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Oct 29, 2012
Maybe you held off from getting and playing Skyrim last year, thanks to either the tingling of your wizardly instincts or an emptiness of wallet. Whether you waited or couldn't get it a year ago, you can get a Premium edition of Bethesda's hit action/RPG hybrid.
According to Examiner.com, the enhanced release of The Elder Scrolls V will be packed in with a bonus disc with behind-the-scenes content, trailers, walkthroughs, five music tracks and a 600-page e-book. The Premium Edition reportedly also comes with a map of the game's environs, a t-shirt with the dragon emblem and postcards featuring concept art.
Amazon.de lists the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the Premium Edition at €59.99 (about $77.36) with a PC counterpart costing €49.99 on the PC (approximately $64.47). The product has a release date of December 7 on the online retailer listing.
Bethesda Softworks—publisher of Skyrim—has told Kotaku that the Premium Edition will be only available in some territories in Europe, with the U.K., Benelux, and Germany the only ones announced so far.
First images and details for premium edition of ‘The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim' [Examiner.com, via Polygon]
Eagle-eyed Elder Scrolls fans have dug through the files for patch 1.8, which Bethesda released yesterday for PC, and found all sorts of clues that could hint at future content for the game.
One line hints at a return to Solstheim, the Nord colony last seen in the second expansion to Morrowind, Bloodmoon. Other patch files hint at dragon riding (!) and a bunch of other locations in and around Solstheim.
The patch also suggests that the DLC will be named Dragonborn, which was trademarked by Bethesda back in May.
If Dragonborn is really a thing, it would be Skyrim's third piece of downloadable content. Dawnguard and Hearthfire were both released earlier this year.
I've reached out to Bethesda for comment and will update should they respond.
Update: Bethesda says no comment.
1.8 Beta Update and Dragonborn DLC hints discussion [Bethsoft Forums]
Fashion photographer Emilie Elizabeth lives and works in Los Angeles, and has done a number of photo shoots for magazines, record labels, and advertising campaigns. She is also a gamer, and has done shoots for 2K Games and Treyarch.
Her series The Dragonborn is an uncommon look at the world of Skyrim. The series combines elements of high fashion photography—including the clothes, the make-up, and the models—with favorite elements from Skyrim. Everything from a bucket on the head to an arrow thankfully not-actually-in-the-knee appears, as well as gorgeous Californian landscapes that make a surprisingly good stand-in for Skyrim's Nord scenery. The full set is definitely worth a look.
The Dragonborn [Emilie Elizabeth Photography — thanks, Ryan!]
Behold these lovely screenshots and videos from Skywind, the ambitious fan-driven project to mod all of Morrowind in the world of Skyrim.
The project is already pretty stunning, but they have a ways to go. The modders are posting about their plans and goals on the forums of Morroblivion, a site designed to re-create Morrowind in Oblivion.
(And in case you want more Elder Scrolls recreations, it looks like they're making Oblivion in Skyrim too: You can see the Imperial City from Oblivion in one of the videos below.)
Sep 7, 2012
First, they get a version of Bethesda's hit action/RPG release that became increasingly unplayable. Then, PS3 owners had to endure news that they may not even get the Dawnguard DLC that Xbox 360 users got back at the end of June. The Dawnguard troubles make it all too easy to believe that Hearthfire's home-building features may never make it to the PS3 either.
So, yeah, if you're a PS3 who wants all that Skyrim magic on your console, you might feel cursed. Sony VP Adam Boyes feels your pain.
Boyes handles publisher relations for Sony, which means he interfaces with third-party developers. He's new there, having arrived about three, four months ago. But he knew all about the Skyrim woes when I asked him about the game after he spoke at the New York Gaming Conference this week. He took a deep breath before replying.
"We work with all of our partners to try and solve their problems," Boyes answered. "We have a big, broad dev support team that works closely with Bethesda—and with all of our partners—to work with them to solve that any sort of issues they have along the way."
"Of course, I always want everything to work always for everyone. I can't promise any kind of resolution or timeline but can say that everyone involved is trying their best to get this stuff working."
Just a heads up: I've experienced a significant bug in Skyrim's newest downloadable content that seems to be avoidable.
When you get your plot of land in Hearthfire, you'll be using two major devices: the drafting table and the carpenter's workbench. At the drafting table, you can select blueprints for buildings and wings in your new home. Once you've selected a blueprint, it moves over to the carpenter's workbench, where you can actually piece it together in stages: first you build a door, then a floor, then walls, etc.
