Thursday, August 9, 2012

Skyrim: Slaying dragons


Dragons! They are my favorite mythical creatures (together with griffons). Dragons are clever, sly and manipulative. Stories with dragons are often both epic and tragic. They're good stories. So of course I was excited when I found out that dragons were going to be an important part of Skyrim's story.

The only bad part is that you have to slay them.


So much better!

But ah well, lets return to the Skyrim reality: slaying dragons. Instead of closing some sort of hell gates (Oblivion) as a repetitive feature, you now keep on killing large winged animals. Which is much more exciting, I must say. Not only because they're, well, dragons, but also because you have no idea where they are and might stumble into one by accident.

Dragon in the dark

During one of my assignments, I had to meet a member of a dragon slayer support group (yeah, you have those in Skyrim - make it up and it exists). I couldn't find her, as it was night and a heavy snow storm just burst out. It became apparent that we had a second problem...


...right under our noses, a dragon was reborn! We learned that dragon babies are not friendly, are not actually babies but already fully grown up and can hurt you a lot. An insane fight against flying shadows followed, wherein we luckily had the giveaway of the clearly visible fire it was spitting towards my companion Lydia. It was an exiting fight against a nearly invisible enemy and huge was my relief when we finally made it.


I waited next to the corpse for the morning to dawn and it was only then that I could finally see where I was. A large hole marked the place where the dragon was awakened. I also finally managed to find my dragon slayer groupie and could continue my quest.


I did replay this part later on and waited until dawn before I went to this place, to be able to see what was going on and, of course, to do a dragon photoshoot. I'm not really happy with the result. Somehow, dragons are really exiting and scary when you encounter them in-game, but if you look back at the pictures afterwards, they don't look that impressive after all. It's like when I draw dragons: I'm hardly ever satisfied with the result. I don't think I've found 'the perfect dragon' yet.

Unfair

There's one thing that embarrasses me a bit, and that's the actual act of dragon slaying itself. It occurs to me that my companion Lydia stands in the fire all the time (which would kill me in one hit) and I just shoot a bit at the beast from a distance. When 'we' kill it, I get to be a famous Dragon Slayer, and all she gets is a a pat on the back for being a good servant. While she did all the dangerous stuff!

Above: Lydia once again getting roasted.

Doing it right?

There's another thing that puzzles me. Sometimes I run into a dragon while traveling to a quest location, and get attacked. I'm forced to kill the beast. Now I've found several dragon shouts that I'm not able to use, so I thought I might need to kill a dragon in order to be able to do so. Indeed, once when I killed a dragon, it said "Dragon Soul absorbed", but the shouts I had collected were still greyed out and there was no way of finding any "dragon souls" back. I just hope I'm not missing something or even messing things up by killing dragons now that are meant to be killed later. 

Any advice (please no huge spoilers) is welcome!

23 comments:

  1. You have to find the shouts... basically learn the words. You'll happen upon them during your questing. If you ever hear chanting starting to happen, it means you're close to one. It seems you've at least done this? Then you have to chose to use the dragon souls to unlock them I believe. They don't open up automatically.

    Sometimes it's possible to run away from a dragon. Sometimes it's darn hard to engage them, especially if you're on a melee character. For melees they can be super annoying if you're some place high with no room to run around. The dragons just won't land for ages. I have to try to use puny magic skills in an attempt to whittle some of its health away so it will finally land.

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  2. I found this tip that's more specific, hopefully it will help you: "When you are on that screen, on the bottom left, it will say "press blank to unlock". Obviously that is the button you need to press then. If you need to see how many dragon souls you have, check the bottom right side of your screen and it will show you."

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    1. I guess it's really the easiest with a ranged (or magic) player like me. I can shoot on them when they're in the air as well. The only problem is when the dragon directly goes for me, but that's where Lydia comes in. So far, dragon slaying hasn't been that hard at all (it just takes a while, varying per dragon).

      I've both killed dragons (absorbed souls) and found shouts (glowing writings on the walls). I just don't know how to combine the two, so I can actually use the shouts.

      Thank you, I think I should be able to get it working with the help of you and Rakuno. I'm so glad I didn't do anything wrong!

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    2. Ah, I never used a companion to travel around with me. I hear they break stealth and considering that was something I heavily used, Lydia stayed sitting in my home. ;)

      Good luck unlocking them! Rakuno's directions are just a bit better. :) It's been ages since I've played so I couldn't remember the specifics.

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    3. When you sneak, your companion sneaks as well and she seems to be equally skilled as I. As she can also wear stuff for me (more inventory space!), I'm pretty dependent on her. Also, as a squishy archer, it's very handy to have her around to tank stuff.

      There are some less ideal things. For instance, Lydia always tries to shield me from harm and tries to stand in between me and the enemy. This means I sometimes can't shoot at the enemy because she blocks my view! I've heard of an amazing mod that fixes this, though, so I'll be installing it and be lazy. I might try running around without companion on my swordswoman and mage, as that is what most people seem to do.

