If you’ve played Daggerfall, you know it’s a revolutionary game for its open-ended gameplay and incredible freedom. You probably also know that things can get repetitive after a few days, weeks or months when you just try to blow through the story; trying a few different things can keep this oldie interesting and exciting, even against much more recent titles.
Put the Role Playing back in Role Playing Game
As the developers’ website states, the Elder Scrolls series was started by fans of Dungeons and Dragons, the quintessential roleplaying game. Daggerfall is much more fun when role-playing, whether following the main story or not.
Rounding out a character makes him more like a person than a vehicle used to get through the game’s story. Sure, creating a High Elf (impossible to paralyze) who is critically vulnerable to paralysis may be a good “bargain,” but it’s ultimately not as fun as making a character with personality. Create a backstory for him or her; why does your PC fear animals more than infernal demons? Why do you refuse to work for temples?
In-game, after finishing a quest, try spending a little time milling around town before taking on another job. Go get some wine and bread for dinner, and go to sleep at night, rather than when Stamina is low. Or, if your character is a thief, try wearing a disguise before heading out to pick locks under cover of darkness. Only sneak through infiltrated houses, and never sell stolen goods to the shop you’ve stolen from. Proud wizards would rather spend days looking for a single store than ask a lowly commoner for directions.
Try Something New
If your character is a battle-hardened soldier, why not try getting into the Thief’s Guild or one of the many temples? While staying with related guilds is a good way to boost skills and create a solid character, it can be the death of interest in playing Daggerfall.
Don’t even bother with guilds; wander around the massive wilderness, finding and killing any monsters you can. Dungeon crawling just to find treasure, rather than quest items and monsters, can give the player almost a feeling of liberation, rather than one of being a guild’s drone.
Try sneaking up on monsters and killing them with nothing but a dagger, or picking them off with a bow and arrows without being seen.
If you hear rumors of a favorite province going to war with an enemy territory, head out for that province and start butchering civilians and guards. If the territory is large enough to house a castle, raid it and “kill” the nobles and their soldiers.
If you’ve worked for every guild and served the nobility well, or earned enormous fame (or infamy) in dozens of provinces, maybe it’s time to retire. Buy a nice house in a small town or big city, leave your weapons and armor home, and adopt a new wardrobe. If you never bought a ship, taking up “sailing” could be a great pastime for a restless retiree. Spend time in inns and visit old guild friends once in a while; maybe you can return to action after some down time, or choose to forsake dungeon crawling for a more comfortable life. This idea is a natural result of good role playing; no adventurer will spend his whole life traveling.
Despite the game’s age, it can still be a great role-playing environment for D&D players, or even Morrowind fans looking for a bigger environment. Using these tips, players can get the most out of this nine-year-old PC classic.