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PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to GDC 2013: Dishonored’s Dunwall influenced by dev visits to London, Edinburgh">Dishonored





At night, Dishonored's sprawling city of Dunwall looks particularly magnificent. Lit windows dot a canopy of angular roofs and spires, and stacks continuously belch out whale-oil smoke—a signature of the city's bustling industry. It's easy to forget about Corvo Attano's errand of revenge and simply drink in Dunwall's details, but Arkane's journey building Dunwall was a far more elaborate process. At a GDC talk (via Polygon), Art Director Sebastien Mitton describes how experiencing "the life of a city" visited by the team eventually shaped Dunwall's culture and identity.

Arkane trekked to well-known cities such as London and Edinburgh because of their mixture of preserved historical buildings and new construction. Instead of confining themselves to tourist routes, the team set a destination point and bee-lined for it using backstreets and alleyways. Mitton says such a method was instrumental in picking up on the essence of a city over simply gathering volumes of reference photographs.

"Making trips is not just going into a location and taking photographs of textures and more textures and more textures," he explains. "It's to feel the city, feel the life of the city. To be on location, to talk to people."

Mitton goes on to say Dishonored's artists were careful to pick up on subtle nuances during visits such as street light behavior to help furnish Dunwall with small touches of personality. Capturing a city's "mysticism" was the ultimate goal, Mitton states.

A more striking change for Dunwall's design was a shift from its original setting in feudal Japan. Arkane ultimately felt that its unfamiliarity with Japanese culture wouldn't align well with its intentions, so it settled on a "gap" between a 17th century appearance and a 20th century technology level. Mitton also brings up period artists such as Jean-Eugène Buland and John Atkinson Grimshaw as important sources of material.

We'll soon blink about its rooftops in the Knife of Dunwall DLC, but I hope for more subsequent adventures in the city and beyond—there's a whole Empire of Isles to explore.

PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to GDC 2013: Dishonored devs uphold player improvisation and minimal guidance">Dishonored







Beyond Dunwall's detailed architecture and snippets of lore spread through its cobbled streets, Dishonored racked up acclaim for its steep non-linearity and free-form areas for players to fashion their own means of completing objectives using as much subtlety as desired. During a panel at GDC yesterday (via Polygon), Arkane co-Creative Directors Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith embraced this concept of player agency in games, saying, "It's all about guiding and attracting, as opposed to dictating the player's path."



"If you're making games that involve just doing the one thing that is the only thing that you can do to move forward, and then doing the next thing that is the only thing you can do to move forward, it really doesn't feel as creative or as rich or as interesting to us," Smith said. "So, giving the player the ability to look around and make choices in many different ways on many different axes at any given time is a big deal."



Dishonored's various components such as traps and enemies "listened" to the player's interactions with the world and reacted accordingly. Snatches of overheard conversation or tattered journal pages make up part of a "pull-based" narrative system to keep the player exploring and encountering new discoveries by themselves.



One example Arkane used was Corvo's ability to summon a swarm of rats—instead of popping a bunch of rodents out of thin air, the ability hinged on the existing presence of rats during a mission. The amount of rats plaguing the city, in turn, is determined by how many corpses Corvo leaves in his wake on a lethal playthrough.



"The benefit of this is that this is not the designer saying, 'Hey, turn the page and read my little story and follow my path. This is us abdicating that and giving it to the player, saying, 'Player, you tell us where you went, you tell your own version of the experience.'"



Though I loved Dishonored's limited approach to player direction, I think it's important to keep in mind that, as linearity generally continues to be a bad word, a full-on open-world design doesn't suit every game. Arkane's own efforts struck a balance between a hands-off style and dropping direct reminders of the multiple choices available to you, and that's probably the best compromise for ensuring players will find their own experiences in their in-game journeys.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to GDC 2013: IGF and GDC Award winners revealed">Cart Life







This year's GDC has been the source of many interesting industry tidbits. But forget them for now, because it also hosted two award shows last night. Shiny, slightly crass and easily digestible in a handy list format - we've got all the winners from the Independent Games Festival Awards and Game Developers Choice Awards right here. Did Hotline Miami's masked protagonist beat the living snot out of the FTL crew for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize? Did Incredipede's creepy-crawly monstrosities scare away the other Visual Art nominees? Did any game not called Journey win a GDC Award? Read on to find out.



We'll start with the IGF Awards, primarily because its the one that wasn't dominated by a PS3-exclusive game about plodding through a desert.



