Making a grand return to Skyrim! Also some questions for you

Posted by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

After over 200 hours in the same character since 11.11.11, I took a long break from this game and enjoyed the titles of 2012. But now I have that good old Elder Scrolls devil in my head making me home sick for Skyrim :) Time to get back to my Wood Elf and continue the journey.

I should mention that during that period I listened to the full Skyrim soundtrack everytime I studied for college. Great music that kept the Skyrim spirit going!

Though I finished hundreds of quests including the main one, dark brotherhood and thieves, I managed to completely ignore the civil war in Skyrim. I haven't encountered the Rebels or the Imperials once. (So as you can imagine it was incredibly annoying for me to enter the Windhelm castle and listen to the Swedish rebellion king repeat the same goddamn line each and every time).

I reached about 20 mods with this game the last time I played it, but in the last few hours I managed to add about 36 mods on top of those 20, and the game got all the more exciting with these mods.

Just now after fixing up the new mods I played for about an hour and BAM, already discovered a few new locations, and sat back and read some new Skyrim books that I looted just now. This game really feels infinite.

I'm really glad that I am not one of the people who ruined this game for themselves. Too often I see people saying they put like 300 hours into the game in the first month, or they kept dropping out and losing their flow, or ruined the experience by starting over with a new character several times, or even spoiled the game for themselves by using cheats, the game console, or too many mods than gave them too much freedom.

I just took it slow, developed the one and same character throughout long months of moderate playing, with some weeks of addiction in between, and I just let the universe of Skyrim naturally unfold as I marvel at it. I feel good about reserving the experience to thoroughly enjoy it!

I don't even see myself buying the new DLC for another year. This one playthrough is faaaar from over. I see myself continuing the journey of the Wood Elf for another 100 hours!

So let me ask you some questions:

  1. What was your experience with the civil war? Whose side did you take and what did you think of the two sides? NO SPOILERS PLEASE
  2. What was your experience with potions and alchemy? I can't help but feel that the potion variety is too little and I'm not using that many. Just health and stamina restoration for the most part!
  3. What graphical mods do you recommend? My 40+ mods are all content and gameplay, and some are minor graphical tweaks. Is there a mod that really enhanced the graphics for you? The ENB one seems waaaaay too exhausting to apply.
  4. Are there any interesting content/quests mods you've installed and played?
  5. Overall, what is your relationship with Skyrim, are you still playing the same playthrough like me, got burnt out on the game, keep creating new characters, or haven't played it at all?
  6. What staff, one-handed weapon and two-handed weapon did you mostly use? Can't find anything exotic and powerful beyond the same old 30-40 damage weapons.

You know you wanna get back to Skyrim and ride your horse through the country side while the amazing soundtrack plays! Do it!

Skyrim awaits!
#1 Edited by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

After over 200 hours in the same character since 11.11.11, I took a long break from this game and enjoyed the titles of 2012. But now I have that good old Elder Scrolls devil in my head making me home sick for Skyrim :) Time to get back to my Wood Elf and continue the journey.

I should mention that during that period I listened to the full Skyrim soundtrack everytime I studied for college. Great music that kept the Skyrim spirit going!

Though I finished hundreds of quests including the main one, dark brotherhood and thieves, I managed to completely ignore the civil war in Skyrim. I haven't encountered the Rebels or the Imperials once. (So as you can imagine it was incredibly annoying for me to enter the Windhelm castle and listen to the Swedish rebellion king repeat the same goddamn line each and every time).

I reached about 20 mods with this game the last time I played it, but in the last few hours I managed to add about 36 mods on top of those 20, and the game got all the more exciting with these mods.

Just now after fixing up the new mods I played for about an hour and BAM, already discovered a few new locations, and sat back and read some new Skyrim books that I looted just now. This game really feels infinite.

I'm really glad that I am not one of the people who ruined this game for themselves. Too often I see people saying they put like 300 hours into the game in the first month, or they kept dropping out and losing their flow, or ruined the experience by starting over with a new character several times, or even spoiled the game for themselves by using cheats, the game console, or too many mods than gave them too much freedom.

I just took it slow, developed the one and same character throughout long months of moderate playing, with some weeks of addiction in between, and I just let the universe of Skyrim naturally unfold as I marvel at it. I feel good about reserving the experience to thoroughly enjoy it!

I don't even see myself buying the new DLC for another year. This one playthrough is faaaar from over. I see myself continuing the journey of the Wood Elf for another 100 hours!

