I'm a huge fan of the Elder Scrolls. Morrowind in particular. And while Oblivion might have taken the series in a direction that made it more accessible to new comers and console gamers, it wasn't exactly a direction I was entirely happy with. You see... Oblivion was, in my opinion, overly streamlined.
Some of you might not even recall what the greatest part of Morrowind was. I'm sure the majority of you might not have even played that game. No matter how many hours you spent playing Oblivion I can tell you that you wouldn't have had this kind of experience. What am I talking about? Graphics? Gameplay? Sound design? No. As important as all those things are to making a good game there is something about Morrowind that, in my eyes, makes it a vastly superior game to Oblivion. I'm talking about politics.
You read that right. Morrowind had a much more believable world than Oblivion simply because all of the different guilds and factions actually acknowledged each other. Be it through negotiation or subterfuge, trade, theft, or assassination, you know the factions know that the others exist. This was a huge problem that I had with Oblivion. I could easily become the master or leader of whatever guild it was I'd decided to join without hardly ever interacting with anyone from another guild. In fact I don't remember meeting with anyone of another guild the entire time I was doing quests for the Dark Brotherhood. All of the different quest-lines in Oblivion felt self contained and it broke the realism of the world.
In Morrowind, if I were a member of one guild and tasked with killing a member of another guild, that other guilds storyline would be over. While this is something that might frustrate or anger a lot of gamers, it was something I deeply appreciated. That guild was gone. A person was dead at my hands and they'd no longer be able to issue me or anyone else any kind of order. I had to live with that decision. So imagine my surprise when I'm doing a quest in Oblivion and I decide I don't like a particular character. I decide to kill them so I won't have to see their stupid face ever again. I swing my sword a few times and they drop to the ground.
"Such and such character is unconscious."
Bullshit. I killed them. They're dead. I honestly hope Bethesda does away with this unconsciousness bit that was tossed into Oblivion.
That's my one major wish or two for the next Elder Scrolls game. I want a more involved political structure. Not whatever it was Oblivion had. I want the guilds to acknowledge the fact that there are other groups of people out there and I want those groups to have disputes. I want to be forced to take sides and kill members of the other guilds. I want people to DIE not get knocked unconscious.
And another thing. Oblivion may have been pretty when it launched but now that I go back and compare it with Morrowind... Morrowind had a much more interesting art direction. Bad textures and all. Where ever Elder Scrolls V takes place in Tamriel had better result in some damn good art direction. You know what the most visually interesting part of Oblivion was? It wasn't Cyrodil. It wasn't Oblvion itself. Those locations grew bland after spending hours there. It was the Shivering Isles. A piece of DLC had the most diverse and interesting art assets to look at. Bethesda (who I know isn't reading this), please launch your game with interesting visuals. Don't pack them in later!
This is kind of an aside related to the graphics. I want a new engine. I'm hoping Bethesda let Obsidian (another rant for another blog) work on New Vegas so they could get started on my precious new Elder Scrolls. I'm hoping they've decided to build it from the ground up. I've yet to play New Vegas but having played both Oblivion and Fallout 3? Shits tired son. Bethesda's next had better have more polish.
And as for combat? I liked the direction it was heading with in Oblivion. Much more action oriented. I hope the game keeps progressing in that direction. That's one thing I can agree on with most gamers: Morrowinds combat is dated. It just isn't good anymore. Engaging in combat in TESIV for the first time was a breath of fresh air. I hope to get that same renewed feeling with TESV when it comes out.
Another thing... I don't want an Elder Scrolls MMO. Frak that noise. I know a lot of you do want it but Elder Scrolls has always been a personal experience that if and when I wanted to share with another person, I'd take screen shots or bring them over to my xbox/PC to show them all the loot I'd piled up in my in game house. I don't want a million people running around the world with me, killing who ever they please and possibly taking all the awesome stuff I'd be keeping in my house. If Bethesda wants to incorporate multiplayer... Fine. But no massively multiplayer stuff. I want to be able to choose who I bring into my world and I want to be able to restrict them to what they can and can't do. For instance: No stealing from my house. Game host has a house key and can lock their house up before playing. You should be able to mark quests you deem as important in your journal and have all characters related to that quest be invulnerable. That's the one instance I can see having someone knocked unconscious as being a good game element. I don't want any more than 3 other people playing with me at a time either. If it was an option I don't know that'd it'd be something I ran back to often.
Fast travel needs to die as well. Unless it's explained within the context of the game. No more pulling up a map and instantly traveling to a different location. Bring back mage guild teleporters, boats, stilt striders and intervention scrolls. Oblivion never explained how your character was just whisked away and dropped somewhere else. Am I the only one who thinks this is weird!?
Here's the breakdown:
1. I want to be deeply involved with the politics of the world I'm in.
2. Everyone can die.
3. Interesting art direction.
4. BY DAGOTH UR'S STUPID GOLD MASK, PLEASE USE A NEW GAME ENGINE.
5. Fresh and engaging combat.
6. Extremely limited multiplayer. Or none.
7. Explain fast travel or get rid of it.
Vae victis and all that jazz,
P.S. MORE BOOKS!!!
Screenshots are from my current play through of Morrowind and yes, I know I used the same ones on my retrospective on NAC.
While I'm almost positive no one reads anyone elses blogs on this site I figure I might as well continue writing on here for something to do anyway. I'll end up getting that quest done, right?
I've been playing a ton of vidya games recently. Ninja Gaiden Sigma II (playing for review), Yakuza 3, Ryu ga Gotoku: Kenzan!, and Starcraft II being the most prominent in my gaming line up. However, I have games I haven't even touched yet: Ghostbusters, Way of the Samurai 3, and several PS2 games I purchased on a whim. I had money and nothing else to do with it. What can I say? I've also managed to get my girlfriend into video games on a more hardcore level than before. When I met her she was strictly a Nintendo gamer and now she comes over regularly to play inFamous and Prototype on my PS3. She also recently commandeered my PS2 so she could play Bully and Beyond Good and Evil at her place. I really enjoy watching her play games. I'm hoping I can get her to play Scott Pilgrim co-operatively when that drops on Tuesday.
I recently got Ryu ga Gotoku: Kenzan! in the mail and have been attempting to play that (it's entirely in Japanese) but my Japanese language skills aren't quite up to par. I took one Japanese college course and passed with a C but I still take pride in being able to recognize at least some of what the characters are saying and being able to read a great deal of the hiragana in the game. Luckily the game plays very similarly to Yakuza 3 so I have no trouble with the combat sections. I did have to stumble through the menus when I first put the disc in though. The game has actually reinvigorated my interest in the culture and language so I've looked into a few online courses. Anyone interested in learning Japanese can ask me about those. They're free and work surprisingly well.
I've been working on a lot of comic related material lately. Drawing a lot, doing graphic design work, taking classes. I'm really trying to kick it into high gear. It's something I really want to do. Drawing non-stop is helping. I'm a much better artist than I was this time last year for sure. Still sketchy in some spots but I'm working hard. Publishing is going to be a bitch. I think I'm going to go through ComiXpress, a print on demand service, to sell my books. I order a certain number myself and distribute them to friends and family (and anyone else that calls dibs before I run out) and then it stays on the ComiXpress site for anyone who wants to buy one. If anyone else on this site ends up reading my blog and has some comic related tips for me (be it about artwork, writing or getting published) get at me with those ideas. :D
I also want to become a more active member of the Giant Bomb community. So far I've just used this site for achievement tracking and watching videos. I don't really take an active part in discussions on forums or anything like that.