Independent Games Festival Awards



Seumas McNally Grand Prize



Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games)

FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)

Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)

Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)





Excellence in Visual Art



Incredipede (Northway Games and Thomas Shahan)

Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

Guacalamelee! (Drinkbox Studios)

Loves in a Dangerous Spacetime (Asteroid Base)

Year Walk (Simogo)





Excellence in Narrative



Thirty Flights of Loving (Blendo Games)

Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)

Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

Dys4ia (Auntie Pixelante)

Gone Home (The Fullbright Company)





Technical Excellence



StarForge (CodeHatch)

Perspective (DigiPen Widdershins)

Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)

Intrusion 2 (Aleksey Abramenko)

LiquidSketch (Tobias Neukom)





Excellence In Design



Samurai Gunn (Beau Blyth)

FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

Starseed Pilgrim (Droqen & Ryan Roth)

Super Hexagon (Terry Cavanagh)

Super Space (David Scamehorn and Alexander Baard/DigiPen)





Excellence In Audio



Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

Bad Hotel (Lucky Frame)

140 (Jeppe Carlsen)

Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games)

Pixeljunk 4AM (Q-Games)





Best Student Game



ATUM (NHTV IGAD)

Back to Bed (Danish Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment)

Blackwell's Asylum (Danish Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment)

Farsh (NHTV IGAD)

Knights of Pen & Paper (IESB - Instituto de Ensino Superior de Brasilia & UnB - Universidade de Brasilia)

the mindfulxp volume (Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center)

Pulse (Vancouver Film School)

Zineth (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)





Nuovo Award



Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)

Spaceteam (Henry Smith)

Dys4ia (Auntie Pixelante)

Bientot l'ete (Tale of Tales)

7 Grand Steps (Mousechief)

MirrorMoon (SantaRagione + BloodyMonkey)

VESPER.5 (Michael Brough)

Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)





Audience Award

FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)



Thoughts? Firstly, congratulations to Zineth, deserved winner of Best Student Game. It's great, and you should play it. More obviously, well done to Richard Hofmeier for the runaway success of Cart Life. I'm sure many will be surprised by just how well it's done, especially among such a strong list of contenders for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. If you're currently thinking "Cart What now?" let Christopher Livingston's Sim-plicity column on the game fill you in.



Elsewhere in the list, I'm surprised to see Little Inferno getting a Technical Excellence award (it had nice fire, I guess), unsurprised to see FTL nab the Audience Award, and marginally disappointed to see Hotline Miami go back to its DeLorean with nothing. Although, hey, it's still got a chance at a Games Developer Choice Award! Haha, no, just kidding. Journey won everything.



Game Developers Choice Awards



Game of the Year



Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Mass Effect 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games/2K Games)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)





Innovation Award



Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

The Unfinished Swan (Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment)

ZombiU (Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft)





Best Audio



Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games/Devolver Digital)

Sound Shapes (Queasy Games/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Assassin's Creed III (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)





Best Debut



Humble Hearts (Dust: An Elysian Tail)

Polytron Corporation (Fez)

Giant Sparrow (The Unfinished Swan)

Subset Games (FTL: Faster Than Light)

Fireproof Games (The Room )





Best Downloadable Game



The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Spelunky (Derek Yu/Andy Hull)

Trials: Evolution (RedLynx/Microsoft Studios)

Mark Of The Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)





Best Game Design



Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

Mark Of The Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)

Spelunky (Derek Yu/Andy Hull)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games/2K Games)





Best Handheld/Mobile Game



Gravity Rush (SCE Japan Studio/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Hero Academy (Robot Entertainment)

Sound Shapes (Queasy Games/Sony Computer Entertainment)

The Room (Fireproof Games)

Kid Icarus: Uprising (Sora/Nintendo)





Best Narrative



Spec Ops: The Line (Yager Entertainment/2K Games)

Mass Effect 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)

Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Virtue's Last Reward (Chunsoft/Aksys Games)





Best Technology



Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

PlanetSide 2 (Sony Online Entertainment)

Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)

Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Treyarch/Activision)

Assassin's Creed III (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)





Best Visual Arts



Borderlands 2 (Gearbox Software/2K Games)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)





Ambassador Award

Chris Melissinos, curator of The Smithsonian's The Art of Video Games exhibit



Pioneer Award

Spacewar creator Steve Russell



Audience Award

Dishonored



Lifetime Achievement Award

BioWare founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk



Conclusion: award show judges really love Journey.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Dishonored’s Harvey Smith on why there’s still life in single-player games">Dishonored knife of dunwall







The day after the launch of Bioshock Infinite, it doesn't seem too controversial to suggest single-player games are alive and well. But - as the free-to-play funding model grows in popularity - there are numerous examples of developers doubling down on some form of online multiplayer content. Speaking to Game Industry, Dishonored co-director Harvey Smith says that he thinks that the overall audience for games is growing, leaving plenty of room for both types of experience.



