Dohvakeen: Skyrim Breaks Steam Records

By Alec Meer on December 16th, 2011 at 10:50 am.

Yes, we'd like you to have a higher-resolution robe too

Officially official: Skyrim is officially the fastest-selling title in Steam’s official history. And that’s official. Neither Valve or Bethesda are giving specific sales figures, but Bethesda have claimed that the Skyrim PC outsold any other PC game in North America three to one in its first month. It’s been a success elsewhere too: across all platforms and all territories, the dragon-bothering game has now racked up 10m in sales.

Said Valve’s boss of business dev, Jason Holtman, to Industry Gamers: “Skyrim is the fastest selling title in Steam’s history. Bethesda’s commitment to and understanding of the PC as a gaming platform shows in the great review scores, spectacular launch, and continued high player numbers that Skyrim has received. We are delighted that Bethesda chose to use Steamworks to support Skyrim both at retail and digitally.” Let me, ah, just pick him up on part of that.

“Bethesda’s commitment to and understanding of the PC as a gaming platform.” But but but but…

The interface.
The lack of support for more than 2GB of RAM unless you mod the game.
The interface.
The fact that, until recently, it crashed at startup unless you force-lowered audio quality in Windows.
The interface.
The fact it took modders about 10 seconds to make the game look twice as good.
The interface.
Those icky textures.
The interface.

Look, I’m very glad Beth put out all of their games on PC, but Skyrim selling well on PC shouldn’t be taken as a sign they’re committed to and understand the PC as a gaming platform. Instead, let’s just hope Bethesda will take it as a sign that they should lavish more attention on their PC builds.

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160 Comments »

  1. cafe says:

    This clearly shows that piracy bankrupts developers! We need more DRM!

  2. Jabberwocky says:

    I haven’t played Skyrim yet, I’ll pick it up when my game ships.

    But here’s my question: Is the interface the result of a bad console -> PC port? Or is it just poor interface design? If the latter, then I don’t think we can bash them for a lack of understanding of the PC platform on the interface front. You can only bash them for, well, crappy interface design.

    • kifter says:

      Just bad design.

    • Kdansky says:

      The interface is okay (but not awesome) on consoles. Sure, it’s rather cumbersome still, but everything with more than 10 entries is cumbersome without a mouse.

    • godgoo says:

      It takes all of five minutes to mod the menu to include a proper ‘table’ for sorting, not that that excuses Bethesda, but y’know, just sayin’.

    • Aemony says:

      Both. The interface is badly designed, but it also suffers from horrible porting from the intended analog stick to navigate to the more free flowing mouse cursor. The interface just weren’t designed for more free interaction with it, so the mouse tends to break it in various ways all the time.

    • Avish says:

      It’s not optimally designed for PC, but nothing you can’t get used to after a couple of hours.
      The major thing I found badly missing is a “recently acquired” view in the inventory, especially with books and notes.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      My understanding is that it’s a bit of both. It’s been a thorn in my furry Khajiit butt for eleven hours or so, but the game’s still more than playable, and thoroughly enjoyable to boot.

      Quick example: since after a while you’ll probably have hundreds of assorted items, you can’t easily see what you’ve got equipped. There’s no ‘paper doll’ in the inventory, showing your character with all its armour, gauntles etc in their slots. I actually wandered around for ages completely stark naked, and only realised when an NPC made some comment.

      There are mods on their way though, but I’m pretty peed off that Beth didn’t at least attempt to get it right on the PC.

    • The Tupper says:

      Yeah the interface is a bit of a pain in the hole, but it’s liveable-with, just about. It’s a mini-game in itself trying to navigate the ‘Miscellaneous’ category from vendors without missing and going back one level and listening to “the finest weapons and armour” for the sixtieth-billionth time.

      But all things considered it’s not too bad – you have a real treat in store (if you’ll pardon the pun) when you get the game.

    • Suva says:

      I have Skyrim both on PC and Xbox and I have to say the menu is more comfortable to browse on PC although it’s quite annoying on both with different kind of annoyances.

    • Mattressi says:

      @The Tupper: Hahaha, my wife and I cracked up when we read your comment – that’s our EXACT experience. It reminds me of that bloody owl in (excuse the reference to a console toy game) Ocarina of Time that would switch up the position of the option for whether you want it to repeat every bloody thing it just said; clearly just to annoy the crap out of you.

      Yes, the interface is absolutely disgusting – one example is that containers require you to press R on every single item that you want to put in it. So, you press R over and over and over to put various items in the chest in your house. Then, you go to take something out of it after you’re done: you press R and *tada!* you’ve just taken EVERY-BLOODY-THING IN THE WHOLE FREAKING CHEST. I’m not sure which moron at Bethesda thought it would be a good idea to require you to press R to put everything into a container (clicking on it equips it), but making it that pressing R when trying to take something out takes everything out (clicking on an item is required to take it).

      I guess the interface is just horribly designed, rather than crap solely because it’s a port.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @Godgoo – In all fairness it takes you 5 minutes because a modder spent weeks working on the mod, added to his years and years of experience with the engine as he was a well respected modder for both Oblivion and Morrowind.

    • Tacroy says:

      @Sheng-Ji: So what you’re saying is that nobody internal to Bethesda has the amount of experience an external modder does?

    • Shooop says:

      It’s just plain sloppy. I can’t see it working on consoles either thanks to the number of options you have to move through with a stick or d-pad.

      Like most other things in the game modders have taken care of it, but it’s still a very large black mark on Bethesda’s team.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @ Tacroy

      I’m not saying anything about Bethesda, I’m merely pointing out that Godgoo’s post was actually really insulting the amount of work modders put into their products.

    • Underwhelmed says:

      It is clumsy. I haven’t been impressed with any of the current UI mods, so I have been playing it with the default and honestly after awhile I just didn’t care about it that much.

      The biggest sin, is the gigantinormous font that is better suited for a television across the room rather than a monitor 2 or 3 feet from your face.

    • Mist says:

      The interface is ok when you get used to it (the “r takes everything” and “item that your mouse is hovering over isn’t always selected” are annoying, but hardly game-breaking). The default font however.. my god. That thing was so incredibly immersion breaking (at least, for me). Sure, it was probably selected for readability, but it was just way too.. modern. Alchemy, notifications on the hud, picking perks.. all text just pulled me out of the game.

      Luckily, 1 font replacement mod later (centaur!), and the world feels properly “ye olde fantasy setting”.

    • SentientNr6 says:

      I like the way it plays on PC with a D-Pad. I started playing with a mouse but switched to pad after half an hour or so. If you have one try it that way.

    • McCool says:

      The problem with the interface is that NO REVIEWERS PICKED UP ON IT. Even on RPS, those of you who had played it before release were still going on about how pretty it was, while it was obvious to almost everyone that the thing would be an abomination to use. It’s looked terrible from the very first reveal, but the press got drawn into the pretty stars and the marketing campaign and let us down.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      @Tacroy:

      This doesn’t necassarily have anything to do wether BethSoft staff is more or less experienced than the modders, this probably has to do with a common problem in software engineering project methodologies: Groupthink.

      Basically, groupthink means that the group will dismiss criticism of a decision to minimize conflict. In this case, it seems like the UI designers had a bad case of groupthink, perhaps combined with a charismatic leader who convinced the rest of the team that the UI didn’t need redesign.

    • Nick says:

      most of the problems with the game are just bad/lazy design. Only console related issue I can think of off the top of my head that really annoy me is the lack of a dedicated block button.

  3. scatterbrainless says:

    Perhaps Bethesda have come to assume that the PC port will essentially build itself through the mod community, and thus don’t feel that they have to break their backs making it friendly to The World’s Greatest Platform (it’s official, there was science, and it said so). Bring on the construction kit!

  4. primatewithagun says:

    And they said developing for pc was a pain in the ass..

    • Roshin says:

      Yes, why can’t people just give us their money. Making games is difficult.

