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The Tupper
16-12-2011, 12:21 PM
Hello all.

This is almost embarrassing to admit: inspired by the RPS review and other bits and pieces picked up from the Web, I made a decision early on in my exploration of Skyrim not to activate the Dragonborn quest line (beyond the first one that allows me to buy a house). I had heard that dragon battles ended up being somewhat over-implemented, spoiling an otherwise pleasant gallop through the countryside.

I'm now almost 200 hours into the game (I still haven't covered at least fifty per cent of the map though) but realise that it's now getting a bit ridiculous. That poor girl's been waiting for me by the western watchtower at Whiterun for weeks - she must be freezing her arse off. Every time I ride past, I pretend to be looking at something in the distance to hide my shame.

My question is this: am I worrying needlessly about the dragons? Are the battles fun? I quite like the idea of shouting people to death (and, ahem, in the game) so is it time for me go a-dragonslaying?

Hugs,

TT

Vexing Vision
16-12-2011, 12:35 PM
Personally, I have waited 60 hours into the game to progress the main story-line - and I sincerely regret it, becaues most of the battles are far too easy by now.

A second play-through will have me activating that questline much, much earlier. The battles, especially as a weaker character, can be amazing fun.

Drake Sigar
16-12-2011, 12:40 PM
The shouts aren't anything special. The battles are fun for a while, but once activated you're stuck with them forever. You can try and retire as a cabbage farmer, but dragons keep showing up to remind you of your epic destiny.

DVD773
16-12-2011, 12:48 PM
I think the intensity and frequency of dragon encounters increases as you do the quest chain. So you can unlock the ability to shout, without having too many dragons flying about.

Ian
16-12-2011, 01:14 PM
I dunno about the rest of the main quest, as 80 hours in I've barely touched it. But the dragon encounters have never bothered me. When you're weak they're quite exciting, and after that they're no more or less "annoying" than being hindered by a bunch of bandits.

Ravelle
16-12-2011, 01:19 PM
I was more afraid of snowtrolls than Dragons.

The Tupper
16-12-2011, 02:21 PM
When you're weak they're quite exciting, and after that they're no more or less "annoying" than being hindered by a bunch of bandits

Dunno if this is a stupid question, but is there an average time between them showing up? I mean, if I were to ride between Winterhold in the north and Whiterun could I expect to definitely encounter one? Or more?

Malawi Frontier Guard
16-12-2011, 02:35 PM
The thing that is actually puzzling about this is how you need to ask the internet about it.

Are you always this hesitant? Do you also have trouble choosing between orange and lemon-lime?

The Tupper
16-12-2011, 02:39 PM
The thing that is actually puzzling about this is how you need to ask the internet about it.

Are you always this hesitant? Do you also have trouble choosing between orange and lemon-lime?

Because once the quest line is started, the game changes permanently and irrevocably.

Tell me: do you make that same comment in every post or are you saving it just for me? It could be applied to anyone asking anything about any game and it would be equally fatuous.

Skalpadda
16-12-2011, 02:56 PM
I quite enjoy the random dragons and they're not all that common. In an evening with a couple of hours of playtime I'll get maybe one or two. They're a nuisance at times but there's always the option to run away if you don't feel like fighting them and you can also end up in some pretty epic fights when they come suddenly swooping in when you're engaged with other enemies.

Normal dragons and the Blood variety are very easy when you're higher level, but the Ancient Dragons that start turning up when you get close to level 50 can be quite a challenge if you don't have amazing gear.

If you want to try out some dragon fights you could go find some at their roosts, marked by dragon heads on your map and compass. Since those dragons are usually guarding walls I assume they will be there whether you've started the main quest or not.

Duckee
16-12-2011, 03:11 PM
The official recommendation is that you do the main quest at level 24-32 (cited in the official guide, apparently...).

I did it at lvl 50+ and it was very underwhelming.. and do not worry about dragons popping up, they are not too difficult, but they do cause some random havoc and fun for your npc friends. For instance a nice dragon landing in Solitude..

Berzee
16-12-2011, 03:11 PM
Because once the quest line is started, the game changes permanently and irrevocably.