"What people say each cycle is, 'Fill-in-the-blank is the new thing.' And if you're old enough, you remember when it was live-action video games," Smith said. "At another point it was MMOs. At another it was social games. At another it was multiplayer shooters.



"None of those things are bad; they're all great. But what the reality seems to be is we keep adding types of games and finding new player groups for those. The market seems to be expanding."



Smith points out that while the industry tends to focus on a specific area - right now the thriving free-to-play MOBA market - that doesn't stop players from appreciating more traditional genres too. "It seems like our attention focuses on the new thing, but in reality, there are still plenty of people that like a particular kind of game. Every time someone announces the death of the single-player game, something like The Sims or BioShock Infinite comes along and does different things well.



"So far we haven't capped out. It's not like DOTA fans are buying DOTA and not playing Skyrim, or buying Dishonored and therefore not buying Madden. I think there's a bunch of different audience types and we haven't even hit the limit yet."



The trick, Smith argues, is for developers - and publishers - to become comfortable focusing on the type of game they want to achieve, rather than needlessly bulking up a feature list. "I hope people are specializing and going deeper on given mechanics. And I actually hope it gets to the point where there are so many people competing - indie developers or commercial developers - and they're so good at this one thing they do that in order to win. You have to differentiate.



"You have to do something well that the other guy's not doing. That'd be nice, right? Instead of a handful of games that all try to do the same thing, I hope there's some specialization happening and people are going to have to do one thing well or three things well instead of trying to do the same 12 things everyone else is doing."



That's not to say Smith didn't receive messages from fans requesting multiplayer for Dishonored, but says people more frequently thanked him for keeping it a solo experience.
PC Gamer






Podcasting thrusters to max this week, as we discuss leadership changes at EA, BarCrafts, Lord British, Elder Scrolls Online, and the horror of extraterrestrial arachnids. They exist! For real!



Witness the beginning of the downfall of vertebrate life on PC Gamer Podcast 349 - Spiders in Space



Have a question, comment, complaint, or observation? Send an MP3 to pcgamerpodcast@gmail.com or call us toll-free at 877-404-1337 x724.



Subscribe to the podcast RSS feed.



Follow us on Twitter:

@logandecker (Logan Decker)

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PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall hands-on – murder spree in a blood-slick slaughterhouse">Dishonored knife of dunwall







Dishonored's Knife of Dunwall DLC lets you play as the Empress' assassin, Daud, in a new story that runs parallel to Corvo's campaign. I've played an hour of the first of the DLC's three missions, set in a whale oil factory in Dunwall's docklands. It's a large, fleshed out infiltration mission featuring the traits you'd expect from a proper Dishonored level - complex environments with lots of vertical exploration, secret areas, hidden bone charms, audio diaries and notes full of extra lore.



In terms of moment to moment movement, stealth and murder, Daud feels identical to Corvo, but his powers and gadgets present new opportunities for improvisation. Some changes are purely cosmetic (he fires bolts from a wrist mounted launcher rather than a mini-crossbow), but others feel fresh and instantly entertaining. As the leader of a team of assassins, Daud can summon help whenever he needs a distant target killed, ordering assassins to de-cloak and silently slay guards with a quick point.



"Daud can summon help whenever he needs a distant target killed"



The DLC opens with the Empress' death. Daud co-ordinates the attack and does the deed first-hand in the opening cutscene. It's a tough moment to witness when you've experienced the fallout of the murder from Corvo's perspective, and it sends Daud into a spiral of doubt. He's used to killing members of Dunwall's corrupt and sordid elite, not kind-hearted royals. In the midst of his guilt trip he's visited by Dunwall's resident mystical entity and leather jacket owner, The Outsider, who mutters something vague about redemption and "Delilah" and then leaves Daud swinging in the wind.







Fortunately, Daud's assassins double as intelligence agents when the plot demands. His sources point him to a local whaling ship called the Delilah. Daud perches on a gantry overlooking the harbour, and there I take control.



I blink from walkway to walkway, vault a tesla coil in the alleyway below and blink up to a gap above the wall of light. I find myself on some rickety rooftops overlooking the dock. Distant boats are silhouetted against a brilliant orange sunset. I move towards the cliff and peer over the edge and see a huge dead whale bobbing in the water.



