The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim


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Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax® Media company, today confirmed the upcoming release of The Elder Scrolls® V: Skyrim™, the next installment in the award-winning Elder Scrolls series and follow up to the 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion®.

Developed by Bethesda Game Studios® under the direction of Todd Howard, Skyrim will be released on Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and Games for Windows® worldwide on November 11, 2011. Details on the game will be revealed in our exclusive cover stories in the New Year.

“It’s exciting finally to announce the game,” said Todd Howard, Game Director on Skyrim. “We’ve been working for many years on Skyrim and the technology behind it. A new Elder Scrolls game has been a long time coming, and we can’t wait to show it off.”

Announcement trailer.

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The story

Skyrim is set in… well, Skyrim, which is located north of Cyrodil. It is a snowy area and it’s ultimately where Nords are from. The story is set 200 years after the events of Oblivion. You play as a Dragonborn (a dragon hunter) and you are mentored by the last living Blade member. There is also a civil war going on after the death of the king. Looking back at the song we decoded, there is a strong hint here that 2 brothers will wage war, causing Alduin; the dragon who can destroy the world, to be spawned.


enemies will include zombies, skeletons, trolls, giants, ice wraiths, giant spiders, dragons, wolves, horses Elk, mammoth and saber-toothed cats among others.

The engine

The new engine is brand new. Snow now falls dynamically. Trees are more detailed (and they have fixed branches and leaves). Wind is used to determine the flow of water and the direction in which leaves point. Also, there are now dynamic shadows.

Combat and weapons

Combat with weapons is said to be more dynamic in Skyrim. Bethesda are working hard to make sure every weapon type feels different to play with. Also, you can now smith your own weapons out of red hot metal. There is also supposedly a duel-wield option, in which you can wield any one-hand weapon in your left or right hand, so a warrior might have 2 swords, whilst a battle-mage might have one sword and one hand free for magic. Also, weapons have unique finishing moves.


There are now 5 magic schools; Destruction, Alteration, Conjuration, Restoration and Illusion. Mysticism has been removed. Enchanting is now a skill.


There are 5 “massive” cities. There is now more to do in cities, including cooking, farming, mining, woodcutting and blacksmithing, but exactly how these will work is yet to be described. Killing a shop keeper will not close it down for good, a relative of the keeper will usually take over the shop. There is talk of cities being attacked by dragons too.

Levels and skills

There are now 18 skills to choose from (3 less than Oblivion). The skills will be tailored to you, so if you would like to be a powerful mage, you would be able to put up the skills relevant to you, but there is also room for people who like all the skills. The game now has perks, similar to Fallout 3. You can choose a perk when you level up, and you can also choose to put up your health, magicka or stamina upon leveling up. Once you have reached level 50, it will be harder to level up, and you won’t be able to select new perks.


Non-playable characters are more dynamic and interactive. When you talk to someone, the camera won’t zoom into their face, they will instead move around and do things (you know, like a human). Depending on where you drop something, NPCs can interact differently with it. For example, dropping a weapon could lead to a child trying to return it to you, it could also spark a fight between men who want to claim it. Oh, and if you didn’t catch that, there are now children. You can now duel NPCs in cities.


Quests can be more dynamic than ever. Some quests will be randomly generated for you. For example, an NPC could ask you to find something, the game will check all near-by caves/forts to see which ones you haven’t entered and which ones have suitable enemies, and then the quest would be to go to the selected area and retrieve it. Also, some quests will be tailored to your preferences (magic, combat etc).

“The game eventually logs a huge storehouse of knowledge about how you’ve played, and subsequently tailors content to your capabilities and experiences. Entering a city, a young woman might approach you and beg you to save her daughter from kidnappers. The game will look at the nearby dungeons you’ve explored, automatically set the mission in a place you’ve never visited, and designate opponents that are appropriately matched to your strengths and weaknesses.”

The player

There are several player improvements. 3rd-person view has been improved. Players (and NPCs) can now have beards (hooray!). Upon creating your character, you will be able to edit their body as well as their face. There are 10 races to choose from, but you won’t choose a class at the start of the game (your class is determined by your skills). Players can now sprint, which will take up stamina.


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# Magnetism’ is used to prevent friendly fire in combat, by slightly ‘pulling’ your attacks towards enemies

# Some, apparently unique, enchanted weapons will have “concealed” effects. You won’t know what those are until you try the weapon.

# You cannot block if you have a sword in one hand, and a spell in another. Only players wielding two-handed blades or sword and shield can use block.

# The Spell Shield effect returns.

# Taverns will play a large role in the game. You will be able to overhear people’s conversations, start quests, acquire information, and much more.

# They mention breaking and entering to find out more about people – “Because of the open world set up you can even progress by snooping around – following people, looking out for strange behaviour and even some light breaking and entering”.

