Oblivion and Skyrim are both incredible entries into The Elder Scrolls franchise and part of what makes them popular among fans is the incredible DLC expansions. For Oblivion it was the mind-bending Shivering Isles and for Skyrim, it was the dark Dawnguard.
There are a lot of good features in both DLCs and strong arguments to be made for which one makes the better expansion. Here are just some of the many arguments for why one is superior to the other which will help you decide which camp you fall in.
10 Shivering Isles: Huge New Area
Typically DLC’s just add in a few new quests, characters, and items and call it a day. The Shivering Isles expansion blew fans out of the water by adding a large continent to the game for players to explore.
Separated into essentially three areas there was a lot of content for players to uncover and this alone was almost an entire game’s worth of content. No one was upset about the $29.99 price tag at the time as you were essentially getting an entirely new game.
9 Dawnguard: Castle Volkihar
Fans have been wanting proper homes in their Elder Scrolls games and while Oblivion did introduce the ability to buy houses, Skyrim took it one step further with the Dawnguard DLC. If you decided to side with the Volkihar Clan you eventually gained ownership of Castle Volkihar.
This dark, foreboding gothic castle was the perfect home for vampiric characters and is one of the better houses you can obtain in the entire franchise. If you want a grand, eerie, and epic house this is the one you want.
8 Shivering Isles: Great Story
The storyline of Shivering Isles is insane, literally. You are working for the Daedric Prince of madness after all so you know the quests, the dialogue and the events that occur while in his service are bound to be ridiculous.
The writing for Shivering Isles was incredible and each quest felt both a perfect fit for the DLC and absolutely bonkers. You never knew what was going to happen next and it’s doubtful anyone had a clue how things were going to turn out.
7 Dawnguard: Blot Out The Sun
Few games gave you as much power and as much control over your environment as Dawnguard did. At the end of it all, you were given an immense power that any vampire would kill for. You had a bow with arrows that could blot out the sun.
Just one Bloodcursed Elven Arrow fired at the sun with Auriel’s Bow would cause a blood-red aura to spread across the sky and block the sunlight. Descending upon cities as a Vampire Lord with a blood-red night sky is truly an epic feeling.
6 Shivering Isles: Cool Items
Shivering Isles contained many of the most powerful items you could find in Oblivion, but it also contained some of the most interesting items you could find in the entire series. Dawnfang was a longsword with fire damage and absorb health ability during the day, but at night it would change to Duskfang and deal frost damage with an absorb magicka ability. It would also upgrade its power based on how many enemies you killed.
Another notable item is the Wabbajack, a sword that when it strikes an opponent turns them into a random animal, yeah you read that right.
5 Dawnguard: Werewolf
Becoming a werewolf was a fan favorite feature that was missing since Morrowind. Dawnguard reintroduced it in a big way by giving it its own skill tree that had many new perks.
At higher levels, characters could double the damage they did, summon werewolves, recover health through feeding, and even scare high-level creatures. What was great about these perks is they weren’t obtained through leveling up, but by feasting on the hearts of your enemies. You owe it to yourself to play a Nordic Barbarian werewolf at least once.
4 Shivering Isles: Great Characters
Part of what made the story of Shivering Isles so great is that it had great characters. Sheogorath, in particular, has become a fan favorite and some of the most popular mods that came out around the release of Shivering Isles were designed to let you look and talk just like him.
There have been few characters as memorable as the ones you found on this strange continent and fans are constantly wishing many would make another appearance. Jyggalag, Sheogorath, Cutter, and so many others gave the world even more color and insanity than it already had and made talking to NPCs a fun experience, which is saying something for Oblivion.
3 Dawnguard: Vampire Lord
One of the main reasons you even played Dawnguard was to become a Vampire Lord. Vampirism has been popular throughout the series, but Dawnguard took the concept and fleshed it out as fans had never seen before.
You obtained perks that made you able to see at night, turn into an invulnerable mist to recover health or retreat, cause the world to slow down, poison enemies with melee, summon a cloud of bats, summon gargoyles and paralyze your foes. There was a lot of power in your cold dead fingertips when you became a Vampire Lord.
2 Shivering Isles: Immersive World
What made Shivering Isles so successful and such a memorable experience even to this day was how immersive and engaging the world was. Whether you were strolling through the somber paths of Dementia or skipping through the bright cheeriness of Mania there was a lot to see and do.
The characters, the flora, the fauna, the architecture, even the items were colorful and rich and made the place feel like an entirely new world separated from the rest of Oblivion. Since then fans have been hoping and praying that the developers would give us a peek at other Daedric realms because this one was such a blast.
1 Dawnguard: Option For Evil
Perhaps the best part about Dawnguard was you felt genuinely evil for the first time in an Elder Scrolls video game and rather than be punished for it you obtained incredible powers. Sure there has been the Morag Tong, the Dark Brotherhood and the questionable morality of the House of Telvanni, but never have you felt truly evil and powerful at the same time.
As a Vampire Lord, you have immense powers to frighten the populace, blot out the sun, feast upon the innocent or plot your next scheme from within a giant foreboding castle. Sure you could choose to be the good guy, but this DLC intended for you to embrace your sinister side and gave you a lot of fun gameplay while doing it.