"He’s surprisingly calm for a man who just saw an assassin drop twenty feet onto a floating whale corpse"



In Corvo's quest, found notes and overheard conversations built up an aura of mystery around the strange creatures that produce Dunwall's whale oil. Even if you don't care much for Daud's dilemma, this DLC offers a chance to see aspects of Dishonored's world that have been teased, but never shown.



The level layout feels a little narrower than most of Dishonored's main missions, but the environment is as enticing as ever. Within seconds I've blinked down a series of outcrops and jumped onto the dead whale, landing right in front of a worker relaxing in a row boat. He's surprisingly calm for a man who just saw an assassin drop twenty feet onto a floating whale corpse. I blink into his vessel, knife at the ready, but stop myself from killing him when he starts to speak. He's fearful of Daud's reputation and offers up some advice on how to enter the factory.







I won't spoil how I got in. Suffice to say there are several ways, and you have even more options if you buy "favours." These mission- bonus objectives can be unlocked with in-game cash at the start of each mission. Daud's version of Corvo's "Dark Vision" can't penetrate walls, but it will highlight these extra objectives and bone charm locations. It offers more precise direction than Corvo's creepy bionic heart thing.



"Wide atria house the remains of half-processed whale carcasses"



I make my way into the factory and start the search for the foreman. As in Dishonored, targets can be killed or disposed of in more creative ways non-lethally. A rusty interrogation chair early in the level offers a hint as to how that could be achieved here.



The factory is full of dead whale. A warren of grim, red corridors feed wide atria that house the remains of half-processed carcasses. It's a slaughterhouse. Strongmen shave chunks off captured whales with saw blades powered by whale oil back packs - an obvious weak point, or so I assume. I shoot the first one I meet right in one of the two conjoined mini-tanks. It pops spectacularly, but the spare canister has enough juice to power his weapon. Annoyed, the whaler turns and saws me to death.



I elect to keep my distance from the next whaler I run into. I drop an Arc mine into his path and blink behind a pipe. These proximity bombs zap nearby enemies into ash as they pass - a spectacular variant on Corvo's spring razor mine.







I press on in search of the foreman. A trio of pipes offers an elevated walkway that's perfect for drop-assassinating whalers. I hop up to a high gantry and close in on an office. There are voices beyond the door. I peer in through the keyhole and see a butcher and a chainsaw-wielding whaler chatting next to a long, low table. I open the door and hold down the blink button. If he aims while standing still, Daud's blink freezes time. That gives me lots of time to plan my attack. I teleport beyond the table, crawl underneath and equip my wrist bolt, expecting a cry of surprise that never comes. The guards chat away, unaware that there's an assassin closing in on their knees.



"My assassin flicks his blade to his chest in silent salute and vanishes into thin air."



I enjoy a brief moment of indecision. I could slow time and slap a couple of sleeping darts into their thighs. I could fly out of my cubbyhole, chopping at every ankle I can find with my knife. What would Daud do?



I roll an incapacitating choke dust bomb between them. As it explodes I summon an assassin right behind the chainsaw whaler. Then I move to blink behind his friend. Time pauses as I pick my destination and I briefly see the shadow of my summoned assassin lunging toward his target. Suddenly, I'm behind mine slipping a blade into his throat.



My victim crumples silently as the smoke clears. The chainsaw whaler is already dead. My assassin flicks his blade up to his chest in silent salute, and vanishes into thin air.







I move on. The whaling factory is a greasy, rust-coloured warren of passages. Looking down through floor vents, I see gutters strewn with whale viscera. I'm glad I can't smell it. I find a hatch into the bloody sewer and discover a bone charm in a pile of unidentifiable organs. I use it to upgrade my agility, and try not to think about the logistics of improving my jump height with a blood-soaked ornament.



"I discover a bone charm in a pile of unidentifiable organs"



It's a gory place, but an enjoyable one to poke around. I busy myself taking out as many whalers as I can find, spurred on by the gruesome sight of huge whales hanging from meat hooks.



I miss some of Corvo's powers. Daud can't possess enemies or summon rat swarms, but his new abilities can be upgraded. If you pump bone charms into assassin summoning, your minions gain extra powers. I start to wonder if it's possible to do an entire playthrough of the DLC using summoned assassins to do the dirty work, reducing Daud's role to "man who hides in corners pointing occasionally."



Time runs out before I can put my new plan into action. I estimate that I made it about two thirds of the way through mission one in an hour and there's plenty of scope for a replay. The abstract skill tests of Dunwall City Trials delivered disposable fun, but The Knife of Dunwall offers more rich, thoughtfully constructed locations to explore, which is exactly what I want from Dishonored DLC. I'll definitely be pouring hours into this when it's released next month.



