Skyrim, and its expansions, can become so realistic and immersive for players that we automatically start to connect the sense-dots when something doesn’t seem right. In a game that requires too much programming for its own good, there are bound to be errors and logical disjointedness. But there are so many ‘mistakes’ in Skyrim that while playing the game is still exhilarating it can at times make you go, “Now, wait one Brandelion-picking minute, what in Tamriel just happened?”
In our top-25 list of veritable bloopers, we are going to explore the silly side of Skyrim; to put it so bluntly. There’s going to be some laughs and some what-moments, but go with the flow, we’re merely the messengers, not the developers. Hopefully, most of these issues have been resolved in the Morrowind expansion. Some of you might actually have experienced these instances in-game, so get ready to feel some much-avoidable nostalgia.
25 Guarding Nonsense
The guards in Skyrim, for all their swagger, are quite imbecilic in that their programming seems to make them forget the real heroes who saved their city/town from, say, a Dragon attack or invading tribes. They walk all over the place, complaining about this or that until you (hero and savior, Dragonborn even) unsheathe your weapon or prep for magic near them. A simple brush into them can also trigger their ‘dutiful’ side, at which point they will warn before promptly arresting or fining you.
This is insane because you’d think a game this detailed would at least send these guys and gals a memo to the effect of, ‘Dragonborn: License to Strut’. But no, they will jail your unfortunate behind if you so much as upset their sentiments.
Unless ghosts and spectral entities have their own PayPal system, we were surprised to find that Skyrim actually allows you to pickpocket them and find true-to-game currency. How does cash even leave the afterlife and become something tangible in your character's hand, we might never know. Seems like some sort of paranormal Septim-hoarding is going on in Tamriel. It’s bad enough the character designers came up with an almost Ghostbustery look for most of these otherworldly personalities and beasts. They’ve merely been made translucent and blue, and some of the more authoritative ones speak with a wraith-gone-sour tone.
Having released in 2011, fans have given Skyrim the benefit of the technological doubt. But what’s their excuse to stick to the original design template in the Dragonborn and Morrowind expansions? Do they still let us loot ghosts and find armor and weapon pieces on them? There’s something strange in the Tamriel-hood, and we don’t know whom we’re gonna call.
23 Ancient Tastes
Dungeon-crawling is a popular term for when Skyrim players enter dungeons to gather as many resources and materials as they can. In other words, they’re solo-ing for loot. What do you usually expect to find in ancient time-beyond-name dungeons where the air is stale and the place is pockmarked with crypts containing undead defenders? You can reasonably expect to uncover works of prehistoric art, tools used in rituals or otherwise, but NOT fresh fruit! Loot some remains and they give you green apples, loot ancient sealed urns and they offer you freshly baked bread.
In a game as vast and intricate as Skyrim, fans will understand why we find such a design inclusion senseless beyond measure. Not only that, but players have also reported creatures as uncouth as Draugrs giving up loot that includes cheese, cabbages, and other eatables. These are undead, for crying out loud!
22 I Believe I Can... Land
We arrive now at another popular illogicality in our Skyrim tour, namely Dragons. These creatures are as mighty as they are wise, and old beyond measure; anywhere in the centuries range. It, therefore, comes as quite the surprise to see them flying high, raining fire and destruction upon a hapless town or city, only to spot archers and spear-throwers, then land to tackle them on terra firma.
We know Dragons have excellent eyesight, but to want to get up close and personal for a fight when they could have more readily finished the matter from the air makes little to no sense, especially considering that these are wise beings. Players do earn the ability to use ‘Dragonrend’, a word of power that lets you shout these beasts down from the firmament to your level. But it’s a whole other matter when Dragons willingly do this, despite having air-superiority working to their benefit.
21 A Snail’s Pace
It’s not a matter of hoarding, but one of realism. Any Skyrim player will attest to the fact that by the time they’re done with the main storyline, they will have ended up owning several useless items that at best contain sentimental value. Selling or hoarding aside, we are more concerned with these items’ weight values. And here’s the other fact that any Skyrim player knows. You get ‘encumbered’ when you carry too many items, upon which you can only walk, not run (you can ride your mount, though).
