First thing first - sorry about my Grammer and spelling. Hope I posted this in the relevant section. Sword fighting games will always be in the shadow of gun battle games, in term of wow factor or adrenaline rush. Example, Splinter Cell Blacklist, COD (1, 2, 3) or Vanguish game, they have more wow factor or offer more adrenaline rush than any sword fighting games. After playing Skyrim for some time then I switched back to COD3 game, wow, it was so much different. You feel more adrenaline rush when enemies swarm around you, shooting at you and screen is bloodly red then you have to take cover, toss grenade out to take down incoming enemies. Your health regen back during taking cover and continue the gun battle. For open world game, during free roam, most games could not sustain the excitement of battle ... only Assassin Creed Blackflag has that ability when you do naval battle, that can get you hooked, at least for some time. For Skyrim, free roam I almost dozed off becos it just don't have that excitement. Maybe there are too few enemies in one area to give that battle some excitement. Learn from Vanguish game There are always room for improvement even for shooter games. Take any shooter games for example, you may think that is all the ideas you can put into a shooter games. But Shinji Mikami raise the bar higher by making Vanguish a fine example for other shooter games to follow. This game has slick skill design, which require gamer to practice more to improve your skills. The same goes to medivial sword fighting game, there is always room for improvement. Will we see something in melee battle game, like what Shinji Mikami did to Vanguish ? Vanguish is a game designed by gentlemen ie. this game play fairly eg. the grenade tossed at you are all highlighted in bright red PLUS with signature grenade sound to warn gamer too. It don't use cheap tactics like COD game, where gamer have to guess where grenade is. In Vanguish game, if you lose that is becos you make mistakes or the lack of skills, not becos the game use cheap tactics on you. Another game which is skill demanding, is SCB, play Charlie's Pakistani Embassy mission wave 16-20 in Perfectionist difficulty level with a non-slient ARX160 weapon and you will know what I mean. Though this game sometimes played unfairly like the grenade tossed at you, the grenade red icon sometimes don't show up on the screen. Improving Skyrim game For Skyrim, if not for the massive map for exploration (such as caves and dungeons) and the complexity of the game, the game rating would be a lot more lower. Becos Skyrim's core battle design is only designed to about 50% rating. Other good refined melee battle games are rated around 80-90% such as Dark Soul. Some ideas and suggestions to improve Skyrim. 1. Skyrim game needs cut-scene and refine the main quest interaction Look to RDR (Red Dead Redemption) game, all main quest has great cut-scene, follow by Mason conversation with NPC's while riding on horses on the way to the quest destination. Doing this way can bring gamer more easily into the quest. But for Skyrim, it is all just conversation without any good cut-scene. For this side of adventure feel, Skyrim lost to RDR - badly. 2. Need realistic horses again, look to RDR game, why is it that RDR was released in 2009 and Skyrim in 2011, their horses are more realistic and sprint faster ? 3. Learn from mistakes plan out the WHOLE design so as not to repeat The Tree Skill Perk issue, ie. the character level capped at 81, this prevented gamer to get all the Perks. And it will save you work force on doing a patch to correct problem. 4. Don't add into the game if you can't perfect it There are underground caves which submerged in water, and there are vases or barrels floating on top of water. But the barrel moving up and down animation due to disturbed water, is no where near realistic level. What is the point of adding them into the game when it is so badly animated ? 5. Perfect one thing first before going to the next if you compare Skyrim's draw distance, it still a pale comparision to RDR which the world looked more realistic if you get a high point view where you can see far enough. Rockstar has a reputation of being a Perfectionist, in my mind they have a strong culture of perfecting something before going to the next challenge. Why am I saying this ? Becos Bethesda don't have this culture in their company. They will release a game even it is not perfected yet. Take the NPC's or Follower's faces for example, 90% of them looked like they were done in 2007, which the uglyness is below acceptable range. Even the modding community managed to put a shame on Bethesda by making character's faces 100 times better. Well, I am done with the ranting now, let's move to the ideas and suggestions part. 6. Make some reaction when enemies are slashed Slashing enemies is like slashng against the wind. Your Sword just pass thru enemy and they don't show any mild reaction of being slashed. Other melee fighting game have enemies vibrating a bit to give gamer an impression that enemy is being slash. 7. Blocking with shield should block all damage blocking heavy attack with shield will only reduce big amount of stamina but with zero damage taken. 8. Able to recruite more Follower like DD game, gamer can hire 3 followers to free roam map or do quest. When you decide to part with one follower, then the total earning will be splitted accordingly. Some followers demand more earning split while other lesser. 9. Followers have learning ability Dragon Dogma has one interesting idea design ie. the pawn learning system. But it still not perfect as sometimes they are as dumb as a bag of rock as some gamer would put it. But they can mimic the way you battle after watching you battle the same type of enemies, using certain weapon or spell to defeat eneimes. 