    • ArcaneSaint says:

      That, I can actually understand. When you’re developing for consoles, you know the exact specs of the system you’re designing for, when you’re developing something for PC, you have to keep in mind that people can be using all kinds of different hardware/software/OS configurations, so you have to make sure your code will work on all those different combinations (or at least most of them).

      So yeah, when compared to developing for consoles I can definitely see how they’d think developing for PC is a pain in the ass (but a rewarding kind of pain…), and sadly enough, there’ll always be some people with machine configurations that cause the game to crash, either because the developers didn’t think of that one possibility or just didn’t have time to adjust for it (remember, it’s not the developers who set the release-date).

    • thekeats1999 says:

      Funny isn’t it. The PC is a pain in the ass yet the easy to develop for PS3 version was a far more (consistantly) buggy mess than the PC version once your save file hits a certain size.

    • ArcaneSaint says:

      Well, the PS3 is getting a bit old, and we all know that with old age comes memory issues, that’s the sad reality of life…

    • Bensam123 says:

      That is the typical excuse I’ve seen tons of times as to why developing for the console is easier. Yet there are standards to work around for the PC. Matter of a fact they’re the same ones for the console, x86 and directx… The only thing that isn’t linear is the performance, but it’s not hard to add a couple options to turn off or down eye candy. Most modern computers are more powerful then a console anyway, so it’s all going up from there.

    • thekeats1999 says:

      All joking aside, the xbox is the oldest of the platforms (from a tech point of view) yet is the most stable of the 3 versions. Although this being a bethesda game stable is a relative term.

    • Benny says:

      The PC isn’t harder to develop for. Infact i’m pretty sure the loops you have to jump through for Microsoft/Sony to let you release a game on their machines (on top of them charging you for the privilage) are much more hassle than just getting on with it and making a game.

    • myca77 says:

      @Bensam123

      Granted the 360 uses directX, but all the current gen home consoles don’t use X68 chips, they use PPC chips, so there’s the endian issue that needs to be sorted out (not too difficult these days I guess). As for the PS3, no directX there, I do believe it can use openGL, but iirc it generally uses it’s own proprietary tools/middleware whatever you call it.

      All things aside, if I choose to but Skyrim at any point, I’ll do the same I did for Fallout 3, wait for a GOTY and all the rest should be fixed by the modding community by then. Funny thing is Skyrim is the first Bethesda game in over three years that I haven’t worked on, so I’m normally sick of their titles by the time they get released, but this one just doesn’t interest me yet.

    • ch4os1337 says:

      The only difference is making the game’s visual quality scalable and having a good control scheme and interface for a mouse and keyboard.

  5. godgoo says:

    0 million eh?

    Whilst I agree in the hope that this gives them more cause to be a little more PC centric in their dev phase as a selfish consumer who’s sunk 70 hours into Skyrim I’m just hopeful this means lots of high quality expansions.

    But yeah, hardly a great effort on the PC side of things- those super compressed textures!! my mod folder is now approaching the original game folder’s size!

    My biggest gripe is the memory thing; the lack of a 64 exe means future mods are all stuck with 4gb of ram…

    Still, overall I’m happy that people bought the game, I’d like to see more regardless!

    EDIT: hah! ninja’d on the whole ’0 million’ thing

  6. Kaira- says:

    Not to speak about the DRM.

    • Delusibeta says:

      I’m going to cue an anti-Steam tirade by saying this but: they could have used a whole lot worse than Steamworks. For example, Ubi/EA-style always online garbage.

    • ch4os1337 says:

      Steam is the only DRM il ever be okay with but I still prefer no DRM, (i.e. GoG) They are the most perfect platform for games.

    • Zelius says:

      I’m just glad Bethesda moved away from using Games For Windows Live. I’d rather have Steamworks than that abomination.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      @ch4os1337 Now that Gog/CD Projekt’s DRM consists in extorting money from people who might or might not have seeded their game, I’m starting to wonder if I don’t prefer Steam. They’re focused on their customers.

    • satsui says:

      I’m not sure which DRM you’re referring to. If it’s steam, then that your opinion. The game is available elsewhere and no Steam is required.

      DRM issues lie with Ubisoft, for example, where no matter where you get their games, you have to use their ridiculous software.

    • Kaira- says:

      The game is available elsewhere and no Steam is required.

      Sure, the game is available elsewhere. However, Steam IS required. As you may remember, that was the first patch.

    • McCool says:

      This. I’ve been unable to play the game for days on end since the first patch. Steam’s offline mode is an abomination.

  7. Was Neurotic says:

    The textures are fine, the gfx mods are unnecessary, the interface (imho) makes perfect sense using WASD, and the audio-based crash, while highly stupid, is easily fixed. Lack of native support for borderless fullscreen windows and the 2 Gb memory limit are the worst offenders. Of all the ES games, and I own and have played the whole series to death, Skyrim has been the most stable, bug-free experience I’ve had. That’s just my experience of course, and I fully expect to be told off for breathing next. Hate away, motherlovers.

    • Resonance says:

      How dare someone else have a different opinion to you over a highly subjective media form like games…get over yourself..

    • Bungle says:

      No, the interface is offensive. Half the time I click things in the menus, the click doesn’t register. Or it thinks I clicked the entry above the one I actually clicked.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      “That’s just my experience of course, and I fully expect to be told off for breathing next. Hate away, motherlovers.”

      I don’t want to flame you or anything, but you will have noticed that opinion is divided on the matter. You’re far from the only person who’s perfectly happy with the game as is, I’ve seen similar comments that the interface is fine with WASD on the Beth forums and in other places too. So I’d like to reassure you that you’re not alone in having had a smooth experience with Skyrim.

      What you are doing though is conflating a disagreement, or difference of opinion with hostility and flaming.

      Commenting that a UI is pretty awful, but that the game itself is pretty cool (which is what most people are doing here) is *not* ‘hating’ by any stretch of the imagination.

      And the Oedipal euphemism was utterly unnecessary. If you’re going to get flamed for anything, it’s likely to be for your attitude than for your being OK with the UI.

    • Ajh says:

      Oh no I agree for the most part about what you said. I don’t have a problem with the interface really..except for it being a little boring looking. That’s a style thing. I use a controller to play, as wasd just wasn’t really fun for me.

      The worst offenders are exactly what you said, though I can’t agree that it is the most stable I’ve played, since I finally managed to get a copy of oblivion about a year ago and it was already patched pretty well, and the 2gb thing really really bothers me. Someone dropped the ball compiling there, and it crashes constantly (like every 10 minutes or less) if I don’t use a workaround patch.

    • The Tupper says:

      Amen, Dogsolitude. I can’t be bothered with folk who go in with the studs showing before anybody’s even bothered to notice. It’s up there on the minor-irritant scale alongside people who post “in before X gets said about Y”) guff.

    • Grygus says:

      Sorry, but it is 2011, not 1981. Interface design is well understood, and this one is not well-done, even in WASD. It is functional, yes. But using E to select except when it means equip and R to select except when it means take everything except when it means sheathe/unsheathe weapons is objectively bad interface design for a device with 100+ keys on it. You may not be annoyed by this, and such is your right, but it doesn’t change the flawed nature of the design.

      Your statement also goes out of its way to ignore the mouse support completely, which is telling.

    • Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

      I’m hopelessly addicted to Skyrim and even I’ll admit that some of the textures are poor. The worst are the mountain rock textures which are very low resolution and have very few colours.

  8. Resonance says:

    “the dragon-bothering game has now racked up 10m in sales.”

    Are you sure that’s sales and not copies shipped?

  9. Deadpool46 says:

    That’s 10M shipped, not sold BTW.

    I agree though, if modders can improve the game in such a short space of time, you have to wonder how much care went into the PC version.

    • Ajh says:

      I think a lot of the texture and lighting things are to allow a wider range of pcs to play it.

      They’ve NEVER gotten faces right, though this time they’re a lot closer to right than they were in previous elder scrolls games.

