Arwen's Oblivion Journal

 
 
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(updated August 01, 2011)

         
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latest journal news

May 19, 2011:

I just added a couple of new mods to my OB mod list:

MenuQue is a Menu/font plugin for OBSE.

Enhanced Economy is a newer economic mod that offers improvements over what Living Economy does.


April 18, 2011:

I just completed updating my OB mod list . . . it appears that this year's release of Skyrim has resulted in some renewed interest in Oblivion.


March 23, 2010:

I just completed updating my OB mod list, including some new updates to some of Duke Patrick's mods. All the download links should now work (TESNexus had changed a bunch of the links for older files).


Nov 11, 2009:

I just completed updating my listings of Duke Patrick's mods. Unfortunately his SCA Melee Combat and Hypothermia mods are no longer available, so I've removed them from my list at his request. Duke has however giving me permission to distribute his SCA Combat Archery mod (which I helped him develop) plus Magic You Can Believe In, and I now have increased my allotted bandwidth . . . so you can now download those mods directly from my site. I still need to update my mod list, which I'll try to do in the next day or so.


Sept 7, 2009:

I updated the mod list today with the most common versions for all the mods.


Aug 30, 2009:

I know that it may appear that I've abandoned my OB Journal. All I'm doing is taking a break for a bit. I've been spending most of my free time this summer learning how to make Fallout 3 mods (so far I've released 4 mods, which have all become fairly popular.)

I'm currently trying to come up with a way to provide downloads of Duke Patrick's SCA Combat Archery and Magic You Can Believe In from my site. I have obtained permission from Duke to exclusively distribute these two files. I just have to solve my bandwidth issues first.

I'm about to get back into playing FO3, so that I can add some new chapters to my Trials of a Wasteland Wanderer, so I'm afraid that it will still be a while before I can get back to play OB (I can really only play one RPG at a time).

But I'm hoping to find time this week to at least get my OB mod list updated.


news archive page

Site Update March 23, 2010: In September I changed over to a higher priced hosting package, which should now allow me to keep my site online for the entire month. My website is now averaging over 4000 hits per day, which is 6 times the amount of traffic it was getting just a year ago (50,000 hits so far this month). I'm thrilled about this, but success comes with a price, as I was exceeding my monthly allotted bandwidth (which meant that my site would be unavailable during the last week of each month).
Welcome to my Oblivion Journal!

Oblivion was released by Bethesda on March 20, 2006. Within a week I began receiving email, asking me to write an Oblivion Journal. My Morrowind Journal was not really something that I planned on doing. It just sort of happened and it became much more than I ever would have guessed.

I had been considering doing an Oblivion version, but had pretty much decided against it, as I didn't feel like I had enough free time to do one. But my first year in college would be over in a few months, and then I would have more time. And it was nice to have so many ask me to write another story of my gaming adventures.

But those were not the main reasons that I decided to write an Oblivion Journal. I didn't totally decide to write this journal until I had played the game for a while. Unfortunately, it wasn't because the game is so wonderful that I couldn't resist.

Skip ahead to my Journal Index Page


Playing Oblivion - My First Impressions

Below is an in-game screenshot of my Bosmer (Wood Elf) character. It took a while to set up this shot, as I wanted it to represent how I feel.

As you can see, the graphics are great and this shot doesn't really do them justice. In the background is the capital city - to represent the province of Cyrodiil. The dark clouds are for my feelings of disappointment with this game. A bow and a quiver of arrows are on her back showing that she can protect herself, but she isn't holding a weapon or wearing armor, as she's not a warrior. Last of all, my Wood Elf is facing into the sunrise, with a look of peace on her face, representing my own optimism and hope for this game.

Some things like the graphics were vastly improved over Morrowind. But I had some major issues with Oblivion. Morrowind was (and still is) a really GREAT Role Playing Game. Oblivion just wasn't the sequel to Morrowind that I had expected it would be. At least not as it was released to us. I'm very concerned that most people will just play this game as a FPS (first person shooter), and will completely miss the whole RPG experience.

