On skill perks for archery as substitutes for power attacks
Power Attacks aren't appropriate for bows. There are skill perks you can get as your Marksman skill improves, but we'll talk about those later.
On NPCs stealing from the player
Just to clarify, NPCs cannot pickpocket you, and they won't ever steal quest items. But if you leave something else they like lying around, well who knows what might happen to it.
On NPCs prowling the PC's house
NPCs would have to be told to go into your house via Radiant AI. And even if they WERE, you could always lock your door...
"Does anyone know if the athletics skill increases with this warp thing then?"
That is a good question. No, you don't get any skill increases when you fast travel, which is another reason you might opt to walk instead from time to time. Plus, who knows what you might find along the way that you might have missed before? And you can always vary your route between locations if you walk or ride a horse instead of fast travel. Anyway, the choice is yours.
There is no learning aspect in RAI.
On turning undead
Turn Undead's a fun spell in Oblivion. I like playing "Zombie yo-yo" -- cast Turn Undead, the zombie runs away. Then the spell wears off and he turns around, running towards you again. Then cast Turn Undead on him just before he reaches you, and he runs away again. Repeat as long as you still find it funny and have enough magicka. :-)
Trailer comment #1
That is Patrick Stewart as the Emperor. And the dude clutching the sword and plunging it into the ground is NOT the player. Note that the last thing the Emperor says is "Find HIM, and close shut the jaws of Oblivion"
Trailer comment #2
The scenes with the emperor on the tower, the sword flying through the air, and the Emperor's heir catching the sword and then plunging into the ground and kneeling are pre-rendered and animated by the folks who made the trailer. The rest, aside from the text, is all in-game.
Instant kill sneak attacks? Clarification on demo observation
Neither good nor bad -- it's untrue.
In the demo, the player sneaks into a room where there are some goblins ahead. The player then draws the bow (there's a different animation when you're sneaking -- the bow is held sideways), and then zooms in (a marksman skill perk) on one of the goblins and lets fly. The goblin dies instantly -- but it's only because for the demo the creatures were set up with low health so that it wouldn't take forever to fight them all during the demo.
TES CS, ID based cell system
That was one of the first things we changed. Oblivion is MUCH easier to localize than Morrowind was.
On armor skill based spell casting penalties
There's a skill-based penalty for casting depending on how much armor you're wearing. So if you want to be a battle mage, you'll have to work on your armor skills -- get them up high enough and there will be no penalty.
This way, there's an actual DIFFERENCE between the pure magic user and the battle mage. Battle mages will simply want to choose an armor skill as one of their major skills.
On creatures' combat tactics
Depends on the creature. They're all set up differently. Some can fight just like NPCs can, some can't. Some use magic, some don't. Some move around a lot in combat, some don't.
Some weapons have sheaths, some don't. Depends on the type of weapon. If a weapon DOES have a sheath, it's "part" of the weapon -- they're not two separate objects. So there's always an appropriate sheath for each specific weapon.
On "SpeedTree glitch" and 2D leaves
The only alternative is to individually model each leaf with polygons, which leaves you with two choices: not so many leaves, or fewer polygons on everything else. Otherwise you'll take a pretty nasty framerate hit with all the additional geometry.
For Oblivion, we did individually model the leaves & leaf clusters, and then converted them into billboards, so they look very realistic and have proper normal maps so the lighting looks correct.
It's not specifically PARRYING, it's BLOCKING with a weapon.
On "essential" NPCs - forced reload
OK, so I was wrong. If you kill an essential NPC, you have to load a previous game save.
The number of NPCs you cannot kill is a tiny fraction of the NPCs in the world. The fact of the matter is that killing NPCs that quests rely on breaks the game. Many NPCs are so essential to the game world working, with our AI and so forth, that their deaths can cause any number of things to appear as bugs, or not as we intended. The designers do handle certain NPCs being killed in quests, the ones that make sense to kill, but not, for example, the Count of a city, or the heir to the throne. And it was either force you to re-load, or have the designers remove what made the quests entertaining and compelling in the first place. And I think we can all agree that it's better to have quests that are more fun to play through than quests that are artificially simplified because the designers had to worry about every obscure contingency.
