By pickassoreborn 32 Comments
The torrent of horizontal snowflakes appeared to subside with the discovery of a small settlement situated around a bay of ice-cold water. Before I have any chance to take in the view, a man in robes desperately runs towards me. Should I take out my sword? I stand my ground as he catches his breath. He explains the whole town I have just beheld has been put under a horrific curse involving the dreams of all the inhabitents becoming the most horrific nightmares. The only way to restore the town's sanity is to travel with him to an ominous tower high up on an overlooking mountain top. As I run upwards with him passing startled goats and as the winter wind rattles around my ears, little did I know that I was heading for the most deviously designed traps around.
This was waaay early into Skyrim. I was proud of myself discovering the advantages of a horse-drawn carriage giving me instant access to all the major settlements for a small amount of gold. In this case, I was taken to Dawnstar; the wizardy chap in question was Erandur, himself on a quest to destroy the Skull of Corruption - a Daedric staff capable of harvesting dreams of those who sleep. I was so early in the game, I hadn't even twigged about the possibility of performing acts of pure evil for Daedric favour and artifacts.
Now all this is well and good in hindsight. I wish I had struck down the dude when Lord Vaermina was whispering suggestive nothings into my earhole. Alas, I was a goody two-shoes in those early days of dizzying exploration. Nono, go ahead. Destroy the Skull of Corruption. Why do I care? Sounds pretty evil, right? I don't want to have the power to steal the dreams of the innocent on my conscious. As Erandur magicked away what was admittedly a pretty cool-looking staff, I thought that I had made the right decision. Major karma for this newbie adventurer - I saved an entire town from horrific dreams! With that, I pimped away from Erandur and started to explore the distant town below.
200 hours later, I am perusing a Skyrim achievement list on my phone. There's a sense of foreboding. A feeling that maybe I should have been too curious for my own good and researched those achievements before diving into the game with my fullest of commitment. You see, allowing that unknown wizard bloke to destroy the Skull of Corruption was not the right thing to do. Far from it. There's an achievement called "Oblivion Walker" which is given after obtaining 15 Daedric artifacts. I guess you can work out what has happened, right? Yep. That kick-ass staff was Daedric Artifact Number 15.
I can't get it back. There's no way to perhaps happen across an obscure questline which allows me to piece together the staff from several far-off locales in Skyrim. I already had 14 artifacts, 13 of which were obtained with no access to any strategy guides. A bunch of people in a beige meeting room somewhere in America though it was a good idea to make it impossible for some to truly S-Rank their copies of Skyrim through no fault of their own. As an almost-autistic completist, this reeks of the very putrid non-logic that some of Skyrim's designers have exercised. Skyrim was almost a religious experience - a daily delve into an almost-believable world only to be shook out of it by the cold logic of someone's spreadsheet.
I'm not entirely resentful of this one heinous act of stupidity on the developers' part. The game has provided me with a mind-bogglingly vast collection of experiences which I have appreciated and keep appreciating; nothing can prepare you for the moment a dragon in combat falls out of the sky and carves into the very earth you stand on, its head directed at your heavily-armoured legs; this was closely followed by a finishing move on said dragon which dragged out an "awesome!" from my jaw-dropped piehole. Climbing to the top of the world and looking around at the land below, dragons drifting across the landscape. These are all experiences rare and unique to Skyrim, and for this it should be celebrated.
Alas. Even though at times it is hard to believe, Skyrim is also a product of human beings. COMPLETELY FLAWED carbon-based units which - at times - miss something. Things break - just look at my Miscellaenous quest log for proof. It is just a shame after all the adventures I have had, it all boils down to a petty, human punch to the guts.