Frequently Asked Questions

Or at least, questions you might ask if you come by this site!

What’s this site all about?

This is my playthrough blog for all of my adventures playing Elder Scrolls games–mostly Skyrim, but I’m starting to branch out into the other games in the franchise as well. I use it to post in-depth descriptions of my characters’ adventures, commentary on the game in general, copious bitching about bugs encountered, and lots and lots of screenshots.

I enjoy coming at Elder Scrolls games with a roleplay mindset, including coming up with basic backstories for characters, and using that to influence my choices in how I run through the game.

And since I’m a writer and a completist nerd, I also enjoy documenting my playthroughs in detail!

Which means, for the record, that this site’s primary content is chock full of spoilers for every Elder Scrolls Game I’m playing. If you want to play Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, or Elder Scrolls Online with an entirely spoiler-free experience, this is not the blog you should be reading. Please be advised!

Since I’m also a computer nerd and interested in modding, I’ve started documenting my experiences setting up Elder Scrolls games for mods, and on assorted platforms. Notably, the Steam Deck.

What got you started playing Skyrim?

I didn’t play it when the game originally came out. Prior to 2021 I didn’t have a history of being a console gamer, so I didn’t play it when it was originally released. Up till 2021, I preferred to play games on my mobile devices, or casual games on my computer.

But in 2021, my housemate gave me a Nintendo Switch as a present! Which finally gave me the opportunity to play Skyrim for myself.

I immediately fell in love with it, and have been documenting my adventures in the game ever since.

(And I’ll say straight up, it’s been a helpful life preserver during the COVID-19 pandemic!)

What got you started playing Morrowind?

I hadn’t ever played Morrowind or Oblivion when they originally released, either. But after diving into Skyrim, I became actively interested in playing both of those games as well, particularly once I found out about the Skywind and Skyoblivion projects to port those games into Skyrim’s engine.

So while waiting for those to release, I decided to go ahead and play Morrowind and Oblivion in their original forms too. So far, that’s just meant Morrowind, but Oblivion is on the queue to play as well.

What got you started playing Elder Scrolls Online?

I was actively interested in ESO as soon as I heard about it, as a way to expand my experience in the franchise of Elder Scrolls games. However, I couldn’t actually start playing it until I acquired my Steam Deck, and then not long after, my current M1 Mac.

I’ve got friends with their own Guild in ESO though, and my housemate Paul was strongly interested in playing too. So he and I started playing the game together, and joined my friends’ Guild as well.

What version of the games are you playing?

For Skyrim:

  1. The Special Edition build on the Nintendo Switch
  2. The Anniversary Edition build on PC, very lightly modded
  3. The Anniversary Edition build on Steam Deck, current only mod the USSEP, though future Skyrim playthroughs will involve more mods

Most of my Switch activity has been on the Special Edition build since that’s what I had available. However, as of 9/28/2022 Nintendo released the Anniversary Edition for the Switch as well, so Faanshi’s playthrough on the Switch will have the AE for its final phases.

For Morrowind, currently I’m running vanilla Morrowind. The playthrough I’m in was started on the PC, and moved over to the Deck as well for its primary location. So far that playthrough is without mods. Future Morrowind playthroughs will likely be on OpenMW, possibly with mods, as I learn about how well I can do that.

For ESO, I’m running without any known addons at the moment, though this may change in the future. I’m able to run on both my M1 Mac and my Steam Deck, and I sometimes alternate between them. But right now I’m preferring running on the Mac because a) it gives me access to a full keyboard, which I sometimes need for sending in-game mail, and b) I actually get better performance from the game on my Mac. The performance on the Deck is sometimes stuttery and I find that distracting.

What do you like about the games?

Even though I didn’t play it when it first came out, Skyrim was still a big deal in my house when it was released. And I did watch my wife and our housemate play it a lot, even though I was not playing it myself. I was very impressed at the time with the beauty of the game design, as well as the immersive story. And I was always very partial to the opening theme, which we always joked sounded like a choir of mobsters! Since “Dovahkiin” always sounded like “bada-bing”. 😀

Now that I’m playing it myself, the sheer scope of the worldbuilding is amazing to me as a player and as a writer. I love that the Elder Scrolls franchise has been around long enough to build up a rich, detailed history that Skyrim draws upon. And part of my enjoyment in building my playthroughs is digging through wikis and learning all sorts of fascinating lore about the game that I can use to enhance the narratives i build in my head for the characters I’m playing.