      I wouldn’t call replacing the moon with earth, or robes with skimpy busty robes, or recolors of armor necessarily improving. Customizing.

      And Lockpick Pro is just cheating, but oh so satisfying since you never really run out of picks anyway.

      I don’t really think they did too bad.

  10. Ajh says:

    Dear Ubisoft,

    Of course Bethesda and Valve HAVE to be lying. No one buys PC games unless you break them entirely with DRM. Don’t worry about developing for the platform. Everyone will just pirate your game. Those millions of sales Bethesda claims are a dream, obviously.

    signed,
    someone who bought skyrim

    Congrats to bethesda! Now that you have some money to keep your programmers working fix the 2gb thing. Please? I’m tired of using custom patches to keep what is otherwise a fantastic game from crashing to desktop. Thanks.

    • Fierce says:

      They long ago said that they would.

      Regardless, a minor RAM awareness issue is hardly the biggest of their problems. The lack of a goddamn QA team would probably be the first and best remedy to correct with some of that revenue.

      [Christopher Hitchens, 13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011]
      [When a Great Beacon fades, the World darkens twice.]

    • Ajh says:

      Oh a QA team would be nice.

  11. Carra says:

    All that in the same month that Call of Duty 3 arrived. Impressive. Well, I did buy Skyrim but not CoD3 so that might help :)

    Now let’s just hope they polish their PC version more in the future.

  12. Stevostin says:

    Ok I just started to play for real and my 2 cents on that are :

    “The interface.”
    I do like the interface, actually. It’s not flawless (the fact that you exit a dialog if you don’t click exactly a character drives me crazy) but it’s better than any othe Beth game to me, and actually any other PC RPG. It’s way clearer and faster thant TW2 metric ton of menu, and deals with way more stuff than ME. Now of course it’s not as clear and informative than an excel sheet, but this is fine by me, I don’t want excel sheet in my games, thank you.

    “The lack of support for more than 2GB of RAM unless you mod the game”.
    I missed that, although I searched for it. Where is that ?

    ” The fact that, until recently, it crashed at startup unless you force-lowered audio quality in Windows.”
    Not here.

    “The fact it took modders about 10 seconds to make the game look twice as good.”
    Well, reading the comments in the RPS related news while searching for mod, it’s clear your readers disagree. I’ve seen countless comments on what I experienced with FNV : visual mod are tasteless CPU hog crapyness (accentuate filter in PS means “HD texture pack” for some, as it seems) . I also used a link provided in RPS for tweaking, and despite it announcing minor FPS hit, it was actually severe on my rig (which runs on “high” by default). I’ll try it again with the new GPU this christmas, but I immediately thought that Beth QA was in the right for this one, and happy self important enthusiast testing on their rig only in the wrong. They now where to hard test every setting, so if you don’t follow their guideline, you end up most often by a huge FPS drop in a critical moment. BTW it’s been a while since fidling with the setting in a game has provided significant upgrade on my rig. 90% of the time I reverse on default after one hour.

    ” Those icky textures.”
    Is that really fair to blame them for that ? At each and every minute in a city you have a really crazy amount of texture. Just open the 200 item in your inventory, and check them : all with clearly defined texture, so they just look good on their own. And then that’s just the inventory, but actually the game also deals with all the landscape, the NPC, their inventories… To me it’s pretty crazy as a feature so I can admit some tradeoff have been made. Now you say “it’s not PC optimised” but my understanding of ultra texture is that they’re PC only. I can’t even have those in my rig. So maybe after all even a modern PC has to make some tradeoff too.

    Not that I am in love with the visual : after initial blast, I steel feel it’s Oblivion 1.5 rather than 2.0. The way to deal with huge playground certainly feels inferior to Cry engine 2, and possibly to ID tech 5 or Arma III stuff. But not all game company are about visual marvels. I acknowledge they put their tech to good use. And that’s the most important to me.

    • Nim says:

      “I don’t want excel sheet in my games, thank you.”
      It takes up roughly 50% and no more of my screen and often less. The rest of the screen becomes wasted space. Also the use of a mouse to navigate menus is unreliable at times.

      ““The lack of support for more than 2GB of RAM unless you mod the game”.
      I missed that, although I searched for it. Where is that ?”
      Skyrim is a 32-bit application.

      “The fact that, until recently, it crashed at startup unless you force-lowered audio quality in Windows.”
      Not here.”
      On some setups, not all.

    • LostViking says:

      “but it’s better than any othe Beth game to me, and actually any other PC RPG”

      The interface is better than in any other PC RPG?
      Have you played any RPG’s more than 2-3 years old?

    • Stevostin says:

      I’d say I have played most of them. I am even providing detail. The Witcher 2… well, I don’t have much against it but one thing : painful learning curve. Considering the game is one of the very rare RPG that bothered me up to the point of stopping in the middle, maybe the fact playing the game was uneasy is a factor to me quitting playing it. Masse Effect is ok but unelegant and deal with hugely simpler needs. Really, I don’t have a lot against skyrims one. It’s fast, packed, and yes you don’t see all in one glance WHICH IS GREAT because in a real back pack you don’t see all in one glance either. Also the caracteristic of a sword isn’t written on it so I am all for it not being in your face. TES are not strategical RPG where you get your fun beating the game mechanics – it reather break the game more than anything. So show me stats in RTS (or be damned), hide it or at least to put it all the time under my noose in an immersive RPG.

      Thinking amount of info is the only thing that matters when designing an UI for such a game is like thinking comic book don’t need pictures. Skyrim UI screams that what’s important about an item are not figure but it’s very existance, and that’s why it takes most of screen space. And to me I think it helps building up immersion which really is the sensible thing to do here.

  13. Xaromir says:

    I still don’t get it. I grew tired and bored with it so quick that i’m playing oblivion and morrowind again, i don’t even have it installed anymore, but i guess sales don’t necessarily measure quality, neither does the hype around it, but i guess hype is where the sales come from. Minecraft cost me less than 0,05Eur per hour, skyrim comes in at about 1,25Eur so far; i’m very disappointed. I find it sad that such rubbish ended up selling so well.

    • absolofdoom says:

      Trolls: please don’t feed them.

    • Xaromir says:

      Enjoy starving then.

    • Blackcompany says:

      I can sympathize with this view. There are things I like about Skyrim. Better graphics; improved combat system; better magic system. Oh, and Dragons. I really believe Skyrim off the shelf is far superior to Oblivion, off the shelf.
      .
      And there in lies the rub.
      .
      Oblivion has years worth of mod support. Midas, LAME, and Mighty for Magic. Deadly Reflex adds pretty well everything from Skyrim’s combat system to Oblivion. Heart of the Dead, Lost Spires, any of Giskard’s stuff, Verona House: bloodlines, Demonbane, etc add amazing, immersive quests to the game world of Oblivion. High res texture packs abound. The world is larger and offers more area for modders to work with. It is also easier to navigate.
      .
      So while Skyrim off the shelf beats vanilla Oblivion hands down, it is easy, I think, to get sucked back into modded Oblivion. Hopefully the same will be true of Skyrim once mods begin rolling out.
      .
      Frankly though, I think my own issue is that I am just sick to death of the entire genre. It is time for RPG games to tackle a new genre, a new world, a new premise. Sword and sorcery are done absolutely to death.

  14. Stijn says:

    With all the hype it’s getting, does 4GB memory support really make that much of a difference? I’ve enabled it, but can’t say I noticed any change.

    • Fierce says:

      Modders haven’t used it yet. When they do, you’ll notice. Boy will you notice.

      [Christopher Hitchens, 13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011]
      [When a Great Beacon fades, the World darkens twice.]

    • thekeats1999 says:

      I had slightly jittery performance in the vanilla version. Using the large memory aware mod it got rid of the jitter. So it made some difference to me.

    • Ajh says:

      There were some of us who were having errorless crashes to desktop.

      First it happened every few hours…

      Then a few times and hour..

      Then every five minutes.

