By John Walker on December 8th, 2011 at 12:33 pm.
We’re loving Skyrim. Nary a spare second of our spare time isn’t spent hacking and exploding our way through it. But we’d really like it if it worked properly. Bethesda’s patches have so far been peculiar in the extreme, seemingly making the game more broken, or just fixing the last patch. With new additions breaking mods, and introducing backward flying dragons, I’d like to suggest that future patches maybe strike a bold new direction and bring in some improvements. But what improvements? Below is a selection of what we think Bethesda needs to do to make Skyrim be the game it deserves to be.
- When something is new in the inventory, tell me. It’s already strange enough that Skyrim’s inventory is a series of alphabetical lists of words, scrolling from the bottom third of the screen downward. It’s perhaps not how anyone alive would ever have thought to arrange an inventory, even if given four hundred years to craft the most impossibly stupid idea imaginable. But with this mad idea in place, it is bewildering that no one within the company thought it important to highlight new inventory items. Pick up a “Note from Rdypfyxll” before getting involved in a big fight, and you’ve then got to remember a) that it was a note you picked up, rather than a book, diary, etc, then b) try to remember which collection of consonants it came from, having to read through a “Note from Rttplkss”, “Note from Rwssqplp” and “Note from Rxxclpt”. Each of which says, “Meet me at the tree” or something equally unhelpful. I’m fairly sure a “new” highlight has been the norm in games since the 1980s. And that’s in inventories that aren’t madder than a sack of shrews.
- How about popping the gamepad options on the outside of the game? If, like me, you’re incredibly handsome and keep your 360 pad plugged in at all times, it’s so enormously frustrating that the game defaults to it, such that you’re forced to use the gamepad to fight through to the internal options that let you select the arcane control method of mouse and keyboard. This is seventeenly annoying if you’re in the situation of Jim and his specialladyfriend who both play the game, but each use a different control method.
- Just let me run the game in a borderless window. Since the game can’t really cope with task-switching, which is pretty embarrassing on its own, at least offer a viable way to have it running not at the exclusivity of the rest of my PC. There are hacks that work for this, but they’re clunky and unreliable, and an option like that would demonstrate some degree of recognition that the game’s running on a PC, and was ever intended to be.
- Please give shopkeepers more money. It’s great that it’s realistic, to a degree. But right now I could run a bank in Skyrim. It’s ridiculous that someone would be running a store selling multiple items that cost over 1000 gold, and only have 368 gold in their till. How do they even give change? But most of all, it’s infuriating not being able to shift loot. My poor companion is carrying so much crap I can’t sell anywhere, no matter how much I try to buy every health potion and lockpick first. It just seems like I could dangerously break the economy with the gold I currently have in my pockets. (Also, bearing this in mind, when I drop one gold from my fortune on a begger, I’m not convinced this should provide me with the gift of “Charity”.)
- Obviously it’s time to employ some of the simplest features gamers added in within minutes of the game’s appearing. But, officially, so that a patch doesn’t undo them all. We’d like some FOV options please, because we’re not as short-sighted as the game seems to imagine. And, you know, the shadows you worked so hard to create – let those appear in the game without our having to repeatedly hack ini files. And perhaps most of all, please include the ugrids fix, because the bodged version breaks save games.
- Maybe there should be more than one face for all male and female children? Because it’s not only peculiarly slipshod, but it’s also damned creepy.
- Clearly so many of the quests need tidying up. This cannot and should not be left to industrious modders, because that’s just plain rude. They should, for instance, have endings. And perhaps beginnings. Alec had an impressive moment when he was able to pickpocket a letter addressed to him, his name at the top, due to be given to him upon completing a quest. A quest he hadn’t yet been offered. It would also help if essential quest items could appear in people’s pockets before they’ve died – that’s an oh-so confusing thing. Do they shit out the key in their dying moments?
- We would love to see some alternative dialogue for Lydia. “I am swoooorn to carry your burdens” might just be the most annoying phrase in gaming history. Her passive-aggressive tone only becomes more aggravating when you’re not using her to mule your dragon bones, but to give her some armour you’ve just lovingly crafted, or give her a better bow. Well FINE then Lydia. FINE. (Of course, my Lydia is dead, and I’ve discovered that some other companions can be slightly more gracious. But just as repetitive.) Just a smattering more dialogue than the same voice saying, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” no matter whom you take with you, would make an enormous difference. Especially if there could be lines for context specific events. Other than Illia snapping at me every time I break into someone’s house.
- Talking of NPCs, it seems kind of essential that they just bloody move out of the way. I couldn’t code a pixel to stay still on a screen, but I can’t imagine it can be that tricky to set their AI to know to move out of the way if you’re ramming into them. It’s just idiotic that AI companions are still engaging in passionate Occupy Doorway protests at every opportunity this many millennia into gaming’s existence.
- And since we’re wishing out loud, why not a bunch of game tweaks that will make playing more fun? Like NPCs not being quite such idiots and maybe notice that you’re stealing when they’re staring directly at you. An indicator on the map to show us where our horse has wandered off to. Or addressing a few of those clipping bugs, so people don’t appear with just their torsos jutting out of the ground.
I’d imagine you have some suggestions of your own.