Archive for the ‘The Playthrough’ Category

For now I have decided to continue with the main quest as the grinding of my smithing and enchanting level, was becoming quite tiresome on my mind to carry out. I purchased Breezehome (that nice little place next to the War Maidens,) and my level seems satisfactory for the moment as I measure my strength based on how quick I can take out a giant.

During my level grinding phase, I had to seek out forts, bandits and caverns to loot just so the cost of material for smithing was covered. It turned out I had done more main quest missions than I originally thought. Carrying on from where I left off, I discovered another side of Skyrim I really enjoyed. The linear narrative really had me hooked as it forced you to assume roles of stealth as well as strength. It really depends on the way you build your character, so play to your strengths. I chose a warrior class of the Nord race as my Dovahkiin as he wields a two-handed axe, obviously to compensate for something and of course, because of the extra damage axes cause do the bleeding effect.

This provided a simple combat system for my adventure considering it does get quite tedious. Plus you would want to try other weapons, even though the limited level up points restricts you (but doesn’t stop you). I was distracted by the story to even care about this and I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a sucker for old stories, fiction or non-fiction. Myths and legends provide great mystery and story telling while making a part of you believe it may be true. Take the greatest storybook ever, The Bible. Not religious here but there are some great stories in it, great enough for millions around the world to believe to be true.

Skyrim’s story may not be the best in gaming, but it is enough for me to question and ponder my own theories before reaching revelations. Video games can depict and tell great stories and last year the video games industry tried their hands in storytelling. L.A. Noire and Heavy Rain were attempts at making video games that were more about the tale than the dynamics of the gameplay. The reactions were positive with L.A. Noire and Heavy Rain both nearly achieving a 90% rating from critics and that ‘universal acclaim’ title.

We have witnessed an evolutionary step in human story telling, which may not seem so significant, but to turn a blind eye to this is foolish. “Storytelling is a human universal occurrence, and common themes appear in tales throughout history and all over the world. These characteristics of stories, and our natural affinity towards them, reveal clues about our evolutionary history and the roots of emotion and empathy in the mind.” A quote from the Scientific American that pretty much sum up the value of storytelling.

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Such a lightweight

Posted: April 4, 2012 in The Playthrough
Tags: , , , , , , ,

**Spoiler alert**

My body finally succumbed to desired sleep and I awoke at dawn as our ancestors did. But instead of foraging for much needed sustenance, I switched on my Xbox to feed on that satisfying green glow. Last night’s half a glass of water would suffice for now; I had not decided whether it was half full or half empty, but I was leaning towards the latter. My thoughts of apathy stemmed from my addictive behaviour, which is a dragon itself: fearsome, overpowering and destructive. Destructive in the sense that any productivity I tried to engage in was slapped with a big scaly wing.

As the game loaded up, my character awakened in the The Bannered Mare. Before I made way to leave the inn, I decided to question the locals to see if they had any interesting missions. Hammering the ‘A’ button to swiftly skip past the time wasting NPCs, I came across an interesting character called Sam Guevenne. I decided to withdraw from the incessant spamming of ‘A’ because 1) he did not tell me how he used to be an adventurer like me until he ya di ya di ya dah (don’t make me say it), and 2) he proposed an interesting competition; A drinking competition! This game continues to surprise me with what it has to offer. The contest was simple, down your drink, first one to stop loses. Sam promised a staff if I were to beat him.

By the third drink Sam yielded and presented me the opportunity to win. I downed it and was congratulated as victor (by this point I seemed to be quite tipsy, very disappointed). But before I was awarded the staff Sam offered to take me to “a place where the wine flows like water.” Suddenly the screen darkened, and my first reaction was “oh s*** a glitch!!!!” it turned out that I blacked out (again disappointed in my man).

Dude where’s my goat?

I was awakened by Senna, a priestess who was not happy. Somehow I managed to get to Markarth on the western border of Skyrim! As I remorsefully cleaned up Senna’s temple and made my way out, Senna told me of my drunken mutterings of Rorikstead. Upon arriving I was accused of stealing a goat named Gleda and selling it to a giant. Being the gentle soul that I am (most of the time) I decided to humour the owner Ennis and rescue the goat. This was of course, a bad idea. Messing with a giant was never going to end well. After 34 tries I somehow successfully managed to lead Gleda away from the giant without him noticing me. A glitch perhaps?

Upon returning Ennis’s beloved goat, I was pointed towards Whiterun. No prize for guessing what happened when I got to there. Yep I had pissed someone else off. Ysolda claimed that I’d bought a wedding ring on credit from her and demanded I give her the money. Bitch please I helped you by getting that mammoth tusk! I was chased by two giants across Skyrim for it! But it seems past services had no place with her. Naturally I decided to retrieve the ring from my fiancée, Moira apparently. When I finally found her, I dropped the pad and just started laughing, hysterically. Moira was a Hagraven and requested that we consummate out marriage. But on a serious note this lady/thing was not taking no for an answer and seemed willing to consummate with my corpse. Fortunately the necrophilia did not occur, and Moira was annulled.

