PC Gamer
Skyrim Dragonborn top

In an effort to recapture the limelight a soldier from Fallout 3 has invaded the upcoming Dragonborn expansion for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Desperate to relive the glory days of 2008, when Fallout 3 was quite popular, the Brotherhood of Steel member tunnelled his way into Tamriel. His plan to set up a shop in Whiterun before Skyrim's release where thwarted by a poor sense of direction and an inability to see anything through his helmet's ridiculously tiny eye slit. "It was the worst thing that's ever happened apart from the thing with the giant robot," he said. "And no, I don't want to talk about it."

The soldier, who wishes to keep his identity a secret, broke down quickly under questioning, revealing that all he wanted was to have an adventurer stray within earshot so he could loudly announce his life story. "Am I doing it right?" he asked forlornly, before folding his arms and resuming a well-practiced idle pose.

Authorities vowed publicly to have the soldeir removed in due course, but added that they couldn't right away, as they were too busy admiring the weird creatures and "mad awesome sky-lizards" present in the latest batch of Dragonborn screenshots.

PC Gamer
Skyrim Diary 13 - Kill the Dragon

This is the diary of me attempting to play Skyrim using only Illusion magic: I'm not allowed any weapons, armour, or magical items, and I can't attack anyone directly. The first entry is here, or you can see all entries to date here.

I park Sarah on a hill at a safe distance, and head on to the watchtower. I stop before I get there, and scan the horizon. I've just had an idea. I find what I'm looking for, then carry on to the tower.

The guards are just arriving. Belrand's at my side. I wait until I see the dragon itself - circling high in the clouds - then put my plan into action. I run away.

I sprint across the scruffy brushland until I arrive at a huge bonfire a little way outside the city. I knew what I'd find there when I saw its glow on the horizon a minute ago - a few woolly mammoths and two Giants, devoted to protecting them.

I run up to a mammoth and start jumping around annoyingly. The nearest Giant roars, and waves his club angrily at me - but doesn't attack. Not good enough. I keep being annoying, dancing dangerously close to the giant himself, but no luck.

Then Belrand catches up, and runs straight at the Giant. Oh hell. I hadn't accounted for this. I do the only thing I can think to do, and cast Calm on the Giant. The spell does nothing, but feeling it hit sends the Giant into a rage - he turns away from Belrand and charges at me.

Belrand swings his two-handed frost axe at the Giant's leg, but he keeps coming for me. I'm just about to turn and run when the second Giant catches up to Belrand, raises his club, and brings it slamming down on the ground.

Belrand is crushed - and then, in a quirk of Skyrim's physics, sent rocketing into the sky. He flies higher than the dragon, until he's just a glowing speck in the sky, then he vanishes altogether. I am agog. I run.

When I finally risk taking a split second to glance back, the Giant is still storming after me, but the second hasn't given chase. As far as I can see, Belrand's body still hasn't hit the ground.

I'm running for the watch tower, in the hope that I can still execute my plan: get a Giant close enough to the dragon that he gets caught in the crossfire, and watch the titans clash. This is scuppered somewhat by a sight that would otherwise be great news: the dragon comes crashing down out of the sky. It's dead. It's taken me so long to bait the Giant over here that the guards have killed it without me.

I should really lead this angry Giant away from them now, but I don't have a choice: I'm out of sprint juice and he's gaining on me fast. I keep heading for the watchtower.

The guards are shouting and rejoicing about their hard-won victory when I get there, at which point they all look at me and raise their bows.

Hey guys! I, um, brought a Giant?

Next Thursday: how that goes
PC Gamer
The Elder Scrolls Online trailer

Bethesda's latest trailer for The Elder Scrolls Online may have just changed my mind about the game: I was a little lukewarm on the idea before - now I am rather Dovah-keen. The video shows off the first proper gameplay footage (rather than the environmental fly-by videos we've seen previously) and talks us through the MMO's features. You can read our earlier in-depth Elder Scrolls impressions here, or hit the jump and see the trailer for yourself.

