Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Skyrim Diary: The Unexpected Threat That Nearly Ended it All!

While most AAA game releases these days favour a cinematic approach and continually hold the player's hand, along comes Skyrim - an epic, fantasy role-playing adventure that quickly let's go off your hand and pushes you into oblivion. You'll find yourself alone and unloved in a vast and intimidating open world, where the only person in control of your destiny is yourself. Skyrim is your oyster, and how you choose to explore, behave, interact and live is completely up to you, allowing each player a very personal and unique in-game experience.

I'm a mere level six young Nord who has really just started on my journey and yet I've already had some very memorable encounters. Here I will document the highlights of my first steps into a larger world, including the unforeseen and dangerous threat that nearly ended my Skyrim adventure entirely...

Pull up a seat by the campfire and join me after the jump...

Already cursed with being a manly man in real life, I opted to play a striking female Nord warrior with incredible eye make-up and dyed red hair. Looking more like an alt rocker than a bloodthirsty viking, I escaped my captors and the dragon, and found myself disorientated and directionless in the mountains. These are my favourite things that happened next:

- My first death was not at the pointy end of a dragon - it was caused by a chicken. I don't know if I was spurred on by Fable's glorious chicken kicking mechanic, but when I reached the first town I couldn't resist hacking at unsuspecting chicken with my sword. Now this must have been a particularly revered chicken in this small chicken-loving community, because the Blacksmith, who had previously treated me with kindness, came running from his station and murdered me with his hammer. Moral of the story: Do not mess with another man's chicken. It was most probably cultural, but it certainly made me think twice about hacking to death the local kids.

- I like running along tables and knocking everything off them, especially if there are people sitting at them eating. As their apple pie hits the floor they say perplexed things like, "Why are you doing this?" and I don't even have a good answer. Why am I doing it? Why will I relentlessly continue to do it? I don't know! Enjoy your floor-pie!

- So the chicken incident didn't actually teach me anything. I approached a farm which had a magnificent cow. I waited until nightfall, when I thought everyone was asleep, and then took a swipe at it with my warhammer. What I didn't account for was the hippy nature of my new traveling companion - a hideous elven archer - who took immediate offense and started shooting arrows at me.

A guard was alerted, who I luckily managed to bludgeon to death, and then I repaid my elven companion's betrayal by bludgeoning him to death as well. This provided an unexpected windfall! You see, the elf was involved in a love triangle back in his home town, and his rival suitor sent a courier with a letter to thank me, and I got some gold out of in the process. Thrilled with this unanticipated rewarded, I continued to my next goal where a large troop of waiting guards proceeded to murder me in a shower of arrows.

- After my cow related death, I was reverted to an auto-save and found myself back in a time before the entire ugly incident happened. I decided not to repeat my cow-killing actions, but I did like the idea of reaping that reward, so I took my now-alive elf companion for trek on a long-deserted road and bludgeoned him to death with my hammer. This time the courier wasn't forthcoming, but I did take the key to his house, which I promptly returned to and ransacked.

- I like splashing around in moats.

- The Companions are fighters-for-hire that harbour a terrible secret. They have a sweet base and if you pass initiation you can join their ranks. They don't like it when you steal their stuff. Especially their pies.

- There's a minstrel in the tavern that is constantly singing. If you challenge him to a fight, you can punch him in the face as much as you like and you won't even get in trouble.

- The first dragon I battled was attacking a semi-demolished guard tower surrounded by soldiers with bows and arrows. I was tasked with killing the beast, but had no ranged weapon of my own, so every time I got close it would set me alight and I'd be forced to restart. Frustrated, I found myself holed up in the tower while the dragon slaughtered everyone outside, in fact the only living person near me was a tower guard doing his best to shoot through the windows with his precious bow and arrow. Realising no one was watching, and feeling desperate, I bludgeoned him on the back of the head, looted his weapons, and took down the dragon. I didn't even feel guilty with this one because it was AWESOME.

- You know the Jarl's adviser guy? He's bald and has a pencil thin moustache and he's kind of prissy. I think his name is Preventious or something. It's really funny when you go into first person view mode, crouch in front of him and stare at his crotch. He doesn't like it at all. When you look back up at him, he follows your gaze and says, "Don't even think about it!" in a really agitated voice. Never gets old.

- So I'm just feeling all comfortable and in control when disaster strikes - from a threat that they don't warn you about in any manual. I'm about seven hours into the game, I have a horse, the finest steel armour, I've completed many quests and I step away from the console for a while to proverbially stretch my legs. And then my girlfriend - who has also started a character (and advanced far more than I have) accidentally deletes my entire game.

Yes. My girlfriend, Suzanne, (who I love) deleted my Skyrim game.

Panic sets in and all seems lost. I'm not angry but I'm numb, because I don't have a lot of free time these days, and the idea of playing through all that content again seems incredibly daunting and not a huge priority. Has my time in Skyrim come to a premature end?

But wait... what's this? Thanks to cloud-saving on the PS3 we find a level one version of my character who has just entered the first big city. And then Suzanne does something wonderful! She takes that character and in about a third of the time it took me, redoes all my quests, buys back all my armour, and sets my character up exactly where I left her. All is restored. I'm a level six again and I'm back in the game. Secure in the knowledge that she is an infinitely better player than I am.

But she did not murder my elven companion, so once again he has escaped death and all of my wicked deeds have been undone. My immediate instinct is to rectify this by killing him immediately, but then I begin to feel somewhat philosophical about it. Who in life wouldn't jump at the chance to have certain actions taken back? Wrongs righted? A second chance?

The elf continues to chop wood at the edge of town, oblivious to what has transpired. Unaware of how precious his life is. While for me, a new adventure awaits...


  1. I honestly think in 7 years together this has to be one of the worst things I've done. Along with busting your brand new camera. that was pretty bad.

    sadly now I'm all attached to your dude and am unwilling to go back to my very l33t and awesome level 12. poor me. mostly because I'm stuck in a crazy area with no hope of figuring out wtf since no one has solutions online yet! the injustice.

  2. It is your destiny to kill the elven companion.

  3. lol i think that your a realy good writer, also every one who enterd riverwood killed the chicken, i waited until night (after my first chicken-death) went into sneak got out the bow and arrow and shot it then i looted it and draged the body into the river and by sunrise i was in whiterun