I have no content written up for today, mostly because I didn’t so much as skim the news yesterday. This was because video games turned me into an unproductive slug. Hillary Clinton was right.

Thankfully, my blog has always been about writing what’s on my mind, and what’s on my mind right now is Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Holy crap, it’s the best game I’ve ever played, and all the review sites have been drooling over the game since Skyrim’s release five days ago – and justifiably so! I have very little time for gaming anymore, but I have no regrets about abdicating my responsibilities for a few nights to partake of this one. If you’re a gamer, I could not give this game a more enthusiastic endorsement.

A couple months ago, Sarah had to bring her kitten into the office for a day.

It pretty much cut productivity by half. Well, Skyrim has had the same effect. Of the four campus organizers who are consistently in the office, three of us are playing Skyrim. Right now the pope could make Joe Paterno the patron saint of protecting child-rapists and it wouldn’t hit this blog until after I’d killed another three dragons.

For one thing, the game is huge. It’s literally like being plopped into another world. There are unique people in the villages, most of which you can interact with in some meaningful way. Even the side quests are of a grand enough scale that they could be the main plot of a lesser RPG. The music is fantastic, the environments are gorgeous…I’m convinced Satan made this game to bring the world to a halt.

Ol’ Beelz. He’s kind of always had humanity’s back.

PERSONAL: Sorry to disappoint you, Julian.
Update and pics from #AACon15. MST3K cast members were at my talk.
PERSONAL: The corrupting power of fame and my love for my commenters.
PERSONAL: Happy birthday, Hitch.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    I hate you. Okay, not really, but I am a bit jealous. I don’t have the time or the money for Skyrim right now. I mean, I’ve got really good reasons for not having the time or money for it, but that still doesn’t take away my jealousy.

  • leftwingfox

    I have the time, but not the money.

    I spent $10 at a pawn shop for Oblivion instead, and have spent the last week reminding myself why I had such a problem with the game, despite it being something I crave.

    Combat is a mess, the difficulty is way to high for new players, and if you follow the plot as provided (incentivized by a fake sense of urgency in the quests), or level up too quickly, you WILL get your as handed to you by angry imps and wolves before you get so much as a whiff of a magic item.

    But yeah, sneaking through the fields and forests, hunting deer, and delving dungeons and sniping bandits is a lot of fun when it works.I’m just trying to mess with the difficulty setting so that the creatures provide a challenge, without requiring me to go through my entire inventory of potions and scrolls for a single fight.

  • B-Lar

    I took 3 days off work to get a good start on it. Skyrim rocks my balls into outer space!

  • Tara

    “Right now the pope could make Joe Paterno the patron saint of protecting child-rapists and it wouldn’t hit this blog until after I’d killed another three dragons.”

    I literally snorted out loud upon reading this and did not stop after I finished reading the rest of the post. Thanks for the morning laugh.

  • Ben Crockett

    Goddammit now I’m gonna have to buy Skyrim. Dunno when I’ll have time to play it, but whatever.

    • Glodson

      Based off of my experiences with games like that, you are going to find yourself making time to do other things instead of playing. Like grudgingly going to sleep, eating, going to the bathroom, showering, remembering to go to work and so on…

      Okay, a bit of hyperbole, but still.

  • Dillon

    I won’t say where or when in the game it happens, but if you didn’t already know… There’s kind of a “wtf happened last night?” mission. You start off by wagering on a drinking competition, then your character blacks out. You wake up in a monastery being shouted at by monks, who are pissed off that you’ve drunkenly done stupid things in their temple. You then have to retrace your inebriated steps, getting yelled at by everyone along the way, trying to find something you lost track of whilst blacked out and causing ridiculous calamity.

    So, yeah, game of the year.

  • Richard

    I’ve crashed ten times so far, a large step up from oblivion when it first came out.
    Only had one serious error, mage’s guild main quest line.

    They lost a few points, I feel the magic system added a few fun things but lost much of its flexibility, which seems to be a recurring theme.

    Am I the only one that remembers the old “fortify jump” spell with the wizard that got himself killed using it from morrowind?

  • fastlane

    Lucky for me, I don’t have to have any money to play this game, just time.

    I give you the AFK Tavern.

    Only in Seattle. (well, the Puget Sound area…) =)

  • julian

    Do you miss the skills they cut? Acrobatics and Athletics always seemed kinda superflous to me but actually seeing they wouldn’t be showing up again kinda bummed me a little.

    Glad to hear there’s more to do (will feel like less of a loser when I clock in 100+ hours). How deep is the actual Role Play?

