Personal enjoyment: 09/10
The key to creating a successful character is choosing the right ‘Major Skills’. In most games you choose the skills you expect to use the most, be it attack, defence or passive skills. This is not the case with Oblivion. It only requires ten major skill increases to raise your level and, when you level, so do your enemies. If you decide to level using skills that do not directly strengthen your character you are going to be in trouble facing opponents you can’t possibly beat. There are ways to avoid this; one way is to avoid skill such as Athletics, Acrobatics, Alchemy and Armorer or to choose skills your character has no use for, selecting only a few for ‘controlled’ leveling.
Games - Oblivion
Another problem of the game is its repetitive dungeon crawling elements. Caves, ruins and Oblivion gates maybe fun to explore the first few times but eventually they will start to look alike, making the game a grind to get through. It’s best to enter them on a ‘need to’ basis as most are connected to quests so you will be directed to them eventually. The Oblivion gates are even worse. There are only a few Oblivion world layouts and sixty gate locations.. these will become particularly stale if you are trying to close all of them. If you feel the masochistic need to close all sixty, than I’d suggest fighting through the ten gates linked to the main quest and using a 100% Chameleon to breeze through the fifty random ones.
|My character Victoria was the first to complete the main quest, all guild quests and random quest (that I know of). One of the reasons she succeeded where others had failed was her choice in ‘Major Skills’ and the fact that I took great care in power-leveling her. By leveling the right skills I managed to gain a +5 bonus in 3 attributes with every level. This did require me to keep track of skills gained on a spreadsheet but it was absolutely worth the effort. It is also why my “Mage” character al level 22 is oddly proficient in Blade, Block, Heavy- and Light Armor as I also sought to increase my Strength, Endurance and Speed with a +5 attribute bonus.
I enjoyed this play through so much that I felt oddly empty after completing it. The Shivering Isles add-on is available to me but I’m not ready to install it just yet. In hindsight it would have been better to create multiple character classes and have each join their respective guilds separately. As a fan of roleplaying it just didn’t feel right playing a ‘good’ character that is trying to save Cyrodiil one moment, then going out stealing and murdering the next. Next time I’ll likely split the game up as followed;
- Unofficial Oblivion Patch: unfortunately even with the official patches, the game has a lot of problems. Some bugs are funny to witness, others are game breaking. Install the Unofficial Oblivion Patch to fix over 1,800 bugs plaguing this game (on PC of course).
- Luck: I use to think it did but alas the attribute ‘Luck’ has no influence on the value of items you receive from containers.
- Restoration: every class has a base magicka of a hundred to tap from and it’s a shame to let this go to waste. Healing potions are found throughout the game but are not plentiful. Restoration is a good way to keep your health up in tough situations.
- Convalescence: There are times in the game where you will travel with companions. Some will be ‘essential’ making them virtually immortal but others not so much. Having the convalescence spell will allow you to keep their health up when you run into trouble. Some NPC’s are extremely suicidal so don’t feel too bad if they don’t survive.
- Fortify Attribute & Skill: After healing these might be the most useful spells Restoration has to offer and you only have to buy one version to get access to all attribute and skill options (Altar of Spellmaking).
Spell Making: it is highly recommended for any class to join the mage guild and finish the seven recommendation quest to get access to the Arcane University. The University is the only place that provides Enchanting and spell making services (vanilla version of the game). Using the ‘Altar of Spellmaking’ you can combine different effects to create truly powerful spells.
List of all spells
List of useful spell combinations
- Custom spell tip: as a mage it can become bothersome to find the spells you need from an ever growing list. As spells are listed in alphabetical order, when you create a new spell, you can add a * at the beginning of its name so these will appear at the top.
- 100% Chameleon: this will allow you to walk unseen and unchallenged. People, beasts and Daedra will ignore your presence until you interact with them, those you attack won’t even retaliate. This is easiest achieved by enchanting five pieces of clothing/jewelry with 20% each (grand soul). Be aware that this will take away any kind of challenge the game provides and should be used sparsely if at all.
- Enchanting: even though custom enchants are often not as powerful as the ones you receive throughout the game it can still be worth getting access to this option. To get access to the ‘Enchanting Altar’ inside the Arcane University, you will have to join the mage guild and finishing the seven recommendation quests. Unlike the previous game Morrowind the value of the item is not important, the size of the soul used is. Some useful enchants are Fortify Strength to increase your carry weight, Fortify Intelligence to increase your magicka pool, skill enchants for the ones often used (till level 100) and Chameleon.
Self-damaging enchants: add a self-damage enchant to a ‘zero-weight’ piece of clothing and reverse pickpocket to quietly kill your target. Steps to take;
- Get a zero-weight item such as a mage’s hood.
- Enchant with ‘damage on self’ and name the item with something starting with the letter A.
- Wait till the target is asleep and reverse pickpocket the item.
- Wake the target and they will equip the item.
- Wait for them to die and loot the corpse without consequence.
- Sigil Stones: these can provide a better enchant than ones created with the Enchanting Altar. Although their enchants are random you can save the game before removing the stone and reload the game until you get the one you want. There are sixty available per game and are at their most powerful (Transcendent) at level seventeen, so it’s advised to wait with closing Oblivion gates until then.
- Easy gold: You might find yourself quite poor when starting out but gaining great wealth is easier than it seems. A good way to make gold besides selling scavenged armor and weapons is by creating potions. Potions created with alchemy all sell for the same amount no matter the effects and as ingredients such as vegetables/fruit are easy to acquire you can quickly rake in the cash. It is highly advised not to choose Alchemy as a major skill and to not gain more than ten points per level (10 points in alchemy = +5(max) intelligence at level up).
Poison: this game feature is often overlooked as being useful. Perhaps because you will likely kill an enemy before the poison can take its full effect. It is easy to create poisons using Alchemy but most will prefer to spend their ingredients on beneficial potions. What most don’t know (including myself until recently) is that, using poison to kill an NPC’s is not considered murder and you will not receive a bounty. Keep this in mind if you intend to join the Dark Brotherhood. A Master Alchemist can create, with carefully chosen ingredients, truly powerful concoctions.
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