First off… happy holidays! I hope everyone is enjoying that this crazy year is wrapping up and New Year’s is on the way!
To go along with Christmas, in the past I have loved participating in Listmas, which is a blogging holiday of sorts where anyone who wants to join just write blog posts in list format, about whatever they want. This holiday season, I’m a little obsessed with replaying The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I’ve even started creating videos to log some of my experiences this time through the game!
Here are the top 10 reasons I’m having so much fun with it. :)
10. Creating Your Totally Unique Character
The best thing about Skyrim is that you can create a character unlike anyone else’s. Not only do you choose from several different races, you also customize your character’s appearance and style of combat. It’s not a set-in-stone style, either — you don’t choose one of a handful of classes at the beginning. Instead, you level up in individual skills that you use, based on actually using them. If you tend to bust out your sword and some destruction magic, you’ll level up in one-handed combat and destruction the fastest. You can also specialize with the perks available to choose from, such as battleaxes over warhammers if you’re a two-handed fighter.
Mixing and matching skills is what makes Skyrim so fun. I’ve played as an archer with sneak abilities in the past, but this time I’m going with a one-handed battlemage who mainly uses the Conjuration school of magic…
9. Choosing Followers
You can take one follower with you on your adventures in Skyrim, and you can swap out your follower any time. There are tons to choose from — some you meet in quests, others are mercenaries you hire, and then there are the housecarls who are basically your personal stewards once you purchase property in the game. I love bringing new companions with me in each playthrough, and I switch them ever 5 to 10 levels to try someone new with a different style of combat. It keeps things interesting!
8. Buying Real Estate
Skyrim has a handful of houses you can purchase, starting with a cozy home in the town of Whiterun. Once you manage to accumulate 25,000 coin, you can even purchase the largest estate in the game, a mansion in Solitude. My personal favorite is the house in Markarth, with its stone walls and large bookshelf. In any case, every playthrough gives you a fresh opportunity to purchase a different set of houses.
7. Collecting Books
I’m such a hoarder of books in Skyrim. I will pick up every single book I find on every single quest, in every single dungeon, until I’m so loaded down with them that I have to pass them off to whatever follower is accompanying me on my adventures. Then I fast travel all over the map putting them in bookshelves in all of my houses. I also organize them by subject matter, so all the books on the dwarves and their city Markarth go on one shelf, etc. There are also some series to collect, which is fun because I’ll notice right away if I’m missing one in the numerical list — and then I have to go find it!
This brings me to the subject of hoarding, which is totally encouraged in Skyrim. The first few levels, the items you collect tend to be pretty low level, generic weapons and armor. But by the time you have enough experience and coin to buy a house where you can put everything, you start picking up some pretty amazing stuff. Whether it’s weapons that glow in the dark or enchanted items given to you for completing major quest lines, everything has a story behind it. And you have a bunch of houses to decorate with it all.
5. Building Your Own Home
With the Hearthfire DLC, you can also build your own home in Skyrim. There are three plots of land to choose from, and you can build the house one room or wing at a time. Several options are available here, including a garden if you like alchemy, a library if you’re a book hoarder like me, and a bedroom if you want a place for you and the family to sleep.
But let me tell you, building this house is not an easy thing to do. Obtaining the land is the easy part, but actually building and furnishing everything takes a lot of time and coin as you have to collect and create your building materials. And you’re going to need a lot of them. But it’s worth it to have a customized house that’s easily the most spacious in the game, with amazing views to boot.
4. Getting Married
One of my favorite things about Skyrim is the fact that you can put on the Amulet of Mara and your followers will start hitting on you. Choose one who is worthy and marry them at the temple in Riften. It’s fun to choose your companion and enjoy the ceremony. Afterwards, your chosen spouse will live at whatever house you’d like them to be at, and they’ll even give you food and money whenever you visit. It’s definitely handy in terms of gameplay, and I always have fun with the role-playing aspect of choosing a husband my character will like!
3. Going Back to School
The College of Winterhold is one of my favorite quest lines in Skyrim. You start out as a student of magic at the school; the first quest has you exploring ancient ruins with your classmates and professor. In time, you start learning more about the school and some people’s schemes for power. At the end of the quest, you become the Archmage of the college, with your own personal quarters there that are some of the most beautiful in the game. I guess I’m a fan of the Harry Potter-esque aspect of going to school to learn magic, and you meet some very interesting characters during your time at the college!
2. Becoming a Vampire
This is a first for me, but in my current playthrough I am a vampire. I don’t know if I will remain so, and I have yet to play the Dawnguard DLC — but my character has contracted vampirism and is totally rolling with it, red eyes and all. Being a vampire in Skyrim gives you a few special abilities, including a destruction spell that whisks health from your target, night vision, and enhanced sneak. The only trouble is that your health and stamina won’t regenerate when you’re in the sun. It’s best to travel and fight by night.
1. Finding Something New
Skyrim has so much content, you could easily spend at least 60 or 70 hours just playing through all of the major quest lines. And then you have the DLCs. And side quests. And you want to collect all the Daedric artifacts. And just exploring, or getting from one place to another, you’ll run into caves and bandits and potential friends who make the game a true experience in discovery. Every day in the game is different, and every playthrough feels unique. That’s why it’s so rewarding to play for a long time or, like me, more than once.