Skyrim Let’s Play – Storyline

A few days ago I wrote about my struggle with the story of Skyrim Let’s Play.  At the time I needed an event to cause Torryn to snap and become a non-honorable, non-do-good-er willing to do anything to eliminate the emperor.  (I chose the assassination of the emperor to justify my becoming part of the Dark Brotherhood.)  But now, I think that goal was too ambitious for a “normal” person.  I mean how do you go to a group – any group – and say “Hey, I need training so that I can kill the emperor.  Will you help me?”  I think not.

In the time since that original post, I think I found a way to cause the snap.  I think I can tie that snap to Torryn joining the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood and allow him to become more of an assassin than a paladin.

The problem is working a few bits of dialogue into the game, dialogue that doesn’t exist. I’ll be working on that as I make my way to High Hrothgar to speak to the Greybeards.

Skyrim Let’s Play: A Broken Plan

For those of you not following my YouTube channel (and why aren’t you?), I’ve started a Skyrim Let’s Play.  As I write this entry, I’ve uploading 9 parts – 8 of which have been published.  When I look back at the journey so far, I feel like I need a solid plan moving forward.  A plan that directs the game-play toward an end-goal.  I tried to set the stage with my character’s back story, but the more I look forward the more I feel that back story isn’t enough and, worse still, may not be playable.

Which is what I’ve been thinking about for the past two days.

I always seen Toryyn, my character, as this honorable hero, someone who didn’t like the situation he was in (an imperial soldier witness to the deeds of General Tullius and the coercion of the Thalmor), so he struck out for a new life. I never saw him as a chaotic do-what-ever-you-want kind of person.  He would go into things with a plan and that plan would land him on the “good” side.

There’s nothing wrong with that idea – until you look at the available quests for Skyrim.  Sure there are situations where you help people and do honorable things, but, to be honest, they are in short supply. Most in fact require non-honorable things to happen.  I’m not trying to make this a morality debate, I’m just having a hard time picking a path forward for an “honorable” character.

Right now, the most logical course of action is to have Torryn join the Dark Brotherhood and assassinate the emperor to restore balance.  Carrying that forward, I can use the assassination skills to surgically bring about the end of the civil war.  I can begin all of this with the Thieves’ Guild quest line that increases my stealth abilities.  But there is NOTHING down either of those quest lines that is “honorable” – except the end.  The end justifies the means – Is that enough?

The College of Winterhold really doesn’t appeal to me, as I want Torryn to be a ranger, not a wizard.  I’ve never tried the Bard’s line, so I’m not sure what’s going on there.  The Blades line might be a place start, but I’m not sure I can handle killing Paarthurnax. Worse still is that I don’t know how to tie the main “save the world from the dragon” quest line into all of this.

And that is the biggest hindrance I have: The lack of the knowledge about the game as a whole.  I’ve only played part of it – once, more than a year ago.  I have the wikis and resources on the Internet, but what I have seen so far can only help me to a point as I try to flesh out the story.  I need more game time, sweet and simple.  Or an adviser type person with an intimate knowledge of the game willing to help me.  I have a friend like that, but he’s wrapped up in a play through of his own right now and I don’t want to take his enjoyment away.

So I need to find a way for Torryn to deviate from his background in such a way that the Thieves’ Guild becomes appealing to him.  Then, extend that into a need to become an assassin – whose sole purpose is to get close enough to the emperor to dispatch him from Tamriel.  And since I’ve not planted any seed for that grow from in his back story, it must happen inside the lines of the play through I’ve already begun.  GAH!  What have I done?!!

I do have one thing in my favor.  The way I’ve got Skyrim setup, I can play the game as several different characters concurrently and not risk messing with the one and only path. (+1 for PC Gaming and +10 for ModOrganizer!)  I think that no matter how I decide to move forward, I’ll have a parallel character setup that is running just ahead of Torryn.  That way I can test things in a sandbox before I actually play them inside Torryn’s story.

So the first task: An event that causes Torryn’s schism, something that forces him to turn from Annakin to Darth Vader. I just don’t know what it could be…

Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD – 3 Weeks Later

I’ve had my Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Solid State Drive (SSD) for three weeks and a day.  In that time, I’ve used my computer for everything from gaming to video editing and everything in between.  Here are my thoughts on the drive so far.

First a word about how it arrived. As with most things electronic, I ordered the drive from NewEgg.  And I must say that I was quite surprised to have it arrive in a manila envelope – a bubble-wrap lined envelope, but none the less, an envelope. I know that a SSD is nothing more than a couple of memory chips and a circuit board, but really, an envelope? Even though that was the case, the drive arrived without a problem.

Another note about how the drive arrived. These drives, even though they carry a price tag of basically a dollar a gigabyte (depending on when and where you buy them), they arrive with only the basics.  By “basics” I mean: the drive, a couple of manuals, a CD with outdated drivers and a case sticker.  You will not find a 3.5″ drive adapter bracket, a set of screws, a power cable or a data cable included with this drive.  Luckily for me, my case has an SSD mounting solution so a bracket wasn’t needed, my spare parts bin had the screws and I had all the cables I needed.  But really Samsung, for a drive as expensive as these are, I would have expected all of those items in the box. When placing these drives in older systems (which I did at my office) I needed to order adapter brackets which cost me precious time. Please step up your game and include these required “accessories” when you sell something.

Before moving on, a bit of history about my system.  This SSD replaced my OS drive, well OS array actually. I had two 750GB Seagate 7200RPM Barracuda SATA2 drives in a RAID0 array. I had my machine configured that way for two reasons, I needed the speed and, at the time, felt I needed the space. But I was terrified that one of the drives would fail and leave my machine dead, so I looked at the only alternative – an SSD that I could afford.

“Afford” meant I needed to balance cost vs space.  That weighed heavily on my mind as I shopped.  I knew I needed at LEAST a 250 GB drive, but was really yearning for a 500GB drive.  This screen grab shows why:

SSD Disk Space

44GB of free space is really choking me.  It’s a good thing that I have another array of drives (two 1TB Seagates in RAID0) for data. I’m dealing with it because of the speed, but I’m already saving my pennies for either a larger drive or another one just like it to create a RAID0 array with.

On a side note: It’s a good thing I did start to look when I did.  After pulling the 750GB drives, I wiped them.  During that wipe, one of them failed. If I hadn’t replaced these drives, I was looking at a failure in my very near future – probably when I needed the machine the most.

I knew these drives were fast, I had purchased three of them for my office to upgrade some CAD workstations – to give them a punch when loading Autodesk’s Civil 3D platform. I knew they carried the performance that I was after but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw after I installed my SSD.  The main reason was, all of the machines I upgraded are running SATA2 drive controllers. While there is still a very noticeable performance gain, there is more – much more – that can be pulled from these SSDs.  Which is what I found when I installed the SSD in my computer – which has SATA3 drive controllers.

Just how much?  Take a look at these two images:

Before SSD

Before the SSD – Performance of two 750GB, 7200 RPM, SATA2 drives in a RAID0 array.

SSD After Installation - SATA3

The SSD’s performance on the SATA3 controller.

As you can tell, it’s quite an upgrade from my RAID array.  (My system boots in about 7 seconds now. Games that used to take minutes to load now load in seconds. Starting a browser is instantaneous. It’s amazing!)

In conclusion, I can say that I’m very happy with the Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD.  The only regret I have (outside of the “accessories” mentioned above) is that it’s the 250GB model and not the 500GB one.