Let's speculate on the next TES game, because we can.

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HoonDing
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Let's speculate on the next TES game, because we can.

Postby HoonDing » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:02 am

I mean, it's not like they're not going to continue a franchise that's only gotten more successful with each game.

I'm hoping for a game set in Hammerfell, myself. As someone who lives in a desert, I can tell you right away that "desert landscape" =/= "nothing but sand". It's already pretty much guaranteed that we'll see tropical coasts, but it's no stretch of the imagination to expect savannah and verdant grasslands along the border with Cyrodiil, all manner of mountain ranges and canyons within the western interior, and even cold mountains and evergreen forests along the border to Skyrim.

It would also be awesome to see the regional difficulty at play; all of the settlements are on the edges of the map. I'm hoping that the Alik'r Desert represents an "extreme danger" part of the map, similar to Red Mountain of Vvardenfell or Downtown D.C. in Fallout 3's Capital Wasteland.

On gameplay, it would be pretty cool to see the sword-singing described in lore as a game mechanic, I just hope it doesn't end up too similar to the Thu'um. Legend has it that a war of sword-singers destroyed the continent of Yokuda, so there's your cataclysmic event to base the plot around.

The Thalmor may or may not be involved, but I have a feeling the Dominion will be dealt with in-between games, and the next game's story will be set in the aftermath of it. I've got confidence that the Dominion will fall, but I also believe that the Empire will fall as well. The Septim dynasty is over, the eastern provinces and Hammerfell have straight-up seceded, the Aldmeri Dominion has absorbed Valenwood and Elsweyr, and Skyrim's embroiled in a civil war (I doubt Ulfric nor Elisif will be crowned High King/Queen).

And this is unrelated to my personal predictions, but in defense of Elsweyr, the several sub-races of Khajiit means that there are plenty of human-looking Khajiit to populate the area, and not all of the Khajiit races need to be playable. Hell, with some cleverness you could have one playable race that's customizable enough to represent the most humanoid (and catman) sub-races, and then keep the rest as non-playable races or creatures.
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Re: Let's speculate on the next TES game, because we can.

Postby Dubba_D » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:31 pm

HoonDing wrote:On gameplay, it would be pretty cool to see the sword-singing described in lore as a game mechanic, I just hope it doesn't end up too similar to the Thu'um. Legend has it that a war of sword-singers destroyed the continent of Yokuda, so there's your cataclysmic event to base the plot around.


In terms of a cataclysmic event, I'd suggest something that could be Thalmor-intrusive. Why just this morning, I found a piece of c0da on the Bethsoft forums entitled "A Thalmor Sonata: The Last War" and it involved a little something like this:
“Where Thalmor geneticists first unleashed their ancestral-negation algorithms, sterilizing an entire generation. They wiped out the Ra’gada within a century without lifting their blades.” He looked down at his boots. “They wanted revenge for the Great War.”
While this may not happen quite yet, I think if we ever see Hammerfell, and Todd Howard gets to see this, we might see some more science-fantasy element come into play in the series. The phrase "Ancestral-negation algorithms" probably suggest the removal of Redguard ancestory via bio-magickal means. What do you think?
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Re: Let's speculate on the next TES game, because we can.

Postby Gez » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:59 pm

HoonDing wrote:The Thalmor may or may not be involved, but I have a feeling the Dominion will be dealt with in-between games, and the next game's story will be set in the aftermath of it.

That'd be very disappointing. All that build-up to have them brushed under the carpet?

Plus it would be too much like Skyrim again. Arena, Daggerfall, Morrowind, and Oblivion tell about the last years of the reign of the last emperor of the third era. The broad narrative of these games is the fall of the empire of men. They all follow closely, just a few years in between each.

Then Skyrim jumps two centuries ahead. The Septim empire is no more; its successor state is a failure, and the ascension of the Thalmor is largely responsible for this. If the first four games are about the decline of a just empire, I speculate we'll have a new series, starting with Skyrim, about the rise of an unjust one. The situation will become more and more desperate, until it becomes time to cheat the end of the world once again by toppling the Thalmor tyranny.

And it would be very anticlimactic if that's something that isn't done by an anonymous, ambiguously-gendered, legendary hero of uncertain lineage.