The Knife of Dunwall is out on April 16. It'll cost $9.99 / £7.99. Only Xbox code was available for the preview, awkward stick-aiming and all, but the levels/skills etc are the same across both versions.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Skyrim’s ‘Legendary’ update hits steam, smashes level cap with a greatsword">Skyrim legendary







Like a thieving Khajit with a Sneak skill of 100, Bethesda have surreptitiously uploaded Skyrim's Legendary patch onto Steam. As revealed earlier this month, Legendary - or to give it its proper name, Skyrim v1.9 - not only adds a harder difficulty level to the game, it allows skills to be made 'Legendary', resetting them to 15 so they can be levelled up all over again. Why on Tamriel would you want to do this? Well, to increase your character level beyond Skyrim's 'soft' level cap of around 81. More details below.



As announced on Bethesda's blog, and elaborated over on Reddit, to reset a skill you first have to raise it to 100, at which point you can use the Book of Waking Dreams item to revert it to a puny 15. This adds a little dragon symbol under the skill name, but doesn't appear to grant any benefits to your character - other than "effectively the overall level cap", of course. You can reset the same skill over and over again, if you desire. (Thanks, Eurogamer.)



That's in addition to the new Legendary difficulty level, and quite a few bug fixes - my favourites being "companions will equip better weapons and armor if given to them", and "fixed rare instance of couriers who would appear only dressed in a hat". Here's the full, massive list:



General memory and stability improvements

Fixed issue with quest scripts that were not shutting down properly

Companions will equip better weapons and armor if given to them

Fixed rare issue where player is unable to learn the Clear Skies shout during "The Throat of the World"

Fixed rare instance where Alduin would become invincible during "Alduin's Bane"

Fixed a rare issue where player could become stuck in Night Mother's coffin during "Death Incarnate"

Fixed rare issue where protected companions could be killed from poison damage

Fixed rare issue with certain ash piles left from resurrected NPCs not clearing properly

Fixed rare issue with NPCs and creatures respawning improperly after player fast travels

Fixed rare crash when entering Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary

Fixed rare crash when entering a player owned home

Random dragon attacks will no longer occur during "Battle for Whiterun"

Fixed a rare crash when attempting to save your game during "Waking Nightmare"

Fixed issue where "Glory of the Undead" would not start properly if player is in combat with Eorlund Gray-Mane

The white phial is no longer consumed if given to a follower

If player marries Aela, the "Totem of Hircine" quest will be available

Unused briar hearts can be dropped after finishing "The White Phial"

Fixed issue with paying off a crime against the Companions that prevented player from getting Companions quests properly

Thieves Guild caches are now properly enabled in the appropriate cities

The Dragon Infusion perk now works properly when taking Esbern's Potion

Cragslane Cave properly resets if player receives a radiant quest to clear it out

Fixed rare issue with bounty quest objectives not properly clearing after completion

Gallus' Encoded Journal is no longer a quest item after completing the Thieves Guild

In "No Stone Unturned" Vex will now accept Unusual Gems if you've collected them all before starting the quest

Vekel the Man now gives rewards for completing "Toying with The Dead"

Fixed rare issue with being unable to turn in stolen items in "The Litany of Larceny"

Fixed issue with followers becoming over-encumbered after being repeatedly rehired

Fixed rare issue with visiting Kynesgrove on horseback not progressing "A Blade in the Dark" properly

Fixed issue with receiving a duplicate radiant quest from a Jarl

Fixed conflict with clearing Driftshade Sanctuary before starting "Trouble in Skyrim"

Fixed issue with using shouts while in jail and having guards unlock the jail cell

Fixed rare issue with quest NPCs not properly moving to quest locations

Fixed issue with NPCs not selling master level spells

Fixed rare issue where player gets control locked outside the Thalmor Embassy at the start of "Diplomatic Immunity"

Fixed rare issue with disappearing containers after upgrades in player owned house

Fixed issue with being erroneously attacked while as a werewolf during "Ill Met By Moonlight"

The Ebony Blade is now only improved by two handed perks

Locked door to Proudspire Manor can now be unlocked by proper key

Fixed issue with merchants not receiving the proper additional gold with the Investor perk

Fixed a rare issue where the player would be unable to learn a word after leaving for several days during "The Way of The Voice"

The Nord Hero Bow can now be improved

The Purity perk no longer requires the Experimenter perk

Fixed rare instance where Lovers Comfort would not be applied properly

If you approach Frostmere Crypt from the north, "The Pale Lady" will start properly