      There’s a workaround patch to allow me to play pretty much entirely crash free, just by letting skyrim access more memory. The strange thing is that most games do this patches feature by default, as it doesn’t really change anything for people without the problems I described above.

    • ShadyGuy says:

      I’ve installed a lot of texture mods with 2048×2048 resolution textures and Skyrim crashes after a few minutes of playing if I don’t use the large address awareness mod. So, yes, it’s definitely useful. :)

    • empty_other says:

      If you had enabled high texture quality, you would sometimes find objects in the game turning white (or pink-whitish). After a while the game would crash.

      If you used the 4GB patch, it would prevent this.

    • CinderellaMan says:

      Its really more for proper mod support. If you start installing high def textures… or should I say HIGHER def than the crap bethesda shipped, then the memory requirements for the game go up, resulting in crashes. The conclusion is that the game was never optimized for the PC to begin with; there was really no intention to provide higher definition textures since there is not support for enough ram to manage them. As a PC player I’m a little miffed that Bethesda did not take another week of dev and test time just to allow 4GB of addressable RAM for us.

      And let me just say to those who belittle the impact of mods on the game… HD textures can make a HUGE difference in the immersion level for those of us with high end gaming PCs. Yes, some mods are pure vanity but most enhance the game significantly like “Immersive HUD – iHUD by Gopher” and “Skyrim Flora Overhaul by vurt” just to name a few. Just go visit http://www.skyrimnexus.com and use the mod manager utility.

    • Fierce says:

      @CinderellaMan

      You’re not listening. Why is no one listening?!

      [Christopher Hitchens, 13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011]
      [When a Great Beacon fades, the World darkens twice.]

    • CinderellaMan says:

      @Fierce

      Yes, thank you for pointing out that, as Bethesda says, “We are working on 4GB support”… thats wonderful, thanks. The point is IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE TO BEGIN WITH. We’re not talking about rocket science here folks, its a COMPILER FLAG! Thats right… check a box then click compile.

      http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/wz223b1z%28VS.80%29.aspx

    • Weylund The Second says:

      And it’ll just magically work, right? Especially if they’ve got some old code linked in somewhere they can’t be certain Large Address Aware won’t cause problems.

      Also, on a product the size of Skyrim “change an option and click compile” probably means at least a few hours of setup, several hours of build time, overnight automated tests, and then mandatory tests by the QA team as a followup. Considering the nature of Large Address Aware their QA effort would have to be pretty broad, too. So… you don’t just do it on a whim.

      But you’re clearly not a software developer who has had to deal with any of that, or else you’d know better.

  15. Agricola says:

    All griping aside, Im just glad that massive single player games that make no apologies for what they are, are selling in such huge numbers. Didnt some EA suit say that single player gaming was on the way out? Pft!

    • Blackcompany says:

      Here here. I would just like to second this notion. Far from perfect or not, just reinforcing the idea that big, relatively open single player games still sell is important.

  16. thekeats1999 says:

    Let’s be honest here, unless you owned the xbox version, it was a badly optimised game. The pc gamers weren’t catered for and the PS3 bug has , apparently, existed since Fallout New Vegas.

    Goes to show where the money is coming from as far as beth is concerned.

  17. Javier-de-Ass says:

    I’m sure steam breaking record is still only 10% of your audience, am I right Todd Howard

  18. Colthor says:

    Don’t forget the interface.

    I’m glad this has done so well. Hopefully between this and DXHR we’ll wind up with more games and fewer “following an NPC down a corridor” simulators.

  19. Kleppy says:

    Very well deserved.

    As a side note, having a few low res textures has absolutely no impact on the game. I have never, in the 20-odd years I’ve been playing computer and video games, thought “this would be more fun, if only the wood texture was sharper”. It is literally a non issue.

    Also have no idea what’s wrong with the interface (I’m playing with an XBOX pad, mind), and the crashing issue didn’t effect everybody, just a vocal minority, as usual. The RAM thing is, once again, pointless since the game runs perfectly fine out of the box on a 4 year old machine. I’m talking an average 50FPS. I suppose it would’ve been nice if it ran at 250FPS, but, don’t see the point really.

    It’s a real testament to Skyrim’s quality that all of the so called issues with it are just tiny little niggles that only affect what I imagine a tiny percentage of the overall amount of people who bought the game.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      “It’s a real testament to Skyrim’s quality that all of the so called issues with it are just tiny little niggles that only affect what I imagine a tiny percentage of the overall amount of people who bought the game.”

      I hate the interface tbh, and am one of the ‘vocal minority’ as you put it, but having said that it’s also a testament to the quality of the game itself that despite the interface, it’s probably my favourite game of all time, ever. :)

    • merc-ai says:

      The interface is wrong, that’s what is wrong.
      It is far from being optimized in terms of shown information and ease of navigation. Also, interface keybinds are a counter-intuitive mess. The fact that some players are not bothered by it for some reason changes nothing.

      On a side note, the interface is still better than Oblivion’s PC interface, both in terms of usability and visual joy it brings.

  20. merc-ai says:

    Meanwhile, I can’t buy Skyrim because it’s not showing up on Steam searches for me. Must be region locks or something, I guess (just started using Steam so I don’t know all that stuff well).
    I did play Skyrim for over 120 hours already, though, and playing without Steam’s auto-updating patches is even better in this game’s case.

    But still, I’m a bit mad at Steam/Bethesda for denying my money like that.

    • Suva says:

      There is a region lock in Eastern Europe because some distributor bought the right to distribute it here. (Incidentally the distributor has not managed to bring the game to Estonia yet. Only a russian version is available so far, AFAIK. :D)

      I got my copy as a steam gift from UK. (Also cheaper there)

      Edit: Scratch that, the English PC version is also available in stores here now (only a month later).

  21. 4xis.black says:

    In what way did it take modders 10 minutes to make the game look twice as good? That post-process injector does nothing but skew the color of the lighting (modifying an aesthetic choice by the designers in a way that I personally find unattractive), which is not an ‘improvement’ so much as a remix.

    Skyrim is fairly stable, highly scalable, and runs damn well on my PC out of the box. What the mods do is within the traditional realm of mods, not some obvious correction to compensate for the developers’ laziness.

    But yeah, that interface. Ugh.

    • pilouuuu says:

      I like it because it adds colour! That’s something we don’t see very often in this gaming generation. It makes the game look sharper and more colourful.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Ahh, color. I took a hard look at the ENB and post processor injector mods. I considered them long and hard. Even slept on it. Really.
      .
      In the end, I decided against it. Here is why, for the two or three people who might care:
      .
      Skyrim looks dim and grey. I get that, I really do. But its supposed to look that way. It just…LOOKS cold. I shiver from time to time when I walk through Dawnstar or Winterhold. The game’s bleak appearance is a subtle method for reinforcing the ever-winter feel of Skyrim. This is of course particularly true in the northern half of the world. Skyrim is supposed to look cold and thanks for the textures, meshes and lighthing, it does.
      .
      Where I did make changes were armor textures. I have high res replacers for (Black) Dragon Scale, Nightingale and Dark Brotherhood armors. I have also use a high res replacer for steel armor, because it improves the look of the armor overall.
      .
      But the world and the lighting…nah. These are fine as they are, cold and bleak and well…winter-looking.

  22. D3xter says:

    What a shame…

  23. Lobotomist says:

    Skyrim is AWESOME game, no mather what bugs or PC incompabilities… but

    I hope Bethesda will now put some effort in patching the PC version !

  24. povu says:

    Modders are busy turning the interface in something that it should’ve been all along. Of course Bethesda thinks this is too ‘spreadsheety’.

    http://tinyurl.com/SkyUI

    The project is called SkyUI and is still a WIP.

  25. HardcoreGamer12 says:

    i love the interface part because i hate the torturing annoying time-wasting inconvenient interface

  26. pilouuuu says:

    It can’t be real! Games on PC don’t sell. There’s piracy and all that. Who needs moddable games and higher resolutions anyways? What a shame Steam and Bethesda are lying to us this way.