Oh yeah, cheating the end of the world. A lot of MK literature is about how Nirn in its present kalpa is something that was meant to have been destroyed long ago, and that has outlived its expected life span. There's always some interference. Oblivion would have destroyed it by conquest, absorbing Mundus into Oblivion and unmaking it. Skyrim would have destroyed it by devouring, with Alduin the World-Eater becoming powerful enough to, well, eat the world. And there's got to be another world-destroying threat in the next game as well. What will it be, since demons and dragons are done already? Well, why not wizards. If you've played the Mages Guild questline in Skyrim, you know the Thalmor want to unmake the world, and one of them thought he could have done so with the Eye of Magnus. Elves have this view that the world is a trap, a prison, and that their material existence prevents them from being God. Undoing the world is the Thalmor's probable endgame. So maybe not for TES6, but I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up being the plot in TES7 or TES8.
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Re: Let's speculate on the next TES game, because we can.

Postby HoonDing » Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:51 pm

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see the Aldmeri Dominion heavily involved in the plot of the next game, I just think the new political background for TESVI will be more reminiscent of the 2nd Era chaos, where there isn't an Empire and the provinces are plagued with petty squabbles and infighting. It's already a lot like that in Skyrim; the current Empire is a goddamn shambles, and after certain plot events in Skyrim, it's not on it's way to recovery.

If the previous games were about the fall of an Empire, it would be interesting if we saw the rise of a new Empire; a race between the Thalmor and other parties towards powers that could either destroy or conquer Tamriel. I'm not sure how much I buy my own speculation on this, though.

Divine catastrophes aside, I'm hoping for a more politically charged plot in the next game. Arena through Morrowind didn't deal with universe-shattering cataclysms; Daggerfall and Morrowind were largely the Emperor's attempts at uniting regions that were never successfully integrated into the Empire before (and cleaning up the mess Jagar Tharn made). Those kinds of politics makes for a really compelling setting; something Oblivion sorely lacked and Skyrim mostly recovered with the Civil War. Of course, I'm sure there's going to be a terrifying arcane threat involved, and hopefully the Thalmor will be the evil force vying for control over it, or responsible for it.
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Re: Let's speculate on the next TES game, because we can.

Postby Gez » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:34 pm

HoonDing wrote:Divine catastrophes aside, I'm hoping for a more politically charged plot in the next game. Arena through Morrowind didn't deal with universe-shattering cataclysms; Daggerfall and Morrowind were largely the Emperor's attempts at uniting regions that were never successfully integrated into the Empire before (and cleaning up the mess Jagar Tharn made).

Well, Daggerfall did result in unleashing a kaiju golem that reshaped the entire region, and caused the Warp in the West; and Morrowind would have had all of Tamriel turned into mutant zombies enthralled by a disease madgod living in a volcano if Dagoth Ur hadn't been stopped. So there were divine catastrophes both caused and averted, in addition to the political maneuvering.
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Re: Let's speculate on the next TES game, because we can.

Postby Dubba_D » Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:16 am

Gez wrote:
HoonDing wrote:Divine catastrophes aside, I'm hoping for a more politically charged plot in the next game. Arena through Morrowind didn't deal with universe-shattering cataclysms; Daggerfall and Morrowind were largely the Emperor's attempts at uniting regions that were never successfully integrated into the Empire before (and cleaning up the mess Jagar Tharn made).

Well, Daggerfall did result in unleashing a kaiju golem that reshaped the entire region, and caused the Warp in the West; and Morrowind would have had all of Tamriel turned into mutant zombies enthralled by a disease madgod living in a volcano if Dagoth Ur hadn't been stopped. So there were divine catastrophes both caused and averted, in addition to the political maneuvering.

I believe the key here is to integrate political conflict with cosmological catastrophe while keeping an air of mystery to the whole plot. Morrowind did this wonderfully. The whole plot in a nutshell was about a present being controlled by the past, and the past has returned to haunt the present.

The player is never directly told what the situation is, or even a small summary or an event. You're fresh off the boat, and simply told to deliver a package to a skooma addict. You could just store that letter somewhere and go about you're merry way, only overhearing tidbits of lore that involve the plot. Really, even discovering that the addict was a Blades agent and you're to be a Blades Novice doesn't really spark as much interest as later on in the story.

Daggerfall, like Morrowind, never tells you what exactly the plot is...well, ok, maybe King Lysandus and the letter could be considered a hand-fed plot, never really showed or told you anything about the Numidium or the political power struggle in the Iliac Bay Region. Only after a few weeks are you informed by a blades agent that you're thrust into the mystery of Lysandus's murder.