Fixed rare issue where player could be prevented from speaking with Atub to start "The Cursed Tribe"

Fixed rare issue where a dragon could appear in the Mind of a Madman realm and kill the player

Fixed instance where player could get stuck in Japhet's Folly

Fixed rare instances where Arngeir would not teach Worldwind Sprint

Fixed issue with "Ill Met By Moonlight" if Sinding dies before the quest starts

Gharol can now properly train up to level 75

Fixed conflict with visiting The Karthspire before starting "Alduin's Wall"

Reduced the instance of random dragon attacks after fast traveling post main quest

Recruited Blades now have appropriate dialogue while at Sky Haven Temple

Fixed rare issue where an incorrect dungeon could appear as a location during "Totems of Hircine"

Fixed rare instance in "Fetch me that Book" where books found before getting the quest would not be properly recognized

Fixed rare issue with traveling to Thalmor Embassy with companions during "Diplomatic Immunity"

Fixed issues with Matching Set perk not working properly with certain pieces of armor

Fixed issues with Custom Fit perk not working properly with certain pieces of armor

Fixed issue with NPC dying in a bear trap blocking progress in "Time of My Need"

Fixed rare issue with swinging door becoming stuck and blocking an entrance in Volunruud

Imperial Light Armor can now be crafted

Fixed issue with "Vald's Debt" where Vald was not leveled properly

Fixed issue with Vilkas not giving proper greeting after completing "Battle for Whiterun"

Fixed issue with respawning actors that were raised by using the Ritual Stone power

Fixed issue with the Ancient Knowledge perk not calculating properly

The Palace of Kings now has patrolling guards on upper floors

Reduce percentage chance of getting a werewolf loading screen while player is a werewolf

Pantea's flute is no longer a quest item after completing "Pantea's Flute"

Placing an unread Oghma Infinium on a bookshelf in the player's house no longer allows the book to be reused again

Adjusted dialogue priority to improve chances of hearing more combat dialogue from certain NPC enemies

Fixed issue with falling damage on high difficulty levels

Fixed bad collision on certain clutter objects

Fixed rare instance of couriers who would appear only dressed in a hat

Kotaku

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"! The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was one of the best games of 2011. 2011? It's 2013! No matter, Skyrim lives on, thanks in part to its fancy outfits.



The game continues to get downloadable content. Last month, the PS3 and PC versions of Dragonborn were released. It had been released on Xbox 360 last December (the Kotaku review's here).



Skyrim also lives on via cosplay. Here is a round up of some, certainly not all, of the best Skyrim cosplay the internet has to offer. Thankfully, there are no tired arrow-in-the-knee gags!



Have a look and suss out who pulled off the best Skyrim cosplay.




This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Aicosu]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![AndrewDobell]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Artyfakes]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![audrey-vista]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Beebichu]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![BrianFloresPhoto]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Deviant-Kaneda]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Drgibbs]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![emilyrosa]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![FlorindaZanetti]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![KasuzameYuu]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Ken-Eden]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![kethien]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Kim-san]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![la-baronesa]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![LordXanathos]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Mech-Infect]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![NicciFett]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![RocknamLee]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![SanDrawGames]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![vani]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Zerios88]


Kotaku

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"! The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was one of the best games of 2011. 2011? It's 2013! No matter, Skyrim lives on, thanks in part to its fancy outfits.



The game continues to get downloadable content. Last month, the PS3 and PC versions of Dragonborn were released. It had been released on Xbox 360 last December (the Kotaku review's here).



Skyrim also lives on via cosplay. Here is a round up of some, certainly not all, of the best Skyrim cosplay the internet has to offer. Thankfully, there are no tired arrow-in-the-knee gags!



Have a look and suss out who pulled off the best Skyrim cosplay.




This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Aicosu]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![AndrewDobell]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Artyfakes]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![audrey-vista]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Beebichu]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![BrianFloresPhoto]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Deviant-Kaneda]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Drgibbs]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![emilyrosa]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![FlorindaZanetti]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![KasuzameYuu]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Ken-Eden]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![kethien]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Kim-san]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![la-baronesa]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![LordXanathos]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Mech-Infect]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![NicciFett]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![RocknamLee]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![SanDrawGames]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![vani]

This Skyrim Cosplay Will Make You Shout "Fus Ro Dah"![Zerios88]


PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to The Elder Scrolls Online: What I loved and what I didn’t as a long-time Elder Scrolls fan">Breton







If I had to pick a handful of gaming moments that will stay with me forever, three of them would be stepping into Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim for the first time. Another would be my first few days in World of Warcraft. At face value, combining Elder Scrolls with an MMO should lead to instant RPG nirvana. But the reality of the situation is much different.