But I believed this could still be a great RPG . . . but only with some major changes. And the changes came from the Oblivion modding community. This is my attempt to show that it is still possible to really role play in Oblivion. I may fail completely - but I'm willing to give it a try. I'm hoping that developers start to notice that many of us actually want to role play. They also need to understand that RPGs are not just FPSs with custom characters.


Arwen's Realm

Are you new to Oblivion? Do you need some help with this game? Are you having trouble with MODs? Or do you just have questions or comments about my journal? Or do you just want to join a friendly moderated forum (where members actually respect each other.)

I've put together a place called Arwen's Realm, and this is my personal invitation for you to become a member.


 
 
Page Index | Journal News | My Character | Arwen's Realm | Little Problem | Second Problem | What Went Wrong? | The Solution
The First Little Problem

Originally written on April 18, 2006:

My copy of Oblivion arrived on March 23, so I've had the game installed on my computer for weeks, and have been able to spend a bit of time checking out the game. Ok, so why it is taking me so long to get this journal started (other than the I'm-a-full-time-college-student-issue)?

My first problem was that I don't own a super computer - and Oblivion was made to be run on a top end system. My old desktop computer would probably explode if I tried to make it run this game. Most of my game time so far has been spent trying to figure out how to get Oblivion running well on my laptop. The game does sort of configure itself to run on your computer - but I wasn't happy with the way that it did this.

So I started messing around with all the settings. But there's like a zillion settings in the game (and in the ini file), so this hasn't been easy for me. Finally, through my own, "hmm, I wonder what this does . . . oops" style of tweaking, as well as following some really good suggestions on the Elder Scrolls Forums and on other sites, I've been able to get the game working fairly well for me. Ok, so I solved my first problem - but that took a lot of time (see My Oblivion Tips and My Graphic Tweaks pages, where I explain exactly what I did).

Page Index | Journal News | My Character | Arwen's Realm | Little Problem | Second Problem | What Went Wrong? | The Solution
The Second (and larger) Problem

Originally written on April 18, 2006:

Oblivion is graphically a gorgeous game, but I honestly feel that Morrowind is still a much better RPG. And most of you know that I'm a HUGE fan of Bethesda! Ok, so I'm not exactly an expert on Role Playing Games. But I do know games, and I do have a pretty good idea about what makes a game a really good RPG (at least for me). At first I was amazed at Oblivion because it looks so great visually. And it does do some things extremely well (I'll cover all them a bit later on in my journal).

But the more that I played the game, the more I saw that this game wasn't at all what I had expected it to be. And I was starting to notice that it was taking a lot of work for me to really role play in Oblivion. The thing is . . . Role playing had always been very easy for me in Morrowind. Now I was getting totally bummed out! I had sooo been looking forward to this game, and now I found that I was having serious issues with it. At first I wondered if I was being fair to Bethesda. Had my expectations perhaps been just a bit too high? And I hadn't even played all that much yet, so was I being premature, and just jumping to conclusions?

After thinking about this some more, and trying to be totally objective, I knew that all my feelings about Oblivion were correct. The thing was that when I first started playing the game, my feelings toward Bethesda couldn't have been more positive. I truly wanted to love this game, but, to my dismay, I soon discovered that I couldn't do that. Something was very wrong with it. The sequel to Morrowind really shouldn't have these kind of issues. I guess the main thing was that I felt that Oblivion should be at least as good as Morrowind. But it wasn't. In fact, it wasn't anywhere near as good as Morrowind - and that just seemed totally wrong to me.