Take a look at the items in your inventory, really take a look at them when you are bored and don’t know where to go yet in Tamriel. Some of the objects that you end up carrying don’t weigh as much as they realistically should. In fact, you can tote hundreds of arrows and they weigh, wait for it, nothing, nil, nada.
20 A Fire In Wet Places?
Realism in games needs to stay consistent, especially around smaller objects. These can make or break a visual in today’s fan-market, which brings us to a certain torch in Skyrim that seems to have lost this memo. The loot system is pretty straightforward in MMOs, so is what you find in sundry chests, remains, and other sources. One such chest, however, contains a live torch, burning, flaring, no need to light it up afterward, and it’s somehow been burning for a while in an age-old dungeon waiting for you to come loot it. The bizarre-train doesn’t stop there, in fact, rumor has it that Bethesda (Skyrim’s developer) intentionally included this comic-curious element in the game.
Odd choice of humor aside, we move to the torch’s other interesting feature; aside from the forever-flame appeal. It’s waterproof! You can hold it under a heavy waterfall stream and it won’t go out.
Ulfric Stormcloak has the power to wield his voice like a weapon of mass destruction. The Thu’um is strong with this one, and he has even eliminated the High King of Skyrim by literally shouting at him. His vocal-disintegration power was stilted, apparently, when his captors gagged him with nothing but a simple linen cloth and paraded him before the executioner; and at the beginning of the game, to boot.
Welcome to Skyrim, where a powerful branch of royalty equipped with a potent voice-force gift of Draconian origins called the Thu’um (which sounds like a cough and a sneeze happening together) fails to save himself from a grave situation where otherwise his voice would have wreaked its own brand of chaos. A specialized magic-infused metal faceguard, perhaps? Nah... A linen gag! Let that sink in.
18 Flammable Fiasco
Let’s not beat around the bush with this next point on our list. They built Dragonsreach (the fortress atop a prominent hill in Whiterun) to capture fire-breathing Dragons, right? At least, that’s what the lore says. But then, they built it entirely out of wood?! In a game that has access to metallurgical marvels with which to craft fine armors and weapons? And the building has no immediate access to sufficient reserves of water/sand to put out Dragon-fire outbreaks. These issues have knotted our tongue. Even the Dragon Shouts did not manage to do this. Perhaps, this is why one of Tamriel’s most celebrated cities lacks a proper tour guide program. You can imagine how this might have sounded...
Dragonsreach serves many crucial functions, one of which is to capture Dragons for whatever purpose. The creatures breathe unholy fire, and we have all this kindling, a whole city of wood ready to go up in flames.
17 Wooden Woes
Since we’re on the topic, let’s explore another wooden faux-pas from Skyrim’s ill-detailed section. We are going to mention one class from the game, namely destruction mages, but that’s not to say this problem hasn’t affected the general classes. Destro-mages primarily cast fire spells that have proven more than capable of eliminating or severely injuring, Dragons and dungeon-bosses. Why then, is it so hard for a Destro-mage to be able to scorch a wooden door in a dungeon that’s not particularly known for its ‘keep-intruders-out’ design.
For those of you who are confused by this wooden-door scenario, we are referring to dungeon instances where players enter through one side, make their way into the dungeon, perform a so-so loop and exit near the same entrance back into Tamriel proper. There’s another door near the entrance that can only be unlocked from the other side, and that’s only possible once you make your way through the loop.
16 Welcome To The Club. Lead On!
Factions are supposed to be exclusive, and membership must be gained through hard work and effort. In Skyrim, however, factions (Winterhold, Thieves Guild, The Companions) seem ripe for the entering. During your stay, these factions even grant you amazing benefits, like a three-day testing period to see if you can make leader. It all seems ridiculously easy, more so considering that you can join more than one faction and actually end up in the role of captain less than a week from joining. You merely need to stroll into their territory and voila, you get your initiation missions. ‘Don’t find us, we’ll find you, we’re desperate.’