So let me ask you some questions:

  1. What was your experience with the civil war? Whose side did you take and what did you think of the two sides? NO SPOILERS PLEASE
  2. What was your experience with potions and alchemy? I can't help but feel that the potion variety is too little and I'm not using that many. Just health and stamina restoration for the most part!
  3. What graphical mods do you recommend? My 40+ mods are all content and gameplay, and some are minor graphical tweaks. Is there a mod that really enhanced the graphics for you? The ENB one seems waaaaay too exhausting to apply.
  4. Are there any interesting content/quests mods you've installed and played?
  5. Overall, what is your relationship with Skyrim, are you still playing the same playthrough like me, got burnt out on the game, keep creating new characters, or haven't played it at all?
  6. What staff, one-handed weapon and two-handed weapon did you mostly use? Can't find anything exotic and powerful beyond the same old 30-40 damage weapons.

You know you wanna get back to Skyrim and ride your horse through the country side while the amazing soundtrack plays! Do it!

Skyrim awaits!
#2 Edited by believer258 (11564 posts) -

1) I took the side of the Empire because it really comes down to asking yourself what's worse - racism or restriction of religion? In the grand scheme of things I deemed the worship of Talos a necessary loss. Plus whatshisface is a dick. If the Thalmor can battle the entire Empire and win, then I can only imagine that siding with whatshisface would have been futile in trying to defeat them and we would still have the issue of extreme racism.

2) I should fire up Skyrim and show you my list of potions. Did I find them useful? Occasionally. If I was dying often I would go all Witcher 2 and apply a bunch of potions and poisons and stuff to myself and then charge into battle, and usually win after that. For this reason, I find it hard to get rid of any potions - but I must say that I come across more than I use.

3) None at the moment but when my 7870 arrives tomorrow I'll apply ENB. I've done it before and I don't remember it being that difficult, but when I did it before my card couldn't really keep up with all the fancy stuff so I undid it.

Also, are you using SkyUI? No? You should be.

4) No.

5) I do not uninstall Bethesda games, especially not Skyrim. This should answer your question.

6) I'm weird. I know that the Mace of Molag Bol is the most powerful one-handed weapon I have - but I would much rather use Dawnbreaker. I feel dirty using that Mace, like it just doesn't fit who I wanted my character to be, so unless I'm in deep shit I stick to the Dawnbreaker. In my left hand stays Fast Healing.

#3 Posted by Example1013 (4833 posts) -

1. Civil War is an interesting quest line for RPing, but it's sorta like a real-life civil war, all shit and no "morally good" or "morally bad" side to pick. Both sides are morally ambiguous to an even extent, so it's just whether you (or your character) cares about Skyrim's independence (or loyalty to the empire). I have an Imperial who went Stormcloak and a Nord who went Empire, and my actual RP character that I started fresh, my Bosmer archer, doesn't want to take a side because he doesn't like either of them.

2. Be careful with skill potions for alchemy, as I believe there's either a point where they become overpowered, or an infinite loop of improvements you can make with enchanting potions and +alchemy enchantments. Besides that though, there are a decent amount of interesting potions, like weight potions, invisibility potions, water-breathing potions, and stat (health/mana/stamina) buff potions, and on the poison side there are paralysis and slow poisons as well as DoT poisons and magic damage exposure poisons, so you can make a decent variety of interesting and useful potions and poisons. Not really required, but if you're into it you can do some neat things.

3. I spent about 5 minutes reading about ENB and then decided I wouldn't bother installing any graphical mods. I don't actually have any mods installed at all because the extra scripting from a few of the gameplay mods I tried killed my system's performance (my gfx card is an Nvida GT 330M laptop card with 512mb vram, so I barely scrape out a mid-tier spec graphics-wise).

4. Nope.

5. I have three characters, I started with a nord HA two-handed warrior, but I wanted to make a female and a summoner/archer, so I made an Imperial, who I happened to go around and just do a bunch of side stuff and faction stuff with, and I got distracted and stopped staying to the archetype. Now I've got a Wood Elf archer who I'm planning on keeping somewhat within his own internal lore, as the character who'd make "my" choices in everything.

6. Past a certain point I don't think the difference in quality of items is too severe, nor is the combat so difficult, as to require actual min/maxing, so in my high-level save I pretty much just used what I thought looked cool. A lot of the daedric artifacts are really interesting, but I only really used Meridia's. As far as armor goes, the difference between light and heavy really doesn't matter if you plan on taking perks for your choice, so just use what you like.

