100+ reasons why Dan Vavra hates TES V: Skyrim


+1 for that term. Anyways, I heard that Skyrim actually somewhere explains that insufficient clothing as a part of the lore. That may help as well.

But still, Skyrim is one of those games that “normal” people would consider ugly and stupid if they see me playing it. Which makes it hardcore, right?


i didn’t say you were stupid and wrong. i said your argument was stupid and wrong

how do you suspend disbelief for clearly illogical things that come about as the result of developer laziness? that’s like asking people to “suspend disbelief” for plot holes.

added to the fact that bethesda has a huge franchise behind it, solid financial backing, and a ten if not hundred million dollar budget for skyrim.


I found some of these things hillarious, specially regarding the horses.
But I must also agree on most points.


Oh it’s quite easy, you just need to be willing to enjoy something as opposed to nitpick it. Do tell me, what exactly would I gain from running around, criticizing everything about Skyrim? Because that’s exactly what I did when I played it for the first time, put some 2 hours into it and turned it off. Then I have decided to just roll with it, and what do you know, it’s actually fantastic.

90 out of those 100 points were just extremely trivial things or things I personally just don’t give a toss about (like animation quality or graphical fidelity - guess what, I was able to immerse myself in Betrayal at Krondor years ago! I don’t give a shit about graphics. And I most definitely don’t give a shit about realism of architecture or lack of toilets.)

They do. Quite often. Often enough, people love stuff which is entirely based on utterly ridiculous premise, and they know that to be the case.

And it got both fantastic critical reactions and mostly fantastic reception from the community. Clearly, Bethesda did something right.


context is important. skyrim didn’t come out in 2004, there is no excuse for that level of glaringly poor craftmanship. from the quality of work they put out, i am forced to believe that the majority of bethesda devs weren’t into the work, weren’t paying attention, and punched out at 3 in the afternoon everyday. either that, or they are in the wrong business.


I think this just about sums up your understanding of the issue the best. Upon release, Skyrim was one of the best selling games in the gaming industry for months, at least according to Steam stats, and has been mostly loved by both old-time TES fans and by newcomers, along with the media.

If you consider this kind of astonishing success for Betheseda to be them being ‘In the wrong business’, you lack basic understanding of the word ‘business’.


I haven’t played unmoded skyrim in a long time so it’s hard to tell how much these things bother me. I totally agree on the flaws of voice acting and riding to name a few. I am still playing skyrim on occasion and I never had a problem with it not looking good enough as I still play M&B Warband a lot and Witcher II doesn’t look that much better on my PC. I don’t think he’s saying we shouldn’t play skyrim or that Bethesda should quit the business, probably just want’s to say that WH can do a lot better in terms of quality. Just because lot’s of people bought the game doesn’t mean that the flaws don’t matter. It’s important to demand more from games even if they’re the best of there genre in the current generation. How else are they supposed to get better in the long run.


I have to agree with most of what he says, but despite that I still love the game. Mods are mostly the reason though. I think the biggest problem is that the game was made for a console, explaining the horrific UI, graphics, animations, and a laughable 32bit platform to work on (crashes at 3.1gb, really?).I think Skyrim can be used as one of the best examples of why so many PC gamers despise the console. Look at all of its flaws and then try to make reason out of it. Every single item draws back to the limitation of the console, and PC users get screwed because of it. I swear if I have to look at another texture size of 720p I’m going to hurl. Even with the 1080p “HD” texture pack it looks bad, and anyone with the capability is already running with 2k, 4k, and 6k texture mods anyways.


Oh yes. It’s hard to say, but Skyrim’s default UI was a world better than Oblivion’s UI.


[quote=“213, post:16, topic:16121”]
no, he definitely hates it
[/quote]Nope. The title is a bit exaggerated. Dan himslef said he would give Skyrim some 7/10 score.
He’s just sick of lack of internal logic on many levels and design holes and mistakes all over the place which are present for years already yet easy to fix or prevent from appearing. Simply put, just like Arma, TES is the one-eyed king (the only sick and ugly blonde on deserted island analogue) - lack of competition gives them little to no incentive for improvement.