Here are the headlines: there aren't any shards - everything takes place on one single server, or "megaserver" as Bethesda have dubbed it. You can play as nine different races and there's oodles of customisation and specialisation on top. Perks sound particularly interesting - and extremely broad, too - determining everything from vampiric powers and pets to how you replenish your mana on the battlefield.

Combat, meanwhile, is said to be in line with traditional Elder Scrolls action, with attacks and blocks tied to mouse-clicks rather than hotkeys. That said, the video doesn't convey the sense of brutal kinetic connection you get from a Skyrim ruckus; it looks very much like MMO hotkey combat, even if it isn't.

The entire thing takes place 1000 years before the events depicted in Skyrim, and all of Tamriel is at your disposal. The Imperial homeland of Cyrodiil has an extra special role, however: it's the setting of the game's PvP component. A time of uncertain succession, players of any level can take to the field in massive battles, besieging forts, smashing them with ballistas, and eventually claiming the emperor's crown for their own side.

Sounds like there's plenty to do, anyway - certainly enough to keep the Dragonborn from getting dragonbored.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

The next set of DLC for Skyrim has its first adver-trailer, although no PC date is confirmed. In fact, only the 360 date is listed and it’s a not-too-distant December 4th. Skyrim will soon incorporate the island of Solstheim, which doesn’t look like it’s completely> covered in snow. There are some giant mushrooms and a house that looks like it might be carved out of a giant beetle carapace. It’s a tad Morrowindy. Story-wise, it’s all about the Dragonbeast, who is the first of the Dragonborn and an all round nasty piece of work. It also looks like dragons will be available as giant air-steeds. You’ll never go back to Easyjet again.


PC Gamer
skyrim dragonborn

Skyrim's new Dragonborn DLC has winged its way onto our YouTube channel, bringing a horde of new creatures to shout at, set on fire and stab. Well, I say "new" - some are old Oblivion favourites - like goblins, which now hurtle into the battle on the back of boars. There's also something horrible which appears to vomit oil, and a thing that looks like an evil floating artichoke. Cool. But best, and most inevitably, of all: you can ride dragons! All of this in the aid of thwarting some ancient evil, who, it's implied, is one of your Dovahkiin predecessors.

As with previous DLC, the only date announced is for the release on Xbox - December 4 - but we can probably expect it to arrive on PC shortly thereafter, just as Hearthfire did. Hit the jump for the full video.

Tom Francis has just reminded me that in Oblivion you could steal totem staffs belonging to each goblin tribe, and then place them anywhere you wanted the goblins to attack. That's definitely one thing we'd like to see again.

PC Gamer
skyrim trailer

Bethesda appear primed to announce more Skyrim DLC, after a tweet (spotted by IGN) was posted on the company's Twitter page. Along with an image of someone wearing a particularly Skyrimian helmet, they released the following missive: "Milk, sugar, tea-" no, wait, that's my shopping list. It said "Full trailer on 11/5". Which is the American way of saying 'Bonfire night'.

We'll know for certain what this relates to on Monday, but the prime suspect, of course, is the rumoured Dragonborn DLC that was spotted a couple of weeks ago in the innards of a recent patch. If the grisly details are accurate, we'll be heading for the island of Solstheim, which you may remember from the frosty Morrowind expansion pack Bloodmoon. There, we will ride dragons, craft new weapons and armour, and dual-wield magical staffs. Sounds like one hell of a holiday.
PC Gamer
Skyrim Diary 12 - Cover

This is the diary of me attempting to play Skyrim using only Illusion magic: I'm not allowed any weapons, armour, or magical items, and I can't attack anyone directly. The first entry is here, or you can see all entries to date here.

I remember this! It actually shouldn't take long. I mount Sarah the Implausible Horse and canter up into the mountains.

I find it easily and trot up to the gate, alerting a few bandits. As I dismount, one of them runs in my direction yelling, confusingly, "You've beaten me! I yield!" Belrand emerges from behind a stone column and hacks him down. Ah. Hi Belrand!

