Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Move over, giant lizard pig monster. You're cluttering up all the pretty.

H… h… h… hey there, Lichdom. Gee, you sure are pretty. Why, you’re basically what Skyrim would’ve been if Bethesda wasn’t still using a 1000-year-old engine. You maybe want to get coffee some– [trips over an inconveniently placed chair, falls out the door, stumbles into a patch of cacti, trips over a hillside, rolls into an errant band of wild boars, loses terribly on an episode of Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader, crawls broken and defeated back to Lichdom's location] time?

(more…)

PC Gamer
udhead

Necromancy has a bad rap in Skyrim, which is a little weird. With the mountains of corpses the Dragonborn leaves in his wake, you’d think bringing a few of them back from the dead wouldn’t be such a big deal. Undeath, created by modder Antioch08, tasks you with snuffing out a teeming cabal of  necromancers... but it also gives you the option of continuing their evil work, learning their dark secrets, and performing a ritual to transform yourself into a powerful Lich capable of commanding an army of the undead. Which path did I choose? Here's a hint. That image above? That's me.
(A couple notes up front: your character needs to be level thirty or above to play this mod, and it uses assets from the official Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC, so you’ll need both of those. You're also going to need your enchanting skill maxed out, and you should have almost 300 Magicka to really enjoy the fruits of this mod.)


Slaughtering a bunch of innocents? But... that's MY trademark move.
The mod begins with a request to investigate a missing (dead) convoy of Vigilants of Stendarr (those goodie-goodies who stroll around in robes looking for evil-doers). After searching bodies at the scene of the ambush, I discover one of the attackers was kind enough to carry his orders with him, nicely written down on paper, just as you'd expect from a super-secret cabal determined to hide their existence from the world at large. This clue leads me to a secluded tower, where one particular necromancer has left a few journals detailing his plans to unlock a dark ritual that will allow him to become a powerful Lich. He’s also sent some followers on several missions across Skyrim to collect important objects he’ll need to complete the ritual.


Since they already dug him up... couldn't hurt to open the coffin for a little peek. Right?
After tracking down one of these groups, who are digging up a dead priest with the intent on cutting out his heart, the mod gives me a choice. I can rebury the priest and go on with my mission to extinguish this evil plot, which seems like the sensible thing to do. OR. I can, y'know, finish digging up the priest and cut out his heart and stick it in my pocket, thus completing the necromancers mission, only without the necromancers, because I just killed them.
I take the heart. Why not? The hard work is already done, and the guy is already dead, and I've been meaning to dabble in necromancy anyway.


A human skull in the pot, throw in a couple mushrooms... baby, you've got a stew goin'!
After tracking down and killing another group of acolytes, I find that they were brewing a weird potion up top of a hill. They’ve done most of the work already, and the recipe is nearby as well. Again, I'm given the option to dump their cauldron on the ground, putting an end to this evil business! But, I hate to see a meal go to waste, and most of the ingredients are close by... what the heck! Soup's on!


The commute is a bitch, but the necromancers must pay very little rent out here.
Eventually, I've killed all the necromancer dweebs and completed their tasks for them, because they're all to busy being killed by me to do it themselves. Now that I've got all their leader's precious belongings, it only stands to reckon that I hunt him down and kill him too, thus ending his evil plot. And beginning mine.


Did I come at a bad time?
I find the leader deep underground in a massive network of ruins and tunnels, and mow my way through his remaining assistants and skeletons before hacking him to death. If I were interested in putting an end to his plans, I guess the mod would be over right then and there. However, I’m not looking to just kill a bunch of hooded weirdoes for the fun of it. Imma be a Lich!
Becoming a Lich is not exactly easy, however. The head necromancer is dead, but I need to figure out exactly what he was doing before I can continue his work. I read his notes and scour the massive dungeon, eventually locating some hidden items and placing them in the right spots. Then, after finding a massive Black Book, I'm whisked away to the weird library dimension of Apocrypha.