While it’s not unusual for MMOs of this magnitude to make their gameplay more inclusive to new players and old alike, it has still left diehard fans cheated of a properly immersive experience. The same can be said of Skyrim’s perk system and fast travel feature.
Stealth is seriously messed up in this game. You merely crouch to get out of a guard’s (or other NPC’s) line of sight and, before long, they forget they even saw suspicious movement in a restricted section that they’re supposed to be guarding. Some of them don’t even go out of their way to investigate. We can even find loopholes to justify this, but then your character can shoot a guard or other NPC (given reasonable circumstances) and then stealth their way out of the consequences. It gets worse the better your stealth level. The more efficient you become at sneaking, the more ‘forgiving’ some of your hapless victims turn out.
Fans have often sent in screenshots of NPCs with arrows stuck in their head, eye, leg, back, and even their whole body (rare fan-begotten moments, these). The trick was they shot, snuck, entered stealth, shot again, snuck again, rinsed and repeated.
14 Behold, Behold, A Dragonborn... Trips
The story of Miraak is a strange one. He "needs your soul to escape being trapped." He dispatches average minions to get you on the outside, he’s also willing to send powerful entities to subdue you or take your soul after eliminating you. Seems a bit roundabout, if you ask us.
As per Skyrim canon, a person (no matter the race) will release their soul to Nirn upon death, after which they will probably reincarnate. Now, Miraak is not especially cursed nor has he signed any sort of lasting contract with the ruler of Apocrypha, the Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora. Being merely trapped, Miraak can simply take his own life and leave his dark prison to be reborn later as the Dragonborn. We can see how he might feel inconvenienced by this, but the plot to get your (the latest Dragonborn’s) soul to get out of a sinister trap seems a tad overdone in our opinion, not to mention unimaginative on Miraak’s part.
13 Disbelief On Delivery
It’s awkward for gamers to experience sudden and almost illogical circumstances in-game, like most of Skyrim’s players have concerning urgent messages delivered by couriers on foot. These ‘delivery men’ are rigid to the point of being robotic. They bring word of important missions and valuable messages, no problem there. Our issue lies with the fact that they approach you MID-BATTLE sometimes, like when you are fighting armies or a Dragon. They don’t yell ‘save me’, ‘watch out’ or anything else banal.
These couriers shamelessly walk up to you, stop, and deliver their message, containing something as relatively simple as ‘come meet so-and-so here-and-there. No small number of fans have rolled on their floors laughing or sat shaking before their computers while creating memes about the manner in which these guys keep a straight face when mere inches to one side is a Dragon facing down the Dragonborn.
12 Go Steal Some Sense!
Another class of NPCs are not doing too brightly in our book. The bandits in Skyrim have little to no sense of self-preservation. If you’ve played the Elder Scrolls, especially Skyrim, you’d find that bandits, hoodlums, thugs, hooligans, and do-badders in general, often taunt you with specially crafted lines that basically say, ‘Come at me, bro!’ They WANT you to fight them, they WANT you to perish by their blade or hand.
But what these dim-witted NPCs don’t seem to get is that you actually came there to end them, or are powerful enough to test your mettle against them and come out the victor. Some added realism will have made select groups retreat while others moved in cautiously toward you. Unfortunately, Skyrim’s fringe-personalities seem to function in just one mode, ‘Fail Rambo’.
In the Dragonborn expansion of Skyrim, you get to fulfill your fate’s calling and become a personage of great power and potential. By the end of the core storyline, you have saved several realms in Tamriel, and possibly all of Skyrim. The storyline’s main premise sees important NPCs fighting over who’s to become the next High King. Torygg, the previous monarch, has passed and the throne sits open and heirless. His widow is incapable of rising to the challenge, leaving lesser rulers and such to convene on who’s going to take up the role of High King of Skyrim.
