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 More impressions of Skyrim
Malakai
Posted: Nov 28 2011, 01:13 AM


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Now that I've had a few days to play Skyrim on the PS3 and gotten to know the game, I figured I'd give you my updated impressions of it.

Today, I experienced my first LAG BUG, when my save file got to be around 8mb in size. There is suppose to be a patch tomorrow (or today, depending on your timezone) available to fix that. Hopefully it works.

I also experienced a bug, getting stuck in a corner and not being able to get out. The only thing I could do was to re-load the last saved game.

One other thing I heard was one of the NPCs actually called the town of Whiterun Whitestone. This isn't a bug but def shows that bethesda really wasn't paying much attention to detail. These are spoken voices which had to be recorded in a studio.

People say the biggest thing about skyrim is all of the sidequests. Quests in general are really unbalanced, as far as size/scale of the quests. Some quests are pretty long, while most revolve around running errands or just going into a cave that basically has no maze-like factor that gamers from the 8-bit days are use to. Really, when I think of going into some orc encampment, I think of epic battles with hundreds of orcs, not 10-15.

Questing in general is unrewarding in this game. You get a little bit of cash and the odd items here and there, something as little as a common stamina potion. Although when you first start the game, there seems like there isn't enough gold, the more you play, the more you'll have, especially if you find most of what you need and don't spend it all at shops. Bethesda should have given some experience points for the quests. You can literally spend 30 hours at level 10 just doing errand quests, not getting a single experience point.

The game, unlike some of the previous ones, actually starts out, IMO, pretty easy. Despite not having a lot of gold early on, it's not that difficult to make due. In fact, you may just want to up the difficulty settings from day one. That's not to say there won't be a random boss or group of enemies that can be difficult to kill.

NPCs in the game make the game both fun and annoying. Any creature, whether human or dog, even a summoned familiar, can and will get in your way. In a lot of cases, you have to make sure they don't die too. I've had to re-load previous save files many times because I didn't want my NPC to die.

NPCs also hold onto items, which means extra storage, and you can actually give them better armor and weapons, and they will usually equip the best ones. In fact, my main NPC is so powerful now, I have to spring up to enemies sometimes to get a few hits (to get experience points) before they die.

You can only have one 'follower' but people have actually been exploiting some of the quests, which temp may give you more followers, by basically starting a quest where people follow you and then not completing that quest. So, they become long-term followers. I don't personally see the point, because every experience point is precious in the game, and these NPCs would end up stealing 90% of the EXP.

If you don't like countless hours of grinding, don't mind all of the hundreds of hours of dialogue, and would rather spend most of that time running errands, you may like this game.

I do like the game, even with all of its faults, but I'm not sure which of the elder scrolls games I like the most.


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Malakai
Posted: Nov 28 2011, 02:56 PM


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Apparently, the new patch was just released in the USA a few minutes ago for the ps3, although the European version got the patched sooner.

This patch reportedly lowers texture qualities in order to reduce frame rate problems. Some people are actually saying they're getting more freezes and such since updating, and most people have said the lag-bug still shows up but just takes a little longer to show up, around 30 minutes longer.

There is a lot of speculation regarding this problem, including that game's engine which isn't optimized for the PS3's special RAM. Apparently, the RAM isn't properly refreshed after a couple hours of game play, making the game slower and slower until it becomes completely unplayable, until a hard reset is done on the system.

A game of this scale has to hold a lot of questing information, live/dead enemies, item locations, etc, a lot of times having all of that stuff cached in its ram all at one time. With every hour of game play and exploration, the game has to memorize more and more stuff.

Now, people are saying, "well, why is the PS3 having these problems when the xbox 360 isn't?" Apparently, the 360 was Bethesda's version of choice, optimized for it. In fact, the PC version has direct support for 360 controllers!

Both the 360 and PC versions have already faced their share of problems, but apparently none as crippling as the PS3. When people have problems 20-25 hours into a game which supposedly has 3,000 hours of quests and stuff, it really shows how good ideas, game play mechanics, and graphics don't really equal a competent programming team.

Every elder scrolls game since morrowind has had lots of bugs, including the xbox version which was never fixed. Also, fallout 3 and new vegas both have problems, sometimes making them unplayable, all from the same programming team. It makes you wonder if Bethesda is just 3 or 4 regular guys programming in their mother's basement somewhere as a part-time job.



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Malakai
Posted: Nov 29 2011, 12:32 AM


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I haven't had a chance to play Skyrim at all today or test out the new patch. By the time I got through doing the stuff I needed to do today, it was pretty much midnight, and if I started playing this late, I'd be up until 5AM.


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Malakai
Posted: Nov 29 2011, 01:46 PM


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It's official: The new skyrim patch didn't fix lag problems, sometimes making i worse, according to this article:

Lag made worse by patch

Well, I still haven't patched or played Skyrim since the patch came out, and now, I don't have any desire to.


