Calling it at level 32 of Kendis’ run: I am officially bailing on Survival Mode.
What did it for me: a few things.
First: reaching the part of the College of Winterhold plot where you get back with the news of where the Staff of Magnus is, only to witness Ancano taking over the Eye, and causing the death of the Arch-Mage. You have to run down into the town to save it from an outbreak of magic anomalies.
Here’s the problem with that in Survival Mode: Winterhold’s climate is fucking brutal. Every single time I’ve set foot in the town in this mode, the air has been either “frigid” or “treacherously cold”.
And this time, running down there to try to kill the anomalies, I rapidly proceeded from “Chilly” to “Very Cold” to “Freezing” to “Numb”. And I actively got frostbite. I had to run into the inn to prevent myself from dying from exposure to the elements, which meant I didn’t even get to help kill the last few anomalies. Lydia, Faralda, and Arniel did.
(And also Meeko, though Meeko, noble hound, did not survive the fight. RIP Meeko!)
As the player character, I am supposed to be the one leading the charge to kill attacking beasties. It’s just not fun to have to hide in the inn instead, lest I fucking freeze to death. Particularly when I am the only character impacted by the weather at all.
And when the College of Winterhold is one of my very favorite parts of the game, it kicks a lot of the fun out of it for me if I have to run the risk of frostbite or freezing to death while doing anything at the college. 🙁
Second: related to previous, it doesn’t help that a huge swath of the map is considered “freezing” territory. And if you want to get anywhere in those portions of the map, you have to go overland through them. I can take a carriage to Winterhold, which only mitigates and does not solve the problem–because I can’t take a carriage out again. Winterhold has no carriage. I have to ride out or walk out.
Which means if I want to get anywhere at all in those parts of the map and not freeze to death, I have to haul camping supplies with me. Five or six sets of them. And camping supply sets are heavy.
Which is a pain in the ass when your carry weight has been nerfed.
Third: Speaking of carry weight getting nerfed, as anybody who regularly follows this blog knows, I get chronically overloaded in any Skyrim playthrough, never mind Survival Mode. Now, if it was just a question of my carry weight alone being nerfed, I wouldn’t necessarily mind that so much. I kind of like having to think harder about which things I do and do not want to bring out of a dungeon.
But when I combine that with not being able to fast travel out of a dungeon, and in at least a couple of cases having to slog back while overloaded to wherever I left my horse… yeah. That got tiresome.
So, that mode’s off now. Kendis’ run will continue without it.
I’m a little disappointed by this, really. I feel like I should have held to the challenge! But on the other hand, if it stopped being fun, I also feel like I’m justified in just not frigging doing it.
I will have to consider in a future modded playthrough if I can replicate the parts of Survival Mode that I like, and try that. For now, though, Kendis will return to a more standard run.