  27. PoulWrist says:

    Let’s hope they fix up their PC focus in the future.

  28. Unaco says:

    Good news. Well done to Beth… is a great game that’s only going to get better with time.

  29. Juan Carlo says:

    I guess this means it won’t be on sale in the upcoming sale.

    • Unaco says:

      I don’t know how legit it was, but I did see a list of all the games that would be in the coming Steam Holiday Sale, and, somewhat surprisingly, Skyrim was in there. I doubt it’s going to be 75 or 50% off or anything like that… Maybe 25% at the most, but that’s just guessing. You’ll have to wait and see.

    • thegooseking says:

      With those sales figures, I think it’s reasonable to assume that everyone who was going to buy it at full price already has. Which means there’s no reason not to put it on sale, now, so the people who aren’t prepared to pay full price will buy it.

      At least that’s how I see it. Who knows if the decision-makers see it the same way?

    • Fierce says:

      While my past mentioned equation of Wisdom argues for otherwise, I’m wondering if I should even purchase Skyrim this Holiday Sale as I originally planned.

      By June 2012, at the latest, not only will new 28nm GPUs be released that will undoubtedly be benchmarked on Skyrim, but the mod community will have had more than 3 months with the Creation Kit, mods that have fixed the UI once and for all will be out (not to mention an HD reskin of all the assets), and a GOTY edition will either be confirmed – pfft, who am I kidding, of course GOTY edition is coming – which will cause me to wait even longer, or miraculously be available already for some sort of Spring Sale or some such nonsense Steam will invent to sell more games at 75% off. Same goes for Arkham City and its DLC (minus all the mod stuff).

      Smart move might just be to hold out until November 2012… though saying nothing about the enjoyment of such a move.

      [Christopher Hitchens, 13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011]
      [When a Great Beacon fades, the World darkens twice.]

  30. Tyrone Slothrop. says:

    What I find joyous about the news? How incredible the production values of The Elder Scrolls VI and Fallout 4 will be.

    • Zyrusticae says:

      Well, that depends on how they apply it, hm?

      But yes, the Elder Scrolls 6 is going to be jaw-dropping (assuming, of course, it’s developed for the upcoming console generation). If Bethesda keeps up their current rate of improvement, well… I can say I am indeed properly excited for it.

    • automata says:

      True, but by then there’ll only be 15 skills, and the only weapons will be axes and swords.

    • Nick says:

      Hopefully they can spend some of that money hiring someone to write variations on incidental NPC lines for each voice actor. And someone to tell the actors not to change accent on the same character.. and maybe direct them with some emotion.

      @automata and they’ll both come under the heading of blunt weapons..

  31. deke913 says:

    Ten years from now I’ll have a usb 10.0 hub in my forehead and be playing games through the back of my eyes.

    I could really care less about the current format wars between console and pc.

  32. Khemm says:

    Hiking sims from Bethesda sell millions. Call of Duty sells millions.
    Meanwhile, companies like Black Isle used to create games which to this day shit all over what Beth do, but they didn’t sell.
    Conclusion: people are dumb.

    • NathanH says:

      Black Isle games were a bit dull though…

    • thegooseking says:

      Actually, I’m a scientist, which puts me in a position to evaluate the intellectual merit of your conclusion. And I have to say that in my evaluation, I find your conclusion to be dumb.

      And so is your FACE.

    • Wulf says:

      Oh, I don’t doubt that this is PR spiel, frankly.

      I can’t blame Valve for riding on the popularity of Skyrim, it’s just good advertising, and they know how to do that. But I am mildly dubious about the claims.

      I agree with you, though. I made a point yesterday about Skyrim vs the likes of New Vegas; One of them is a game where you can solve things by other means to keep your kill count low, and another is a murder simulator which purposefully creates hundreds of thousands of blank faced people which they then encourage you to kill. The more violent game and the less thinky game is the more popular game.

      We kick up a fuss about tabloids and scientists being so wrong about the gaming subculture and in regards to the more intelligent corners of it, they may just be wrong. But when you’re talking about gamers in general… are they wrong? Are they wrong even remotely? This is something that’s troubled me greatly. See, for the average gamer, if you ask them whether they want to play Battlefield 3 or To the Moon, you’ll get Battlefield 3 about a thousand to one.

      That speaks volumes to me.

      The reason Bethesda games sell so well is because they glorify violence. I remember the trailers of Skyrim doing that and it sells like crazy. If you make a game about brutality, that plays to the most primal parts of the human psyche, then you’re going to have a game that sells. You just have to try and make it look heroic, you have to have people praising you. You can’t make the person a criminal. So you then have this impossible world where a genocidal maniac is a hero.

      And that’s what people want.

      People want to play games in which they are a genocidal maniac who is a hero. This is what most the boys want, and there is just no getting away from that. If this claim is true even partially, then it gives me more reason to uphold my doubts about those professionals being wrong than ever.

      See, I played Skyrim for the longest time using werewolf fear and other tactics and tricks to avoid killing, but when you have a mind like mine, you realise just how much Skyrim is encouraging you to kill things with every damn second you play it. “See that thing? Kill that thing.

      When the werewolf howl power stopped being effective early on… I had no way to stop those blank faced people from trying to attack me. So in ‘self defence’ I have to kill over half the world’s population, and if that’s not genocide then I don’t know what is. And all dragons want to kill me? Am I supposed to believe that? The reasonable end to the main quest would have been reducing the dragon attacks to 10%, with 85% of dragons just flying over and ignoring you, and 5% actually helping out.

      Dragons are supposed to be smart creatures, and yet they’re suicidal. They want to die for you. They want to die. Like all those people want to die, they all want to die for your entertainment, it’s morbid.

      You can’t arrest them, you can’t reason with them, you can only deliver them to their end, which they are grateful for. It reminds me of the food at the end of the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the meat that’s happy to be eaten, completely sentient but happy to die for you. Arthur Dent is repulsed by this, but everyone else treats it as normal. And Skyrim is just like that. This is a world that is happy to die for you, that wants to die for you. But me? I don’t want to kill.

      The most popular games are filled with a populace that is happy to die for you.

      And what does that say?

      What does that say…

      By comparison, you have the likes of Obsidian. Black Isle, if you prefer. They create games in which I can just bloody reason with my targets, they create situations where I have other options other than killing. They actually make killing seem like the bad and villainous thing it is, and if you solve a problem by killing where you could have solved it otherwise, then not everyone is going to treat you like a hero. But this doesn’t play up to the gamer psyche, so it’s less popular. And people (including some notable people) find the most completely ridiculous reason for hating it.

      Fallout 3 was raised as the preferable game by some, but again, Fallout 3 was a Bethesda game – you could solve all problems by shooting them, and everyone was happy to die for you. If people died, then you were a hero. If people died by the hundreds, or the thousands, then you were a hero.

      And this is just what people want.

      People want to be genocidal maniac heroes.

      We’re getting to the point where defending us as non-violent people is becoming something of a joke. We definitely have that undercurrent there as the popular feeling. The thing is is that RPS is an edge concern, it’s a niche. So whilst there may be people here like me, and some others, who’ll enjoy something like To the Moon, for the vast majority they won’t be happy unless you sit them down with a world that wants to die for them.

      I just wonder if my words will change any perceptions?

      Will anyone ever think of this?

      When a person next sits down to play a game, will they notice how eager that game is to die for them, and how much that game encourages the killing?

      I’ve brought this up so many times before, where I wanted to have the option to reason with my opponents, or to disable and arrest them. To have any option rather than get caught up in a murder world. And I’ve been mocked by this with the whole ‘talking to the monsters’ thing because even in RPS we have an absolute horde of anti-intellectuals who’d mock a person for saying something like this. I’m sure that even this post will earn its share of knee jerk hate.

      But that’s just par the course.

      And frankly? It proves me right. Gamers like nothing more than proving me right.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Hiking sim?

      Where’s the Kendal Mint Cake, I ask you.