Not enough booze in the world

The quest goes on! Does it ever end? Yes. The ceremony was meant to take place in Morvanskur, a fort. It was probably Moira’s choice; she did after all live in a hut. Morvanskur seemed to be another dungeon with the usual greetings of arrows and balls of fire aimed at your face. After finishing off all life residing in the fort (I find myself feeling unsatisfied unless I double check), a ball of light was discovered which transported me to a pretty place called Misty Grove.

Sam was sitting at a table with a bunch of people calm, as you like. He revealed himself as Sanguine, a Daedric Prince whose domain is hedonistic revelry, debauchery, and passionate indulgences of darker natures. He lives up to his word and gives you the promised staff ‘Sanguine’s Rose’ which summons what seems to be a lookalike of Sanguine fitted with the best armour in the game. This mission is definitely worth doing for the staff alone.

I’m not going to apologise for the long post, this mission was definitely a highlight for me and shall be forever etched in my memories as one of my greatest gaming moments. The revelation of Sam as a Daedric Prince was mind blowing, especially for so early in the morning, well… late afternoon now. DAMN YOU SKYRIM.

It has been a long time since I’ve actually been so absorbed in a game that I disregard sleep. Disregarding my education is one thing, but to do it to my beloved sleep is pure blasphemy.  For two nights in a row I have without fail played Skyrim until dawn. I feel dirty and un-productive yet I continue to do this to myself.

I also continue to ignore the main story quests in favour of doing side quests given by the inhabitants of Whiterun and Riverwood. Why? A sense of community, surprisingly enough, is my reason. When Fralia Gray-Mane requested that I find out the fate of her son, I was more than happy to oblige. Even though the reward was merely a pittance (200 gold) and gave me nothing in terms of advancement in the game. Strangely enough, I feel content in this town, a sense of belonging if you will.

After gaining favour with the Jarl by killing my first dragon Mirmulnir, I was bestowed with the title of Thane. No clue what it means, not even my newly appointed assistant could offer a coherent answer. My assistant Lydia has become an internet legend for reasons unknown. Perhaps my fellow gamers out there enjoy the idea of having a female assistant who listens to your every command and lives with you.

Do video games teach us a sense of community? Considering many big titles such as World of War Craft (or pretty much any MMORPG), the presence of community, working together and accomplishing tasks, proves impossible for a gamer to work alone, regardless of levels. Although Skyrim is not a MMO, it nonetheless gives you this sense of community through interesting characters and beautiful level designs, making it that much easier to immerse yourself in this wonderful world.

This makes me excited for the next generation with graphic power improving more and more, meaning more engangement and hopefully more life in more characters. But of course this excitement stems from my belief that I shall survive this these coming months, my body is nearing shut down from lack of sleep, deadlines are being neglected and of course it is the year 2012…

The past 24-hours has been stolen from me and I will never get it back. To my despair it is definitely going to happen again. I started this blog intending to post on it every day, but this minor task is proving to be ridiculously near impossible. Skyrim is a consumer of my very soul which is, ironic as the game has you consuming dragon souls. I write this post late at night after a near 24-hour marathon of killing bandits, dragons, bears, people (because I felt like it). But above ALL of these things,  I dedicated at least 18 hours smithing, enchanting and selling. Yes, I spent 18 hours doing this, and why? To grind my level to that of a God-like status as well as gaining the coin to purchase that charming little place next to the War Maiden’s weapons shop in Whiterun.

The addictiveness of this game is off the charts; one cannot simply just play for an hour or two. No, you need to sit down and let it suck you in completely. I do not understand why in a game that permits you free rein to do whatever you want, I choose to do the mundane. I compare myself to Joseph Stalin, who once upon a time, was appointed to the dull position of General Secretary. Which he used to disregard rivals and gain power. But the funny thing is, I am finding it fun and satisfying to carry out my repetitive way of playing Skyrim. It is a feeling I cannot describe fully but what I can say is that once I levelled up, I deemed all of the hard work worth it and start again.

I think this behaviour stems from my need to be fully prepared which was spawned from previous titles that I have played. If you’ve ever played a Final Fantasy title you’d understand that without proper preparation and level, you wouldn’t get very far. I believe that my years of playing RPG titles have taught me to always be prepared for difficult tasks, hard work is expected and patience is a virtue, not just for video games but also in real life.

Skyrim proves to be a thought provoking game in this first playthrough , but this game may also be the reason why I will fail my degree, but as long as I attain that full set of dwarven armour, its all good.