After you've built an entryway and a main hall for your manor, you can start selecting optional rooms like a library or kitchen. Each set of rooms is attached to a wing of the house—you can only build bedrooms in the west wing, for example—but you can only start planning out one room per wing at a time.
This is where the problems start. If you pick a plan from the west wing, start building parts of it over at the workbench, and then select another plan from the west wing at the drafting table, everything goes wonky. You can lose progress and even deny yourself access to entire rooms. (One of my blueprints disappeared entirely, and I can't get it back.)
So what's the solution? Build one thing at a time. Don't pick multiple blueprints from the drafting table at once: just select one, finish all of its pieces at the workbench, and then move on to the next plan. Don't get cute and experiment with drafting, or you might lock yourself out of some of the game's content.
I've reached out to Bethesda to inform them of the bug and ask if they have plans to fix it. If you've experienced any other bugs (and know how they can be avoided) please post'em here!
There are four types of video game players, says Richard Bartle: the Explorer, the Socializer, the Killer, and the Achiever. The names are rather self-explanatory: the Explorer loves to wander; the Socializer loves to chat; the Killer loves to compete; and the Achiever loves to rack up points and trophies, even when they might seem arbitrary to everyone else.
You'll really enjoy Skyrim's latest piece of downloadable content, Hearthfire. But only if you're the type of player who gets a kick out of achieving things just for the sake of achieving them. Only if you're an Achiever.
Though Bartle, the man who invented MUDs (rudimentary text-based predecessors to MMORPGs), was mainly talking about online games when he devised his four archetypes, they apply even to single-player experiences like Skyrim. When I play Bethesda's open-world masterpiece, I think like an Explorer. I want to see the world, to find hidden secrets and discover everything the designers wanted me to discover, to slowly peel away at the story one layer at a time.
Throw in a few dashes of Killer and Socializer and you've got a basic rundown of the way I play video games.
That's why I had no real interest in Hearthfire, which came out Tuesday for Xbox 360. Hearthfire gives you an acre of land and asks you to build a house. You can add extra wings, decorations, and even a bedroom for children (which you can adopt, naturally). You can use your new home for storage or tea parties or corpse dissection or whatever else you feel like doing. It's yours.
To do all of this, you'll need to find ingredients. This is rather tedious. It usually means fast-traveling to a store, buying an iron ingot, hammering it down into a set of nails, realizing you're out of lumber, fast-traveling to a lumber mill, buying stacks of lumber 20 at a time by selecting the same dialogue options over and over, heading back to your place, realizing you're out of stone, walking to the convenient infinite stone quarry next to your house, mining for a while, encumbering yourself because you're carrying too much, and slowly treading back to build the next section of your manor. Rinse, repeat.
I've played several hours of this new DLC. I've built up a manor, adopted children, and turned my level 30 powerhouse into Domesticated Dragonborn. To me, there were few things enjoyable about this experience. It was nothing but a mundane to-do list.
See, I have no interest in showing off a gigantic mansion or collecting lots of ingredients. I don't care about how big my house is, much in the same way that I don't care about min-maxing or achievements or many of the other game mechanics that many players find fun. My brain just isn't wired to enjoy that sort of thing. I'd rather spend my time wandering and exploring and questing and killing and adventuring.
All that said, I can't speak for Achievers. I'm not one of them. If you're the type of person who can't get enough of trivia scores or Xbox Achievements, if you're constantly trying to master the leaderboards on Jetpack Joyride or collect a million coins in New Super Mario Bros. 2, this DLC may very well be perfect for you. It certainly does what it promises: it gives you the plans to a house and asks you to fill them in. It gives you the opportunity to progress through a series of sequences and feel like you've accomplished something grand. "Hey, look, I built a house!" you can scream to the world. And maybe someone will listen. It probably won't be me.
Out this week for Xbox 360, Skyrim's Hearthfire puts you in charge of your very own dream mansion. You'll get to collect lumber, mine ore, craft nails, and build a house from the ground up, decorations and all.
I've played a bit of the new expansion. Here are ten things you should know about it.
1) To start building your new mansion in Hearthfire, you'll have to get yourself a plot of land. This is a similar process to buying a house in Skyrim: you can do it when you become Thane of a city, which happens when you help out that city's Jarl and do some quests for them and whatnot. It appears you can only buy land from three cities: Falkreath, Dawnstar, and Morthal.
