Sunday, 15 January 2012

Skyrim - Saving My Sanity

 I'll get to the reason for the title after a bit.  There is

I'm 191 hours into this game, level 51, and still finding tons of things to do.  I said I was level 49 in the last post I made, but I was actually at 47, but I'm not going to bother changing it.  Something I've noticed is my save games have only just reached 12mb, where I've seen people say they have saves of 18mb or more and are having issues related to it.  I do actually have to keep the number of saves in my save folder very low though or else the game can freeze randomly, OR the mouse lags and freezes on the Main Menu when I want to load or save.

Anyway, I still haven't finished the main quest beyond the summit meeting, have the Companions partly done, some of the Bard's College quests and have joined the Dark Brotherhood but I more than likely won't go any further there, at least with this, my only character so far, as it's not her style.  Or mine now I've seen who I have to kill for my first assignment as that's someone I feel doesn't deserve it and as I have no information as to why he needs to die, I'm not going to do it.  One needs an evil disposition to murder people outright with no info on the reason for the contract and following orders just because I agreed to join their "club" feels wrong to me.  In hindsight I would have put Astrid out of her and my misery when I first met her.  Next time though...

I did the DB quests in Oblivion, but in that game it didn't feel as real and there was at least a little info on the reasons why they had to die.  Besides by the time I did get around to those quests I'd had about enough of the game and did them just as a completionist thing, and the victims never felt like anything more than puppets.  I did hate that Orc who killed the little girl at her party and boasted about it though.  That was just twisted and made me feel uncomfortable.  I know a lot will disagree with me and I don't care, but I find the NPC's in Skyrim to be more personable and "living" than in previous games.  In Oblivion you never or rarely had previous contact with the people you had to kill and it always felt detached and pointless to me.

I've only done some of the Daedric quests and I found a few of those distasteful even knowing beforehand that that would be the case, but I definitely won't be doing Namira or Boethia's quest.  I refuse to murder someone who trusts me particularly when they are not hostile to me or have even become friends via quests. Using an innocent as a meal for cannibals is a pretty low act.  Even gaining the Ebony Blade from Mephala was a letdown because it wants me to "feed" it with the blood of innocents or friends.  I'm not into betrayal I'm a game or real life.   It's also a two handed sword and I don't use them so it sits in a chest in one of my homes because the damn weapon racks keep dropping it on the ground, and in one case with a Daedric longsword I found in loot, made it vanish (probably into Oblivion) so I had to reload. It does look good though I must admit.

Despite that many people say Skyrim has no "soul" story and immersion wise I find it much more morally challenging and dark in some aspects than Oblivion ever was.  It's almost like the developers went to great lengths to come up with quest lines and even non quest situations that portray everything that's wrong with the human race in the real world.  And that's a lot.

And, yes, I suppose now I have to say that I know it's a game and they are pixels and all that crap but it is a role playing game after all, and I choose what I want to do and what I don't.  It's one of the favourite and in my opinion boring and unoriginal platitudes defensive people spout when others have differing views to theirs.  These people should at least try to come up with something different when "shouting' down (pun intended) people who don't follow the herd.

There is still a great lack of choice and consequence though.  If I had never played an Elder Scrolls game before and knew nothing about the series I would be more than annoyed at the lack of decision making regarding some of the quest lines.  It's fine to go along merrily accepting every quest without knowing beforehand that they may lead to something I find just morally wrong, but I would also like the option to have the quest removed from my quest log when I say "No, I don't want to do that" instead of leaving it there in case I change my mind.

Since this is still my first playthrough at least I know what I will and won't accept next time.  I also understand the reason for the dark and depressing quests as it gives players moral choices much like Fallout 3 and New Vegas and there's nothing wrong with that as long as it is a choice and there's a way to refuse or take a different approach.  Some quests do this, but many don't.

Anyway, on another note.  I did a lot of complaining about companions previously, but I still have my Khajiit friend with me even though sometimes I want to throttle him. When he breaks my sneak by leaping out in front of me in a room with 3 Deathlords who haven't yet spotted me, or gets in my way when I'm about to release the perfect arrow shot from my hiding place my blood pressure rises.  I've actually yelled at him a few  As much as he can be a Prima Donna when it comes to getting the first kill I'm still enjoying having him along and I've even started talking to him sometimes when he makes observations about various things. 

