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Epic harmonies brought to you by the Brigham Young University's Men's Chorus.
I play Skyrim obsessively, like lots of people. I'm also a full-time antiquarian book dealer and during my glorious attempts to become a leather-clad death machine in The Elder Scrolls V, I'm always tempted to make some in-game coin on the side collecting and selling the hundreds of available antiquarian titles. Books such as Advances in Lock-picking or Dwemer Inquiries Vol. III offer both arcane and practical lore to thereader as well as deep context for the game's developed history, technology and culture.
But, I am bamboozled at every turn by what is essentially a completely unrealistic book market based on ridiculous assessments of value. While items such as staffs, swords, armour, and jewels fetch a premium price on the secondhand market (500-2000 gold usually), books, for some reason, no matter how scarce they are, top at a measly 100 coins. This is ridiculous. It is simply not possible to make a decent living as a bookseller in Skyrim, despite all my systematic and professional attempts.
My argument is based on two major points: rarity and demand. In our world, these are the factors that fundamentally determine a book's value. How scarce is it and how many people want it? It makes no sense to me at all how a merchant would only give me 50 coin for a title so rare there's only one copy of it in all of Tamriel. If I need to penetrate the bowels of the earth through some death-trapped dungeon and hack through legions of the walking dead to find that book, shouldn't it be worth a little more?
Take Fragment: On Artaeum, for example. It is required reading in a quest where you have to stop the influence of an unearthed, potentially cataclysmic magical Eye. You even have to fight a ticked-off rogue Altmer mage named The Called to get your hands on it (the rare edition, that is). You put your life on the line! Nevertheless, this book only fetches a paltry 45 gold on the secondhand market, despite its central role in saving the land. Well, it just doesn't add up does it?
Now, admittedly, booksellers are notorious spendthrifts when it comes to purchase price. And the game is very accurate in portraying its booksellers as grumbly overbearing cranks. The truth is, despite long afternoons lost in the lore of ages, it is very hard to make a real living as an antiquarian dealer. They're sour for a reason. Many folks who take the plunge into this apparent dream job find this out very quickly. Still, it is possible to make a go of it, as a truly rare item can fetch a glorious sum.
This simply isn't true in Skyrim. Even a world where books figure far more centrally than in ours, a land where messages are still sent though couriers on foot (there are no phones, no Internet) and essential knowledge still needs to be kept safe in big monastic castles against the ravages of time (not to mention the mould encouraging environments of old keeps and crypts) you often can't make more than 15-30 or so gold per title.
Considering that a decent house in the game costs 5000 gold, not to mention the 1500 you have to drop outfitting it, you would have to buy and sell 216 titles, scattered willy-nilly all across the land, and fight numerous Dragur, Icewraiths, and Saber Cats to get them, and most certainly die a broken and hungry bookseller. Maybe that's why there are so few full-time people in the game trying. There are numerous grocers and blacksmiths, but only a handful of booksellers, despite a glut of material and occult demand. Still, their shops have so little inventory that I can't see how they possibly could be making a living without selling something illegal on the side.
I feel that this is an unacceptable blind spot that needs to be addressed. When so much thought goes into the minutiae of a sword's magical abilities, a Tolkienesque Middle Ages fantasy where mysterious knowledge is required to survive needs a much more functional antiquarian book market. And I'm not even going into the fact that there seems to be only one printing press in all of Tamriel producing these things. These problems aren't a deal-breaker, however, because I've easily clock 100 plus hours into this game and don't seem to be stopping. But, just like in the real world, I would like the poor bookseller to get their due.
Having been thwarted in their efforts to loot Gregethor's Convenience Store in Whiterun, (and taken a detour into Battlefield 3 by way of Dead Island) the Grosjean Bros. have returned to Gregethor's home to take his most treasured possessions, including his cat, in this sequel to last week's live-action Skyrim video.
No bucket-on-the-head gags in this one, but that's OK, a bathroom door will provide just as much cover. You need to leave!
Skyrim 2012: Part Two [Grosjean Brothers]
If you pay attention to ads, you know there are subliminal messages. Even if you don't, your brain picks up on them. Typically, these messages are sex-related, but not always. Blogger Copyranter, who's apparently been an ad copywriter for 18 years, sure notices them.
On a post titled "Today's Blowjob Ad", Copyranter pointed this this poster, which is part of a new UK campaign for Nvidia's GeForce GPUs. The ad agency is supposedly London's Alecoppe.
The top advert features an image from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
The ads have the tag, "The Most Realistic Ever" and are designed to contrast game realism with the back of some player's head. According to Copyranter, the second ad in the series, featuring a sumo wrestler, is less "blowjobby".
