Joe Abbott's Weblog

Letters home to mom

  • Flickr Photos

  • A pic that came out

    Just a nice pic
  • Holiday snap

  • Advertisements
  • Stuff posted on these days

    September 2012
    M T W T F S S
    « Aug   Oct »
  • Meta

  • Joe Abbott Musings

  • RSS Cat Cartoon w/o the Cartoon

    • Coda
      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
    • December 31, 2011
      Father Time is riding out his last few minutes of being the temporal keeper for 2011; he sits in an easy chair with a calendar showing “Dec 31” behind him and a grandfather clock pointing to the time of 11:53. … Continue reading →
    • December 30, 2011
      A happy young lady shares a table at a tony restaurant with her cat; they both wear festive, cone-shaped party hats. The woman gaily says to the tuxedoed server, “One martini and one glass of milk.” The cat does not … Continue reading →

Musings on Hearthfire

Posted by joeabbott on September 13, 2012

imageimageHearthfire is the latest Xbox 360 DLC (Downloadable Content) for the massively popular RPG Skyrim and I picked it up to get me back into the world of Skyrim. When Skyrim came out late last year, I lost a lot of hours to this game. It was well done, had a massive amount of content, and after I completed the game playing a sneaky archer-type character, I turned around and played a second time to enjoy the game building out a mage-like character. Both times were great fun.

In addition to Hearthfire, Bethesda Gameworks had released Dawnguard a few months earlier; it is a much more substantial, story-driven DLC package. But I was looking for a quick re-introduction to Skyrim and so I chose Hearthfire … and I’m the happier for it.

Wherein Dawnguard introduces you to factions and quests and a major enemy intent on taking over the world, Hearthfire adds two elements to the game: the ability to build your own “dream home”, and the ability to adopt. Given the treatment of parenthood is rather limited and dimensionless (you choose one of several children from an orphanage and thereafter they’re around your home, asking you to play games, asking you to give them something, or just skipping about), I consider this expansion to be all about building.

Now, to be blunt, the home building in Hearthfire is fun and you can build some nice houses, but it’s pretty minimal. You can build on one, two, or three different plots (the locations of these plots are fixed), you can have a small bungalow-style cabin, or convert that into a manse, complete with towers or balconies and whatnot. However, you can only extend the main home on the east, north or west, and then choose one of three extensions for each side. So, combinatorially, you can have a lot of variety to your home, but it still doesn’t live up to the full promise of allowing you build a “sprawling compound”. At least not as I envisioned it!

imageSo, given my usage of so many adjectives like “limited”, “dimensionless”, and “minimal”, why am I the happier for my choice? Well, simply put, I was never a contented homeowner in Skyrim to begin with but this DLC gets me a lot closer to what I’d hoped for.

imageIn each of the homes you could buy and provision in Skyrim, none of them really worked for me. I never had enough bookshelf space, the rooms with alchemy or enchanting tables never had enough space to store and sort my ingredients, and the smithies were equally lacking in accoutrements. I’d end up finding a barrel at the end of a corridor and dumping all my hundreds of goods there, only to sort and deal with them later.

A minor gripe, but one that made the fun of having alchemy, enchanting and smithing opportunities a little less fun.

So, my happiness at having played Hearthfire first is because, now when I go to play Dawnguard, I’ll be able to build out a real home base, a place that’s customized for my particular character and done in a way that allows me to gather and sort and then use the stuff I’ve earned in the game. I’m not playing Skyrim for achievements these days, I’m playing for fun … and for me, part of the fun is vicariously living in that world.

And now I have my home; my Hearthfire.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: