The Elder Scrolls is quite possibly my favorite game series. Each game feels different from the previous entry and always feels special. While it most likely will be awhile before The Elder Scrolls VI is announced I just wanted to take the time to create a list of the ten things I would like to see in the next game. The list is in no particular order, just numbered for convenience. Also, for the list, I am only using Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim as examples. Reason being is because those are the only Elder Scroll games I’ve played and because for the most part when people think of The Elder Scrolls they picture one of those three games.
1. Cites and Towns
I am a huge fan of cites in video games, I just love being able to explore them to try and find as secrets as I can and I enjoy seeing the different architecture of each building, In fact, the first thing I did when I left the Imperial City sewers for the first time was headed off to the first city I could see and that was the Imperial City. I loved exploring each of the districts, gambling at the arena or even completing in Arena matches to become the grand champion, and I enjoyed seeing all the different races living in the city. The cites in Oblivion were large and filled with exciting quests to find. Each city felt different than the previous one which made it, even more, exciting to explore each one.
Cites in Skyrim, however, took a bit of a downgrade. There were only two cities in Skyrim that I had enjoyed exploring and those cites were Solitude and Markarth. Even then when compared to the cites in Oblivion and Morrowind, both cities were small and didn’t have as much to explore. Besides the two cites mentioned the main cities in Skyrim felt more like small towns than cities.
What I would like to see in the next Elder Scrolls game is larger main cities with smaller villages to find when out exploring whichever province the next game is set in. I want there to be a city where you can spot the buildings from miles away, and once you get closer to that city it looks like a heavily populated city, that could hold many secrets. Cites in the next game shouldn’t just be something that you go to sell or buy goods from the merchants or because you need to go there to complete a quest. Players should want to go there not just for those needs but to explore them as well.
2. Better Role-playing
At its heart, The Elder Scrolls is a role-playing game. However, most of the role-playing comes from combat. What I’d like to see in The Elder Scrolls 6 is a bigger focus on non-combat role-playing. Let’s say you are a player who loves Alchemy. You know which ingredients you will need to create powerful potions that will sell for a lot of money. So, you decide to convert your home into an alchemy store. Starting off you’d have to actually gather your ingredients out in the wilderness and once you start making enough coin you could even hire the worker to do this for you. You could even do the same for smithing. I just would like more options for those who want an alternative to combat.
3. Classes and Attributes
Removing classes and attributes in Skyrim was something that I could never find the reasoning to why they did this. I felt that the classes and attributes added more depth to creating your character. You had to be careful when upgrading certain attributes. If you upgraded the wrong attribute it could possibly ruin your character making you significantly less powerful than enemies. Skyrim was more forgiving. It eliminated the class system and instead of focusing on major and minor skills to level up; now any skill would affect your main level and if you wanted to switch from archery to two-handed weapons in the middle of the game it was fairly easy to do. Now while you could switch your play style in Morrowind and Oblivion this was a lot harder to do.
In Morrowind, if you didn’t have two-handed weapons as a major or minor skill and then if you started to level that skill, it would have zero effect on your actual character level. This was also the case with Oblivion. Then if you were focusing a little much on two-handed weaponry and weren’t leveling up archery, you would start to notice that enemies were stronger and your character really wasn’t getting any better.
What I’d like to see return is the random chance of skill to not be successful in whatever action you were trying to do. In Morrowind there was always the chance that swinging a melee weapon could miss, or brewing a potion could fail, your arrow could miss even with the crosshair directly on the on the enemy and casting a spell could fail as well. This made Morrowind feel like a tabletop RPG. Now, I don’t think they should have this system for melee weapons or archery. It just doesn’t make sense that a sword would miss when you are inches from your opponent. I feel that this system should be used for alchemy and magic. To me, it just makes sense that a mage even one that is powerful could fail at casting a spell, especially if they are trying to cast a powerful spell. Same with an alchemist. There should always be that chance that chance that potion may not turn out. The chance just all comes down to how you build your character. The stronger you become the better your chances of casting that spell or brewing a potion would become.
I also wouldn’t mind seeing the lockpicking mini-game being removed as well. To me, the lockpicking mini-game was more about player skill and not how you built your character. Sure, the better your lockpicking skill is the easier locking picking would be, but you could still open a master lock at a low level. You might chew through half of your picks, but you could still open it. With Morrowind, lockpicking was all about your character’s skill not if you pass a mini-game. Try and open a master lock with only a lockpicking skill of 20, then you’re most likely not going to open it.
By bringing back classes and attributes, and having the chance that an action may fail based on how you built your character, I feel that The Elder Scrolls VI could return to it traditional RPG roots.
4. Improved Melee Combat
When it comes to which combat play style I choose in an Elder Scrolls game, I typically go with a ranged playstyle and this comes down because I always found melee combat in The Elder Scrolls games to have a rather clunky feeling to it at times, It just felt like any melee weapon that used had no weight to them. What I would like to see is for the weapons to have more weight to them and what I mean by that is I want a sword to actually feel and act like a sword during combat. I would like to see swords ricochet off of one another would both opponents swing their swords. I’d also like to see more decapitations with swords. Swords should be taking off a leg or an arm occasionally. I feel by adding both of these features melee combat would actually start feeling less clunky and more like a real melee weapon.