#4 Edited by Animasta (14635 posts) -

1. empire because the stormcloaks don't make sense unless you are a nord, because they're hella racist.

2. very little potions

3. none

4. there was this elyswyr (the lizard people province,whatever the fuck it's called) mod I installed, never got too far in it but it seemed decent from what I played, and one that added a bunch of giant monsters in the north sea that I haven't seen yet.

5. off and on, currently a breton who likes eating people and wears the forsworn stuff and takes along the mage chick who also likes eating people (she also wears the forsworn stuff)

6. I mainly used a bow with the spirit drain effect and the ebony blade/dawnbringer

#5 Posted by natetodamax (19169 posts) -

1. I went with the Empire. I didn't appreciate the racism from the Stormcloaks.

2. I didn't do a lot of alchemy except for health potions, though I mostly just bought those. Health potions were the only potions that I consumed. I didn't find that the combat demanded anything else.

3. I play on 360, so no mods for me.

4. ^

5. So when I first played through I went through the main quest with a Redguard who specialized in one handed weapons. I did a few side quests and finished in about 40-50 hours. Soon after, I started a new character, this time an Imperial who specializes in archery and stealth. I ended up putting over 100 hours into this character. I did almost every side quest and a ton of misc. objectives. I found the stealth archery to be a lot more satisfying than just running in with a melee weapon. I loved sneaking through caves and taking enemies out quietly after figuring out how to do so without alerting everybody. Eventually, my character became nearly unstoppable since I could one-hit kill everything with the bow, including Giants.

I haven't played the game since last Februrary. I decided to take an extended break, but I've been planning to get back into it again recently. I'll probably start a new character, though I'm still undecided about what I'll specialize in this time. Maybe archery again.

6. I don't remember what one handed weapon I used with my first character, but with my archer I used the Nightingale bow because it does a ton of damage and also does Shock damage, which is a nice bonus. Plus, it went nicely with my Nightingale armor, which looks awesome.

#6 Posted by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

@Voxel: @Animasta: @Example1013: @believer258: Thanks for the replies guys.

When you say the Stormcloaks were racist, how did you find that out? You approached them first and they clearly were racist so you said f**k 'em?

#7 Posted by Freezer_Burn (207 posts) -

1. Empire all the way. Ulfric seemed like a shitty leader who was in it for himself. And if we want any chance at beating the Thalmor, it'll have to be united.
 
2. The only potions I ever sold were weak healing/stamina/mana potions once I had gotten deep into the game and were taking up more room than they were worth. The occasional buff potion/poison always seemed to help out in sticky situations. I never really got into Alchemy, which cut out alot of the OCD collecting.
 
3. & 4.  No mods. None. I might start eventually, but I am content with the game I'm playing now.
 
5. I bought it when it came out for the PS3 (Not having heard about it's issues), and enjoyed it. I got burnt out rather fast on it. I enjoyed my time playing it, but was wandering around aimlessly. I bought the PC version after I got my new desktop, and started playing again after a several month break. I went in with more of a plan, and didn't get burnt out this time. I've been sticking with my character, having completed most of (if not all) the major quest lines, but have messed around with another character.
 
6. Both my PC and PS3 characters had max Blacksmithing, so I was always using the best weapons I could create for myself. Right now I'm rocking a legendary dragonbone battleaxe, I think I called it "Wyrm Fang" or something.
 
@Voxel
I had the opposite experience. Playing on the PS3, my character ended up as a stealth archer. I felt wiping out the enemies 1 by 1 became monotonous, and too easy. With the Dark Brotherhood armor, and the all the weapons I made for myself, I felt there was no real reason to keep exploring for loot or anything else. When I went to PC, I decided to go in the other direction, a heavy armoured, 2-handed warrior, and had much more fun with it. I liked getting up in peoples' faces, and the Battleaxe has some great finishing moves.

#8 Posted by HistoryInRust (6268 posts) -
  1. What was your experience with the civil war? Whose side did you take and what did you think of the two sides? NO SPOILERS PLEASE
  2. What was your experience with potions and alchemy? I can't help but feel that the potion variety is too little and I'm not using that many. Just health and stamina restoration for the most part!
  3. What graphical mods do you recommend? My 40+ mods are all content and gameplay, and some are minor graphical tweaks. Is there a mod that really enhanced the graphics for you? The ENB one seems waaaaay too exhausting to apply.
  4. Are there any interesting content/quests mods you've installed and played?
  5. Overall, what is your relationship with Skyrim, are you still playing the same playthrough like me, got burnt out on the game, keep creating new characters, or haven't played it at all?
  6. What staff, one-handed weapon and two-handed weapon did you mostly use? Can't find anything exotic and powerful beyond the same old 30-40 damage weapons.