# Quest givers can give you more or less information about their quest depending on their disposition towards you.

- One dungeon is called 'Bleak Falls Barrow', and it is inhabited by the Draugr (the undead Nord warriors we first met in Bloodmoon). As you proceed through the dungeon, you'll eventually encounter a 'ghostly dragon priest', and eventually the dungeon boss, a giant 'Frostbite Spider'. It is said the dungeon is 'terryfing'.

- The quest to Bleak Falls Barrow is given to you by a shopkeeper called Lucan, whose priceless Draconic family heirloom (a golden claw) was stolen recently.

# Several new spell effects, including “Ice Trap” (only triggered when an enemy walks over it), “Circle of Protection” (push the enemies in your vicinity away), “Fury” (make enemies fight each other), and so on.

# One of the finishing moves involves “plunging your sword into your enemy’s chest”, coupled with gurgling death noises.

# The ‘free-form’ activities you can perform include cooking, woodcutting, mining and metalwork.

# A Dragon Shout that slows down time (a la Bullet Time) is mentioned.

# Some Dragon Shouts are found in dungeons.

# There’s a city called Riverwood. It is described as ‘A smattering of timber buildings, including a sawmill’.

# Radiant Story is in part inspired by the random encounters in Fallout 3.

# The game apparently looks amazing in motion, with great environment effects such as the wind making the water swirl and making waves.

# It is possible to raise all skills to 100 but not possible to get all perks.

- The death of the King of Skyrim has sparked a civil war in the country.

# Dragon encounters aren’t scripted. If one comes across a town in its travels, it might decide to attack it without warning. This may or may not involve setting it ablaze.

# Magazine talks about the improvement of NPC’s and Radiant AI.

# Every big settlement is unique. The city of Markarth Side, for example, is set into “dramatic stone cliffs, with buildings teetering on the end of sheer drops.”

# Haarfingar is said to be home to the largest trading port in Skyrim.

# The game apparently includes ‘meteorogical effects’: clouds gathering around mountaintops, etcetera.

# The glorious return of the Dwemer ruins is once again confirmed.

# One of the cities in Skyrim will apparently be heavily inspired by the Dunmer (Dark Elves), and may even be a full-fledged Dunmer settlement.

# They’re trying to go back to the “eccentricity” of Vvardenfell. Every Nord faction will have their own customs, colors, and so on.

# The economy of the game is better developed than in Oblivion. If you destroy a city’s means of income (for instance, their crops) they’ll need to buy crops from another nearby city, and prices in the city will go up.

# Archers can ‘hold their breath’ while aiming. This consumes stamina, but gives the archer a better chance of hitting the enemy.

# A wounded dragon has a chance of crashing into the ground.

# You can cut dialogue short by walking away from the NPC.

# Dragon Shouts are assigned to the R3-button on the PS3 gamepad.

# Not every NPC will have a complete set of dialogue like in Oblivion. It’ll be more like in Fallout 3, where only the ‘important’ NPC’s have anything substantial to say.

# Quests can influence each other. Quest A may be changed for you because you completed Quest B beforehand.

# Quest givers now give more detailed instructions, in a style that’s apparently akin to Morrowind. They might even escort you to the road, to show you where to go.

# The game has 120 unique dungeons, worked on by 8 designers.


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* Skyrim will take place 200 years after Oblivion and isn’t a direct sequel in the traditional sense of things – from a story perspective.

* You take the role of one of the supposed last remaining Dragonborn, a true dragon hunter, and will no doubt be tasked to stop the huge dragon God, Alduin, also known as the World Eater.

* Esbern, your in-game mentor of sorts, is one of the last surviving Blades and will be voiced by Max Von Sydow (Minority Report, etc)

* Your hero will be tasked with walking 7,000 steps to the high retreat of High Hrothgar to get dragon slaying training from a group of mysterious old men that reside there called the Greybeards.

Game World

* There are said to be “six or seven really different environment looks” in Skyrim, says Bethesda's Todd Howard.

* There are 5 massive cities to explore. Yes, you can fast travel to previously explored places.

* There are 10 races in Skyrim.

* There are a variety of tasks to do in Skyrim as well, including crafting new weapons at the forge, creating poisons and potions through alchemy and you can enchant items with magical powers.

* You can also get involved in mundane tasks if you wish, like farming, woodcutting, mining and even cooking.

* Dropping weapons in the street can end in different outcomes; for instance, it could remain there forgotten, it could be picked up by a small boy and returned to you, or two men could fight over its ownership.

* The game world is said to be much more alive and detailed than in Oblivion, and boast incredible draw distances. Everything is said to be traversable.

* The game world is populated with a variety of animals from saber-tooth cats to woolly mammoths.

* Lesser dragons roam the game world, meaning they will play a far more significant part this time around. They are a big part of Skyrim and won’t be held back until the end.


* Thanks to something Bethesda are calling the Radiant story system, the game’s lesser missions will react to who you are and where you are, and present you with quests that are “flavoured dynamically.”