You could just remember your last non-Dragonborn save game and reload it if you don't like it. ^_^

Or you could do what I might do, which is to make a new character who is very traditionally Dovahkiin-like, and with him I will head straight for the main quest line and never look back until it is complete. But I might not do that after all; who can say? It's a big decision for such a small man.

In other news, my kitchen faucet just turned on all by itself. Sooo....I'm gonna go look into that.

Vexing Vision
16-12-2011, 03:14 PM
My favourite dragon-moment - I was about to turn in a fed-ex quest. A dragon lands between me and the questgiver. I swear the sucker grinned at me, turned around and fried my questgiver, popping up the second ever "quest failed" title. It was ridiculously epic nevertheless.

Giaddon
16-12-2011, 03:15 PM
At 200 hours, you should be able to answer this for yourself -- are you ready to fight some dragons, or not? In any given A to B journey, like say the Whiterun-Winterhold journey, in my experience you can expect to fight between zero and two dragons. And most dragon battles are quite easy to avoid (actually, the challenge can be getting them to engage you and some random mudcrab!) I've played the game for over a hundred hours, and I'd say I kill a dragon once every six hours or so (this is without hunting them, just random encounters).

Ian
16-12-2011, 03:46 PM
Some of these comments are making me think I should revisit the main quest earlier than I'd planned. I'm level 41 and I've not even fetched the horn of Jurgen Windcaller yet. D:


My favourite dragon-moment - I was about to turn in a fed-ex quest. A dragon lands between me and the questgiver. I swear the sucker grinned at me, turned around and fried my questgiver, popping up the second ever "quest failed" title. It was ridiculously epic nevertheless.

"Our demands? That you play the main story and give us the respect we deserve. We will kill a crucial quest NPC once every hour until our demands are met."

Drake Sigar
16-12-2011, 04:10 PM
my favourite dragon-moment - i was about to turn in a fed-ex quest. A dragon lands between me and the questgiver. I swear the sucker grinned at me, turned around and fried my questgiver, popping up the second ever "quest failed" title. It was ridiculously epic nevertheless.
FAWKU YUU DWAGON!!!

*Sigh* I'm so racist.

Skalpadda
16-12-2011, 04:10 PM
I just did a quest where I was escorting two NPCs and had Lydia along with me. We came across a large Forsworn camp and alerted all of it, so it was the four of us with two summons against maybe 10 Forsworn and a Hagraven. Suddenly a dragon roars in and strafes across the battlefield, setting everything on fire. In a split second it turned into a three-way battle where everyone was scrambling to get a very angry fire-breathing dragon out of the sky while also trying to murder their original foes.

So yeah, they can be a nuisance but they also offer moments of sudden greatness.

The Tupper
16-12-2011, 05:05 PM
Nice story, Skalpadda. And thanks to everyone else for the responses as well. I think it is indeed time: I'll head back to Whiterun this evening, I think, and see what happens.

lasikbear
16-12-2011, 05:17 PM
I did some of the main quest immediately and I feel there have been no negatives to it (besides having far too many dragon bits sitting in my house waiting to be used for dragon bit armor). You periodically encounter dragons, but you don't even have to fight them. In my experience its sometimes hard to get them to pay attention to you at all, they seem happy to dragon about on their own and pay you no mind.

Giaddon
16-12-2011, 05:22 PM
Not to mention that the faint call of a dragon in the distance is the perfect sound to put you in the mood for adventure.

Vexing Vision
16-12-2011, 05:28 PM
"Our demands? That you play the main story and give us the respect we deserve. We will kill a crucial quest NPC once every hour until our demands are met."

The best part: I was carrying the ashes of a man to the priest (before the priest got fried himself).

Not knowing what to do with the ashes, I then began experimenting with them in alchemy. There was no result, but science was furthered.

lasikbear
16-12-2011, 05:32 PM
The best part: I was carrying the ashes of a man to the priest (before the priest got fried himself).

Not knowing what to do with the ashes, I then began experimenting with them in alchemy. There was no result, but science was furthered.