      Edit: No Wulf, your words won’t change anybodies perceptions because you coat them in so much arrogance and condescension they make people want to scream.

    • Wulf says:

      I’ll add a quick addendum, here. Don’t feel like editing.

      Whilst I can well enough tell the difference between reality and a game, I think that creating a game that has the player be a well praised, heroic genocidal maniac is questionable symbolism. If you can’t approach problems from other angles, if the game is encouraging you to kill at every turn, in ways where the game feels like it’s bloodthirsty and insane, then it’s dubious.

      If there were options which allowed us to approach problems in different ways, I’d have no problem with optionally killing things, because that would be the choice of the player. But Skyrim, like so many games, makes killing the only option and encourages it. I feel like I have some frothing madman looking over my shoulder screeching about blood and telling me to kill things.

      “KILL THOSE BANDITS!”
      “No, I want to use my werewolf fear, I can outrun them then!”
      “KILL THAT DRAGON!”
      “No, I don’t want to! I’m going to duck into this cave.”
      “KILL THOSE MAGES WHOSE WHOM YOU’VE BROKEN INTO.”
      “B-bu-but… I’m invading their privacy to take out one questionable member of their number. I’m supposed to punish the many for the actions of the one?”

      Kill kill kill kill kill.

      And yes, it gets me down. In Skyrim it’s very often the only option, unlike in other games where there have been other options. I don’t know. It just speaks volumes to me if a game like that is popular, where the only option is to just go around killing like that, and such a game is popular. You know, RPGs are supposed to be the last bastion of story and choice. But Skyrim is just RPGs turning into Modern Warfare. Far too eager to see me kill.

      How the vast majority don’t have a problem with this is beyond me, because like I said, providing killing as the only option 90% of the time… well. I can’t lie to myself about this. And this is why I end up missing Obsidian games, because with Obsidian games I can point to them and tell the professionals that they’re wrong about the gaming past-time, but with something like Skyrim? Fat chance.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Wulf has just completely ruined my enjoyment of Skyrim.
      .
      Because he is, as usual, Right.
      .
      And I feel the same way he does. Let me just say that right now. Skyrim, when compared to New Vegas, is a step backward in terms of role playing. Period.
      .
      The idea that all of these super-intelligent Dragons just want to kill, kill, kill, all the times, is ludicrous. The idea that two bandits cannot tell they are over-matched by the bulky warrior wearing a Dragon’s innards for armor is simply stupid. The idea that townsfolk with iron daggers run TOWARD dragons and Werewolves and try to fight them is not only dumb it is also immersion-wrecking. So much for being the (genocidal, maniac) hero. Who needs the Dovakhiin?
      .
      I miss options offered up by New Vegas. I miss the way some factions would cut you off for helping others. Meanwhile, in Skyrim, the the Battle-Born clan hates me so much for helping out their rivals they contracted Thugs to try and rough me up. But the still speak to me as normal in the town; worse yet, they are still essential and I cannot kill them in retaliation. Why is that?
      .
      Why is it that, despite being Thane of Whiterun (which does nothing) I cannot have them arrested? I have a note detailing their involvement in trying to have me attacked or even killed. So why can I not punish them for it? Where the hell are my role playing options?
      .
      The worst part about this is that these sales figures convince people that this is what we want in Role playing games. That we all want to play the genocidal maniac in a world created solely to roll over and die the player. That we want rewards doled out like candy, vendor lists full of high level magic gear, etc. Heaven forbid we need to work hard for good equipment or higher skills. Level 50 cap and I have 35 levels in 50hrs. Insane.
      .
      Skyrim is not a role playing game. In such games you are given options, persuasion and the ability to choose the outcome of quests. Obsidian knows this and knows it well.
      .
      Which is why Dungeon Seige 3 was a better ROLE PLAYING game than Skyim even thought about being. Perhaps not a better game all round, but a better role playing game by far. And neither holds a candle to New Vegas, a game I am just about ready to reinstall.
      .
      So someone please tell me, for those of us looking for real role playing games, where do we look now? X3? Gothic 2, 3, 4? Just new vegas? Are there any real role playing games left?

    • NathanH says:

      Yes Wulf, we get it, you’re a vastly superior human being than the rest of us.

      Still, Black Isle and Obsidian games have always been mostly about killing. Sometimes you have a choice, but for the most part it’s a case of there being hostiles and it’s optimal to kill them.

    • Blackcompany says:

      No sadly, Khemm and Wulf are right. We love to talk about games as art. We love to talk about games as a mature form of story telling. We purport to enjoy Role Playing Games because we are thinking, reasoning individuals looking for something more than a scripted, on-rails mankiller. We love to raise ourselves above the common rabble and bemoan the tightly scripted, constraining state of games today.
      .
      Then we go out and give ourselves the lie by buying millions of copies of Skyrim.
      .
      Skyrim purports to be a large, open world full of choice for the player. But it isn’t. Its a theme park, with one tight, on-rails segment after another. People bemoaned Rage for doing exactly what Skyrim does: tightly scripted encounters broken up by several minutes of largely useless walking.
      .
      Yes there are cities and towns. Mining camps and mills. Places full of friendly NPC’s to find. Its immersive and intriguing. Far more so, in fact, than the numerous things I am just supposed to kill for largely no reason.
      .
      Consider: The other day I went into a dungeon. I was only there looking for a specific axe. (No, I won’t tell you why…but I had seen a man about a dog before that, hint hint.) There was a person in the cave. I could not talk to them, reason with them or tell them why I was there. I could not even bluff them into letting me take just the axe…only the axe. Didn’t even WANT anything else in that tiny little cave.
      .
      Instead, the stranger attacked me immediately, on site. Had no idea why I was there or what I wanted. I didn’t know who they were. They just came at me. I was heavily armed and armored; I had a war hound in tow and a bit of a reputation throughout the world (or I would have had, in a better game than this – New Vegas, maybe.) This character was seriously overmatched and outclassed. Had to have known it, too.
      .
      But he still launched his suicidal charge.
      .
      He died to Vigilance following a well placed Shield Bash. I never even hit him with my war axe. Not once.
      .
      In a better designed game, Vig would have hamstrung him and then torn out his throat, being a warhound and all. In this game, he just…nibbles at foes slowly, I guess? But then, in a better designed game…I would never have fought this individual. Instead I would have explained that I meant him no harm, that I desperately needed the axe in his cave…that I was even prepared to offer him a substantial amount of gold for the axe.
      .
      I would gladly have paid this individual for his property if indeed he would have refrained from trying to take off my heavily armored head with, you guessed it, his iron dagger. But alas, he is dead, I had an axe which I chose to return to its proper owner (the other option being too gruesome to even consider, as a pet owner and animal lover) and I am somehow less than I was before this sad quest.
      .
      I have not played Skyrim since this quest. I am not sure I want to do so any longer.
      .
      Even when confronted with infiltrating the lair of the worst Fiend and psychopath in all of New Vegas, I was offered a choice. I talked my way into his lair, killed only him and his few immediate bodyguards and walked out before anyone knew what happened. Just didn’t see the since in slaughtering a legion of addicts because one had done something bad.
      .
      Of course I learned later they were all kidnappers and murderers, and freed their prisoners, slaughtering them one and all. But I had a reason; I dispensed justice. I did not murder some random stranger I startled or stumbled upon in cold blood like.
      .
      I swear its like clubbing baby Horkers. And I am no longer certain I wish to do that in my spare time.

    • NathanH says:

      No, I don’t talk about games as art or as a mature form of storytelling, because I’m not scared of admitting that I just like games.