Two words: Flappy Bird.

I am not so sure. He repeats the same words in the article as well. Anyways, back in around 2011 Dan wrote about a dozen reviews for games.tiscali.cz, (and maybe Level, but that is a printed magazine so I cannot easily go and check), so we have a chance to take a look how he rates various games:

Operation Flashpoint: Red River         7
Crysis 2                                8
Homefront                               7
Bulletstorm                             7
Arma 2: Private Military Company        6
H.A.W.X. 2                              7
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare   6
Apache Air Assault                      8
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood            8
Call of Duty: Black Ops (multiplayer)   7
Medal of Honor - multiplayer            ?
Fallout New Vegas (PC)                  9
Front Mission Evolved                   3
Medal of Honor                          7
Dead Rising 2                           8

Take for example Assasin’s Creed. He gave it 8, but the article is full of criticism, especially regarding the “follow the arrow” playstyle it imposes upon the player and some aspects of the story.

In Fallout he criticized character models, absence of shadows and those deadly yellow flies (because flies just mustn’t be deadly ; ) He cites the graphic as a reason for not awarding full score. On the other hand, he liked that all NPCs except one can be killed and he was tolerant to occasional bugs (and to some extent graphics), offering the excuse that due to the scale and number of options the game offers in solving quests it should be forgiven.

I haven’t read the other reviews.

What is the reason everybody wears so little clothing in such a harsh weather, then?


Bethesda has shown time and again they know why their games work, and how to replicate their success. Flappy Bird is a curiosity, not a rule. If you want good examples, go with what PopCap or King does, which doesn’t really change anything that I have said - then again, casual games by these companies are actually good at what they do.

If your point was that it’s terrible yet successful, well…

a) It’s modern mobile gaming. Just look at the competition.
b) It’s based on a tested formula and a huge portion of luck.

As for the picture, to be fair, while TES armors have been unrealistic, they never did the whole ‘Armored underwear’ thing.



There is a difference between fanboyism and enjoying something with the knowledge that it is flawed and could be better.

You just say that everyone else is wrong and every critique about Skyrim is wrong. That’s fanboyism. And sales numbers says absolutely nothing about the quality of something. Call of Duty has the best sales numbers around the globe. You would think that it is the best designed and prettiest game ever made. Well, it’s not. It’s just that the devs are satisfying a general demand, namely shooting other people virtually in the face for CoD and running around and stabbing people to death in TES (a bit exaggerated). This says nothing about the quality of the product. If people want to drive to work and you’re the only company selling cars your sales numbers will be exceptional no matter if it’s actually that enjoyable to drive your car or if there would be many ways to improve the experience. Which would be even worth if it was the third or forth edition of cars you sell and they haven’t improved a single bit although you get tons of input on that…

Nobody said that you can’t enjoy Skyrim. That’s not the point. The point is that the game has so many flaws and Bethesda should have so much experience and knowledge that they should be able to make better games than that and actually care about criticism instead of ignoring it. There is even a decay in quality from Morrowind to Oblivion to Skyrim. Why is that so???

Dan and many other people play the game because there is no other game like it. That’s the simple truth. They enjoy the basic principles on what the games is based on but they don’t enjoy the execution that much.

To understand that you have to have knowledge about the psychological condition of disappointment which is actually among the most frustrating feelings you could have in gaming. If a game is just plain bad you wouldn’t want to play it in the first place. That wouldn’t bother you that much. But if a game is promising and you like the genre in general and if the previous games were promising as well with you hoping that the devs would actually improve on them then you can be very disappointed with your experience of playing a game which happens to many people with every TES game they play, Skyrim in particular. People don’t blame Skyrim for being a bad game in general, they blame it for being a lazy and arrogant attempt to milk customers.

You know, there are companies like Valve or CD Projekt which would even try to release a sequel without being fully commited to make the experience better than the previous games. I don’t have the feeling for Bethesda tbh. Skyrim just seems like the cheap attempt to sell people the same stuff with a new coating.

