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Thread: Skyrim: Dragonborn

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Iacon

    Skyrim: Dragonborn

    We're going back to solstheim!

    And it looks like there's some Morrowind-style buildings. iirc some Dunmer fled there after Morrowind itself got trashed. Could be a good way of appealing to player nostalgia, without having to do a full-game-sized landmass.

    I've held off from expansions so far, after spending far too much time playing Skyrim itself, but this is the first one to seriously risk luring me back in.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2000
    Location: tall bikes and tattoos
    It looks like someone at Bethesda realized that Skyrim fans aren't just looking for a new overlay on the existing game.

    Time for my millionth-level thief dude to head down to the basement of his Solitude home and pull his armor off of the mannequin and his weapons off the wall.

    Retirement is over

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2005
    Location: Not Kansas
    Dang! I still have the other two DLCs to delve into yet. Looks like it's gonna be a very busy winter for this dragonslayer/thief/stalker.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Iacon
    So now I've played through most of this.

    They have pushed the Morrowind references a lot, which is funny as first time around Solstheim was meant to be a change of scenery from VVardenfall. But now we have mushroom towers, harvest scathecraw and wear bonemold armor. Also I'm sure I recognised some of the background music.

    Main questline is a bit disappointing, in that we're given a Big Bad without much motivation beyond "I was the original dragonborn and you suck, usurper". But if you've not already had enough Skyrim to last alifetime, I'd say it's a more satisfying experience than Dawnguard. More to do, and a proper new landmass to explore.
    Last edited by Chimpy Chompy; 11th Feb 2013 at 09:07.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I'm holding out for an all-included edition down the road. Good thing is, by now I know what to expect from Bethesda and what not to expect: the world'll be great and atmospheric, the main storylines will be middling at best and there'll be some gems among the sidequests. Is that about it?

  6. #6
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    No, I think you left out outright broken or questionable gameplay systems and UIs that seem to have been designed to be as functionally limited and unusable as possible.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Iacon
    I never had much problem with the skryim UI? Well it would be nice to somehow search or move around my stash of 398 potions and ingredients faster, I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thirith View Post
    the world'll be great and atmospheric, the main storylines will be middling at best and there'll be some gems among the sidequests. Is that about it?
    More or less!

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2007
    Location: free koki
    I'm about ten hours into it, I guess, and I'm enjoying it so far. I'm missing the (slightly) more character/story-driven approach to Dawnguard, not that I expected Beth to go for seconds, but so far some interesting new locations and environments, as well as a crop of decent quests, are all keeping me fairly interested.

    If I have time I'll try to do some more in-depth feedback on it once I've finished it. Or at least he main quest, I've been veering off doing other stuff quite a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chimpy Chompy View Post
    I never had much problem with the skryim UI? Well it would be nice to somehow search or move around my stash of 398 potions and ingredients faster, I guess.
    Why hello thar'...

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2007
    Location: Finger paintings of the insane
    I finished Skyrim (X360) over a year ago, before any substantial DLC was issued. Just read into this and put 2-and-2 together... SOLSTHEIM? Nice! I am revisiting this game sooner than later.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2007
    Location: free koki

    Review

    I wrapped up the main quest of Dragonborn last evening and I've probably seen enough that I can write up on it at this point. I've spent roughly fourteen hours in this expansion so far, and I should stress that I've by no means seen even close to everything there is. If anyone's curious, I've been switching between Adept and Expert difficulty, sometimes travelling with a companion and other on my own. At the time of writing this I've got five regular quests active in my Journal, another handful of random objectives under Miscellaneous, and I've still got plenty of undiscovered compass markers, having barely explored the North, North-Western part of the island. I'd expect there are still another five to ten hours ahead of me easily, if not more.

    Of those fourteen hours, I'd say that no more than six or so count towards the completion of the main quest line exclusively. It's pretty straight-forward Bethesda stuff, and after Dawnguard I am a little bit disappointed, albeit not surprised. Many criticised Dawnguard for providing somewhat less in the way of traditional Elder Scrolls exploration - even the Soul Cairn and Hidden Valley being somewhat sparse in content despite the picturesque vistas - and instead serving a more linear questline in a familiar setting. Nonetheless, that main quest felt lengthier and more involving, and Serana drip-feeding you the plot background made it look like Bethesda were having a timid stab at patching up one of their main shortcomings - characters and storytelling.



