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Friday, November 18, 2011

Skyrim: Here Be Dragons

Okay, since I saw the commercials for it, something has bothered me about Skyrim. That thing is the frequency of dragon fights. Having still not played it (trying to justify the expense still, bear in mind I'm married so I have a partner to convince), I'm uncertain of how it impacts gameplay, but talking to several people that have, they certainly do appear a lot.

Dragons appearing a lot is a big burr in my saddle. Dragons are epic monsters that any Dungeon Master knows make a dramatic encounter, but loose all appeal if they are overused. When I see people posting that they've killed five or seven dragons and haven't gotten far in the plot, it worries me about the fun of the game. Dragons should not be lemmings to be killed at leisure, but they are dramatic and awesome. There's a balance there, and I think that Skyrim gets it right...or is just beyond right and on the overused side.

The reason I think this is because the dragon fights (at least the videos I've seen) are beautiful. The dragon does flyby breath attacks, screams in to fight on the ground, and is a hard encounter. This is great, as it makes the dragons a big threat, and a fun fight. Nothing is more boring than spamming a mouse click for ten minutes with a monster standing in front of you. Dragons moving around, using different attacks, and hitting and taking hits that are hard is amazing.

Now the big detractor is the ease of finding a dragon (seems like you just have to go to certain areas to find their spawns) and the frequency of their appearance (like I said, 7 dragons in a short period of gameplay). Dragons in games like WoW are still big encounters because 1. they are usually elites and need a group (talking real dragons here, not dragonkin), and 2. they are fairly rare. Dragons are bosses...at least dragons bigger than whelps. Heck, a good number of the hostile dragons in the game are raid bosses (including the delicious Zomnyxia battle...undead dragons ftw). Skyrim doesn't give this feel IMHO. They are common enough in the game that its not a surprise to be attacked by one...well, not any more than being attacked by random big bad #3 at least.

I'm starting to rant, so I will stop now...I will definately have to rent Skyrim soon if I don't buy it outright, just to get a fix.
-VG

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