Today's Blowjob Ad. [Copyranter]
In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Guardian Stones give players special abilities. One stone can be activated at a time, and if you've played the game, you will be familiar with them.
These powers these stone offer exist only in Skyrim. The stones themselves seem to have a real-life counterpart.
Kotaku reader Brian, spotted this sea front monument in the Irish town Bundoran.
"The area is one of Ireland's primo surfing areas, with surfers from all around the world coming to the small town of Bundoran on the west coast of Ireland," wrote Brian, who blurred out his lady's face for privacy. "So I can only imagine that this is in fact the Surfer Stone giving users the power of Atlantic Wave Tamer!"
The work of artist Brendan McGloin, the stone sculpture dates from 2000 and is named Carraige na Nean, (Rock of the Birds). It may not be a real Guardian Stone, and it may not even be Skyrim's inspiration, but it's close to the real thing. Well, minus things like quick Magicka regeneration.
Fake blood, that is. Skyrim player and prop maker Shannon Clawson decided to modify the map bundled with The Elder Scrolls V. Out came the sandpaper, fake blood, and fire.
Add an old frame and bam you're done!
"Project time was less than an hour," Shannon wrote. "Well worth the effort." And yes, Shannon is well aware that blood oxidizes and went with the "fresh blood" look.
Skyrim Map Modified [The Replica Prop Forum]
One PC gaming truism is that modders make magic, by altering the rules or looks of a vanilla game release into something shinier or more idiosyncratic. In the case of PC modder Xilver, the magic-making's literal.
A.K.A. Brian Rivers, Xilver made an insanely robust mod called Midas Magic: Spells of Aurum for Oblivion. It delivered more than 100 spells that let you conjure freeze rays, hail storms and creature summons to the game's Mages. Now, with the follow-up to Oblivion being a major PC phenomenon, Xilver's launching the spiritual sequel to Midas Magic for Skyrim, The trailer above shows of the formidable powers players will be able to wield with the mod for The Elder Scrolls V mod. You can grab Xilver's add-on here.
Skyrim Modding: Midas Magic by Xilver [BethBlog]
Some folks loved the latest Legend of Zelda game but weren't fond of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Others turned up their noses at Skyward Sword but embraced Bethesda's latest wholeheartedly. Somehow commenter Sloopydrew found himself disappointed with both games. In today's Speak Up on Kotaku we try to determine what sort of alien he is.
Am I the only one disappointed with both the most recent Elder Scrolls and recent Zelda game? I love both of those franchises and loved the last few games with a fanboy-like passion. But Skyward Sword and Skyrim — along with sharing a similar name — share the feeling of "sameness."
I just feel like I've played these games before and, when I did, they were better.
Every Elder Scrolls got better, for me, through Oblivion. Skyrim feels like a glitchy fetch quest with nothing new. Zelda got better for me through Windwaker. I still liked Twilight Princess, but Skyward Sword leaves me cold. Not to mention, popping in Windwaker after playing Skyward is startling, as Windwaker is clearly graphically superior, on top of being a better game.
Anyway, I didn't want to troll and I know I'm the odd man out on this, but I'm looking for anyone who agrees with me, just to validate that I'm not going crazy. I looked forward to both of these games, bought both on launch and have ended up finishing neither. I played some Skyrim last night and, as I have every time, shut it off about an hour in feeling bored and disappointed. I haven't even put Skyward Sword back on for at least a week. Probably more. I'm seriously doubting I'll even finish either of these games. Certainly startling, as I finished their predecessors more than once each.
You've already seen a man clone himself and play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the violin.
Now, you're going to see a man clone himself and sing the game's iconic theme. The man here is Diwa de Leon.
Don't fret; there are hats and instruments, too, including, yes, violins! Well, a violin that's been cloned.
Skyrim Theme Remix by Diwa de Leon [YouTube]
Ever wonder how such a highly polished game as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim wound up with so many bugs and glitches? Dorkly has uncovered a completely fictional series of letters between Bethesda's Todd Howard and the lead developer that may explain the situation.
All it takes is one fussy lead programmer and a slightly grump project lead to turn an award-winning role-playing game into an award-winning role-playing game filled with humorous bugs and glitches. Just one simple internal memo sent on a bad day and everything goes spiraling out of control.
Luckily for Bethesda, no one cares if their games are full of bugs and glitches. Fake Todd should really just learn how to relax.
See what happens? Look what fake Todd made fake programmer do! Now everyone is bears. Hopefully this doesn't escalate any further.
Hit up the link for the full imaginary exchange. It seems completely crazy, but in an odd way it makes perfect sense.
Where Skyrim Bugs Come From [Dorkly]