Thursday, 1 December 2011

Skyrim Unplayable After 1.2 Patch

Well, I don't really know whether to laugh or cry in utter frustration at the turn of events re Skyrim.

The release of the 1.2 PC patch is an utter disaster, especially for the people who were caught and had the patch download unintentionally, ie even with updates via STEAM disabled.  The luckier ones never downloaded it and the ones who did hoping for more are in dire straights.  It's often been said that if people aren't having issues they never post and that's been true of me in the past.   That may be so now in many cases, but I would also bet that there are many who just decided it wasn't worth it and uninstalled the game in a fit of fury.  When you see the numbers of people browsing the Official forums, and posters reactions on other forums this seems even more likely to me. 

Armour and magical damage resistances, including poisons resistance and Racial Powers are now non existent, menus are semi non responsive or crash the game, and in some cases people are unable to exit menus except by alt tabbbing and force quitting with the Task manager.   The map is also causing many people problems.  Dragons have been seen flying backwards or through mountains and don't react to the player, crashes and freezes are vastly increased for players who had none before, and more.  Some people in the know, (aka very experienced modders), say there's a large memory leak causing lag and eventual crashes.

I stupidly allowed the stealth DRM patch download because I forgot to set offline mode as I normally do, and even more stupidly I forgot to backup the release day 1.1 exe even though I intended to so I could revert it.  Now even if I chose to reinstall the game I'll be in the same boat so I ended up letting the 1.2 patch download and will now wait to see if and when there's another hot fix before playing again.

Since I have other STEAM games that do work and I want to play I had no choice in the matter and I have set offline mode now and it won't be changing until the game is fixed.   I have now shelved Skyrim until something is done by Bethesda.

You'd think I would have learned to NOT preorder games and get them on release day after a couple of other disaster Arcania Gothic 4, but no, I did it again thinking at least Skyrim would possibly only have minor issues, but be playable.

I will say though that the 35 hours I have played were pretty much problem free except for the 3-7 second pauses and a few silent CTD's, until a few days ago when the hard freezes became a frequent occurrence and I'm loathe to try again.  My PC doesn't like hard resets and neither do I.  I read on the forums that this the size of save games was possibly one cause of the PS3 problems like excess lag and crashing, and now some PC users are having the same issues.  The problem seems to start when saves reach 6-8mb or more in size and mine are now at 6.5mg.  Maybe that's co-incidence but the freezes started when my saves reached 6mb.    My save games in a heavily modded Oblivion never reached that size even after ten times the playing I have to wonder.

I'm also in the unenviable position of running Windows XP, not because of the OS but because the game isn't optimized to use more than single core CPU for XP users which causes freezes and constant exits to the Desktop.  At least I gather this is the reason from reading the thread devoted to it on the Official forums.   I have no complaints about XP as it does what I need and I don't care much about DirectX10 and even if I did the game doesn't support it.  This  has been another cause of intense anger among others using the same OS as myself.  The hard freezes, not DX10.

There's a user made patch called ENBseries which is supposed to help and many have said it does for them, but after installing it my game froze within ten minutes.   There's an update to the fix but I don't feel much like trying it because if the games freezes again I'll be fending off a stroke from sheer bloody anger.

One of the more ludicrous suggestions from a player, who was quite condescending I might add, was to try to get the game working by formatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows, and it was posted in nearly every thread to many people's annoyance, including mine.  If I had to do that to get a game working when every other game I have including new ones don't require a fresh install of the OS there's no way I'm going down that road.  Driver updates where available, yes and other normal troubleshooting methods I can accept but that's just ridiculous. 

I was one of those people who was extremely lucky with Fallout New Vegas and had no issues whatsoever.  I can only remember one CTD and that was on a fully modded game with lots of projectiles, shaders and added monsters and NPC's (from mods) in an intense firefight after a long play session.  AND using the old graphics card I replaced with one I purchased especially for Skyrim.    I never had too many problems with vanilla Oblivion, but Fallout 3 was a stuttering mess and I uninstalled that after awhile because it just wasn't worth it.   I didn't like the game as much as NV anyway, so much so I never even finished the main quest or most of the side quests for that matter.

I appreciate that patching a game of this size and complexity would be a nightmare, but I'll say again that Bethesda's biggest mistake in all of this was setting a static release date and rushing to meet it.  Yes, there would have been complaints if it was delayed, but nothing like what's happening now on the Official forums and indeed all over other gaming sites.

I wonder what magazine reviewers would be saying about the game in retrospect, if they were allowed that is.  They would never get another game to review if they did point out the flaws and considering they only had a short time to play and had to base their impressions on that time, I don't really blame them. 

A lot of the topics on the forums are useless ranting and trolling, but many are legitimate complaints and there have even been suggestions that posts have been removed.  I imagine most of these are rants and unconstructive BS by people who don't or should know better, ie trolls and general flamers, but the threads devoted to actual bug reporting are interesting to read and very informative.  However, that in a way makes it more frustrating when the reasons the game I paid $88 for is unplayable and I can understand completely the anger directed towards Bethesda.

Something I don't understand when something of this magnitude happens and a patch breaks many things making the game unplayable for a lot of people, is why the developers don't post on their OWN forum to say "Sorry we messed up but we're working on it and hope to have a solution as soon as possible."   Keeping silent is only making players angrier, myself included. 

I remember playing Divinity II:The Dragon Knight Saga and I registered at the Larian forums to show my appreciation for the quality of the game and more importantly because of the constant presence of the developers in the forums.  They are a small company and actually support and acknowledge any problems directly with the players.  Big game developers should take a leaf out of their book and communicate with their paying customers if they don't want the kind of backlash that's occurring now with Skyrim.

Addit: Oh, forgot to mention....Divinity II also uses the Gamebryo engine but without the problems.  It's an action rpg, obviously not on the scale of Skyrim but I had no problems of any kind whatsoever with it and it's a VERY long game.

Oh well.  Back to Age of Conan while I wait with bated breath for the game to be playable.   By that time I hope I still have the desire to actually play Skyrim because at the moment I don't want to start it up and wait for the inevitable freeze...that's if it runs at all.

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