This is not a toilet.
I won’t go into details, but the library dimension kind of sucks (it kind of sucked in the Dragonborn DLC as well). You have to run around with a torch (the darkness physically hurts you) getting attacked by the same monster over and over and looking for switches to open gates so you can collect a bunch of items to place in the right spots. This takes roughly forever, but eventually, I've completed the quest and I'm whisked back to the real world.


Starting to think necromancy might be a little evil or something.
Once I’m back in Tamriel, there's more work to be done before I can Lich-out all over everyone. I require a few more items and a secluded spot to perform the forbidden ritual. As it happens, a shadowy merchant called The Broker has been watching me hack my way to the top of the necromancy ladder, and sends me a note, via courier, inviting me to check out her ghoulish shop, where I can purchase most of what I need, including the deed to a nice underground lair where I can transform with some privacy.
More work follows, of the gathering kind, then the crafting kind, then the enchanting kind, and finally, after closely following the intricate instructions, I glug an evil potion of my own making and drop stone dead on the floor. Whoops! Missed a step.


A side-effect of becoming undead is becoming dead.
I reread everything, try again, and this time it pays off. I'm a Lich!


Houston, we have Lich-Off.
Returning to the surface in human form, I step into Solitude, ready to unleash my powerful evil upon the city. I transform into a Lich, hovering above the ground, bathed in eldritch magic. All will tremble at my hideous shade! All will die at my bony hand! All will be raised as my willing zombie servants! And then a courier walks up and tells me he's got a delivery for me.


Dude. DUDE. C'mon. Tryin' to be an evil skeleton ghost monster and you're FUCKING RUINING IT.
Well. Not quite the dramatic display of unspeakable evil I spent the last four or five hours unlocking. Still, after the courier wanders off, completely nonplussed at delivering a telegram to a TERRIFYING HOVERING LICH, I'm free to (somewhat sheepishly) cast spells, terrorize the locals, blast them with magic, and raise those who have fallen to fight for me.
Except for the damn Apocrypha level, this mod is pretty great (and quite challenging). There's also apparently a ton of extra content I didn't even get to. It's also the most reading-intensive mod I've played, and knowing what to do and how to do it is dependent on the careful reading of journals and books. Pick up all the new books and journals you find! Read them! Take them with you! It's the only way you'll become a Lich like me.
Installation: Download the mod here. I used the Nexus Mod Manager to install it, and you should too, because while there's a manual download, I don't see any manual installation instructions anywhere. This mod also doesn't really hold your hand except in the early quests, so if you get stuck, read the FAQ contained on this page.
PC Gamer
Elder Scrolls Online flame atronach


A new post on the Elder Scrolls Online blog offers a look at the creation of everyone’s favorite flaming daedra, the flame atronach. The ESO dev team has been focusing on lots of flickering flame effects and suitably creepy demonic sound effects to bring the creatures to life.



“Sound effects are critical for any creature—especially for one with so many kinds of movements and attacks,” the post reads. “Most of us are familiar with the kinds of sounds fire can make, but how do we create believable audio for a creature of animate, magical flame? Our Sound Designers get a good look at creatures and their animations before they get to work to get an idea of the kinds of sounds they’ll need to create. For the flame atronach, they imagined how its various attacks would sound right away. Utilizing huge sound libraries, they found sounds for swinging torches, campfires, and even an actual geyser.”

The video shows off a lot of details in a short time. There’s enchanted weapons, dual-wielding, a first-person perspective and dodging attacks with combat rolls. There’s also the inevitable death that comes when you charge face-first into a group of flame atronachs. And with a fire damage weapon? Come on, guy, it’s like you’re not even trying.



Elder Scrolls Online is shaping up quickly, aiming for an early 2014 launch. Check out Chris's impression from his hands-on time back in May.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Craig Pearson)

If someone is keeping a Big List Of Inevitable Things somewhere, they can cross out ‘modders remaking Morrowind in the Skyrim engine’. For it is no longer inevitable, but is in fact, er, evitable? No, that’s not right. Though I guess you could avoid it, but that would make the modders of Skywind very sad indeed, because all their hard work in rebuilding Morrowind is worth looking at. Even if you just coo over the videos below, because cooing over the scenery is pretty much all that’s possible right now. (more…)

PC Gamer
goheader


Perry recently told us about a mod called Gifts of the Outsider that imports the magic powers from Dishonored into Skyrim: Blink, Possession, Bend Time, Devouring Swarm, Wind Blast, and Void Gaze. I decided to the use the mod not just for its powers, but also to reenact the plot of Dishonored in Skyrim: the tale of an honorable man seeking revenge after being framed for a crime he didn’t commit. It’ll be just like Dishonored, only in Skyrim, and starring a furry woman with a tail. Just call me Khorvo.