1. I didn't touch it with my first character. Neither side is absolved totally of its own moral ruin. The Thalmor basically bullied the Empire into dissolving the lore of Talos and the Stormcloaks are proponents of a Nord-first philosophy. Less broadly--Tullius is a monomaniacal prick and Ulfric is a wardamaged broken husk of a man trying to do what he feels is best for the homeland he's seeing torn from its people. It's sticky, either way. When I did come around to roleplaying through the Civil War with a second character I sided with the Empire, but only because of the Thalmor threat. People make way too much of Ulfric's racism, implying he's planning amongst his court a fucking holocaust of non-Nordic peoples. That's not only untrue but a potentially moot point, considering you're the goddamned Dovahkiin, a Nord legend made manifest, and there's a good chance you, yourself, might not even be a Nord. Ulfric may not think logically, but he sees reason when he's presented with it, whereas Tullius does not. It's probable Ulfric would defer to the Dovahkiin's judgment on the matter after you've singlehandedly pushed the Empire out of the territory.

2. Alchemy is a fantastic way to make money. Pragmatically, however, I had little use for the skill.

3. Playing on console, but I have the DLCs. Both worth it.

4. A lot of the subquest stuff in Dragonborn is great. Better, even, than the DLC's main quest. Hunting down relics of the old world and uncovering the remains of ancient armors never gets old.

5. I'm on my third character. I go in spurts, playing heavily over the course of a month then taking a break. I love the Elder Scrolls games. I always really have. Skyrim is a fantastic game, technical issues be damned.

6. I'm a conjurer, so probably a Bound Sword or a Bound Bow.

#9 Edited by armaan8014 (5317 posts) -

In response to the ENB question, i found "the wilds" enb the most satisfying. Or you could even try "superbenb" (or something like that) Really, just get one of those enbs. You won't believe that you'd spent those 200 hrs playing the game without enbs

Comparisons

original
with enb
original
enb
original
with enb
original
with enb

I know they're not the best screens but they're all i could find :P The settings you see in the ENB are mainly my modified ones on top of the wilds enb. You can mess around with the settings whatever suits your taste. Bloom, saturation, brightness etc all can be adjusted including a lot more. Do try it out! And happy adventures :)

#10 Posted by mlarrabee (2873 posts) -

I played on Xbox, so:

1: Both sides are kind of rotten, for their own special, rotten reasons.

2: Potions can break the game. If used properly they can do anything from make your experience fantastic or allow you to ruin it completely. For example, I was able to negate carry weight on a console through a documented, legitimate, and intentionally unpatched exploit.

#11 Posted by Svenzon (711 posts) -

1. I took neither. Decided that my Nord character would be the lone wolf type ranger who didn't care for politics. I'm thinking of joining the Empire with my new character though.

2. Only bought a few healing potions and never really dabbled in alchemy myself.

3. Never installed any, unless Darker Dungeons counts. I really like the look of the game as it is, to be honest.

4. Nope.

5. I played for around 80 hours, took a break and then came back and finished the main quest. After that I took another break and decided to start playing again, but other games came in the way. I bought Dawnguard and Hearthfire during the Steam sale and currently I'm waiting for Dragonborn. As soon as that comes out, my new Khajiit assassin is gonna roam the wastes once again. Like believer258 said, I never uninstall Bethesda games.

6. Ebony claymore.

#12 Posted by Cathryn (545 posts) -

I played on the 360, so some of these aren't relevant to me.

1. I actually haven't finished this quest line yet, it's one of the things I'm planning on going back for when I get back to Skyrim again some time later this year. I have chosen the Stormcloaks side, though, just because I wanted to see how the story would play out that way. If I ever do a playthrough with a new character, I plan on choosing the Imperials. I mostly chose Stormcloaks because my character was a nord, but both sides are pretty gross.

2. I used a lot of alchemy in the game, but more for making money than for anything else (want that 100k gold achievement), plus I find it interesting to see how many different effects I can cram in to one potion. I found that paralysis poisons were very useful against bosses I had been having trouble with, but I also only really used healing and stamina regeneration potions on a regular basis.

3. I played the PS3 version for about 60 hours, got really sick of the bugs, then traded it in and got a 360 copy a few months later. I sunk probably about 60 hours in to the 360 version at the beginning of 2012, then played a bunch more close to the end of the year. I plan on finishing up the main quest, the civil war quest and a few achievements some time later this year, maybe in the summer or something.