There's no reason to beat around the bush here, we all know 'experimenting with alchemy' means 'I ate them.'

PeteC
16-12-2011, 06:28 PM
I'm in the same boat only with about 80 odd hours played. Keep putting the main quest off as I kind of (maybe unfairly) associate the dragons with the annoying Oblivion gates. I've been a bit unfocussed throughout really as I haven't completed any major questlines such as the Companions, Thieves Guild etc. I've decided to concentrate on a couple of them and then maybe progress the main story a bit rather than the scattershot way I've been going about things so far. I'd like to be able to use some of these shouts I've collected for one thing.

Wulf
16-12-2011, 07:33 PM
There is a console command to disable the dragons. But... I forget what it is. It's a variable. It's something like:

set MQ??Dragons to 0

Something like that.

I haven't done it because I'm having too much fun experimenting on the dragons. I've had a reasonable amount of success manually transferring dragons into the guard faction, which has had hilarious results. And I can make them non-hostile to me pretty quickly with a few faction additions.

Yes, I have had a dragon sitting around on the walls of Whiterun, not attacking anything. This is a thing that I have done.

I plan on creating a mod to automate this once the CK comes out. I mean, after you defeat Alduin it would be incredibly stupid to challenge the guy that did it. That's almost as bad as the suicidal wolves, perhaps even worse since the dragons are supposed to be intelligent. You'd expect most of them to actually stay away out of self-preservation alone, and with Paarthurnax doing his thing there'll likely be a war of philosophy going on. You'll have dragons that just want to stay the hell out of mortal affairs, dragons that want to practise Paarth's teachings, dragons that may actually want to interfere but in a helpful way, thus gathering mortal allies around themselves, and perhaps the occasional mad bugger that decides that all mortals must die.

So I'm going to create the mod with the base values of:

85% of dragons are neutral, and do nothing other than fly about.
10% of dragons decide to help out, fighting anything that's a threat to the people of Skyrim, and generally being helpful.
5% of dragons will be kamikaze, having delusions of grandeur over how they're more powerful than Alduin.

I think those values make sense. But yeah, you'd think after defeating Alduin that the dragons would be more wary.

This is worse than the Cliffracers.

---

Found it.

set MQ106TurnOffRandomDragons to 1

That's what it was. It's apparently been confirmed as working, but I've not tried it myself.

The Tupper
16-12-2011, 07:34 PM
Not to mention that the faint call of a dragon in the distance is the perfect sound to put you in the mood for adventure.

Oh when you put it that way I hadn't really considered how much it might add to the overall tone of the game. Will probably tie up some local quests in Winterhold tonight and embark on the new adventure.

Thanks all.

TT

Drinking with Skeletons
16-12-2011, 07:49 PM
Here's a question: are dragons supposed to spawn while you are inside the walled cities? I've had it happen exactly once in my 150+ hours. Beyond that, the only times I've encountered dragons while inside walled towns were when they spawned while I was outside the walls and followed me inside.

And I think that the shouts are fairly important to the game. There are shouts for just about any character build, and there's absolutely no reason to not use them.

Skalpadda
16-12-2011, 08:05 PM
Spawning inside walled cities seems to happen very, very rarely. I'm not sure how much I've played but it's well over 100 hours and it's only happened twice.

Wulf
16-12-2011, 08:14 PM
I had a chat with a couple of friends about the shouts. I don't use them myself and I generally find them useless, but this is because I play Skyrim in very odd ways. But from what I could figure, the cooldown makes them pretty useless. You'll get a better yield from just being a spellsword. Since it's a Bethesda game, you can be Good at Everything. This is a thing, really, it was the same in Oblivion. Oblivion made it tough to specialise, but easy to spread yourself about.

So you do eventually become Good at Everything, as a thing. And if you start out trying to be like that, then you'll find it works out even better, by juggling abilities between one-handed weapons and spells. The amount of damage and effects you can spam out that way makes shouts generally fairly useless. By the time a shout has finally cooled down, you're four battles away from where you were.

This was nice to know, since I have been avoiding killing dragons, anyway.