10. More enemies or animal during free roam During free roam around map, game needs to have more enemies swaming the gamer. Rather than just a handful which don't provide and threats or danger. Animals type also is lacking (compared to RDR) which makes the game world empty during free roam. Example Crocs in swamp area, birds everwhere, gorilla in the woods, wovles hunt in pack (duh). 11. Consider other type of mini boss rather than Dragon Is fighting Dragon fun ? After few battle with dragon now I flee whenever it flies in for battle. It is more of mess up the gameplay becos when you try to go hunting animal or gather ingredients to make potions, their presence only hinder game progress. Another issue is you cannot use fast travel when enemies are nearby. The battle against Dragon is not interesting becos Dragon cannot swing sword for gamer to block attack. Wouldn't this make a better mini-boss eg. entering a large cave and found a 15 feet tall stone statue with 4 hands on each side. Each hands armed with different type of weapon/shields. Like the olden days of Sinbad movies, the stone statue will come alive when you looted a gem at the center of cave. Beside this mini-boss there are also smaller type of stature that come alive to attack gamer. These smaller enemies are just for gamer to get more hit streak to build up the Power gauge meter so can use it on the mini-boss. Mini-boss has weak point eg. like Vanguish mission "Gaint" where gamer battle with a 90 feet tall robot. 12. One of the reason why Skyrim battle sucks many are aware that Dragon Dogma is a game that Capcom wants to counter Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls game. Even one of the head from Capcom says Dragon Dogma beats Skyrim in term of battle actions. For skyrim, the sword fighting has too little going on during a battle. If Bethesda wants to make battle intense then look no further, just follow Vanguish battle. You need more actions going on in the battlefield. Giant boss fight that will shoot lots of magic fire-bolts (like Vanguish mission "Giant" that shoot multiple small missles). And boss have weak point, just like Vanguish mission "Giant". For the non-boss battle, look to Assassin Creed blackflag naval battle, the sword fighting can be intense after you jump over to enemy ship. The next skyrim will be on the newer console generation so the power of console should be able to pull this off, with lots of people battling at the same time. 13. The Prolong design Only few games got this right, COD3 Survival mode ("Self Revives" perk) shoot your way back up and Vanguish's AR mode (Slo-Mo) kicks in when you are critically shot. The idea is NOT to kill off gamer immediately, but give gamer a chance to prolong the battle (this is where the adrenaline rush is, if you can get back into the game). For Skyrim, if gamer is knocked to the ground with just 1 health-point left, gamer can use magic such as fire-bolt to kill one nearby enemy to get back up (like cod3 "Self Revives" perk). 14. Less breaking up the game flow Resident Evil 4 game is a different story, every time you call up the inventory to change weapon or heal yourself, you don't feel the break of game flow becos zombies are slow. It is a slow shooter game but if Vanguish do this, then we will feel the break up of game flow. For Skyrim, changing weapon ought to do it in real time using direction pad button. Skyrim can assign Left and Right Direction button to change weapon. Ought to allow real-time healing by using a heal potion ie. without stopping the game - to check this if possible ? Example, the healing inventory has 10 slot for gamer to put 10 healing potion. Pressing the direction DOWN pad button will use 1 heal potion in real-time. 15. Leave a last slot difficulty level to challenge gamer Why do we play games in the first place, back to the early days of Arcade gaming like 1942 game (Capcom) and Pacman game (Namco if I remember correctly) ? It is the challenge people are lookign for. For Skyrim, would it be better to leave the highest difficulty level ie. Legendary difficulty level to have limitted slot for Healing and Magic potion. The remaining number can be looted from enemy body (see "Use/Loot item by walking over it" below) or thier hideout during battle. The Stamina will not need potion as it will regen as fast as Dark Soul game. 16. Need a Arena Challenge design design Arena battle area so enemies will respawn immediately when gamer enter it (like Dragon Dogma Bittleblack Isle dungeon design). If playing on the highest difficulty level ie. Legendary difficulty level then gamer will only equip the basic weapon ie. weapon with no upgrade (just like Vanguish Challenge design). Playing in Arena battle area on Legendary difficulty level will make protagonist wear a unique clothing so this will seperate them out by letting Youtube viewer know gamer is playing at Legendary difficulty level. Becos nowadays people like to post their effort of beating the highest difficulty eg. like Vanguish Challange. So making protagonist wear a unique clothing will make it impossible for fakers who like to fake their effort. Which is also one of the reason why Vanguish do not have a retry option to continue the challenge if you failed. 17. Use/Loot item by walking over it If killed an enemy with a heavy blunt weapon, the last heavy blow to enemy will make them drop items out to the ground. Sometimes will drop a healing potion and gamer can just walk over it to "USE" it (without the need to move cursor to aim on item to Use it). Game need to have Smart feature design, example if you are low on Stamina during a battle, walking near a table that has few type of potions, then game will know gamer is short of Stamina and screen will prompt Button X ="Use" Stamina (Button Y=Loot) if gamer is near the table. Without the needs to move cursor to aim at item to select which type to to use them. 18. Bow, landscape and Follower aid Reduce the bow damage even on Master difficultly level. It is impossible to dodge arrow shot but game needs to show on screen where arrow is being shot from eg. like COD game showing a red arc on screen center to tell gamer where shot came from. Then gamer can fight and move to a area that has landscape or structure that will block the bow user sight. This is just a short time as bow user will move to a spot where they can shoot at gamer again. PLUS, gamer can shout to his follower to aid him by occupying (distracting) the enemy bow user. It is more like a strategy-control battle if implemeted properly. 