Finally, getting back into Skyrim and playing the official addons that I didn’t get a chance to play or in Dawnguard’s case, didn’t finish. I am really hoping that Dawnguard won’t have any issues this time round, last time I didn’t have a backup save that was before starting that. Hopefully no more game-breaking bugs this time round. Anyways, been really looking forward to playing the Dragonborn addon since it was released around in Feburary, 2013. I know, I am really slow. Don’t judge [especially you Desmond *mini glare*].
Also please note that this review will contain spoilers to much of the story for the main quest-line for Dragonborn. I try to keep this to a minimum but there are some points I wish to discuss that end up revealing parts of the story.
Dragonborn begins when you are approached by some cultists demanding to know whether you are the one called Dragonborn. Regardless of your answer, they will denounce you as a “false” dragonborn and attempt to kill you. Once you kill them, you recover a note that indicates that they arrived from an island called Solstheim. For those who have played Morrowind and owned the Bloodmoon addon will recognize the name of this island.
When you arrive, you will be met by a Dark Elf who more or less demands to know your reasons for arriving on the island. You will quickly find out that something is amiss and that a malevolent influence is controlling the people of the island. Asking the people for information on the person named Miraak, the one responsible for the attack on you. It will not yield much information as people seem unable to recall who the mysteriously named figure is but say the name seems familiar. They will recall however that they had a strange vision that is associated with his name and direct you to look for this mysterious temple. Thus, begins your new adventure on the island as you look for answers about Miraak while trying to free the people from whatever is controlling them. However, there is more than one person who is watching your progress.
I really enjoyed the story for Dragonguard, learning about Miraak and his motives for his actions. Involving one of the Daedric princes directly in the story was interesting as well, one who operates much different from how Mehrunes Dagon operated in Oblivion. The goals between the two differ greatly. Especially since you do not have much choice in your interactions with the Daedric prince of fate and knowledge him/itself.
The fact you can travel to Apocrypha, the realm of Hermaeus Mora (Herma-Mora) itself proved to be a unique experience. I was not sure what to expect since I only knew that his realm was often described to be a place filled with vast libraries, and I saw one interpretation of his realm when I played the “and the Realms of the Daedra” quest mod. I did enjoy how you had to transverse his realm on multiple locations for either to learn the hidden knowledge within one of his mysterious books you found (they give really nice perks) or confronting Miraak himself. You will end up seeing Herma-Mora a few times during this time, and his appearance unnerves me, it makes me think of Lovecraftian monsters. Not a big fan of the creatures that dwell his realm though. I was expecting to see the souls of people he managed to trick into serving them in return for limitless knowledge, such as seeing their souls wandering around the endless libraries for all eternity. So seeing the official interpretation of Apocrypha was very unexpected.
= spoilers below=
I do not know whether this is just me or not, but you are often warned to be careful with your dealings with Hermaeus Mora, The warning is given because he deals with both fate and knowledge therefore, he is more “subtle” than his counterparts. The warning is also partly because knowledge can be a powerful temptation as well. It just did not seem to appear that Hermaeus Mora was subtle at all, it seemed rather obvious to me that he was using you to achieve his own goals and forces you into his service. The fact he boasts to Miraak about how he has found a replacement servant to take Miraak place seems rather petty. Then again, he is a Daedric prince….so by nature they are prideful right? I don’t really know how they would work but you would think that the prince of fate and knowledge would act differently. I also found it annoying, when you first encountered Herma-Mora how he claims to know what you want and keeps insisting you want power to control people, to bend them to your will. The fact he keeps saying that, that you are after the same power that Miraak gained to bend people to your will, when your reason might just be as simple as wanting to stop Miraak. For me, it was just simply wanting to stop Miraak although I admit the idea of using that Shout to ride dragons is pretty awesome and I do intend to ride dragons. I just don’t see the Dragonborn, my incarnation of Dragonborn anyway being the type to gain knowledge and power to control people. Other people may have different ideas but that is just how I see my Dragonborn. Too inclined towards the lighter side of morality.
= end of spoilers =
I did end up experiencing a game bug, I am not sure whether it is because I am using SKSE or not though. However, it has been fixed when I downloaded the unofficial patches and fixed my load order. The bug I had was that I was no longer able to absorb dragon souls when I killed them, and the dragons’ bodies would not decay after their death. For a moment there, I thought I had broken Skyrim again or was going through another experience of what happened with Dawnguard. Luckily I got a backup save before I activated any of the addons. Otherwise, I think I would have really given up on Skyrim for good.
Now I’m distracted again. I need to stop getting so distracted on the time. The side-quests were alright for the most part, shame about not many quests involving Thirsk or the Skaal like Morrowind had. Raven Rock looks vastly different from how it looked from its Bloodmoon counter-part however, they did explain why the changes occurred which is acceptable I guess. Not sure if the “ash spawn” is really a new enemy or it is a reference to Morrowind with their ash-related enemies such as ash zombie, ash slave and such. I did enjoy looking for the Deathbrand armor though. Couldn’t help but laugh when I found the Horker Island landmark. I also enjoyed the one quest where you had to explore the tomb of Vahlok the Jailor and solve the puzzles. The magical platform had a wicked design. Also, that Bloodskal blade is freaking awesome. Especially using the blade to solve the puzzle (is it really a puzzle though?) lock on the door.
Not sure how I feel that Solstheim has Dwavern ruins though. Probably because I keep comparing it to the Bloodmoon’s version of the island. Need to stop doing that. Speaking about Bloodmoon, I was actually amazed to hear Morrowind’s exploration music, not sure if it included the battle music used by Morrowind. I enjoyed Dragonborn a lot more than I did with Dawnguard but then again, that opinion may change when I actually finish Dawnguard this time. Still haven’t decided which side I want to take for that.