Home Editorial Skyrim’s Dawnguard: More than just a vampire diary

For those of you who read DeathPDC’s DLC Speculation article and have subsequently seen the new trailer, I have a question: how close was our dear Death? Based on what I saw in the trailer, I’d say he was fairly close. He didn’t get ice-diving dragons, or soul-sucking demon things, or even the Elder Scrolls, but when it came to vampires, he hit it square. There is, in fact, a sect called the Dawnguard, whose purpose it is to keep the sun in the sky. Apparently someone, in this case the main vampire-demon guy who voices the trailer, has something in store for Tamriel. If what we see in the video is to be believed, then he wants to create endless night using the fragments of creation. And he needs more than one.

But that’s not why I’m writing. You can find all that and so much more in any of the umteen-thousand trailer analyses on YouTube and major gaming sites. I’m more interested in what new mechanics will appear, and so that’s what I’mma talk about, for the next couple articles.

 

Everybody get on the soul train

One of the most striking images in the trailer, for me at least, was the addition of the underworld, or what appears to be the underworld. Our gravely narrator mentions the souls of the living and dead, not the blood. Souls, as you probably know, are like energy drinks for the dark artists among us. You can run a whole doomsday machine on just one, for Pete’s sake.* Since there’s already soul trapping in Skyrim, I wonder how Bethesda might change the mechanic when the soul power goes directly into your character and not a gem. The most obvious, and I think dumbest, choice is to use souls for a temporary stat boost or effect. I know the guys as Beth can do better.

If anything, I want soul magic more powerful, or at least as powerful as, the best dragon shouts. I want the ability to link yourself to the weapon of choice. Or better yet, the ability to upgrade Daedric Artifacts. I can only imagine how many souls went into the creation of, say Molag Bal’s mace, and you have to feed the Ebony Blade souls to power it back up. And that brings me to the invention of your own, soul powered artifacts. For anyone who’s looked at some of the magical effects present in the world of Skryim, you’ll know you can’t make them without the creation kit. I’d love an in-game, dumbed-down version based out of an enchanting station.

Most importantly of all is, of course, the Elder Scrolls themselves. Yes you use them in the main campaign, but only under a specific circumstance and only for a cinematic. Since it looks like you drain souls from your victims, they have time to intermingle with your own. The Scrolls may do something similar when activated, if only because their power to so far beyond mortal comprehension. Will there be a way to use the Scrolls for more than just story purposes? If so, I’d imagine taking the “I’m going to kill everyone I can find to power this mega-artifact” route will be very popular.

 

But I like the sun. I’m gonna join these schmucks.

There is, of course, the fact that you have the option to stop the vampire-devil-toothy folk. Enter the Dawnguard. If the player decides that they want to be a goody-two-shoes, Bethesday needs to give some very, very good incentive when soul energy is so easily captured from going to the other way. Yes, there are crossbows, which is cool. Mounted combat, great. Possible dragon interaction, ON ICE, sweet. But I want to shoot solar energy at the darkness-vamps. I want to use nuclear fusion on my weapons so they literally act like miniature stars. I want the ability to rip holes in reality to fight the dark-dudes and stop them from stealing all the cool sh*t.

And I don’t think my demands are without merit, either. The Dawnguard sect has to have powers similar to those, and for one reason: it’s made up of mortals. The Anti-Sun Crew is filled with immortal vampire-demon-badasses, with the ability to rip a man in half before afternoon tea sweetened with soul sugar. From a design perspective, Bethesda will want players to try out both quest lines, since the more mileage they get out out of one player, the more likely he is to talk about his awesome time to his friends. And so on.

 

What ’bout them there Snow Elves?

I don’t have much to say on this matter. It’s there in the code, and there is a bit of snowy footage in the trailer, but there aren’t really any elves to be seen. The narrator-guy looks human, as do his chums, as does the chomping character during the soul sucking portion. Mr. Grumpy-Vamp mentions his daughter as someone you’ll need to rescue, and I imagine you’ll do fetch quests for the Elder Scrolls. If there are snow elves, and/or their king, still around, I’d think they might have something to do with those all-powerful-parchments.

 

Next time I’ll talk about the transformation and all the fun it can bring to Skyrim, plus I’ll speculate on what the dragon-dive might mean. Cheers!

*So I hear.


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6 replies to this post
  1. Uh… Bethesday? Do you mean Bethesda or is this some kind of hilarious inside joke that outsiders will never get?

  2. Did you see the same trailer as the rest of the world, or even read the same interviews and such? There is no mention of, or anything that could even remotely be construed as, any kind of soul draining system. Also snow elves are already in Skyrim, they are called Falmer now. this is truly one of the most off base and poorly conceived posts I have ever read.

  3. @Turkey Beak
    The “soul draining system” is a dragon shout where you drain their soul and they fight for you.

  4. @Turkey Beak
    Also, the Falmer *were* snow elves–they aren’t anymore, and are never referred to as such. Actual, pre-dwemer type Snow Elves are apparently in the game, though I don’t know what their purpose is.

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