And I adore the music. So many evocative pieces all over the game! I love the music enough that I also bought the soundtrack.

Multiple playthroughs in, and I’m still finding new details, too. Especially while doing a playthrough in French!

So far with Morrowind, I’m really appreciating that there is a cohesion of worldbuilding, both in the overall game design and in the continuity of the world. Even though Morrowind is ten years older than Skyrim, it’s still recognizably the same world.

Elder Scrolls Online is kinda blowing me away with its sheer size, and how much of Tamriel it actually has implemented. The graphics are much different from Skyrim’s, but still recognizably the same world. And I’m starting to really appreciate the music on this game, as well.

And of course, there’s the whole fun of playing ESO with other players. It’s great fun to do it with my housemate, so we can collaborate on running dungeons, and how to tackle bigger plots!

What do you not like about the games?

I think every veteran Skyrim player on the planet will probably understand when I say “how it’s buggy as fuck, even ten years after its release”!

I’m aware that the Skyrim modding community has addressed a lot of that by releasing bugfix mods. Right now I can’t take advantage of that on the Switch, but I’m also finding that on the PC, even where I’m running the USSEP, this doesn’t appear to let me off the hook for a buggy play experience! There are just different bugs involved! (As my wife has pointed out, it wouldn’t be Skyrim if it weren’t buggy as fuck. ;))

Also, the writer in me sometimes struggles to make the open-world nature of the game make narrative sense! (But the gamer in me accepts this as a consequence of playing this type of game.)

And I have a collision between being a completist nerd who really wants to play the hell out of every last detail in the game–and how some aspects of it are just stuff I would actively not enjoy playing at all. Such as some of the darker-themed Daedric quests.

With Morrowind, so far my primary beef with it is that the game was designed at the time with the presumption that the main character is male. As a female gamer, I find this annoying. (Though I temper this annoyance with being aware that Bethesda learned to do better, as Skyrim clearly demonstrates!)

About the only thing I don’t really quite like about ESO so far is that it kind of wrecks my ability to build a character narrative in my head, as I commonly do with Skyrim. I can’t quite commit to full immersion in a game where dungeon bosses can respawn every five minutes so the next player coming through can take them out. 😀 But that’s an extremely minor quibble.

What kinds of characters are your favorites?

After four playthroughs in Skyrim, with two more in progress, I know for sure that I tend to prefer characters who specialize in light armor, stealth, and archery–the stereotypical Stealth Archer, in other words! I also enjoy the hell out of throwing magic around.

So far, I’ve also gravitated towards “minority” characters: a Bosmer, a Dunmer, and an Orc were my first three characters. My fourth, a Breton, was even a bit of a minority in the Nord culture of Skyrim, even though she has the advantage of being human. Of my two current characters, one is a Khajiit (definitely a minority in Skyrim), and the other is a Nord. (And I only wound up playing the Nord because I legit did not expect to get a viable playthrough running on the PC!)

The College of Winterhold and the Thieves Guild are my favorite factions to play in Skyrim.

I’ve played through fighting the Imperial side of the war once, and I did enjoy the hell out of that. (But I think it requires me to play the correct kind of character who’d want to fight for the Empire specifically, which doesn’t often seem compatible with the characters I enjoy creating.)

In Morrowind, so far I’m trying the same sorts of trends–i.e., a light armor/archery kind of character. I’ll want to see if I like other kinds of characters in Morrowind, too. I don’t have as much faction experience yet in Morrowind, so far just Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, and House Hlaalu, so I don’t have as good a basis for comparison yet. But of the three of those, so far I think I may like the Fighters Guild best.

In ESO, my current factions are Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, and the Psijic Order. I’ve barely done anything with the first two of these, but the Psijics are new and exciting, so so far they’re my favorite of the factions I’ve joined.

What other Skyrim playthroughs do you plan to try?

