5 Things I Want to Be Able to Do in Elder Scrolls VI
There’s no question that Skyrim is a masterpiece. Yes, there definitely are glitches, but they’re there because Skyrim is insanely ambitious; there’s a humongous world you can traverse full of monsters, tons of characters, and a huge mapful of locations to explore to your heart’s content. Lots of people focus on the issues, but really, whining about them’s like complaining that there’s a small dent in your solid gold chalice.
So what the hell’s this post even about then? Simple: there’s always room to improve creatively, and, having returned to Skyrim after a long Wii break (snicker–it’s fine), I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to prattle on about what I want to be possible in Elder Scrolls VI (Valenwood?).
5. “You’ve Got a Letter. Said He Was a Friend of Yours.”
Thought we’d start with something pretty casual.
The Courier is a solid staple of Skyrim. The last time I saw him, he delivered a letter to me while I was fighting a horde of enemies that would not die.
It got me thinking about the use of letters in Skyrim and I realized something. Now, I know having live co-op would completely change the way the series plays… but what if we could at least write to each other? It definitely wouldn’t be essential, but perhaps players would be able to send specific types of correspondence to friends that would help and be cool.
Perhaps a “Treasure Map” would let you add a specific waypoint to the reader’s map.
Perhaps a “Skill Lesson” would allow you to boost or level up a friend’s stat (with, naturally, a bunch of limits).
Perhaps casual correspondence, not from a bot, would just be nice to receive once in a while, particularly when you’ve been away from ES for a while.
In the end, I think if it was balanced properly, it would be a nice addition. Nothing too crazy, but something to add to the general attention deficit disorder that is Elder Scrolls gameplay.
Another none too crazy idea. We now have the Bard’s College, which I enjoy. But why not take it to the next level by making it the window to official screen shots?
I know, I know—any idiot with the right hardware could make screen shots, but there’s a difference between a grab that you have to work for and (perhaps) a painted version of a grab, made easily attainable by Bethesda themselves. There’ve been plenty of games that let you take screen shots, but I’d be hard pressed to name a series more deserving of the feature than Elder Scrolls; these games are full of awesome sights, many of which are player-specific. I could tell you about the time in Oblivion when I rode to the top of a mountain, turned around and caught the sunset through a weird grey haze and it was awesome, but telling you wouldn’t be half as awesome as my being able to paint the damn thing and then post it in an in-game community (Bards College gallery?) or online community. Really, I think it would be awesome to see that community of ES players, focused on making awesome paintings of in-game scenes.
Again, not an insane idea, but it would work along the lines of creating an in-game community for ES without resorting to multi-player and co-op.
3. Beast Taming
Getting a bit crazier here, I gotta say that every time I see a Skyrim Cow on my loading screen, I think, “Man would it be awesome to ride a cow. Or have a pet cow. Or a pet goat… Wait. Why the hell can’t I do that?” The idea immediately snowballs into, “Why the hell can’t I raise my very own Mudcrab? And name him, ‘Clamps’? Or maybe even ‘Bad-Da-Climp, Bad-Da-Clamp’!?” And really, from there, there’s no going back.
I think Beast Taming would be an awesome skill, rife with perks (like Fallout’s Animal Friend, which stops wild animals from attacking you), and a major step up from the incredibly annoying (if cute) dogs that we got in Skyrim. Getting a little more technical, they would be another step towards diversifying a non-magic-user’s game play experience in Elder Scrolls (which Cooking was an attempt at, if you didn’t notice). And, as is ever popular, it would add a whole slew of items for players to spend money on. On top of all of that, if Beast Taming included a trapping ability, it could also be used to finally make the traps that are all over Skyrim but that we still can’t make for some reason.
But really, none of that matters. All that matters is, I want to be able to ride a Mammoth, Bethesda. Make it so!
2. Not Just Mounted Combat, but a Mounted Combat Skill
This is kind of insanely overdue.
I’m sure there’s a solid reason why Bethesda has never included it, but really, #&$* that; Mounted Combat needed to be possible in Oblivion, if we’re honest about it. And in Skyrim, the land full of combat-ready Nords, it’s just silly that it isn’t a skill; riding a horse in Skyrim is ridiculously limited to the extent that it’s almost pointless.
Hopefully, Bethesda finally turns around on this idea in the next Elder Scrolls, making it a full-on skill with perks, or attaching it to another skill (Beeeeast Taming? [because it would be awesome to do Mounted Combat from the back of my Mammoth!]). Or, if it has to be incredibly simple, perhaps they could at least make the attack button do something while I’m on horseback, even if it’s making my horse attack while I’m on it so that, at the very least, I don’t have to get off of her every few seconds to fight a Sabre Cat, Mud Crab, Bandit, or any other of the threats that are always within five feet of the player?
1. Acquiring Apprentices
Okay. We all enjoy the vastly improved followers system in Skyrim. It’s great—we can exchange stuff with our bots, finally equip them without pick pocketing them, and actually tell them to go to specific places and do pretty specific things.
But let’s take it to the next level now. I propose Apprentices—characters we can acquire, hire, find, or what have you and whose stat growth and battle tactics we can define.
Picture this: you finish the Mage Guild/College/Whatever quests and, as always, become the Arch-Mage. With this comes a list of perks, like the ability to multiply items, or access a ton of magical artifacts. But wait—that’s not all. Your second in command notifies you that you have to help choose who to admit to the Guild/College this year. You go to survey them, make your choice based on their skills (or whatever), and a week later find out this character is extremely skilled at their branch of Magic. But then, this student asks to be your Apprentice, agreeing to study as you tell him/her to and do any tasks you see fit (whether it’s coming with you like other followers, or investigating a location for you).
How awesome would that be? You would go to your College/Guild, tell an NPC to fetch your Apprentice, survey their Skills, tell them what to improve and either send them off (letting them gain experience solo so you can level them up when they come back) or tweaking their battle tactics and then taking them out to adventure with you. Really, the ability to clearly define a follower’s battle tactics is something that was possible in New Vegas and should’ve been accessible in Skyrim too, but I’m thinking of making it more specific for Apprentices, with specific commands ranging from “Hang back and use Fire Magic” to “Take point and use a specific sword,” a sword, mind you, that you just dropped in his or her inventory.
The result? A new facet of gameplay that would make finishing quest lines really awesome.
I’m pretty sure 4 out of the above 5 aren’t going to happen, and for the most part, that isn’t going to break my heart because I’m sure the next ES game is going to blow my mind regardless.
But still, here’s to hoping I can official quit my actual life in a few years in favor of riding my War Cow into battle against a handful of Mudcrabs while my Apprentice clears a cave of Master Vampires.
Agree? Disagree? Have a suggestion of your own to uselessly throw at Bethesda? Comment below!