Perlman 1

Samuel Perlman

ENC 2135-21

Spring 2018

Project 1

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was developed by Bethesda Game Studios and first released on

November 11th, 2011. Skyrim is the fifth game of the main series in Elder Scrolls Series,

occurring about 200 years after the previous game, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Like all of the

main series Elder Scrolls games, Skyrim is an open-world single player fantasy arpg (action role

playing game).

Skyrim is essentially a digital version of Dungeons and Dragons that someone can play

on his or her own. As such, it caters to a community of people who like to play games where

they can wander around and get buried under a mountain of side quests and sink tens of hours in

a game without even needing to complete the main storyline. It does, however, differ from

Dungeons and Dragons in that combat occurs in real time as opposed to being turn based (that is

where the a in arpg comes from). Like with Dungeons and Dragons, the Elder Scrolls games,

such as Skyrim, have a ton of customization options for the player character at the beginning of

the game. However, with Skyrim, the number of customization options has been decreased

somewhat to make it easier for new players to customize their characters. Bethesda did this by

reducing the ability to refine facial features, removing premade character classes, and replacing

birth signs with standing stones. They lowered the number of ways people could customize their

characters faces to make it less troublesome for new players to start the game, which shall be

expanded upon in a comparison with Dark Souls III.
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The removal of premade character classes has allowed people to gradually create their

own classes based upon their play styles and the standing stones (which replaced the birth signs)

have made gameplay more fluid. Players can use the abilities gifted by the stones as tools and

switch stones whenever it suits them (players can only benefit from one stone at a time unless

they are wearing a certain quest item). These changes allow players to enter the game faster, as it

is quicker and easier to design a character. Also, they no longer have to live with the

consequences of picking a class that does not mesh well with their play style or a birth sign that

hinders them.

In addition to this, other arpg games, such as the Dark Souls III, have a world of options

for character customization, but contain few instructions. This turns character customization into

a labyrinth that that people spend hours trying to navigate as they attempt to make a decent

looking character, though most players generally give up before they reach that point. One of the

reasons for this being that most of the character’s appearance, such as its facial features, is

controlled using some very complex and confusing sliders. For example, the character’s skin

color is controlled by three sliders that manipulate red, green, and blue values, which max out at

two-hundred and fifty-five. I have yet to meet anyone that knows how to use those to get the

color that they were trying to get. Bethesda gets around this problem in Skyrim by having ten

preset characters per race and only having about ten customization options per slider as opposed

to having over two-hundred. Though if one feels constricted by Skyrim’s character

customization options, one can go online and download a customization mod that someone

created for the game (such as the ones add more starting classes or allow the player to start

somewhere other than Helgen).
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Even though Skyrim is a single player game, it still has a thriving community. One of the

things central to this community is mods. This is to the point where Bethesda has two separate

sections on its website dedicated to free mods for Skyrim, one for general discussions and

requests and the other for incomplete or recently released mods. These mods are created by the

community for the community and generally make the game more enjoyable. For example, some

people really did not like the giant spiders encountered within the game (arachnophobia is a

thing) and created the mod, No Spiders, which replaces all of the spiders in the game with bears.

This inspired the creation of another mod, No Spiders – Piderman Edition, which changes the

sounds and textures of the spiders with pidermen. These pidermen are based on the character

from the Baman Piderman web series. No Spiders – Piderman Edition was created as a joke and

should not be used by arachnophobes as the pidermans’ bodies are shaped very similarly to the

spiders that they have replaced. Other mods include additional armors, followers, enemies, and

locations for more content as well as bug fixes and updated graphics to improve the game (its

graphics were a bit dated when it was released and it has been out for the better part of a decade

now). Also, a mod for co-op (cooperative multiplayer) is currently in the works, called Skyrim

Together. If completed, this mod should allow people to play Skyrim online with a few of their

friends, fighting monsters and exploring the fantastical realm of Skyrim (the province) together.

Skyrim is very pervasive for a fantasy game. It might not be playable on every

videogame platform, but it comes pretty close. It can be played on the pc [personal computer] or

on one of various consoles, such as the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and

the Nintendo Switch. Skyrim takes place in a medieval Nordic environment filled with magic

users, dragons, vampires, werewolves and more. The environment is Nordic in that the most

populous race in the province of Skyrim is called the Nords and there is a type of enemy in the
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game, the Draugr, which are based upon the zombies from Norse myth. Also, Skyrim’s main plot

follows the hero’s journey archetype found in other fantasy works, such as the Inheritance Cycle

and Lord of the Rings. The player character, known as the Dovahkiin (or the Dragonborn in

English), goes on a quest to defeat a big bad, Alduin (the god of destruction who also happens to

be a dragon), and stop him from taking over the world. Alduin is also similar to Sauron in that

this is not his first attempt to rule the world. Alduin used to rule Skyrim long before the story,

but he and his dragon army were defeated by the ancient dragonborns (there used to be more of

them [the dragonborns], but now there is only one left). Unlike his army, Alduin was not killed,

only flung far into the future by an Elder Scroll (a powerful artifact that is an archive of past,

present, and future events) because the ancient dragonborns could not kill him. During the

Dovahkiin’s various quests, the player has run-ins with wizards, witches, draugr, and several

kinds of Daedra (the Elder Scrolls series’ version of demons). The Dovahkiin’s story is not as

static as the stories of the Inheritance Cycle and Lord of the Rings. There is no one true timeline

of the Skyrim’s events as the players have a great deal of choices that lead to a sea of different


As with Dungeons and Dragons, when someone plays Skyrim, he or she begins by

designing a character, which is then used to create a story. All players’ stories in Skyrim begin

the same way, with the first main storyline quest, Unbound, in which the player needs to escape a

town, Helgen, after a dragon attack interrupts his or her execution (for being in the wrong place

at the wrong time). After completing Unbound, the game gives its players free reign, allowing

them to roam around Skyrim freely. As Skyrim is an open world game, players need not linearly

follow the main questline to its conclusion or even finish its first arc at all. They can wander
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around aimlessly, exploring new places, discovering new locations, and completing random side

quests as they go. This results in each player creating his or her own unique story.

My story with Skyrim began long before I started Unbound. It starts with my friend,

Preethi, recommending Skyrim to me. Since I am a very stubborn person, I did not purchase

Skyrim (the pc version) until a few months later and I did not even download it until several

weeks after that. Playing Skyrim is not a decision that I regret making (though I will if it causes

me to slack off too much). With Skyrim, I can spend an hour or two relaxing after finishing my

homework for the day. I can listen to an audiobook while exploring a cave or storming a

necromancer’s fortress. I have not tried too many of the mods yet, but I did enjoy watching a

series on YouTube in which a guy downloaded a bunch of random mods (including No Spiders –

Piderman Edition) and played through the game with them on. I guess that is part of why I love

Skyrim. It is a great game with an amazing, eclectic community.
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Works to Cite