Stop! You’re Playing Wrong!

I’ve been caught in a ridiculously silly dilemma. I eagerly awaited the release of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and eventually purchased it the day it came out. While I enjoyed the game very much, I found it hard to play something other than Everquest II during my limited play time and eventually stopped playing it. Roughly two months ago I decided to head back into the land of Cyrodiil and continue my adventures. It didn’t take long to get sucked right back in, and subsequently any free moment I had was spent playing Oblivion. This inevitably led me to Oblivion dedicated web pages and forums to help immerse myself more into the game. Unfortunately for me, all I found out was that I was playing the game all wrong.

I had no idea I was playing wrong of course, nor would I have, had I not begun visiting the Oblivion related web pages. So what was I doing wrong? Without going into incredible detail here, it all involves the leveling system designed in the game. Basically, all the monsters in the game scale themselves to the level of the player, so that when the player gains level ten, all the monsters in the game also become level ten. Each time your character levels, you’ll get to add skill points to three different skills. The number of points you’ll have to spend depends on which sub-skills you improved between levels. There is a way to maximize the number of skill points you get, which is something I wasn’t doing, so instead of being able to spend five points towards my strength skill, I was only able to spend three. After several levels of non-maximized skill increases, I’m now left with a character that is not as powerful as it could be. Again, something I never would have known had I not visited the web sites.

Apparently I started off on the wrong foot by choosing to play as one of the built-in classes, rather than creating my own custom class, which facilitates the way in which you maximize your skill increases. When I buy a new game, I usually just want to install it and start playing right away; I don’t want to fiddle with creating my own custom class. Now however, my character just feels tainted; he’s not being all that he can be. I’m torn; do I start over with a new character and maximize his skills, or do I continue to slog through the game with an imperfect character? More importantly, why is this even bugging me? I was having a great time with the game before reading about the leveling system, so why not now? I have to admit, it’s all completely absurd, and even if I decide to continue playing my character as he is now, I know for a fact I’ll start altering the way I play in order to maximize my skill increases.

This sort of thing isn’t restricted to Oblivion of course. My experience with World of Warcraft comes to mind. Back when I was trying that game out, it seemed as though certain classes had to follow very specific talent builds, otherwise your character was useless. I was planning on rolling a Human priest, but was told immediately that I wouldn’t get any group invites, nor guild invites unless I was a Dwarf priest. That really bugged me. I can’t say if it’s still like that in WoW as I don’t follow that game any more, but at the time it felt very limiting. Who are all these people to tell me how I had to play the game, and why am I such a sucker to follow along? Well I’m breaking the cycle, and I’m going back to my imperfect Oblivion character and I’m going to have fun, dang it!

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