#13 Posted by fetchfox (1217 posts) -

On PC, and played over 400 hours. On my third character now, abandoned my old ones. Khaajit two handed battlemage.
For mods I highly recommend 2k textures pack on nexusmods,w.a.t.e.r (search for it like that), and many more I can't remember right now, on mobile. If not I would have provided links. For weapons and armor their are two compilation packs that you should really check out. Just look at highest rated mods of all time on nexus, you should find those and several more there that are useful and fun without ruining the experience and immersion.

#14 Posted by Bane (383 posts) -
  1. I sided with the Stormcloaks. I don't agree with the racist vibe given off by Ulfric and his lieutenants, but I could not side with an Empire willing to sign the White-Gold Concordat which banned the worship of Talos (a Nord) and gave a portion of Hammerfell to the Aldmeri Dominion. Hammerfell refused to accept the terms, fought the Dominion to a standstill, and eventually became an independent nation. I figure the Empire is going down in flames, and Hammerfell and Skyrim could join forces to give the Dominion a right thrashing.
  2. I use health, stamina, magicka, and cure disease potions and that's pretty much it. The rest are simply loot with an excellent value to weight ratio. I found alchemy to be unnecessary because all the potions I've needed have been readily available for sale or found in the world.
  3. I think a lighting mod is essential. My favorite has to be Realistic Lighting with Customization (version 4.0 should be out soon). All of the changes it makes were made solely in the Creation Kit so there isn't any hit to performance. My second favorite is RCRN. It has a lot more bells and whistles, but they come with a performance cost. If your machine can handle it try RCRN, if not RL is the way to go. SkyUI is an absolute must, even more so now that it hit version 3 recently.
  4. There's enough content as it is so I never bothered to look for more.
  5. I played two characters into the high thirties to mid forties then put it down for awhile. I picked it back up several months later and played several characters up to level ten or so at most, none of which I felt were worth keeping around. Now I'm playing what I'd consider my third real character which I started with the intention of taking him into the DLC. After I'm done with this character I'd like to try out a couple more, but I'm not really sure. I've got over 600 hours in this game as it is which is crazy.
  6. I always use whatever the best gear is that I can smith myself, currently dragonbone. I don't think I used any staves with my mage, just spells.
#15 Edited by ShaggyDude (136 posts) -

3.) I just recently got into ENB. I tried it sometime last year and didn't like the performance hit, but after I really studied it on the nexus and on enbdev.com, I am doing some really awesome stuff with it that has totally refreshed Skyrim for me. Screenshots don't even do it justice, once you see Skyrim in motion with full SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion) you can really appreciate how much better the game looks. ENB also has Depth of Field effects, but I don't like them so I use ENB settings that only add SSAO.

Once you get these shadow effects running smoothly then it's off to the races with adding 2K textures, Static mesh upgrades, water mods, Climate mods, etc. They all look better with ENB.

All these different "ENB series" mods you see on Nexus are mostly settings files that tweak ENB and another program called SweetFX to achieve different looks. The most important files that make everything look so damn good come from enbdev.com and once you get the settings the way you like, you are basically just replacing one file from enbdev that he keeps updating, a d3d9.dll file. If you keep checking in on enbdev for the latest versions, the creator, Boris Vorontsov, is really on top of making this .dll run smoother (esp for Skyrim) with newer versions. I gained about 20fps just updating from his version .119 to .141 and as I'm looking at it now he's already up to version .143.

I started down this rabbit hole using the Seasons of Skyrim ENB, which has a nice description for all of this at the nexus and there are several different versions of it for use with different versions of ENB. Now I'm using Project ENB, which is actually put together by the same guy who made Seasons of Skyrim.

A couple more ENB tips that took me some research to figure out:

-Check out the Steam Guide for ENB.

-Disable all the anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing in the Skyrim launcher and let ENB do it. I found out that the reason my performance sucked was because Skyrim and ENB were both trying to do these processes. Once I separated them I was back to getting a constant 60fps. With ENB running in tandem with SweetFX, I actually have SweetFX doing the AA and ENB doing the anisotropic filtering.

-If you have an Nvidia video card, consider using the Geforce driver version 306.97. For whatever reason the newer versions of the drivers may not play nice with ENB. I have a Geforce 560Ti and was seeing some weird coloring and graphical glitches with ENB until I reverted to this previous version of the Geforce driver and now everything runs perfectly.

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