Bethesda have released an updated Beta patch for all versions of the Shivering Isles expansion. View the patch notes here, and download it here.
The Construction Set has been updated to version 1.2.404. Read the release notes here or download the patch/installer.
Screenshot of the Week - Rooftop
GAME GUIDE Shivering Isles Main Quest - Understanding Madness
Sheogorath: “Well now, what news do you have for me?”
PC: “I was attacked by Knights…”
S: “So soon? Not a surprise I suppose. We’ll get to that later. No need to burden your little brain with it now. Since you’re standing here I assume you’ve succeeded. Or you’re really confused. Or really lacking in good judgment!”
PC: “Xedilian functions once more.”
S: “Wonderful! Time for a celebration. Cheese for everyone! Wait, scratch that, cheese for no-one. That can be just as much of a celebration if you don’t like cheese, no? You’ve run a maze like a good rat. Maybe a bit of cheese for you.”
Sheogorath grants you a new spell: the power to Summon Haskill. “He knows a lot. More than he knows…”. Sheogorath instructs you to try out the spell. You'll find it under the Lesser Powers section of the spell tab, and it is called: Summon Haskill. Select it and press the cast button to summon him.
Haskill seems positively overjoyed at your new power. Not. “Ah, our lord has granted you the power to summon me. How wonderful for me. When summoned I can offer you advice on your current endeavor. Do try to use your power sparingly.”
Talk to Sheogorath again. He seems quite pleased with the results. “Isn’t that a hoot. I love it myself. Best part of being a Daedric prince really. Go ahead. He loves it!" Sheogorath instructs you to Summon Haskill again.
H: “Ah, summoned again. My Lord does so enjoy that, as is His prerogative. I’ll assume you’re done for now.”
Speak to Sheogorath again. “Good, good. You’ll need all the help you can get if you’re going to defeat Juggalag and the Greymarch!”
PC: “Juggalag? Who’s that?”
S: “The Daedric prince of Order. Or biscuits… No, no, order. And not in a good way. Bleak. Colorless. Dead. Boring boring boring! Not a fan of my work, I can tell you. You’ve seen his Knights. Not a bit of original thought in their lifeless husks. So, you’re going to help me stop him.”
PC: “Me? How?”
S: “Again with the niggling little details. Hold your tongue. Or I will. We’ll get to that , all in due time. For now, you’ve got other work to do.”
PC: “What is the Greymarch?”
S: “An event. A movement. An apocalypse of sorts. Happens every era, at the end of every era. Which is to say, now. The Greymarch comes, and Juggalag walks...”
PC: “What would you ask of me now?”
S: “I don’t ask! I tell! This is my realm, remember?! My creation, my place, my rules! Look at you, no concept of what you’ve stumbled into, no sense of place! You don’t even really know where you are, do ya? We’re going to give you a taste of where you’ve found yourself. You’re going to learn.”
PC: “Learn? Learn what?”
S: “Two halves, two rulers, two places. Meet and greet. Do what they will, so you know what they’re about. The Duke of Mania and the Duchess of Dementia. Seek them out and let them show you what New Sheoth is. Once you understand what my realm is, you might understand why it’s important to keep it in tact. And maybe you’ll make some friends along the way. That’s always nice.”
You’ll receive a journal entry:
I need to speak to the Duke of Mania and the Duchess of Dementia, as Sheogorath wishes for me to better understand the inner workings of his Realm.
From the Palace Grounds area, make this your active quest. Two map markers will appear over two doors: one to the House of Dementia, and one to the House of Mania. You’ll need to work for both leaders, and it’s impossible to complete these quests without getting your hands dirty.
Let’s explore the House of Dementia first, and visit Duchess Syll.
Shivering Isles Main Quest - The Lady Paranoia
Head through the door to the House of Dementia. You’ll see Duchess Syl’s throneroom. I visited at on a Morndas, and Duchess Syl was there. Either way, you should speak with the Redguard, Kithlan, to make an appointment to see her. Unfortunately, he says she’s refused any and all appointments of late. All that’s left is to find her on your own – and he doesn’t recommend that. Quite ironic, considering she was standing a few feet away from our conversation.
If Duchess Syl is not present, you’ll have to schmooze Kithlan to get some more information. You’ll need to raise his disposition to 60 before he’ll tell you that the Duchess holds court during the day. You can speak to her once she’s inside the throneroom.
