Bethesda Softworks’ Elder Scrolls series has been a fan favorite for over 16 years now and with Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the developer hopes to make the most complete RPG experience yet. After getting a feel for the story and seeing some screens, most gamers feel very confident that Skyrim is in some very capable hands, but there is still one nagging issue gamers are fearful over: the leveling.
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After a less than successful leveling system in Oblivion, one that was a black mark amidst a great game, there is a fear that Skyrim will contain similar level scaling problems. Many figure that since Bethesda is improving the graphics engine, they might as well make some significant gameplay tweaks while they’re at it.
The question has been on gamers’ minds since the reveal of the game back during the Spike VGAs, but no one from Bethesda was willing to come out and say anything to assuage the fear.
Thankfully, after some three pages-worth of forum posts discussing how gamers expected the leveling system to work in Skyrim, a Bethesda representative took to the boards to clear up any confusion. Though the answer doesn’t give away specifics it does provide good news for those who weren’t fans of Oblivion’s level scaling:
“Since people are asking, wanted to briefly touch on level scaling. All our games have had some amount of randomness/leveling based on player level. Skyrim‘s is similar to Fallout 3‘s, not Oblivion‘s.”
Sure, there were those that enjoyed Oblivion’s level scaling, but, as is the case with a lot of RPGs, it adversely affected the experience. In order to compensate for those players who live for the grind, Oblivion employed a level scaling system that kept the enemies on par with the player throughout every quest.
Though it sounded like a good idea on paper, this leveling system ended up causing a lot of frustration. Without any real way to judge how accurately equipped or skilled the player was, enemies might have been of a comparable level but not always of equal strength and ability. There were even times when an enemy could make quick work of the player with very few hits, and that is not a good way of improving a player’s experience.
Taking gamers’ complaints and improving upon them, Bethesda set out to make their next game, Fallout 3, a much less frustrating experience. Choosing instead to go with a level scaling system that was much subtler helped keep the focus on the story and the role-playing, and less on whether or not each new enemy was going to completely annihilate the player.
While it might disappoint a minority of players that Skyrim will not be utilizing Oblivion’s level scaling, the vast majority of gamers should certainly find this information comforting. As a game that builds upon everything learned from previous game experiences, including the Elder Scrolls mythology, Skyrim is shaping up to be one of 2011’s most anticipated games.
What are your thoughts on Skyrim choosing to go with a leveling system more like Fallout 3’s and less like Oblivion’s? Are there any other nagging issues from Elder Scrolls past that you hope Bethesda improves?
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is available now for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
Source: Bethesda Softworks