Don’t worry, this will be supremely light on Dishonored spoilers, I'll cover a few of the activities you perform during the Dishonored campaign, Skyrim style. Let’s get started. What’s the first thing you do in Dishonored?

Play Hide-and-Seek with a Child

This is how REAL assassins train. Next: hopscotch.

I find some kids running around in Solitude, but they don’t want to play hide-and-seek, so we play tag instead. Minette Vinius and I chase each other around, forming a close personal bond that will surely keep me motivated in the dark days to come. I catch her and tag her and then I fast-travel to Whiterun so she’ll never be able to catch me and she'll be “It” forever.

Go To Prison for a Crime I Didn’t Commit

In Whiterun, I use a Frenzy spell on some guy standing around in the city. He goes nuts and starts attacking anyone nearby. The guards run over and arrest me while he is killed in the background. I’m shocked and outraged. I didn’t kill anyone! It was all him! You won’t get away with this! I will have my revenge! Looks like I’ve been... DISHONORED!

Can you believe the crime around here, officer? Wait, what did I do?

Escape from Prison

Not a problem! Pulling a lockpick out of my butt, I open the cell door, sneak through the prison, collect my gear, and slip back out into the streets. You’ll all pay for what you’ve done, I silently vow. All of you. It’s time to reclaim my honor. But how?

Meet the Outsider

Since I’m a wanted woman in Whiterun, I need to get away to plot my revenge. I head out to an abandoned house west of Riften, where I find a book and read it. I appear in Limbo, where everything is floaty and slanty, and meet The Outsider. He gives me the Blink power, which lets me teleport short distances. He tells me there are other powers I can collect by visiting his other shrines. Could these powers be the key to destroying those who wronged me?

I promise I'll only use Blink for good or for revenge or for fun.

Assassinate an Important Religious Figure

There are plenty of religious types in Skyrim, but when I think about one I’d like to assassinate, a particular zealot immediately comes to mind: Heimskr, the Nord Priest of Talos. Even if you don’t know his name, you know him: he’s the dude who stands in the middle of Whiterun and screeches incessantly about Talos, all day, every day. Oh, and is it a coincidence that the spot he stands in is just yards from where I was arrested for my “crime?” Not a chance. His death will mark the beginning of my quest to dis-dishonor myself.

This looks cool but I'm actually sliding off the statue for the 8th time.

I creep through Whiterun, using my new Blink spell. It’s neat, it really does zip you around, even on top of buildings, though I tend to slowly slide off. I blink onto the statue behind Heimskr, then to the ground behind him, and then I stab him in the back. I blink away onto a rooftop and the guards look around, confused, having no idea where I went. Actually, they don’t seem confused at all. They immediately shoot me with a bunch of arrows. I run away, but only because I'm in a hurry to reclaim my honor.

Now to just fold up my sword and OWW IT’S NOT A FOLD-UP SWORD

Now that Heimskr is dead, it’s time to find another Outsider shrine, collect a new power, and choose a new target. In the sewers under Riften, I find the shrine, caress the skull, and acquire the Devouring Swarm rune.

Assassinate Two People in a Brothel

Haelga’s Bunkhouse in Riften isn’t a brothel, but it sort of sounds like it could be. You know there are at least a few inappropriate back-rubs going on in there. I summon up a swarm of rats, and try to kill two people with them.

The perfect crime. Good luck trying to arrest swarm of rats, coppers!

Okay, the rats sort of killed everyone in the entire building. Those rats are NOT messing around. Having killed a room full of people with rats, a feeling seeps into my heart. I haven’t felt it in a long time, not since earlier today, but I know what that feeling is. It’s honor, slowly returning to me. I collect the Possession rune near the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, and I’m on to my next mission.

