A return to Oblivion.

This... Is Lydia.

A lady, and an Imperial. And my first Oblivion character.

Now I know what you're thinking. Why would I play Oblivion when Skyrim is out? Having sunk 135 hours into Skyrim so far and unlocked all the achievements, I still don't feel completely done with it. But I do want to go back through the series and enjoy the bugfixes done by the talented community. This is the kind of first run experience that you just can't get on launch for a Bethesda game. I have previously watched two differnt Let's Plays of Oblivion, one running through the Dark Brotherhood portion, another going through the main quest. That was a long time ago though. Now it's time for me to do it on my own.

A few days ago Steam had a sale for the Game of the Year Edition Deluxe, containing:

Knights of the Nine and the Shivering Isles expansions plus Fighter's Stronghold Expansion, Spell Tome Treasures, Vile Lair, Mehrune's Razor and much more. This edition is playable only in English language. - Steam Store

Basically both "expansions" and all the DLC.

I'm still torn about weather or not to actually use Mods or not... As even bugfixes feel like they're "not really intended". Does that make sense? I want a "pure" experience.

I caved though, so I will be playing through the game using the following mods for a smoother game experience:

  • Unofficial Oblivion Patch 3.4.1
  • Unofficial Shivering Isles Patch 1.5.0
  • Unofficial Official Mods Patch Sixteenth

I'm going to be doing this in the only way I feel is appropriate for me at this point using self imposed rules.

These rules are:

Agent
  1. Deal with the consequences.
    No reloading saves because things didn't go as I wanted.
  2. Death is final.
    No reloading saves to cheat the timeline.
    Once my character has died, I will have to make the decision between:
    a) deleting the character and accepting the fate of said character - true hardcore play-through a la Diablo.
    and b) Accept the hardcore playthrough was a bust, but keep playing while sticking to the other rules.
  3. Survive at all costs.
    As per rule Nr. 1, I'm rolling with what the game pinned me for during the prison escape.
    Because of rule Nr. 2, I played the starter dungeon carefully. Sneaking, taking my time, and observing.
    Run, heal, lie, steal, she will do anything to assure her own survival while pushing through the main quest.
  4. No fast travel.
    I'm not going to do the "Walk only" challenge, because "Why walk when you can ride?", but I am going to avoid
    using fast travel. Because of rule Nr. 3 however, this doesn't actually mean I'm running everywhere. I found myself having to sneak my way to the first city to ensure my survival, being alone in the wilderness with the beasts that roam there.

I'm also torn about the pre-knowledge I have when it comes to monster scaling. Do I stay at level 1? Do I force myself to level up (if I can) every time I'm advancing the main quest? We will see.

The success or failure of this playthrough will lie completely in following these rules while beating the main quest. I'll be on my tippy toes and play as if death is around every corner. Exciting stuff.

Wish me luck!

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30X Backstab Damage: Those are a lot of times.

Let's just say I just got hold of a pair of gauntlets that double the backstab damage output.

Having a perk already that does 15X backstab damage I figured there's no way the game would double that. Until I sneaked up to a guy and hit him. Sneak attack did 30X damage with my left hand, 12X damage with my right, having a sword in the right hand.

So... The bonus of wearing these gloves quite obviously is applied after the perk bonus, which I feel is nothing short of awesome.

I haven't had the chance to do double-daggers yet... Although I'd imagine this means a chance for 30X for the left hand and 30X for the right hand... those are... a whole lot of times. I guess daggers, too, are extremely viable in this game. I kinda like that, and I kinda like how it doubles after the perk and isn't nullified by it... So many games do that, like you have items that do +magic find 10%, and you find another piece that does 5%, even with wearing both you end up only getting the 10% bonus, stuff like that. I know, it's about balance, but sometimes it just doesn't make sense. I'd feel let down, yet understand, if these gauntlets didn't double the perk damage as well, since I would have felt like I wasted perk points then.

For now, I will sneak around for a bit with my 30X and try to find another viable dagger so that I can have another 30X on top of that. Those are a lot of times. But, again, daggers are usually weak, and you need to get close to things stealthed, so I feel it's proper. Maybe not 60X proper... But proper nonetheless. XD

I'd imagine eventually it won't matter anyway since with higher skills, I'd probably kill things with the 30X to begin with, so really, 60X is just overkill. Even 15X has been, in some cases. Not to mention the dagger I'm using already has a "small chance" of delivering a hit that kills. Sooo yeah. XD

Yeah... We'll see what happens when Beth~ starts digging the claws of balance into this game, but honestly... If there are still creatures that can one-shot me at level 40+, I should be able to as well. Not to mention that sneaking up behind someone for 60X backstab damage... is really f'ing satisfying.

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Draugr Deathlord and the Ebony Bow

I walked my early footed steps into the world of Skyrim with one very clear self-imposed rule. I would not die. In fact: I would do everything not to die. This made it more exciting than games have been in quite a while, not knowing what to expect, always on your feet - I figured what would make most sense would be, well, sneaking. Sneaking, and bows. It worked out great for me... Until about 7 hours in.

Here, I met a frost troll. The AI did a good job at smashing my newly bought horse, and kept pummeling my companion into submission. I did the only sensible thing at this point, which was run as fast as I could to a high point, and threw over a hundred arrows into it. It gave me quite a fight, since the AI ended up hiding and regenerating health when it felt like it.

