Skyrim is great. Being a vampire or werewolf is awesome. Even summoning dragons is unheard of, but before the new DLC rolls out with proper customizable dragon mounts and a new land a la Shimmering Isles, there are still some small updates that I believe need to be attended to and can be achieved with relative ease!
I have written on the below in the past, but have updated them and fleshed out their need post the Dawnguard release.
1) Tagging People
In the wonderful land of Skyrim, people go about their lives in as natural a way as could be mustered by an algorithm. Lumberers tend to their lumber and inn keepers tend to their..well, inns. That makes it easy to locate either of these two, but what do you do if you encounter a master trainer in a skill in a town, for example, and would like to revisit him/her? Currently, if they are not part of a mission, you are expected to manually track them down, going door to door, searching every possible room as they could be hanging out anywhere in accordance with their ‘freedom’ algorithm. What needs to be added is a feature that allows you to ask people about who you’re looking for. This need not be complex: All you do is tag a person of interest in the same way that you do a location on the map, and the next time you converse with anyone in that town, the following question would be available: “Where can I find <name of character>?”. A map of the town would open up and a marker will appear where your target is. The simpler and less interesting method is to automatically have their arrow displayed on the town’s map.
2) A Smarter Compass
Ask any true explorer and the first skill they developed is that of the proper deciphering of the compass. It is your one-way ticket to truly explore Skyrim, always updating in accordance with your location, and will rarely make you check back with the map, save for the occasional dire situation or to update your tag. It is also a great tool that allows you to pinpoint enemies within your area with relative ease. Unfortunately, nothing is perfect and soon enough, those same explorers who praise the compass will easily express their complaints if given the chance to. For one thing, it does not keep track of your companions and/or summons. This may not have been such a big deal, but given the unattractive pathfinding system, your allies are akin to disappear from your eyesight more than you’d like. Case in point is Lydia’s notorious vanishing act that has generated several loop holes on online forums for you to find her. Another issue with the compass is that its creator was not aware of the Thu’ums. After you acquire the “Become Ethereal” shout, jumping off of balconies and cliffs becomes a norm that your compass just never gets the hang of. If you’ve accomplished your objective and need only hand it over to someone located just below you, the compass expects you to back-track through the whole area and does not expect you take a jumping shortcut. The compass needs to be made smarter where it modifies its path and offers you the best possible route according to your current location.
3) Finders Keepers
An item in your backpack is yours regardless of how you acquired it. It should not be tagged ‘Stolen’ for all eternity, unless it is of relevant mission/story/world value. If I steal an item, was not caught, and travel from one end of the land to the other, drop it in front of a guard and pick it up, the game will still think I am stealing it and will penalize me accordingly. In my game, and in an effort to relieve myself of the overburdened status, I dropped a few insignificant items in a specific area under the pretext that I will be back for them. Of course, and as fate would have it, a soldier was garrisoned smack next to my items and when I attempt to pick them up, he attacks me instantly because they were originally stolen items. I won’t go in to the justice system and its righteous, all-knowing skill that spots a stolen fork in your inventory if you are eventually caught, however, if the item has no significant value, say an iron sword, it is mine and I should be able to sell it at the least.
4) Additional Perks
The available skills are great and really do well to flesh out the gameplay experience, specially with the addition of the vampire and werewolf trees, but some perks in the original trees are still mysteriously AWOL. One such skill that I would have thought would be standard in the Archery tree is that which allows you to spot arrows on the ground. The introduction of Dragonbone arrows in the Dawnguard DLC makes it even more important: You won’t find these arrows lying around and will have to craft them. With no way to spot t hem in the wilds, I am forced to ration them in my backpack for special encounters which takes away the fun from planting such an arrow in a mere giant’s head a mile away just because I can. All the perk would do is highlight the arrows so that you can easily pick them up after a battle. I’m sure there are other perks that would come handy as well, like dual wielding two 2-handed weapons for the ultimate bloodbath experience! Ok, that may be asking for much.
5) Reallocation of Skill Points
When you commence a game like Skyrim, even as a veteran RPG player, you are bound to be intrigued with the many skills at hand. Sure, you need not start with a specific class anymore and you advance in the skills and weapons that you use, which ultimately opens up a door of freedom that was sealed with tradition in past games, but it also presents another problem. Had I been bound from the get go to a class, say the warrior, I would know not to invest in light armor and stealth. With the freedom that is currently on offer, you may start the game playing as a rogue, only to discover that you are enjoying adding magic to the mix. The sad truth is no matter how many levels you reach beyond a certain point, you will never be able to invest points in your desired skills. Other games have offered you the chance to reset your skill trees and it has made gamers play them for longer periods of time as they will always be a level 80 character, but the experience will constantly change in according to the skills they invest in.