Elder Scrolls Online is being created in an era of acute MMO fatigue. An era in which gamers who put off term papers to work the slot machine of mostly-samey content direction look to any new entry in the genre with the suspicion and cynicism of a too-many-times-spurned romantic. (Not that I would know anything about that.)



It was with this in mind that I went hands-on with ZeniMax Online's new contender to ask the question: Is this just another MMO with an Elder Scrolls veneer? Or has the dream of a living, multiplayer Elder Scrolls world been realized?



If you're looking for a comprehensive rundown of the game's headline features, meanwhile, Chris has discussed them all in some detail in his Elder Scrolls Online hands-on preview - including the newly announced first-person mode, stealth, skills and more. You should also check out our video interview with game director Matt Firor and lead gameplay designer Nick Konkle about their experiences crafting the game.



What I loved 



Elder Scrolls-style combat. ESO has been designed around a lot of the same basic ideas we're familiar with from Skyrim and Oblivion. Left mouse to attack, right mouse to block. Holding block and attacking executes a bash that can interrupt spellcasting. Arrows and spells have to be aimed with your reticle. You do have a hotbar, but it's pared down to about Guild Wars 2-size, and the devs have clearly stated that they don't want you worrying about it too much in combat. You also won't be forced into Tank/Healer/DPS roles. Adhering to said roles will help players manage the game's hardest enemies, according to the devs. However, they're looking to maximize the variety of builds that are viable against such challenges.



This isn't to say that it feels exactly like Skyrim or Oblivion... but we'll get into that on the next page.

 



 

You can build your character however you want, and skills level up as you use them. You do get a token choice of "classes" (which are kind of boring and unnecessary, and will be discussed on the next page), but it's a choice that can be completely ignored if you choose. Your class determines three of the Skill Lines you have access to, while the others, universal across all characters, are based on weapon types, fighting styles, armor classes, and magic schools.



You have to have a certain overall character level to unlock new skills (think perks from Skyrim, or talents from other MMOs), but once unlocked, they will progress in power through repeated usage. It's not precisely the same as the way it works in Skyrim, but if you, say, hit level 5 and unlock a two-handed cleave, that cleave skill on your hotbar will get stronger the more you use it.

 

The music and art style feel like Elder Scrolls. Some of the early previews we saw seemed to feature slightly goofy, overly-cartoony character models. That was not the case in the build I played (though it could be an issue of starter armor looking more Spartan and realistic). The models seemed proportioned correctly, and the textures, characters, and architecture struck just the right balance between fantasy and gritty realism we've seen in the series' history.



The environments still suffer from "MMO gigantism," which I'm told has something to do with camera distances, though I've never really bought its necessity. Luckily, from what I saw, it's not as horrendously distracting as it was in The Old Republic.

 

Full voice acting, and quest choices that matter. Every quest in the game will feature voice acting, and from what was shown, it mostly rates somewhere between okay and good. You'll also get to make choices in quests that affect more than an alignment meter, with recurring characters sometimes living or dying based on what you do. And unlike TOR, some of them will actually show up again if you spared their lives. We didn't get to play enough to see how far this extends, but it already seems to be more impactful than the "Take your Light/Dark Side points and never speak of this again" model that TOR used.

 



 

A promising crafting system. I could count the MMOs that have done this well on one hand, following an unfortunate table saw accident. ESO's crafting is actually one of the more potentially fun systems I've had a look at in a while. In addition to base ingredients, you'll be able to introduce additives to your creations, each of which have four random properties (like Skyrim's alchemy ingredients). It encourages experimentation in a way I found entertaining.



Oh, and every armor piece and weapon that was shown in the demo can be made in one of nine racial styles, tied to the playable races of Tamriel. All crafters start off able to craft their own racial style, but can learn others.

 

Enemies that work together intelligently.  The most unexpected thing that impressed me about ESO was the design of the enemy AI. As they move about in combat, enemies will adjust their tactics based on how many allies they have nearby, the position of those allies, and what their allies are capable of. Humanoids will call to each other, allowing you to react to their intentions. Synergies are created when rogue-types douse the ground in oil, so their mage friend can light it aflame under your feet. In a particularly extreme example, a group of necromancers sacrificed one of their own in a ritual to summon a powerful, undead bruiser.



