Skyrim DLC: Dragon Mounts & Spell Combos – What Could It Be?
The contents of Bethesda’s first Skyrim DLC have been rumoured since the game launched. We weigh up the first expansion’s potential new features to see just how awesome it could be.
Published on Apr 19, 2012
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim success story has only just begun, because even after amassing huge sales and glittering reviews, there’s still the little matter of DLC expansions.
Bethesda has yet to confirm the nature of its first Skyrim expansion, but the results of Bethesda’s February game jam might hint at what we can expect. The event happens every year and gives Bethesda’s staff the chance to create whatever they want for a week.
If you missed the Skyrim game jam video in February, you can check it out here:
The Skyrim game jam resulted in many weird and wonderful new ideas, such as Dragon mounts, new skill trees and Kinect enabled shouts. When Bethesda’s Todd Howard revealed a video of the best game jam entries, he did say that he wasn’t sure how much of it would see the light of day as DLC.
However, seeing as the Kinect support function is now being made into a Skyrim update, we’ve decided to look at other potential game jam creations and how they could come together to make for a stunning Skyrim DLC expansion.
Skyrim’s dragon mounts could redefine the term ‘open world’
It’s no secret that Skyrim is a big place, but a dragon mount option would make it even bigger. Towards the end of the main Skyrim story arc, Dovakhiin jumps on the back of a dragon called Odahviing and flies to battle Skyrim’s final boss.
It was a pretty lame, scripted flight sequence that lasted a few moments, but it did get a lot of gamers wondering what it would be like to have free reign over the skies.
One of the most exciting results of the Skyrim game jam was a working demo of controllable dragon mounts in action, in which Dovakhiin sits on top of a dragon as it walks on the ground, breathing fire and slashing at enemies.
This would be a great feature in Skyrim DLC, especially if the overall map expands considerably with new areas. You could fly between the on-disc and DLC zones at your leisure, without having to get on a horse or – worst case scenario – walk there.
You could even have mid-air battles against other dragons, as well as breathing fire down on ground troops as you swoop overhead. Why not combine your shout with that of your dragon’s to mix up the effects?
This inclusion has massive potential, and gives rise to floating worlds, dragon on dragon warfare, and convenient travel to far away places, such as Morrowind or Cyrodiil. For many Elder Scrolls fans, this would truly be the stuff dreams are made of, but could be hard to pull off on Xbox 360 and PS3.
Skyrim’s werewolf skill tree could make lycanthropy less sucky
While playing through the Companion’s quest tree in Skyrim, you must become a werewolf for a short time, but other than giving you increased strength and speed for a while, the transformation doesn’t impact on your overall game that much.
Another by-product of the game jam was a werewolf skill tree, full of neat new abilities that you could level up as you see fit, complete with its own constellation in the skills menu.
Feral Mastery was one proposed skill, which would increase the number of times you could morph into a werewolf each day. Changing at will would give you an edge when facing a tough opponent, or when you’re close to death.
Other lycanthropy skills included Toughened Hide, which is presumably a defensive buff, movement perks in the form of Animal Dexterity, and Scenting, which we hope doesn’t mean smelling badly or that thing that dogs do when they like each other.
Either way, the option of expanding your werewolf skills recalls the Morrowind expansion Bloodmoon, so we definitely wouldn’t say no to Skyrim DLC that delivers a new Companions chapter, or a new area overrun with a werewolf curse.
Skyrim spell combinations would take magic combat to a whole new level
Skyrim has a pretty vast selection of spells that can be used to buff, heal, summon, kill and terrify targets. But there are also some rather weak spells that don’t do much at all.
Giving Dovakhiin the chance to combine lesser spells with more prominent magical abilities would really shake things up. The Skyrim game jam trailer showed two spell combinations in action.
The first combines the Flame spell with Raise Zombie to summon a Flame Atronach to fight by your side, while another mixes up Fear and Healing to create Drain Health. The combinations give rise to many spell cocktails.
If spell combination is included in Skyrim DLC, we could even see this feature being used in conjunction with Shouts. Why not combine the Whirlwind Sprint shout – which makes you sprint forward at insane speed – and Flame to leave a trail of fire behind you as you run?
You could even use the Storm Call shout to cause a violent storm overhead, then combine it with Frostbite to have razor sharp icicles rain down from the sky. This may not sound like a huge change but with so many spells and shouts on the table, spell combination could expand combat considerably.