Duckee
16-12-2011, 08:20 PM
I had a chat with a couple of friends about the shouts. I don't use them myself and I generally find them useless, but this is because I play Skyrim in very odd ways. But from what I could figure, the cooldown makes them pretty useless. You'll get a better yield from just being a spellsword. Since it's a Bethesda game, you can be Good at Everything. This is a thing, really, it was the same in Oblivion. Oblivion made it tough to specialise, but easy to spread yourself about.

So you do eventually become Good at Everything, as a thing. And if you start out trying to be like that, then you'll find it works out even better, by juggling abilities between one-handed weapons and spells. The amount of damage and effects you can spam out that way makes shouts generally fairly useless. By the time a shout has finally cooled down, you're four battles away from where you were.

This was nice to know, since I have been avoiding killing dragons, anyway.

Shouting enemies off cliffs never gets old.. Or storm call to bring down a pesky dragon.

lasikbear
16-12-2011, 08:22 PM
The shouts having a long cooldown doesn't mean they are useless, it just means they are only useful every other fight or so. I generally use them during harder fights as they are essentially a free extra spell, or more importantly using the dash when walking or backtracking somewhere boring. Now that acrobatics is gone its no longer possible to jump really fast everywhere so having dragon dash shout is at least something.

Also if you don't use them you are cutting out maybe 75% of your player characters voice acting.

Edit: Also wulf can you stop putting in spoilers without any warning? Especially when the post is 'I have not done any story stuff' throwing in a ton about the main story seems like a bad idea. Not sure how spoiler-y it really was cause I stopped reading after names I don't recognize

metalangel
16-12-2011, 09:23 PM
A small question, then: Is it like Oblivion, where the annoying things that are randomly spawning to bother you disappear when you finish the main quest? Or do the dragons persist forever once you start the main quest?

Berzee
16-12-2011, 09:56 PM
A small question, then: Is it like Oblivion, where the annoying things that are randomly spawning to bother you disappear when you finish the main quest? Or do the dragons persist forever once you start the main quest?

I think they persist forever, but so far I've not found them annoying. =) They're not THAT frequent, and they're not ugly and unpleasant like everything related to Oblivion gates.

The Tupper
16-12-2011, 10:19 PM
I think they persist forever, but so far I've not found them annoying. =) They're not THAT frequent, and they're not ugly and unpleasant like everything related to Oblivion gates.

That's nice to hear. The Oblivion Gates ended my all-too-brief flirtation with Oblivion (my only prior experience of ES games). That on top of the grind-levelling and that torture-device-cum-enquiry-wheel thingy the vendors had. Whatever they've done with the levelling in Skyrim, it works for me.

Kadayi
17-12-2011, 12:11 AM
I'm a bit of a completest and on my first warm up character noted that there were a few dungeons I'd been to where I was unable to get to certain locations. Doing the quest line with my second character and seeing the grey beards opened up the ability to use Whirlwind which helped me traverse a lot of these areas. Albeit Dragons are a pain in the ass occasionally (I've had the odd Quest giver get fried..leading to a reload) I don't regret having the shout unlocks I've acquired.

Wulf
17-12-2011, 12:15 AM
@lasikbear

When did names become spoilers? :| There's nothing really spoilery in there. And really, it's pretty much caveat emptor at the moment on the Internet regarding a game that's been out for ages. I've actually had people telling me to not bother putting in spoiler tags for every little detail. And one of the first few times I don't do it, I'm accused of never using spoiler tags.

Anyway, welcome to the Internet. There are spoilers here.

Pretty much this is a damned if you do, damned if you don't thing. If I use spoiler tags I get people irritated about their uselessness, and if I decide to not use them even once, I get an Internet crazyman yelling at me about never using spoiler tags, yay.

So, at times like this, I just adopt a 'screw it' attitude, since you can't win either way. Just don't read my posts?

Spider Jerusalem
17-12-2011, 12:22 AM
i waited for a while too, then the game broke on like the third quest.

so i say keep going.

The Tupper
17-12-2011, 01:03 AM
So, at times like this, I just adopt a 'screw it' attitude, since you can't win either way. Just don't read my posts?

