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You’re Playing Skyrim Wrong

The ability to fast travel is a key feature in open-world games, and Skyrim is no exception. Fast-traveling in Skyrim, as in Bethesda’s modern Fallout games, is considerably more flexible than other open-world titles, which only allow the player to certain dedicated fast-travel spots. Rather than following this model, Skyrim allows players to effectively fast-travel to any location that they discover. The game marks just about every structure or landmark as a discovered location, which results in countless fast-travel footholds. Players can even bypass restrictions like Skyrim‘s over-encumbered fast travel rule, making it easier than ever to jump around the map.

This convenient system has a drawback – it can make discovery and exploration rote and mundane. Skyrim players would be better served traveling across the scenic map directly, as this approach allows for more organic exploration and a higher degree of immersion. It makes sense for players to want to get straight into the interesting parts of the game without wasting time, but the density and richness of Skyrim‘s world make it so that wandering will result in regular discoveries that the player would not have made otherwise.

Of course, fast travel is an invaluable tool in a game as sprawling as Skyrim, and players shouldn’t feel pressured to totally excise it from their future playthroughs. However, players can limit themselves by only using major cities like Whiterun, Solitude, and Riften as fast travel “anchors” rather than using all of Skyrim‘s many unique locations as fast travel points. Through this method, players can retain some of the convenience of fast travel without reducing the game to a series of loading screens and perfunctory tasks, which is what can occur by using traditional, unrestricted fast travel.

The Main Quest Of Skyrim Should Take A Back Seat

Fast travel can make Skyrim more linear and restrictive, but following the main questline of the game can exacerbate this issue. To be fair, the plot of the main quest does grab the attention from the outset; after escaping from the opening dragon attack in Helgen, players may understandably feel somewhat overwhelmed or aimless, especially those who are less familiar with open-world games. Skyrim offers an immediate solution to this overwhelmed feeling by giving players a clear task that branches into the many other tasks of the main quest. Although this merging of narrative and game design is one of the elements that makes Skyrim among the most immersive games to explore, players who reject the direction of this primary quest will be better off for it.

Skyrim has exceptional quest design, and the content of its countless side quests are, in some ways, much more interesting than the main story. By prioritizing these side missions over the main quest chain, players can access a greater diversity of experiences. Moreover, this approach goes a long way towards narrative immersion and building a stronger role-playing adventure; the main quest follows the story of the Dragonborn, who has to overcome an existential, evil threat through willpower and bravery. The setup is engaging enough, but this tale of heroism clashes with other decisions the player can make, such as joining Skyrim‘s Dark Brotherhood or becoming a thieving scoundrel – character archetypes who are unlikely to engage in such heroics. One of the best parts of Skyrim is the opportunity for the player to create their own stories, which can be restricted through the more traditional fantasy narrative of the main quest.

Just like the fast travel trick, this adjustment can be made quite easily, as it just comes down to the decisions of the individual player. However, mods can assist those looking to approach Skyrim with this playstyle. There are countless “quick start” mods that let the player hop into a new game without the lengthy Helgen introduction that sets them on the path to becoming the legendary Dragonborn. Again, these mods are non-essential, but they can go a long way for anyone looking to start the game with a blank slate, without the baggage of the main quest.

Skyrim offers a politically fraught, magical, exciting world, and players should try their best to get the most out of exploring it. Fans of fantasy stories and RPGs will likely get some degree of enjoyment out of the game regardless of the approach that they choose, but placing a heavier emphasis on immersion and expressive, open-ended role-playing can elevate the experience. For those that choose to engage with the game in this way, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim could continue to provide worthwhile gaming adventures for years to come.


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You’re Playing Skyrim Wrong

The ability to fast travel is a key feature in open-world games, and Skyrim is no exception. Fast-traveling in Skyrim, as in Bethesda’s modern Fallout games, is considerably more flexible than other open-world titles, which only allow the player to certain dedicated fast-travel spots. Rather than following this model, Skyrim allows players to effectively fast-travel to any location that they discover. The game marks just about every structure or landmark as a discovered location, which results in countless fast-travel footholds. Players can even bypass restrictions like Skyrim‘s over-encumbered fast travel rule, making it easier than ever to jump around the map.

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This convenient system has a drawback – it can make discovery and exploration rote and mundane. Skyrim players would be better served traveling across the scenic map directly, as this approach allows for more organic exploration and a higher degree of immersion. It makes sense for players to want to get straight into the interesting parts of the game without wasting time, but the density and richness of Skyrim‘s world make it so that wandering will result in regular discoveries that the player would not have made otherwise.
Of course, fast travel is an invaluable tool in a game as sprawling as Skyrim, and players shouldn’t feel pressured to totally excise it from their future playthroughs. However, players can limit themselves by only using major cities like Whiterun, Solitude, and Riften as fast travel “anchors” rather than using all of Skyrim‘s many unique locations as fast travel points. Through this method, players can retain some of the convenience of fast travel without reducing the game to a series of loading screens and perfunctory tasks, which is what can occur by using traditional, unrestricted fast travel.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr3’); });

The Main Quest Of Skyrim Should Take A Back Seat

Fast travel can make Skyrim more linear and restrictive, but following the main questline of the game can exacerbate this issue. To be fair, the plot of the main quest does grab the attention from the outset; after escaping from the opening dragon attack in Helgen, players may understandably feel somewhat overwhelmed or aimless, especially those who are less familiar with open-world games. Skyrim offers an immediate solution to this overwhelmed feeling by giving players a clear task that branches into the many other tasks of the main quest. Although this merging of narrative and game design is one of the elements that makes Skyrim among the most immersive games to explore, players who reject the direction of this primary quest will be better off for it.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr4’); });

Skyrim has exceptional quest design, and the content of its countless side quests are, in some ways, much more interesting than the main story. By prioritizing these side missions over the main quest chain, players can access a greater diversity of experiences. Moreover, this approach goes a long way towards narrative immersion and building a stronger role-playing adventure; the main quest follows the story of the Dragonborn, who has to overcome an existential, evil threat through willpower and bravery. The setup is engaging enough, but this tale of heroism clashes with other decisions the player can make, such as joining Skyrim‘s Dark Brotherhood or becoming a thieving scoundrel – character archetypes who are unlikely to engage in such heroics. One of the best parts of Skyrim is the opportunity for the player to create their own stories, which can be restricted through the more traditional fantasy narrative of the main quest.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr5’); });

Just like the fast travel trick, this adjustment can be made quite easily, as it just comes down to the decisions of the individual player. However, mods can assist those looking to approach Skyrim with this playstyle. There are countless “quick start” mods that let the player hop into a new game without the lengthy Helgen introduction that sets them on the path to becoming the legendary Dragonborn. Again, these mods are non-essential, but they can go a long way for anyone looking to start the game with a blank slate, without the baggage of the main quest.
Skyrim offers a politically fraught, magical, exciting world, and players should try their best to get the most out of exploring it. Fans of fantasy stories and RPGs will likely get some degree of enjoyment out of the game regardless of the approach that they choose, but placing a heavier emphasis on immersion and expressive, open-ended role-playing can elevate the experience. For those that choose to engage with the game in this way, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim could continue to provide worthwhile gaming adventures for years to come.

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