The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim combat, levelling and quest details revealed

Skyrim screenshot

The first solid details on The Elder Scrolls V have been announced, detailing the levelling system and revealing more about story, races and enemies of Skyrim. You'll find all of the info below.

The new information has all come from GameInformer's first look at the game. Here's everything we know.

The first thing to note is that there won't be a class system in Skyrim, your character develops from scratch based on the skills you decide to level up, meaning it's possible to create a rounded character who can do a bit of everything, or go slap happy with a sword and take a more focused warrior role. As in Oblivion, the individual skills you level up contribute to an overall level. When your character advances you get to attribute extra health, magika or stamina. There won't be a level cap, but your character will find it harder and harder to level as you stack up the skill points. Character creation has been improved and you'll be able to choose from one of 10 races when creating a character.

The 21 skill variants of Oblivion have been pruned to 18. The spell school Mysticism has been chopped, but beyond that not much has been revealed about the abilities in the game, except for one new addition. You'll now be able to dual wield weapons. Bethesda have said that one of the main focuses of the game has been on improving combat to make it more "dynamic and tactical". There will be unique finishing moves based on the weapons you're using and the enemies you're facing. Speaking of enemies, zombies, skeletons, trolls, giants, ice wraiths, giant spiders, wolves, horses Elk, mammoth, saber-toothed cats, were-yetis and of course dragons have all been confirmed.

One of the big complaints about Oblivion was the level scaling system that matched monsters in each area to your hero's power. The good thing about the system was that you'd never get hopelessly slaughtered by a wandering demon twice your level, but it also robbed the game of much challenge and made the world feel like a less wild and dangerous place. As revealed by a Bethesda community manager on the Bethesda forums , level scaling will return in The Elder Scrolls V, but it's much closer to Fallout 3's more tailored version of the system.

One of the most ambitious additions to Skyrim is the new quest system, which offers you new challenges based on your character's abilities and previous actions in the world. If you've specialised as a mage then you'll be approached and offered quests by characters who wouldn't speak to you as a warrior. The game will also store information on where your character has been in the world, and relocate quests to dungeons you haven't explored yet. Another example outlines a situation in which you've killed a shopkeeper who would have offered you a quest. The quest is passed on to the shopkeeper's sister and your character will have to work to redeem themselves if they want to get the mission.

As we know, Elder Scrolls V is set in the northern realm of Skyrim where the Nords live. The game takes place 200 years after Oblivion, and casts you as a dragonborn dragonslayer tasked with taking out the dragon god, who has made a prophesied return to wreak havoc on the world. Unfortunately the king is dead, which means you'll have to do all of this in the midst of a civil war. There will be five major cities in the game, and with the introduction of a series of professions, there will be a lot more to do when visiting. Enchantments, weapon tailoring, cooking, farming and mining are the activities that have been announced, but there's no word yet on exactly what each will involve. It will also be possible to duel characters on the streets.

Finally, the conversation system has been mercifully revamped, with attention being paid especially to the quality of faces and facial animation. The awkward 'crash-zoom to static NPC' style of conversation in Oblivion is gone, and characters will now move around freely as you chat with them. Most importantly, the updated faces now also allow for beards.

The game's due out on November 11th. Excited?

[via VG247 ]

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.