    Dragonborn drives past that junction without even a sideways glance. You can easily boil down the main plot thread to four main quests, titles be damned, with little in the way of surprises or twists. The main antagonist himself is a big let-down with respect to writing, especially since the plot provides an opportunity and progression seems to hint at times at some possible character development, some fleshing out of Miraak's past and motivations down the line. But, by the time it's all said and done, the writing never rises up to the challenge and all we have to deal with is just another cardboard cutout of a villain with barely more personality than your run of the mill "Stop right there, criminal scum!"



    Now, as for the rest of the quests I'd argue they're more on the meatier side, judging by the Skyrim norm. I wouldn't point to any questline in particular as being entirely out of the ordinary, but there's variation and enough of it to keep you going, and at least so far I haven't gotten too much in the way of Radiant "Go to dungeon X and get object Y / stab dude Z" or generic "gather X number of rat innards." Dragonborn has a good deal more "hand-made" secondary quests with their own themes and plots than Dawnguard put forward.



    Where Dragonborn stands out from previous material is in environmental design. The southern reaches of Solstheim are covered in ash from Red Mountain, which you can see all smokey in the distance, Morrowing veterans (myself not included) will recognise typical architecture in Raven Rock and Tel Mithryn, and then there's Apocrypha, Hermaeus Mora's daedric realm. Now that last one's definitely worth a mention since, aside from the charming décor, all book piles, scattered pages, and geigeresque slime tentacles, Beth's engineers have also worked on making a worldspace that shifts and changes around you. Well, a bit. I'm talking about corridors and bridges that extend or contract, unroll themselves like carpets, or bend from side to side to connect to various platforms. It's all quite pleasing, and it's a nice break from Skyrim's tundra and snow. Of course, it's not all new wallpaper, draugr and dwarven ruins are there to represent, and as soon as you venture in the northern half of the island you'll recognise the subarctic look you're probably more familiar than you'd like with by now.



    Moving on to mechanics, there's a couple of new shouts to be had, most notably of which one called "Bend Will" which is quest material and will allow you to temporarily turn other actors into allies. This includes dragons, and is the basis for the new "dragon riding" feature. Which is, as almost everyone knows by now, a huge disappointment since it grants very little control over the flying lizard. Of course, the defense argument is that Skyrim was never built for dragon combat and travel, and certainly being able to flap your wings to get to places would've broken a lot of the intended gameplay in the original campaign, but it's a shame that it didn't even make it in this DLC when devs could've designed the more limited Solstheim space to lend itself to the feature. Especially since one of the most popular mods for Oblivion featured a far more functional dragon mount. And that's disregarding the superb showing by Drakan: Order of the Flame back in '98, now that would've been an example to follow. Hopefully, the modding community will be able to do something more exciting in this department.



    Since we touched on the subject, you can now rearrange your perk trees if you need to. Completing Dragonborn's main quest will offer you the option of stripping a perk tree of all invested points and having them available for reassignment at the cost of one dragon soul. Between this and the appearance editing options in Dawnguard, your race and skill levels are the only things you can't change about your character. It's not a one-off, you will be able to access this respec feature as many times as you want, the only cost being dragon souls. And since Skyrim has been marketed as a game of "infinite dragons" you probably won't have much difficulty there.

    There's some new gear to be seen as well, including Bonemould and Chitin armour, Nordic and Stahlrim armour and weapons, as well as some other general clothing and a few unique items. Enemies as well, some totally new critters as well as your garden variety Different-takes-on-the-same-things.

    Much like with the bulk of TES V, your experience in Dragonborn may vary significantly with your character level. As I mentioned previously, I switched between Adept and Expert and I didn't find it an overwhelming challenge. There were some hard-hitting foes around and I did bite the dust a couple of times, but not really that often. And that's despite not being a very methodical player, I guess I'd have to give thanks to the high-level trinkets and my game-breakingly high sneak skill. So taking a mid 20's level in there might be a better idea than a level 52 when you don't even bother picking up daedric items, 'cause what are you gonna do with the cash anyway.

