this game.
That’s where I am at the moment. I’m still having fun playing and I feel like I will for a long, LONG time. What about you? What are some of your crazy adventures in Skyrim? Let us know.
Jared Whittaker plays a lot of games. Not as much as he’d like, but as much as time and money will allow. If you want to play some games with Jared, you can find him on Playstation 3; PSN tag: JFX. He is also on Steam and Battle.net as JFX316 and while he doesn’t have an Xbox 360, he has the coolest Gamertag in the world: Obiwan Jaborni. Feel free to add him as a friend or email him at JWhittaker@PanelsonPages.com. and on Twitter as JFX316