Belrand is already charging at the next bandit, and to my alarm, so is Sarah the Implausible Horse. I see another bandit aiming a bow at her, so I hit him with a bolt of Calm. He stops, puts his bow away, and wanders off to rethink his life. Sarah rears up and kicks the other bandit, and Belrand finishes him off. We head inside.

I Fury a few bandits and rats into killing each other, and Belrand mops up the survivors. The only trouble we hit is in the giant spider's lair - not the giant spider, but the archway leading to it. It's covered in strong cobweb.

I can't Illusion that away, and I'm not entirely sure if my rules allow me to punch it. I try telling Belrand to do it - you can give followers orders, of sorts. But when I point at the cobweb, the only command I can give him is to try to walk through it.

"Okay, got it!" he says in his chirpy Nordic accent. He walks directly into the cobweb, stops, and looks back at me. "Nope. Not possible." Thanks for trying, man.

My self-imposed rules say I'm not allowed to "directly hurt anyone or anything" - the 'thing' was meant to cover monsters, but I guess a cobweb is also a thing. Can you 'hurt' a cobweb? After careful philosophical analysis, I decide that you can't and put my fist through it.

The giant spider is irrelevant - I'm powerful enough to pacify her with a Calm spell, walk past, and chat to the man stuck in her other web. He wants out, understandably, so I very carefully punch around him to clear the web without causing damage. He runs off, Belrand gives chase, and I stroll along behind.

When I catch up to them, they're both fighting Nordic zombies in a crypt. I run past, and inadvertantly step on a stone that triggers metal rack of spikes to swing out of the wall, smacking the thief and a zombie off their feet. Huh! Well, it might not be illusion magic, but it's not direct violence either.

I was hoping to be able to run straight through the final chamber and escape without a kerfuffle, but unfortunately we need something from the Draugr Scourge in the final crypt. Belrand's only too happy to take care of it, while I keep him on his feet with Courage - the Draugr's a zombie, so I can't cast illusion magic directly on him.

On the Draugr's corpse, I find the dragonstone the Jarl will want. In his crypt, I also find a two-handed axe with heavy damage and a frost enchantment - I pass it to Belrand and he equips it eagrely. Outside, I find Sarah and gallop back to Whiterun.

The dragon's been sighted. They want me to help them kill it. Oh Lord.

Next Thursday: the dragon.
PC Gamer
The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Lydia

Poor Lydia. Her eternally pledged sword for the Dragonborn makes her nothing more than a guinea-pig for an egotistical nomad with volume problems. This time, she's blasting off into the sky once more after taking a small hot air balloon's worth of Fus Roh Dahs—aka The Only Shout That Matters—straight into her face. The resulting hilarious physics grenade comes courtesy of LilCosco08 and a usage of the "TCL" console command which toggles collision detection.

If you also feel like going back to Skyrim, our list of console commands should make your second visit memorable.

Skyrim Will Be Getting a Premium Edition, According to Amazon Listing [Update: Europe Only] 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]

PC Gamer
Skyrim Mods thumb

Want to know what Skyrim looks like when you install 200 mods at random? Find out in our eye-opening, eye-bleaching diary: Skyrim: Week of Madness.)

Skyrim mods are amazing. In the two months since release, thousands of mods have been released, some of them quite spectacular. It’s not like Skyrim was an ugly game to begin with, but with new high resolution textures and post processing it becomes truly stunning. Then there are the new items, expanded crafting and full UI overhauls.

With so many mods available, choosing them can be a little daunting, which is why we’ve rounded up the 25 best here for you to enjoy.

We've picked the best mods we can find from both the Steam Workshop and Skyrim Nexus, but the best results come from combining the two. To do that we recommend downloading the Nexus Mod Manager, which helps to keep your non-steam mod up to date, and BOSS, which re-arranges your mods to load in the most stable order.

If you’re the tweaking type, you’ll also want to check our personalised picks of the Steam Workshop. Or maybe you’d like to create your own mod. Thanks to the Skyrim Creation Kit it’s a lot easier than you think. Our Skyrim Creation Kit Video Tutorial is all you need to get started.