Speak to Lady Syl when you see her. Her initial reaction is hostile, but once you tell her that you were sent to find her, she calms down, realizing you have the Madgod’s blessing. She rails on a bit about spies and traitors, the typical paranoid ruler. She says you can help her with her problem. Refuse to help her and you’re threatened with the torture chamber. The quest won’t advance unless you agree to help, so you’ll have to concede.
“You will be my Grand Inquisitor. Expose the conspirators and they will be punished. Find out who keeps secrets and what they are. Speak with Herdir, he’ll help you.”
Worryingly, she warns that if no-one is found out you will be held responsible. Not exactly a fair investigation!
You’ll receive a journal entry:
I have been tasked with finding the people conspiring against Lady Syl. I need to find and speak to Herdir. He can always be found at the torture chamber in the House of Dementia.
Facing the throne, you’ll see a doorway on the right. Enter the doorway and follow the corridoor until you hit a right hand turn. Follow the right-hand turn around through a wooden door and into the torture chambers. You’ll see Herdir there, wandering around the torture. There area number of prisoners in the cells. You might see them sleeping on the floor.
Speak to him and he’ll quickly deduce that you’re the Grand Inquisitor. He’s eager to get to work and start ‘visiting’ people. If you ask him what you’re supposed to be doing, he says that you’ll need to start asking around Crucible for information on who the traitors might be. Your journal suggests you start with those closest to Lady Syl.
That refers, I’d imagine, to her attendants: Kilthan and Anya Herrick. Ask them about a Conspiracy and they’ll both insist they know nothing. Raising their disposition will not yield any information either. You’ll have to turture Kilthan. Herdir will cast a shock spell on him. You’ll need to repeat the process twice before he gives you some information: Anya has been looking scared lately. More scared than usual.
In case you’re worried, torturing the suspects will not raise your infamy. It seems that whenever something is necessary for a quest, the game will not give you infamy points – unless it’s for the Dark Brotherhood, of course.
Tell Herdir to torture Anya. She’ll confess what she knows quickly. “They wanted me to get the close to Syl, but I couldn’t abide them.”
“It was Ma’zaddha, he said he was working on behalf of somebody else.” He also threatened to punish Anya if she did not assist him. Looks like he is your next stop.
Ma’zaddha lives in Crucible. You’ll also receive a quest marker over his current location. His house is on the western side of town, though you might find him wandering around Crucible.
Ask him about a Conspiracy, and he’ll say he doesn’t know what you’re talking about. Set Herdir on him. He’ll double over in pain, but will not yield. He says that until you have some evidence, he’ll give you nothing. Your journal suggests that you speak with the citizens of Crucible to learn more.
Search around Crucible for a poorly dressed Khajiit named Bhisha. Torture him and he’ll tell you that he sees Ma’zaddha and a Dark Seducer, Nelrene, meeting behind the buildings late at night sometimes. Your journal suggests that you find their meeting and listen in on their conversation. You won’t need to torture anyone else, so you can send Herdir back to the Palace if you wish.
Your best course of action is to stalk Ma’zaddha, following him at a distance. He’ll eventually lead you to the meeting. Your map marker will stick with him, so you can wait until just before nightfall, rather than following him around all day. When I followed him, he had dinner at Sickly Bernice’s Taphouse, then proceeded up on to the rooftop of the building to watch the Fight-Club style unregulated battles. He got home at around eleven. He leaves home again to meet with Nelrene at around , next to the sewer grate nearby his house. You’ll get a map marker pointing you to the location if you can’t see it. Make sure you’re hidden, or they’ll call the meeting off and you’ll have to wait until another night. I recommend sneaking above them on the higher level, behind the short wall.
Nalrene asks about Anya. Ma’zaddha tells her: “The Inquisitor got to her.” Nalrene isn’t pleased, and orders Ma’zaddha to find someone else to do the deed. It seems the Nalrene is the one calling the shots here – a conspiracy among Lady Syl’s sworn servants, the Dark Seducers! They both want her dead. Why? Because of “what she’s done”. Perhaps you’ll discover that Syl is not an innocent in all of this?
When they’ve finished speaking you’ll receive a journal entry:
I’ve overheard Ma’zaddha and Nelrene speaking. I need to confront Ma’zaddha with this information.
