Me & Skyrim

A running diary chronicling my adventures on the Nintendo Switch within the mythical land of Skyrim. Scroll down to start reading from the beginning; newest entries are at the top of the page. – T

1.24.18 – I haven’t updated here, but only because I’ve been too busy playing Skyrim. I’ve really played nothing else since Christmas or so, and I feel okay about that, because the recent Nintendo Direct Mini didn’t have anything I’m going to be DYING to play on Day 1… which I’m also okay with, because the last year has seen two new entries in two of my three favorite video game franchises (Zelda and Splatoon) and it’s only a matter of time before Smash Bros. comes along. It’s strange, and I still have a lot of ground to cover, but Skyrim (the land) doesn’t feel smaller than Hyrule (from Breath of the Wild) even though I know it is, and I think the reason it doesn’t feel that way is because the Dragonborn doesn’t have the same nimble traversal skills as BotW‘s Spider-Link: can’t climb sheer cliffs, has no hang glider. So natural obstacles come more into play in Skyrim than they did in Breath of the Wild. There’s also not the diversity of terrain in Skyrim as there was in BotW. No matter where I go in Skyrim, I feel as though I’m in the arctic tundra. It is a cold world out there… even though temperature gauges aren’t a thing. None of this, it should be noted, is causing me to enjoy the game any less. I’m just noting how different this game is from the other most recent fantasy open world game I played. I’ll probably do a larger compare & contrast main post about the two games, so I don’t want to get too far into it here.

My favorite thing about Skyrim remains the leveling system. The “do a skill, improve a skill” system of leveling is my new favorite thing. I’m at about character level 30 and I’d probably take back a few of the skill perks I’ve doled out if I could, but I’ve come to realize which trees I’m going to be building up from here on out: Destruction magic, Restoration magic, One-Handed combat, and Light Armor. After that I’ll start spreading the love again, but those are the areas where my Dragonborn is going to excel.

Well, THIS version of my Dragonborn. When next I play I’m going to be an Orc with maxed out Heavy Armor and Two-Handed combat trees. Man, this game is good.

1.11.18 – One of my favorite things about Skyrim is how the game encourages you to discover your character organically. Rather than choosing at the top of the game, “I’m going to be an archer thief,” the game levels up all of your skills individually as you use them, and therefore the skills you use more often are the ones you’ll naturally get better at. Just like in real life, practice makes perfect. My initial intention was to craft a pure mage character, and that’s something I still might do on a second play through. But my initial play-through has turned my Breton character, Ginevra, into a battle-mage, or a red-mage. Most of my character growth has been across four categories: Restoration Magic, Destruction Magic, One-Handed Combat, and Light Armor. (My chosen style of attack is to go into battle with a sword, mace, or dagger in my right hand and a destruction spell in my left.) I’ve ignored Pickpocketing, Sneaking, Heavy Armor, and Two-Handed, and only upgraded Archer because of how necessary archer proficiency seems to be if you intended on slaying a bunch of dragons. I also very accidentally stumbled into my favorite piece of armor, and I’ve been upgrading it to keep it relevant. While on the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller quest, I was charged and attacked by an angry vampiress in styling red leather armor, which I’ve now adopted as my character’s signature look… after I washed off all of the dead vampire ash, of course.

1.11.18 – I’ve begun The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the Nintendo Switch. It is the role-playingest of role playing games I’ve ever played. I recently wrote a blog entry called “The Second Person”, where I argued for the literary form of 2nd person POV as the best form through which to tell stories in interactive media, such as gaming. Skyrim is the best possible argument I can make in defense of that theory. I’m finding that the story being told to me in Skyrim is secondary to the story I am telling myself as I play. With that in mind, I’ve started this subpage of Me & Nintendo dedicated to telling of my journey through the magical land of Skyrim.

I’m already many hours into my first ever Skyrim play through, and yet I’m certain I’ve barely scratched the surface. I am playing as Ginevra. She is a Breton battle-mage. (I was going to make a flat-out mage character but I went with the Breton so I could craft something more akin to the Red Mage job from Final Fantasy: a mage who can also swing a sword. Sue me, I like using the Master Sword. #Zelda4Life) Ginevra was picked up by Imperial soldiers when trying to sneak across the border into Skyrim. She had killed her abusive husband in self-defense and was escaping the authorities of… I’m going to say Morrowind, just because that’s the only other country from the fantasy continent of Tamriel I can think of right now.

As with any Skyrim protagonist, Ginevra escaped execution in Helgen when the black dragon Alduin attacked. She found refuge in Riverwood, licked her wounds at the home of the blacksmith, Alvor, and his wife and young daughter, and then journeyed up to Whiterun in order to warn the Jarl there of the return of the dragons. She accidentally stumbled upon Whiterun soldiers in the hold’s Western Tower being set upon by another, lesser dragon. After helping to slay the dragon, the dragon’s soul absorbed into her, revealing Ginevra’s true identity to those around her and to herself: she was the Dragonborn, the prophesied warrior who would save Tamriel from the end times.

It was not necessarily a burden Ginevra wished to carry. She spent the next several weeks wandering aimlessly about Skyrim, helping others with minor tasks, stumbling into Thanehood in Whiterun, eventually making her way up to the Throat of the World (and barely surviving an encounter with a Frost Troll) to visit the Greybeards, the elders who have studied the Dragonborn for centuries and who could help her, perhaps, discover who it was she was meant to be.

It was a twist of fate, however, that brought a new sense of purpose to Ginevra’s life: while visiting Riverwood to do some smithing and shopping, a dragon attacked the village. After Ginevra had slain the beast, she realized: Alvor and his wife had been killed in the attack, leaving their daughter, little Sophe, an orphan. It was then that Ginevra knew why the gods had brought her to Skyrim: she turned her back on all other tasks, saved up enough gold, and purchased a house in Whiterun. She now lives in Breezehome house, right next door to the Whiterun blacksmiths, along side Lydia, her ceremonial Housecarl, and her newly adopted daughter Sophe.

Yet Ginevra still searches for her own identity. She has been exhorted to join the Stormclocks in their Civil War against the Imperial Government, or the Companions, a guild of sell-swords. She thought perhaps the Mage’s College at Winterhold would be for her, but Skyrim is such a treacherous land she can no longer imagine being without her armor or blade. She has no interest in joining the Thieves’ Guild, and less in joining the Dark Brotherhood.  Perhaps the Dawnguard…

For now she has fallen in with the remnants of the Blades, the group once sworn to protect and assist the Dragonborn. For while she may not know who she is, she knows this: not one more orphan will be born of a dragon’s wrath in Skyrim. Not if she has anything to say about it.

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