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 Skyrim. 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 Skyrim 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!
What got you started playing Skyrim?
I didn’t play it when the game originally came out. I do not have a history of being a console gamer in general, so that kept me from playing it when it was originally released. Up till recently, I’ve 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 version of the game are you playing?
My primary Skyrim efforts are on the Special Edition build on the Nintendo Switch. By definition, this means I have the Hearthfire, Dawnguard, and Dragonborn content all available. But I do not have access to the debug console, and I cannot install mods. I’ve found that several longstanding bugs that were fixed on other platforms are not fixed in the Switch build, presumably because they were fixed after the Switch build was released? So I have that challenge as well.
My secondary Skyrim playing is on an old PC laptop that can barely run Skyrim on Windows 10 via Steam, and by barely I mean, I’m lucky if I can make it to 30 fps on interior zones. This version is the Anniversary Edition, with all DLCs and Creation Club content. Additionally, I have the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch installed, and a few others to try to eke out some better performance.
But it’s a very low-end system, dating from 2012, with an Intel HD 4000 graphics card. Since the performance help I’m getting from mods makes the game just barely playable, I’m doing Shenner’s playthrough on that box.
What do you like about the game?
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 when doing a playthrough in French!
What do you not like about the game?
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.
What kinds of characters are your favorites?
After four playthroughs, 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, is even a bit of a minority in the Nord culture of Skyrim, even though she has the advantage of being human.
The College of Winterhold and the Thieves Guild are my favorite factions to play.
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.)
What other playthroughs do you plan to try?
Chances are very high I will be exploring the following:
- 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
- Playing a vampire (which may actually be the same playthrough as the Altmer)
- If I play another human character, it’ll probably be a Redguard or an Imperial
Once I’m able to do mods, 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. 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.
Do you plan to play Skyrim on other platforms?
Yes. I have a Steam Deck on the way, once my wife finally pops off the ordering queue with Valve and is able to put in an order for me. I hope to have that some time later in 2022. At which point I will very much look forward to playing Skyrim on a modern device capable of letting me run mods!
As mentioned above, I do have an old PC that appears to be barely able to run Skyrim. I’m experimenting with it to see if I can improve its performance. See posts about the Shenner Playthrough for further updates on that!
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 is.
I am actively interested in checking out Oblivion or Morrowind. But at the same time, I also know that Skyrim is leaps and bounds ahead of the older Elder Scrolls games graphics-wise. So I’m hoping that once I have the Steam Deck, I’ll be in a position to check out the ongoing fan efforts to port those two games into the Skyrim engine. I’d love to tackle them in a way that’ll present them to me on a graphical par with Skyrim.
And until Skywind and Skyblivion actually come out, chances are high I’ll try out Oblivion and Morrowind on my old PC laptop. Even if it can’t run Skyrim terribly well, it might do better with those older games!