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100 Hours in Skyrim: Part 4

Hours 30 to 60: The hell of nirnroot, freeing Skyrim and the magical power of Vanilla Ice

The old Orc says there's no honour in dying of old age. He wants to die in battle, and I happily oblige. We start to fight, and before my opponent can get a swing in, I set him on fire and decapitate him with my ebony sword. I'm not sure if that's what he had in mind, but the deed is done.

Read part one, part two and part three of our 100 Hours of Skyrim blog.

Out of respect, I drag his body off the road and into a nearby clearing. I pick a flower and drop it on his body. It's almost a beautiful moment, except for the fact that he has no head. It look for it, but it seems to have disappeared. Maybe a wolf ate it. Rest in peace, old Orc dude.

Incidentally, beheading is now my new favourite thing. It's one of the one-handed weapon perks, and means that if you perform a standing power attack - and an enemy's health is low - there's a chance you'll take their head clean off with a cinematic 'killcam'. The way their severed noggin rolls along the floor is both gruesome and hilarious.

NINROOT HELL

One of my obsessions as I play Skyrim is keeping my quest log clean. I hate having too many active at once, so I decide to finish the ones I've been putting off. The worst of the lot is called A Return To Your Roots, which involves collecting 30 crimson nirnroot in the pretty, but highly dangerous, depths of Blackreach.

I'm personally against fetch quests in games. I think they're tiresome filler designed to make a game feel longer than it is. But even so, I travel to Blackreach, suck up my pride and start collecting. It wouldn't be such a problem if the place wasn't crawling with all of Skyrim's most annoying enemies: Falmer, Chaurus and Dwemer robots.

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To make things easier I turn the game's brightness up. This really does help, because the bastard things are often tucked away in dark corners. After an hour - but what felt like a lifetime - I finally had 30 crimson nirnroot. My reward? Something totally useless! Yay!

Finishing the quest grants you the Sinderion's Serendipity perk, which increases the chances of you creating two potions instead of one. I'm not an alchemist, so it's of no use to me. At least I managed to clear my quests. If you use alchemy a lot, it's definitely a perk worth having.

THE LIBERATION OF SKYRIM

I've been working with the Stormcloak rebels for a while now, raiding forts to take control of Skyrim's holds. These quests are actually really easy, and slightly boring. You get to the fort and enemies respawn endlessly until you get a counter from 100% to 0% by slaughtering them.

The spawn points are terribly hidden, so sometimes you'll see three Imperial guards literally appear out of nowhere right in front of you. It's not a problem, though - they don't seem to be scaled to your level, and you can chop through them easily. Even my horse, Shadowmere, gets involved, running around the fort crushing enemies with his front legs. Stupid, but helpful.

Anyway, once I've taken control of enough of Skyrim's holds, the final battle is upon us: invade Solitude, kill the leader of the Imperials and win the city's throne for its rightful owner, Ulfrich Stormcloak.

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It's a bit of an anti-climax. I basically sprint from one end of the city to the other, reach Castle Dour and go through the door, ignoring the Penitus Oculatus agents guarding it. I don't even lose any health.

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