Abduct a Doctor on a Bridge

The first step goes well: I head to Dragon Bridge. I run into a bit of a snag here, though, as there do not appear to be any doctors out for a stroll across Dragon Bridge today. For a lesser assassin, that would be a problem, but I’m clever enough to find the owner of a lumber mill sitting nearby. A lumberjack is sort of like a doctor for trees, if doctors killed all of their patients and cut them into pieces, right? (The answer is: right.) He’s not on the bridge, but that can remedied with my new Possession spell. I leap into his mind and run him onto the bridge, where I pop out of the back of his head.

Revenge is a dish best served inside an innocent lumberjack’s head.

Having gotten him onto to the bridge, it’s time to abduct him off the bridge, which means possessing him again. I steer him off the other side of the bridge and into the wilderness. Abduction accomplished! I figure I’ll just keep possessing him and repossessing him and making him run so far away he’ll never find his way back, thus completing the abduction, but thirty seconds later we run into a bear and the bear kills him.

Looks like I got out of this dude’s head just in time.

I’ve just used magic to get a lumber mill owner murdered by a bear. I’m one step closer to regaining my honor. I visit another shrine and collect the Wind Blast rune.

Kill a Fancy Woman at a Fancy Party

There actually is a dinner party quest in Skyrim, but I’ve already completed it, so I need to find another fancy lady at a fancy place and kill her, fancy style. For honor. I know! The Blue Palace at Solitude. It’s the fanciest place I can think of.

Making sure to avoid Minette Vinius (I don’t want to get tagged “It” again!) I run through Solitude and enter The Blue Palace, which is run by Elisif The Fair, a fancy woman. I creep into the throne room, where there are some people hanging around. Looks like a party to me. Sorry I didn’t bring any WINE, I growl from the shadows, but I did bring some WIND!

Get it? Wine. Wind. Almost the same word. And so forth.

They don’t seem to get my wine/wind joke, probably because they are being slammed all over the room by magic wind. It’s a great spell: it’s like the Unrelenting Force shout, only you can hold down the button to keep it on, sending everyone flying all over the place until your Magicka is drained. After blowing everyone around the palace for a while, I head to the nearby mountains to collect the Bend Time rune. It’s time to kill the most important person in Skyrim.

It’s Time to Kill The Most Important Person In Skyrim

I figure the Jarl of Whiterun is the most important person in Skyrim, except for maybe me. I sneak into his chambers in the dead of night, slipping past a couple guards after slowing down time. It doesn’t quite work how I want: I was perfectly hidden from them until I cast the spell, which made them aware of me. The spell slows down time just fine, though, and even having seen me, the guards don’t seem to care that I’m creeping around near the Jarl’s bedroom casting time-bending spells in the dead of night.

You can’t really tell, but he is dying in slow motion. I can vouch for that.

The Jarl has an honorable, slow-motion death as I hack at his sleeping body. The guards run over to arrest me, and I try telling them that I’d rather die than go to prison, anticipating a fun Blink-filled escape from Whiterun. Unfortunately, Skyrim does that thing where it doesn’t select the line of dialogue I’m pointing at, so I accidentally bribe the guards and they peacefully escort me to the front door. Oh well.

Skip A Big Part of Dishonored’s Story To Avoid Spoilers

My easiest mission yet! I collect the final rune, Void Gaze, so I guess we’re ready for the big finale:

Kill Someone At a Lighthouse

Back in Solitude, I run around the lighthouse long enough discover there’s no one important in the lighthouse or on top of the lighthouse. There’s only Ma’zaka, the lighthouse keeper, but he’s downstairs in his little chambers. I sneak in, and use Void Gaze, which works like Detect Life, letting you see people through walls. I could possess him, run him up to the top of the lighthouse, and Wind Blast him off, but when you’re possessing someone they can’t open doors, so I have no way to get him out of his room. If I want to kill him, I’ll have to kill him right here.

Yep. There he is.

