How to fix an issue with logical player motivations in Skyrim


Minor spoilers follow:

The opening of the game Skyrim has you about to be executed by the Empire side of a civil war. You escape when a dragon attacks and later you have the option to join one side or the other in the civil war. Yet, there really isn’t much of a choice — in that one side had tried to kill you despite not even having your name on the official list of the condemned. Basically they were going to lop off your head just for the heck of it. Hey, you must have done SOMETHING bad at SOME point.

This is why I can’t see ever taking the Empire side in the civil war raging inside Skyrim. The general I would later see to join was the same one presiding over MY PLANNED EXECUTION. Now, I am a bit of a “let bygones be bygones” kind of character, but that takes it to extremes.

Again, so far as my character knew, the Empire still had a death warrant out for me. I later ran into the general in Solitude, but went out of my way to avoid discussing our prior encounter. Indeed, he kept threatening me with jail time the whole period I was in his HQ. The Empire path is for masochists with self-esteem issues. The Stormcloak side had their own issues, but trying to kill me for no reason wasn’t one of them

Player motivations in Skyrim need a closer look, as this glaring leap in logic could easily have been addressed. Simply program a messenger to send me a note once I hit Whiterun. Have the note be from the Empire and admit my planned execution was a boo-boo, issue me a general pardon, and offer some amount of gold from the Empire as a gesture of apology. To get the gold, I needed to go to see them in Solitude.

That gesture could then clear the deck to allow me a logical reason to consider joining them, since they owned up to a mistake and tried to rectify it.

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3 Responses to “How to fix an issue with logical player motivations in Skyrim”

  1. Tyler W Says:

    Great game if you like to mindlessly follow quests and forget about any accomplishments you’ve done, or past conflicts that have been made. This game was horrid, made for FPS Call of duty fans, who have no goals or accomplishments to make within a game besides, OH SHIAT HEADSHOT!!!!!!!!!! A game applied for the masses of idiots, and not RPG fans, Sure i had fun up to 40, but now this game grows cobwebs and dust upon it. Even the final “boss” Anduin was easier to kill then any enemy in oblivion at level 20, or even any of the near-end Arena battles.

  2. Overboard Says:

    I think even that would be pushing it. An apology letter and some cash for trying to kill you? No. The Stormcloaks are also absolutely retarded in ways I won’t get into because I think everyone knows. I think choosing a side is the hardest challenge in Skyrim. Especially if you’re playing an Altmer like me. You’re stuck between the guys who almost killed you and the guys who want to kill you. I kind of wish there was some sort of neutral way to ending the civil war. Or just reopening the Oblivion gates and allowing daedra to murder everyone. Yeah, that sounds good.

  3. Andrew Says:

    skyrims great , the letter of compensation is a awsome idea but i find mindless murder off imperial men , until you havve paid them back and feel neutrsl to be a good start , my nord who was me hated and indeed slaughtered orc strong holds for telling me where i can go or not , but my orc uruk hai loved the strong holds
    my dunmer was going to go for empire but was chased out , but skyrim needed a moral system and the choice of jarls , i wanted to keep balgruuf and igrod but screw maven getting power

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