Tobold's Blog
Saturday, August 06, 2011
That hype train left without me

I understand there is some excitement in the gaming blogosphere about the upcoming release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. They just announced a $150 collectors edition with a big plastic dragon. And people are hopeful that Skyrim will be a good role-playing game, based on their experience with Oblivion and Morrowind.

Unfortunately me personal experience with Oblivion and Morrowind was a rather bad one: I couldn't play them due to the user interface, cursor, and camera controls. The cursor was stuck to the middle of the screen, so every time you want to click on something you need to move the camera to show the item you want to click on in the center. As you click on a lot of things in a RPG, that necessitated a lot of camera movement, which in turn caused me video game nausea. I only get that with very few games, mainly those that have head bop or lots of vertical camera movement, but with the Elder Scrolls games up to now it was really bad. I don't assume they have completely changed the control scheme for Skyrim, so I'm not going to buy this.
I had to stop and think because I'm used to this camera aiming from recent fps games and it doesn't bother me but I realize now that in Oblivion it likely lead to my headaches. Just lots more looking around and selecting things. I do hope they come up with something different.
I played both Oblivion and Morrowind and dont even remember specifics of the controls and the camera, since they appeared natural (as in like a lot of other games i played, and intuitive without reading a manual) to me. Some games can make me ill though, i especially remember Descent which almost instantly made me extremely nauseous. That game could be used as a torture device...

The same happens when i watch someone else play a 3d videogame (including via youtube)...I also think it has something to do with the pace of the game, which in Morrowind was pretty slow.
I agree the games went downhill, after Daggerfall the Elder Scrolls lost their enchantment for me. Not that I ever got far in Daggerfall but I kept trying. Used to love the atmosphere in the generic dungeons in that game - they somehow messed it up since then... and I can't really put my finger on what they lost.
Why has every post been liked by exactly 29 people?
Here is a thought - both Morrowind and Oblivion were pushing the edge of technology when they were released and tended to have low frame rates on existing graphics cards. If you went back now and tried to play one of them on a modern machine you would probably get silky smooth performance and high frame rates which could help the motion sickness.

As to the games themselves - the experience they offer is probably closer to the huge open world of an mmorpg than other single player games but with better storylines than an mmorpgs.

WB to comments by the way.
Why has every post been liked by exactly 29 people?

The front page of my blog has been liked by 29 people. You'd need to click on the title of the blog entry and get to that entry's page to see how many people liked that entry. But as the full text is shown on the front page, not many people do that. Not perfect, I know.
It looks like Skyrim will be a rehash of Morrowind and Oblivion, with better graphics. I loved Morrowind but for some reason hated Oblivion. That means Skyrim is a no-buy for me.
The same for me. Morrowind was fresh in the way it revealed the exotic world of Vvanderfell. It was like w journey to far away land. Oblivion didn't take us that far, it was a return to a bunch of good old fantasy tropes and just not that special. I still play Morrowind from time to time though, just wander around and refresh the lore. Will never forget the sound a Silt Strider makes or the impression cities like Tel'Aruhn or Sadrith Mora made on me (practically made of fungus). In the way lore was told on every step the game was epic.
I've never really experienced video game nausea, but I've obviously been motion sick before and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I think it is kind of a tad unfair for you to have a negative opinion on the games for that reason though.

Not that I am telling you how to feel, but it just seems like it can't be helped that you just can't play those games, and there is nothing the devs can do to change that. I'd just give it a pass completely.
I think it is kind of a tad unfair for you to have a negative opinion on the games for that reason though.

I would be highly interested where you think I expressed a negative opinion of the games in an unfair way. I said I wouldn't buy a game that makes me sick, but isn't that only fair? Where did I say Skyrim was a bad game?
I had serious virtual motion sickness issues with Oblivion (and games like first person shooters) until I figured out that tweaking the FOV (field of view) setting can make a big difference. I don't know why it works, but it really did for me.

I'm happy that I figured it out because for years, I'd been missing out on great games like Bioshock, HL2, Borderlands, Oblivion, etc.
I'm with the party who loved Morrowind but were disappointed in Oblivion. It was mainly the difference in atmosphere between the strange and barren Vvardenfell and the over-civilised Cyrodiil. I want to get away from civilisation in my fantasies! The beauty of the landscape and the music were part of it too.

However, we don't know which Skyrim will most resemble, do we? Technologically it will resemble Oblivion, and I suppose we will have to put up with fast travel - but let's wait and see what sort of a world they make.
The other thing Morrowind had over Oblivion for me was the faction design.

Oblivion had a small number of factions. The faction questlines seemed to be set up with the aim of telling stories, with plot and stuff. Games pretty much suck at telling plotted stories in my opinion, and Bethesda are hardly the plotting kings even within gaming.

Morrowind had more than twice the number of factions, and their questlines were set up mainly with the aim to send you exploring all over the map, and stumbling over and into the weird and complicated backstory which Bethesda is actually pretty good at.

Also Oblivion gates were grindy, unfun, depressing, grimdark, samey looking dungeons, constantly screaming 'urgent!' at me, and dragons in Skyrim appear to be a mobile equivalent of Oblivion gates...

...I suppose a bunch of annoying in your face boss-fights might at least be *shorter* than a bunch annoying in your face dungeons.

I'll still get Skyrim, but I'm actually more looking forward to Amalur: Reckoning.
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