True to the word of just a few weeks ago, Bethesda’s dropping some sweet details on their freshly-announced fifth entry in The Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim. The latest issue of Game Informer reveals all kinds of changes, from the way combat is handled to a brand new character creation system.
It all seems to now revolve around choices the player makes as they play. Right from the start, the player isn’t going to decide what kind of character they are from a list. It’s just going to develop. So if you want to be the dark mage who casts tons of fire, you will no longer click on “Dark Mage” at the character selection before the story begins, nor a “Fire Boost” propensity. You’re just going to hunt down magic skills, and you will develop them because it’s what you want to develop, and the game’s systems will start to make those skills the ones that level you quicker, seeing that it’s what you want to excel in. It’s a more organic system, and just to ensure that players don’t decide to boost skills in everything, they will find over time that they will level a lot faster honing their favorite skills rather than being a jack of all trades. So if you’re sword skill is 5 and your magic is 20, moving magic up to 21 will get you closer to a level up than sword up to 6. It’s kind of a neat system, and true to life it’d take a lot of time and patience to really develop any character into a supremely powerful everyman/woman. That the possibility is there is actually pretty cool.
Going along with that, what you equip will play a part in your skill development too. Going the classic warrior route with a sword and shield will set you on that path by giving you classic warrior skills and stat boosts. But maybe you want to be a little more of a brute and wield two swords. That will change up some stats and skills as well. Yes, the game introduces dual wielding of weapons, but also of spells. You can wield fire in the left hand and ice in the right to be a sort of elemental master, or heck, wield fire in both hands to amplify your need to burn things by just that much.
The level scaling of enemies in the predecessor, Oblivion, was always a contested feature that fans actually modded out of the PC version of the game. It seems that the game will use the same system found in Fallout 3, which should be a relief to many. Also coming from Fallout 3 will be the perk awards that can be applied at each level up to further guide what kind of character you want to craft.
Overall, I like the idea of an organic character development system. One of the most boring parts of an RPG to me are the beginnings. Partly because I just want to jump in and start playing, but also because sometimes I just can’t decide, and I’ll spend upwards to an hour poring over every little choice. Not much role-playing compared to a game that just sees how I’m playing it. Hopefully it plays as well as it sounds.