It seemed a teensy bit spoilery to me, but no real harm done. As a general courtesy though, if the original post implies a lack of specifics I'd usually err on the side of caution.

Skalpadda
17-12-2011, 02:08 AM
Yes, it was quite spoilery and it wasn't just names without context. Consider there are other states than being completely ignorant where a name means nothing or already having played it through. I also wouldn't say Skyrim has been out for ages and consider it's a thread where the OP said in the very first post he hasn't done the main story. In an "oh, screw it" scenario surely the ones who can't be bothered highlighting some text are less worthy of concern than those who might have surprises spoiled for them.

On the usefulness of the shouts, I use Aura Whisper all the time when I'm sneaking, Whirlwind is great for long jumps and getting past things like blade traps in dungeons. Unrelenting Force.. well I've used it to get my follower to stop being stuck on scenery so it's useful as a glitch fix, I guess? There are some other neat utility shouts as well, but the ones that primarily deal damage I pretty much never use, because an arrow will be more effective anyway.

DigitalSignalX
17-12-2011, 02:55 AM
This is so curious, reading about people's dragon encounters since the release. My game is at 230 hours and change, and I'm (guessing) 1/2 way through the main campaign / Blades quest chain. My total dragons, a little over a dozen. That number includes the dragon lair locations with the
http://images.uesp.net/f/f1/SR-mapicon-Dragon_Lair.png symbol, so there's about 9 or 10 of them. Two dragons have been part of the quest chain itself (so far). Only two have spawned near a town for me, Falkreath and Winterhold. I've had only 1-2 other random spawns not quest related, dragon lair, or near a town. I cross the entire map all the time without encountering a dragon. They're still very rare.

Could my game be broken? Is not fast traveling messing things up? I ask because one of my town spawns was immediately after a fast travel where I had no patience in escorting this guy who would only run when I was standing directly behind him and we needed to cross the entire fricken map.

If it's simply a case of YMMV, then for the OP it's really impossible to say. You may get dragons all the time, or only when you find lairs :(

Skalpadda
17-12-2011, 03:23 AM
I use fast travel between towns and villages but not between locations in the wilderness and my impression is that it's pretty common for dragons to spawn when I fast travel to open towns like Riverwood or Falkreath while I very rarely see them when I roam the wilderness.

An average of over 20 hours between dragon encounters seems like a lot though. I usually get one or two in a play session (maybe 4-6 hours, so perhaps an average of one every three hours with half or so popping up when I fast travel to a town). Then again, since it seems to be a random chance thing some people are always going to end up at either extreme, as you say.

DigitalSignalX
17-12-2011, 03:31 AM
I use fast travel between towns and villages but not between locations in the wilderness and my impression is that it's pretty common for dragons to spawn when I fast travel to open towns like Riverwood or Falkreath while I very rarely see them when I roam the wilderness.

An average of over 20 hours between dragon encounters seems like a lot though. I usually get one or two in a play session (maybe 4-6 hours, so perhaps an average of one every three hours with half or so popping up when I fast travel to a town). Then again, since it seems to be a random chance thing some people are always going to end up at either extreme, as you say.

It must be related to fast travel then. If you exclude the 2 quest, and the 9 or so static dragons at lairs, it's actually down to 4 or 5 dragons during 200+ hours. Not sure if that's good, or bad. Many of my shouts are un-souled as a result, but that's really not an issue. An encounter is still unique and exciting, but but I may be losing the point of the "dragons are a threat" bit because of their rarity.

PeteC
17-12-2011, 09:09 AM
Yeah, I read somewhere, maybe the Bethesda forums, that their appearances are related to fast travel.

Kadayi
17-12-2011, 09:35 AM
I had a chat with a couple of friends about the shouts. I don't use them myself and I generally find them useless, but this is because I play Skyrim in very odd ways. But from what I could figure, the cooldown makes them pretty useless.

Err, you could use spells, swords and shouts perhaps? That's pretty much what I do. There's no requirement to eschew spells when you use shouts. The good thing about them is that you can use them when you are in melee combat and you don't have to unequip your weapon. Your voice is effectively a third hand.