March 29, 2006

To Oblivion, And Beyond!

by peterb

There are a few funny things about my craving to play Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

First, I won't really like it. I had this problem with Morrowind, the previous Elder Scrolls game. I mean, I played it. It was "interesting." Mostly, I think I was in awe of the sheer audacity of the game — the scope and size of it, the varied environments, and architecture, and clothing styles. The intricate magic system and the wonderful, wonderful books scattered all throughout the land.

But, y'know. Let's be honest. As a game qua game, playing it was sort of like watching grass grow. I expect Oblivion to be more of the same, only with a higher polygon count. (If I'm wrong on this, feel free to correct me)

Next, I don't have a machine to play it on. My PC is woefully underspec, and I somehow, mysteriously, lack the motivation to drop $1500 to get something capable of playing it even marginally well. I was also holding out on buying an Xbox 360 until Oblivion came out, but now that the moment is here, I feel "meh." If I am going to buy another game machine, I want to buy a good one, which means a Nintendo DS, probably.

My best estimate is that I am doomed to not play Oblivion until someone gets 3d acceleration in Windows emulation working on the new Intel iMacs. Then I'll buy a copy of Oblivion, install it, and then complain bitterly that tilt mislead me with his praise of it.

So, in summary: I really don't want to play Oblivion, because my left brain tells me it will suck, but at the same time I feel like I have to play Oblivion, because my animal brain is afraid that I might be wrong, and then other people might be having more fun than me, which means I MIGHT BE A BAD PERSON.

Stupid brain.

Posted by peterb at March 29, 2006 10:27 PM | Bookmark This

Funny, I just dropped $1000 for a new system partly because I got about a 1 FPS frame rate on my current system when I installed oblivion. But I loved arena, daggerfall, and morrowind. The have been getting closer and closer to what I crave in a computer rpg. I won't even secretly whisper that you are evil when your back is turned. As long as you don't try to make me play any online games.


I have to admit that one thing I love about the series is that it lets me custom make a character and craft it numerically to the point where I don't have to be really good at first person shooters. And I miss the calm and thoughtful [enter] [enter] [enter] [enter] [enter] [enter] [fight] method of combat resolution.

Posted by Doug at March 29, 2006 11:03 PM

You could call me a sucker. I've played all of the main Elder Scrolls titles ever since I got Arena on 7 floppy disks. I've played every one of them but never really enjoyed them that much. Just interesting to see the huge world.

Well, I picked up Oblivion for the 360 and it's the first one I've truly loved. Even if you didn't enjoy the other ones, you should at least give this one a try.

Posted by Chris at March 30, 2006 07:21 AM

I gave up on Morrowind *very* quickly, but I'm really enjoying Oblivion. It's refreshing to have quests that can be resolved without any combat.

My fiance is playing on an Athlon XP 3200+ with 1/gig and a All-In-Wonder 9700 Pro. Not exactly top of the line, anymore at least, but it looks and plays great for her. (Even without HDR and AA turned on).

Posted by Greg Williams at March 30, 2006 12:16 PM

I had the 1 frame per second frame rate on an athlon 64 3200+ on windows xp64 but I only had 512GB of RAM and an NVIDIA 5200FX. I could have just done some upgrades but really wanted that dual core machine and sort of needed a second desktop so... once I finish setting up the new machine I'll see how it does with the ATI x800 and 2 GB of RAM on a dual core 64 bit machine. Not that the second core will help it any, but I might be able to run matlab in the background while playing. And yes, I would do that. Funny/ obnoxious side note. If you want to install windows on a raid array, it asks you to insert a floppy into drive a with the drivers. A floppy! still! I haven't put a floppy drive in a machine in many many years. grrr...

Posted by Doug at March 30, 2006 05:42 PM

I finally picked up a 360 and Oblivion last weekend. While I haven't had as much time to play as I'd like, I'm enjoying the heck out of both the game and the system. It may well meet my desire to play something like World of Warcraft without having to deal with other people running around whacking the rats I want to whack.

Posted by Adam Rixey at March 30, 2006 06:29 PM

Doug, I'm sure your 5200 was holding you back, but I thought that I read that XP 64-bit edition was generally slower because of poor 64 bit driver support?

Btw, Oblivion supposedly makes full use of dual core cpu's, it was after all designed to run on the 360 which is a multi core architecture.

