The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is going to be one sequel that gamers have been looking forward to for quite some time. With a large, living, breathing fantasy world to explore and slay dragons in, players will be able to create characters that D&D players would find themselves jealous of.
As mentioned earlier, the world of Skyrim will be living, this will be reflected in the conversations the player has with various NPCs throughout the world. Unlike previous Elder Scroll games or Fallout, conversations with NPCs will not be have a pulled-in perspective, meaning things that occur in the world can affect the conversation. So, this real time conversation you want to have with an individual can be interrupted by a pack of wolves attacking. In addition, NPCs who don't usually offer regular or side quests can be "activated" again to give more information about the world. This kind of feature does add a lot to the exploratory side of Skyrim and encourages talking to NPCs and not always shaking them off as just another game element/obstacle.
One ability common in Oblivion, Morrowind and previous Elder Scrolls games was the ability for a player to create his own spells. This question was dodged by Howard, who did confirm the ability to enchant weapons and create your own magic items, but did not confirm the ability to make your own spells. Perhaps this ability was taken out of the game because of the new Dragon Shout system. Speaking of which, Dragon Shouts can be learned in two different ways; either by finding them on ancient carvings throughout the world or by being taught by individuals. Combinations of three different dragon words form a Shout and some of the words are necessary to complete the game.
Another facet of the game Howard talked about was the leveling mechanic. Gone are the days of picking a specific character class as Skyrim subs out XP for leveling with skill increasing. The more a specific skill is used, the higher it levels. The higher the level, the more use it needs. From there, a main stat is increased and one of the related perks associated with the skill can be chosen. For example, if your fighter uses a greatsword, you can choose a perk that gives extra damage while using a greatsword.
If PC gamers were wondering, Skyrim will be supporting DirectX 11. There will be visible differences between all available versions, but no specific differences can be named. However, news of the support will be pleasing to any PC gamer, and Bethesda games have had a reputation for looking the greatest on PC.
Skyrim is one of those games that will be attempting to break the mold of what most people consider to be a role playing video game. The exclusion of an actual class system sort of creates a character that can be molded much more to your specifications and play-style, in addition to allowing ability experimentation. A mage at level 1 can turn into a rogue at level 5. Freedom like that can allow for some very interesting character evolution.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be available November 11, 2011 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.