PC Gamer
The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Dawnguard
A bunch of new Dawnguard screenshots have appeared over on Kotaku, giving us a good look at some of the new foes we can expect to face in Skyrim's first expansion, and some of the new weapons of war we'll use to dispatch them. Without further ado, let's take a look at each one, and see what we can learn.


Here the Vampire Lord does an excellent job of establishing that he is The Bad Guy by apparently incinerating some poor woman, though those tendrils of energy could be siphoning life energy back into him. As we'll see in the Vampire Lord tech tree later, this could be an important new ability. In Dawnguard, we'll get to choose whether to become a vampire lord, or join the Dawnguard to thwart their evil plans.


Vampire Lord

Here he is again, slightly rotated. Note his preference for crows over more your more traditional vampire bat familiars. Perhaps he's a fan of the Song of Ice and Fire series of novels That, or they actually are bats, warped out of shape by frantic motion blur. He is angry because his wings don't work, and has decided to take it out on humanity by embarking on a mission to blot out the sun and turn Tamriel into a living hell. No, he can't "just get over it," unfortunately, he's a being of pure evil.


Evil constellation

Skyrim's sky is a confusing place at the best of times, but with the addition of an evil purple nebula and Nosferatu's noggin, it's just plain scary. It looks as though we'll have to string together biting streaks to gain access to the most powerful skills at the top of the tech tree, buried somewhere inside the vampire's forehead, there.


Dawnguard warrior

The expansion's big choice is whether to join the vampires or the Dawnguard. It's been all about the vampires so far, but here we get a look at some of the ornate armour we'll presumably get to use as a codified member of Skyrim's order of vampire hunters. Immortality vs. sweet armour. Tough call. I'm more interested in wandering up the steps to that massive castle in the background. If only we could get a better look somehow.


Quite a nice castle

Ah, there it is! It's probably about 8 out of 10, as castles go. Many of Skyrim's forts have crumbled into shoddy ruins, and are commonly infested with necromancers, vengeful spirits and bored undead types eager to jump the next passing adventurer. This, however, is a stately, well maintained piece of architecture, though I'm pretty sure it's possible to scale the tree on the left and hop onto the parapet there. Don't worry, I'm sure the vampires will never think of that.


A very nice castle indeed

This is gorgeous. It has the grey, misty feel common to Skyrim's most epic vistas, but here the fog rest among the ruins of a colossal structure instead of a mountain. That walk up from the bank and over that bridge to the portcullis should look magnificent. It looks as though it's out at sea slightly. As an Argonian, my character could make the swim without too much difficulty, but less lizardy players might need a bit of help to get out there, via magic or, perhaps, a working version of the many ruined boats that can be found strewn along the northern coasts of Skyrim.



The first screenshot of one of Dawnguard's new crossbows. It looks dangerous enough, and the metallic inlay there looks almost Dwemer in design. It'd make sense for some of Tamriel's greates inventors to come up with the prototype version of such a weapon, but the most important thing, which we can't see here, is the THWUNK factor. Crossbows take a while to reload, so when they fire they need to look and sound deadly.


Strange fashions

Is ... is that an ELDER SCROLL on this character's back? The mighty tomes that contain the knowledge of everything that is and will ever be in Tamriel aren't very portable, as you might imagine, but I've never considered them as a fashion accessory. It almost looks as though this character is ready to reach back and unholster it as a weapon. Instead they're content to stand right here and laud it over the revellers below. "Yes, I'm wearing an Elder Scrolls, WHAT OF IT?"


Magical beards

This man's palms can glow and he really wants you to know about it. Yes, strange bearded man, we see, we see how your palm glows, but there's an Orc with a crossbow behind you who seems to be pointing it this way. I really can't stop to chat about your illuminated digits when I'm in danger of taking an arrow to the ... face. It's easy to imagine that we'll be seeing lots of this if we side with the vampire forces in Dawnguard.


Ho! A knight ahorse

The bucket helmet and big pauldrons are signs that this guy means business, but it's his attention to detail that's impressive. Note the tiny spikes attached to the straps around his horse's face, that's a dedicated attempt to intimidate, right there. Mounted combat was added for free in a recent patch. It looks as though Dawnguard will give us an excuse to mix it up with some fiercer mounted opposition. Expect modders to improve those horse textures, too.