Oh, and don’t worry if you’d rather sit back and read about someone else’s Skyrim adventures. Christopher Livingston’s Elder Strolls diary will see you right.


ENB Website

The ENBSeries mods are famous for adding improved post processing and lighting effects to make games like GTA4 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution look amazing. The Skyrim version is one of the best. Not only has ENB creator Boris Vorontsov done his usual fantastic work, but various other modders have tweaked and adjusted the program to come up with their own presets. There are many different kinds of ENB available, from Boris' own colourful version to more muted and realistic tones. Personally I use Cinematic Lighting ENB, which comes recommended by famous screenshotmancer Duncan 'Dead End Thrills' Harris.

Realistic Lighting

Realistic Lighting is sits alongside ENB as one of the best graphical upgrades you can make to Skyrim, and you can combine the two for even better effect. Realistic Lighting makes Skyrim's shadows starker and more pronounced, and re-arranges in game lights for a darker, more realistic look, including some pitch black nights. Although this mod is on both Nexus and Steam Workshop, I recommend using the Nexus version, which is more frequently updated and has more customisation options.

Automatic Variants

There are a lot of excellent retexture mods available for Skyrim, but the sad thing is that you can only ever use one at a time. Automatic Variants exists to correct that problem. It allows Skyrim to randomly choose different skins from a pool of variants, so each animal looks unique. Right now it only works on creatures, but there are plans to expand it to items later on. Because of the nature of this mod, it's a little complicated to install. First download Automatic Variants, then download any texture packs you want to use (I recommend Bellyache's animals). Drop the texture pack into the folder, then run the AutomaticVariants.jar file to build the mod, which goes last in your load order. If you're adding new skins, make sure you build the mod again.

Get Snowy

Get Snowy is simple, but beautiful. It allows snow to land on creatures and NPCs, covering them with a light dusting of icing sugar. That's all it does, but it has an amazing effect on your game, making the winter wonderland of Skyrim's colder regions seem even frostier and more unforgiving. Take a trip to the Winterhold to see it at its best.

Sky UI

Ask any PC gamer what Skyrim’s biggest flaw is and you’ll get one answer: the inventory. The default UI is inelegant, slow and features far too much scrolling. Which is why Sky UI is so essential. It doesn’t merely fix the problems with Bethesda’s interface, it improves it on every level. Icons are now used to easily distinguish items while using less space. Additional information, such as if an item is stolen or poisoned, is clearly displayed. The inventory can even be sorted by value and weight, while a text search lets you find the correct item in a hurry. There is simply no reason not to install Sky UI, even those few who don’t mind the original interface will find their Skyrim experience improved immeasurably as a result.

Xenius Character Enhancement

Xenius has rapidly carved himself a niche as Skyrim’s premier character enhancement modder, producing a whole series of texture improving mods at a tremendous rate before packaging them together as Xenius Character Enhancement. While so many other modders have spent their time making characters that look more like fashion models than medieval peasants, Xenius stays true to the original art style of Skyrim, and for that we salute him.

Gameplay tweaks

Magic Duel

Melee fighters in Skyrim can block, parry, shield bash and counter, but mages are limited to just spraying each other with destruction spells until one of them falls over. Magic Duel aims to fix that. When you and another mage fire spells at each other, there is a chance you'll be locked into a duel. The world around you moves into slow motion and you must alternately click the right and left mouse buttons force the energy towards them. It reminds me a lot of the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire... which I totally haven't read.

Convenient Horses
Steam: Dawnguard and Vanilla

There are a lot of mods to improve the behaviour of Skyrim's mounts, but Convenient Horses is my favourite. It combines the features of many other horse mods, adjustable speed, horses for followers and saddle bags for storage, plus several features of its own, like mounted conversations and looting, plus a fast dismount when in combat. Plus it features the return of that most beloved of Elder Scrolls features: Horse Armour.

