‘Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim’ Armor & Character Details Revealed

Jul 5, 2011 by  

Elder Scrolls 5 Skyrim Armor Character Details

Anyone who has been paying attention to the details surrounding The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim knows that when a game is as massive in size and scope as Bethesda’s next title, there is just too much information to truly grasp before playing it for yourself. Even so, a few questions have continued to nag at the minds of many fans, and thanks to a recent interview released by Bethesda we have a few more concrete details about the various mechanics and design choices the team has in store with Skyrim.

We’ve been keeping up to date with just about everything there is to know about Skyrim, and it’s been clear from early on that the sequel to Oblivion would be a true successor in every sense of the word.

Now Bethesda has posted some answers to the most asked questions from their fan community on their official forum, revealing even more details on the types of characters, weapons and crafting, and even the different quests that Skyrim will be offering.

When it comes to modern RPGs, customization has quickly become one of the most rewarding and demanded systems for players to truly craft their very own character. Skyrim will be no exception according to Lead Artist Matt Carofano, with players given the chance to select from different hairstyles, face paints, and even a unique body shape ranging from light to heavy for each individual race.

Quick to avoid any accusations of favoring one gender over another, both male and female player types have been given completely unique animations, and a totally equal skillset at the start of the game. Similarly, different races each have their own unique passive abilities, like a Khajiit’s ability to see in the dark or a Redguard’s use of Adrenaline Rush.

Skyrim‘s Lead Designer Bruce Nesmith noted that other characters within the game world may voice certain biases toward one gender or racial group, those distinctions won’t affect the player’s ability to receive or complete quests. So with a similar set of choices open to every possible class, what reason would a player have to choose one over another? Nesmith explains:

“Your race is very important. It’s more than just how you look. Each race has a bias toward certain types of characters. If you want play a wizard, it will be easier with a High Elf or a Breton. If you want to play a warrior, it will be easier with a Nord or a Redguard. However, just like in Oblivion, we don’t force you to follow that bias. If you want to be a Nord wizard, that’s completely viable.”

So just how the Dragonborn will look is up to every player’s imagination, but when facing off against massive opponents, even the strongest Nordic warriors will be requiring armor tailored to their own needs. Carofano confirmed that the armor itself would be very similar to that of Oblivion, but with the upper body armor (cuirass) and lower body armor (greaves) combined.

Elder Scrolls 5 Skyrim Armor Types

Some hardcore fans might see the streamlining of any and all inventory or armor systems as watering down, but Carofano maintains that the decisions were made not just to maximize rendering times, but to make the look and feel of the armor fit into the new Nordic/Viking culture of Skyrim. On the contrary, Carofano promises that the newest game will actually offer players more types and styles of armor than any previous game.

Anyone who still believes that Skyrim will be short on variety need look no farther than the screenshots of character variations. With so much variety in armor types, once again the team has decided to leave out the option of medium armor. Skyrim‘s Director Todd Howard explained that while the new armors are rendered much faster, the team’s choices aren’t due to technical restraints:

“As far as medium armor, that’s not a time or polish thing, it’s a design choice to focus on two armor types and making sure those feel different and the player appreciates them. We try to make your character move and feel different between light and heavy and having a 3rd one in the middle just muddies it up in how it plays, as well as visually. And even now, we still have to tweak those two armor types so they feel different, while remaining fun. Every time we slow down heavy armor more, it feels bad, but it’s the main way of balancing it. We’ve added other ways of balancing it that feel right—like different stamina drain rates when sprinting and such.”

The presence of dragons in the game also means that new armor types will be possible, with the developers confirming that both light and heavy variants of dragon armor will be included. Past armor types will still be present, but with the Nordic themes being used for a vast majority of the game, players can expect that the designs and styles seen so far are a good sign of what to expect.

If some of you players prefer to go out and collect the raw materials for your new armor and weaponry, then the crafting systems of Skyrim should come as good news. Players will be able to forge their own items using the blacksmith’s shop, as well as the grindstone and armor-smithing bench. As your skills improve, using the grindstone will increase the damage a weapon can inflict by a larger amount, and increase the strength of an armor via the smithing bench.

These may seem like somewhat tedious tasks amidst a medieval world filled with mythical creatures to those RPG fans who are most familiar with the quest-first-ask-questions-later mentality of Dragon Age, but to fans of The Elder Scrolls, a great amount of depth in inventory and customization is a must.

Continue to Page 2 for more details on quests, NPCs, and Skyrim’s campaign!