The purple dimension

This, here, is the problem, you see. If the vampire lords were on a mission to spread rainbows across the continent, there would be no need for the Dawnguard. Instead there would be a Hugsguard, on hand to deliver a friendly welcome with military efficiency. But NO. Instead they're all "let's blot out the sun" and "let's change reality so what when buildings collapse they'll collapse UPWARDS because that will REALLY mess people up." Perhaps the decision as to whether to join the vampires or not really comes down to how much you like the colour purple. If so, back 'em 100% and look forward to lots of scenes like this.


Sunsets confirmed

Ah, that's better. Nothing quite like a gorgeous, rose sunset to erase memories of the hellish alternative dimension that the undead are trying to impose upon all of creation. Not pictured: the moments following when our quilt-armoured warrior jumps forwards and shouts "wheeeeeeeeee!" as his body ragdolls down the mountainside. Quick-load is a wonderful thing.


The return of surprised skeleton

Oh hey, it's that really surprised skeleton from the early Skyrim screenshots! He seems less surprised now, which is surprising because a bush right next to him is getting nuked by magical bolts of fire from the sky. Actually, he looks more terrified, which fits, that floating axe sure looks like it means business. It looks as though the Dawnguard will get to take the fight right to the heart of the vampire lords' seat of power.

You Can Totally Be A Vampire In Skyrim's First DLC. Here's Proof.If this new perk screen is any indication, vampires will play much differently than the other races and classes in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Let the feeding begin.

Check out the rest of these new images for a peek into the first upcoming DLC pack for Bethesda's role-playing game, Dawnguard, which will be out this summer.

You Can Totally Be A Vampire In Skyrim's First DLC. Here's Proof. You Can Totally Be A Vampire In Skyrim's First DLC. Here's Proof. You Can Totally Be A Vampire In Skyrim's First DLC. Here's Proof. You Can Totally Be A Vampire In Skyrim's First DLC. Here's Proof. You Can Totally Be A Vampire In Skyrim's First DLC. Here's Proof. You Can Totally Be A Vampire In Skyrim's First DLC. Here's Proof. You Can Totally Be A Vampire In Skyrim's First DLC. Here's Proof. You Can Totally Be A Vampire In Skyrim's First DLC. Here's Proof. You Can Totally Be A Vampire In Skyrim's First DLC. Here's Proof. You Can Totally Be A Vampire In Skyrim's First DLC. Here's Proof. You Can Totally Be A Vampire In Skyrim's First DLC. Here's Proof. You Can Totally Be A Vampire In Skyrim's First DLC. Here's Proof. You Can Totally Be A Vampire In Skyrim's First DLC. Here's Proof.


I Climbed The Real-Life Version Of Skyrim's 7,000 StepsOkay, so it was closer to 1,000 steps. Still, lots of steps.

This is St. John's Fortress, located in Kotor, Montenegro. It's basically a greener version of the Throat of the World, an exhaustingly enormous landmark from Bethesda's popular role-playing game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. See the resemblance?

(I reached out to Bethesda this morning to ask if there were any real-life inspirations for Skyrim's 7,000 steps, but haven't heard back yet.)

I passed through the Eastern European city while on vacation last week and climbed St. John's Fortress. I took pictures along the way. Here they are:

I Climbed The Real-Life Version Of Skyrim's 7,000 Steps I Climbed The Real-Life Version Of Skyrim's 7,000 Steps I Climbed The Real-Life Version Of Skyrim's 7,000 Steps I Climbed The Real-Life Version Of Skyrim's 7,000 Steps I Climbed The Real-Life Version Of Skyrim's 7,000 Steps I Climbed The Real-Life Version Of Skyrim's 7,000 Steps I Climbed The Real-Life Version Of Skyrim's 7,000 Steps I Climbed The Real-Life Version Of Skyrim's 7,000 Steps I Climbed The Real-Life Version Of Skyrim's 7,000 Steps I Climbed The Real-Life Version Of Skyrim's 7,000 Steps

(Note: last photo might be from actual Skyrim. Bet you couldn't even tell!)