You can confront Ma’zaddha on the steps to his home. He maintains his innocence once again, but you can counter that with: “I heard you talking to Nalrene.”
“It’s for the good of Crucible! You must see that!”
“Who else is involved?”
“I don’t know, besides Nalrene. She’s taking orders from someone, but won’t tell me who. If I find out, will you promise to spare me?”
“Very well. Bring me names.”
“Meet me in my house tomorrow at . I’ll have the information for you.”
If you take this option you won’t get the chance to ask why they are working to kill Lady Syl. Hopefully you’ll get that opportunity later.
Go to his Ma'zaddha's house at the next day and you’ll find it locked. You’ll be forced to pick the lock. Once inside, you’ll see Ma’zaddha: dead. Your journal suggests you search his body for evidence.
The only items of interest he holds are two keys: a house key and a cupboard key. Your journal suggests that you need to find this ‘cupboard’ as it may contain the evidence you need. Head upstairs and rifle through the cupboard near Ma’zaddha’s bed. In it, you’ll find Nalrene’s Ceremonial Shortsword and Ma’zaddha’s crumpled note. Take both.
You’ll receive a journal entry:
I have found the items Ma’zaddha hid in his house. The evidence points to Nelrene, and I should confront her about it.
Read the note – you’ll find that it is written for you. It reveals several key points:
Ma’zaddha was murdered by Nelrene or Muurine.
The Ceremonial Sword found in the cupboard was intended for Anya to use as a weapon against Syl.
Ma’zaddha believes Syl will recongize the sword.
Muurine is in charge, and giving orders to Nelrene.
Your map marker will point you to NewSheothPalace. You’ll find that Nalrene is one of the throneroom guards (you can follow your map marker to her). Speak with her about the Conspiracy.
Nelrene: “You have no proof. You cannot hold me accountable for anything.”
PC: “I have your ceremonial sword.”
Nelrene: “And with it, you’ll do what? I’m not even the one you want. Muurine is the one behind it. You’ll need solid proof to pin it on her.”
You’ll receive a journal entry:
Nelrene has admitted to being involved in the conspiracy. I now have enough evidence to confront Muurine.
The question is, where is she? You won’t immediately receive a map marker this time. Head back to Crucible. You’ll receive a map marker now, which points to Muurine’s current wherabouts. Talk to her and she’ll confess to wanting to kill Syl because she turned on her allies and consorted with their enemies. She resigns herself to her fate, and your journal directs you to bring this news to Lady Syl.
Find Lady Syl in her throne room and tell her that “Muurine was behind it.”
“I shall have her brought to the torture chamber at once. Meet me there shortly.”
Follow Syl down to the torture chambers and you’ll find Muurine there already. Gee, those Dark Seducers work fast, no? She stands in the central cage as Syl speaks.
“The penalty for this treachery is death, and is to be carried out immediately.”
Syl presses a button on her right hand side, sending two fierce shock bolts into the cage which kill Muurine instantly. At least it was a relatively humane death (though those of you with evil characters might have been disappointed it was so swift!)
“As a token of my appreciation I shall spare your life and make you a Courtier of Dementia,” says Lady Syl. You’ll also receive an enchanted bow as a gift. The bow, Ruin’s Edge, is enchanted with ‘Random spell effect on Strike’. Something for you bow-users to play with, eh? It looks to be made of madness ore, as does Nelrene’s Ceremonial Shortsword, which you get to keep.
You can take a ‘Liturgy of the Duelists’ text from Muurine's corpse, as well as a Duelist’s Key and her house key.
For now, your obligations to Lady Syl have ended.
The Shivering Isles Main Quest - Addiction
It’s now time to get to know the Duke of Mania, Thadon. Head to New Sheoth and enter the House of Mania. Speak with the Argonian woman, Wide-Eye, in his throneroom (though it looks a lot like a Feast Hall). Tell her you’ll looking for Thadon. She’ll tell you, in a roundabout way, that he’s waiting for you. But not where. Oh well…
Try the Halcyon Conservatory, accessable through the door behind Thadon’s throne. Youcan often find him painting there. Otherwise, he might be hanging around the throneroom. Speak with him. He appears to be a Bosmer, just like Lady Syl.
He asks whether you can imagine how long he’s been waiting to meet you. You’re given a considerable number of answers, but they all lead to the same conversational point. He asks if you’ve tried the “Chalice” – something which sounds rather like a drug, or something linked to drugs. Ask him about the “Chalice of Reversal”.
