So, if you’re a gamer that has lived anywhere but under a rock these past six months, you know of the latest addition to the ever-popular Elder Scrolls series: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. With Skyrim, Bethesda made some changes to the main mechanics from Oblivion, removing some things, combining some things, changing some things…all in the name of ”streamlining”.

Now, streamlining is mostly a good thing since it involves getting rid of unecessary extras. However, many Elder Scroll fans have
expressed disappointment at the Skyrim mechanics, saying that Bethesda’s streamlining went too far. So now I’m gonna have a look at the new stuff and share my opinions on them.

Badass

Badass-looking, but oh so streamlined

I’ll start with the most significant change: the removal of attributes. This is something that many gamers (myself included) feel very iffy about. After all, the attributes are the ”core” of the character. They are the framework on which you built the rest of your character. I’m doubtful if determining your characters prowess solely through skills and skill-levels is such a good idea. After all, an orc OUGHT to be able to dish out more damage than an elf at the same level, so having orcs start with great strength makes sense. But what now? Now that strength is gone, will orcs start out with huge boosts to offensive melee skills?

I don’t know, but I sure hope Bethesda does. So far, the only attribute equivalents we’ll have is the Health, Fatigue and Magicka stats, which you can
level up regularly. They will supposedly determine the effectiveness of certain skills, but I still can’t help but feel it’s way, waaay
too simplified compared to the old attribute system.  Now, to be fair, I’ve heard that attributes’ll still be there, they’ll just be
invisible numbers that the player cannot see and/or interact with. I hope this is the case, since they are a great way to define your
character.

Orc

C'mon Beth! This fellow basically screams out "Me need strength attribute for SMASH!"

The next major changes to the mechanics came in the form of class and birthsign removal. This, in my opinion was a change that severely gutted the characcter creation system. Part of what made the CC(Character Creation) system of previous Elder
Scrolls games so intruiging was that you could make a lot of really interesting race/class/sign combinations that could play in really unique ways. Now that classes are gone, we no longer have a way to ”tune” our character for a specific role. (By ”tuning” I mean assigning certain skills that start off higher and level faster. This ”tunes” your character in that they become more efficient if you play them the way they were ”tuned” to.

For instance, a character with a thief class becomes more efficient when you sneak and skulk about and doing so makes their sneaky skills increase.) Sure, we do get a birthsign replacement; constellation stones, which help boost certain aspects of a character, but I still prefer creating my own, custom class to ”tune” my character into what I want it to be. I do hope that Bethesda at least goes the Fallout 3/New Vegas route and allows us to pick three skills at the start of the game which will be higher than your other skills. At least give us that much customizability, Bethesda.

Skyrim is snowy

In Oblivion, this guy would've been a battlemage. In Skyrim, he's just a norse dude with a staff.

The final change I’m gonna bring up is the changes to the combat system. In a nutshell, this is what’s new:

  • You can now dual-wield weapons, spells and staffs.
  • The blade and blunt skills have been replaced by the one-handed and two-handed skills.
  • Keeping the block button pushed down causes you to shield bash.

While I’m all for the introduction of dual-wielding, I’m worried it might make the combat system a tad unbalanced. After all, I’m certain that your one-handed skill determines your prowess whith dual-wielding weapons, which makes the one-handed skill vastly overpowered compared to the two-handed skills since it improves your ability to :

  • wield one weapon and one spell at the same time
  • Go ”sword-and-board” with a weapon and a shield
  • Dual wield two weapons.

While the two-handed skill improves your ability to:

  • Wield  two-handed weapons.

I’m simply worried that it might end up like the blunt and blade skills in Oblivion, where blades were clearly the superiour choice because of their versatility and the high amount of powerful, magical blades in the game. Beth, don’t make the same mistake again. How hard can it be to balance two skills to another?

Dual-wielding looks like so much fun!

This picture makes me squee of joy while the game balance is cringing at my feet.

There you are, my rambly opinions on some of the changes to Skyrim. Still gonna buy the game when it comes out and I’ll probably enjoy it. I’ll make sure to write some kind of ”first impression” article when 11/11/11 rolls around.

D3