Somewhere in an interview, I heard that the current method of plot-driving is credited due to a complaint that players didn't really know what they were to do about the main quest. They felt little incentive to find anything because they weren't given a direct objective to complete. This is somewhat aggravating to me, because it takes away a sense of mystery that Daggerfall and Morrowind had.

I honestly don't know what else to say :(
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Re: Let's speculate on the next TES game, because we can.

Postby Dubba_D » Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:36 am

Semi-edit: This post was underway until I accidently pressed Ctrl-W and ruined my paragraphs. So I'm gonna make this quick.

If you wanna bring back Degradation, make it both reasonable and incentivizing. Only damage our weapons and armor if they are outright abused. For example, bladed weapons are meant to fight unarmored foes, and shouldn't take damage when hitting unarmored or lightly-armored foes, but degrade them when they hit heavily-armored foes or if you're hitting random objects like walls for some reason. Armor should not take damage if it's threshold is not penetrated, but if otherwise...well, you get the idea.

And if our weapons/armor are broken, break it into components so we can either use a hammer to repair it by grade, not HP (i.e. Morrowind/Oblivion), or take it to a smelter/tanning rack to get back some of the components. Not only that, but improving our weapons/armors should come with a degradation element.

Here's a little illustration to show what I mean

0%=Broken
25%=Crude
50%=Shoddy
75%=Worn
100%=New
125%=Fine
150%=(I forget what this tier was called in Skyrim)
175%=Exquisite
200%=Legendary

Think of a mix between Daggerfall and Skyrim, as well as the Loot & Degradation mod for Skyrim. A new or bought weapon does full damage, a damaged one, say grade "Shoddy" does only 50%, but grade "Legendary does 200%. A simple system that's less tedious and rewards you for investing in a Smithing skill

Yes, integrate it with the Smithing skill, and only improve level progression a very small amount, and the repair/improving rate increases as your skill rises, but higher grades are only unlocked by achieving certain level milestones.

There, an idea :D
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Re: Let's speculate on the next TES game, because we can.

Postby HoonDing » Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:53 pm

Dubba_D wrote:Somewhere in an interview, I heard that the current method of plot-driving is credited due to a complaint that players didn't really know what they were to do about the main quest. They felt little incentive to find anything because they weren't given a direct objective to complete. This is somewhat aggravating to me, because it takes away a sense of mystery that Daggerfall and Morrowind had.

I honestly don't know what else to say :(


Hah! The funny thing about that is, I didn't like the sense of urgency in the main quests for Oblivion and Skyrim! I never felt there was an appropriate time to take a break and do some side-questing. (which also became a problem with Skyrim's faction questlines, which wouldn't be so damn short if you could do some radiant and side-quests inbetween)

Dragons and the Oblivion Crisis were pretty cut and dry; a terrible crisis is threatening the land, go kill it. Daggerfall's plotline really didn't have any looming threat at all; you were just doing odd jobs in exchange for information, and then you get caught up in a bidding war over the Totem. Morrowind's was a mix in between; there was a looming threat, but the main quest goes from collecting information to fulfilling a prophecy to finally dealing with the threat.

There's got to be some way to keep the main quest "engaging" and still give room for that sense of mystery. Perhaps a large, blatant conflict that's got tons of clandestine machinations and implications. Shit's getting real and it has to be dealt with, but you don't necessarily know why it's happening, or you think you do and you're completely wrong.

Hell, a war with the Dominion could achieve that. There's the immediate threat of, oh hey, a war, but then you've got all kinds of espionage, and investigations into powerful supernatural forces that both sides could use to gain an edge in the war, and maybe accidentally raze a city or two. If the game were set on the Summerset Isles, you could even have an underground resistance sort of group.

On the subject of location, I'm pretty optimistic. The closest region to "generic medieval fantasy" that still hasn't been explored is High Rock, and I'd be surprised if they went there before Hammerfell or Summerset, and if they do stage the next game in Elsweyr, Valenwood, or Black Marsh, I'll be pleasantly surprised. I'm still holding out for Hammerfell, though, if only because of my fascination with Redguard culture (if only the Redguard game was playable on modern machines) and my love of desert landscapes.

