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View Full Version : A question about Skyrim Difficulty (enemies, rather than the actual setting).



trjp
14-02-2012, 12:06 AM
I've only been playing Skyrim for a few days now, but whilst journeying in the mountains I came across a cave full of Vampires (Haemar's Shame?)

Until I went into that I've not really seen anything which would be considered 'hard' but the 'Master Vampire' in these is utterly and totally undestructible...

I assume enemies have some sort of difficulty rating system but it's not obvious in the UI!? Certainly nothing even scratches this guy -he's totally immune to physical (melee and ranged) and fire damage at least, his health bar doesn't move 1 pixel no matter what I tried (he's also immune to most effects such as fears or frenzies from poisons - at least those I had to hand).

I even tried daft things like speccing into Destruction and using both hands (perked) - still not 1 iota of damage done and his hit is 1/3rd+ of my health.

Short of pulling him into the light (unlikely in a large cave) I'm at a loss. Have I just wandered into an impossible area (perhaps linked to a quest or simply intended for far higher-level players?) or what?

A quick search showed 1 person's solution to it - which was dropping the in-game difficulty (well yes and at the same time no, fuck off)!!

Is this sort of stupidity common in Skyrim (Oblivion loved doing it and it's what killed the game dead for me tbh)??

nayon
14-02-2012, 12:40 AM
Wow, there are things in the game that are stronger than you? How unrealistic.

"
I assume enemies have some sort of difficulty rating system but it's not obvious in the UI!?"

This isn't WoW.

"Is this sort of stupidity common in Skyrim"

Not in the game, but apparently in the players.

"Oblivion loved doing it and it's what killed the game dead for me tbh"

Totally different issue.

duff
14-02-2012, 12:47 AM
Those vampires can be tricky, and that cave is part of a fairly significant quest chain. So far I haven't found anything that was unbeatable, mostly because 90% of the game is really easy and for the other 10% you have a huge stockpile of health potions saved up. This game has level scaling similar to Fallout 3 rather than Oblivion, in that it's a bit more random and there are some high level things out there rather than everything scaling directly to the player level. Master Vampires are pretty high on the scale but they aren't all that common so I don't think it will wreck your experience. My advice would be either to come back at a higher level, or make sure you have a companion and plenty of potions. The quest chain for this dungeon also makes this quest quite a bit easyier, but its cheesy and I won't spoiler you unless you want directions?

Nalano
14-02-2012, 12:49 AM
My -100% destro cost gear plus my fire/health-leech swords say vampires are pussies.

pakoito
14-02-2012, 01:36 AM
My -100% destro cost gear plus my fire/health-leech swords say vampires are pussies.Cheating in Skyrim is soooo cheap.

The Tupper
14-02-2012, 01:50 AM
Nayon, don't be a knob-end, there's a good chap.

trjp
14-02-2012, 01:57 AM
Wow, there are things in the game that are stronger than you? How unrealistic.

Ooh - Mr Sarkypants is in (as usual - where else would he be?)

I've no problem with stuff that's hard - however there are some issues here

1 - this cave is a 2 min walk from the Keep where the game starts - you could easily visit it in the first 20 mins of play.
2 - everything else in the cave dies in 2 hits or less - which means you proceed through with the reasonable expectation that you've not accidentally entered the "lair of massive nasty"
3 - TES games (in my experience) have dynamic/scaling difficulty which means you have almost as much chance of killing stuff at any level - where that's not the case, there's usually a reason for it and so I asked.

On the 90% easy/10% potionspam - that was my assumption but this guy hits like a truck, he can take you from full health to nothing in 2/3 hits and he resurrects his minions so they keep adding to the damage to the extent you'll need to spam potions pretty much constantly.

Moreover, he takes NO damage from weapons or fire spells (all I had to hand as I'm not really aiming at magic) so I can heal all I like, he's not going anywhere...


Not in the game, but apparently in the players.
Do you reply to people's questions in real life with abuse or are your real life balls so much smaller than your online ones??

trjp
14-02-2012, 02:05 AM
My advice would be either to come back at a higher level, or make sure you have a companion and plenty of potions.

I'd wondered about higher level but knowing how these games work I suspect there's more to it (quest items to weaken him or spells he's particularly vulnerable to).

Companions - I've only got Lydia (yes, I know!!) so I found her (took a while!!) and took her along for a laugh and she just got in the way - she also did zero damage to him but her 'tanking' him allowed me to prove that he was just not taking 1pt of damage (e.g. I lived a bit longer and his bar still didn't budge!!)