5. Voice Acting
The voice acting in The Elder Scrolls game for the most has normally been great, but the one issue I’ve always had is hearing the same voices over and over again. It’s probably the worse in Oblivion where you can see two citizens talking to each other with the same exact voice. It felt like they were just having a conversation with themselves and not with another person.in Skyrim every guard had the same exact voice. Now, I get that The Elder Scrolls are big games with lots of NPCs but The Witcher 3 is also a big open-world game with lots of NPCs, but it doesn’t repeat voices and if it does it’s just for regular citizens roaming the cities, not characters that you can talk to and interact with. There’s really no excuse in The Elder Scrolls VI to make sure that have characters has their own unique voice.
6. Survival Mode
Now while survival mode has already been available in Skyrim through mods and now through Bethesda’s Creation Club, but I want this mode to be in The Elder Scrolls VI from lunch. Survival mode not only makes the game harder but make the player feel more immersed in the game world.
Personally, I’d like the survival mechanics to feel a little more realistic. One of my biggest gripes with survival games that include having to take care of your basic human needs is that they focus on these mechanics a little too much. It just feels that every few minutes you’re having to eat, drink, or sleep. It feels like your character is eating and burning over two thousand calories every minute. This was especially noticeable in Fallout 4 and Skrim. To be a survival mode should be about having to micromanage your levels of hungry, thirst, and how tired you are constantly. These basic needs should still feel important, but there are other things that contribute to your survival.
One great thing about Skyrim’s survival mode came from its climate. With the temperature ranging from chilly to freezing, you had to make sure that your character was staying warm. Add in the fact that fast travel was disabled, you’d had to actually prepare for a long journey. Mapping out if you’d be okay, not taking fur armor with you to keep you warm. Climate survival really can work depending on where the next Elder Scrolls game takes place. A province like Hammerfell could benefit from this type of survival since the province is mostly a wide-open desert. Instead of having to manage coldness, you’d instead have to manage how hot your character becomes, or trying to keep your character hydrated due to the heat. Basically what I want to see in The Elder Scrolls is a bigger and better survival mode.
7. Weapon and Armor Durability
This was something else that always made me question why it was taken out from Skyrim, especially since smithing was a skill now. You could make your own weapons and armor but for some reason, durability was taken out. I really don’t get why they did this. Weapons and armor will degrade over time, especially when being used a lot. I personally would like to see weapon durability make a return, unlike Morrowind and Oblivion I don’t want to see a message saying my weapon or armor is damaged; I actually want to see it damaged. There should be dents in the armor, a sword could even shatter in your hand and the bowstring could snap. The Elder Scrolls VI should offer visual ways of knowing your gear is damaged not just with a message.
The continent of Tamriel is filled with both new and ancient magic with each race having a different view of those who use magic. Besides playing as an archer, being a mage is one of my favorite ways to play an Elder Scrolls game. There’s just so many combinations that you can use magic with. You can decide to go as a pure mage. Your knowledge of magic is vast and can use it for both offense and defense. You can decide to go with a battle-mage. Equipping a heavy mace in one hand and a powerful spell in the other. You can use the power of illusion to corrupt the minds of Tamriel to become a deadly assassin.
Again, the possibilities with magic are almost endless, however, I feel that there is still much that can be done. Skyrim for me was a step backwards in terms of magic, sure the visuals when it came to spells were amazing and it was great that you could dual wield magic or even have a one-handed weapon in one hand and a spell in the other; but in terms of the number of spells and the fact that the ability to create spells was removed.
One feature that I was disappointed that wasn’t in Skyrim was being able to create your own spells. Now, Skyrim did allow you to create spell books with certain materials, but this system was severely limited when compared to what Morrowind and Oblivion had to offer. I spent countless hours making spells and then finding citizens around the Imperial City to test my spells on. Skyrim desperately needed spell making in the game since it lacked in creative spells and the number of spells the previous two games had to offer.
Let’s looks at the Conjuration school. A school that I feel has taken the biggest hit in the number of spells. Both Morrowind and Oblivion had up to 30 different Conjuration spells. Both games allowed you to conjure armor, weapons, and creatures. Skyrim only had 25 spells and most of the conjurations you could do was creatures. You couldn’t conjure armor and the only weapons you could conjure was a bound bow, sword, and battleax. I know there’s the saying of quality over quantity but Morrowind and Oblivion beat Skyrim in both terms. This isn’t just with conjuration either. There were other fun spells like telekinesis, opening locks with a spell, and levitating. All of these spells gave playing as a mage more variety and made the game a lot more fun. I could go on all for the rest of the article just talking about magic but I think it’s time to move on.