Ultimate Follower Overhaul

Ultimate Follower Overhaul combines dozens of little tweaks and adjustment to the way Skyrim's companions work. It lets you control their equipment properly, force them to level up with you (they don't in the vanilla game) or teach them new spells. You can even recruit multiple followers, all the way up to fifteen, although more than one or two can rapidly unbalance the game. It also comes with its own follower horse riding system, although I prefer Convenient Horses' approach myself, thankfully the two are fully compatible.

Specialised Followers

Skyrim's followers are a characterful bunch, encompassing everything including a cheerful Khajit mercenary to an arrogant magic school dropout to a death obsessed Dunmer. The only problem is that their diversity of character is rarely reflected in their fighting style. Enter Specialised Followers, which tweaks and adjusts the stats, spells and perks of every follower, and gives them all a powerful special ability. Kharjo can now detect enemies by smell, and sneak even in heavy armour, while Ahtar's huge axe strikes leave enemies temporarilly slowed. Its a huge improvement on the vanilla followers, although sadly it is no longer being added to.

Unofficial Skyrim Patch

This mod does exactly what you'd expect it to do. Modders realised they could patch the game faster than Bethesda, so they banded together to fix whatever bugs they could. The mod is being constantly updated, fixing new bugs as they emerge and updating the patch whenever Bethesda themselves release an official fix. There's also a variety of subtle tweaks, like making sure Brand Shei (above) eventually gets out of prison after you frame him to join the Thieves Guild, so you aren't robbed of his services forever.


Build your own home

Who needs Hearthfire when you have mods? Supernastypants' Build Your Own Home mod actually came before Bethesda's official add on, and offers many of the same features. There's only one plot of land, just outside the Abandoned Prison, but a wide variety of homes you can build on it. It's all modular, so you can create anything from a simple shack to a towering fortress, with a four different themes for the interior that can be mixed and matched throughout. Add the Adopt Children mod and you've basically recreated Hearthfire, only for free.

The Asteria

For the Dragonborn that has everything, we have the most ostentatious Skyrim home possible. The Asteria is an enormous floating Dwemer airship that hovers near Riverwood. As you can see, it looks magnificent from the outside, but the interior is also meticulously designed and stocked everything a budding Dragonborn could need. There are smithing facilities and archery targets on deck and an on board hydroponics facility for all your alchemical needs. There's even a book on the bedside table detailing the history of the vessel.

Dragon Falls Manor

If you find The Asteria a tad over the top, modder Mattcm919 has also produced a more lore friendly alternative in Dragon Falls Manor. This luxorious mansion house is perched on the edge of a waterfall, and is ever bit as detailed and comprehensive as its airborne counterpart. There's a smithy, mannequins, weapon plaques, gardens, alchemy tables and fully stocked bookshelves. It really feels like the fully functioning home of an accomplished adventurer.

Gleaming Falls

For those who want a more convenient and humble abode, I heartily recommend Gleaming Falls. This snug liver riverside shelter is completely open to to the elements, with only a roof to keep the rain off. The result is that you can drop in, store your items and head off again without ever having to go through a loading door. It's not just about convenience though, Gleaming Falls is every bit as pretty and well designed as the larger homes in this list, it's just for those that prefer a low key fishing shack to a grandiose mansion.

Deus Mons

Deus Mons is one of the most biggest and most spectacular Skyrim home available. It's a huge Dwemer castle built into a mountain peak just south of the Throat of the World. It's epic, you have to defeat a Dragon just to get the front door key. Conquer the beast and you'll have a castle fit for a Dovaking. Of course having such an enormous building to yourself can be lonely, which is why Deus Mons' creators have included the option to populate it with cooks, blacksmiths, bards and other NPC servants, as befits a player of your station.

New Items

Immersive Armours

Hothtrooper makes some of the best custom Skyrim armours around. His creations are interesting, artistic and supremely detailed. Immersive Armours packages together all of Hothtrooper's mods along with a few other selected armour sets, and spreads them throughout the land. New armours have been carefully dished out to appropriate NPCs and added to random loot lists, where their lore friendly designs mean they blend right in.