But don't worry about accidentally finding yourself in this situation. We'll have a visual indicator of who's an essential NPC and who isn't, so the chances of you accidentally killing an essential NPC will be slim. And if you find yourself in combat with one, you can always attempt to yield.
Anyway, sorry for the confusion! :-)
On "essential" NPCs #2
Zingar Baltus wrote: "We agree with that. We just don't agree that what you are doing is going to make quests more fun or that it fits better with a roleplaying game."
You have it backwards. It's because the designers don't have to worry about the random deaths of crucial NPCs -- UNLESS THEY WANT TO -- that they are able to focus on making the quest lines better. If they had to worry about every possible contingency in every single quest, the inclination would be to make the quests simpler, less complex, less intricate, and less entertaining, because the more dependencies existed, the longer it would take to account for (and test) every dependency.
On "essential" NPCs #3 - the indicator
It's a little icon that shows up red if it's an essential NPC, and not red if he's not. Basically the icon says you can talk to them, and only appears when you're facing them and could initiate a conversation with them.
MSFD's counter-dumbdown rant #2 - on ye ol' comparison
The game is nothing like Fable. It's huge, immense. There's a ton of content. You'll be reading LOTS of stuff. All of the quest lines are much more in depth, challenging and interesting. And there's a heck of a lot more to the game than just the guilds and the main quest. Lots and lots of other things to do that haven't been mentioned. Stats play a huge, huge role. Class actually has meaning this time. The game is better balanced. You have more rewards for advancement besides just getting better at things. The dungeons are better designed, the NPCs are more interesting, the dialogue is better written.
If you think this is a simple, dumbed down hack & slash, you couldn't be more wrong.
Blocking and damage
Blocking only works if you're facing the opponent attacking you. Same goes for NPCs, they have to be facing an attacker when blocking to actually block the attack.
When we say there's no locational damage, we mean that you can't target the foot, the arm, the head, or a specific body part, and damage that body part, not that we don't know the difference between front & back & left & right.
If you're that concerned about the armor penalty for casting, then just make sure you pick an armor skill among your major skills.
The pure mage should use defensive spells instead of armor, anyway.
Another feedback usefulness assurance
Actually, there's a lot of features and changes in Oblivion that resulted directly from feedback about Morrowind. And the Bloodmoon expansion was made primarily because the fans wanted werewolves. So joking aside, we really do read the forums and take suggestions, feedback and complaints into consideration. So keep it up
Expansions and orientation (compass and map)
It's possible. I have no idea what, if anything, is planned for expansions. Right now I'm more concerned with just getting the game finished :-)
Oh and even with the compass, it tends to generally get you in the vicinity of where you want to go, but sometimes the exact location isn't always apparent. The compass also transparent, so it really doesn't obscure much. One of my favorite features is that you can bring up the map and put your OWN marker on it, and it'll show you the direction to go on the compass with a green arrow. Very useful feature. I honestly think that the only ones who still complain about it after playing the game will just be complaining for the sake of complaining :-)
On cell transition - NPCs and interior/exterior cells
Monophonic wrote: "The only answer I thought was kind of sketchy was the NPC fading in and out of cells. Just seems like they could have done something better with that."
We had bigger battles to fight. The player isn't shown opening load doors and walking through them, either. It just isn't important enough. And it's only for load doors. They open up non-load doors & walk through like you'd expect.
On cell transition - NPCs and interior/exterior cells #2
GhanBuriGhan wrote: "But won't towns and cities be full of these kind of load doors, and isn't the whole point or RAI to make such places look lifelike? Don't ghostlike appearing and disapearing NPC's kind of clash with that vision?"
