Skyrim DLC: Dawnguard Trailer - 20 Secrets You Missed

Adam Barnes


Skyrim DLC has finally been detailed, but what does it tell us? We take a closer look through the video to pull out the info hidden within.

Published on May 31, 2012

First you'll want to watch the Skyrim Dawnguard DLC trailer here.

Drop everything. Remember that game you spent hours in last year? Well, it's time to dust off your horned helmets, because you'll be back soon enough.

But what does the Dawnguard trailer tell us about the upcoming Skyrim DLC? We've compiled every factoid and tidbit of information to find out just what you can expect from the DLC.

Skyrim DLC: Dawnguard Trailer Analysis

One of the first things you'll spot is just how much it focuses on vampires. That's right, those blood-sucking monsters are the main element of Skyrim's DLC.

New area spotted, the fortress of the vampires

The trailer opens with a fortress hidden by a blizzard, with a voiceover saying "you've found our fortress". It's not an current location in Skyrim, so it'll likely be added in with the DLC. 

The fortress seems to be surrounded by water on its own little island, so likely to be concealed somewhere along the water of Skyrim's northern edge.

It's a story that ties into the Elder Scrolls

The player character is then seen (presumably) inside the fortress itself with what looks to be an Elder Scroll strapped to his back. A quest to find the Elder Scrolls? Hard to say, but at least we know it's still part of the Elder Scrolls storyline and not throwaway content.

Later on the voiceover says "the Elder Scrolls will be mine and the tyranny of the sun will end".

New NPC spotted: vampire lord

There will be a vampire lord of some kind. It's not ever suggested who this fella is, but his glowing eyes and ominous chatter suggests he's not there to bake you a cake. But he's not particularly aggressive in the video, a quest-giving NPC seems more likely.

The vampire lord talks about being "one of us" or "are you with them?" - so there's a battle between two factions and you'll likely have to pick one of them. Our bet? Fight for the vampires, or fight on the side of the Dawnguard. A battle between good and evil?

Transform into demonic monster or vampire beast

The player character is spotted as some kind of ritual altar, first glowing in an ominous red glow before wings and claws burst out of his skin. It seems picking the side of the vampires means you can turn into whatever one of those things are.

It's interesting to remember Bethesda's GameJam where it showed off a lot potential features to be included in Skyrim in the future, and a vampire lord was one of them.

What wasn't shown in this trailer that was highlighted in the GameJam video was a group of summonable minions that the vampire lord could control... we can probably expect those to turn up as an ability.

Floating movement when playing as the vampire lord

A third-person camera follows the vampire lord, which highlights his ability to float (but not fly) and a darkened tint to the screen - maybe some kind of lifeforce detection?

Sucking blood doesn't require your victims to be asleep

Clearly seen is our player character munching on the next of an unsuspecting victim. Vampires will be getting allsorts of tweaks and modifications if this is the focus of Skyrim's DLC, and now you won't need to bother with the nuisance of waiting for someone to fall asleep first.

Portals lead to a new world/realm

One of the rooms in the vampires' fortress seems to lead to a new realm. The floor glows purple as it bends and twists, highlight a portal that the video seems to suggest will take you to a new realm, outside the world of Skyrim.

We saw the graveyard-themed area earlier with the vampire lord, but the editing of this video suggests there will be more to it than that. Highlighted is a church-like building, lightning, ghosts and a purple swirling mist instead of the usual bright blue skies of Skyrim. Is this where the vampires come from?

A new, huge fortress spotted

Most of the castles and keeps in Skyrim are derelict or in poor condition, but this one - which is most certainly not a current part of vanilla Skyrim - looks intack.

It's unique too, specially created for this DLC. It's likely that this is the headquarters of the Dawnguard. 

New weapon spotted: crossbows

We've got plenty of bow and arrows, but now it seems we'll be able to equip and use crossbows too.

Note the talisman on the crossbow weilders chest though... is that a Dawnguard symbol?

New weapon spotted: bow and arrow

This isn't quite as exciting as the crossbow, but that bow doesn't look like any weapon we've used in Skyrim before. It looks like it's made of dragon bone or something, but that's impossible to tell.

Does this mean there are more new weapons to use, or are these additional crafting options being opened up by the DLC?

Vampires that can survive in the day

It was the achilles heel of every vampire, and a major pain in the arse of anyone who wanted to play as a vampire since you couldn't go out in the sun.

Now it seems that won't be an issue any more, since our player character is seen attacking a vampire who is outside. In the day. And not melting. God save us all.

New enemy spotted, vampire giant?

As if daywalkers weren't enough, this giant looks like it's somehow contracted vampiricy - just look at those teeth!

It's clearly an ice giant - or was - but changed somehow. We're already dreading taking one of these things on, but at least the video shows they can be killed.

New ability spotted: transform into a cloud of bats

Whether this will be unique to enemies or something powerful vampires can use it's hard to say, but this vampire is clearly seen burst into a group of bats and teleporting elsewhere.

Sounds a bit tough to pull off in Skyrim, but maybe - just maybe - Bethesda have given us this awesome ability.

Mounted combat

We knew it was coming, players using the beta patch will already be playing it on PC - but the trailer proves it's on its way in the DLC pack, highlighting a warrior swinging his axe while riding a horse.

New mount spotted: blue burning horse of death?

It's only brief, but it's practically unmissable. Yes, we are shown a new mount and yes, it is burning with blue flames.

It's in that eerie dark realm that was highlighted earlier in the video, so perhaps it'll be restricted to that area only, but there's no denying it's damn cool.

New dragon/dragon ability spotted: ice diving

As if dragons weren't a nuisance enough, the trailer highlights a dragon that can dive underwater by smashing through ice.

Interestingly, however, it's just a red dragon - they're not unique ones, they're the ones that just turn up to cause you some bother every now and then. Are they getting buffed, or is this just a one-time situational battle ability?

The ability to read the Elder Scrolls?

It's not a trait that everyone has in the Elder Scrolls universe, so the fact our Dragonborn chum can is pretty important.

This obviously ties into the story of Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC, with the player needing to track down an unspecified number of Elder Scrolls - presumably for whichever faction they choose.

The Elder Scroll twists the Skyrim map

After using the Elder Scroll we're treated to a brief clip where the northwest section of the Skyrim map seems to twist from normal to a darker version, with glowing rivers and marks.

How the Elder Scrolls affects the map we're not yet sure, but two red marks seem to pinpoint specific locations on the map. Different fortresses? Vampire lord locations? More Elder Scrolls? Who knows.

And what's with all those butterflies?

Ability to visit a 'dark realm'?

The last shot of the trailer is of Whiterun, initially in its usual, bright sun and clear sky state.

But the trailer seems to hint at a darker version, as the sky tears and fills with a darker version.

It cuts to the Dragonborn before anymore is shown, but this could mean one of two things: either players will be able to alternate between a dark realm version of Skyrim, or the choices that are made (i.e. siding with the vampires) will plunge Skyrim into darkness forever.

Time will tell.

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