Heavy Armoury
Steam: Dawnguard and Vanilla

Ever wanted to wield a halberd in Skyrim? Club? Spear? Shortsword? Quarterstaff? Heavy Armoury adds a whole variety of new weapon types in to the game. Each weapon is available in Iron, Steel, Dwarvern, Orcish, Elven, Glass, Ebony and Daedric, plus Falmer, Forsworn and Draugr versions. The Dawnguard version also adds Dragonbone weapons. Each of these is craftable, and can be randomly carried by NPCs, and each is carefully designed to be in keeping with Skyrim's established art style. The only downside is that spears use the default two handed animations, meaning swinging and hacking, rather than stabbing and poking. If you want a more authentic spear animation try Spears of Skyrim , although sadly that doesn't come with the other weapon types.

Wearable Lanterns

If you're using Realistic Lighting, you'll notice that nightime is Skyrim has gotten much darker. Spell and torches can help, but warriors who want to use their off hand are out of luck. Chesko's Wearable Lantern mod sorts out this problem, letting you clip a light source to your belt, front or rear. Companions can also carry the lanterns, and will automatically douse them when you enter sneak mode, acting as your own portable night light.

Plant Trees

Plant Trees was actually created by one of Bethesda's community managers, Nick Breckon, which explains why it's so professionally made. The mod adds a selection of seeds that slowly grow into full sized trees. It also adds the Staff of Efflorescence, which can be used to paint flowers onto items, terrain and even people. For some reason using it on enemies calms them, which makes sense, because nothing relaxes me like having flowers sprout from my skin.

Crossbows Basic Collection

Many of those who purchased Dawnguard were disappointed that there were only a handful of crossbow varieties available. This mod expands the collection to include crossbows of every material available. It also adds them to levelled lists, meaning you'll find them as loot, and see them being wielded by bandits. For obvious reasons, this mod is for those who own Dawnguard only.


Moonpath to Elsweyr

For those who are getting a little sick of snowy mountains, Moonpath to Elsweyr offers two brand new environments, lush jungle and barren desert. This quest mod takes you to the Khajit homeland of Esweyr, making a strong case for setting the next Elder Scrolls game there. There's also a jungle home thrown in, and if you install the add on mod a talking tiger for a follower. As with a lot of quest mods, the voice acting is of questionable quality, but if you can get past that then you'll enjoy a great adventure though some beautiful environments.

Legendary Creatures

This mod adds eight powerful boss monsters in locations dotted around Skyrim. Each is a souped up version of a traditional monster, and drops unique loot upon death.The quest to hunt them down can be found in a journal at the Bannered Mare in Whiterun. Legendary Creatures doesn't exactly have a deep narrative, but it offers new and challenging fights, and some great items as a reward.

Sea of Ghosts

The Sea of Ghosts adds several new quests, all centred around the ice covered seas to the north of Skyrim. Hiring the Winter's Warmth from Solitude docks will allow you to explore a series of islands, containing seven different quests for you to discover and complete. What makes it stand out is the exploration element, you're often heading off to a new island with no idea what it contains, capturing that feeling of striking out for the horizon that Skyrim's land based adventures create so well.

Descent into Madness

Descent into Madness was one of the highlights of Richard Cobbett's Week of Madness diary. Take a nap in your bed in Breezehome and you'll be transported into the realm of Sheogorath, where two realms called Madness and Dementia are engaged in an eternal clash of the crazies, and both want you to help. Each side offers a different, hour long questline full of puzzles and riddles, all set within a bizarre, dreamlike landscape.

Hunting in Skyrim

Not merely a new quest, but a whole new guild. This mod adds a new Huntsman's Guild to Skyrim. It's a work in progress at the moment, but for now you can jump start the questline by reading a journal in the Drunken Huntsman. This leads you on a series of hunting themed quests, letting you track and kill several unique and tough animals, from feral wolves to great white stags. In addition to the quests, the prices of pelts have increased, allowing players to earn a living hunting, and several new perks have been added.