It's really not as jarring as you seem to think it is. It just wasn't felt that it was important enough to devote resources to adding in all the extra code, art, animations and AI to support animated load doors.
On skill progression
Right -- in Oblivion, increasing your Minor skills does not count towards leveling up, so in that sense they are similar to Morrowind's miscellaneous skills.
There are 21 skills total. All characters have all 21. The class you choose (premade or custom) dicates which 7 are Major, and the rest are minor. The class you choose, plus your race and possibly other things determine the starting levels of all of your skills. As Kendar said, you can raise all 21 skills to 100, but it'll take much longer for the minors as they start out at such a low level. It makes class much more important for more of the game.
Enchantments - bows/arrows
saner wrote: "What if you enchant arrows? Would that enchant the bow?"
Nah, if an arrow is enchanted, that enchantment is the only one that's used even if the bow's enchanted.
Now if you equip a poison when you have a bow equipped, the next arrow you fire will be poisoned IN ADDITION to either the bow's enchantment or the arrows, if either are present.
Enchantments #2 - gameplay
GhanBuriGhan wrote: "There were certainly a lot of enachanted items that were useless because of their short term nature in Morrowind. Feather for example really only makes sense as a constant effect, or something that at least lasts for hours, instead of seconds. But I also deplore the reduction in complexity this change will bring. It will make the game a little more "conventional" as constant effect is what you usually see in most RPG's. Sword+1 type of stuff. I totally understand the reasons behind streamlining the game. I just wish they would try harder to streamline WITHOUT simplifying."
Originally, constant effect items had their charge wear out over time. You'd have to continually recharge them like you did enchanted weapons. But after playing it, the game ended up turning into a hunt for "batteries" -- populated soul gems you could use to recharge your CE items. Not fun. So we decided to go back to constant effect being always on, and balanced it by limiting which effects you can use and their magnitudes. It ends up playing a lot better and prevents exploits. So you get useful items that don't turn you into a god, and you're not constantly hunting for soul gems. You still need them to recharge your weapons, but it's not as dire a situation as it was when constant effect items lost charge. We thought about extending the length of time they'd last, but then it comes down to a "why bother" point.
It's not JUST about streamlining or simplifying -- it's also about gameplay.
No constant effect summonings, sorry.
There are other enchanted items in the game -- staffs, which shoot projectile spells, and scrolls, which can be self, touch or target but of course can only be used once and then are destroyed. But the player is not able to make scrolls or enchant staffs (all staffs in the game are already enchanted.)
But mages can still make spells as complex as they're able, with multple effects from multple schools, containing any combination of self, touch and target ranges.
If you want complex spells, well your character is going to have to study and practice get to the point where he or she can make them. No more free rides for non-magic users :-)
Enchantments #4 - items
Cast when used enchanted items allowed non-magic users every bit of power that magic users had, plain & simple, and without any of the penalties, since a magic user had to focus on magic skills, while ANY class could effectively use enchanted items. In other words, cast when used enchanted items, along with giving players the ability to make any enchantments they wanted to at any time, unbalanced the game unfairly against magic users. There really wasn't much point in BEING a magic user.
So enchanted items are now still extremely useful, but between the changes to them and the changes made for magic users, the classes are now better balanced.
Enchantments #5 - items and soulgems
You'll need populated soulgems to MAKE enchanted items, too. Just because enchanting is a guild perk doesn't mean you get it for free.
Enchantments #6 - enchanting and soulgems
Feng wrote: "Well enchanting is out of the picture. soulgems are just for recharging items as they do not charge themselves anymore."
That's not correct. You have to have someone make your enchantmented items for you, this is true, but you still have to provide a populated soul gem. So you'll need soul gems with souls in them to both have new enchanted items created for you and to recharge your enchanted weapons.
