If you don’t know by now, my favorite video game of all time right now is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the PC, Xbox360, and Playstation 3. I personally play Skyrim on the Xbox360 as I don’t own a Playstation3 and don’t care for playing video games on the computer. I am such a fan of the Elder Scrolls video games because of their attention to detail and attempts to create realistic, thriving, natural worlds.
Skyrim is an open-world role-playing fantasy game, which hits many of my favorite things about video games. I love role-playing video games, fantasy games, and games with lots of exploration and open worlds. Skyrim is a massive open world that allows its players to explore to their heart’s content and do whatever they please. While there are plots to delve into and goals to complete, the speed is left completely to the player and all barriers are down, allowing the player to go anywhere at any time and do anything. So many times I find myself simply exploring the countryside and scaling mountains just to enjoy the scenery and see what’s out there.
One of my favorite things about Skyrim is the vast amount of wildlife found roaming the open lands and the realism involved with them. The Elder Scrolls team tries to create believable worlds within their video games, so they spend the time to create a working ecosystem complete with prey and predators. When exploring the lands, you’ll come across deer grazing in the woods, elk venturing the tundra, and bears hunting them down. The animals live their own lives and make sense in the space around them. Not only can you see these animals and simply spend time with them or follow them around, you can also chase and hunt them down, ride them, fight alongside them, battle them, skin their fur, eat their meat, wear their hides, collect their claws, cook them in a stew, and mash their teeth into a powder to use in potions, and that’s only the beginning of what you can do!
The Elder Scrolls series always aims to create living, breathing, believable worlds filled with lore and history, so they allow the player to do almost anything they can imagine. This wide array of possibilities really helps bring the world of Skyrim to life and helps add believability to the animals and wildlife. The animals are not just computer models running about, but can actually help or hinder the player in his adventures. All of this realistic interaction really helps make Skyrim an enjoyable experience full of life and realism.
Hides & Pelts
After an animal is killed in Skyrim, its fur can often be skinned. After skinning an animal, you’ll obtain it’s hide or pelt which will offer little use until crafted into leather. The larger the pelt, the more leather you’ll obtain from it. Rabbits and Skeever rats are too small to yield pelts, so foxes and wolves are the smallest pelts in the game and only offer one unit of leather each. Bears and sabre toothed cats yield the largest pelts, offering four units of leather each. While mammoths may be the largest furred animal in the game, they cannot be skinned. Sometimes furs can also be obtained from those that wear them, such as giants.
Leather is a crafting material mainly used in the creation of armor that can also be used to improve armor. In order to tan a pelt or hide into leather, a tanning rack must be used. Surprisingly, once a hide is tanned into leather, it increases in weight. Leather can be further cut down into leather strips, a smithing component that is vital in the creation and improvement of armor and weapons. Leather strips are always needed in order to craft armor or weapons. Once cut into leather strips, leather is also able to improve bows.
One doesn’t always have to skin their own animals to acquire hides and pelts. They can also be purchased from hunters roaming the wilds and can often be found in stores or in the town market. When it comes to value, hides and pelts are usually worth more gold than simple leather or leather strips and because leather weighs more than fur, one should think before tanning their hides. Leather and leather strips can also be obtained other than from creating it yourself. Leather and leather strips are almost always sold by blacksmiths and general traders in towns and cities. They can also sometimes be found within the world. Dungeons occasionally have leather lying about. In town, blacksmiths usually have leather in their homes and stores. Leather can also be found among random bookshelves or in the homes of villagers. Of course, if leather is taken from a home it is considered stolen, though, oddly enough, if stolen leather is crafted or used, such as in the creation of armor or weapons or in the improvement of them, it is no longer considered stolen.
Food & Meat
Animals can not only be used to clothe humans, but they can also be used to restore health as well through the use of their meat. When killed, animals will often drop meat, a type of food that can be eaten to replenish health. This meat can be eaten raw or cooked.
Meat can be obtained from an animal’s dead body or can be bought and sometimes even found randomly within the world of Skyrim. Hunting and fishing always lends meat, but sometimes one can find a hunter roaming the wilds, willing to sell his catch. There are also meat vendors in town markets, especially in Markarth and Whiterun, that offer meat for sale. On occassion, one may find meat on their own, either in barrels, chests, or other containers. Sometimes it is found in a place setting in dungeons. Of course, there’s always meat in taverns and in homes, but if this meat is taken, it is usually considered stealing, including harvesting the meat from hung rabbits and pheasants.
Cooking is a basic activity that increases the nutritional value of meat and combines ingredients to create new dishes. Dishes must be cooked using a cooking pot or a cooking spit. They are usually found in inns, taverns, homes, and even at campsites or in random dungeons and forts. Wherever food is found, a cookin pot is usually in the general area. Cooked food can restore magicka, health, and stamina to a greater extent than their raw counterparts. It can also occasionally grant temporary effects. Salt is needed for every dish.
Some animals can help in the creation of potions and poisons through the process of alchemy. Various body parts of animals are alchemical ingredients and can be crushed into powders or stewed into a brew. Such things as claws, teeth, antlers, and tails are just a few of the ingredients found from animals.
Alchemy is the art of combining raw ingredients with matching effects to produce potions and poisons. There are many ingredients in the game and several come from animals. Ingredients are used to construct the potions and poisons. Each ingredient in Skyrim has four possible effects that are unknown until they are discovered, either through consumption or through a successful blend with another ingredient sharing the same effect. If an ingredient is eaten, not only does it reveal one effect, it also immediately causes that effect on the consumer.
Brewing potions requires an alchemy lab, a table suited for alchemy. Alchemy labs can be found in various locations throughout Skyrim, especially in alchemy supply shops, private studeis, and wizard’s quarters. Alchemy labs can be purchased for every player home and can sometimes be found in taverns.