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    4. Well, the thing with followers in Skyrim is that they suck if you are trying to sneak around. For one they will trigger pretty much every trap in the way. Even those that are easily avoidable by anyone with a half brain cell. For another they have a tendency to try and kill on sight which pretty much destroys any any plan to careful sneak behind an enemy and backstab them. Or shoot them or whatever is your preference when sneaking behind people to kill. Those two things can be changed with mods, thankfully.

      For those who don't skulk around like fighters or mages it isn't that a big deal.

      The other thing about followers standing between you and your target I am afraid it is more complicated to mod if not outright impossible with Skyrim's modding system. The best that can be done, as far as I know, is to make followers pretty much immortal so they won't die to friendly fire or getting so angry at you because of it that they will leave.

      This is not such a big deal for melees since it is much easier to hit the enemy and not your follower. For any ranged class though it is a lot more tricky.

      And for the record, I do take Lydia with me to help out in fights when I am playing my warrior or my mage. With my current thief/assassin I am still trying to figure out if she is the one who is not so good at sneaking around or if it is the Dawnguard follower. I am thinking the second since that one isn't affected by my mods. If it turns out to be Lydia then I will just take her to the tougher fights when I will need an extra blade. :p

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  3. If you have the dragon souls, then just do this to unlock the dragon shout. Go to the magic menu, then go to the part where you can select your shouts. Select any grayed out shout you want to unlock and press the "R" key. That is assuming you didn't change any of the keys and it is the english version. @_@

    You will need to do that for all words of a shout. So if you have the 3 words of a shout, do it 3 times and the whole shout will be unlocked.

    As for Lydia not getting credit for the kills... Well, she might be doing most of the grunt work but you are the one who can absorb the dragon souls, thus killing them for sure. The whole legend also happens to be about the dragonborn though I guess it should be changed after you pass away to "The Dragonborn and their faithful follower that together slayed dragons".

    -- Rakuno

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    1. Often in the great stories, the hero gets all the praise, while their helpers are forgotten. I guess I just felt a bit sorry for poor Lydia. :P

      Thank you so much for the tip, it seems like the only thing I need to do is to find the right button. I'll let you know if I managed!

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    2. I got it to work, thanks to you and Lothirieth! I'm just a noob for not seeing that option before. Really, sometimes if I look for something specific, I somehow manage to miss it completely.

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    3. Glad that it helped. :)

      And you are right about the legend thing. Hmmm... Just make sure to give half of your fortune to Lydia so she can retire to an easier life then? It might not be as glorious as being remembered by bards for generations to come but at least it should be some compensation for her to risk her life and limbs for you!

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  4. Also, the roaming dragons respawn, so keep slaying and stocking up on souls.

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    1. Wait. I'm the only one who can actually kill them, but even when I "kill" them, they respawn after all? Gaah!

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    2. The dragons actually became too numerous for me. I ran into them far too often. :P

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  5. re: withstanding fire (or frost or...) don't forget to use your fire resist potions or switch to fire resist gear (I tend to carry around necklaces with fire/frost/magic resists)

    /wonders if I've pointed out the bleeding obvious again ;) (but the potions and gear can really help! lol)

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    1. Haha, I'm indeed doing that already, but I just have this totally DPS focused build (with like, half the amount of health as you do). I do use frost/fire resist potions (I always make sure so have some of each with me) and have a special fire resistance shield. However, the most effective so far seems to dodge and shoot he flies up again - or lands and chooses to target poor Lydia.

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    2. On second thought, I haven't found any necklaces with those enchantments yet, but I'll keep an eye out for them. Thanks!

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    3. ah cool :)

      as I exclusively use a bow, it means I can whack points into health and just make sure I have enough stamina for carrying stuff / bow zooming which is cool too :)

      I still love fighting dragons... even though I've fought quite a few now, the effects still impress me and make the fight feel quite epic :)

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  6. I have nothing constructive to say that will help you... I just wanted to say that I am enjoying vicariously playing your other games by watching you do it and write about it. :D

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    1. It is always good to hear people are enjoying reading this sort of stuff, even if they don't play a game themselves. I'm glad you enjoy it!

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  7. Hehe I'd comment on dragon shouts, but you seem to already have that well in hand.

    Oddly, my method of play is to not use followers at all. I know Lydia is there, but I like to sneak and feel like they'd just get in my way (or push me into a corner, or off a cliff). So I generally go it alone, coming back to Breezehome to find Lydia creepily sitting in my bedroom. So generally, when attacked by a dragon, there isn't anyone else around, and I receive a consistent "fire to the face" greeting. Resist equipment is really helpful, but actually finding the dragon (or getting a good flaming breath shot) is a little tricky. :)

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    1. Another non-Lydia user. I must be the only one who does use her - perhaps I just really suck at this game. xD

      Sometimes I would like to play solo/without her, but I do sort of get one-shot by enemies. Perhaps I should spend some time on Ravanel (the mage) and solo on her.

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  8. wow, great photos, especially the first one - incredible! :)

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