There is a special kind of stone you can find (there aren't all that many of them) that are embued with magical effects -- a touch effect and a self effect. You can use this to enchant either a weapon, which gets that one touch effect, or a piece of clothing, jewelry or armor, which gets the self effect. Then the stone is destroyed. You only get one of the stone's effects or the other, and you don't get to pick from the magic effects you know. So while anyone can use one of these stones to create an enchanted item without anyone else's help, you are limited to the effects available on the stones themselves.
Character, class and skill progression/balance
HardCode wrote: "I'd contest that by saying that the joy of Morrowind was that you weren't "locked in" to a class that you chose from the beginning. The ol', "If you want to be a Magic User with full armor, you can!" principle, but in this case it's reversed: "You can be a warrior, but no powerful magic items". Kind of a reverse discrimination if you will."
On the other hand, mages don't get powerful magic items, either. Plus, it may take a while, but ANY character can build up any or all of their skills, Major or Minor, so Conan, with a lot of work and practice, can eventually become as good with destruction as he is with a blade. Or you can choose or create a class that includes weapon AND magic skills in your majors.
But what it ends up meaning is the CHARACTERS are more important than the ITEMS.
You cannot make scrolls in-game. The scrolls you can find or buy can have touch, range, or self-targeted effects. Instead of enchanting arrows, you enchant your BOW with a cast-when-strikes enchantment, and the enchantment gets transferred to any non-enchanted arrows you fire. You can find or purchase enchanted arrows, but it'd be a waste to make them.
All staffs in the game are already enchanted. Therefore you cannot create newly enchanted staffs. Unenchanted ones don't exist. And even if you could, they can only fire projectile spells -- they cannot cast on self. They are not melee weapons, they are ranged magic weapons.
On staves #2
By the way, while staffs can only fire spell projectiles, and have no melee attacks, you CAN block with them. So a mage can go into battle using the staff to shoot fireballs at enemies and block melee attacks, and casting restores & buffs with his free hand. It's pretty nifty.
Fog of nature
Sometimes there's fog.
Sometimes there's not.
It depends if it's foggy or not.
On character animations
Every NPC and the player has over 300 animations. Various animations for walking, running, swimming, jumping, sneaking with and without various weapon types, shields, staffs and torches equipped. Blocking animations with shields, weapons, staffs, hand to hand. Normal left & right attacks for all the various weapon types, plus variants for attacking while sneaking. Multiple casting animations depending on what's in the character's hand. And then multiple power attack animations for various weapon types, hand to hand, and even for different skill levels. Equip and unequip animations for all weapons, shields and torches. Special animations for block attacks, staggers, recoils, getting up from the ground. Animations for mounting and dismounting a horse (and a special set of animations while riding a horse). For the player, there are two versions of all of these, for first person and third person. In addition,there are over 120 special animations that can be played for certain circumstances, such as sitting, praying, etc. And all of these need to be available to all 10 races and both genders (this does not count creatures, who have many, many, many animations of their own.)
Because of this massive volume of animations, it was decided to make the beast races lower bodies more human-like. They still have tails. But we would have had to make special versions of dozens and dozens of animations just for them. Which would have taken more time to make and refine, more space on the disk, more memory when the beast races were loaded, etc.
Or, we could have simplified the animation system, kept the number of animations lower, and stuck with bootless beast races.
The quest compass - one way to avoid current quest indicators
Dude, just select an old quest and it won't show you where to go.
The quest compass - one way to avoid current quest indicators #2
The Mad God wrote: "Actually, he said that if you select an old quest, it won't put any indicaters on your compass."
That's not what I said. I said that if you select an old quest, the marker wouldn't show where to go for your current quest -- but it WILL show where to go for the old quest.
The compass & given directions
Oh, for Pete's sake. Sometimes NPCs will give you verbal directions when they give you quests. Sometimes you can ask NPCs for directions to places. Happy?
The compass & given directions #2
It's just dialogue, I would have thought it'd be common sense that they'd give directions. We're making a game that YOU play, not that plays itself :-)