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Elder Scrolls 5 Skyrim Quest Romance Details

Weapons and armor will be of the utmost importance in the newly re-designed combat engine being brought out for Skyrim, and the developers are promising that the new weapons and magic at the player’s disposal will be used as much as possible. Different enemies will test every aspect of the player’s arsenal, be it through implementing their own variety of attacks, or attacking en force to overwhelm any strategies.

But in the end, combat is only one part of a much larger role-playing experience, and in a world as fully realized and populated as that of Skyrim, the quests and NPCs show real potential of stealing the show. The developers again hinted that while there will be an abundance of side quests, the mythology and story of Skyrim will be the major motivation for the player.

Nesmith confirmed that the game is full of small changes, but “overall it’s a single story.” Combined with Todd Howard’s claim that players will “absolutely” be able to continue their progress after the campaign’s conclusion, it seem that those expecting a game more influenced by Fallout than past Elder Scrolls titles are in for a surprise.

The Dragonborn’s journey is unquestionably the heart of Skyrim, but the game is named after a country inhabited by thousands of people, so other characters will obviously be important. We got to see a few mentions of how NPCs will be playing unique roles in our E3 preview of Skyrim, but with the increased importance of romance and legitimate relationships in recent franchises like Mass Effect and The Witcher, the developers are upping their game.

Characters in the game world will be given all new abilities to shape the quests available to the player thanks to Bethesda’s new radiant story engine, but giving players the chance to act and react to computer-controlled beings means far more than just alliances or feuds. It seems that fans of the game are already thinking ahead, wondering if players will be able to form relationships with NPCs that go beyond the artificial premise of the questee/quest-giver dynamic.

According to Nesmith, those suspicions are right on track:

“Absolutely! You make friends with people by doing things for them. Friends in the game will treat you differently. Some of them will even agree to go with you into dungeons and on adventures. You can even get married. If you own a house, your spouse will move in with you.”

The idea of having NPCs become something akin to party members on certain quests is a major proposition, and something that shows even more promise in terms of the new story engine shaping a player’s own journey. Nesmith clarified that players wouldn’t be able to control the skills or perks of those secondary characters, but did hint that each would have their own strengths and abilities.

Elder Scrolls 5 Skyrim Side Quests

Bethesda certainly isn’t the first developer of an RPG to claim that player choices will have a lasting impact on how their story progresses, but all too often, the idea of morality doesn’t amount to much more than a few binary choices that either send one player down one predetermined path, or another.

But Bethesda isn’t planning on using a simple good/bad meter to decide how characters in the world react to a player’s character, but a much deeper system. Nesmith explained:

“We don’t provide a numeric score that you can track, but the game knows if you’ve been naughty or nice. We felt that a number really didn’t do your fame justice. Characters in the world will acknowledge the specific things you have done rather than just a generalized reputation. If you are a criminal, they’ll know that too. But if you pay your debt to society, all is forgiven.”

With a combat engine and inventory systems that are far more streamlined and intuitive than in the past, and a seemingly clear idea of the type of story they wish to tell, the developers of Skyrim seem to have most of their ducks in a row. Some may still think that a massive scope means that Skyrim is at risk of delays, the developers themselves have maintained that the game will ship on time.

If the amount of gameplay content being hinted at does turn out to be too much to get finished in time, we already know that Bethesda has some serious plans for expansive DLC.

What are your thoughts on these confirmed details? Are you still hoping that Skyrim was more similar to Morrowind than Oblivion, or are you willing to see what the developers have learned from Fallout 3? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be making its way onto the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 this November 11.

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Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Bethsoft Forums

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56 Comments

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  1. Definitely the best RPG of all time. Maybe even the best game of 2011…

  2. Game keeps sounding better and better. I wonder how the relationships will work though. Fable works marriage into the game ok, but I hope the feature won’t cheapen Skyrim in anyway. If it does seem cheap though then I guess I can just opt not to take part in it. Can’t wait.

    • My wives and children always glitched out in Fable, getting stuck on the front lawn. If that doesn’t happen I’ll be happy :P

  3. This article says it’s a successor to Oblivion, but is the story a sequel? I didn’t play much of Oblivion and I’m hoping this story isn’t tied to any previous Elder Scrolls games.

    • It’s tied in terms of world history, but not character history.

    • Skyrim takes place 200 years after Oblivion in an empire that has been crumbling since the end of the last game.

      Thinking about it objectively, this is probably as un-sequel-y as any Elder Scrolls game has ever been.