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Malakai
Posted: Dec 3 2011, 04:35 PM


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Almost every major video game reporting site has now acknowledged major flaws in the latest patch of Skyrim. In fact, it broke both the 360 and PC as well as the PS3 version. Magic resistance is completely gone, dragons fly backwards, almost every major quest has reportedly had problems, and many people are having problems with bugs/glitches that have made it impossible to complete the main quest and therefore destroyed the game. Things are simple as a dragon attacking and killing an important NPC, to NPCs just not responding to completed quests, doors/quests not unlocking when they're suppose to, etc. It also has reportedly increased hard freezing of the game, even PS3 console death.

There was even a topic posted on the main site (before being deleted by the mods that rule with an iron fist) that showed the QA guy from Bethesda actually viewing one thread on the forum, a topic concerning skyrim's chances of winning a GOTY or IGA award, before promptly logging off, not viewing the thousands of consumer complaints on their forums.

There are reports of Bethesda using a third-party tech support from India, which don't know anything about Skyrim at all. Bethesda founders are also deleting posts on their twitter and facebook accounts and banning people who bring those complaints to them, especially Pete Hines.

Bethesda has become unreachable, ignoring the majority of calls and complaints. EBGames Canada, Gamestops, and even large retailers like Wal-Mart and target have been instructed to not take returns of any kind on this game at all. Amazon is the only retailer that has stepped up for their customers and has been taking returns regularly. There have been sparse reports of some gamestops taking a game back here and there, when people claim that the game suffers from a manufacturers defect, and even then, usually only giving $30 credit for it.


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Malakai
Posted: Dec 3 2011, 07:39 PM


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Even more information. First, Bethesda hired out a third-party developer, Obsidian, to make the PS3 release of fallout: new vegas, but they had to use their engine and only had 18 months to complete the game, which apparently is a short time, considering skyrim was a 5 year long project.

Here are some quotes from that lead developer:

QUOTE

It's an engine-level issue with how the save game data is stored off as bit flag differences compared to the placed instances in the main .esm + DLC .esms. As the game modifies any placed instance of an object, those changes are stored off into what is essentially another .esm. When you load the save game, you're loading all of those differences into resident memory.

It's not like someone wrote a function and put a decimal point in the wrong place or declared something as a float when it should have been an int. We're talking about how the engine fundamentally saves off and references data at run time. Restructuring how that works would require a large time commitment. Obsidian also only had that engine for a total of 18 months prior to F:NV being released, which is a relatively short time to understand all of the details of how the technology works.


Quote
Let's say that I, as a designer, set up a creature in an area. I set all of the character's statistics and gear and save it in the master FalloutNV.esm file that gets loaded into the game. You, the player, run through the area and shoot that dude. You loot him of his gear and put a shovel in his inventory because you are wacky.

The game needs a way to mark that his a) position cool.gif health c) inventory d) some other stuff has changed on him. It does that by marking what fields have changed (by setting individual bits) and then indexing the individual (changed) values for reference later.

When you load the save game, it loads up all of the bit fields marking changes in your save game. When the individual objects load, it applies the indexed changes to those objects. That way, when you come back to the area you left two nights ago, the character is still sprawled out where you left him, naked, with a shovel in his inventory.

Individual bits of data are tiny, but there are thousands upon thousands of objects in F:NV, each one containing numerous data fields that could potentially be changed in your save game. Over time, it adds up.


Quote
As with Fallout 3 and Skyrim, the problems are most pronounced on the PS3 because the PS3 has a divided memory pool.


Quote
Some areas will reset contents after three (game) days, but a lot of stuff lingers. Additionally, we also have to deal with "persistent references". These are objects that are immediately loaded with the game because we need to be able to reference them anywhere/everywhere in the world -- even if the player is nowhere near the object. Characters are the most common example. All of the companions need to be able to move around the world even when they are not in your current area, so they are all persistent references.

All object data (excluding art assets like .nifs and audio assets [VO]) for persistent references is loaded at all times, so that's more-or-less a permanent chunk of resident memory. The number of persistent references invariably goes up with each DLC, so as the number of DLCs increases, the system has less and less memory available. Of course, the player's save game file only gets bigger and bigger, since he or she is going through more or more areas manipulating an increasingly large number of objects.

This is why some of our later patches actually removed content from the core game (e.g. Primm). Even though we had balanced the memory footprint for the core game, DLC content was pushing down the available resources.


-

Also, there are numerous threads that morrowind, fallout 3, fallout new vegas, oblivion, and skyrim all used a slightly-altered version of the same gaming engine, as evidenced by references in code and even maps, glitches, etc from game to game.

Fallout apparently has a tamriel map in it, and skyrim has both a cyrodiil and a morrowind map in it. As for Skyrim, you can apparently walk through a hidden path and find the morrowind and cyrodiil maps, which apparently use downgraded textures.

The theory of using the same core programming could explain why each and every game, from morrowind to fallout new vegas and now skyrim, are broken. It just was never coded properly in the first place, and bethesda, for whatever reason (time/money most likely) they didn't bother to fix it.

