Elder ScrollsV Gameplay
The nonlinear gameplay traditional in The Elder Scrolls series is incorporated in Skyrim. The game may be played from a first-person perspective, viewing the game world through the eyes of their character, or from a third-person perspective, with the player character visible on the screen, and the camera able to be freely rotated. The player can explore the open world of Skyrim on foot or on horse, and fast-travel to cities, towns, and dungeons after they have been discovered. Quests are given to the player by non-player characters (NPCs) in the world, and through the Radiant Story system, the quests can be dynamically altered to accommodate for player actions which may influence the quests, characters, and objectives. The Radiant Story then further directs the player’s interaction with the world by setting unexplored dungeons as quest locations. When not completing quests, the player can interact with NPCs through conversation, and they may request favors or offer the player training in skills. In addition to scripted quests certain ones will be dynamically generated, providing a limitless number to the player. Some NPCs can become companions to the player to aid in combat. The player may choose to join factions, which are organized groups of NPCs such as the Dark Brotherhood, a band of assassins. Each of the factions has a headquarters, and they have their own quest paths which the player can progress through. The economy of cities and towns can be stimulated by completing jobs such as farming and mining, or spending large amounts of gold in the stores. Alternatively, the economy may be harmed by forging business ledgers and robbing the safes of stores. Additionally, the player’s actions or statements often have an impact on their interactions with NPCs – such as taking sides in the Civil War or fighting dragons. When exploring the game world, the player may encounter wildlife. Many creatures in the wilderness are immediately hostile towards the player. The inclusion of Dragons in Skyrim affords a major influence on both story and gameplay.
Character development is a primary element of Skyrim. At the beginning of the game, the player selects one of several human, elven, or anthropomorphic cat and lizard races, each of which has different natural abilities, and customizes their character’s appearance. A perpetual objective for the player is to improve their character’s skills, which are numerical representations of their ability in certain areas. There are eighteen skills divided evenly between the three schools of combat, magic and stealth. Training skills until the necessary required experience is met results in the player’s character leveling-up. Previous The Elder Scrolls games made use of a class system to determine which skills would contribute to the character’s leveling, but its removal in Skyrim allows for a preferred play-style to be developed naturally. When their character levels, the player may choose to select a skill-specific ability called a perk, or store perks for later use. Upon levelling fifty times, the player character can continue to level and earn perks, but the rate of levelling is slowed significantly. Skills can be reset over and over again, effectively meaning there is no level cap.
During the game’s development, a team was set aside to work on Dragons and their interactions with the world. In the world, a variety of different Dragons are encountered either alone or in small groups. They are randomly-generated, meaning their numbers are infinite, and they can attack cities and towns at any time. Not every Dragon is hostile, and the player can interact with non-hostile Dragons. Early in the main quest it is discovered that the player character is Dragonborn, which allows the player to absorb the souls of dragons in order to use powerful spells called Dragon Shouts or “Thu’um”. Each Shout contains three words, and the strength of the Shout will vary depending on how many words have been spoken. Twenty different Thu’um can be discovered by visiting “Word Walls” in dungeons with an additional seven shouts available for discovery through the Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC packages. The shouts are unlocked for use by spending the absorbed souls of slain Dragons. A regeneration period limits the player’s use of Shouts in gameplay.
A heads-up display appears when any of the player’s three main attributes are being depleted. Health is depleted primarily by damage through combat and although it is regenerated naturally over time, it can also be restored by spells, potions, or resting; the loss of all health results in death. Magicka is depleted by the use of spells and by being struck by lightning-based attacks, while stamina determines the player’s effectiveness in combat and is depleted by sprinting, power attacking, and being struck by frost-based attacks; both magicka and stamina can be regenerated in similar ways to health. The player’s inventory can be accessed from the menu and items can be viewed in 3D, which can be essential in solving puzzles found in dungeons. The player’s effectiveness in combat relies on the use of weapons and armor, which may be bought or created at forges, and magic, which may also be bought or unlocked. Weapons and magic are assigned to each hand, allowing for dual-wielding, and can be swapped out through a quick-access menu of favorite items. Shields can be used either to fend off enemy attacks and reduce the damage intake, or offensively through bashing attacks. Blunt, bladed and hacking weapons can be used in close combat and each have specific advantages and roles; as an example, the player can perform power attacks with each weapon. Magic can be used in the form of spells; each of the eighty-five spells has a different function, such as the regeneration of health or the depletion of enemy health. The bow and arrow may be utilized in long-range combat, but the bow can be used as a defensive melee weapon in close combat. Another change from previous games in the series is the elimination of weapon and armor durability; in which a player would periodically have to repair or pay to have items repaired or risk rendering them broken and unusable.
The player can enter sneak mode and pickpocket, or deliver sneak attacks to unsuspecting enemies. If the player drops unwanted loot, such as a shield or item of clothing, some NPCs will attempt to pick the item up, some even asking the player’s permission to take the item.
A player character preparing to battle a Dragon. Dragons can be encountered at random throughout Skyrim.