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Orbital Oblivion Odyssey Obsession

Okay, all this City of Heroes Alt-a-Holicism is obviously just me trying to resolve boredom. As long as I'm perfectly content to play, Psi-Caster works fine. Seriously, he's a fun versatile character with the greatest potential whose only problem is that he doesn't do damage real quickly. That's only a problem when I'm bored with the game. I may not be entirely bored of the game, but I'm tired enough of it that it's time to diversify. To these ends, I've discovered that the time is right to seriously consider Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion as the designated time waster, yet again.

Not too long ago, I was playing Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion again in preparation for The Shivering Isles to be released. I happily, yet resentfully, played some of the best mods out at the time. Then all my various performance qualms with Oblivion and other games eventually lead to my accidentally deleting my saved games.

Today, a coincidental Google search revealed that Abalieno called me the weirdest guy in the Internet last year when I finished Oblivion the first time. Perhaps he was right, as little other explanation than my weirdness would suffice for the strange chain Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion-related events lately. It's now a one-year anniversary of that day, precisely and, coincidentally, I've just discovered that The Shivering Isles has been released.

So I went out and bought Shivering Isles, opening up a new realm the quarter the size of Oblivion. Regrettably, I've no End Game characters ready to pick up the reins thanks to my recent hard drive snafu. They've all been gated to dev/null; my Oblivion save game directory runneth empty. However, if there's a number one rule of coping with data loss, it is this: "Take advantage of the opportunity to replace that data with something superior to what you've lost." So it is that I've left my City of Heroes Alt-A-Holicism to create yet another character in Oblivion.

Fortunately, I've learned a quite a few things about what I want in an Oblivion character. When I beat the game a year ago, it was after the hard lesson that archery sucks. Sure, the arrow physics are a thing of beauty, but the damage of individual arrows is pathetic. I've also determined a few days ago that the straightforward fighter Oblivion character bores me. I much more enjoy tormenting the denizens of Tamriel from the shadows. My "Infiltrator", a class that creatively dispenses with challenges through an indirect manner, was pretty good. However, I learned that Alteration was no substitute for Security, and Alchemy makes being able to cast the rest of the Alteration effects unnecessary. Also, the Serpent birth sign sucked.

So, my new hero Twain the Infiltrator (identically named and classed after the one I lost) looks like this:

Prime stats: Intelligence, Agility.
Skills:
  • Acrobatics - For freedom of mobility and to avoid melee range when the terrain allows.
  • Alchemy - The skill of 1001 uses in Oblivion.
  • Conjuration - His primary combat ability, allows him to conjure foes to engage the enemy while he hides in the shadows. (Not foolproof, as the enemy can discover him if they wander too close.)
  • Illusion - Being able to influence the minds of foes sounds like the perfect spell set for the indirect character, but in application I've found few foes are truly vulnerable to this. Oh well, it's still useful for Night Eye, Chameleon, and Invisibility.
  • Mysticism - Detect Life is a stealth character's best friend. Telekinesis comes in really handy when pinching artifacts from Alyied ruins. Soul trapping, last I checked, was bugged so a Grand soul gem can't contain a Dremora.
  • Security - As mentioned earlier, Alteration is really no substitute for this. With this, locked doors and chests are no threat to me.
  • Sneak - Which allows one to see the other side of Oblivion. Foes behavior before my arrival, as they deal with my conjured threats, as I pick their pockets, or as I stab them in the back for 6x damage.
Mod-wise, I've decided to skip Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul this time around. Not only may it cause some potential incompatibilities with Shivering Isles, but it's about 5% worthwhile changes, 75% stuff I can do without, and the remaining 15% of stuff I loathe the addition of. [Editor's Note: It's distinctively missing the remaining 5%, and that's not just a miscalculation borne of over editing on my part.]Some of the things I loathed were the unbalanced summoned monster additions, being prompted to drink whenever I pick up a bottle, and the uncomfortably fast melee combat. About the only thing I'll miss from the OOO mod is throwing torches and the improved spawn tables.

Instead, I'm running BTMOD which is essential for allowing the GUI to take better advantage of my PC architecture and a simple custom mod that changes the time scale from 1 min RL:30 min Oblivion to 1 min RL:10 min Oblivion. I might throw some more complicated things later, but I've read that the Shivering Isle prevents the editor from working properly.

I'm happy to report my new Pentium 4 3.8Ghz processor just loves the game. I can now run quite comfortably at a crisp wide screen resolution. I guess the CPU (and possibly motherboard) was where the bottleneck was before.

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