PC Gamer

Tom went to visit Zenimax Online Studios recently to take an early look at The Elder Scrolls Online. He sat down with game director Matt Firor to talk about the challenges of bringing The Elder Scrolls into an MMO setting, with reference to character building, skills and more. To hear more from the designers of The Elder Scrolls Online, check out our 20 minute video interview with Maria Aliprando, Nick Konkle and Brian Wheeler. Check out our post on everything you need to know about The Elder Scrolls Online for more details.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

When Skyrim’s Dawnguard DLC was announced, we were worried it might end up just being a pair of equippable contact lenses. A new prE3 trailer shows that it’s actually some manner of major expansion with attempts to blot out the sun being made and all sorts. What seems clear is that players will be faced with a choice; do you wish to live in a graveyard and eat people, all supernatural-like, or would you rather have a pair of equippable contact lenses? See for yourself.


PC Gamer

It's the first trailer for Skyirm's first expansion, Dawnguard. Vampires. Holy crap. Castles, crossbows, severe anti-sun sentiment. A lot of these things were picked out when fans datamined some recent patch notes, but here they are in motion. Exciting stuff.
PC Gamer
The Elder Scrolls Online
High level MMO play is typically associated with stacks and stacks of ability icons lighting up and flickering in and out of of cooldown animations. Zenimax reckon that modern technology and improved latency means there's no need to rely on those flashing icons when you can accurately see how the action is playing out in the game world. You'll still have combat skills, of course, but they'll be tucked away in a minimalist interface designed to bring the player further into the world.

Lead gameplay designer Nick Konkle explains. "I think a lot of the previous generations of MMOs a lot of the game is looking at that UI and playing it. Technical restrictions were such that we couldn't have that sort of fully immersive battle experience because people weren't where they were, where you would see them, they were somewhere else.

"But we wanted to create an immersive experience because that's the modern game, that's the modern RPG," he says. "One in which I look at the world, not at my hotbar. Not at numbers that are flying up."

That'll be the only way to see some of the massive fights that will feature in The Elder Scrolls Online. "If you're looking at your UI when there's 200 people on your screen fighting each other you're kind of missing out on one of the big things that we're trying to do which is these huge battles," says PvP designer Brian Wheeler. "If you're looking at the UI then you're missing all the fun of just seeing people jumping in and beating the crap out of each other. It's really cool."

Even beyond The Elder Scrolls Online's big PvP plans, the reduced UI is intended to help players confront Tamriel's monsters. Zenimax suggest they'll be tougher than your typical MMO trash mobs. "We want monsters to be a challenge to the player every single time you fight them, not a speedbump for the player. We don't want fighting monsters to be boring or you can eat a sandwich or do five other things while fighting a monster," says gameplay designer Maria Aliprando.

"We want to reward you for executing moves and fighting against monsters as well. So when monsters present their dynamic behaviours we don't want to confuse you with UI all over the screen we want you to be in there fighting with the monster at the moment."

Game director Matt Firor mentions another reason for the slimmed down interface. "We made a lot of choices to make it very accessible to the player who's only experienced the console versions of The Elder Scrolls."

"Things like the interface is very minimalistic and it lets you concentrate on the world, not on the interface, so we made it feel much more like a console game from the interface side than an MMO, just for that reason, to make sure that everyone feels comfortable when they play it."

To find out more about how combat works in The Elder Scrolls Online, check out our article on how combat works in The Elder Scrolls Online. You can also check out how Skyrim and Oblivion have influenced The Elder Scrolls Online, or head over to our everything you need to know about The Elder Scrolls Online page. Our chums at Edge also have plenty of exclusive info on The Elder Scrolls Online if you're looking for more.
PC Gamer
The Elder Scrolls Online
So, we've put dozens and dozens of hours into Skyrim, and we'll put in many more. The Dawnguard expansion is coming up and the Steam workshop is turning up new places to explore every few weeks. Why would we want to hop into The Elder Scrolls Online? For studio general manager, Matt Firor, the answer is simple. It's Tamriel. "It's a world you've always wanted to explore with friends, and now you can."