This isn’t quite the grand ending from Dishonored, though. I know that killing people with rats and blasting a fancy woman into her own ceiling and getting a lumberjack bear-mauled were all necessary -- absolutely necessary -- to regain my honor. But killing Ma’zaka, a humble, harmless lighthouse keeper in his own bedroom to end the story... it would just be complete anti-climax, wouldn’t it?

Yep. It was a complete anti-climax.

Lesson learned: if you want Dishonored’s story, go play Dishonored. If you want to have fun with Dishonored’s powers in Skyrim, though, this mod works great.

Installation: I installed this with the Nexus Mod Manager, but the mod looks as if it's just a single bsa and esp file. So, if you're doing it manually, just download the files and plop 'em in your Skyrim data folder (Steam > steamapps > common > skyrim > Data). No magic required.

Looking for more Skyrim mods? We recently updated out grand list of the best 50 for your perusal.
Product Release - Valve
In celebration of QUAKECON, save big on different games from id Software and Bethesda each day, now through August 5th at 10am Pacific Time.

Today only, save 40-75% on The Elder Scrolls Franchise on Steam!

Or, pick up the massive QUAKECON Pack, a collection of all released id and Bethesda titles for this weekend only!

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for more great deals and special offers.

PC Gamer
Skyrim thumb


At QuakeCon last night, Bethesda announced The Elder Scrolls Anthology, a special edition retail release containing every TES game, expansion and DLC pack. That's a hell of a lot of prison escapes, grand adventure, and stilted voice acting being packed into a single box. But if you're not tempted by an attractive re-release of games you likely already own, the developer is also packaging the ultimate in PC gaming physical rewards: five maps, covering Tamriel, Iliac Bay, Morrowind, Cyrodiil and Skyrim.

Here's what you'll get:




The Elder Scrolls Arena
The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
The Elder Scrolls III DLC: Tribunal
The Elder Scrolls III DLC: Bloodmoon
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
The Elder Scrolls IV DLC: Knights of the Nine
The Elder Scrolls IV DLC: Shivering Isles
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls V DLC: Dawnguard
The Elder Scrolls V DLC: Hearthfire
The Elder Scrolls V DLC: Dragonborn


Given Bethesda's tendency to bundle the official Oblivion add-ons onto retail discs, it's a likely bet that they'll be included as well. After all, it's not much of an anthology if it doesn't include Horse Armour.

It's a lovely looking artefact for fans of the series, but if you just want the games, there are cheaper options. With Bethesda running Steam sales this weekend in celebration of QuakeCon, expect to see Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim all get heavy discounts at some point. As for Arena and Daggerfall, both have been released as free downloads directly from Bethesda.

The Elder Scrolls Anthology will release September 13th in Europe, and September 10th in North America. It will cost £49.99 / $79.99 / €59.99 / $89.99AUD

Thanks, IGN.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Craig Pearson)

You say that phrase just once and they'll be pulling an arrow from a far more uncomfortable part of your body. Falskaar is a folly. It really shouldn’t exist. It’s a ploy by a 19 year-old modder to prove to Bethesda that he can make something that rivals their DLC, but with a fraction of their resources. That’s a bold claim for an amateur to make. Can it be done? Skyrim‘s built for adventurers and sightseers, not just quest hunters. It’s a place as much as it is a game. Is Falskaar a place? I spent the morning playing it to find out. > (more…)

PC Gamer
Skyrim mods - I'm on a boat motherflipper
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Craig Pearson)

Wow there, Tippy!Living in Skyrim must be like having Charlie Kaufman as your god. You’d be pottering along, chopping wood, checking the sky for falling dragon poop, just doing your best as a person living in interesting times. You’re not noticing the changes that are happening right under your nose: the flowers look prettier, you can’t speak when you want to, and before you know what’s going on there’s an airship overhead. The hands of mod, reshaping your reality. I expect most of the inhabitants have just woken up to the new neighbouring landmass of Falskaar. The mod adds a remarkable amount of new stuff to base Skyrim, clicking in a new continent of content for you to play. Everyone seems to be talking about it, and with good reason. (more…)

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