    With Dragonborn Bethesda really made good on their promise to deliver DLC which felt more like traditional expansion packs, rather than horse armour and 2-3 hour long vignettes. Overall, I'm quite satisfied with the purchase. There's enough new flavour in there so as not to make it feel like someone just painted over Morthal and the surrounding areas, a good selection of quests and a well populated landmass to explore. If I had to take a guess I'd reckon there's up to maybe 25 hours worth of content, depending on pace. It has its shortcomings, and I'm not talking about characteristics inheritted from Skyrim itself, but its own points where it doesn't live up to potential. Most notably for me, the lacklustre main plot and the makeshift dragon riding are missed opportunities. I'd rate it (yes, I just went there) with an 8 out of 10 against what it could've pulled off with its formula.

    It's probably best if you thought of Solstheim as being akin to a new and slightly stranger Hold in Skyrim. If you feel like playing some more of the same TES V but don't want to just roll a new character and go through the old quests and locations again, Dragonborn might well be worth your while (and cash). If you're already burned out on Skyrim's gameplay, though, the cosmetic and mechanical novelties aren't likely to make a world of a difference for you.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Iacon
    Regarding Dawnguard, since we're set up with this rag-tag band of vampire hunters, an assorted bunch of colourful characters, I wish we'd spent more time with them. Instead there's a lot of emphasis on Hot Vampire Chick who never seemed to have much personality.

    (don't know what it looks like if you join the vamps)

    Also I found the soul cairn kind of annoying to navigate.

    In Dragonborn I agree the main quest is pretty short. With Miraak being underdeveloped, I found my attention more on Hermaeus Mora who's kinda floating around being creepy and morally ambiguous. I do like his "cthulu's library" style realm.
    Last edited by Chimpy Chompy; 15th Feb 2013 at 09:24.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2007
    Location: free koki
    The differences between the Dawnguard and Volkihar sides are mostly cosmetic. You get access to different skills and resources, sure, but otherwise there's only a few differences in the main plot and the Radiant sidequests are different. It's true, the "super vampire / vampire-hunter best friends" theme isn't really utilised.

    Otherwise it's roughly the same progression and you spend your time with Hot Vampire Chick. I disagree on her not having personality, though - sure, compared to something out of a Bioware game, or the Witcher or whatever, there's very little writing behind her, but in Bethesda-land she's a multifaceted romanticist work of art.
    Last edited by Ostriig; 15th Feb 2013 at 11:29. Reason: work

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2000
    Location: tall bikes and tattoos
    Quote Originally Posted by Ostriig View Post
    It's probably best if you thought of Solstheim as being akin to a new and slightly stranger Hold in Skyrim. If you feel like playing some more of the same TES V but don't want to just roll a new character and go through the old quests and locations again, Dragonborn might well be worth your while (and cash). If you're already burned out on Skyrim's gameplay, though, the cosmetic and mechanical novelties aren't likely to make a world of a difference for you.
    This is completely accurate. Dragonborn is basically more-of-the-same with some slight variations--some new armor, new weapons, new baddies, new environments, etc. Dragonborn won't connect with those who found Skyrim wanting, but if you enjoyed the shit out of Skyrim and would like a breath of fresh content, Dragonborn is probably your jam.

    Dragonborn has definitely pulled me back into a game I dearly loved but heavily overdosed on, but there is still a feeling of been-there-done-that. There are far too many draugr-infested crypts and horker-thick icy shores for it to feel like anything other than Skyrim, but at the same time it's a solid chunk of new content at a reasonable price.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    For me Dragonborn was a nice extension of gameplay, but it wasn't what I'd call amazing.

    However, I freaking love Apocrypha. My favorite part of the entire Skyrim set. When you get the last book and meet Hermaeus Mora, that was just amazing. I nearly fell out of my seat when he just oozed out of the air. I'm sad that you don't really get anything beyond some passive buffs from the place. I'd love to be able to cast some spell-versions of the lurker's attacks, or do some really whacky things with HM's backing.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Germany
    Well, I thought that Dragonborn was WAY too short. But maybe I'm just too much of a hardcore Elders Scrolls Fan.
    I did enjoy the old Morrowind Music in Solstheim but I was disappointed that they merely put in the old Music without any kind of... editing (or at least none that I really noticed) How about putting in some more effort!?

    Secondly... Dragonriding. Yeah, it's a nice idea but... why? The way it was put into the game it's nothing overly fancy. I would've expected my own personal dragon mount or whatever, but nope. Just a temporary thing. That sucked. So in the end my horse is still my faithful companion.



    I wonder if anyone actually remembers me after nearly 10 years! O.O

  16. #16
    New Member
    Registered: May 2013
    It's my favourite DLC. It's quite similar to Morrowind!

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