Bethesda clarifies Skyrim’s enemy level-scaling feature

Saturday, 8th January 2011 05:52 GMT By Nathan Grayson


Most RPGs have a built-in reward for your painstaking efforts to grow stronger than the fierce, two-foot-tall sewer rats of the world: you get to beat the stuffing out of the baddies who hung you from flagpoles and gave you swirlies back in the day.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, though? Not so much.

Instead, enemies’ levels would scale with yours, or washed up enemies would be replaced with something more capable of snapping you like a particularly sob-prone twig. As a result, players complained that the game lacked a tangible sense of progression, and it served as a small red mark on an otherwise fantastic game.

Fortunately, this time around, Bethesda’s learned its lesson.

“Since people are asking, wanted to briefly touch on level scaling. All our games have had some amount of randomness/leveling based on player level. Skyrim’s is similar to Fallout 3′s, not Oblivion’s,” wrote a Bethesda community manager on the game’s official forums.

Fallout 3′s level-scaling, of course, was much less pronounced and far more refined. In other words, no terrifying three-eyed gorilla monsters until we’ve got the gear, stats, and (hopefully) psychological preparation to deal with them.



  1. OrbitMonkey

    Ah Oblivion… I lovingly remember being quite a high rank wizard type,nothing could stand before my mighty staff! Not even 3 eyed gorilla monsters. Icd stomp around Cyrodil like it was my Bitch!
    What’s that lone bandit? You want me to pay a toll? You know who I am? Fuck you, feel my wrath! Oh your tough, take this! Fuuck your still standing? Ouch! That hurt, fuck! Run away! Health potions! Aah fuck off! have that cunto! Oh thank fuck your dead!
    Later found out the “lone bandits” were designed to be 2/3 levels higher… bastards :)

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Demiath

    It’s not a “small” red mark on a “fantastic” game, but rather a fairly substantial problem among many others in a deeply flawed overall package. Also, who cares about Skyrim – where’s my sequel to Temple of Elemental Evil?

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Gekidami

    GI Scans:

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Maximum Unreal

    ^^ Wow those screens are awesome.Snow images Remind me of God of War 3 scan :) I am so hyped know for Skyrim.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. JPdot

    I really like the scans, now I just want tech specs XD.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Maxey–levelling

    Skyrim will also do away with class creation/selection at the start.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Hunam

    That game actually looks pretty good. The graphics are familiar to their past work, but everything just looks a generation ahead. Like people looking like people. At least so for the the player character.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. OrbitMonkey

    @6 Now that sounds interesting, especially like the sound of the perk system :)

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Erthazus

    @OrbitMonkey, of course nothing can stand before you, when the system was broken.

    It’s more of a machine gun, not magic.

    WOW BETHESDA FIXED that shit with AI randomness… REVOLUTION. RPG’s do that already for 10 years… 10 fucking years and they learned this only now. At least now hunting will be interesting.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Erthazus

    Have you seen this? Oh my god…

    On skills:
    Mysticism is gone.
    18 skills, down from 21 on Oblivion, and 27 on Morrowind.
    Tries to accomodate players who want to specialize in a certain proffesion (like mage or thief), while at the same time giving room for players who like to do plenty of everything. They want to keep a special care so that this feels good, not prone to cheating and organic.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Hunam

    I dunno, all the magic schools were kinda of silly if you ask me and needed a nice tidy up.

    On the other hand, they’ve added forging to the game which should replace some of the lost complexity from character creation to gear creation. As long as it’s anything like monster hunter that is. Might give non-wizard classes a reason to haul around monster junk.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. absolutezero

    I hope to God if they are trying to make thief usuable that they have refreshed the entire stealth elements from Oblivion and Fallout.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Hunam

    You mean outside of being able to enchant all your clothes with chameleon to get 100%+ invisibility and then walk around the entire game biffing bad guys in the face much to their confusion?

    #13 4 years ago
  14. OrbitMonkey

    @ erth “It’s more of a machine gun, not magic.” I fail to see the problem with this. Hopefully they’ll also have some riduculousley overpowered Sniper like perk too :D

    @13 Loved doing that, but it made the game far to easy…

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Erthazus

    @14, Too easy and unrealistic. No challenge at all. IMHO.

    It’s interesting to see overpowered character if the system works.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Hunam

    Unrealistic. You know we are talking about throwing magic fire balls around right?

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Erthazus

    @Hunam, Yeah, of course, but there must be some balance and challenge.
    Shooting fireballs must feel like your character doing it, but when your arm is a machine gun, whats the point then?

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Hunam

    I’m sure they’re not just going to let people spam out the biggest hitting spells as much as they like, they’ll burn their mana almost instantly doing that.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. Erthazus

    @18 In Oblivion that was complete opposite. Especially when the game was out without fixes and patches.

    Your mana regeneration was crazy and your arm was a DEATH machine to everything what was in your path.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. OrbitMonkey

    So you think you’ll be able to duel wield magic staffs? I know what character I would build :)

    #20 4 years ago
  21. ccjuju

    Imagine this situation:

    You’re a young, untried new warrior, brandishing your first shiny steel sword. Wandering through the wilderness one day, you come across a dark, foreboding cave, and against your better judgement, venture inside. You are assaulted by horrific creatures that are far beyond your capabilities, powerful, terrible monsters you can do nothing against but turn and flee for your life.

    But you remember. You train, and you fight, and you grow, and you gain in skill and power. And still you remember. And one day, you return, a champion in your own right, to slay these horrible creatures and claim the secrets of the dungeon that have eluded you for so long.

    That’s the kind of dynamic story that can never happen in a Bethesda game. Seriously, fuck you and your “level scaling” bullshit. Stop making games for children with no sense of risk management, and make a game you actually have to PLAY for once. You don’t fail as a designer if a player has to press Quickload once in a while. You DO fail, however, if you lock him onto a single railroad track of progression and prevent him from ever seeing content outside his little scheduled private tour.

    The same goes for outleveling content, as well. Nobody wants to plink away at daedric-armored bandits EVERY single fight. Sometimes, maybe just ONCE in a while, we’d like to get a quest to clean out a cave of bandits and discover that they’re a bunch of untrained, disorganized thugs, and cleave through a roomful of them with our powerful enchanted swords as they scatter in terror.

    How many times have I heard the praises of the “Radiant AI” sung, only to once again end up in a situation where I’ve killed 9 bandits and the 10th still comes at me screaming “Here’s the part where you fall down and bleed to death!”

    #21 4 years ago
  22. gamp

    ccjuju – you got it right.

    I remember playing Oblivion and entering a cave and getting my butt kicked. So I let it be and did more exploring.

    Later on I discover the same cave and confidently enter… only to get beat again! The problem was that I had levelled up and so had the monsters in that cave. Apparantly I was supposed to gain power, but not too much power. Utter stupidity.

    Bethseda designers know nothing about what makes an RPG fun. How hard would it be to create a world where there are weak monsters around your starting point with the monsters getting stronger the farther away you go with pockets of weaker and stronger monsters mixed in? Plus have good loot in the caves where the strong monsters are.

    How Bethseda could screw up Oblivion so bad is baffling.

    #22 3 years ago

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