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By Decree of Santa: Five rules to make Skyrim not suck
by Andrew Whipple III

Those of you sitting at your computers, soaking in all the information Bethesda has spilled on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (which is none, you'll have noticed) - you are all fools. How plain your minds must be to comply with such a lethargic lifestyle. Your hopes and your dreams will be dashed upon the icy rocks Oblivion was wrought from and your soul will be shackled, tethered to the perpetual hope that this game will function correctly.

Is there a chance of redemption, you ask? A man of power to make demands of Bethesda to ensure that disaster does not once again occur? Ha. Who would do such a thing? Santa? Come then, friends: I will hear more from this 'Santa' and what Bethesda needs to do to make Skyrim not suck.

Santa’s First Rule: Stop breakin’ the law!

Remember in Oblivion when you were so entranced by the visuals that you accidentally stole a plate from a bar? Remember how, after your thievery and crossing the whole world, you were stopped by a guard as though you'd just murdered the king? It needs to stop. Not only is it dumbfounding to be stopped and shaken down for every coin you're worth over a worthless plate, but it’s nonsensical. You mean to tell me that the guards have nothing better to do than track down a lowly plate smuggler? I guess portals to otherworldly dimensions and demons manifesting themselves all over the place is low-key.

This very response also occurs when you break into someone's home, steal all their belongings of any monetary worth, and kill the inhabitant. How do they even know who did the deed? Does word travel via laser pigeon in Tamriel? Apparently so.

Santa’s Second Rule: Sluggish, unrewarding combat makes for choice words.

Backpedaling and firing your arrows or magic missiles is only fun for so long. After taking down all manner of unholy creatures and garnering untold powers, how satisfying is it to get bum-rushed by two bandits that seem completely deprived of any clothing and having to work for the kills? Not too damn good. You see, there are some showy spells in Oblivion but nothing worth attaching the phrase 'eye-candy' to. I want a goddamn flare to strike down on that putrid orc because I didn’t like the way his teeth looked. The same can be said for physical combat. Swishing and swashing your sword, twanging gaggles of arrows; it can only carry so much weight behind it without that special 'umph'. That umph could be me infusing my sword with the blood of a fallen ice nymph and, after laying into a midget lizard creature, the land around the beast is stricken with a frigid shockwave that shakes it to pieces. That’s the push we need to see in Skyrim. That and more fluid dodging mechanics. You know, because you kind of need to dodge things. Better.

Santa’s Third Rule: Employ more than three people for your voice work!

That conversational pie mini-game was a crock and a bore. "Oh man, let me tell this joke again and, oh wow your dress looks so good! Wait, I don’t like your views on trees." How does this benefit the character's likability in any way? If someone told me my shoes were too feminine I’d roundhouse kick them back to Morrowind. All the people you speak to sound strangely similar, and it’s pretty hard to get into the game when the dude you just murdered sounds like he’s reincarnated as your next quest giver.

Also, for the love of everything that is holy and true, could you make some good-looking character models this time around? No matter how hard you tried it always seemed like your character looked ugly. By ugly I mean dustbin-worthy. And I won't even start on the female models...

Santa’s Fourth Rule: Horse Armor was so cool... wait.

No. It wasn’t. Actually, it's because of the horse armor that DLC got a bad name to begin with. Let’s make sure nothing like this ever happens again. How? Very simple my friends; follow the standard procedure that was taken in Fallout 3. It didn’t take that long for content to roll out, but when it did the game was all the better for it. Higher level cap, new unique items, questing joints, characters to meet, etcetera. Make us salivate at the thought of approaching other non-living, digital organisms.

Santa’s Final Rule: Utterly annihilate your scaling system for all time!

The worst and absolute killer of Oblivion for me was the levelling system. As you level up, you scale with every single thing in the entire game. In case you didn’t know, that sucks: let’s say you’re level twenty, you have an assortment of magical equipment, decent spells, and a nasty right hook. You are a walking battle tank. But you see those two wolves coming at you from the fields? Get ready to chop ‘til they drop. The damn things felt like they had hides reinforced with adamantium. I’ll never forget shooting a tiny, floating imp thirty times with arrows before it finally died.

The thing looked like a particularly abused voodoo doll.

This is serious.

You’re a hero who has closed many a demonic gate, slain countless enemies of the world, and saved entire nations from peril. You wield power beyond anybody’s reckoning as well as unparalleled skill. And yet, despite all of this, a standard group of dumbass bandits could attack you on a central road and completely decimate you.


These lowlife bandits, probably looking for meat and water, have equal or better equipment than you. How does this even happen? I mean, just give these dudes some meat and cheese, tell ‘em to kill some dudes and bam, game, set, match. No demonic king would dare mess with scaling bandits right? Right?

Exactly. Sort it out with Skyrim, Bethesda. Oh, and Merry Christmas!

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- Andrew Whipple III

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