Short blog on Skyrim's skill and inventory systems

First of all I'd like to say I'm eagerly awaiting for the release of this game, so that I can finally play it-- I love the Elder Scrolls franchise and I spent nearly 100h on Oblivion alone.
Secondly, this blog will of course only reflect my very own personal opinions and these should only be regarded as such.

So, in a nutshell, and from what we've been given to see so far (which has always been the 360 version, I think), I really don't like both the skill trees and the inventory systems in Skyrim. I really tried to like them, but I just can't.

Skill Trees

I don't like those skill trees, it just doesn't seem right to have to select and go back and forth between every single one of them to see which abilities are comprised within. I like me a proper skill tree, where you can see everything in the same screen and each ability's description is revealed as you hover the mouse over them-- this new system just looks needlessly time consuming and kinda useless, to be completely honest.
This is what a modern skill tree should look like, in my humble opinion.

Upon entering a branch of the tree, all abilities should be easily accessible and their description elegantly shown by simply moving the mouse over them

 Another good example of quickly accessible ability descriptions within a skill tree (on the left)

Hotkeys / Quickbar

I hope there will be keyboard shortcuts/hotkeys or at least a quickbar on the PC version, I really don't want to pause the game and go through a menu every single time I want to change between my favourite spells and/or weapons.
Even the PC version of Dragon Age 2 had a quickbar with hotkeys associated to each item placed in there!

Inventory

They seem very keen on showing you how you can take a detailed look at every single item on your inventory, from a shield to a plant, but so far I haven't seen a way to compare the weapons you pick up (or those you already own) to the ones you have equipped on your character. It seems kinda dumb for a 2011 game to not show you how a new weapon in your inventory compares to the one you're currently using, so I sincerely hope they've just been strangely forgetting to show this feature to the public... Or maybe I just missed some preview or whatever and they've already shown this; I really hope so.
In addition to this, I like an inventory where I can actually see my dude, and one where I don't have to scroll up and down every time I want to check out something. I don't see this being a problem if you have few items on your inventory, but I can imagine it getting quite tiresome and annoying if you have dozens of items to look for. I haven't noticed how they are organised within each group, but say they're alphabetically ordered and you want to take a look at a weapon that starts with M, for example. I really don't want to scroll through all my A to L weapons to check the stats on that one. This is just an example, of course, but no matter how they're displayed, if you have a LOT of them, you're always gonna end up doing a lot of silly scrolling-- again, this system looks needlessly time consuming, not to say useless (this is actually the one thing I didn't like in the new Fallout games). 
Here you can check the stats on that last item without having to go through all of the previous

Weapon comparison -- that's a must in any modern game
_____
Again, this is all just personal input. I don't think they've shown the PC version yet, so this might all be in there and none of my worries have a reason to be, but for some reason, I don't think that will be the case... : /
2 Comments
2 Comments
Posted by KillyDarko

First of all I'd like to say I'm eagerly awaiting for the release of this game, so that I can finally play it-- I love the Elder Scrolls franchise and I spent nearly 100h on Oblivion alone.
Secondly, this blog will of course only reflect my very own personal opinions and these should only be regarded as such.

So, in a nutshell, and from what we've been given to see so far (which has always been the 360 version, I think), I really don't like both the skill trees and the inventory systems in Skyrim. I really tried to like them, but I just can't.

Skill Trees

I don't like those skill trees, it just doesn't seem right to have to select and go back and forth between every single one of them to see which abilities are comprised within. I like me a proper skill tree, where you can see everything in the same screen and each ability's description is revealed as you hover the mouse over them-- this new system just looks needlessly time consuming and kinda useless, to be completely honest.
This is what a modern skill tree should look like, in my humble opinion.

Upon entering a branch of the tree, all abilities should be easily accessible and their description elegantly shown by simply moving the mouse over them

 Another good example of quickly accessible ability descriptions within a skill tree (on the left)

Hotkeys / Quickbar

I hope there will be keyboard shortcuts/hotkeys or at least a quickbar on the PC version, I really don't want to pause the game and go through a menu every single time I want to change between my favourite spells and/or weapons.
Even the PC version of Dragon Age 2 had a quickbar with hotkeys associated to each item placed in there!

Inventory

They seem very keen on showing you how you can take a detailed look at every single item on your inventory, from a shield to a plant, but so far I haven't seen a way to compare the weapons you pick up (or those you already own) to the ones you have equipped on your character. It seems kinda dumb for a 2011 game to not show you how a new weapon in your inventory compares to the one you're currently using, so I sincerely hope they've just been strangely forgetting to show this feature to the public... Or maybe I just missed some preview or whatever and they've already shown this; I really hope so.
In addition to this, I like an inventory where I can actually see my dude, and one where I don't have to scroll up and down every time I want to check out something. I don't see this being a problem if you have few items on your inventory, but I can imagine it getting quite tiresome and annoying if you have dozens of items to look for. I haven't noticed how they are organised within each group, but say they're alphabetically ordered and you want to take a look at a weapon that starts with M, for example. I really don't want to scroll through all my A to L weapons to check the stats on that one. This is just an example, of course, but no matter how they're displayed, if you have a LOT of them, you're always gonna end up doing a lot of silly scrolling-- again, this system looks needlessly time consuming, not to say useless (this is actually the one thing I didn't like in the new Fallout games). 
Here you can check the stats on that last item without having to go through all of the previous

Weapon comparison -- that's a must in any modern game
_____
Again, this is all just personal input. I don't think they've shown the PC version yet, so this might all be in there and none of my worries have a reason to be, but for some reason, I don't think that will be the case... : /
Posted by ahoodedfigure

When I first learned about their inventory system I did find it a bit odd. I guess having played enough of Morrowind I'm sort of tired of sifting through things, especially since giving the user a bit more control with how a thing is organized would be much more helpful. Like, you could actually make modules yourself, pick favored gear, all of that. It's a bit strange that, while looking pretty, it seems like the sifting will still be there. Maybe it'll encourage me to keep my inventory to manageable levels, but somehow I doubt that. 
 
I like the idea that you can look at the art assets, but I hope there wasn't too much time dumped into making that work and not stuff like you suggest, with loot comparisons that save us time.
 
As for skill trees, I guess I don't have enough experience with them to have an opinion, really. I know that being able to see everything and how it affects everything else is much better than not, and it seems like you'll be looking at pretty but too-zoomed-in views to get a larger perspective, but you still see the basic branches. It seems the perk trees may not be nearly as involved as their skill tree cousins, though. The skills themselves will just be linearly progressing percentages, so it's not quite as fiddly as it would otherwise be.