Skyrim Special Edition was recently released. Luckily, it’s a free upgrade for people like myself who own Skyrim on Steam along with every DLC that was released. SE is pretty much like a fresh coat of paint. In fact, it’s even possible that you may not even really notice the visual changes, without them being pointed out directly. This also seems especially true if, like me, you played Skyrim with the High Resolution Texture Pack.

This post is pretty much more focused on Skyrim and not so much about the Special Edition.

I started out playing Skyrim on the PS3 and finished it, including all but one DLC. I did not get Hearthfire on the PS3 because I already owned every available house and wasn’t interested in more, especially ones that I may have to defend. However, when I got the game on Steam, I got it with every DLC and I actually enjoyed Hearthfire more than I thought. It’s only a random occurrence that you’ll fast travel there and a group of bandits or a giant is there for you to kill. It’s really not bad at all.

Hearthfire added three new properties that could be purchased from different jarls. The properties are mostly empty with the exception of an anvil that works as a forge, a drafting table for selecting different parts of the property, and a chest that contains some basic materials, such as clay, iron ingots, and quarried stone to help you get started. You will need to mine more iron, clay, and quarried stone. Luckily, there are some nearby spots that offer some of these. You will also need to visit a lumber yard and purchase lumber, or get friendly with the person who owns it and make your own. Once you get your first main hall done, you can then ask certain NPCs that are followers (not all of them) to become your steward. Then, you can tell them to purchase more materials like lumber and stone or you can use them to purchase decorations, farm animals, a bard, or a carriage. They will then stay on your property and wander around, sometimes mining, which doesn’t seem to actually be useful. I have a steward for each one of my three properties.

Building your new house is relatively simple. It is customizable, but not completely. Each kind of room contains a workbench that will allow you to craft certain things for that particular room. Some things can’t be crafted in every room. For instance, you cannot craft an ore refinery in a bedroom. I did notice that after becoming a vampire, I was able to make a coffin for my cellar.

So, building is easy to do and gathering the necessary materials is easy as well, “if you have the coin.” You may find yourself going back and forth to a merchant for things like iron ingots, which are one of the primary resources you’ll need for building. You’ll need to turn them into nails, hinges, locks, and more.

Since SE came out, I decided to jump back in the game and check it out. I pretty much started the same way I did the other two times I played, as a warrior who specializes in heavy armor and two-handed weapons, more specifically war hammers. When I first played the game on the PS3, I was a Nord. The second time, I chose to be an Imperial, because I had played as one on Oblivion and thought it was cool. I misunderstood the Emperor’s Voice as I thought it charmed people, but instead it calms them. It’s still helpful, but not as useful as I thought.

I have done things a bit differently though. While I have made it to White Run, I have not yet met with the Greybeards. However, I have finished up a lot of the other quests I’ve received. I’ve already become a werewolf via the Companions. I’ve finished with the Thieves Guild, except that I’ve once again decided to keep the Skeleton Key for myself. I’ve finished with the Dark Brotherhood, which is now located in the Dawn Star sanctuary. I’ve also almost finished the vampire missions with Serena. I’ve also collected all the Dragon Priest skulls/helmets that I can at this point along with all but one of the Stones of Barenziah. There are still a few more extra things for me to do and then I’ll head on to meet with the Greybeards. Oh and I’ve become Thane by every jarl and am also the Arch-Mage at the College of Winterfold. So, I’ve done a lot and as far as the main quest goes, I’m only just beginning.

I never used any Skyrim mods, but I finally decided to use two of them with good reason. I found out that it’s nearly impossible to place anything in a display case, so I found a mod to do just that. However, using a mod in the game disables achievements, which I think is dumb. Even disabling the mod did not re-enable achievements. I noticed this as my saved games had a [M] in their name. So I had to start using a mod to enable them. So I now have to run the game using the Nexus Mod Manager and that last mod enabled, but I’m ok with that. I was happy to be able to put things in display cases.

Oh and I’ve married Lydia and adopted two children who live at my Lakeview Manor property. I pretty much don’t use my other houses, well other than Breezehome and my other two Hearthfire properties. Oh and I do have the best horse ever, Shadowmere! Not only do I not have to mount it and it follows me whenever I fast travel, but it also attacks whatever is attacking me. I love it!

Anyway, I just wanted to create this post to start talking about the game. Steam’s telling me I have spent 108 hours playing Skyrim, but Skyrim SE is showing 127 hours. I’m really enjoying it and I look forward to playing more. It is very tempting to play Oblivion again, but I might let that sit a while because I now have so many other games to play (the new Wolfenstein games, all of Dragon Age, and the Borderlands trilogy).

Feel free to join in the Skyrim discussion here, or just read along as I may update this post in the comments section with other things I decide to share during this game play.

Star unselected
D954c245b9b17eb70ef2a7f547d392a9d148df97 full jdodson wrote on 12/07/2016 at 05:09am
I don't think I played Skyrim correctly because during my initial playthough I kept getting wrecked so I dropped the difficulty which made playing the game way easy and also strange. Now that i've played through Fallout 4 I think I understand how Skyrim is supposed to work with armor crafting and upgrades, things I entirely skipped in Skyrim for whatever reason. I mean, I just honestly never noticed that was a thing you could do or maybe just didn't care?