“Oh, so you’ve heard of it.”
“No, I haven’t?”
“You’ve never heard of it, yet you know its name? What a strange creature you are…” (I wonder if this is self-satire by Bethesda. Too often your character will be able to ask specific questions about things they've never heard of!)
“You eat the Felldew, then use the Chalice, and find the world a much brighter and happier place. Honest. But I don’t have it. So I can’t eat Felldew, because that would just be bad. I mean… really, really, bad. Damn her!”
“We hold on to fleeting things, even as we slip. I knew, and yet I indulged myself anyway. I indugled her a fair bit too. It was passion, it was forbidden. Oh, the things that would be said if word got out. That made it all the more delicious. From Dementia’s own court, no less…”
“Do I know her?”
He gives no real answer. You ask: “What happened?”
“Opposites repel, strangely enough. All that pleasure and pain, locked away now, as if it never happened. Unfortunately, the Chalice is locked away as well. I have no wish to retrieve it myself, but fetching it myself might do you some good.”
He complains of a splitting headache, andtells you to find someone else to “tell you the rest of the story”. Your journal instructs you to find someone in his court, or in Syl’s, who knows where the Chalice of Reversal might be.
Speak to Wide-Eye in Thadon’s throneroom. She’ll tell you that Dunroot Barrow is your goal. The Chalice would be there, she says, because of the Elytra. The Chalice, Felldew, Elytra are all connected. You’ll need to get Felldew from some of the Elytra to get in. It all sounds very strange. She’ll give you one piece of solid information: the Burrow is North-West of New Sheoth. Your journal entry breaks it down a little more simply:
Wide-Eye has told me that the Chalice of Reversal is locked away in Dunroot Barrow. I’ll need to ingest Felldew to enter the Burrow, and pass through to reach the Chalice.
You’ll receive a Map Marker for Dunroot Barrow. Make your way there.
Dunrooot Barrow is a giant tree-stump which the Elytra seem to have made a nest in. Normal Elytra carry Elytra Ichor, but Elytra Hatchlings, which can be found around the front of Dunroot Barrow, also carry Felldew. Dunroot Barrow is blocked off by a Barrier Membrane which ‘Cannot be moved by hand’. Take the Felldew and you’ll receive a journal entry.
I’ve taken Felldew in order to enter Dunroot Burrow. I shall have to be careful as I proceed through the Barrow. The membrane opens for you, allowing you to enter.
Inside is a new type of dungeon, a spider’s nest. It’s quite cool. The map below shows the route you need to take to reach the Chalice of Reversal.
But first: as you begin to proceed through the dungeon, you’ll receive a journal entry:
The effects of Felldew have worn off, and withdrawal is setting in. I need to either reach the Chalice of Reversal quickly, or find more Felldew as I make my way through the burrow.
The second option will work for a while, but the deeper you get into the burrow, the less Felldew you’ll find. Expect your character to suffer increasingly nasty withdrawal symptoms. Target Elytra with a green outline, as they’re the ones that carry Felldew. Follow the route outlined below, rifling through the hollowed out stumps as you see them for useful potions. Once you reach the Chalice of Reversal you’ll be cured of your Felldew addiction and will be able to go back and explore the burrow thoroughly if you want.
Upon taking the Chalice, the effects of Felldew withdrawal will be cured. You'll receive a journal entry: I have the Chalice of Reversal. It should be delivered to Thadon as soon as possible.
You’re now free of your Felldew addiction, as long as you don’t take the drug again. You can collect a large quantity from around the Felldew addict’s sleeping quarters – at 25 septims a pop, it doesn’t make for bad loot. Once you’ve drunk from the Chalice you’re free to explore the levels above at your leisure. The noxious tree stumps hold quite a bit of loot.
When you’re ready, exit the Burrow, either from the way you came in or the Halls of Decadence exit. If you choose the latter, beware. It drops you right outside an Obelisk which will continue to spawn Knights of Order, and you don't yet have the means to stop it. If you do this, best to fast travel to New Sheoth before they spot you.
Find Thadon and give him the Chalice of Reversal. You’ll be promoted to Courtier of Mania. You get no other reward. Ah well…
You receive a journal update:
Now that I’ve become a member of the courts of both the Dukes of Madness, I should return to Sheogorath and report my progress.