Despite what this developer from Obsidian says about the broken engine, there still are a few naysayers that believe it's 100% a memory leak problem, and Bethesda really seems to be using that mass theory to reassure people that it can be fixed in a new patch. We'll see, but I have my personal doubts. To this day, none of their other games have been fixed. PC versions got fixes and mods that made some of the games work correctly, but those fixes came from gamers and NOT Bethesda. Console versions weren't so lucky.



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Malakai
Posted: Dec 5 2011, 03:23 PM


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In an unconfirmed report, Gamestop corporate offices has started e-mailing regional managers with a contingency plan with the probability that Skyrim will be recalled.

When this message was brought up in the official Skyrim forums, by a member called "Unfortunate", the thread was then locked, and one of the moderators accused him of revealing insider information. The thread, a few minutes later, was abolished completely. I actually witnessed this thread, the mod's response, and then the inability to see the thread thereafter.

Usually, mods will just lock a thread and call BS and speculation on the official forums. However, in this particular instance, it wasn't called BS or speculation. It wasn't called ranting or raving. It was quickly dismembered. It really makes you wonder if this story, in fact, is true. Is Bethesda really preparing for a possible recall, or are gamestops just going for a preemptive strike do to a high probability of a recall? Or is this story complete and utter bologna?

-

In my personal opinion, the official Bethesda forums are very corrupt. It is of my personal opinion that some of the mods actually are using non-moderator handles to troll their own forums, to engage in argumentative behavior and make certain threads comply with their rule-breaking policies, via name-calling and provoking negative responses. Once the threads hit a certain level of rule breaking behavior, mods quickly sweep in and lock and/or delete the threads.

I've personally seen at least one instance of a mod getting his final say, taunting one of the thread starters AFTER the thread was already locked. He left the thread there, as sort of an FU to the original poster vs just deleting it.


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Malakai
Posted: Dec 5 2011, 04:05 PM


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What''s the latest news from Bethesda? Developers are taking the holidays off and won't be working on patches/fixes until January!!!

Bethesda mods are stating, "don't be hating. Let the devs enjoy their holiday." December 1st-24th aren't holidays!!!!!


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Malakai
Posted: Dec 5 2011, 05:01 PM


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The most condemning article about Skyrim yet. IGN calls out Bethesda:

IGN CALLS OUT BETHESDA, SONY


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Malakai
Posted: Dec 5 2011, 06:15 PM


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Other Online Articles starting to come after the IGN one

Comics and Gaming Monthly: PS3 users are second class citizens


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Malakai
Posted: Dec 5 2011, 06:26 PM


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Futureshop Canada has now announced a $50 trade-in program for Skyrim, offer good until Dec 24th!


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Malakai
Posted: Dec 6 2011, 09:20 PM


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Bethesda has put out a statement that a PS3 lag fix is not going to be in the next official patch, 1.03. When people confronted the person, asking him what changes were going to be made in the upcoming patch, he could not give a clear answer. Maybe just a bit of filler and fluff, to make the media think they're actually working on something?


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shaggy
Posted: Dec 18 2011, 10:41 PM


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This is making me not liking Bethesda more and more..


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Malakai
Posted: Dec 19 2011, 01:10 PM


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Although I haven't been updating this a lot lately, I just haven't wanted to put much more time into this game or its forums, tech support, etc. It's pretty clear that bethesda has time and time again just waited out complaints, not really fixing problems from past game releases. People eventually get tired of putting time and effort into hammering media, tech support, retailers, sony, etc, and they just give it. I think the difference between now and back then is that the elder scrolls series has went more mainstream with the release of skyrim, and old-skool and mainstream gamers are going to give up on bethesda completely. I can tell you that I'm never going to buy a bethesda product again.

After that damning article from IGN, bethesda apparently had some words with them, and they refused to do a followup story until an outcry from gamers went to IGN with their disappointment, but their followup was sh!t. Bethesda has paid advertisements on their site.

Bethesda has sunk so low that it has went to youtube and made the top featured 'videos' on the search for games like dark souls and many others. Their tv advertisements are for the xbox 360 version, not mentioning PS3 or PC versions.

I was reading a forum somewhere that mentioned bethesda sending a cease and desist letter to a modder who wanted to re-create morrowind in oblivion. With the PC version of the games, I believe that bethesda actually releases a free editing tool to create your own content like that. I know they are working on one with skyrim. Companies that release game editors know that there are going to be copyright-themed characters and maps, and the mods are freely distributed. So, I don't know what they problem is.

Although skyrim was created around the XBOX 360, PC gamers are probably going to be the only people to have a 'full' experience with skyrim, because modders have been fixing the problems and will probably continue to do so. I'm not one to promote piracy, but if you have a pc that's good enough to play this game, F**k steam and f**k bethesda. There are cracked versions on the net. These games are only in what I'd call a free beta stage anyway.



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Steve
Posted: Dec 26 2011, 10:18 AM


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I saw two teachers selling skyrim to students to get rid of it for $30 and then the same students selling the same game to others, this is a major blow for a popular franchise


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