The Elder Scrolls have always had a rather simplistic way of getting characters to like you. Normally it was just by doing something for them and then they would have a positive view of you, but making them hate was just as simply trying to offer them a bribe. Citizens also really didn’t react to your accomplishments. Sure, in Skyrim they would recognize you as the Dragonborn but would fail to recognize anything else you did. It didn’t matter if you had helped the Stormcloacks or the Imperials. Neither faction really would react at all. Sometimes if dressed in Imperial armor a guard would call you an Imperial spy but that was about it.
Personally, I’d like to see something like the reputation system from Fallout: New Vegas. Gaining fame or becoming a villain would come down to who you choose to help and don’t help, which faction you choose to join, and if you just randomly decide to go around killing people. You could track which cities like or don’t like you and citizens would react depending on what your status with the city is like.
Racial reputation would be an interesting feature to add in as well. To me, this was a huge missed opportunity in Skyrim. During the timeline in Skyrim, the province was in a civil war between the Stormcloaks the Imperials, all because the Nords felt that their lively hood was being ruined since they could no longer worship Talos all thanks to the Thalmor. The Stormcloaks also believed that Nords were the only race to live in Skrim, they had a severe hatred for any race that wasn’t Nord. However, this didn’t stop my Dark Elf character from being able to join the Stormcloaks. In fact, no Nord in Windhelm would say anything about the fact that I was Dark Elf even though Dark Elves were treated horribly in Windhelm.
What I would like to see some NPCs treating you differently if you play as a race they don’t like. Let’s say you walk into an alchemy store that is run by a High Elf and you want to sell or buy some potions but since you are playing as a Dark Elf and this particular High Elf doesn’t like Dark Elves he won’t sell you anything or accept your goods. Maybe he even threatens to call the guards if you keep coming into his shop. There’s a lot more they could do with this and I feel that this would make playing as other races for different playthroughs have more meaning so you can see how different NPCs react to you.
10. Factions need an upgrade
Joining a faction in The Elder Scroll is always filled with pros. You normally get free stuff, plenty of side quests to complete, and the main questline as well. One of the issues I’ve always had with the factions is being able to join multiple factions or even all of them. The reason for this comes down to the morals of each faction. While the Dark Brotherhood and the Thieves Guild are all criminals, they both have different rules associated with being part of them. The Thieves Guild are simply that thieves, they aren’t killers. Every mission in the Dark Brotherhood involves assassinations, so to me, it just makes sense that someone who is a part of the Thieves Guild would want to be in the Dark Brotherhood, it would go against everything their guild stands for.
What I’d also like to see is if the Dark Brotherhood and Thieves had some mystery with them again. I remember in Oblivion seeing posters around the Imperial City around someone known as the Gray Fox. Asking citizens around the city I would get responses saying that he was the leader of the Thieves Guild. Eventually, I got a letter to meet in a location at midnight. Or if you can get on the good side of a begger they’ll tell you location you need to go to. Once at the location, I was given the opportunity to join the Thieves Guild but had to compete with a few others who wanted to join as well. With Skyrim as you soon as walk into Riften and enter the marketplace Brynjolf will start talking to about needing help with a job, saying that you haven’t earned any of the gold you are carrying honestly (even if you haven’t stolen any gold or you got your gold through honest means.) After completing the job, you can then join the Thieves.
The Dark Brotherhood does the same thing as well. You can hear citizens talking about the Aretino boy in Windhelm trying to contact the Dark Brotherhood by performing the Black Sacrament. Upon going to his home, the boy will ask you to kill Grelod the Kind. After killing her and returning the next time you sleep you will wake up in a shack and be forced to kill one of three people. Upon this, you get to join the Dark Brotherhood. In Oblivion you had to actually kill an innocent before even getting the chance to join.
Both the Brotherhood and the Thieves were stripped of the mystery and investigation of joining one of these two factions, making it simple to join them. Even joining the mage guild or now known as the College of Winterhold. All you had to do is cast one spell and you’re in. Oblivion you had to travel to each mage guild and get a recommendation from them. Once you did that you are then an official member of the mage guild.
Faction quests in Skyrim were boring and completely forgettable. Really the only quest I can remember was when you have to kill Vittoria Vici during her wedding. Really that was the only mission out of all the faction quests I can actually remember. When compared to Oblivion. I can remember having to sneak in the Imperial Palace, making sure to avoid any guards so that you can steal an Elder Scroll. In the Dark Brotherhood, one of my favorite quests had you locked in a house the entire time where the goal was to kill five targets, the catch is you have to make sure no one sees you kill them. I could go on all day on the faction quests I can remember from Oblivion, but that will make this article a little too long.
Basically, when it comes to factions I want to see more memorable quests in the next game and I would like to either be restricted to be only allowed to join one faction or at least have consequences for joining a faction that goes against another’s rules.
Again I could go on all day about the different things I’d like in the next Elder Scrolls game but I feel that listing 10 things is a great start. With the next game most likely not coming out for a few more years, I’ll probably end up making a separate article listing other things I’d like to see.