Skyrim dungeon enhancements could make tomb-raiding fun again
If we never see another Draugr again it’ll be too soon. Skyrim’s dungeons are all very different in terms of layout, but the repetition of assets, enemies and other feature made a lot of Skyrim’s smaller tombs indistinguishable, and a touch boring.
The Skyrim game jam brought some new dungeon enhancements to the table, which were mostly small, but together, would really give dungeons more of an identity and scope for puzzles, and other environmental quirks.
One potential dungeon feature for Skyrim DLC would be moving platforms and hanging structures. So for example, picture winding walkways, swinging platforms with physics and indoor terrain that isn’t predominantly flat or corridor based.
There was also a clip of indoor water currents, as Dovakhiin hurtles along a sewer system while being dragged by the flow of water. These elements could combine to make the environment a puzzle in itself, taking you with reaching certain rooms by platforming and by navigating other dungeon hazards.
Complete darkness was also shown, so Skyrim DLC could potentially increase the potential for using the dark as a stealth option, and increasing the need for lighting torches to guide your way. If all of these were combined into Skyrim DLC, we could be looking at some memorable dungeons in future.
Skyrim follower advancement would give them more personality and power
Having followers in Skyrim was a neat feature. They fought alongside you during a battle, and helped you carry all of your loot when it became too heavy. But the Skyrim game jam proved that there is potential to make them more prominent.
Should this be incorporated into Skyrim DLC, you could even expect follower training. In the trailer, Dovakhiin pays a skill trainer to level up his follower’s magic, sets favourites for his follower’s gear and dictates what they are wearing.
Skyrim DLC could really expand on your follower options, giving them much more personality, and the freedom to tailor them as you see fit, making your follower someone you’d be proud to adventure with.
Skyrim’s vampire system would let you become a flying vampire lord
Becoming a vampire in Skyrim isn’t the best of times, and can prove to be so irritating, that you go to insane lengths to avoid contracting vampirism at all costs. However, the Skyrim game jam found a way to make being a vampire rather cool.
The trailer showed off the possibility of being a flying vampire lord, which we can only assume is what you become if you completely ignore your vampirism and decline to cure it for ages. In the clip, Dovakhiin has sprouted vampire wings and looks really demonic.
Not only can he fly around while in this state, he can also command his own personal army of imp demons, sending them forth to smack down any enemies foolish enough to get in his way.
If the Skyrim DLC went down this route, which would also be similar to lycanthropy effects in the Morrowind: Bloodmoon expansion, players could choose to become an all-powerful vampire badass by night, and commit some pretty heinous acts.
The trailer also saw the vampire lord feeding on humans in slow mo, almost like a killcam effect to show the neck biting in all its bloody glory. Chuck in an expanded vampire skill tree complete with ghoulish skills and this one could be an attractive prospect for vampire fans everywhere.
And the rest of Skyrim’s potential DLC features
While we’ve covered some of the larger Skyrim DLC features put forward by Bethesda’s game jam, there are a few smaller changes that would also make a real difference, so we’ll quickly champion them here.
For starters, mounted combat would be a superb addition, letting Dovakhiin swing his weapons and fire off magic while riding his steed, meaning players would no longer be totally useless while riding horseback.
Spear weapons and new spear battle animations would give you a new method of ranged melee combat to use, while Paralysis runes would help delay larger enemies in the middle of a tense battle.
New Goblin enemies would help break the monotony of the huge amount of Draugr in Skyrim, and epic mounts such as flaming horses would be, well, epic.
This is just a taste of what Skyrim DLC could bring, and it would be great to see Bethesda incorporating its game jam ideas into the first expansion. We can’t wait to see what the studio has in store.
Skyrim DLC will “Feel closer to an expansion pack“ says Bethesda
Bethesda’s Todd Howard has already stressed that Skyrim DLC packs will be more than just small fixes and updates. Instead, Howard wants each DLC drop to “Feel closer to an expansion pack”, in terms of scale and value for money.
The first two Skyrim DLC packs will also be Xbox 360 exclusive, as confirmed by a press release issued by the studio in November. So this would, ideally, put the Skyrim DLC closer to Oblivion’s whopping Shivering Isles expansion pack, than smaller efforts from the studio.
Want more from Skyrim?
- Skyrim DLC: Xbox 360 Exclusivity Confirmed, New Quests, Locations, Features Incoming
- Skyrim: Bethesda Reveals Incoming Kinect Support For Xbox 360