Obviously, my first thought when TESV: Skyrim was announced was about how much I’m going to enjoy playing it, but as more and more articles appear, we’re beginning to get an idea of what we can expect and how it’s going to affect UESP.
One of my own first reactions was annoyance at hearing Mysticism is no longer going to exist as a skill. Not because I’m a fan of it in particular, but because this was just days after I wrote UESP’s Lore:Mysticism article. I hope there’s a book in Skyrim explaining the change so I can reference it.
The new “Radiant Story” system is going to have a huge impact on how we write up quests. Since the death of a quest-essential NPC can now lead to another giving you the quest instead, we’ll have to think about how the Related NPCs section works. Todd Howard’s latest interview suggests that even the location of a quest can change, depending on which dungeons you’ve visited already. I imagine there’s still going to be a set list of locations, and that we’ll be able to discover that using the CS, but it’s going to be another change to make.
Howard also mentions that there are over 200 “perks” in the game, and these will influence quests as well as just your skills. The perks are arranged in a tree, which presumably means you can only get some if you’ve already got others. We’ll need to come up with a friendly way of documenting that too. The new perks and skill system is going to lead to a huge amount of flexibility in the way your character develops. I can only imagine the number of “My 1337 character” pages we’re going to get…
My big concern is the format of the game files. Many of the pages for Morrowind and Oblivion (and the addons) were generated by writing code that reads the .esm and .esp files containing the game data and turns it into human-readable text. That’s how we know we’ve got all the NPCs, items, places, quests and so on. Although there’ll definitely be some way of reading the new files, if they’re too different from the current format it’ll take a lot longer to do.
I wasn’t around on UESP when Oblivion came out, but I can imagine how chaotic it was then. With Skyrim it’s going to be even worse. Part of me is horrified at the thought, but another part is looking forward to the challenge. I guess we’ll find out in just over 9 months!