I beat the thing and decided to push on, knowing full well I was in way over my head... ready to book it if any more of those things would show up. And the place looked perfect for an ambush by a ton of those things. I managed to avoid such, and I found my way inside a dungeon, and was greeted by your standard zombols and undeads out and about their shambling ways.

And then... From out of nowhere, BAM. Someone ragdolled my ass.

My character had taken an arrow to the face. One shot, dead. At this point I was about level 6 or 7.

I had just had my first encounter with a Draugr Deathlord, and he meant buisness. The buisness of making me dead kind of buisness.

I loaded up my save after tweeting my first death and admitting defeat. I knew he was coming now, so I attacked him. I noticed I was able to hurt him, but not by much. I had to dodge his arrows, run around pillars, move around not to get destroyed. One arrow: and that would be it. Reload time.

But I kept through it, because if all those quicklooks of Dark Souls taught me something, it was: if you can hurt it, you can kill it.

And I did. Eventually. At level 6. I pryed an Ebony Bow from his cold, dead hands. I'm still using that bow at level 40+. Sure, at this point it's been improved with smithing, and enchanted, but it's still with me.

And you know what? Draugr Deathlords can still one-shot me. At level 40. With a ton of my points put into health.

The only difference now is that, as long as I keep them pinned and staggered by shooting them in the face, they never have the chance to fire one off.

So that's the story of how I got my Ebony Bow. I do feel a bit cheated out of my attempted hardcore playthrough, but I know he got me fair and square. I only needed to use more skill to beat the thing, and the frost trolls outside was a good enough hint as any that I was poking around where one should not poke.

Perhaps it's not intended for them to be this powerful, perhaps they will be nerfed eventually, but I'm glad I met them when I did. Plus, I got this sweet bow to show for it.

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WTB these Skyrim Improvements/Mods (Updated)

- There's currently no ability to sprint directly into a jump. This severely limits the polished feel of the controls.

- Default "use" action for a follower on a horse should not be "Attack", but "Steal" or "Ride", it feels silly to have them have walk behind you while you dash away on your steed. At the very least have them hop up behind the player. The horses are virtual, so their kidneys will be fine.

- PC ported controls need to change. It's fine for a 360 controller, but the Favorites system could be simplified by using 1-9 on the keyboard in conjunction with it. Set up a combination of [weapon + spell] etc, like one handed + heal = nr 1, dual casted destruction = 2, bow = 3, etc.

- When poisoning a weapon, it should detect if you're pressing left or right mouse button to determine which equipped weapon should be poisoned. As it is now, only the right hand is able to be poisoned (so if you play with a sword in left hand + healing in right, you can't poison your sword because the game thinks you're trying to poison your "healing spell".

- The above "poisoning" thing is also true for weapon racks. I HAVE A WEAPON IN MY LEFT HAND, GAME. PUT IT IN THE DAMN RACK! :P

- Getting interrupted by NPC's during dialogue you're actually interested in. When I'm listening to war planning, I don't want a kid running up and saying "Another [something] here to lick my fathers boots." Yeah, it's accurate to how annoying kids would behave, but it's also... well, annoying. I'm torn.

- Quest items lingering in your inventory even after you handed them in. They take up weight - they shouldn't. At all. If they're permanently tied to your inventory when you pick them up, and you did so without getting the quest for it, it's really annoying because you could use that weight for something else, not forced into your backpack. It's also annoying because it seems to lead to problems (like in the bards collage) where you "finish" a quest... even tho the option remains to talk about it in the talking interface, and the item remains in your inventory.

- Uncompletable quests are currently unremovable from your quest log, things like "talk to the master of X guild" when YOU are the master of said guild. I thought Skyrim was supposed to move quests to another character if the original quest giver was dead?

- Pickpocketing is not about skill, but about luck. Regardless of your skill in it, you can only get to 90% chance to loot an item. That's ridiculous, and I'm sure it will be modded away. It's awful because you can reach 90% with items really easily, meaning a person with no pickpocketing is = to someone with 100 skill (not counting perks, ofcourse, but they still don't do anything to the 90% afaik)

- One particular quest is really awful, and if I don't see it fixed I'm gonna have to do so myself. Let's just say it's a character who wants an item. Go to the person who has the item, he wants you to get something for him in return. That's the ONLY way to complete the quest. Pickpocketing him shows no items. Attacking him = impossible, since he's INVUNERABLE. In fact, attacking him tosses you out of a certain guild. Beating him up, he acts as if nothing happened. Not very dynamic. Forced into a super-specific way to finish a quest = really annoying. Where did he keep the item if he handed to me when I completed the quest? Like...



- PC UI responsiveness isn't that great. Sometimes you're unable to highlight certain items in your inventory: this is also true for certain topics while talking with NPC's.

- Followers are, in general, worthless, since they do not seem to progress. Even with really good equipment, they seem stagnated - and Ebony armor vs. Iron armor makes basically no big difference bc of their low skill.

- Containers in houses have no categories. Since the game is AWFUL when it comes to house management, I find myself tossing all my items in one of the chests - and there are no categories in these.

- Which brings me to house management and decoration: The morrowind system for this was much better, since you could move around items more freely to where you would want them. I'd be happy with a simple "rotate item currently held" function, it would do wonders.
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