Head into Sheogorath’s throne room. You might have noticed that with every significant quest you complete, a relic of that quest is placed on pedestals around the throne room. By now, you should have the Chalice, a Gatekeepers Head, the Inquisitors Cage and a Focus Crystal. Collect the whole set, eh?
Talking to Sheogorath will begin the next quest: but that's for next week, kids.
TRAVELER TALK An interview with Dark 0ne, webmaster of TESsource.com.
Could you introduce yourself?
Hi folks, I'm Robin “Dark0ne” Scott. I was born near Birmingham in England and now live in Exeter during my course time, which is in the south-west of England, and a further 25 miles south-west, in Torquay, during the holidays. I am 20 years old eagerly awaiting my 21st birthday on June 3rd so I can jump across the pond and enjoy some watered down, warm, salty tasting beers from the US in the summer.
I'm currently in my second year (of three) at university taking a course in Computer Science which is going ... all right I guess. To be honest it's not really where my passion lies; with a little more research into the subject I'd have found out that Computer Science focuses more on science with computers rather than the science of computers but the degree is more of a means to an end; the hope being that I will spend a few years working in a foreign country to see if the grass is any greener on the other side. I'm pinning my sights on the US or Canada at the moment and in order to get a working visa for the US and Canada a degree is really a must.
If you're relatively new to the Elder Scrolls scene you probably won't have heard of me. I tend to keep to my own little corner of the community at the Gaming Source Forums and quietly work in the background on updates, tweaks and feature additions to my site, The Elder Scrolls Source (TESSource).
From the rest of this question's answer I'll be writing about the history of TESSource and how I've progressed through the different incarnations of the site over the past 6 years and I warn you now, it's a mind dump! I also want to add a personal disclaimer that now that I'm out of my teens my memory isn't quite what it used to be and some parts might be a little inaccurate. It's not intentional, it's just how I remember it, promise!
TESSource was created under it's initial name, Morrowind Chronicles, back in August of 2001 when I was just 15 along with my best friend, Simon Blackler. We were literally bouncing on one of those big circular trampolines in his garden and he was telling me about Daggerfall and the soon to be released Morrowind. I got on to talking about how I'd been working on a fansite for a game and we chuckled at the idea of creating a fansite for Morrowind. A month later Morrowind Chronicles was up and running.
We really only created the site to develop our own skills in web programming and graphic design and in 2002 Simon “left” the site to work on starting his own internet company, Krystal Solutions (http://www.krystal.co.uk), which I have always been a part of. His company is doing extremely well and we both have TESSource to thank for that.
When Morrowind came out the site was receiving around 6,000 unique visitors a day which was a huge amount and both Simon and I were really over whelmed by it all. Unfortunately after expanding Morrowind Chronicles to include Morrowind Mod Library (which hosted mods, did mod author interviews, reviews, etc.) we ran into a string of hosting issues; we were just using too many resources for our hosts to handle and the site went down for over a month. Similarly I lost most of the forum posts and members due to a nasty server problem. By the time we were back up and running Morrowind Files had firmly asserted itself in the community as the place to go for mods and I sort of missed out. “Veterans” of the Morrowind modding community will remember the Morrowind Files site, which was made using PHPNuke and had a cloudy white and light blue skin. People really loved that site and a semi-disaster struck the community when the site went under for reasons I don't think ever came to light. At this point Dalin over at Morrowind Summit (now Planet Elder Scrolls) took over the reigns of hosting Morrowind mods and the community stabilised again.
Ergo my influence and activity in the Morrowind modding scene was rather limited and I enjoyed my time within the community that was setup for Morrowind Chronicles with some great forum members like Theta Orionis, Switch, Marxist Bastard, Stampede and, of course, the Middle-Earth Mod for Morrowind group which I had first started (that's the shout outs done!).