      Your example is ridiculous to criticize, since equivalent things will happen in every RPG you’ve ever played. I doubt that you can find an RPG where someone doesn’t attack you without talking to you and without giving you the option of talking to them.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      This is why CRPGs are crap, and why you should go play an actual RPG. You know, on a table, with real people, and a GM who can make the story react to your character’s internal desires and aspirations.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Alexander is correct. And I am actually discussing this with my friends now. That its just time for a table top game again.
      .
      Nor am I afraid to admit I like games. Even games with violence and killing in them.
      .
      But Skyrim purports to be a role playing game. A game about choices, options and consequences. Except, it doesn’t have any. Not one. Anywhere.
      .
      Instead it has endless streams of violence and loot. What people now have come to call a Role Playing Game. But it isn’t one, not really. Not for those who still remember, if only vaguely, what a real role playing game is.
      .
      Which is not to say that Skyrim is a bad game. As a loosely story based action game it is not bad at all. It offers depth in the combat and magic systems, and will offer more with mods. As an open world action game it works well enough and I would have no complaints.
      .
      But that’s not what Skyrim claims to be. It claims to be a role playing game. You buy it because you are looking for a role playing game.
      .
      And then in true Bethesda fashion, this “Role Playing Game” takes a huge dump all over the genre.

    • ZyloMarkIII says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with Alexander Norris. If you really want a true Role Playing Game with plenty of options, you can’t go wrong with a table top RPG. The GM has to provide those moments, though. And really, you should reach out into the other lines instead of Dungeons and Dragons. There’s Shadowrun, World of Darkness and all its ilk, Deathwatch with the Emperor’s Angels of Death as PCs. It’s not all about sword and sorcery anymore.

    • Chris D says:

      Comparing table-top RPG’s and computer RPG’s is hardly a meaningful comparison though, is it?

      Sure humans are better at makings stuff up and improvising than computers are, that’s not really news to anyone. But getting people together to play takes time and commitment, it takes a lot of effort on the part of the GM and, as it happens, not everyone is brilliant at doing that either.

      So yes playing table-top RPG’s is great when you can do it but it’s nice to have something to do when you can’t get everyone together as well.

      Also I tried running an RPG fairly recently. I was going to have plot twists and emotional resonance and everything. Turns out some players really just want to run around a dungeon killing dragons.

    • ZyloMarkIII says:

      Chris D, a tabletop RPG can just be as linear and restricting as a computer RPG. It all depends on who is running/developing the game.

      Whereas a GM can improvise for situations outside the norm, most can’t really a scene as easily as an image from a computer game can. Yes it does take time and commitment from everyone involved, included the GM. I myself GM a Deathwatch campaign every Thursday evening. I spend Wednesday typing up all the stuff I think of during the week, then pick up my buddy for a carpool at 5 PM. I get at the host at 6 PM and game for 4 hours. Then I drop off my buddy at work and get home by 11:20 PM. Is that a good deal of commitment? In my eyes, yes. Do I still enjoy it? Yes.

      A good GM is hard to come by and experience is probably the only way for a GM to get good. The GM has to accept criticisms. All too often, the GM is in an “adversarial” role compared to the PCs, but the GM should be working with the PCs to provide “meaningful” encounters.

      Do some players just act out a fantasy of slaughtering innocents? Yes. That’s just how some players are. You can’t fault them for that, but you have establish the scenario of choice and consequence in the game to somehow deter them from taking such actions for granted.

      Long story short, a table top RPG is not suitable for everyone be it from a time/commitment aspect or from a gaming style aspect. It’s a niche taste and I like it. Getting back to Computer RPGs, though. I still hold The Witcher and Vampires The Masquerade: Bloodlines as my two favorite RPGs on the PC. (I’ve yet to play the Witcher 2.) I would like it if more games leaned more towards that direction than towards mandatory killing.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      Personally I think Wulf’s rant shows a disturbing emotional attachment to the actions he is performing in-game. His words scare me 1,000 times more than someone who blasts away in a game and kills every polygon because they’re just polygons and who gives a shit.

    • Kleppy says:

      Wow Velvet, you’re actually right and I didn’t look at it that way. I figured it was the usual Wulf superiority complex at work, but this is actually pretty scary. Wulf, you seriously need to go have a beer or two at the pub, it’s just silly little video games :(

    • automata says:

      I pretty much agree with Wulf. Admittedly I don’t own or ever intend to own Skyrim, so I can’t talk about that game in particular. But kamikaze NPCs are bad from at least a couple of perspectives.

      Now, let’s be fair: RPGs have a very violence-oriented history (CRPGs came from P&P, which came from tabletop wargaming). And again, even within the Elder Scrolls series the game was designed principally around violence (well, brawling and fighting in the titular Arena), so I’m not opposed to violence at all in these games.

      Having said that, characters acting unrealistically is a bit jarring, especially when we get to the point where graphical fidelity gives us uncanny valley effects. When you get characters that look increasingly human acting in increasingly non-human ways, it can get off-putting, and I really only see this getting worse. And running in to attack a far stronger character is really, really stupid. What makes it even worse is that Bethesda already have a system of level-scaling in place, yet only ever use it to protect the player from getting into too much danger, yet they never think of kind of doing it the other way around.

      Second, it’s kind of a case of “if you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”: you need to arguably make a combat system for all RPGs, yet combat is just one tool. Take, for example, traps: there can’t be pit traps in the classical sense, as there’s no way to climb or levitate out, yet they’re a pen-and-paper and dungeon crawling staple. You could have pulled it off in Daggerfall easily, and even in Morrowind but in Oblivion (and I’m guessing in Skyrim) you can’t. I get that they might be limited by their engine, but they’re the ones that are deciding to whittle down the different classes of characters that you can play: there’s less reason to make a thief character. Also the vast majority of the skills in Skyrim appear to be completely combat-focused. It’s not surprising, but it is a bit disappointing: you can be who you want to be, but you’re only really rewarded for being very violent.

      Then again, this may just be beyond what Bethesda is capable of doing, at least in their current engine and approach to design.

    • Nick says:

      People talking about playing P&P RPGs are missing the point, there was a game in the (basically) same game engine before this, made mostly by another developer, that had a whole lot more in the way of meaningful NPC interaction. Which shows its possible, they just didn’t do it.

  33. Cinnamon says:

    These days releasing a game at the same time as consoles that still has major pc features like modding support with drm that actually lets you play the game is worth praising. But maybe Bethesda need to adopt a more “treat them mean and keep them keen” posture with PC gamers like RPS’ favourite guns and conversation developers.

  34. Pinky09 says:

    Wait wait…. they outsold every pc game 3 to 1? Starcraft sold 2M, does that mean that they sold 6m on pc? maybe i just got it wrong

  35. skinlo says:

    Whilst its the best selling game, I would love to know the absolute numbers though compared to the other platforms.

  36. Wisher says:

    Alec, you forgot to mention the interface!

  37. Saiko Kila says:

    “icky” quality textures have been so consistent that they’ve become almost a trademark of Bethesda’s pieces on PC. It’s sad they are able to pull it off in year 2011. I feel happy for people who don’t consider it a problem, I just hope they don’t have too big issues with other stuff, like reading newspapers with too small print or noticing their friends on the street.

    As for User Interface, I believe the last Bethesda game I haven’t modified to improve it was Morrowind. In other games I can play for a while with default UI, but it becomes untenable after some time. There are cases where UI has to be modded to be usable at all, like in F:NV (Living Anatomy perk with long-named mobs).

  38. tomaac says:

    PC piracy up Ubisoft`s arse.
    Just have to make a proper game and even full time offline single player PC title will sell.

  39. Melf_Himself says:

    This does shows that you should show less commitment to and understanding of marketing drivel.

  40. StingingVelvet says:

    Game never crashed on me and I never touched the sound settings. Game also runs smoothly with default RAM settings for me. I even like the interface (hint: stop using the mouse).

    I’m not saying no one has these issues, but you write them as if everyone does. Surely the truth is in the middle.

  41. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    To be honest, I’ve got used to the general nature of the interface and I don’t notice its overall poor design. It is what it is.

    What IS unforgivable about the interface is the mouse clicks not registering – I can only click on the middle third of the menu words to get into that menu. If I click on the first couple of letters of the word by mistake, it takes me back/out of the menu completely.

