Tag Archives: Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

The College of Winterhold questline is magically short

[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.

Achievements of the Week – The Blessed Unbound Master Edition

It has arrived. The day is 11/11/11, and it is so much more than a Spinal Tap reference or a day to honor Veterans everywhere–it’s the day dragons awoke, the day I became a bearded man of import. Getting there wasn’t hard; Tara and I went to my local GameStop around 10ish, paid for my copies of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7 (which I won’t be able to pick up until early next week) and then hung out on the store’s floor for a bit. We gamed on our DSes for a bit, but eventually had to line up outside in the cold as we drew nearer to midnight. Once the time chimed high, we were sent into the store in groups of six or seven, given our copies, and ushered out. The drive home seemed to take forever.

Got home, made my character–his name is Lohgahn, and he’s rocking some killer Wolverine-esque sideburns–and played until the intro tutorial part was completed. Then I saved my game as I was a truly sleepy bear, but woke up early this morning to continue bounding onwards. Have only taken a break to make/eat lunch and type up this Grinding Down blog post.

I’ve never waited for a midnight release of anything before, and it was a little interesting seeing what type of people came out for this event. Mostly young teenagers or kids just getting into college by the look of ’em. There was a group attempting to sing–to everyone’s horror–Queen. And then listening to them spew words about how dumb Batman ultimately is and what Final Fantasy is the best had me cringing a bit–is that what I sound like, just not out loud? Ugh…

Well, maybe more on that later. For now, here’s a rundown of this week’s Achievements. They all come from a single franchise.

From The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion…

Blah blah blah, who cares now. All hail Skyrim Achievements!

From The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim…


Unbound (10G): Complete “Unbound”


Blessed (10G): Select a Standing Stone blessing

These are probably the first two Achievements the majority of gamers will unlocked. The first one is basically tied to Skyrim‘s tutorial/intro level, and the second is obtainable by following your companion right down the main path a little ways. Can’t miss it. Unless, upon the game truly opening up for you, you headed left or right with such ferocity that you never found the easiest Standing Stone possible. Bummer to you.

The first few hours of my game have gone well, and I certainly didn’t see any crazy horse-on-carts antics, but knowing it’s a Bethesda game means it’s only a matter of time until the glitches start popping up. I did stumble upon one oddity. I was speaking to a woman inside her own home in Whiterun, and she was ready to give me a quest, but said it’d be better to talk to her in her home in case anyone was eavesdropping. We…uh, were in her home. Speaking to her a second time triggered the correct dialogue, but it was still pretty amusing.

And with that, I go back to make Lohgahn a better archer, a better necromancer, and a better thief. To arms!

All must bow before the Master of the Fighters Guild

Well, of the remaining quests to complete to the Fighters Guild, three more involved going into a cave and killing [plural noun]. The final ones actually broke form, but even with that said, they weren’t that exciting, despite being concerned with taking down the Blackwood Company and destroying a crazy drug-producing tree. It was still go here, kill these people, report back what happens, accept next quest. Very disconnected and disappointing, but I’m glad to have to at least fully completed a guild questline–other than the easy-peasy Arena one–so here, look at my shiny rewards:


Champion, Fighters Guild (10G): Reached Champion rank in the Fighters Guild


Master, Fighters Guild (50G): Completed the Fighters Guild Questline

The final quest involves you taking down the Blackwood Company, a group of no-gooders that have popped up a few other times during your growing career in the Fighters Guild. Instead of going to a cave to murder them all, you go to their base of operations in Leyawiin…and murder them all. Molly summoned a lot of skeletons to distract them and then plucked them down systematically with her bow and arrows. Nothing terribly hard. In the basement, she found a tree surrounded by cogs and wheels and other crazy-looking mechanisms. Every time you click on it, nothing happens. You are tasked with destroying the pumps powering the chaotic thing; I loosed some arrows and fire spells into it, but nothing seemed to be working. Then I noticed some boards on the ground, which fit perfectly in the spinning wheels, breaking them fast and setting the whole place on fire. Upon returning to mean ol’ Vilena Donton and telling her all about Molly’s good deeds, she bestowed upon her the grandest of grand titles, the Master of the Fighters Guild. After that…um, nothing. There’s no confetti or party in the basement, no roasted rat meat and seasoned cheese wedges, no cheering and clapping, no anything. Hollow from beginning to end.

For this marathon run, I stayed focused. I picked up very little loot, unless it was lightweight or simply gold or more arrows for my enchanted bow of numbing, and that was a little hard for me at first. I am, by nature, a lootwhore. I like taking everything, whether I plan to use it or not. I mean, in my mind, there’s always the possibility that X might come in handy or that I could always just sell Y at a later point, but this then leads to spending a lot of time on inventory management. My goal was to see every quest completed, and so there was little time for fidgeting. Bad enough all the loading from fast traveling to and from constantly, from cave to city, city to city, city to cave.

