[Major spoilers abound for the following quests: Revealing the Unseen, Containment, The Staff of Magnus, and The Eye of Magnus. You’ve been warned.]
In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, the first quests I ever followed with passion were those of the Mages Guild. They were strange and varied, some even playing to my sneaky side with tasks like stealing gems or enchanted books from fellow wizards. Others had me gathering alchemy ingredients from just about everywhere. In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, I started to do a bunch of quests during one of my few playthroughs, but never got further than getting in good with magic users initially, and judging from my experience with completing the Fighters Guild questline, I assume it’s going to be the same ol’ quest a whole bunch of times in a row. Not really interested in that. And then in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you do a handful of quests–albeit really long ones–and then it’s all over. I was honestly surprised last night when Lohgahn was presented as the new Arch-Mage of the College and given my own private quarters.
Let’s start at the beginning though. After getting into the College, you are tasked with exploring Saarthal, an ancient set of ruins that might have something mystical inside. You kind of go there to train with other classmates, but soon find a crazy, magical orb (as well as an extremely tough Draugr called Jyrik Gauldruson). As you begin to investigate and research this orb, another mage called Ancano becomes very interested in what you’re doing. Eventually, you learn that the Staff of Magnus can reveal the answers floating within the orb, the Eye of Magnus. You go out to find the staff, and upon returning to Winterhold learn that Ancano has turned traitor, released the power of the Eye, and must be stopped. Oh, and the Arch-Mage is dead. Zing! You fight off some truly annoying creatures called magical anomalies, and then, with the help of Tolfdir, take out Ancano for good. After the fight’s over, several members of the Psijic Order appear, congratulate you, and take the Eye away as it is deemed too unstable to be kept safely at the College.
Here’s two Achievements tied to the questline that I unlocked with extreme magic:
Revealing the Unseen (10G): Complete “Revealing the Unseen”
The Eye of Magnus (30G): Complete “The Eye of Magnus”
Oh, and thanks to all this sneaking around and loosing of arrows into skeletons, I managed to hit a new milestone in leveling up:
Expert (25G): Reach Level 25
But yeah, fun times at the College of Winterhold are over surprisingly fast. The questline consists of eight separate quests, but only three or four really deal with the major plot of uncovering the Eye of Magnus. A couple are lengthy affairs, and others are just about surviving a fight. I kind of expected a lot more, or at least more sidequests that played into advancing through the College. I guess I just got used to moving up in ranks from Oblivion, slowly but surely getting closer to the top. In Skyrim, it was like do this, do that, stop the evil, become the next Arch-Mage, and that’s it. Enjoy your new pad. Oh, I will. Looks like it’s filled with rare alchemy ingredients and soul gems. But is there anything else left to do at the College now? I’m thinking no…which means it is time for Lohgahn to find something else to do. Maybe the main quest? Naaaaah.