Posted by Greg Williams at March 31, 2006 11:49 AM

Well no problems with the new system. I am sure you are right though, I was pretty confident the problem was with the video card and also the system ram. It screams on high quality graphics settings now. I was testing it out and before I new it, bam! 4am.

I've found drivers for most of my hardware, and the windows 64 bit edition is faster than 32 bit edition on my machine. Still slower than Ubuntu Linux. But I can't run code composer studio or oblivion on linux.

So far the game rocks!

Posted by at March 31, 2006 12:53 PM

Man, how many glowing posts do I have to write until I can finally trick you into buying this game?


Posted by Eric Tilton at March 31, 2006 02:44 PM

I mean how can you not love running around for hours picking various plants?

Posted by Doug at March 31, 2006 09:45 PM

That's actually what I spent most of my time doing in Morrowind.

You thought I was speaking metaphorically when I said "watching grass grow?"

Posted by peterb at March 31, 2006 09:51 PM

I don't consider myself a fan of the "fantasy" genre, but Oblivion has proven that a well executed game can appeal to a larger crowd.

To the detriment of my work, I've clocked 40+ hours playing this rediculous game in the past three days.

Posted by Lorien at April 4, 2006 01:59 AM

It is, actually, a tarted up morrowind, but there is a much higher density of content and hand holding so it plays a lot more like, well, a game. Little things like voiced npcs and map pointers to tell you where to go next on a quest make all the difference. There's lots of stuff to do, most of it fun, and the whole thing comes across as less empty and less like you have to feel bad for not being able to entertain yourself, more like, wow I can't believe that hunting deer is so fun that I got sucked into it when I should be saving the world. One review said -- and this is true -- that the big difference from morrowind is that the various subsystems (combat, stealth, magic, etc.) are well enough implemented that they would actually be fun in another more specialized game.

The main concern (I'm not far enough along to judge) is global encounter and treasure scaling -- apparently as you grow strong, so does every two-bit rat and bandit, every dungeon, every treasure chest. Which seems like it might get kind of frustrating.

Posted by daw at April 4, 2006 06:08 AM

The other difference is they didn't try to make all the women beautiful and give you the ability to undress your female elf warrior maiden like previous elder scrolls games. But being an archer isn't so impossible anymore.

Getting your butt kicked by a couple of rats or goblins when you are high level is annoying. If the world keeps up with you there is less of a feeling of personal growth. I've always counted on being able to make up for my lack of FPS skills with my enjoyment of carefully handling the advance of my character and getting him higher level than was intended for a section.

Posted by Doug at April 8, 2006 09:41 PM

Hi there, after reading all your posts im somewhat surprised to see how you have been looking at the game!
BTW Doug - u can create ur own windows install CD with the RAID or SATA controller drivers on it and even automate the install proceedure completely search web for a guide i swear by this as i have no floppy.
I bought a dual core 4200+ for oblivion and have a 7800GTX extreme 256MB and just 1GB of performance ram. Oblivion as I'd found has an engine written for multithreading (aimed at xbox 360) so it does take advantage of DUAL CORE YES!
and yeah i did upgrade basically for this game alone to dual core coz on max detail settings casting spells has awesome lighting HDR effects which were a bit too much for my old 64bit3200+
u were bitching about how the monsters lvl up as u do (i think it ads challenge) however they have level caps.. for example 30-40 or something so if u hit 50 u can own them all.. BUT i found a way to win through this! simply never sleep to level up, when u start pick conjure magic and choose breton or high elf (so u got enough magicka) pick the spell which costs the least in conjure magic (something like sum. skeleton) cast till ur dry then press T to wait an hour then u have full MP cast away again it wont be long till u have incredibly high skill level (its out of 100 max) go steal stuff or whatever for cash and buy best summon spell u can find. u can get a summon lvl 27 daedra thingo from mages guild or so.. then sleep once or twice to get + stats in int and such. then u can be lvl 2 or 3 or so and have all monsters that lvl while summoning lvl 27 thing to assrape any enemy.
YES its an incredible game, i've completed every guild quest for highest rank and played it 30 hours at a time!! anyone who says otherwise hasnt played it or doesnt know how to as far as im concerned. Another thing get natural environments mod to improve the games graphics and arena loot mod so you can claim whats rightfully yours when u win a battle in the arena.

Posted by Daniel at May 5, 2006 08:05 PM

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