They can't pull off the kinds of complex maneuvers a player party might, but compared to common world enemies in other MMOs, they're a few tactical steps ahead.



On the next page: What I didn't love.







Everything on the previous page has me pretty excited for Elder Scrolls Online, especially considering my level of indifference about it going in. But like a good skooma trip, the time always rolls around when you have to come down and face reality. ESO probably isn't going to be the mythical "WoW killer," nor the multiplayer game every Elder Scrolls fan has been asking for.

What I didn't like



The combat isn't quite there yet. Yes, I both loved and didn't love ESO's combat; it's one of the most important things for the game to get right. ESO has all the trappings of Skyrim's combat, but it lacks its immediacy and kinetic physicality. You feel more like you're swinging at or through opponents than actually connecting. Blocking and bashing, as well, are based on visual prompts, turning combat into more of a "hit the right buttons at the right time" exercise than Skyrim or Oblivion's gritty "keep your guard up and look for an opening."



I am willing to wait and see on this. There's still time for improvements before launch that wouldn't require a gutting of the entire system. And it's not terrible as it is: It feels about the same as Guild Wars 2, falling a bit short of Tera—the latter being the gold standard for MMO action combat, in my opinion.

 

Classes seem like an afterthought, and don't cover enough niches. ESO has classes. But it doesn't need them, and I don't really understand why they're there. Only four will launch with the game: Dragonknight, Sorcerer, Templar, and Nightblade. Those basically boil down to samurai, mage, paladin, and rogue. The thing is, you can already build more or less any of those character types using the universal skill lines that are independent of your class. Variety is nice, but I would have preferred the addition of more universal skill lines than these four, tacked-on, oddly-specific archetypes.



A lot of concepts are left out in the cold, since you can't just choose not to take a class. If I want want my build to be something like a Nord berserker, I can forge something along those lines with non-class skill lines. But I have to pick a class that doesn't fit my concept on top of that, leaving me with skill trees that will just sit, forever ignored, on my character sheet. I expect we'll see more classes added over time, but right now, they seem too narrow and almost vestigial.

 



 

The dungeon layouts draw from MMOs more than they do from Elder Scrolls games. The design of MMO dungeons—the ones scattered in the world, moreso than instanced content—is absolutely boring. I want to get lost in ESO's world, but in the game's cavernous, straightforward, open-layout dungeons, it would be hard for even a blind Moth Priest to get lost. Sure, the Dwemer ruins look nice. But they lack the sense of mystery, and the feeling of delving into the unknown, claustrophobic bowels of the earth that are such a hallmark of Elder Scrolls games. I want to pass through the threshold of a dungeon with the knowledge that I'll be plumbing its depths for hours, the sight of the sun becoming a fading dream as corridor after corridor of steam pipes and hostile constructs assault my hit points and my sanity.



If I had to pick one most obvious disconnect between the traditional Elder Scrolls games and Elder Scrolls Online, it's the dungeons. You can't make up for it with instanced group content, because it's impossible to have the same paranoia-filled, self-paced experiences in such areas. It's a key part of the Elder Scrolls experience, so this is a big problem.

 

It's zone-based. I don't think even the most optimistic people failed to see this coming, but it's still something that makes ESO feel more like an MMO than a genuine TES game. The world of Tamriel, expansive and open as it is, is divided up into level-based zones that make it difficult to explore as freely as you would in Oblivion or Skyrim. I didn't actually have the opportunity to go venturing off into the distance, as I had a limited amount of time in a build where portions of the world aren't even there yet. But there are separate zones designed for certain levels of characters.



The quest structure in the portions I played mostly led me by the hand from hub to hub, and I felt I was being whisked past experiences like getting lost and spontaneously adventuring into a cavern or a fort, as you do so frequently in other Elder Scrolls games. There is plenty to find off the beaten path, but the zone flow makes it feel like Zenimax doesn't care whether you find it or not. I also worry that partitions and loading screens will kill the sense of a seamless, immersive world, but I can't confirm how frequently these will appear.





All things considered, there are more reasons to be excited for Elder Scrolls Online than I expected to find, which was refreshing and encouraging. I could foresee it becoming a strong, second-tier contender in a league with Rift and EVE, based on the number of things it does right. Unfortunately, it seems to be cutting just enough key corners with the Daedric Knife of MMO Design Philosophy to fall short of the sublime, multiplayer Elder Scrolls experience we've all been dreaming of.



If you're anxious to see it for yourself, you can sign up for a chance at the closed beta on the ESO site. It'll also be playable at PAX East this weekend.
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