2) Yes, this means you won't be able to do anything in Hearthfire without doing some city quests first. Sorry.
3) Your brand new land plot comes with a handy manual, a drafting table (for plotting out buildings), an anvil (for hammering locks and nails), and a carpenter's workbench (for constructing your new home). You'll have to build a whole lot of things: every section of your house requires a foundation, walls, a door, a roof, etc.
4) Getting ingredients for these buildings—like corundum and glass and quarried stone—is kind of a pain in the ass. Get ready to fast travel a lot.
5) Some of the things you can add to your home: an animal pen, a workbench, a fish hatchery, a garden, a grindstone, a smelter, a stable, a greenhouse, an enchanter's tower, an armory, a storage room, a trophy room, a kitchen, a laboratory, and a library.
6) When you start a game of Skyrim after installing the DLC, you'll get a letter saying you should head to the orphanage in Riften. If you've done the quest involving the first matron there, you'll find a new lady in charge named Constance. Why are all orphanage owners named Constance? I don't know. But now you can adopt kids.
7) Things you cannot do with your new kids: command them to alphabetize your book collection; murder them; put them to work in an elaborate lumber-harvesting sweatshop; feed them to dragons; turn them into vampires; throw them off your library tower; build your home out of them.
8) Things you can do with your new kids: give them things; play tag; play hide-and-seek; get creeped out by their weird wooden kid faces.
9) You can also hire stewards to manage your house and do tedious tasks for you. Some GameFAQs users have started compiling lists of stewards you can hire and children you can adopt. If you are the type of person who enjoys building homes and decorating and all that jazz, you will enjoy this DLC.
10) On the other hand, pretty much everything in this DLC you can download as a mod on your PC for free. Just throwing that out there.
Aug 31, 2012
When the rumors started circulating about a new DLC called Hearthfire for Skyrim, people started excitedly speculating as to what new powers you'd go on in the expansion. Dawnguard brought vampire abilities to Bethesda's hit RPG so Hearthfire would bring what? Magma-flinging? Dovahkiin sidequests involving arson?
No one was really expecting house-building and adoption.
In a new team diary on the Elder Scrolls site, lead designer Bruce Nesmith, environmental artist Robert Wisnewski and co-lead designer Kurt Kuhlmann all talk about how the add-on was created. It turns out that Mojang's hit sandbox construction game Minecraft served as a key inspiration:
Meanwhile Nesmith, a fan of the popular game Minecraft, wanted players to have more ways to create content in the game. "Being a fan of [Minecraft], I asked, ‘Why can't I build things in our game?'"
Hearthfire started out as a project during the Skyrim Game Jam mentioned by Todd Howard talked about earlier this year. It grew from humble origins of being just a cabin to a multi-room home that can hold a greenhouse with plants for alchemical recipes. As for the adoption of little Dovah-kinder, level designer Steve Cornett says:
"The idea of adoption came to me after the Dark Brotherhood questline was presented. After first seeing the [Innocence Lost] questline, I asked, ‘what happens to the kids? What happens to the orphanage after the quest is completed?'"
Hearthfire provided an opportunity to answer these questions, as the concept of adoption seemed a natural fit with the idea of creating a household.
"Build your own house lets you make a house and adoption lets you make it a home."
Players will get the chance to build their own Dragonborn estates when Hearthfire comes out next week.
Skyrim Team Diary #6: Hearthfire [The Elder Scrolls]
Aug 30, 2012
Once of the most memorable things about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the in-game gear. So when cosplayers Sheila and Sylar feel in love with the game, they decided to replica Skyrim's Nightingale Armor for the above photo shoot. Because, you know, they being cosplayers and all.
This is the result. The truly impressive result.
Pulling something off like this ain't easy! The suit looks even more impressive when you read the nitty-gritty about how it was put together:
The entirety of this armor is made from craft foam, that was sealed, detailed (with hot glue and carving into the foam) and then painted to resemble leather texture. It is all heated into shape and then attached directly onto a base black catsuit.
The bracers are attached to gloves, and the armor below the waist is actually attached to a detachable belt. All of the silver adornments, buckles and rivets were sculpted from sculpy and sprayed silver. The face mask is also craft foam, simply glued onto a ski mask. The head and cape were sewn from scratch and attach via some metal snaps on the suit.
There's even a walk through so you can make the suit yourself. How nice!
Click the lower corner of each image to expand to full size.