Monday, 29 August 2011

Skyrim presets, streaming updates and Sauron’s blog

I’ll begin at the last of those. Recently I came across Sauron’s blog, which is/was an entertaining diary of the evil lighthouse from the first days (well, before the first days, actually) all the way to the arrival of the Numenoreans. Unfortunately, the blog (around five years old) appears to have suddenly died, as the eagle-eyed Mr. Llama pointed out in the comments to the last post. There’s still a twitter feed (!/SauronsBlog) so hopefully it’ll just be a technical issue and Sauron will return to If it does return I’ll provide a heads-up here.

Bit disappointing to find a witty blog only for it to disappear shortly thereafter. Still, Sauron does have a habit of coming back.

In happier news, the presets for Skyrim’s races have been revealed. There are 20 for each of the 10 races (half male, half female). People have mixed views about the Dunmer, but the Argonians and Khajiit have been very well-received and the races generally are a substantial step up from Oblivion. I’ll link to a UESP forum thread (I can recommend the forum, incidentally) with links to the full pictures, but I’ll just post a sample of each race/gender here to avoid an overly long loading time.

As you can see in the picture above, eyes can vary (and can be blind), there’s a wide variety of face paint and scars can be added. In-game character customisation (like in Fallout 3) appears unlikely, but may be added later. Individual races do get specific bonuses (Argonians can still breathe underwater, for example) some of which are passive and others of which are activated.

Luke Skyrimer (on the official forum) made a very nice comparison picture (below), showing how much the faces have evolved from Morrowind and Oblivion to Skyrim.

However, there’s some potentially bad news too. The 11/11/11 release date is set in stone, with Bethesda offering streaming quick fixes to any bugs identified. I’m sure the firm will seek to eliminate any serious bugs prior to release, but this does sound like putting a release date ahead of actually getting the game sorted. Big bugs can sometimes be worked around (the pit stop and research bugs in F1 2010 were both substantial but could be gotten around mostly), so hopefully this won’t disadvantage people (like me) who don’t have an internet connection for their console.

There may also be some release date DLC, which is a pet hate of mine. If it’s ready for the release date, it should be part of the game. It’s like a surcharge for spoons when you buy a cutlery set.

Those grumbles aside, Skyrim looks fantastic and promises a better levelling system, greater customisation and an even more in-depth game than Oblivion.

To kill the time between now and the release date I’ll be getting Chris Wooding’s The Iron Jackal (Tales of the Ketty Jay), which is out in October, and may make a start with volumes 4-6 of Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.



  1. Thanks for the info on Skyrim. This development and its release date had totally passed me by. I enjoyed Oblivion very much and this looks to be even better. I am not sure about fighting dragons though - since Daggerfall I have always gone for the sneaky thief type and those buggers look a bit big and dangerous for me.

  2. I must confess surprise, Mr. Llama. Didn't think this would be your type of thing.

    On sneaky thief types: bows will be slower but more powerful in Skyrim that Oblivion, and will be a better prospect. (I found playing an archer easyish early on but difficult later. Also, arrows will be less abundant but I think you can make your own with the new smithcraft skills).

    A thief type might be better (if an archer) at causing the early damage to a dragon, wounding its wings and forcing it to land.

  3. Oh yes, I enjoy a bit of role play come FPS. Its a nice change from the real world. I also enjoyed Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas. I still fire up the latter from time to time when I feel the need for some time out. There is a definite satisfaction in sneaking up on an enemy and silently killing him/her/it from close range with one blow/shot.

    Thanks for the info on archers in Skyrim, I am saving up for my copy. Providing the game is relatively bug free (an I share your concern about the fixed release date), I expect my work productivity to collapse over the winter months as I spend hours every day sneaking, thieving and killing.

  4. Not played New Vegas, though I've got Fallout 3 and Oblivion.

    Not sure whether this'll be of interest for you or not, but people who pre-order (and I think this applies to the UK) Skyrim for any system should get a free extra map, a burlap-style physical thing, to go along with the paper map I presume is included as standard.

    You sound like quite the scoundrel. My characters tend to be quite good (certainly, my initial lady Nord character will be mostly good).

  5. What is the point of being in role play a character similar to that one is in real life? In my normal existence I am a bluff Englishman, honest to a fault, a tad eccentric but tolerant of others' eccentricities, kind to animals and I could no more sneak than I could fly. So, in the game I play a stealthy, thieving Khajat (spelling?) assassin who would stick a knife between the ribs of anyone, especially if he was paid to do so.

    Now, applying the same logic to you and your good, lady Nord character what can we learn about the true nature of Thaddeus?

  6. Khajiit*

    I'd rather spend 300 hours with a blonde lady character than a chap :p

    I do create numerous characters, and have already planned a second character, quite similar to yours (a Khajiit stealthy archer who is thoroughly vicious and horrid).

  7. "... a Khajiit stealthy archer who is thoroughly vicious and horrid" That is the spirit, Mr. Thaddeus! Get down and dirty and let your dark side shine through.

    Stealthy archery can be quite fun when one reaches a high enough level that you can take down your enemies before they even know they are in danger (same as being a good sniper in the Fallout series). Not as good as getting in up close and personal with a stiletto though.

    Hmmm, I think its time to go and stiff a few mutants, fiends, legionnaires and maybe some nice people too (those NCR rangers really get on my wick).