* That’ll take into account where you’ve been, who you’ve killed, what skills you’ve upgraded, who are your friends and who are your enemies. For instance, a magic user may give a fellow magic user a quest, but not someone who levelled up their weapon skill.

* If you kill a shopkeeper that was going to give you a quest, his sister will inherit the store and may give you the quest out of anger or frustration instead.

* The ability to duel in the streets is mentioned.

* Through missions, the game will encourage players to go places they’ve never visited. For instance, a woman might ask you to save her kidnapped offspring and the game will send you to a dungeon you’ve never been before. It’ll then set enemies that are appropriately matched to your strengths and weaknesses.


* Faces have been dramatically overhauled, giving them more emotion and making them as realistic as they ever have been in a Bethesda game.

* Conversations are revamped and no longer zoom in on a rigid character. Instead, characters will often get on with what they are doing with the occasional glances at the player character, for instance.

* Characters can overhear details from other people’s conversations that they can do with as they see fit, from hearing about missing items or unusual situations. All of which are stored in a log.


* Skyrim welcomes the two hands/two options approach, enabling players to mix and match what each hand holds, whether it’s a spell/weapon combo, a weapon/weapon combo, a spell/spell combo or a weapon/shield combo. Whatever you want is possible.

* You can setup loadouts and change them in combat with only a momentary pause.

* There are finishing moves now that are weapon and opponent specific.

* Bows take longer to draw back this time, but are much more powerful.

* There are only 5 schools of magic in Skyrim – there was 6 in Oblivion – with Mysticism being cut. Howard insisted that with them jiggling stuff around, it became redundant.

* Bethesda has slowed down how fast you move backwards too, so you can’t just backpedal in combat. Apparently being able to move as fast backwards as you can forwards made your character look ridiculous in third-person view.

* Enemies don’t necessarily charge at the player when they see him this time and some will have unique patterns and tendencies.

* Players can learn unique abilities called “dragon shouts” by absorbing the souls of dragons – one of the benefits of the dragonborn - of which there are over 20 in the game and each is formed from three words of power. They can push enemies away, slow down time, transport you and even summon a dragon, amongst other things.

Levelling Up

* There is no class system per se in Skyrim and how a player plays depends on what skills the character gains. Use a one-handed weapon, watch that skill increase, etc. You get experience for everything.

* Skill increases contribute to your overall level growth. Each level gives you a boost in health and a chance to boost health, magika or stamina.

* There are 18 separate skills in Skyrim, including such things like Illusion, Destruction, Restoration, Enchanting, etc.

* It seems like there are 50 main levels, with Howard mentioning levelling up to 50 is roughly the same time as it would be to level an Oblivion or Fallout character to 25.

* You can level up past 50, but it’s a dramatically slower increase than before once you get past that threshold.

* Todd Howard confirms that Skyrim will use the perk system that they used in Fallout 3, noting that there was an automated perk system in place in Oblivion, but in Skyrim, the user has control over it. There are dozens of perks to choose from, that may increase dagger damage during stealth attacks and may mean your mace attack may ignore your foe’s armour skills.

* On the official forums, Bethesda responded to questions about the game’s scaling system that many didn’t like in the original. “All our games have had some amount of randomness/levelling based on player level. Skyrim's is similar to Fallout 3's, not Oblivion's,” said Bethesda’s Senior Community Manager on the forums.


* You can play Skyrim HUD free.

* The third person perspective is said to be improved.

* Characters can now sprint, using up stamina from their stamina supply.

They're also saying the Dark Brotherhood will return~!

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Some more info:

Once King of Skyrim was found dead, it sparked off a civil war

Quest givers can give you either more or less information regarding a quest

Taverns will play great role in the game since they will be locations where players will overhear conversations, start quests, gain information and much more

Player can boost all perks to level 100 but can’t get all perks

Players will be able to cook, woodcut, mine and blacksmith

A settlement called Riverwood can be found in game

Some weapons will have concealed effects as long you don’t try them yourself

Magnetism will allow you to prevent friendly fire in combat

Each settlement will provide an unique feel

Wind will effect water stream

Dragon encounters won’t be scripted

One of the cities of Skyrim will be dedicated to the Dunmer while Haafingar will be the largest port available in game

Dwemer Ruins will be available in Skyrim

Weather effects will be a part of the game

Equipment can be repaired

Player can break into NPC houses or silently stalk them

Block mechanism can’t be used in combat as long player has a spell equipped to one of his character hands

Various different colors, rituals and other features will be added to each of the Nord factions available in game

Archers can hold their breath to boost accuracy

Ice Trap freezes an enemy when he walks over trap – similar to WoW’s Ice Trap

Circle of Protection spell pushes surrounding enemies from player

Detect Life allows player to detect life in his vicinity – most likely similar to tracking spells of hunter class in WoW

Fury makes enemies go berserk and fight each other

I'll be mining like a mofo.

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