Chances are very high I will be exploring the following in Skyrim:

  1. Playing an Altmer, just so I can try out that whole “wear Thalmor robes to go undercover in the Thalmor Embassy” thing, which strikes me as hilarious
  2. Playing a vampire (which may actually be the same playthrough as the Altmer)
  3. If I play another human character, it’ll probably be a Redguard

And now that I have devices capable of running the AE, I will totally be trying Survival Mode.

I’ve also been working my way up the Difficulty scale, and have a Master Difficulty playthrough in progress with my Khajiit. I’ll try Legendary after that.

Since I am also a bit of a language nerd, and have already enjoyed playing Skyrim in French, it’s very likely I will try a playthrough in German as well.

How about Morrowind playthroughs?

My next Morrowind playthrough is going to be on OpenMW, probably. I’d created an initial save file in OpenMW on my PC, but now that I have the Deck I will probably scrap that and just start fresh there.

What kind of playthrough I’ll do will be a thing I’ll be better able to think about once I make better progress through Tembriel’s playthrough, and identify the areas of the game she doesn’t touch which I’ll want to explore more of with another character.

What platforms are you playing on?

As of the end of September 2022, my Elder Scrolls gameplay action includes the following devices:

  • Nintendo Switch (Skyrim, Special Edition, but now upgraded to Anniversary)
  • PC (Skyrim Anniversary Edition, Morrowind, but that machine is now standing down)
  • Steam Deck (Skyrim Anniversary Edition, Skyrim Together Reborn, Morrowind, Elder Scrolls Online)
  • M1 Mac, native macOS (Elder Scrolls Online)
  • M1 Mac, Parallels, Windows 11 VM (Skyrim Anniversary Edition, will be adding Morrowind soon)

I’d planned to decommission the Switch for Skyrim purposes, but then Nintendo surprised me by releasing the Anniversary Edition for it, finally! So I may actually still do Skyrim runs on it if I specifically want to go completely unmodded. I may try Survival Mode on it. Not sure yet. For now my plan is to do most if not all of my future Skyrim action on the Deck, but perhaps also some on my new M1 Mac.

The PC was an interim measure, just to practice learning about modding and to see if I liked playing on the PC. But my PC laptop is old and stupid*, so it will not serve as a long-term gaming box, at least not for Skyrim, which it can barely play. Further gaming plans with that are likely to involve Morrowind only, since it can actually handle Morrowind pretty well. I may or may not try Oblivion on it too.

(* And by “old and stupid”, I mean, this box is as old as Skyrim itself. It’s a 2012 HP Elitebook Folio 9470m. Its graphics card is an Intel HD 4000. Its CPU is an i7-3687U. Even with 16GB of RAM in it, this thing can barely play Skyrim. It does better with Morrowind, but it’s still not an optimal gaming experience!)

The M1 Mac is a new purchase as of the end of September 2022. I have installed a Windows 11 VM on it for gaming purposes, and my primary use for that right now is Skyrim with mods, so that I can take advantage of having a larger screen than the Deck available, but also a full keyboard.

The VM on my Mac will not run Skyrim Together Reborn, unfortunately, since it’s an ARM build of Windows 11. And the STR Discord advised me they don’t support ARM builds. So all my STR playing is exclusively on my Deck.

Do you plan to play other Elder Scrolls games?

I’ve already dabbled a little with Blades, since I have a history with casual games, and Blades can be played on my Switch as well. But right now, Blades is way less interesting to me than Skyrim or Morrowind, so I haven’t been as invested in going too far with that. Blades kind of strikes me as a dumbed-down version of Skyrim and that’s less interesting to me than the actual Skyrim.

Plus, I have less patience these days for casual games’ tendency to try to upsell you to buy something every time you log in.

Oblivion is on the queue as well, and I’ll probably play that after I finish Tembriel’s playthrough in Morrowind.

I’m keeping a sharp eye on both Skywind and Skyblivion, the efforts to port Morrowind and Oblivion into Skyrim’s engine. I will absolutely be trying both of those whenever they finally release.

I’ve had it suggested to me that I should try Daggerfall, though that’s not a huge priority at the moment. That might however eventually wind up on my ancient PC, as I’m dubious about the chances of it running on Windows 11 in my VM.