19. More magic shot, less bow/arrow if map battle area has less Landscape/structure for gamer to hide from bow user during battle. Then that area ought to have lesser bow user and more magic user such as fire-bolt. Fire-bolt is slower and several of them will still be playable when gamer has the dodge-roll ability. 20. Ice-bolt that stagger In all games, usually the most powerful weapon are heavy and slow. The faster swing weapon are weaker. Same goes for defense, Ice-Bolt (magic) can shoot very fast but do very little damage at very little magic cost to use it. It is only to slow down or stagger enemies when you are over whelmed by enemies. 21. Enemies are not robots They will focus on you if you slash them. Example when you have taken care of those enemies fighting you and your follower is still battling 3 enemies, when you slash one of them, make enemy to be awared they are being slash at, they will turn around and focus on you. Otherwise will make it too easy for gamer to slash them without any reaction from them. 22. Conquer the sea too Other games have moved the battle to the sea too. Example several of recent UBISOFT games have ships that travel around the map. They battle abroad the enemy ship when they are too close by. 23. Special Attack depends on weapon Look to Vanguish game, certain type of weapon can do certain skill melee attack. For Skyrim, using this Special Attack will use up 75-85% of stamina AND Power. Bethesda will need to add a Power Gauge meter. This meter will fill up quickly with Hit Streaks including arrow attack. Power Gauge cannot use magic to top it up else unlimitted top-up will make battle too easy. Special Attack can be used to get out of sticky situation. Example if you are surrounded by few strong enemies, pressing few buttons in a consercutive sequence eg. move Left-Stick (attack direction)+button X then Y will hit that enemy with powerful attack PLUS the surrounding enemies will get stagger for a moment. Special Attack always have to press few buttons else it is not called Special Attack. Remember Spiderman game for the PS2, which feature alot of Special Attack type using few buttons combo. It took gamer some time to master all of them. Vanguish game has few buttons combo to master. 24. Need more work force Very likely Bethesda was running low on work force. Becos simple thing, like the retrieving items from your own storage, they are all lumped together making it so hard to locate items you want to take. Another unfinish work is the equipping Section, we can't see what outfit or Armor we are equipping. Look to DD (Dragon Dogma) game for this. This game make it so easy to equip items or transfer item to/from storage. PLUS when we retrieve from storage, game will tell us how many each (Arisen and Pawns) have that items. And putting pawn's item back to stoarge is very easy too. For Skyrim, it is so troublesome as you have to Trade items with Followers then place them into storage from your inventory. Bethesda best is to study DD game, as your competitor has refined all most of the weaknesses found in your game. 25. Hidden chest of Khajiit trader Totally no gameplay at all to loot something. Wouldn't it be better if gamer can go into bandits camp playing Stealth to loot items. For gamer with no patience then they can equip Sleeping Arrow to shoot several bandits to sleep before looting chest or items on table (Same content of Khajiit chest). For gamer looking for challenge then can go in for a sword fight, it will be more rewarding to loot items after you defeated all enemies. 26. Wizard vocation Wizard skill can transform you in bee, rats or fish. Some quest area are only accessible by bee by flying thru a hole located high on a wall. Or a rat thru a hole located in underground. Or a fish in water thru a grating. You can't do transfomation when enemies are aware of you location. 27. Certain magic spell works better in certain condition Example ice magic spell works better in snowy area. Fire magic spell can easily do more damage to an ice enemies. Electric Shock magic spell works better in wet area. Try to design it in a way like what Rock, scissor and paper game. So each have its own strengths and weaknessnes. 28. Make looting of same type of item usable During quest or free roam, you will come across the same type of weapon or items. It is a shame that nothing can be done to make them useful or make a gameplay out of it. Example, all weapons have 8 parameters, like Swing speed, hit range, weight, blade sharpness, weapon swathing speed, Stagger strength, Blocking Ability and Dodge roll speed. But each weapon looted only display one parameter. So collecting same weapon with all parameters found then gamer can get to customzie this weapon by tweaking the parameter. When you tweak one parameter higher, it will reduce other parameter. All these parameter are just adjusting the number which will be easy for game developer to do it without spending large work force on it. For the weight parameter, fine tuning this one will reduce the stamina cost when doing heavy attack. For blade sharpness, it will do more blood bleeding that will drain enemies health slowly. Stagger strength usually works well for blunt heavy weapon. Hope this can make next game better.