Wow, Oblivion is almost ten years old… That’s so weird… It was my first Elder Scrolls game. And it’s also my favourite. Yes, I prefer it to Skyrim. Though I probably have more playtime in Skyrim admittedly. Don’t get me wrong Skyrim is great and all, I just preferred Oblivion.
The levelling system is considered a mess by most, and I won’t say it’s not awkward. There are about 30 skills in total, 10 of which are major (chosen in the start of the game, from a prebuilt or custom set). To level up you need to get ten skill increases in your major skills. But you shouldn’t just rush to level those, each attribute is tied to three skills (except for luck) and you choose to increase three attributes per level between one and five points each, you increase it by the higher amounts by increasing the associated skills (ten skill increases gets you a plus five potential I believe).
If this sounds annoying, it can be. I tend to count out my skill increases to not waste those attribute points. For example, your health increases by one-tenth of your endurance per level so I tend to try and max that out as soon as I can. It can be amusing when leveling high level heavy armour by just standing there as a bandit attacks you screaming insults as you take negligible damage which can be simply healed with basic restoration magic. Strength is an important attribute which I was never to fond of leveling, associated with blade, blunt and unarmed, I just found it too tedious wailing repetitively on enemies, I preferred magic and stealth. It wasn’t too problematic though you could get powerful feather spells and enchantment to let you carry more.
Oh the spells… There are a lot of spells to get. In particular I loved the conjuration school, hiding in the shadows sending Spider Daedra and Liches to fight while I just wait. You could also make your own spells and enchantments in the game. Albeit after doing several quests to gain access to the mages guild. The spells you can make are based on the spells you already have, if you had a fireball spell you could make a fireball with higher damage or an area effect if it takes your fancy. The same applies to enchanting, you can only enchant effects of spells you could cast, you can’t cast chameleon spells until you have a high enough illusion skill, so you can’t use the chameleon enchantment until you get to that level.
Tip: For mischief and fun, make a set of armour giving you chameleon over 100%, attacking guards will have them run away.
You don’t need to do that to take advantage of the perks of stealth though, seeing three bandits standing around a fire and shooting one in the head from stealth to have the other 2 not react at all is something that always amuses. If you’re wondering, yes I played stealth with heavy armour. Though I took off my shoes on lower levels because it helps. I used to never wear the ‘clothing’ in the game at all, didn’t see the reason for taking of the armour but I started swapping in my last playthrough a few months ago, giving enchants to my mercantile and speechcraft skills, or buffs to my carry weight as unequipping armour can make it heavier when you have a high skill level in it. I found it was cool for general Roleplay too.
Oh, the guilds are amazing in Oblivion. I could tell you the arc of any of them. My favourites being ‘The Dark Brotherhood’ and ‘The Mages Guild’. It made it so much more disappointing when I finished in the ‘college of Winterhold’ of Skyrim, thinking “Wow! Things are finally getting good, wait… that was it…” The majority of the guild in Skyrim were like that for me though the magic based guild was the most disappointing for me.
It didn’t have the ‘infinite quests’ thing of Skyrim but there were more side quests which were all pretty good. One involves reuniting long lost twins. Another, saving someone’s daughter from a cult. Oh! And another one that’s worth noting, there’s a quest where in you need to stop a gang of women who seduce men out of the town to steal their things. It was a very colourful game which is always good, it helped keeps things engaging as opposed to grays and browns which just get drole. There was also a huge diversity of races throughout the province (guards notwithstanding) which is cool.
I loved the game and I want to play it again now after talking about it… But, alas, I DON’T HAVE THE TIME! Someday. Someday.