He's also immune to the Stun/Knockback shout you get early-on and a 'fear' axe I found between visits (and an axe which makes enemies attack each other proved his sidekicks couldn't harm him either!!) so I think I'll leave him alone for now!!

Does the cave respawn in time or are the riffraff dead for good??

Mistabashi
14-02-2012, 02:07 AM
Well, I haven't played Skyrim but it is supposed to be an RPG, so it's quite natural that you might come across enemies which your character is no match for. Do some levelling-up, find some new kit and come back later.

A similar thing happened in New Vegas, lots of people complained that if you went North from Goodsprings at the start you would probably run into a load of Deathclaws that would rip you to shreds. But that's exactly how it's supposed to be, you aren't 'supposed' to be able to kill them at low levels. Just because it's played from the first-person perspective doesn't mean you can just use FPS skills to kill everything, character stats are there for a reason.

Nalano
14-02-2012, 02:45 AM
Cheating in Skyrim is soooo cheap.

It's not cheating if it's in the game mechanics. Then it's just exploiting. And dear god, can the game mechanics be exploited.

pakoito
14-02-2012, 02:50 AM
It's not cheating if it's in the game mechanics. Then it's just exploiting. And dear god, can the game mechanics be exploited.Mi bad Engrish sory mister american.

field_studies
14-02-2012, 08:32 AM
As I'm just starting Skyrim post-sale too (and not as far as the OP) I'm actually glad to hear this story of difficult monsters. I truly don't understand this dynamic levelling stuff--either its appeal or its actual workings in this case.

I'll agree with certain (polite) posters here that hugely out/over-classed baddies have a place in an open-world game. Not to rehash a conversation that's been had many times in these forums, but the presence of difficult enemies is what successfully shapes and colours the open worlds of the Gothic games. It contributes to a real-feeling environment and sets significant but satisfyingly permeable boundaries; and I have no problem with either the hostility of the early hours of those games nor that relative ease of later exploration (which is rarely that easy as you're compelled to push further into increasingly hostile territory anyhow).

So why not difficult or impossible enemies close to the starting point? We get to quicksave, remember the location, and come back twenty hours later for revenge made sweeter by that initial experience.

But for the uninitiated (me): how does it actually function in Skyrim? I've heard that even base wildlife are threatening late in the game. On the other hand, I've been warned to get into the main quest thread before it gets too easy. These seem like contradictory statements. Also, does the scaling only take levelling into account, or specific perks and even weapons and armor and companions too?

And I guess a final, maybe rhetorical question: if the scaling really is as comprehensive as I fear, why bother with levelling at all in a game like this? Are the developers trying to have it both ways--to give the players the pleasure-hit of leveling up without that leveling really affecting the game? (I expect I'm exaggerating here, but sort of hoping someone will set me straight).

Grizzly
14-02-2012, 10:12 AM
As I'm just starting Skyrim post-sale too (and not as far as the OP) I'm actually glad to hear this story of difficult monsters. I truly don't understand this dynamic levelling stuff--either its appeal or its actual workings in this case.

Every area in the game is catered towards several levels.

For example, for a cave, there's a level 4, level 12, and a level 30 version (these are random numbers, usually they are much closer to each other).

The game picks the level when you first enter the area, based on your current level.
If you return later at a higher level, the cave will still have the level that was set when you first entered. So if you first enter at level 1, you get the level 4 version of the cave. Should you return later at level 30, you still get the level 4 version. Should you first enter the cave at level 10, you get the level 12 version.

There are also caves that have, say, a level 40 and a level 50 version. Should you enter this cave at level 1, you get the level 40 version.

I consider this system kinda neat - its how Oblivion should have done it IMO - it ensures that you won't outlevel the world so easy on the higher levels, and still get a sense of progression and immersion.

ntw
14-02-2012, 10:14 AM
@ trjp - My thoughts : get a few levels, focus on some skills, progress the main chain a little and you should find you are considerably more able to deal with pretty much anything. If it's still too hard then rinse and repeat, or just leave it until you get the quest chain anyways.

@ field studies - The mobs do kinda level with you, which is both good and bad. Good because you never want the game to be a cake-walk, and you often find yourself returning to areas of the map you may have been near before (so therefore if it was area based difficulty then there'd be less travelling around). Bad because sometimes it is nice to feel like a badass. Personally I've never had too much issue with the wildlife, but then I do tend to play cautiously. It is possible (IMHO) to beat the scaling by "playing the system" as alluded to by Nalano above, or just being very focussed in your character development.
IMHO the levelling works mostly as a means of customising your character from a generalist to a more specific template or archetype, e.g. my character is heavy sneaking and archery with a smattering of destruction magic.

