Since the start of the year, the land of Skyrim has opened its gates to as many updates as it has had adventurers. This summer sees Skyrim’s first major extension bolted into its land in the form of Dawnguard, an expansion pack still shrouded in mystery even though yesterdays trailer finally shed some light. Those who didn’t catch it can scan their eyes below, and follow my commentary as it echoes your own inner monologue.
0.21-The chance to play as a Dragonborn Vampire? Are all the DLC packs coming up going to try and build you up into an ultimate Daedric prince of some kind? Possibly, and that would definitely tantalise those players who considered the Dark Brotherhood a home from home. It looks like Dawngaurd will be going all out to evolve you into a blood sucking deity, with mangled pig face and wings to boot. Transforming into a vampire in Skyrim gave you minor benefits, but still just wasn’t worth the major hassle of locking yourself away from the world in the same house as your wife. The need to run into shade every five seconds back in Oblvion when you were overcome with the darkness downgraded you from hero to a psychopathic Nick Clegg, hiding from everything in fear of being hated on and doing absolutely nothing useful with your time. Here, with epic looking transformation power and rapid gliding abilities, it doesn’t look like a curse, it looks like an evolution.
0.33-Even if we aren’t thrown into a brand new expansive land to explore, it certainly looks like we’ll be cast into a new Oblivion-like realm. My time spent in that hell-hole wasn’t phenominal, but this new parallel looks like it has some character to it…plus that purple hue looks absolutely FABULOUS.
0.41-A second new faction, the Dawnguard seem to be vampire hunters by trade. Hopefully the pure of heart won’t be forced to shell out on the DLC just to become an evil beast, but will be able to slay evil. This expansion will most likely work in the same way the ‘Civil War’ quest-line did originally, but with a few more bells and whistles that could transform the land that’ll be discussed later. Although the new powers on offer haven’t swayed my morality into hoping I can side with the vamps, the endless bouts of Sanguinare Vampiris I’l be infected with if I fight for Dawnguard may still persuade me to just go all out and transform.
0.48-Crossbows! Finally, I can pretend to be Daryl from The Walking Dead! It’ll certainly be awesome pinging back the undead with arrows that’ll sling them powerfully back into the graves they rose from, but I’m also hoping it won’t simply be bundled into the Archery skill tree. When talking about additional ideas for upcoming Skyrim updates, new skill trees did come up alongside Kinect controlled dragon shouts and those became a reality sooner than we expected, so hopefully there will be some new facets of your character to build on. A new bow displayed after the impressive crossbow also indicates some new weapons and armour coming out way.
0.53-0.57: A brand new batch of monsters tearing their way through, including gargoyle-like hunters, undead messes and…vampire goat…trolls?
1.00: Although this won’t be new for PC players, horse-based combat makes an entry here, allowing everyone to slay the feisty blood-suckers like they’re part of a twisted game of undead polo.
1.03: If travelling around in that new desolate plain seems rather dull, it looks like a brand new steed is available to the malevolent. In the same vein as Shadowmere, this horse looks suitably evil, a strong ally to take advantage of that horse based combat and seems to have the capabilities of burning its riders arse. Bring on the horse armour? Still no…
1.04: Diving dragons? I get mighty suspicious when the gargantuan death machines escape my peripherals, so I don’t like the prospect of one of those buggers emerges from the ground seconds later to snatch me up, propel me into the air and drop me 20 storeys. Hopefully it only does this on ice and not any form of land…
1.08: An Elder Scroll displaying the locations of both Markarth and Solitude there pretty much confirms we won’t be venturing past the borders of Skyrim (pretty sure that’s how you almost got beheaded at the beginning, anyway). Quite how that will factor in is a mystery so far, but seeing as a vampire character was equipped with said Elder Scroll on their back in the beginning, I’m guessing that Vampire Quests or even side-quests will rely on following the scrolls to the letter in a bid to sap power from specific targets it highlights or obtain certain artifacts that reside there.
1.11: And here I was thinking that the head of vampires was simply some mad hermit. Turns out he’s doing what a lot of us pale skinned Brits will be wishing for mid-summer when the heat goes one degree over ‘Fridge temperature’ and is set on blocking out the Sun completely. I really hope this isn’t simply an inevitable and brief moment in the game. If you side with the Vampires, this ultimate goal could give a hell of a lot more depth to the land of Skyrim than the Civil War ever did. Should a permanent evil yet melancholy darkness infect the land should you succeed, those vampire skills will no longer be a bane for anyone…apart from those you feast on. If this is possible, the fact that your choices can have such a dramatic change on the land for your own personal gain makes me wonder what else is possible in this or any other upcoming DLC Bethesda have to offer.
It doesn’t look like there’s an entirely new land to discover much like Oblivion’s epic ‘Shivering Isles’ expansion, but it also looks like it’ll dramatically alter the world of Skyrim as you know it should you play your cards malevolently enough. Obviously, these are hopes that’ll most likely get crushed like so many of my dreams do, but these elements are certainly not overly ambitious enough to be deemed improbable. Many questions still remain unanswered (Can I be a Werewolf AND a Vampire hybrid?!) that’ll hopefully be cleared up soon at E3, so be sure to check in for more news on ‘Dawnguard’ and an inevitable speculation should ‘Hearth Fire’ be confirmed as Skyrim’s second batch of DLC.