During this period my focus switched away from Morrowind Chronicles as I looked on to starting my own small business which revolved around the problems I had with finding adequate hosting for my fansite. The thinking was simple; people spend their own money, time and energy making fansites and resources for members of the gaming community to use (any gaming community, not just the ES community); why not provide a free service to fansites finding themselves in a similar situation to my own? Using this premise as a foundation I created Gaming Source (http://www.gamingsource.net) which, in it's time, hosted, for free, over 100 top gaming fan sites and served over 30 million unique visitors. I was 17 at the time and the company was directly subsidised by Simon. We ran advertising on the hosted sites and any loss (If hosting costs > advertising revenue then it was a loss!) was covered by Krystal, which I have always been appreciative of. So when I say Gaming Source was a company I mean it was a company that didn't really make any money; it offered (what I like to think was) a brilliant service for many webmasters over the years. Unfortunately in January of 2007 I stopped hosting independent fansites at Gaming Source and moved towards running my own fansites that follow on from the trend that TESSource set. The most recent of which is Supreme Commander Source (http://www.supcomsource.net) which, much like TESSource, is currently one of the most used file databases for the new RTS Supreme Commander.
After Gaming Source was setup I changed the name of Morrowind Chronicles to Morrowind Source to make it the first “Source site”, a site made specifically for Gaming Source. Roughly 8 months before Oblivion was released I changed the site's name again to The Elder Scrolls Source. Making Oblivion Source was out of the question since someone else had already begun work on making it; which was nothing to do with me. Then 6 months before Oblivion was released I started work on, what I'd say, was the defining factor in making TESSource as popular as it is today. To improve my web programming skills and to help in the future expansion of Gaming Source I began the design process of a completely custom coded CMS (Content Management System) and file database system for TESSource.
I began looking at the services and features provided by others sites such as PES and ElricM and jotted down good and new features that could perhaps improve on their services. All this had to be completed and ready for when Oblivion came out in March 2006 and the inevitable swarm of mod authors looking for a place to upload their files.
I was extremely happy with the changes and how the system came out in the end. I was rewarded at the beginning of March 2006 (20 odd days before Oblivion would be released) to an almost personal PR event at Take Two's offices in Windsor, England where I was able to play Oblivion before all you suckers ( :P ) for a good 5 hours. From that brilliant experience I cranked out a 7,000 word review of Oblivion which focused on what I thought would be the most important aspects of the game and answer the most questions. I stuck the review up on TESSource and it generated a huge amount of interest both in the site and the game, especially from the official ES forums.
When Oblivion was finally released all hell broke lose and the modding community went crazy cranking out hundreds of mods. The people searching for mods were even crazier and TESSource was receiving between 65-000 and 75,000 unique visitors to the site each and every day. Those are crazy figures that put TESSource in the top 5000 most visited sites on the internet. The new CMS and file database on the site was a big hit with the mod authors and I really felt honoured that so many people were using the resource I had created to get their awesome files out on the internet.
Obliviously the community has calmed down a lot now and the site now “simmers” (joking!) with a steady traffic of 25,000 – 32,000 unique visitors a day. It truly is amazing.
For me the focus is now on making Gaming Source a proper company; a company that offers a brilliant service to gamers across the globe but also gets some money in the kitty for those rainy days. TESSource is where it all stems from and I will always have an affinity with/for the site.
How and when did you first discover the Elder Scrolls games?
After my friend Simon spoke to me about Daggerfall and the upcoming Morrowind I decided to read up on, but not play Daggerfall. Simon had an awesome book, I think it was called The Daggerfall Chronicles which contained everything and anything to do with Daggerfall. Obliviously this is where the name Morrowind Chronicles came from! On a “by-the-by” note it's also where the forum ranks that I used for 6 odd years on the forums were pulled from!
Therefore the first Elder Scrolls game I played was Morrowind and I have never played any of the games before it. Nope, Dark0ne hasn't played Daggerfall, Arena or Battlespire! Stop the press.
I think I'm going to leave the past in the past and simply tell myself that they were just a little before my time. I know if I had played Daggerfall “back in the day” I'd have loved it to addiction but I feel if I try to play it now I'd get disappointed when my mind naturally compares the game to contemporary aspects of gaming.
What is your favourite Elder Scrolls game and why?
People ask me this one a lot. To be honest it's normally those hard-line hardcore Morrowind lovers (many of which seem to inhabit my forums!) who want to see where I stand on the issue. I want to state for the record that I am the most un/in/non-diplomatic person there is when it comes to appeasing people; I say it how I think it and normally end up insulting some minority or group of people in some shape or form BUT when it comes to Morrowind and Oblivion I sit firmly on the fence.