All that said, i'll be coming back to Skyim at some point and I think i'll do better. I found all the story elements and such to be fun, just not the gameplay and how to stay alive, somehow that didn't make sense to me during my initial playthrough.
E2c4cbdd34ed4b63bd34d20e4f5ce108cc7a42e5 full GregoPeck wrote on 12/07/2016 at 06:37am
I remember getting wrecked in the beginning, too, when I first played. Getting the quest to go see the Greybeards is one of the first. If you go up that hill, you'll get attacked by two or three trolls and they'll kick your ass! I remember the first time I tried and they beat the crap out of me. I read that it's good to be at least level 10 when you go. In my game now, I have just gone up there and I am level 40+ with a full set of Legendary Daedric armor and weapons. Those trolls didn't stand a chance against me.

As for crafting, I think I enjoyed it more in Skyrim than Fallout 4. It's much simpler in Skyrim. Fallout 4 gives you tons of options, which just caused me anxiety. Basically, you need to level up your Smithy skill, by making things. Then you can spend your perk points and are able to craft more, better things. You can also upgrade them. A Blacksmith Elixir will let you increase things by 50% for 30 seconds. I was able to do that for my Daedric gear and it's so sweet!
E2c4cbdd34ed4b63bd34d20e4f5ce108cc7a42e5 full GregoPeck wrote on 12/07/2016 at 10:53am
Oh and Jon, one way I leveled my Smithing skill has been to make jewelry. Whenever I find gold or silver, I grab my precious stones and make the most expensive jewelry I can and then sell it. Also, building a house w/ Hearthfire helps out a lot since you have to make nails, hinges, and locks.

As for the beginning of the game and leveling up so you won't get your ass handed to you, I'm not too sure. There are a lot of quests in the game and a good variety of ways to obtain them. This time around, I was headed to join the Imperials before going to White Run, but I ended up going to White Run anyway and have not yet joined the Imperials (or Stormcloaks for that matter). Still, I've never adjusted the difficulty in Skyrim, but I did have to lower it in Fallout 4.
74c46166202d8f4ef1a74e511e278b05.png? cheerful ghost Travis wrote on 12/07/2016 at 10:12pm
You used to be able to level up smithing by spamming iron daggers, but they patched that to make low level crafts give you diminishing returns. That was a quick way to get it higher.

One thing I miss from Oblivion is the difficulty slider, so you could really drill into how difficult you wanted it. It wasn't 4 or 5 difficulty choices, it was 100 or so (depending on how many positions the slider had of course).
E2c4cbdd34ed4b63bd34d20e4f5ce108cc7a42e5 full GregoPeck wrote on 12/10/2016 at 09:31pm
While playing this game again, I've thought about writing a review on Steam. Pretty much my main thought is that it's a fantastic game, but it's not perfect. There are bugs, many of them, which is sad for a AAA game. Since I've run into a few of them that I couldn't resolve with the command console, I've decided to use another mod, the unofficial patch. Luckily, there's a version that works with SE.

The amount of bugs in this game is also having me think about a difference between AAA and Early Access games, a topic I'm thinking about creating in our forums section. Basically, I think it's assumed that AAA developers have a QA team to squash almost all of the bugs, but Early Access games have a community to help them find bugs.

Also, @Jon, I'm wondering what kind of character you played as. What race and weapon/armor specialization did you go for? I recently watched a video regarding a part of the game showing off a different decision than the one I had made at the time. The player was using a Khajiit and I thought it was interesting watching a Khajiit use Shouts.
D954c245b9b17eb70ef2a7f547d392a9d148df97 full jdodson wrote on 12/11/2016 at 12:54am
I don't remember. My character was female and that's all I remember. I wanted her to be primarily a magic user but that didn't work out too well.
E2c4cbdd34ed4b63bd34d20e4f5ce108cc7a42e5 full GregoPeck wrote on 12/11/2016 at 05:23am
It would be cool to see and hear a female using Shouts.
74c46166202d8f4ef1a74e511e278b05.png? cheerful ghost Travis wrote on 12/11/2016 at 06:58am
"...see and hear a female using shouts."

Looks like Quark joined CG!

Youtube is your savior here:

As for the QA, Bethesda's engines are alway laden with these kinds of bugs. Combine their upgrade->fix->upgrade->fix methods (at some levels, Fallout 4 is still using the Morrowind engine, even though it's obviously been highly upgraded since and has had massive chunks added/removed/replaced over the years), the fact that it started off buggy before that, the weird physics of the engine, and the sheer number of possibilities, and there's no way QA is going to catch all of them.

HOWEVER there were some common-ish bugs from Skyrim that still haven't been fixed in Skyrim SE.

This is still way better than Bethesda's PS3 offerings though, which would crash constantly.

One thing that helps to keep in mind is that Bethesda was AAA-lite, in a sense, until recently. Oblivion is when they started raking in money, and then doubly so with Fallout 3. Skyrim was their first game after expanding operations significantly, and it really shows. Fallout 4 is their second one, and you can tell that while there are bugs in it, there are far fewer than Skyrim.

So I imagine (though I have no evidence for this) that they are getting used to doing things with a budget and getting in good QA, and so on. That's not an excuse but it's something.
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