What’s new in Skyrim?
There was a wonderful post over at the Game Informer boards detailing a list of what is new and what is carried over from Oblivion. Here is the complete detailed list:
>Upper and lower body armor is combined (Greaves and cuirass). This allows for more characters on the screen, better visuals and a lot more armors.
>Quests are more like Oblivion’s than Fallout 3′s, in that there are more, but smaller quests.
Sprinting while wearing heavy armor drains stamina faster than if wearing light armor.
>You can make friends by doing things for them, making them act differently, and even join you on adventures.
>You can get married, and if you own a house, he/she will move in with you.
>There is a set of armor made of (something from) dragons. There is both heavy and light variants of this.
>Common armor, like leather and steel will have a more Nordic feel over it.
>Enchanting works like in Oblivion, with the exception that it’s now a skill and can be improved upon. >The effects you can use are also changed, as well as how you learn to use these effects. You learn it by “breaking down” a magic item you find.
>Racial movement speed is the same, and is governed by your equipment. Encumbrance is based on your stamina attribute.
>There are non-lethal tavern brawls in the game.
>Some buildings can be destroyed, but destroyable buildings are rare.
>Dragons leave marks and scars everywhere.
>Males and females have different animations, and beast races have some different animations.
>There is a sort of Karma system in the game, but there are no numbers. If you have been bad, people will acknowledge this, but no number will indicate this.
>The blacksmith’s shop includes a forge, a grindstone, and a smithing bench. You can improve your weapons at the grindstone. The higher your skill, the more you can improve them, and the more damage they’ll do. Same thing for armor with the smithing bench, only the armor rating gets better. The forge is actually used to create new weapons and armor from raw materials.
>The only sounds your character makes are combat grunts and shouts.
> Skyrim hosts very unique landscapes and dungeons.
> 5 major cities: Solitude, Riften, Whiterun, Windhelm, and Markarth.
> Eight or Nine smaller towns.
> More than 130 dungeons, ranging from 15 minutes long to about 1-2 hours.
> Approximately the size of Cyrodiil in areal, but the rugged landscape makes the world bigger, as you will need to go either over a mountain or around it to get to places instead of just straight forward – this makes it feel bigger.
> In the northern parts of the county Solitude is the Bard’s College, a busy port town.
>Windhelm is the largest city. It has a palace that looks spectacular. This is also the hangout for the Imperial Guards who monitor the path to Morrowind.
> Traps and puzzles are used to make dungeons more interesting.
> Fish jumps out of the water.
> Birds flies in the air above you.
> Every town has it’s own Economic System. If you destroy a city’s means of income, they’ll need to buy from another nearby city, and prices in the city will go up or some products will not be available in that city at all.
> Every big settlement has it’s own unique culture & architecture.
> Dwemer ruins are scattered across Skyrim.
> High Hrothgar WILL have 7000 steps.
> There exists a carriage system that will take you to major locations.
> Some locations will have enemies that are too strong for your level, and you will have to come back when you are more powerful, and vice versa.
> You can knock oil lamps to the ground, which will then cause fire damage and you can try to catch your enemies on spikes. These are some of the effects
> Butterflies will fly around beautiful new flowers which can be picked for alchemical purposes.
> Over 100 points of interest across Skyrim. (including Giant camps, Necromancer lairs & Altars to different gods (Aedra and Daedra))
> There are hidden caves, hidden ships and secrets in the water.
> The higher you climb, the more severe the weather gets.
> There are rivers inside dungeons.
> Some buildings can be destroyed, but destroyable buildings are rare.
-Graphics & Effects-
* Dynamic Shadows.
* Snow falls dynamically.
* Water Physics.
* Improved Faces & Models.
* Draw Distance greatly increased, allowing for little to no grid pattern or low resolution distant land.
* No more SpeedTree: they’ve created their own platform that allows artists to build whatever kind of trees they want and to dictate how they animate. Artists can alter the weight of the branches to adjust how much they move in the wind, which is an effective way of, for instance, actualizing the danger of traversing steep mountain passes with howling winds violently shaking branches.
* Havok Behavior – Havok Behavior is a flexible animation tool that allows the developers to rapidly prototype and preview new animations and blend them together seamlessly with a few mouse clicks and minimal code support. Bethesda is using it to create more nuance in character and creature movement, govern special effects, and even to control how characters struggle to move when trapped in environmental hazards like spider webs. Characters now transition more realistically between walking, jogging and, running, and the increased nuance between animations has allowed Bethesda to better balance the combat in both first- and third-person perspective by adjusting the timing values for swings and blocks depending on your perspective. Perhaps the most impressive use of the Behavior technology is how Bethesda is using it to create the dragon animations. Bethesda has worked meticulously to make sure the beasts look powerful and menacing when banking, flapping their wings, gaining altitude before making another strafing run, and breathing fire on their hapless victims. None of the dragons’ actions are scripted, and Behavior helps make the movements look non-mechanical, even when the dragons are speaking/shouting.
