As the self-proclaimed “UESP Forum Representative, I’ve decided to be presumptuous and ask a few (read: one) others to slip me the occasional post to publish here. This is my first such post, by r.
After much deliberation, I have finally worked out what it is I don’t like about Oblivion. I was introduced to the fine world of Elder Scrolls via Morrowind and bought Oblivion when it came out. I quite liked it, despite the fact that I was playing it on a computer with a 1Hz processor so I had to have all the graphics turned right down and the framerate still plummeted whenever anything interesting was happening. There was something I wasn’t sure about, though.
It wasn’t the graphics, because I now own the game on PS3, which is hooked up to a 42-inch HD TV and I still don’t like it. It’s not the way it’s been dumbed down – all types of blade are now one category, polearms and medium armour are gone, axes are classed as blunt weapons for some reason and you can’t wear a robe, clothes and armour all at the same time. It’s not the fact that all the Elves, including the Dunmer, sound like they’re from Surrey. No, it’s how every single thing in the game is relentlessly and boringly levelled.
In Morrowind, if you knew where to look you could get anything you wanted. For a level 1 character, going into one of the Sixth House Citadels to get a Daedric weapon you’re after is probably a bit out of the question, but the point is it’s there. Glass, ebony and Daedric weapons are supposed to be rare, bespoke, handcrafted items so it’s right that there’s only so many of them around, and the people who have them are either going to keep them well-hidden or put up a fight to keep hold of them. You can tell Dram Bero about a cave and get a Daedric weapon of your choice at any point in the game, but do this at level 1 in Cyrodiil and say hello to your nice new iron war axe.
It’s fun walking around Morrowind with a Daedric Claymore when your only foes are rats and Scribs. It’s not fun firing arrow after arrow into a wolf with an enchanted ebony longbow until it finally dies after 50 hits. Why does this happen? When I was little, I trod on a bee and killed it and its friend stung me, which quite hurt. Fifteen years on, if I trod on a bee I would still kill it, not make a tiny dent in it, and another bee stinging me would quite hurt, not kill me. I haven’t noticed the seagulls in Brighton slowly turning into invincible albatrosses while I’ve been living here.
Going back to rare weapons, why do all NPCs have them as you get higher up the level board? Why would a highwayman need to relieve you of 100 Septims when he could hock his ebony warhammer for 20 times that amount? And how the hell did he come into possession of one in the first place? Certainly not by standing on a bridge in an ever-evolving suit of armour every day. Bandits attack you with Daedric weapons whilst wearing glass armour. Daedric weapons are meant to be the rarest of the rare, so why does every member of a huge bandit den have one? Think about this – it’s like yobs racing around a council estate in a Lamborghini, and when you were born, Bill Gates was driving a Volkswagen diesel just like everyone else.
Whilst this never means you’ll be substantially weaker than any enemy you face, it also means you’ll never be substantially stronger than them. How many of you have given up on travelling by road after getting sick of fighting off 10 bears on the road between two towns, firing arrow after arrow into their faces to no effect? On my current game, my level 20 character, who should be a demi-superhuman, has resorted to turning the difficulty right down for the last bits of the main quest because I’m so sick of Storm Atronachs killing her with 3 punches.
And what’s up with levelled quest rewards? “You can have this amulet now, but if you’d told me about your impressive feat of derring-do next year sometime it would have been a lot better”.
And it’s this reason, the fact that the world constantly changes to adapt to you, why I don’t like Oblivion.