After everything that you have experienced in-game, and done to save various peoples and cities, reputations and knowledge, Ulfric seems to be a villainous contender who has more right to the throne than you do. It’s got little to do with blood-based ascension and more to do with choosing a noble ruler who will look out for Skyrim’s future. Your Dragonborn character fits that scenario better than most.
10 The Dull Dragon Disaster
Imagine this scenario, and answer yourself honestly. You see before you a great, powerful, majestic, and wise beast, that can actually communicate using several different languages, including human speeches. This great creature can live for incredible lengths of time, can fly, swim, run, dig, and breathe fire, like no Nord’s business. Now, imagine there are tens even hundreds of them. In a world where humans and other similar races seem like mice in comparison, why haven’t these Dragons teamed up in classic raid-style to rid themselves of the ‘intruders’ and rule Tamriel with a fiery paw?
Some of the ‘leaders’ among Dragons know the secrets to powerful words; that’s where the term ‘Dragonborn’ was even inspired. They can communicate with each other, and speak several different languages, and yet don’t team up to take over Skyrim, inadvertently letting a petty band of politicians and thieves run the show.
9 Mary, Contrary
Anyone familiar with Skyrim is familiar with level points. When you gain a level, you also gain one (sometimes two) point to spend on varied skills; as much as permissible, depending. These skills are applied to your character’s ability tree, and will differ at times based on your chosen class. So far so practical, but what irks us is the fact that these skills don’t particularly follow a set flow-pattern. Case in point... You can smelt ingots for hours, like the dutiful Dragonborn you are, and when you eventually level up from all that work, you can use the fresh point(s) to upgrade, say, your bribing capabilities. Smelting to bribing, super!
What one has to do with the other is much the same as what a blacksmith has to do with a politician. Perhaps it’s just a developer-trick to be more ‘inclusive’ so all players can level faster and not get bored with too-immersive gameplay, which the Elder Scrolls franchise technically is.
8 Why So Serious?
There exists a senseless roundabout plotline for the Thieves’ Guild, and some fans are not all too keen on it. Take Karliah, a dishonored member of said Guild whom its current leader, Mercer, has you believing is evil. She later reveals her reasons for being kicked out. Turns out she’s one of the good guys, and that Mercer has been out to get YOU all along; probably because you’re the Dragonborn and are making a name for yourself in Skyrim. He even poisons you and leaves you to perish.
In a dialogue that you later have with the Dunmer elf Karliah (aka a ‘Nightingale’ in a classified sub-sect of the Thieves’ Guild), she reveals that she’s been observing your growth from the start. This makes us wonder why she never took out Mercer in the first place when there were plenty of chances to catch him unawares.
7 Shed That Holiday Weight
You can get hooked on Skyrim so fast that before you know it you’ve stopped running and are walking like you’re being paid to do it. Don’t be confused, we mean to share the ‘weight encumbered’ idea in this next point. It’s rather frustrating at times, but wholly realistic; no complaints. You carry too much and you start walking slowly to compensate for the excess kilos. The part that annoys us is when your character simply needs to drop or discard an itty-bitty ring, and they’re ready to run again; because you were oh-so-burdened before.
This weight inventory idea can be hilarious at times and silly at others. Take food, for example. It adds weight to your pack and, wait for it, lessens it upon consumption. Talk about weight watching, this is the dieting routine people need to try!
6 Food For Thoughtlessness
Why do they have healers in Skyrim? To help you stay alive during hectic dungeon fights, where immediate and oft-times massive heals are necessary. Why do they have healing potions and salves in Skyrim? For the sheer heck of it, because all you need do is stand in a safe place for an hour and every injury your character has accumulated will be healed. You might need to visit a blacksmith’s anvil to get your armour and weapons repaired, because such Wolverine-level healing doesn’t extend to them (probably).
The realism-insult comes from the fact that there is much ado about food and potions in Skyrim, and when you run out of the same you can ‘cheat’ by self-healing (doing nothing). While potions are an absolute necessity in dungeons and such, it doesn’t seem like you need them otherwise.