I couldn't understand why Bethesda didn't just build on what they had done in Morrowind. But, instead of taking what worked in Morrowind and fixing the few problems that didn't work so well, they pretty much stated over completely - and they put most of their efforts on graphics and on havoc physics. What we ended up was basically Morrowind-lite, instead of the challenging, lore filled, RPG that I had expected. My disappointment was just too much for me - so, after only a few days, I stopped playing the game completely. Oblivion was just not living up to the Elder Scrolls Series legacy. Several things needed some major tweaking before Oblivion could be an enjoyable RPG for me.

Page Index | Journal News | My Character | Arwen's Realm | Little Problem | Second Problem | What Went Wrong? | The Solution
Ok, So What Went Wrong?

Originally written on April 18, 2006:

I'm guessing that Bethesda was trying to make this game appeal to the largest possible number of gamers. To do so, they removed some of the more difficult role playing parts and concentrated on the combat parts. For me the end result is that Oblivion is way too much like a FPS (and I don't like first-person-shooters). The main focus of the game is obviously about combat, rather than in solving any challenging quests.

It's also pretty obvious that this game was made for impatient people . . . for what I call the "twitchy gamers." That's why it has fast travel . . . and why it has a compass that points your way through every single quest. It even locates your contact NPCs for you! And it points the way to caves and other locations before you're anywhere near them. And, just in case you're not totally sure what to do next, huge text pops up and tells you exactly what to do. Plus the map shows cities and locations that you haven't visited, or even learned of yet.

With fast travel, you just click on any location on you map and you're instantly beamed there - for free. While I'm not the most patient person, I do still like games to have plenty of challenges - that take time and effort. And I'd much rather discover things on my own, than have them all pointed out to me - without even have to look for them. Exploring, discovering, and being surprised was one of the things that made Morrowind so appealing to me. My biggest challenge in Oblivion: playing the game without constantly having to kill NPCs.

Page Index | Journal News | My Character | Arwen's Realm | Little Problem | Second Problem | What Went Wrong? | The Solution
What's the Solution?

Updated 06/06/06:

The patch was released today and, as I feared, it didn't fix any of the gaming issues for me. Bethesda has made a lot of money on Oblivion because it has sold so well to FPS/action oriented gamers. But they have profited at a cost - and my fear is that they're losing their biggest, and most loyal supporters - their hard-core RPG fans. If Bethesda is smart, they'll make the first expansion for Oblivion be an add-on which will change the game into the RPG that many of us had expected it to be. But there's no indication that the developer has any interest in doing this - to do so they would be admitting that the Oblivion game is lacking as a RPG.

OK, so what can I do about this? It would have been much easier to just accept that Oblivion isn't the game I was hoping for, and just move on. But I've never been the type who takes the easy route - and I saw so much potential in this game. This was a good game, but it should have been a great RPG. Could it possibly still become one? If so, how?

I knew that Mods were my only hope. So I spent weeks wading through hundreds of mods that have been released for Oblivion. And then I spent days play testing some of the more complex balancing mods and giving feedback to modders. Then I picked out the mods that seemed to fix some of my biggest issues, and play tested these in the game for days until I found the right combination of mods that seem to all work well together. My game is so much more playable now. But this is just the beginning, because some of the best mods are still in their beta stages, and new mods are being released every day which will enhance this game even further.


Updated January 31, 2009:

I started my game over today . . . from the very beginning, but this time with a lot of mods. (And with a lot of imagination to fill in the role-playing gaps.) But it's working: I'm now playing a game that is much closer to what I had expected. The game is still not perfect . . . far from it. But Oblivion is now very enjoyable for me. (I'm also rewriting my fantasy story to reflex my new game - and the changes that these new mods have on it.)

So this Journal is mostly about my role-playing experience in Oblivion. But I also wrote it as a guide to help others have a better role-playing experience. And I'm also hoping that my journal will be a bit of a wakeup call to developers, who don't seem to understand that there's still a huge RPG market. Many of the most popular mods have one common goal - to make this a better RPG. (Note: The mods that I'm using are listed on my MOD Page.)


NEXT: "Trials of a Semi-Clueless Wood Elf" Index Page

 
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