And that’s mostly that for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. From what I’ve gathered, the most exciting guild questline in the game is that of the Dark Brotherhood’s, but I chose poorly, going with Fighters Guild and am now out of time. Tonight, I am going to be devouring The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in big-eyed fashion, and while there’s no Fighters Guild in this new snowy realm, there is another guild similar to them. The Warriors? I dunno. I think though for my first playthrough I’m going to work on getting into the Thieves guild and going from there.

Molly the Master, out!

Too many caves for the Fighters Guild to count

Molly’s been working like a mule as of late in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, increasing two more ranks in the Fighters Guild. See here, non-believers:


Warder, Fighters Guild (10G): Reached Warder rank in the Fighters Guild


Guardian, Fighters Guild (10G): Reached Guardian rank in the Fighters Guild

Ping and ping. That’s all well and good, but to be honest, these last few quests have been a grind. An extremely bland one, too. All involved going to some cave marked on the map and exploring it, whether to find out what happened to so-and-so, escort so-and-so safely through, or simply murder a bunch of so-and-sos/escaped prisoners. In fact, the majority of quests for the Fighters Guild so far have been of this ilk, with the only ones standing uniquely being “A Rat Problem,” “The Unfortunate Shopkeeper,” and “Drunk and Disorderly.” Otherwise, it’s been this on repeat: tip-toe through a really dark cave that looks just like every other cave in the game, spam the heck out of Nighteye and Minor Life Detection spells in hopes of seeing something, and save frequently to avoid losing progress to quick deaths from unseeable tripwires and pressure plates. Not overly exciting stuff, and it doesn’t help that I’m sitting in a freezing cold living room, crawling through digital caves that look just as cold, if not colder.

But up two ranks means that I’m almost done with the Fighters Guild, right? Well, no, not exactly. The endgame of the latest quest got problematic. Seems like the mother of Viranus Donton, found dead in a cave, was not happy with the mission’s outcome. Did I also mention she’s Master of the Fighters Guild in Cyrodiil? Yup. So, she threw in the towel, firmly, firing Modryn Oreyn for his lack of winning. Molly was also reprimanded and demoted down to the rank of Defender. So, it’s more like, up two ranks, down two ranks. I gotta make good and climb back up the corporate ladder for the Champion and Master ranks, which means more cave quests. I think I will just grin and bear it though as I’d love to complete at least one whole guild before The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim arrives. Once that game comes out, I’ll probably forget all about its predecessor–the same thing happened with Fallout 3 once Fallout: New Vegas reared its shinier head.

I’ve already joked with Tara that I’ll basically stop playing Skyrim the way it’s meant to be played when I get my first cave quest. I’m sure my character will be content to just spend the remainder of his/her days in a safe, well-lit town, decorating his house and chatting with locals. Maybe he’ll start a spoon collection. Or just make potions and fancy foods, sunrise to sunset. Who knows. The realm is my oyster. It’s gonna basically be Animal Crossing: Wild Skyrim, and that’s fine. Unless, I dunno, the caves got a whole lot better in the fifth game or my bad eyes are perfected magically overnight. Let’s hope for both of those things, my fellow fantasy spelunkers. Let’s hope.

One-goal Molly wants to be Master of the Fighters Guild in Oblivion

A long ways back, like in April 2011, on that infamous day where everyone gets hiiiiigh, I talked about diving back into The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and giving some it another go, this time trying to play a little differently, as well as finishing up all the major guild quests. Well, that plan quickly fizzled out as that was actually the last time I played the game until this very weekend. I think my gaming ADD hit me hard, and I was off on some other adventure, one that was probably immediately followed by another adventure. And so and so on. Such is the life of a gamer…

But then, as the world outside went snow crazy, I started Oblivion all over again, giving Hodor the heave-ho and creating a creepy looking Night Elf woman witchhunter with bleach blonde hair named…Molly. She focuses on a little bit of magic and a little bit of bow and arrow action. Not bad, truly, and I was able to rush through the majority of the opening quests for the Fighters Guild, finally breaking into new territory, advancing not once, but many, many times. Oh, just look:


Swordsman, Fighters Guild (10G): Reached Swordsman rank in the Fighters Guild


Protector, Fighters Guild (10G): Reached Protector rank in the Fighters Guild


Defender, Fighters Guild (10G): Reached Defender rank in the Fighters Guild

Good job, Molly. You’ll be Master of the Fighters Guild soon enough. Four more ranks to go. That is if the power comes back on and I don’t yet have The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to eat up. See, on Saturday, as an October snow unseen of before descended over New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the power kept flickering on and off. And yeah, I continued to game, or tried to at least. The last straw was the power shutting down as I was exploring a cave for the quest Azani Blackheart; I hadn’t saved since I entered the cave and did not feel like doing it all over again, at least not just then. So, we’ll continue to advance in rank some other time. I promise, Molly.

