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Skyrim: Why rush the journey?

Here, read THIS. When will these uber-noobs ever learn?

What’s with the Gordon Gekko axiology in our culture these days? Greed is good. Life should not be enjoyed, it must be devoured. Everyone wants the best of everything and they want it right away. Who cares about a carefully crafted sunset when you can spend countless hours analyzing and manipulating the game’s mechanics so you can produce the most 1337-uber-pwning player character ever seen in a single player game.

Like Wall St. hedge fund managers these purveyors of all things uber stack the odds of survival so far in their favor I’m surprised the NPCs in the game don’t get all OWS on them.

Ironically, the exact same thing can be accomplished by taking a moment to slide the difficulty far left of easy. I don’t get it. I don’t understand. What is the point?

I don’t want to be first, I want to be perpetually next. Where’s the excitement once you have what you sought to attain? Where’s the thrill of discovery? Where’s the anticipation? The adventure? Being the “best” in a single player game is the quintessential exercise in mediocrity.

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” ~ Greg Anderson

So far my stroll through Skyrim has been a leisurely endeavor. I’m level 20 and I haven’t even met my first dragon yet. I’ve dabbled in smithing, alchemy and cooking. I’ve watched a sunset and a sunrise. I watched a pack of wolves attempt to take down a bear and I’ve kept my distance from giants while silently marveling at their size. I’ve gone through great pains to avoid using any magic whatsoever which was surprisingly easier to do this time around. In short, I’ve bloody well enjoyed myself.

Because I’ve played previous iterations of the series, I went out of my way to do certain things in the game right away that would have come in time. I bought a house and pimped it out before level 5 because I wanted a place to store my stuff. I raided dungeons and worked on my smithing skills so I would have a better than decent set of armor and weapons when I took on the first dragon. But I didn’t go crazy. And I didn’t resort to the type of leveling antics that some people get up to.

Bethesda did so much right with Skyrim to bring the series out of its maliase. Above all they introduced a leveling system that doesn’t require you to jump through flaming hoops to get a 5x multiplier to your attributes so you can keep up with the creatures leveling alongside you. Still, as it was in Elder Scrolls past, you know you’re going to end up being the most uber-dude/dudette in the realm; why rush the journey?

I wrote the following ‘final thought‘ for my Morrowind Game Book Companion Guide, it aptly applies to Skyrim as well;

After all is said and done always play a character you want to play. Game difficulty is arbitrary, playing the character within the confines of the depths of its essence will add difficulty, challenge, and a deeper, richer experience to the game and I believe that this is the spirit that The Morrowind Team had in mind. Don’t obsess over completing every aspect of the game, every quest or finding every treasure, for that is not the designers intent. ‘Uber-ness’ is not a bragging right in this game, it’s a fallacy. A misconception that will leave you with a less rewarding experience. Morrowind is not a game that you can simply ‘beat’. Take a vacation from your real-life woes and spend it in Vvardenfell, immerse yourself in it, relax, and let the experience envelope you.

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