What I'd Like To See In The Elder Scrolls VI - Part 2

Aug 6, 2015

Welcome to post #2 about what I'd like to see in The Elder Scrolls 6. Most of my major "likes" were posted in part #1, but there are a few more significant items I'd like to touch on.

More Armour/Weapon Options

Since Morrowind, the Elder Scrolls series has been steadily removing weapon and armour types to streamline the equipping system. This is the wrong direction in which to take things. I understand that each new weapon or piece of armour takes time to model and skin, but continually removing options damages the "open world" feeling of these games. Sure, during any given playthrough of Morrowind, you wouldn't use even 10% of all the armour or weapons you found along the way, but the point is that those items were there. Their existence not only made the game feel larger and more real than just your character wandering through it, but added tons of replayability should you decide to take up a different weapon or armour type than before.

I'd like to see a return of many weapon types, and even more added. It's okay if they're broken up into a small number of skills, but still... more weapon types. Add whips, wands, flails, bring back thrown weapons, the Japanese style swords and spears, give us crossbows that aren't DLC.

I'd also like to see the return of three armour weights: light, medium and heavy. Since The Elder Scrolls Online returned to this system, and it works well, I'm hopeful we'll see this triad return to the next single player TES game. Again, more options here, even though you won't use 90% of them, is a veritable boon for player immersion, making the world feel real and not just a linear RPG with linear gear progression. More armour materials would be a definite help as well. Also, the grouping of armour slots into a smaller number may have saved some development time and effort, but it also dramatically reduced the customizability of player builds. Bring back right and left gloves and pauldrons, bring back separate chest and greaves. Bring back belts.

I'd like to see the return of two ring slots instead of one. I'd like to see the return of clothing that you can enchant and wear at the same time as armour. If I want to play an unarmoured monk, let me wear clothes and robes that I can enchant to protect me.

A large part of the development time of a TES game is creating the game world, and sometimes time spent on other areas must be sacrificed. I really hope that Bethesda comes to realize that the variety of equippable items is one of the most important aspects of the TES experience.

More NPCs

A major reason for the significant reduction in NPC counts in Oblivion and Skyrim from Morrowind (Morrowind has more NPCs than both Oblivion and Skyrim combined, and in a smaller area too) is because the developers chose to add full voice acting to each of them. This meant that the lines of dialogue had to be significantly reduced, which was easiest to do by reducing the global population.

While I like the full voice acting, I miss the (relatively) crowded and full-of-life feeling that was Morrowind. I would definitely not mind additional NPCs added which only had a few lines but also text-only interaction. By comparison, Skyrim and Oblivion felt empty, almost post-apocalyptic. Especially Skyrim which, for a major power having been involved in many wars, has less than 800 citizens to talk to. Having more NPCs is not an impossible feat considering some of the other similar games which have come out recently. For example, it's easy to find Assassin's Creed videos with city scenes encompassing 20 or more NPCs in the same small area, just going about business. Even though most are just barely interactable, they provide a sense of life to cities, towns and wherever you may happen to be exploring.

A corollary of this is more factions. More NPCs wandering around means there's more opportunity to add more factions with quest lines to the game. Morrowind had an amazing plethora of faction quest lines available, simply because the quest dialogue didn't need to be voiced, so it was many times cheaper to add. Each of Oblivion and Skyrim cuts the number of available faction story-lines in half, before expansions. The freedom to add quests that don't require voice acting would make the world so much more full of life, adventure and conflict.

I'd like to see a hybrid voice-acting/text system in The Elder Scrolls 6 which would enable the developers to significantly expand the content without the inconvenience and expense of voice acting everything.

Correct Argonians

I know I touched on this in part #1, but since I usually play Argonians in all TES games, the treatment they've received at the hands of time and budget constraints, in direct opposition to the lore and anatomy, saddens be greatly. Let me list the ways...

Argonians (and Khajiits) should have digitigrade feet (IOW "beast legs" ). This means that they walk on their toes and the balls of their feet, with ankles in the air. True, this trait was a bit overstated in Morrowind (super long feet!) so all the beast races walked very awkwardly, but it's still a trait that should remain. The different walk is just another aspect of the beast races that make them truly alien to the men and mer of Tamriel. Giving them plantigrade feet was a design decision to save time on animation and item design, not a decision of lore.

Female Argonians should not have breasts. They are reptiles. Think about that. Head shape has usually been enough to distinguish the sexes of Argonians in all of Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim, breasts or no. How hard would it be to assign male chest armour meshes to the female Argonian body? I'm not sure why this is an issue when the fix is just a one-race exception to the male/female armour dichotomy. The problem is that such a thing is pretty tough to do in mods, since that exception must take place deeper in the equipment system.

Argonians are an aquatic race. Their special abilities usually include some sort of water-breathing, or swim-speed increase. Thus it makes perfect sense that they should have their own tail-powered swimming animation. When an Argonian jumps in the water and then flails about like men and mer, it just looks absurd. Which segues right into...

There should be more use of the Argonian (and to a lesser extent Khajiiti) tail. Not only in swimming, but in combat, and balance while jumping and running. Even Morrowind doesn't take advantage of this, although the digitigrade stance seems to use the tail somewhat as a balance. In Oblivion and Skyrim, the tail isn't even used for that, being essentially a weightless accessory attached to the butt of a humanoid character. Why couldn't the tail be used for attack, defence (while armoured), or at least have an effect on the stance, walking and running animations of Argonians?

That's all I have for now. If I think of more, there might be a part 3. Hopefully Bethesda announces something soon though. Despite all my requests in these posts, I'm still very much looking forward to whatever new portion of Tamriel we get to explore next!

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