Morrowind was awesome and gave me that brilliant excuse to buy a completely new PC. But then again, so did Oblivion. I think many of the people who love Morrowind so much do so because they played Daggerfall to death and Morrowind really built on what Daggerfall was. Then along came Oblivion which was perhaps less than what many of these peope expected; they saw a big leap from Daggerfall to Morrowind and then expected the same from Morrowind to Oblivion.
I do not stand on the fence when it comes to the “Oblivion has been dumbed down” issue. There's no denying that from Morrowind to Oblivion some dumbing down has taken place. The compass and the lack of really cool journal notes that mean you no longer spend an hour in dust storms trying to find that hidden door from vague “look to the south” instructions are a testament to that. I personally loved that aspect of Morrowind, it really made the game an explorative (I made that word up) adventure and it's something missing in Oblivion. Sure, you can go exploring in Oblivion if you want to, but you're not forced to. Sometimes people need to be forced to do things to really appreciate them.
So somethings went slightly backwards in Oblivion but many, many things went forward. I think the game world looks extremely beautiful and you can tell Bethesda really looked at Morrowind and thought out how they could improve the graphical aspects of the game. The view distance was one of the biggest disappointments of Morrowind and I was really happy to see they pushed it really far out in Oblivion.
Having said Oblivion has been dumbed down and gone backwards in some areas it doesn't mean the game isn't bloody good fun. Oblivion is an amazing game. There were a couple of let downs but nothing that ruined the game as much as some people on my forums would have you believe and for the most part it's nothing that the modding community can't rectify. Don't like the “compass for idiots” system? Get a mod to turn it off. It's a pretty simple concept.
Sure there are plenty of valid points that people raise about Oblivion and how it could have been better but the people who refuse to play the game because “insert valid point here” are really denying themselves a truly brilliant experience.
And oh, I'm well aware that didn't answer the question.
What makes maintaining TESSource a rewarding experience for you?
The experience I've gained from creating this site, expanding it, modifying it, publicising it as well as the experience gained from public and business relations has been absolutely invaluable to my future. Words cannot express how much I've learnt from creating this site.
There's also the cliché but oh-so-true fact that I really enjoy providing a service and resource to so many people. It's a great feeling to know that not only are people using what you've created (which must mean it's at least sort of good!), but also that they appreciate it.
At the end of the day if TESSource wasn't around there'd still be plenty of other options for authors to get their mods out there, but it's an honour to be one of the first choices for authors.
I've had some brilliant first meetings with people as well, especially at university. When you meet Oblivion players for the first time and they find out “you're Dark0ne” it really is a chuckle. Conversations tend to go like this, after the initial hellos and introductions:
Robin: So are you into gaming at all?
Person: Yeah I play a few games.
Robin: Any I know?
Person: I'm enjoying playing Oblivion at the moment.
Robin: Yeah, Oblivion is a great game. Do you mod it at all?
Person: Yeah, got loads of mods.
Robin: Ah cool, where do you get them from.
Person: Ah, normally that GameSpy site.
Robin: .... Oh ... Any other sites?
Person: Yeah, sometimes I get them from that Elder Scrolls Source site.
Robin: Oh wow, that's where I get mine from. What do you think of the site?
Person (now looking at me funny): It's OK I guess. Login system is annoying.
Robin: IT NEEDS TO BE THERE DAMNIT!
Person: ****, you're Dark0ne?
Robin: Yah :|
Not quite celebrity status yet but I'm getting there.
What do you think is the best aspect of the TES fan community?
As I mentioned in the huge tangent I went off on when I was meant to be introducing myself earlier I'm not really active on the official forums any more and I tend to stick to my own forums. To be honest I'm not as much of a forum junkie as I once was and I had the humiliating situation of one of my moderators overtaking my 6,500+ post count on the forums the other day. Joke back in 2003 was that anyone who overtook my post count would be instant-banned for insulting me! It's a predicament I tell you!
However I lurk around the official forums every now and again, normally doing a search for “tessource” to make sure no one is having any problems with the site. Something very recently took my notice and that was Bethesda's new crack down on sites that feature nudity. The ambiguous announcement they made stemmed a forum debate that was around 100 pages long (obviously split up across many threads) from all sorts of avid community members wanting a clear answer on the issue. There was some real passion in there, and that's a passion you can see across the community, especially when it comes to modding.
I think the passionate members, both young and old are a real defining aspect of the community and I've got the utmost respect for them.
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