/edit - ooh, interesting info from Grizzly above.

Anthile
14-02-2012, 10:31 AM
That cave is part of a daedric quest and those are usually a bit tougher than the usual quests and grant you some of the most powerful items in the game. Quite a few quests have level requirements, actually.

Althea
14-02-2012, 11:05 AM
Why so close to the starting keep? Well, I assume what you did is go left from the exit cave (where the game starts proper) instead of following the path right as you're "supposed" to.

Basically, Skyrim's first areas are designed to push you in one direction. The game doesn't particularly like you deviating from it for the first few levels, and the game *will* challenge you a lot if you deviate from said path early on. New Vegas did something similar - if you went to the "main road" (Interstate?) from Goodsprings and went north (whereas the game pushes you south towards Primm), you went straight into Deathclaw territory, which kinda isn't a good thing 'cos they like to kill you.

My advice is get out of that cave if you can and come back later, when you're better equipped.

It's not level scaling like Oblivion had - it's much, much, much improved - but there enemies that can and will pose a big challenge to you.

Skalpadda
14-02-2012, 11:12 AM
I also found master vampires quite difficult early on in the game but not impossible, though I think the earliest I've found one was around lvl 15. Main problem is if they start spamming high level life drains (red swirly magic) on you, they can easily heal away the damage you do and you'll be too busy healing yourself to do much harm to them anyway.

Any kind of magic resistance (enchants, potions or wards, though it has to be all magic and not frost/fire/shock) will help and being a thief-y character I've always carried paralyse and mana drain poisons around specifically to deal with high level bosses and magic users. Even if you're not an archer or thief, carrying a bow is a good way of delivering poisons and getting a free sneak attack from a distance. I also found that equipping Lydia with a life draining weapon enchant and giving her a bunch of health potions makes her able to tank pretty much anything while I'd riddle it with arrows or stab it in the back.

On the scaling in general, most things do scale to your level (at least up to lvl 50), though there are some bosses that always stay the same level (some dungeon end bosses and things like the named dragon priests for example) and some areas always have a higher chance of spawning higher level encounters.

On respawning, most things do respawn though it takes a good while and only if you stay away from it. My understanding is that when you enter a cell (dungeon or out in the world) it gets locked to your level and respawning normal enemies (and chest loot) will repop as lower levels even if you return when you're much higher level.

BenWah
14-02-2012, 02:59 PM
as a fairly low level char, I somehow went straight for vampire cave at beginning of game and cleared most of it except the master vampire and a few of his buddies.

How badly did I screw up, did I irretrievably screw up some important quest line?
Yeah, I'm not too bright sometimes, guess I went the wrong way

trjp
14-02-2012, 03:01 PM
When it comes to 'obviously there are tough enemies out there" I'd expected it to be more than a name! :)

it's worth remembering that by the time I ran into this guy (who is a regular mob looking like all the others you've seen in that area upto then) I'd already killed a Dragon the size of a small office building and that does build your confidence.

I will, in future, check name labels carefully for fearful adjectives!!

Presumably the "Master" Vampire could have killed that dragon and saved me the trouble of being so popular - if only he left that cave once in a while eh? :)

trjp
14-02-2012, 03:05 PM
as a fairly low level char, I somehow went straight for vampire cave at beginning of game and cleared most of it except the master vampire and a few of his buddies.

How badly did I screw up, did I irretrievably screw up some important quest line?
Yeah, I'm not too bright sometimes, guess I went the wrong way

It's a TES game - it's almost a badge of honour to go the wrong way!! If you enter a TES game hoping to complete EVERY quest line, you'll never leave (there are still people in Morrowind who's not seen daylight since launch and Skyrim is way bigger!!)

For the record, I just chose to take that route when heading to High Hrothgar, fast travelling to the original Hold and then walking through the mountains seemed a perfectly reasonable choice of direction (it's signposted!!).

That cave contains one of the easier Enchanting doodahs to find early on too??

Nalano
14-02-2012, 03:28 PM
It's a TES game - it's almost a badge of honour to go the wrong way!! If you enter a TES game hoping to complete EVERY quest line, you'll never leave (there are still people in Morrowind who's not seen daylight since launch and Skyrim is way bigger!!)

For the record, I just chose to take that route when heading to High Hrothgar, fast travelling to the original Hold and then walking through the mountains seemed a perfectly reasonable choice of direction (it's signposted!!).

