Dragonborn: First Impressions I

Hey all! I decided to take a new approach and type my thoughts out as I played through the new Dragonborn DLC for Skryim for the first time! Being a PC user, I haven’t been able to get my hands on it until now, but I kept up with just enough of it to learn the basics without giving myself too many spoilers.

After downloading the new High Res Texture Pack from Bethesda and locating my preferred save file, I fired up Skyrim and reacquainted myself with the game (It’s been a few months). I took up a quick Companions quest from Vilkas; hunt down an escaped criminal from Riften. Easy enough. Fast travel to a nearby stone, walk over and do some slash slash motion. Upon arriving, I found a dark mage waiting for me. After a few exchanges, I realized he was not only taking giant chunks out of my health, but also my magicka. Heart pounding, I retreated behind one of the larger stones and chugged a few health potions.

I gathered my thoughts and charged out after him, opting to swap my shield for a flame spell and cut him down. Now, back to the criminal. Turns out he had moved a significant distance during my fast travel. So, I clicked the town he was in, walked about 10 feet to find him leaving the tavern, and cut him down, too.

Obligatory self shot as I prepare to start my adventures!

Obligatory self shot as I prepare to start my adventures!

I was feeling good now. I had been away from the game long enough that it all seemed fresh & enjoyable. As I prepared to travel back to Whiterun, I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye. I investigated, and discovered fire and ice mages locked in combat. Thrilled by my happenstance discovery, I sprinted towards Mr. Freezypoo, swinging away with my Daedric longsword. Of course, being an ice mage, he was able to slow me down enough that I took significant hits from both parties. After reluctantly chugging a few more potions from my dwindling supply, I was able to close the cap fast enough to dispose of Mr. Freezypoo.

Taking aim at the fire mage), I ran as fast as my Nord legs (and the game code) would allow. It wasn’t fast enough, and by the time I arrived, it took only 1 ridiculously awesome blast of fire to end my life.

/sigh

I took care of the criminal for a second time, but alas – the mages would not honor me with a display this time around. I returned to Vilkas to claim my reward, and set off to dispatch a troll just south of Falkreath. Exiting out the back of the troll’s cave, I came face-to-face with an Elder Dragon. Oh boy, I haven’t fought a dragon in MONTHS! Not to fear! With a fully-charged Dragonbane and some Frost-resist potions, I fought the beast until at last, I threw down my enemy and smote his ruin upon the mountainside! … err, I mean … I ate his soul. I’ll save the Gandalf quotes for my mage, next time. But no, really, he slid down the mountain and everything. It was glorious.

Anyway, upon returning yet again to Jorrvaskr, I claimed my reward and agreed to accompany Aela on her journey to retrieve the last totem! (Finally) Before we left town, I headed towards Belethor’s shop to sell my heavy loots. When suddenly, a wild Orc appeared! Turns out, he was recruiting for the Dawnguard. Kill some vampires? Don’t mind if I do! This was not my main purpose, however, and I set it to the back of my mind for the time being. Expecting to get into the shop now, I was pleasantly surprised when I turned around to find two cultists staring me down.

Whoah! Here is where the real nostalgia begins. Let me just say that while Oblivion had great guild quests, and Skyrim had an even better main storyline, Morrowind is where my heart belongs. With the siltstriders & chitin armor, Umbra the Orc, the soft string melodies playing in the background while you filled soulgems. My only possible improvement is that the interface & graphics could be brought 10 years forward.

Well shit... either the Greybeards are a bunch of old liars, or I have a copycat.

Well shit… either the Greybeards are a bunch of old liars, or I have a copycat.

So seeing these two cultists attack me, wearing their cultist armor, hiding behind their cultist masks, made every penny of Dragonborn instantly worth it. I was now supremely excited to get on my way to Solstheim and start unravelling the mystery of the first dragonborn.

But alas, I had already started my quest for the last Hircine Totem. After selling my loot (and travelling to more than one merchant to get it all out), I set off to find this troublesome totem. As I approached the cave with Aela by my side, a swarm of black bats rushed out of the entrance. Cautious of what dangers lay inside, I entered. Huh, nothing here. Just a small cave with a chest and a book. I picked up the little red book, magically learning some new Smithing techniques. Before I could open the chest, a monstrous roar shook me and I probably touched the ceiling of the room above me with my head. Let me tell you something – 7.1 surround sound with headphones cranked all the way up lets you hear every terrifying sound a game has to offer. Slightly shaken, heart once again pounding, I tore my sword from its sheath and leapt at the bear, saving my sweet Aela from what was surely certain death.

Now I was able to collect myself, open the chest, and collect our prize too. Alongside it was Meridia’s beacon, which started a quest I had no interest in completing just yet. I returned to the Underforge, and placed the last totem in its place. Now begins the fun!

After I hop over to Windhelm, I look around for my ride to Solstheim. Instead of taking a more traditional route, I jump straight into the frigid Skyrim waters from the bridge above. At first, the captain of the ship is reluctant to take me to Solstheim, citing the cultists that had somehow removed his memory of their journey back. But I am a strong, independent Nord, who don’t need no captain! … Well, that’s actually not true, I kind of need the captain. So I persuade him into helping me discover the identity of the cultists and the elusive ‘Miraak’.

House Redoran... I haven't seen you guys since the Hlaalu had me infiltrate you.

House Redoran… I haven’t seen you guys since the Hlaalu had me infiltrate you.

When the ship (more of a boat, really) pulls into the harbor, we are greeted by the delightfully cheerful Adril Arano, who ever-so politely informs me that I am no longer in Skyrim and must obey the laws of Morrowind, all the while staring me down with his cold eyes and derogatory tone. When I finally get around to asking him about Miraak, he loses his unfriendly demeanor and appears slightly startled. Arano has a difficult time remembering anything about Miraak, but does recall a connection between the name and the earth stone. Good ‘nuff for now.

Stepping off the boat, and looking at the distinctive archway entrances in the buildings, my love for Morrowind came rushing back. Walking past the Redoran guards (moar feels), I start walking towards the glowing green stone I saw on the way in.

Upon my arrival to the stone, I see several people working at the site, swinging hammer and chisel. Well, all but one. Neloth, a dunmer (and a wealthy one by the look of his red & golden robes), approaches me and informs me that these people are acting as mindless drones, building something.

Neloth, the only sane person within 100 yards of the Earth Stone.

Neloth, the only sane person within 100 yards of the Earth Stone.

Curious, I walk up to the shrine and activate it. Everything goes black. I come to chiseling the walls of the shrine myself. So that doesn’t take me to Miraak. Ah well. I am able to step away from my mindless duties and start travelling towards the center of the island, where Neloth tells me Miraak’s temple is. Apparently, he lived thousands of years ago, and Neloth seems very confused, though at least he was able to conjure up some useful recollections.


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