What is helping this playthrough versus the one I started with Hodor is that I’m no longer worrying about all the little things, such as picking up every bit of gear to sell, collecting a thousand and seven ingredients for alchemy purposes, and always trying to level up this skill or that in hopes of reaching the next level. All that matters is the quest at hand, and as long as Molly has some potions and plenty of arrows, we’re good to go. The quests themselves are not terribly difficult; the difficulty lies with–and this is inherent in all open-world games, I guess–the player’s determination and not getting distracted by Everything Else. With blinders on, one can get through the guilds pretty fast, I’m assuming. After Fighters, I think we’ll tackle the Mages Guild since Molly does have a knack for summoning skeletons.

This spurt of Oblivion playing is also a great reminder of what worked in that game from 2005 and what’s going to be ten times more fantastic in like twelve days. Every time I speak to someone and the camera zooms in on their fugly faces, Tara makes a noise. A mixture of a gasp and utter disgust. Especially for khajiit women. It’s the best.

Giving the warrior class a chance in Oblivion

Still yearning for some epic RPGing, I booted up Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion last night. Now, I haven’t touched this game since I went on an Achievement run last May to reach the top rank in the Arena questline. That’s almost an entire year ago for those good with the math.

There’s plenty of Achievements left to get, namely those for the Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood, Mages Guild, Fighters Guild, and the Shivering Isles expansion. I figured that it’d be healthy for me to break my mold and play as a non-sneaky character, someone that likes to charge at his/her enemies, swinging a large sword or mallet, wielding heavy armor with pride, grunting from too much weight all around.

I decided to just make a new character, and so I went with a Warrior build:

Unafraid of light weaponry, they plow into the fray with little regard for injury. Masters of all melee tools, they put little faith in the magical arts.

Specialization: Combat
Attributes: Endurance, Strength
Skills: Armorer
Athletics
Blade
Block
Blunt
Hand to Hand
Heavy Armor

His name is Hodor, and I made him look like an albino monk with some blue hues to his skin. His plan–not mine–is to get some great heavy armor and cover up all things hideously discolored. Then he’s going to go join the Fighters Guild to help better himself, to show the world he’s more than just a freak of nature, that his swing is as swift as any Blades’, and that nobody will get in his way. After that, I might be done with him, I might not. I guess in my mind it’s easier to build characters specifically for these themed questlines rather than try to steer a character in a whole new direction to go from ruling the Fighters Guild to the Mages Guild.

I played through the game’s tutorial last night, getting a feel for the game again. After exiting the prison’s sewers, I took out a nearby crab that was looking at Hodor crossly and then saved my progress, quitting to the dashboard. That was for a reason, as I wanted to start watching Pineapple Express before it got too late, but I’ll try to get back to it tonight and start Hodor’s career in the Fighters Guild. According to my Achievements list, I already unlocked the first three for this questline, but I don’t remember any of the quests associated with them so hopefully this will be like a fresh take on it all.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to arrive with a new engine

Will a lot of people be getting married on November 11, 2011 (11/11/11) or buying Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? Well, I think I know my answer…

But yeah. This new entry in the Elder Scrolls series was just announced over the weekend at some videogame award thingy that I didn’t watch. However, many already speculated that a fifth game was in the works. I mean, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was a huge hit; how does one not follow up on it? I personally think it’s a good thing that it’s taken five years (Oblivion came out in 2006 for the Xbox 360) to come into the public view. A lot has changed in terms of gaming prowess, and a lot is seemingly going to change as Bethesda is reporting that Skyrim is not going to be running on its infamous Gamebyro engine. Instead, it’s using a brand new one, and let’s quote a dude here:

“We can now confirm that the TES V: Skyrim engine is all-new. And it looks fantastic.” – Nick Breckon, community manager at Bethesda

This is good. Very good. The Gamebyro engine, which fueled Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Fallout: New Vegas, is definitely showing its age. It’s been showing its faults and glitches for many years, and the time for change is upon us. I can naturally only hope that this new engine is in the same vision of Gamebyro, but more beautiful, more capable, more durable. First-person RPGs are all about seeing the world all at once, and when that world is a fantasy world, a place lush with flowers and trees and rocky hills and blazing sunsets, it’s vital that the system can handle everything. I have to also wonder if the fighting/magic system will get an overhaul–I hope it does.

Nonetheless, we have a bit of a wait. So while we all consider how the skill system will work or how X will do Y to Z, we can check out the teaser trailer below:

Dragons! Take that, Dragon Age!