Maybe they should just sell their editor in the future. That would at least be an honest way to sell people what they actually work on…


he tweeted it but Twitter doesn’t seem to list tweets older than 2yrs so I cannot find it. (but it is mentioned in the discussion under the article - maybe there is a permalink to be found)
He also clarified his position in subsequent episode of Fight Club podcast on Games.cz. Look it up and listen.


[citation needed] :stuck_out_tongue:
Seriously, I’ve never said that. I just tend to opppose whenever I feel I can get an interesting discussion out of doing so. Generally, I agree that the criticism aimed at the TES games is warranted, and my main point is that most of the criticism in the article could be argued against by their importance, not by their validity. I firmly believe that Bethesda does their best while making the game - it’s just that the inherent scope of such a project will inevitably lead to sub-par individual bits, especially when copared to other, more focused ones.

When a company comes forward with a game like TES, containing all of its individual pieces, and greatly enhancing them, I will gladly applaud those people and go lose dozens of hours of my life. Until then, there’s only been a single place where I’ve seen this done, and I find I like what I see. Could Bethesda use competition? Oh yeah, definitely.

Besides, I’m absolutely a TES fanboy :stuck_out_tongue:

You’ll find that a good portion of TES fans prefer Skyrim over Oblivion. As for Morrowind being the ‘best’ of the series… I don’t know. I loved Morrowind, but I do feel it’s pretty outdated when compared to the newer games. At any rate, that statement is very subjective, rendering answer to ‘Why is that so?’ pointless.

Now that’s a good point. And, admittedly, something I was never capable of understanding.

Replace ‘Skyrim’ with ‘Oblivion’ and you’ll get feelings of many people who liked Skyrim. Besides, Skyrim did the biggest changes in character progression and generally in mechanics since Morrowind, that’s a very objective fact (not hard to do tho, since only two games were released in the main series since Morrowind :D). Still, while Skyrim and Oblivion definitely were iterative, they’re both good for different reasons, and it’s quite apparent that Bethesda is trying to push their franchise forward, just not too much to not alienate their customers. For every Dawn of War 2, there’s a dozen of ‘sequels abandoning their principles’ and Bethesda must realize this.

Well… To be fair, people sort of want the same stuff with a new coating. It’s been said several times already, Bethesda fills a very niché spot right now. Diverging from that would be dangerous, and probably undesirable.


OK, OK, if he says that himself, then it is probably so ; )

You should try Klábosení.cz, they have searchable archive of Czech accounts going back to about 2009. I couldn’t find it there either, but I found his tweet with a picture of an authentic medieval toilet and your tweet of some blog nitpicking on the Thieves guild quest line.


Here it goes



nice onedrive link. dan’s absolutely butchering skyrim.

he posted a bunch of images of the game then had these choice words as captions:

“Best graphics from the best game ewah” #masspsychology 2011

“Game of the year 2011. Blind award goes to gaming press around the world”

Concrete woodstone :slight_smile:


It’s not infurating but it still makes no sense. Dan is a game designer so he looks at different things than the typcial gamer. Of course a game designer cares more about some things (like failures in UI) than others…


Yes game design, and this is the point. Skyrim have some good points, but the vanilla game design is just a shame. Amateur modders did a far better job.
part of the Game design, cost almost nothing in term of technic as it is just how you define the rules.
In Skyrim, all those rules (level progression, level design, weapon weight, inventary, catch the arrow quest system, weapon damages rules specialy for archiery, healing stuff, most of quest design, looting …) is full of non sense tend to put this game boring and mostly without challenge.
Most of the mods are there only to improve the game design, and i guess there is very few person who still play with the vanilla game.

And one more thing, on this thread I have posted that i was a bit worried about the ambition of kingdomDelivrance
After seeing the last video update i felt reassured.
I love the way they promote the game, no fancy trailer that says nothing, but very detailed and concise infos about features and game design. congratulation!!