    Basically the hit boxes aren’t the same shape as the words you have to click on. Surely, that must be simple to fix? 2 patches and counting and they still haven’t chosen to do a quickfix on this.

    It’s a shame because the general mediocre interface design I can ignore and get used to, but constant false results from mouse clicks I can’t ignore.

  42. Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

    *Sigh*

    Skyrim is far from perfect but it is the most addictive game I have played in years.

    I don’t think that the criticisms Alec has leveled are entirely fair. The interface is terrible across platforms, the 2gig thing is an oversight which will be rectified. There are a few QA issues (Sound being an example) and yeah, some of the textures are underwhelming.

    Other than that the game is hugely customisable, for such an incredibly complex, huge game it is relatively stable, it is massively modable, the mouse and keyboard support is generally solid. It’s a solid PC port with great support for what makes PC gaming work.

  43. digitalfoundry says:

    This is on every gaming blog/url. Why that much coverage, Skyrim is a crappy console port, full of errors. Bethesda knew these errors would break gameplay and that the errors were down to the Gamebryo engine’s essential flawed design. They just rushed the release to meet that stupid deadline. This is not a real game announcement/story, this is only a Valve Steamworks PR piece. Oh, and Bethesda sucks, they only make mediocre sandboxes.

  44. Arglebargle says:

    Bethesda knows we’ll buy it by the truckload, no matter what shape it’s in.

    The sad part is that so many of these screwups take so little work to fix. They just didn’t want to expend the energy. Didn’t have the basic vision to work designs up right in the first place. Just sloppy. Thank goodness they at least have the sense to let modders loose on it.

    For my part, the interface is awful. Every session is filled with irritations because of it not working well, imo. The audio problem caused crashes. Without the 4GB mod, I crash about twice a day (Not more, because after the second time I just quit playing).

    • scharmers says:

      You know what, enough with the hyperbole. What do YOU know about “how little work” it takes to fix, and how the Skyrim developers just “didn’t want to expend the energy”? Really? Let’s say that you’ve spent a good chunk of the last 2-3 years of your life dumping everything into a videogame, with the money guys screaming “OMG WHEN DOES IT SHIP WORK FASTAR!@!!!@@!” constantly in your ear. And, of course, yours is not the only game design system you’re working on. There are folks in the other cubicles and other offices, working as hard as you, with the same people screaming in their ears. There’s not a lot of time to get together and have this perfect synchronicity between departments. You’re too busy grinding out content and systems and quests and stuff, of which there are thousands upons thousands of components. You desperately try to tie them all together as the money guys scream ever louder. You send it out, work your QA doods to death (another group that gets shit on by uninformed gaming nerds) and acknowledge that you can’t fix half of the stuff they desperately send to you before the Almight Ship.

      Then you send it out with a sigh of relief, knowing that you did your best in the time you had, and hope it does well so that your dev studio doesn’t get cut by the publisher.

      Then some yot on the internet says that “you didn’t want to expend the energy”. Nice.

      TL;DR: Big games are hard to make. Tone your sense of entitlement back down. Only Allah is perfect. Skyrim is just fine. If you want your every RPG need catered to, find an obsessive-compulsive real life dungeon master to create your campaigns for you.

    • Arglebargle says:

      It took modders on the PC how many days to fix these issues? Most of them are considered fairly obvious flaws. Did no one see them?

      Your whiney rant response would have a bit more credibility if every Bethesda game didn’t have pretty similiar issues. And pretty similiar fixes (ie, the modders) Yes, big games are tough to do. That’s why you pay a lot of attention to the utility of the basic interface. Well, you should, anyway.

      High dudgeon is pretty funny though….

    • scharmers says:

      A “whiny rant response” only matched by the legions of yots whining and ranting about how “broken” Skyrim is “and how easy it is for modders to fix”. Well, just to recap since you missed the point of my high dudgeon: Bethsoft does not have the unlimited time to nail every quibble. They ship it, I imagine, pretty much knowing that such-and-such is broken, but they are pressed to ship. Their QA dept. does not have the millions of people who are going to play through every permutation of the game to find out exactly what sequence of actions breaks what systems. It’s not a “damn, I just don’t feel like fixing the fact that dragon skeletons hop around the landscape because I am so LAZY and I need to catch up on my Walking Dead reruns” situation. Modders, on the other hand, have unlimited time to address what is shaky. And they do.

      If Skyrim had been sent out in an unbearably broken state (say, Sword of the Stars 2 broken), then sure, the frothing and foaming at the mouth displayed here and elsewhere certainly would be justified. But, strangely enough, Bethsoft managed to ship a game that, despite having a cubic butt-ton of interlocking content and systems, is only slightly broken.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Screwed up interfaces are not broken quests or wonky dragon skeletons. Neither is the game being not LAA. These are not things that someone missed at the last minute. These are bad design decisions.

      The audio issue was just sloppiness. Not looking at the basic infrastructure of a PC and seeing what simple variables are there, and making sure your basic setup works.

      My personal example is the Witcher 2, which shipped with bad wide screen support, and a non invertable mouse. I didn’t get it then because of this, and while it was eventually fixed, there were other things on the burner. Sale lost, due to interface issues.

  45. pipman3000 says:

    but pc gaming is dead :(

  46. Moraven says:

    I wonder how many purchases were non-Steam for Skyrim. Of course we can see how many are playing due to Steamworks, but does not mean all were purchased in Steam.

  47. stillwater says:

    Most of the interface problems go away if you use an xbox controller, which you definitely should, since just about all the game’s mechanics also better once you do. Not least dual-casting, lockpicking, melee, and sneaking. After playing a sneaking character in Skyrim with a gamepad, I’m never using keyboard for stealth gameplay in any game, ever again.

    And yes, the fact that the game is clearly designed for gamepad from the ground up obviously supports the view that it’s a console game first. But as far as I’m concerned, the gamepad is a 100% legitimate and 100% native PC peripheral. Just because it originated on consoles doesn’t mean a thing….the mouse originated on macs, but that doesn’t mean that the mouse is less legitimate on PCs than on macs.

    • The Tupper says:

      @ Stillwater

      I agree with everything you say, but (after initially trying out the game with my Xbox controller) I reverted to keyboard and mouse. For me, having grown old using FP perspective, it feels odd to use the pad even though it adds a brilliant level of immersion, as you say, with stealth etc. I prefer the feeling of ‘being there’ that over-the-shoulder or third person (for me) can’t deliver – and FP gamepad…well, it’s not for me.

      Interface issues aside, I think that this is perhaps where a lot of the perceived trouble with Skyrim lies: there are superb features of both controller systems that simply can’t be reconciled.

  48. jtim2 says:

    What I dont understand is why they changed the UI at all. I had far fewer problems with Oblivion’s UI, especially with the Dark Darnified UI Mod installed than with Skyrims. They ventured to far from the traditional RPG menu model trying to make it look modern (though how much sense a ‘modern’ menu makes in a sword and sorcery fame is questionable) and now its coming back to bite them. Yes there are substantial problems with mouse recognition, but that can be gotten around by using the wasd, as annoying as that is. The far bigger issue is the bizarrely large text and lack of a table that shows key aspects of the items without actually looking at them. Without such things as a way to sort items by stuff like weight, value, etc, the ability to quickly see your equipped items, and flags for newly acquired items, the inventory has taken a major step back, not only from Oblivion but from every other major RPG out there.

    And then of course theirs the weird and varied uses of R and E, which show as “R” and “E” no matter what youve changed them too in the controls menu despite R and E no longer performing those functions. (I immediatly switched my spacebar and E back to the Oblivion way of using E as jump and space as activate/interact because i kept jumping when i wanted to pick up an object).
    I’m not even going to go into the other major oversights in an overall outstanding game, such as large address awareness, the horror that is level scaling, Xbox exclusivity in Expansion packs for the first 30 days, and a toolset that wont come out until january, but suffice to say that Bathesda has majorly turned its back on the PC gamers that made the series what it is today

  49. Joshua says:

    Take THAT, Modern Warfare!

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