5 Scroll-Sale Value
The Elder Scrolls franchise, one of its expansions being Skyrim, hinges on one of many core plot-elements. As the name suggests Elder Scrolls are included in this concept, and they are one of the greatest sources of power for a Dragonborn. During your adventures, you will be called upon to find and secure, even absorb, the knowledge from these scrolls. What we wish to know is why such mighty sources of power can be sold after you have expended their historic/ancient/unique purpose?
They go for less than half the bounty on a mortal emperor’s head (which once stood at a reasonable 20k Septims)! These are supposedly highly magical fate-guiding, near-alien objects, and they are treated with such terrible storytelling respect. Consider their other features: Elder scrolls basically exist outside the space-time plane, and un-initiated readers can go blind from the potency of the knowledge contained therein. And these rare near-priceless objects are sold for a poor sum on the open market?
4 Ignorance Is Bupkiss
Most NPCs in the game have inferior awareness levels. The guards often forget your heroic deeds and fine you for a simple use of magic in the streets; the very ones you helped save, by the way. One moment they are remarking on your glorious deeds, the next you merely swish your sword out and find yourself in jail for doing so. And you hadn’t even staked a mouse! The guards even disparage a weapon that you’re carrying even though they themselves are toting a version of the same weapon-type! Anyway, forget those metal-clad neanderthals, let’s talk Thalmor.
This elite elven class is given to conspiracy and scheming, which makes us wonder why they’re so unobservant when it comes to your character. Fans/players have reported how these guys go as far as to ask you whether you are one of them, and this even when you are decked in Thalmor robes and chose to play the elven race!
3 The Blindness Of Some Elves
You’ll sooner or later come across the Stormcloaks, one of a handful of Skyrim’s ruling-classes whose leader (Ulfric) is fighting for the throne, and is especially rebellious compared to the other so-called potential heirs. Some integrity is called for where these particular NPCs and their leaders are concerned. Ulfric Stormcloak leads this bunch, and we already saw how one thin linen gag has ridiculously restricted his ability to use the Thu’um.
The Stormcloaks themselves are a messy group of soldiers, messy because there is no uniformity or order in their ranks. They are racists and stand up only for the human cause but we see their armies are comprised also of elves. Elves should know better than to join a group that’s made it quite plain that their ‘kind’ is not welcome in Tamriel.
There must be more to Skyrim’s immersive realism than what’s been observed and added in this next point on our top-25 list. A Dragon just perished here, people! Is anyone seeing this? A huge skeleton is sprawled out in the middle of the road, a Dragonborn has been here and absorbed the life-force from this fire-breathing lizard, leaving a piece of prophecy in the making right here on the path. And what do the good citizens of wherever-in Skyrim do? Thieves are still pick-pocketing spare change from passersby who are simply off to market.
Either these are gutsy folks who have seen more than a few Dragons in their time, or they have some kind of herd instinct to ‘keep calm and carry on,' but this is unexpectedly unreal in a game as vast, realistic, and culturally disturbed as Skyrim.
1 Please, Skyrim, May I Have Some More?
There are Dragons flying amok, more so since the Dragonborn (you) came to Skyrim. There is civil unrest and political turmoil, more so since the Dragonborn (you) came to Skyrim. No wonder some bards keep singing ‘Beware, beware, the Dragonborn comes...’ Poor choice of verse aside, you are set in a world at war where one of the most obvious scarcities should be food and water. Wells, subterranean rivers, and icy lakes might have helped alleviate the water problem, but where’s all this food coming from?
Farming is most certainly adversely affected in Skyrim, what with Dragons flying all over the place and invading armies or squadrons of thieves roaming Tamriel. There are no safe lands on which to grow crops to feed the masses. In fact, several NPCs will attest that theirs is the last safe farming plot around for miles, or intimate that they’re growing their own produce as opposed to waiting on their royal rulers to provide sweet succor. Yet, even the dungeons have fruits and cheeses, bread and wine.