    • Richard

      I missed what was cut from morrowind to oblivion, and again from oblivion to skyrim. Though, dragon fights is a definite plus.

      • Daniel Schealler

        I think I miss the loss of spellmaking the most.

        No more stacking weakness to magic/weakness to fire/fire damage.

  • Daniel Schealler

    I have the money (barely) but not the time.


    The dual-wielding system kicks serious ass in my opinion.

    There’s something just so damn fun about sneaking up on an unsuspecting victim, power-attacking for 15x damage with dual-wielded daggers that you forged and refined yourself from rare metal ores to give it a higher base damage, combinging that through with damage bonuses from the one-handed perk tree and getting the ‘slit the enemy throat’ animation when it all comes together…

    And then swapping out to spam dual-weilded super-firebolts when the other enemies start coming at you…

    And when you run out of magicka turning tail to flee over a dual-cast fire rune trap that you placed previously to engagement that takes out a few more of your pursuers…

    Then swap back out to daggers and lace them with the poison you crafted earlier at an alchemy bench…

    Then deliver a dragon shout that staggers all enemies in front of you and gives you an opening to get some clean hits in, so dashing forward to carve the enemy’s chest with a rapid right/left/right/right/left/left dual-wield flurry of poisoned doom…

    And then a fucking dragon shows up and starts to fight with three mammoths but you have to turn tail and flee because a FUCKING GIANT IS TROTTING TORWARDS YOU AT THE SPEED OF A GALLOPING HORSE AND CAN ONE HIT YOU AND OMG I DIED AND WENT FLYING THROUGH THE AIR THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!!1111111eleven.

    I need more time to play this game.

  • Shak

    I’ve been trying to avoid playing it so I don’t fail out of school. Meanwhile all my friends are talking about it and I can’t even find refuge on my favorite atheist blog.

    Curse you Eberhard. May you rot in heaven with the catholic pedophiles, the mormon rape-deniers, the muslim suicide bombers, the lukewark climate, and the old white guy who demands your slavery.

  • Arius

    What will I do without my daily dose of pretentious idiocy from you?

  • sumdum

    Silly thief. If you sneak up and kill someone and get detected, take better care to look where everyone is before making your move.

  • WMDKitty

    Oh, yeah. Best. Game. Evar.

    And I’m supposed to be doing homework right now…

  • Mark

    I had been thinking about buying it due to the massive amounts of positive reviews I’ve read and what people I know personally are saying. This clinches it.

  • LadyBlack

    Hey, some of us are still working through “Morrowind : the Elder scrolls” on PC. It takes a whole lot longer when your computer gets confused with more than two enemies and decides to shut down just as you’re delivering the killer blow to one of them. Everytime.

    I don’t have an Xbox.

    Something is telling me I may need to buy one.

    Hwoever, loss of spellmaking? I LOVE that on mine, except that I keep making really cool spells and then finding out that my character can’t cast them. And Acrobatics? That’s one of the ways I level up faster. But I don’t know that it makes any difference otherwise.

    So what happens if you’re playing “Skyrim” and a kitten arrives at the office? And indeed, cookies (please see one discussion on Greta’s blog)? Does productivity get cut to half and then half again? And then possibly another half?

    Not sure who is cuter in that picture, the kitten or you! :-)

    • Daniel Schealler

      “It takes a whole lot longer when your computer gets confused with more than two enemies and decides to shut down just as you’re delivering the killer blow to one of them. Everytime.”

      Ah – so when Skyrim crashes while in the middle of fighting a dragon, that’s just a matter of consistency with earlier versions.

      Gotcha. Good to know.

      Word to the wise: Frequently quicksave when fighting a dragon. Seriously.

  • asmallcontempt

    I’m a really terrible gamer – I never had a system growing up, so my first introduction to a console was in college – but I am LOVING Skyrim.

    It’s so much fun. Like everyone has said, SO much to do and explore (that could be the game in and of itself!).

    I can’t speak to the earlier games in the series, but all I know is that I’m really enjoying what’s in the xbox now. :)

  • Ana

    Also, it’s a relationship killer. As in, in my house there are two people, but only one gaming computer. My boyfriend has resorted to buy gaming time with sushi.
    And the side quests, oh, the side quests. I don’t mean to spoil, but I have to share…I innocently entered a pub, decided to try my hand at a drinking bet, and woke up halfway around the world in a temple being told I fondled statues and tried to marry a goat. True story! xD

  • Dave Thomas

    Skyrim is the fifth installment in the already successful The Elder Scrolls role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Solutions and published by Bethesda Softworks.