Ah! Gameplay discussion! I'll be honest, I don't miss weapon and armor degradation in Skyrim. I think upgrading your weapons instead is a fine substitute, and if I were to make any changes, I'd start by basing the damage/armor rating of gear on the assumption that it should be upgraded. Add upgrading services to NPCs for non-smith characters, and allow upgraded gear to be found on loot and enemies, and we've got a winner. That said, I don't much care either way if degradation does return in some form, I just never liked carrying around a bunch of repair hammers. Whether it's repairing or upgrading, I do prefer Skyrim's method of getting the right ingot and finding a crafting station. I do like the idea that weapons aren't as effective at certain things, and could sustain damage if misused; Daggerfall's skeletons straight up took half-damage from bladed weapons. That kind of interaction between enemies and weapons is something I'd certainly like to see expanded on.

One thing I do care about, is the dispersion of spells. It's never felt right: you either buy your accumulated knowledge from other mages, pay them a sum of gold to make spells for you, or as in Oblivion, make spells at a magical gold-eating altar. To start, adding a gold cost seems like a tacked-on way of "balancing" spellmaking and enchanting services, and Skyrim at least proved for Enchanting that you don't need to charge gold to have an effective, (mostly) balanced Enchanting skill. And of course, there's no autonomy; you can't play as the mage who paves his own roads, and learns his best spells on his own. Oblivion had the most "autonomy"; an Altar of Spellmaking at least wasn't another NPC helping you out, but you still had to progress through the Mages Guild.

One idea I've played with since I saw that Game Jam video for Skyrim, was combining spell effects you know to learn new spells. If, for instance, you combined Fear and Healing, you learn Turn Undead, which you can use as a standalone spell or combine it with, say, Soul Trap, to learn a Raise Zombie spell. What the actual combinations are isn't currently important; the basic idea is that with a few "starter" spell effects, you can experiment (!) and learn new spells autonomously. And if some combinations just straight up hurt you, hey, trial and error, baby.
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Re: Let's speculate on the next TES game, because we can.

Postby Dubba_D » Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:44 pm

Heh, well, the model of Morrowind and Oblivion's Degradation was mostly tedium and a good way to gain those x5 multipliers, which I don't care for that model for attributes, either.

This model only encourages the player to think about how they'll handle their equipment when heading into battle, and they can totally avoid repairs if they actually consider the consequences of improper weapon handling.

Speaking of attributes, I'll admit that Daggerfall's model was my personal preference. When you leveled up, you got to decide which attribute got how many points. Although the number you got was random, and I don't know what influences that, I'd say you had the most autonomy with that system. Governed skills didn't determine how high a multiplier you got, but rather the speed at which you increased those skills, which became ridiculous TBH. I think if we want to reintroduce attributes, we need to make that system meaningful to character progression, and give the player control over how they craft their character.

In fact, if you want me to, I'd come up with an entire page of ideas on how to implement the new attribute system, or you could help contribute? What are your idea's
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Re: Let's speculate on the next TES game, because we can.

Postby HoonDing » Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:21 pm

You're free to share any ideas you like; I prefer more general discussions that only use specifics for examples, but to each their own.

I definitely prefer Daggerfall's leveling system to Morrowind's and Oblivion's (even though the randomness factor just leads to save scumming), but I personally like Skyrim's the best simply for the fact that I'm a whore for perks. They're a much more tangible measure of prowess, I think. Compare "Time slows down while I aim my bow" or "I can now draw my bow 30% faster" to "My attacks with bows do a little bit more damage and are less likely to miss".

On the subject of perks, do you feel they're a suitable replacement for classes? I'm of the opinion they are; your "class" is defined by what skills you invest into as your character grows, as opposed to shoehorning yourself into a skillset at the start of the game (or, if you're gaming the leveling system in Morrowind and Oblivion, straight up create a class that doesn't at all describe the skills you actually use). It feels much more natural, and even with the "Legendary skills" system of the last Skyrim patch that technically lets you level indefinitely, it's still mostly limited; to get all of the available perks, you'd have to level up around 252 times. Chyeah. On the flipside, there definitely was an appeal to picking out major and minor skills in a Classmaker, and of course Advantages and Disadvantages for Daggerfall, which should totally make a comeback.

As for attributes, I wouldn't mind if they returned. There is a degree of redundancy, though; I'm not sure how Skyrim's speech and disposition mechanics would even work under a Personality attribute, and weapon damage is very nicely handled by perks. I'm sure a balance could be found; perhaps a Fallout style of attributes, where they're a largely unchanging broad definition of what you're good at and what you suck at?

This thread has taken an interesting turn. I was more expecting a discussion on what regions y'all wanted to visit next.

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