Zenimax Online Studios haven't had to sit down and draft an entire world from scratch. 18 years of Elder Scrolls games and expansions have poured oodles of detail into the lore of that world. From Morrowind to Oblivion and Skyrim, each game has sketched more detail onto that grand world map. The Elder Scrolls Online will let us wander those lands and discover new ones. "You've been able to explore parts of each province before, but now you get much more of the world," says Firor.

Zenimax are taking steps to ensure that The Elder Scrolls Online delivers an accurate rendition of Tamriel. They're modelling Cyrodiil using Oblivion's height map to ensure it feels right, and they're basing much of the northern lands on Bethesda's vision of Skyrim.

"With the height map for Cyrodiil, which was our PVP zone, we took the height map pretty much right out of the game Oblivion just to make it feel familiar to other players," Firor explains. "That's mostly because it's such a huge area, we wanted to put in the towns and villages that people were familiar with.

"For our Skyrim province we're a thousand years in the past remember so we have a little leeway on what we can do. But yeah you still find Winterhold, you still find Riften, the topography is very similar, the rivers are in the same place and so forth but we have different stories to tell in that time period."

He also said that the world designers "held up our version of the Skyrim province until Skyrim had shipped and everyone knew what it looked like."

The Elder Scrolls Online is set in the second era, much earlier than the other Elder Scrolls games. During that period, the Daedric lord Molag Bal tries to conquer the world, the mage guild is still young and the Dark Brotherhood is in the process of being formed. Zenimax have already told us a bit about how combat will work in The Elder Scrolls Online, for more, here's everything you need to know about The Elder Scrolls Online.
PC Gamer
Skyrim mounted combat
The days of slowly getting off your horse to kill a wolf and then slowly climbing back on to get where you're going in Skyrim are OVER. Fans asked for it in Oblivion, but it never happened. Then we thought Skyrim's muscly chargers might be able to handle a bit of rider combat, but it hasn't happened, until now. The Bethblog mention that mounted combat has been casually added in the latest beta patch. You can opt in and try it out right now by selecting Skyrim from the beta participation list on the accounts tab in your Steam settings menu.

The patch also fixes a few glitches with the recently added ranged and magic kill cams, another feature added in a post-launch patch. We expected a bunch of post-release bug fixes, but these bonus features are a pleasant surprise. Grab a glance at the beta patch notes here.


Mounted Combat - Skyrim now allows you to do melee and ranged combat while riding a horse


General stability and memory optimizations
General AI pathfinding optimizations and bug fixes
Optimizations and crash fixes for data leaks
Fixed rare crash with lighting
Fixed crashes related to loading and saving games
Fixed crash with summoned creatures/NPCs
Fixed rare issue where saves would be corrupted
Improved logic for when ranged kill cams are played
Fixed issue with ranged kill cams while killing a dragon
Fixed rare issue with certain ranged kill cams not playing properly
Fixed issue with nirnroot lighting not properly cleaning up
Fixed issue where bow damage was being calculated incorrectly
Fixed rare problem with werewolf kill moves would not finish animating properly
In “The Break of Dawn” fixed rare issue where Meridia’s Beacon would disappear from player’s inventory
Fixed occasional issue where followers would disappear after player pays off a bounty after committing a crime
Fixed issue where certain creatures and NPCs would fail to respawn properly
Fixed rare issue with dialogue subtitles not displaying properly
Fixed issue with water appearing blurry when loading a saved game after creating a save underwater

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

Horse Ro Dah.I have ridden horses before. They’re swift, terrifying creatures, and while I attempted to maintain a dignified posture befitting of my stature as Someone Who’s Technically From Texas, it was pretty obvious that I was mostly hanging on for dear life. Apparently, though, in addition to the ability to fell dragons with the gentlest of whispers, the Dragonborn will soon be capable of fighting from the back of a horse>. Like, without careening off its back in a blur of blood, bones, and white hot terror. That, I believe, is the mark of a true hero.