* Wind will whip up the surface of bodies of water.
* Confirmed creatures: zombies, draughr, skeletons, trolls, giants, ice wraiths, giant spiders, dragons, wolves, horses, Elk, mammoth, saber-toothed cats, Centurion Spheres, dogs, Skeevers, boars, rabbits, Horkers.
* Random spawns are scaled (stronger enemies appear at higher levels), but weak enemies aren’t written out of the system, just become less common.
* A single spawn at lower levels can have enemies spawning in pairs at higher levels.
* Stronger enemies exist in the world at the start of the game, but you’re usually given enough warning if you don’t want to fight anything too strong.
* Giants herds mammoths, and travels together in packs, ignoring the player if undisturbed.
* There are different kinds of Dragons.
* You can not fly dragons.
* Some Dragons are scripted, while others appear randomly.
* Dragons can pick people up from the ground.
* When dragons are critically injured, they can’t fly, and will land or crash to the ground.
* Dragons leaves scars and marks everywhere; when they crash or land on the ground, when they breath fire upon th environment, etc.
-Character, Leveling, Stats & Skills-
* 10 playable races to choose from.
* In-depth character customization that allows to change your character physique, give them a beard, and other more detailed changes to your characters body.
* No More Class Selection – Your class is now determined by which skills you choose to progress and what weapons/spells you choose to use.
* There are 18 skills, down from 21.
* 4 skills are removed: Mysticism, Hand-to-Hand, Acrobatics & Athletics.
* Armorer is replaced by Smithing.
* No Major/Minor Skills to choose from, so every skill increase will contribute to a level-up.
* No Birth Signs.
* Advancing a skill from 30-31 will contribute more to a level-up than advancing a skill from 10-11, making it better to focus on a smaller range of skills.
* You gain a perk every level.
* When leveling up, you can pick stamina-, health- or magic boosts.
* There’s a soft level-cap at 50, but you can still level-up after this, but you’ll gain no perks. (Highest possible level is estimated to around 75)
* Leveling is faster than in previous games.
* 5 Magic Schools: Destruction, Alteration, Conjuration, Restoration & Illusion.
* There’s a total of around 280 Perks (Including Ranks).
* Perks will, among other things, decrease the sound of your footsteps, Disarm enemies, give you access to Unique Special Moves.
* You can Sprint, which drains Stamina.
* Backwards running speed has been reduced, and you can no longer outrun NPCs while running backwards.
* There are three Archetypes: The Warrior, The Mage & The Thief. (You will not choose these, they are merely there for categorizing.)
* Each Archetype have a crafting-skill. The Warrior: Smithing, The Mage: Enchanting, The Thief: Alchemy.
* There are only 3 attributes: Health, Magicka and Stamina.
* Sprinting while wearing heavy armor drains Stamina faster.
* Your speed is governed by your stamina attribute and your equipment. Racial speed is the same, so a khajiit will run at the same speed as an Orc.
* NPC Children.
* There are over 50 beards to pick from.
* There’s two types of Fast-Travel: Morrowind-style & Oblivion-style.
* Every Race have a unique set of armor.
* There is no Multiplayer.
* You can buy houses.
* You can set oil on fire.
* You can hire companions.
* Nirnroots have made a return.
* There are more weapon and armor types in Skyrim compared to Oblivion.
* Soul Gems can be used like in previous TES games to trap souls.
* You can buy properties.
* Lock picking is still a mini-game.
* There are Chain-mail armor in the game.
* There’s 13 different types of ore, which are used for crafting.
* There’s a separate bounty for each of the 9 holds.
* Horses are confirmed, and they act more like real horses and are more detailed compared to Oblivion.
* Major Factions: Thieves Guild, College of Winterhold (Mage) and Companions (Warrior). (Their storylines are no longer unaware of other events in the world.)
* Other Factions: Dark Brotherhood.
* You can catch diseases.
* After killing an NPC, you can sleep in their bed.
* There will be less, but bigger (Expansion-like) DLCs compared to Fallout 3 & Oblivion.
* Upper and Lower armor is combined. (Greaves and Cuirass)
* Common armor like leather and steel have a more Nordic feel compared to Oblivion and Morrowind.
* You can get married, and if you own a house, (s)he will move in with you.
* There are non-lethal tavern brawls in the game.
* There is a “sort” of Karma system in the game, but it’s not governed by numbers. Instead, people will react to what you do, and you will have to base how bad you are on that, and not numbers.