That cave contains one of the easier Enchanting doodahs to find early on too??

Was there a buy-one-get-one-free sale on punctuation?

trjp
14-02-2012, 05:14 PM
There was - it came with a free "go fuck yourself" automated reply too :)

field_studies
14-02-2012, 06:32 PM
The game picks the level when you first enter the area, based on your current level.
If you return later at a higher level, the cave will still have the level that was set when you first entered.
...
I consider this system kinda neat - its how Oblivion should have done it IMO - it ensures that you won't outlevel the world so easy on the higher levels, and still get a sense of progression and immersion.

Wow, ok, yeah. I think on balance I'd still prefer no scaling at all, but that's actually a pretty elegant system. Thanks for the info -- I'm even more excited to get back in the game and start really exploring now.

Also, just to argue against my early comments a little -- I do sort of like the idea that a bear will always be somewhat dangerous, and that any kind of travelling should be done somewhat cautiously. If I'm claiming to want a 'realistic'-feeling wilderness exploration experience, then big fauna being able to bowl me over no matter my armor or strength as to be acceptable I suppose. I'm relieved to hear they've found a smarter way to accomplish that this time around.

trjp
14-02-2012, 06:46 PM
If you're going to make a game which is truly 'open world' you have to have dynamic levelling of course - but Oblivions system was just silly. You could encounter a spider 10 mins into the game which was hard to beat and encounter it again 60 hours later and find it's magically able to resist all your amazing new skills and equipment just as much!!

Obviously the 'locking to the level you first found it' system can be gamed, but in a single-player game who cares about people cheating, really?? I like the idea a lot - it makes enormous sense to me (tho I'd still like really tough-nut enemies to LOOK tough - not just be NAMED tough!!) :)

I do miss the idea that 'that place over there is full of deadly things' tho - one of the most amazing things about games like WoW is the knowledge that you could walk into somewhere you'd get wiped-out in a moment (2 mins walk from the Undercity or RedRidge for example) - hell I spent more than a little time just running around seeing how long I could last!! :)

Nalano
14-02-2012, 06:51 PM
There was - it came with a free "go fuck yourself" automated reply too :)

Musta been shopping in Brooklyn. :P


I do miss the idea that 'that place over there is full of deadly things' tho - one of the most amazing things about games like WoW is the knowledge that you could walk into somewhere you'd get wiped-out in a moment (2 mins walk from the Undercity or RedRidge for example) - hell I spent more than a little time just running around seeing how long I could last!! :)

I much prefer that but I think the issue is that of the idea that we need to go from "useless dirt farmer" to "slayer of gods" and actually have an internally consistent world that runs the gamut between the two. It's impossible at the heart of it. If the door guard of High Level Zone could wipe out the entire army of Low Level Zone, there would be no Low Level Zone. It'd have been conquered long ago, and yet you're often told that there was a centuries-long (!) political stasis until you showed up.

That's why I prefer more "action-y" RPGs with their discrete machinations because stat-based godhood makes the world ridiculous, not just you.

Similar
14-02-2012, 07:10 PM
I'm level 43 now and haven't had many problems with vampires so far, except one I met yesterday in the middle of nowhere who put up one of the hardest fights I've had in the game so far, spamming lightning, drain life and cold (also raised a dead Stendarr fanatic she must have killed just before I arrived). Granted, I was standing awkwardly on the side of a mountain; I'd just spent the last ten minutes climbing up there by doing the weird sideways jumps, so I didn't want to back down and I couldn't move up to where she was while I was fighting, but still, I did use up a lot of poisons and healing potions before I finally got her.

She was a Volikhar(?) vampire. Never met one of those before.

Grizzly
14-02-2012, 08:04 PM
Wow, ok, yeah. I think on balance I'd still prefer no scaling at all, but that's actually a pretty elegant system. Thanks for the info -- I'm even more excited to get back in the game and start really exploring now.

Also, just to argue against my early comments a little -- I do sort of like the idea that a bear will always be somewhat dangerous, and that any kind of travelling should be done somewhat cautiously. If I'm claiming to want a 'realistic'-feeling wilderness exploration experience, then big fauna being able to bowl me over no matter my armor or strength as to be acceptable I suppose. I'm relieved to hear they've found a smarter way to accomplish that this time around.

Note that this system was in Fallout 3, but it makes no sense for it not to be in Skyrim, as it was neat. I am rolling on a bit of an assumption here, but I think it is an accurate one (I have not played Skyrim).

I forgot to mention that. Sorry.