Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC Takes Us To The Dark Side Of Tamriel @ E3 2012

Dave Cook


Skyrim: Dawnguard is turning heads at E3 2012. At a time where cash cow DLC is running wild, Bethesda shows the world how expansions should be done. Read on to find out why.

Published on Jun 7, 2012


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is already a big game, so it would be easy for Bethesda to pull a ‘Horse Armour’ by slapping some small, overpriced DLC on Xbox Live and calling it a day. 

So it’s refreshing to learn that Dawnguard’s quest line will last between 10-20 hours, depending on how you play. At a time where on-disc DLC, price inflation and short expansions are rampant, it’s nice to finally see some DLC worth paying 1600 MS points for.

Bethesda showed off Skyrim: Dawnguard in action at E3 2012, and NowGamer was on hand to see it in action to bring you the inside story. Read on to get a glimpse of this dark, twisted new expansion. 


Skyrim: Dawnguard tells the tale of two worlds

The Dawnguard are a group of warriors who have dedicated their lives to hunting down vampires across Skyrim, and you will have the chance to join their ranks from level ten upwards. They reside in Fort Dawnguard, a hidden castle located in the far south of the world map.

Leading the vampires is Harkon, a cruel overload who lives in a realm within Oblivion called the Soul Cairn. The war between both sides escalates as Harkon plots to block out the sun forever, and plunging Skyrim into eternal darkness.

In the middle of this struggle between light and dark is you, the Dovahkiin, and you are completely free to choose either side. Regardless of which side you choose, you will be faced with a difficult choice.


Skyrim: Dawnguard lets you become a Vampire Lord

That’s right. Rather than become a bog-standard blood sucker, you can choose to become a fully fledged Vampire Lord, complete with massive wings that let you glide over water, new magic spells, demonic minions and your own Vampiric skill tree.

You can use this newfound power to take down the Dawnguard or to betray Harkon, but either way you’re going to have a lot of fun doing so. While in Vampire Lord form you will be strong, faster and become capable of huge magical attacks

But say you don’t want to be a vampire – what if you like being a werewolf instead? Well, Bethesda has you covered there, thanks to a brand new Lycanthropy skill tree, that was first teased in the developer’s Game Jam trailer earlier this year. 


Skyrim: Dawnguard’s Vampire Lord has brutal magic spells & a new Dragon Shout

One spell that we Bethesda showed us was “Life Drain”, a simple but effective attack that siphons HP from nearby enemies, and a brand new Dragon Shout called Soul Tear that really does live up to its name. 

When Dovahkiin lets rip with Soul Tear, anyone caught in the blast has their soul ripped from their body. The soul then reanimates as an ally who fights by your side until they are killed in action.

But in the name of balancing - as your Vampire Lord form is a great spellcaster - his melee attacks are rubbish by comparison, meaning you will take serious damage at close range with a Draugr Deathlord for example.

To even the odds you can summon gargoyles to do all the hand-to-hand combat for you, while you provide spell blasts from the backline. The chaos you cause with swarms of beasts is fun and lets you satisfy your wicked side. Being bad never felt so good.



Skyrim: Dawnguard lets you travel to Oblivion and make a new, powerful ally

So let’s talk a bit about your travels to Oblivion in Dawnguard. While we haven’t seen this evil realm since the previous Elder Scrolls game, it’s back in force this time, and it’s here where players will first encounter the vampire lord Harkon.

However, the garishly purple environments of the Soul Cairn aren’t just littered with enemies. In fact, you will encounter a brand new mount here, a flaming demonic horse called Arvak. 

Once you have Arvak as a companion, you can call summon him to your side at any moment for a quick getaway, or if you just want to look badass. Arvak will even fight alongside you should he become cornered. 

Arvak is also a neat way for Bethesda to make Skyrim’s mounted combat look even cooler, so he’s definitely worth seeking out when you’re in Oblivion. The only other thing we learned about Oblivion in Dawnguard was a new mission called “Power of the Grave”. We have no idea what it means yet.


Skyrim: Dawnguard hasn’t forgotten about Skyrim’s Dragons

Because let’s face it, this simply wouldn't be a Skyrim experience without dragons. In Dawnguard, Bethesda has created several new dragon encounters, one of which was revealed in the DLC’s announcement trailer, showing a colossal dragon dive-bombing through a frozen lake. 

But that’s not all. You can even craft a new set of Dragonbone weapons and armour from any material found after a Dragon fight, putting your smithing skill to even greater use. 

We’re sensing that Skyrim’s dragons will be involved in the plot of Dawnguard in more ways than Bethesda is letting on, so we’ll be keeping our eyes open for more information as it happens. Until then, stay tuned.


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