Favorite Virtual Worlds: Skyrim.
You have those big, open game worlds in games where you would almost want to buy a house and retire early to enjoy all those beautiful environments. In the section Favorite Virtual Worlds, editor Michel highlights one every month. This time: Skyrim, the game world of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim.
Note: This article contains spoilers about The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim game world.
I have a love-hate relationship with Skyrim. At first, during the release of The Elder Scrolls 5, it didn’t affect me at all, and that hurt. Pain because I was totally into The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivision. That was my first game in the RPG franchise that I played and I had never tasted such freedom in a game before.
I played Oblivion day in, day out for six months, and felt very at home in that game world. I was literally roleplaying it: from location to location on horseback, not by fast travel, buying a house (first in the capital, a small but cozy shack, and then in the gigantic house in Skingrad), every now and then a main or side mission clearing. I was mainly busy with looting caves and reselling that loot so that I could pay for the more expensive houses and their furnishings. In that respect, Oblivion felt a bit like work, but a lot of fun work.
Skyrim didn’t handle me in the same way when the game came out in 2011. I spent a few hours exploring the beginnings of the game world, visiting a small village called Riverwood early in the game, spending time in the adjacent snowy mountains and the barren plains around Whiterun. Something made me just not feel as at home there as I did in Oblivion. Maybe it was the snow, while I’m more of a fan of fanciful forests and tropical beaches, or maybe my personal taste in terms of games had simply changed and I was not happy to spend another few hundred hours in a The Elder Scrolls game. I agreed: Skyrim was never going to swallow me up as Oblivion had.
Last year, the wonders were not over yet. I made a last-ditch effort to delve into the world of Skyrim by purchasing the game for the Switch. And sure enough, everything clicked at last. Maybe it was because my last experience with The Elder Scrolls was years ago, or maybe it was the fact that you can launch games you are playing on the Switch very quickly, but suddenly I was playing Skyrim every day, every free hour I had.
Beautiful game world
Finally, I was able to appreciate Skyrim’s extensive game world for what it was. Sure, those snowy mountains and bare plains in the center of the map were still there, but by finally putting more time into the game, I discovered the huge variety of atmospheric locations that the game has to offer.
There is Falkreath, the mist-immersed village in the middle of a wooded landscape surrounded by vampires. Or what about the polarizing Riften, where you can easily sell your loot on the surface and have conversations in cafes and breweries, but literally under the city is an entire underworld of bleak corridors and the Thieves Guild? My favorite city, however, is probably Solitude. The medieval appearance of the city feels cozy, while much of the city is built over a gigantic bridge towards the Blue Palace.
Little house tree bug
But this wouldn’t be a real The Elder Scrolls experience for me if I didn’t look for a home of my own to decorate to my own taste, a goal to work towards, a reason to pick up all that loot and resell again. In that respect, I play The Elder Scrolls games more like The Sims than an RPG, but that is also the beauty of the franchise: these games leave you completely free.
Since the Switch version of Skyrim is based on the newer edition of the game and therefore all dlc is included, I went to build my own house. For that I chose Lakeview Manor in the Falkreath hold. In my opinion, this is a perfect location for a house in Skyrim: relatively center of the map, with great views and not too strong enemies around.
Here I have built up among the hundreds of missions that Skyrim has through my virtual existence. The house has been expanded with three additional rooms where weapons and books can be placed, terraces to enjoy the setting sun in the evening and the calm lake behind the house, and it is never quiet due to the presence of a private bard , a loyal help and my adopted children. The only thing I am still looking for is a sweet woman who can live with me. Until then, I will continue to slaughter monsters and complete the countless remaining missions, whereby I of course do not resell the most beautiful loot but display them neatly in my beautiful house.
I’ll just admit it: I don’t play The Elder Scrolls games for the thrilling story, missions, or rpg system. I swing them to play virtual house tree bug.
THE FAVORITE VIRTUAL WORLDS SERIAL
09/05 Zelda: Breath of the Wild
12/07 Is another surprise