      • well this games has tid-bit for people who played previous entries. Like it mentions the elder-scroll prophecies, such as the exploding mountain from morrowinnd.

    • LOL all the elder scrolls games are tied together. FAIL. dont even buy the game.

      • For example Martin septim was the last dragonborn before our character ion skyrim. BOOM tied together.

        • He was a main character in Oblivion for all the fools who didnt bother with the questline.

          • Or for all the people who did not play it, but is going to buy this one. Stop being a jerk and answer his question if you have something useful to say and do it in a proper manner.

      • Settle down. Dude was just asking an honest question and should be treated with respect for being interested… It wasn’t a dumb question. Some game sequels could leave you feeling lost if you hadn’t played the previous game, so he wanted to know if this game would be enjoyable without having to be all ‘loremaster supreme’ about it.

  4. So it’s kinda like Fable in a sense that you’re in the same world and you’ll get little mentions of the previous games that the hardcore fans will understand but new players can jump right in? Cool.

    • yes but they get better every time they make a game, as apposed to fable which gets worse with every sequel. Ya Bethesda makes great ti-ins with other games. Like a Fallout 3 tie-into the originals was Harold the Talking tree. He was really great to see especially if you played the original Fallouts. He-he HERBERT!

    • Fable resembles TES. Don’t you dare confuse the order :P

  5. I will be living in another world for about 200 hours, tell my wife I’m on vacation.

  6. it sounds to me like this game is going to be heavily influenced by fallout 3, single armor pieces, companions with special perks, and the ability to play the game after the conclusion of the main quest are all items (or lessons learned) from fallout 3

    • Actually the original Fallout 3 had a difinitive ending. It wasn’t until they came out with the “Broken Steel” expansion that you could play past the original ending, Oblivion always had that option. I do agree about the single armor pieces, I miss the Morrowind days…

  7. digging it! Already pre-ordered and will likely pre-order the Collector’s edition as well. Yes, I’m an idiot, I know.

    • Have you heard anything of the collectors edition? I’ve been desperate for info on that.

      • the only thing I heard was a reference to them releasing it/revealing it closer to the ship date when they did Oblivion and that it’s expected they’d do the same thing for Skyrim. Just speculation however.

        • The bastards… I hope they reveal it soon. That’s gonna be a rough month for money management. Though Skyrim is the only one I’m for sure getting day 1 with the most expensive variation possible.

          • you mean closer to the release date of july 12 for oblivion?

          • did you get the Collectors Edition?

          • who me? yes i did.

  8. still doesnt answer my question. vampires? can you play as them?

    • I heard a RUMOR, that vampires are not playable, but you can turn into a werewolves.

      I perfer it that way, everynight (or once a week so then you can do quests that require more speed and strenth on that night adding to the stadagy) you turn into a werewolf, adding to your strenth speed and grants you night vision… that what I hope anyways…

      maybe (if its not a rumor that is) you wake up someplace else after you sleep in a bed and hear from NPC’s that “Some-Random-NPC” died from a werewolf…

      • reason im asking is i have perfected the ultimate stealth character. a vampire khajiit assassin. vampirism makes the world go round. if it isnt in skyrim it wont kill the game imo. but it WILL ruin a part of the experience with me because i wont be able to test my “ultimate stealth” character in skyrim.

        • I have been reading pretty much every news article out there about this game. I remember reading in one of the articles that Bethesda is almost completely tight-lipped on the subject of being able to turn into creatures such as werewolves and vampires. So there is pretty much nothing definitive out yet on the subject you’re looking for unfortunately.

          • thanks. guess ill just have to wait.

          • I bet they’ll have some sort of dragon transformation, really hoping for werewolves though.

  9. By light to heavy do they mean skinny to fat or to muscular? Or both?

    • no light armour is weaker but allows you to move faster heavy armour is stronger but you are slower in it

      • its noting to do wit muscularity or skinnyness

      • he’s talking about body type.

        • Ryan might be, but the rest of us agree on this being a question of armor type.

  10. To those that wish to know. there is NO collectors or special editions of skyrim. Only the game. Sorry folks.

    • so far…….

    • Still early days yet.

  11. Sounds pretty darn sweet to me. I’m sure there will be little annoyances, every game does, but I am hoping they are not the same as in oblivion. Super excited for the game!

