Friday, March 16, 2012

Skyrim DLC (Skyrim Expansion)

After the huge success of Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, game producer Bethesda released an amazing expansion pack titled "The Shivering Isles". The expansion or DLC (Downloadable content) contained a whole new area for players to explore, plus made serious improvements and additions to the original game setting.

Now, following upon the even-greater success of Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Bethesda again has plans for a major expansion to the original game, which will reportedly be available first for the Xbox 360. Bethesda has already stated that they think the Skyrim Expansion will contain enough new quests to require a minimum of 20-30 hours of playing time.

But, what improvements and additions would Skyrim players really like to see? Here's a list of things that I think would make the original Skyrim experience more enjoyable:

More Creative Settings - In The Shivering Isles Expansion, you came face to face with a madman named Sheogoroth.  In his realm, you had to be prepared for anything to happen at any time. Not only that, but the Shivering Isles setting was quite beautiful and unique compared to the Oblivion mainland. Multi-colored skies and forests filled with psychedelic-looking plants were the norm in the Shivering Isles. While Skyrim can be breathtakingly realistic, the wilderness seems a little mundane on the creative side. It would be nice if the Skyrim DLC added some more creative features to existing locations, and added entirely new locations as well. Drawing from Oblivion, the Skyrim Expansion could bring back more Oblivion gates, leading to other planes of existence. Other features could be added to the Skyrim mainland, such as volcanoes, quicksand traps, sinkholes, huge tree-worlds, backward waterfalls and more. The unaccessible parts of the map could be made more accessible, and the many small islands could be used to house new locations or portals to other planes, a la Oblivion. It would also be cool to visit a "cloud world", accessible through a mountaintop.

More Monsters - Although I've beaten the Skyrim Main Quest, and still enjoy playing the game, my main gripe with the ongoing Skyrim enjoyability factor has to be the lack of monster variety. Sure, the giants, dragons and hagravens are cool, but it seems like you've encountered every basic monster type pretty early in the game, and from that point on, you just get minor variations on the same basic creatures. I'd really love to see some new creatures introduced to the Skyrim DLC. Here's a list that I came up with without much thought:

Giant Ants
Giant Bats
Giant Snakes
More giant types - Fire, Frost, Ettin, etc...
Genies that could grant wishes if defeated
Bigger Spiders who do more poison damage
Gorgons who could turn you to stone
Slimes and Oozes
Lurkers Above

Obviously, some of these creatures are exclusive to Dungeons and Dragons, but there's no reason similar creatures couldn't be introduced to the Skyrim DLC.  I think the main goal would be to increase the challenge by adding creatures with new and tougher abilities that would require the high-level player to think a little more.

More Missile Weapons - Here are a few ideas:  Spears, Slings, Darts, Blowguns. This would definitely help round out the thief-type characters. It would also be fun to make more use of catapult-type weapons, making them mobile, with a variety of objects that you could fling.

Require More Spell Use for Mage Quests - It's crazy that my character could become the Arch-Mage of Winterhold without casting more than a couple of different spells. Magic is not generally required for completion of most quests. It would be nice to make magic use a more prevalent aspect of optional quest completion. I'd also like to see more variety in Spellbooks, as most of these are offered very early in the game at very cheap prices. I think the Skyrim DLC should offer more powerful spells at much higher prices.

Miscellaneous Ideas that could be added to the Skyrim Expansion:
Dragon Riding
Intelligent Weapons
Totally dark dungeons with rings of Night-Eye available
Less Dragon Attacks
Enhanced Cooking Features/Ingredients to make this an actual worthwhile pursuit
Arrow Smithing/Enchanting
Battles against more than two or three enemies...How about a single character taking on a village of fifty goblins or a pack of fifteen wolves?
More enhancements to outdoor living, for those who don't want to stay in a house.
Flying Pegasi

Hopefully, the Skyrim Expansion will be out by Summer 2012, and we'll get a chance to see what Bethesda has up its sleeve.