So, I decided to look back again over Skyrim, write a bit more of my thoughts, and give a general gameplay update. I’ve spoken about Skyrim on two other occasions – my initial impressions, and a few extra thoughts, but neither are very long or in-depth. Nor do they detail getting to high levels or the ‘end’ as it were, of the game.
As the previous posts detail, I initially played a Breton, and then a High Elf. I didn’t keep either of those saves in the end. In typical awkward fashion, I started the game over again when I felt I’d really gotten to grips with how I wanted to play (as lame as that sounds).
I started the game up from the beginning for the third time, and this time I decided to be an Argonian. A decision I’m really happy I made – over the course of my play through (which was long, but I’ll get to that) being fifty percent resistant to diseases and being able to breath underwater was really useful. Having watched Peter play his character and get diseases every other battle I was really glad for that resistance - it makes a difference.
I called my lovely female Argonian Wenchy, (because she’s a lusty Argonian maid, obviously) and I was away. Hours and hours later, Wenchy finally reached level 50, and I thought it was about time I should hand in the Dragon Stone from Bleak Falls Barrow and do some of the main quest.
Because not activating Dragons early on was certainly something I’d learnt playing my first two characters. The very first play through I did, I activated the main quest and ran with it straight away – and I found Dragon battles frustrating. The Dragons didn’t land a lot (if I remember correctly, having this game from launch there were some dragon issues that were patched out), the battles weren’t too fun etc.
Adding to that, there are a lot of other really fun, interesting, and cool quests to do all over the place anyway, so that you don’t need to run on into the main one straight away. I haven’t even managed to do everything in my save after having played for so long, there is so much to do. So, while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend waiting until level 50 to start the main quest like I did, maybe leaving it until level 25, which doesn’t take too long to reach actually,and Dragon fighting shouldn’t be too frustrating.
So, what did I do to get to level 50 that wasn’t the main quest? Well, I made Wenchy a Rouge type character with a bit of warrior skills mixed in there, and completely ignored the magic stuff. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even go inside the College of Winterhold. Anyway, I started off doing all the extra quests in Whiterun, even finishing the Companions quest line (which is a very good starter fighting character quest line) before deciding to do straight to Riften.
Within Riften, obviously being a rouge/thief character I had to do the thieves guild quests, which were good fun. It did get a bit tedious trying to finish enough ‘mini quest’ style side job things to help rebuild the thieves guild (and get that damn trophy) but I got there in the end. Outside the thieves guild stuff I completed a lot of the side missions of Riften.
Having invested so much in my sneaking I thought it would be a great idea to do The Dark Brotherhood quests – which were a bit of a pain to activate until I looked up that you just have to sleep to get them to visit you after completing ‘Innocence lost’, but again the Brotherhood was quite fun. I liked a lot of the characters in the Brotherhood, their sense of humour and what not. Good fun.
Aside from those two big quest lines I did a lot of quests in Markath and Solitude. I didn’t join the Bards college – mostly because I couldn’t be bothered. I did a bunch of quests in a lot of the ‘town-like’ places like Dawnstar etc.
A few big points I wanted to mention about my play through, I did complete the civil war quests after I finished the main story quest, but I want to mention it first. In my play through I sided with the Imperials, being an Argonian and having seen Windhelm not being so friendly to anything but Nords. So it made sense to not support Ulfric, the next time I play through I may play a beefy warrior and try the Stormcloak side.
I did quite like the ‘no side is better’ thing there were doing in the civil war quests. The Jarl of Solitude, Elisif – doesn’t actually seem to be much of a…well, much of a leader. Tullius is, but he isn’t entirely interested in the fate of Solitude – he’s just there on orders. Ulfric is hardly a great alternative either, with the aforementioned ‘Skyrim is for the Nords’ mostly meaning ‘I don’t like foreigners’. The new Jarl they appoint when you win Windhelm does seem better – he wants to help the elves and everything, so I kind of think I made the right decision there.
Moving on, house-wise I did end up owning them all (apart from the High Mage quarters in Winterhold – having not been a wizard at all), though not without some hassle. I originally couldn’t buy the house in Markath as something had gone wrong at some point. As was suggested online I gave Markath to the Stormcloaks during negotiations, which changes who is in charge – opening up the option to buy a house. Retaking the city later with the Imperials has pretty much no effect. I also dislike that despite being able to buy a house in Solitude without really getting involved in their politics, you can’t do the same in Windhelm – so the house in Windhelm was the last I opened.
As to which house I liked the most – the house in Riften definitely makes the best starting house (especially if you aren’t opening the main quest, locking you out from buying the Whiterun house), it’s both cheap and has a lot in it. Once the game moves on, I finally settled on the house in Windhelm to set up a permanent base (which did mean I could only do this really late, after finally getting around to sorting out the civil war). The Windhelm house is laid out quite well, and has a huge amount of storage for all the different bits of awesome armour and unique weapons you pick up over your play through.
In terms of the games buggy-ness, the longer I played my save the more buggy it felt. Skyrim isn’t anywhere near as buggy as other games I can think of, not by far (Fallout: New Vegas was certianly worse). It did stutter at times, it ran a bit slow here and there. It crashed on a few occasions. Strangely enough I had some weird things happening like the guy who runs the Whiterun stables would be duplicated. Eventually there were three of him, each with their own separate inventory, wandering around the stables.
And finally, finishing the main story line and the civil war story lines – neither of them feel very…well…ending like. I think I preferred Fallout 3′s approach – where there is a kind of end, and you find out the results of all your actions and what happens to people in a nice cutscene. But then you keep playing afterwards (In Fallout 3 you needed DLC, but you get what I mean.) Skyrim feels like you can’t really end it, you just kind of…decide to stop playing it. Or maybe so all the quests in the game and be left with only the radiant ones.
But overall, I really enjoyed playing Skyrim. I sank a lot of hours into it, it was very fun and I still think – very pretty. I’ll certainly be playing through it again and trying everything different in the future, though I will probably want a fair break before playing it again. *Skyrim fatigue*
Extra stats for fun!
Final level reached: 53 (and about a half)
Total play time: 117 hours, 33 minutes (that’s nearly 5 days solid…scary stuff)
Skills (without item boosts)
Smithing level: 100 (all 10 perks taken)
Sneak level: 100 (all 13 perks taken)
One handed level: 100 (8 perks taken)
Light armor level: 100 (5 perks taken)
Lockpicking level: 93 (3 perks taken)
Other high level skills: Speech at 82, Archery at 81, Alchemy at 78, and Pickpocket at 73.)
Days passed: 325
Hours slept: 394
Gold found: 567736
Diseases contracted: 4 (Fuck yeah, being an Argonian)
Quests completed: 92
Misc quests completed: 210
People killed: 929
Favourite weapon: Deaedric Sword of the Inferno/Chillrend
Potions mixed: 1049
Total lifetime bounty: 9847
Items pickpocketed: 2751
Items stolen: 3266