  12. It seems to me that with earch following title Bethesda decreases the actual amount of customization. I remember in Morrowind, if I wanted my character to have armor only on his left arm, I could do it. In Oblivion I could only choose differing upper, lower, hand, and foot gear. By the time Fallout 3 was out the outfits were all one piece. To me this is not customization. I do like the idea of a smithy where I can upgrade my gear, and hopefully tweak little things about its appearance. This game still looks like a friggin’ BEAST! I am never disappointed in anything Bethesda puts out in this series. I already got it on pre-order.

    • *each*

    • I don’t think they’re going to go as far as one piece. They’re just combining the cuirass and greaves, which still sucks, but you can still choose helmets, boots, and gloves, and forge equipment. Plus they said there are a LOT more armor types, so customization will still be good in my opinion (would still love to choose my own shirt though…)

  13. So long as I can create an awesome pure two-handed fighter, I will keep my complaints to a minimum. I always hate having the trade off between light and fast or heavy and durable.

  14. It is confirmed that there will be NO special editions coming out for skyrim at any point in time. There will most likely be game of the year editions however. remember folks oblivion didnt have a special edition, neither did Fallout 3 or new vegas. I wouldnt expect this game to be anything more.

    • oblivion and both fallouts had special edition. O.o

  15. I hope its bloody like new vegas. I mean if I hit a guy with an axe in the arm and there’s no armor there that arm better cum off. Feel me. Ur fight ing with swords. Gotta be bloody. If not it takes away from the realism and just ruins it for me. Otherwise the game gunna be best game ever

  16. For those who want a Collectors Addition there probably is going to be one. But the closest thing is this. http://www.destructoid.com/pre-order-skyrim-and-get-a-real-life-map-204451.phtml

    Also I’ve been playing Oblivion a lot recently. When you start realizing what else is in the game world besides from your character. The game truly shines. I found myself reading BOOKS IN OBLIVION, thirsting for knowledge and lore that exists in game. And there is so much of it.

    Hopefully they’ll remake their older games so that newer generations can enjoy them as well.

    • I know some books are so good. A lot better than real books. Dont worry there will be a special edition.

    • yes, totally agree; sometimes I just wander around, literally. head into an Inn, have some mead, continue on. I go back and visit the grave of that woman who as killed by the trolls ( I forget the side quest but the husband asks you to do it and you can get a blessing from her afterward whenever you visit ) and I put flowers there and such. You know, just taking in the whole world and being a part of it. I really enjoy that game even now. Sometimes if a particular view at sunrise or sunset is good enough I “take a picture” of it by saving the game at that moment so you can go back and scroll the saved games and see the “pictures”. God I’m an idiot huh?

      Already pre-ordered to get the map.

      Love the book as well, some of them are actually quite funny.

      just my 2 cents.

      • ‘I have done the same! I also visit where martin sacrifice occurred, visit kavatch, and more.
        Screen-shot were awesome. Ii also spent hours and hours decorating my house.

  17. Sounds like a good time. Oblivion (content), Fable (allowability), Dragon Age (allowability) and Everquest (crafting/smithing) all mixed together. I do hope it has the massive content that Elder Scrolls IV had. I have lost faith in sequals (dragon age 2 was a complete disappointment.) I hope Bethesda does not let us down like the others have. I cant wait to sample the goods.

  18. Yea alot of old school elder scroll gamers sound upset for good reason in my opinion.. ive only played oblivion but i can still understand about the armor from morrowind, they shouldnt take away customization options in sequels they are supposed to add more! but at the same time i understand why they changed it for skyrim.. i read about it a couple times & it doesent seem to bad.. but i just kinda wonder about regular clothes? Maybe i dont want to look like a big tough warrior or a mage in a robe.. what if i want to dress like a humble & honest farmer.. what if the pants dont match the shirt? i dont kno i kinda feel like a drama queen but really that stuffs kinda important.. its really all about details and options when it comes to having that cool feeling ya kno.. same as decorating a house you buy.. it makes it your own.. i just hope Todd & Bethesda understand that stuff to.. i figure they should by now but either way.. its obvious Skyrim is the only actual RPG at the moment.. Dark Souls – is an action arcade style game not an RPG…. The Witcher 2 – You cant even create a character & the guy looks like a meth head/probly is just like assassins creed.. FFXIV – is just hilariously stale & boring.. & ive played enough Black ops for a lifetime & have no intrest in MW3 because its all the same! run around and shoot eachother endlessly.. Skyrim is my last hope for virtual entertainment this winter..

  19. If it aint steam. I want it. ;)

    • That’s your criterium? If something is not on steam, you want it? I’m confused.

  20. Wow, that’s what I was looking for, what a data!
    existing here at this blog, thanks admin of this site.

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