I do wish that followers could be more lifelike in that when I ask them to wait they have idles that allow them to wander a short distance if in the wilderness and in towns they could eat, read or interact with the other NPC's.  That way they could also not leave my service if I told them to wait for more than 2 days because they would have something to do.  I think it's a bit dumb to have them leave and have to be rehired unless I do the firing directly.  That's one reason why I made my animal companions with simple function scripts rather than menus in Oblivion and because menus, especially extended ones get to be a drag after awhile...for me anyway.  My companions can wander and idle, but using a menu driven system stopped that from happening and was too unnatural and just made them into interactive statues.

Even though I had a lot of trouble with the game constantly freezing before the 1.3 patch, which has now mostly stopped except for 3 or 4 times in around 50 hours post patch, I've had only one quest glitch thus far.  Even the known Esbern glitch never happened to me so I count myself lucky even though it's easy on the PC to solve it by unpacking the voice files. The one that did glitch was the final Thieves Guild quest where I was named Leader and the ceremony was to take place but didn't, but I fixed that via the console.   I like going to the Thieves Guild because I love Brynjolf''s voice so I keep doing some of the piddly quests for Vex and Delvin, who is quite happy I'm now his boss as opposed to some of the others begrudging acceptance.  It is wearing thin though and I have more money than I will ever need.  I have all the houses and their additions, spent a lot on crafting resources because I'm too lazy, or more that I forget to mine ore when I'm out and about, and the gold still pours in which isn't a bad thing at all.   I have the Notched Pickaxe too, but I still mostly forget to use it when I see ore veins and I have my companion carry it because it's so heavy.

Now the reason for the title.  SAVING MY SANITY!  The NPC greetings and sometimes the repeated discussion they have among themselves was getting so annoying that I was seriously thinking of going on a rampage (saving first) even though it's contrary to what I've said above.  There's nothing worse than trying to listen to a quest giver in a tavern or crowded area, and all the other NPC's start interrupting and babbling about their day or profession as they pass by.   If I've heard that guy say "I work for Belathor at the General Goods Store" when he's in the damn store, I've heard it a hundred times.  That's just one annoying example.

One saving grace I suppose is the conversations are nowhere near as inane and seriously stupid as the Oblivion ones.  They really made me feel like console killing them all sometimes.

I also think Bethesda made the kids in this game (except for a few) so bad mannered and totally unlikeable just to spite us.  And they are immortal.  Not that I want to kill them, but I wish I could tell them to shut up and go stand in a corner for the rest of eternity or until they are old enough to go adventuring in some dark dank cave somewhere.....

Anyway, I found the solution to my problem.  This mod from Skyrim Nexus.
No NPC Greetings - in several versions depending on NPC annoyance level.

Thank you Cipscis once again for saving me from yelling abuse at my monitor at two in the morning when these stupid NPC's start their useless banter for the millionth time.  Just as well my closest neighbour is partially deaf, but my poor dog sometimes thinks I'm yelling at her.  I'm using a few mods but this one is the one I would not play without.

 On another note....Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City comes out next month and I'll definitely be buying it but I'm wondering when I'll get to play with Skyrim taking up all of my game time.   The thing I'm excited about with RE is it's going back to it's roots on a time line with RE2 and Leon Kennedy's story.  No-one does zombies like Capcom.  I'm also thinking about Kingdoms of Amalur, but I want to know it will require Origin or not first so I won't pre-order it.  I do hope it doesn't. 

I have no issue with Steam as a game platform, but I don't like Origin or GFWL for their over intrusive busy body snooping software.  Plus, the one game I have that uses Origin (Alice:Madness Returns) kept having an error related to Origin when just installing the game.  It installed and I could play but it pissed me off no end as it took ages to resolve when all I wanted to do was play. 

OK.  Seems like I've had another whine session which wasn't really intentional.  So, now back to this wonderfully addictive, but flawed game called Skyrim.  And hoping for the release of the CK soon.


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