Skyrim was one of the first video games I fell in love with. Some of you may know that I didn’t start gaming until I was an adult, and I credit Dragon Age: Origins with my initial love for the medium. But I also remember watching a video online of Skyrim — knowing next to nothing about The Elder Scrolls series — and, after seeing someone brawling in Windhelm, thinking I’d almost die if I didn’t get my hands on that game. It looked incredible.
What makes Skyrim so special for me is the ability to fashion a completely unique character and in-game life.
Up to that point, my experience with games was in stories with pre-planned endings. In Skyrim, I could keep playing for dozens of hours, whether I completed the main questline or not. There were so many quests to run after; I could choose what I wanted my character’s life to be like.
And it wasn’t just that — I could buy a house, fill it with loot from my adventures, and get married.
I remember some of the memorable items I stored at the many homes I acquired in the game. During dangerous missions I waded through to become the archmage of Winterhold, I picked up glowing swords that I hung in my bedroom in my Solitude mansion. In Dwemer ruins outside of Markarth, my new dog Vigilance — Viggo for short — died at the hands of an angry Falmer; I hung the sword in my Riften home to honor my puppy’s sacrifice. My Legion armor hung in my majestic Markarth home; I was always a soldier at heart. Mage robes I kept in the dark hallways of my house in Windhelm, along with anything fur; they suited the cold environment there.
And everywhere I went, I collected books. They filled the shelves of all my home, and I organized them by genre as best I could.
Skyrim offers a perfect storm of obsession with its character creation, exploration, skill tree leveling, seemingly endless quests, and focus on collecting things. In other games, I might put points into a few special abilities for my character class, and swap out items for ones with higher stats as I go. But in Skyrim, I appraise an expansive skill tree with many branches, mixing and matching skills from different classes to create my own. And I don’t throw out items when I’m done with them — if they mean something to me, like the ones I mentioned before, I keep them on display in my homes. Just going on quests to find more books keeps me interested, as I always have more shelves to fill.
I’ve started up new games of Skyrim — with new characters, I mean — about three times now. Each time, I have a different character build, marry someone new, and focus on a new questline. My first character was a Legion soldier, the archmage of Winterhold, and eventually a fierce two-handed warrior who wed Marcurio; since he was from Riften, that always felt like our true home. My second character was a stealthy Khajiit archer and member of the Thieves Guild who married the Argonian Scouts-Many-Marshes; since she was a Stormcloak soldier and Scouts was from Windhelm, it felt natural that they make Windhelm their main home. In my third game… well, you can read about its beginnings here. =)
The thing is, I always drop Skyrim before reaching any sense of conclusion with it. Other games distract me. And while I could go back to the same character to continue her exploits, I’m a character creation addict and always start from scratch again. New adventures await.
That’s why I’m excited about Skyrim Special Edition coming out on new gen consoles in about a month. I’ll be purchasing it right away and loading up a new game with a new character. I haven’t decided who she’ll be yet, but I’d like to play her more as myself than my other characters have been.
I’ve also always wanted to master Illusion magic, so maybe I’ll start there…
12 thoughts on “Why I Keep Coming Back to “Skyrim””
It’s always nice to read the perspective of what keeps various gamers going. :)
I do find it a little interesting that you often say you’re not big on MMOs, yet the experience you describe here is basically that of a casual MMO player. Especially the bit about your house — I can find nearly identical comments on player housing from any number of MMO bloggers.
Then again, just to lay the irony on a bit thicker, I am an MMO fan, and I could never get into Skyrim.
Really? That’s interesting! I didn’t know that about MMOs, the only one I’ve played much of is SWTOR. I guess the only reason I say I’m not into MMOs is the limitations of feeling the need to play with other people to get through parts of the game. But maybe I just need to be more sociable! No Skyrim for you though, huh?
It depends on the MMO. Some still require grouping to enjoy to the fullest. WoW is definitely one of those, though they have at least made finding groups much less painful than it used to be. However the industry has definitely been trending toward more solo-friendly design over the last few years, and now some can pretty much just be played as single-player RPGs if you prefer. TSW is the best example, but ESO and post-KotFE SW:TOR are not far behind. Many would argue Destiny qualifies as an MMO, too, come to think of it. I mean, Massively covers it.
As for Skyrim, I can definitely see how it would be a very cool experience for a certain kind of person, but I’m just not that kind of person.
Skyrim is honestly one of those games that I am like: I need to play that! It is on my list and when the remastered version comes out – I definitely will!
I love how you do new characters – that is what I have done with Dragon Age: Inquisition. My characters got erased so I had to start all over, but I am working through all romances. ^.^ You got me all excited about Skyrim all over again. I really want to play it!
Nice!! Yeah hope you enjoy it! It is so addicting to create new characters, that’s cool you’re pursuing all the DAI romances. :) I have done that with DR Origins a little bit! Still have a couple more romances to complete in future playthroughs I think…
Cool story love the viggo part
Have you ever played Morrowind? Not to be one of “those gamers”, but I always considered it the best written of the series. Not that Skyrim isn’t beautiful in its own right, but they’re really two different types of games at this point.
Only a little bit, I am much more familiar with Skyrim. I got intrigued by the rest of the series after playing Skyrim, pretty much. What do you like most about Morrowind? The writing in terms of the quests available?
Mostly I enjoy the quest system and the setting. There’s no quest marker on anything, so you really have to try to get to know the lay of the land to find where to go. The different factions competing against each other are very morally gray, and helping one will usually anger the other. I also just love the bizarre architecture. Everything in Morrowind just feels very foreign.
I consider Skyrim more of an adventure game than an RPG in the strictest sense, but that didn’t stop me getting all 50 of the achievements in the base game. Never played the expansions.
Oh interesting! I like that helping one faction will upset another, because that’s one thing that always bugged me somewhat about Skyrim. And you can recruit Mjoll from Riften who hates thieves, even when you’re in the Thieves Guild… stuff like that.
Yea, Skyrim is infamous for that. In Mirrowind if you advance far enough in one guild, you are literally killing off the others. So you can’t even get quests from them because the quest givers are dead. The downside is that Morrowind does a bad job of telling you what needs to be done. The quest journal system is notoriously bad.