I’m telling you right now: Ya’ll not ready for this.
I repeat: Ya’ll not ready for this.
You think so, huh? Well in that case let me apologize in advance, because I’m about to show you something that overshadows anything you’ve done this week.
Got that promotion at work?
Pssh…prepare to be shown a REAL accomplishment.
Or maybe you escaped a particularly nasty case of domestic violence?
Okay, that’s certainly commendable but you probably didn’t do it with a shout—a Dragon Shout.
But enough of my teasing. Here, in all its glory, is the platinum I earned from Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
(Check it out here)
Now, there may be readers of this blog who don’t know what the hell they’re looking at, so allow me to shine some light on the subject.
Skyrim is the fifth title in the Elder Scrolls videogame series, and it’s not obscure or niche by any means. It was released today 3 years ago on the incredibly symmetrical date of Nov. 11, 2011 (That’s 11.11.11 for you math incompetents) to not only universal critical claim but to outstanding commercial success as well, selling over twenty MILLION copies, according to a press release issued in January of 2014.
(Shake THAT off, Taylor Swift!)
I myself bought the game a few months after release, because let’s face it, the video game climate nowadays is one where developers will publish their games filled with bugs and have the public beta-test it for them, so I didn’t buy the game until January.
Unfortunately, when I did buy the game in Jan. 2012, I couldn’t get into it. I had friends who were aces at it (that’s an expression, right?) but for some reason I was playing it all wrong.
I remember selecting the wrong race right from the start, focusing on the wrong type of weapons, not understanding how useful magic could be, and generally just being lost and unsure where to go.
I put the game aside, telling myself I’d get back into it one day, and do right by it (because I did blow full retail price on the game), even though I wasn’t exactly sure when.
Fast forward to my current situation. Since I knew I’d be leaving the country by year’s end and wouldn’t be bringing my Playstation 3 with me, I decided that one of the last things I’d do was platinum the game before leaving.
Which I have.
The process took a solid eighty-six and a half hours (which many would actually consider good time) and I did it in oh…four weeks or so? I was playing a lot: some days I would be doing 5-6 hours, which really drained me, because even though I like to play games, and have been since I was four years old, I’m a twenty-something now with a decent schedule so playing more than 2-3 hrs taxes me.
But enough of how lacking lacking my video game stamina is. Platinuming the game with the latest patch (1.09) and with full access to internet guides and forums has allowed me to learn some lessons on how to platinum the game in a timely manner and I’m throwing up this blog with tips to help anyone out.
If you want, you can play the below video for music to set the theme while you read.
THE NITTY GRITTY
Okay, so you’ve booted up Skyrim with no prior knowledge, and suddenly you’re asked to pick a race. The truth is that you shouldn’t so much care about the APPEARANCE of the race but what SKILLS it has, and what skills are desirable depend on the game you’re looking to play. Because we are looking to PLATINUM the game, there are certain things you want to keep an eye out for.
(No matter which race you pick, the female will be “homely.”)
I’d recommend choosing a race that has high thief skills (like lock pick, pickpocket, sneak, speech) or long range skills (like bow /arrow and destruction magic) or a combination of the two. The reason why I mention this is because of the collectible trophies. You’re going to need the thief skills to get that 50 pickpocket / 50 lock pick trophy (yes, it is ONE trophy) in addition to the many instances of having to persuade / bride / intimidate. Also, the long range skills are useful because when you start out you’ll be dreadfully weak, and long range offense allows you to strike, run, hide, recover, repeat until you level up.
Skyrim is an open-world game where you take on a series of missions to further the story line. There’s the main quest, where you discover you are dovahkiin (or Dragon-Born) and try to figure out why dragons have returned to Skyrim, along with guild quests, daedric artefact quests, side quests and misc. quests. To do all these quests will most likely take about 150-200 hours easy, but luckily you don’t have to do everything to snag that shiny platinum.
For maximum efficiency, here’s how I recommend you take the following route:
1) Do a Couple Main Story Missions
Get yourself situated in Skyrim so you know how to do Dragon Shouts and also have a fighting companion. Once that’s done, I recommend putting the main quests on hold for a while and focus on guild quests.
2) Head to the Thieves guild.
This should be your first stop. It wasn’t for me, but it should be for you. The main reason why I recommend it is because you get an item that makes lock picking INFINTELY easier (no spoilers). You also make a fair chunk of change which will help you in your quest to get the 100,000 gold on your person trophy.
3) College of Winterhold / Companions Guild.
If you’re focusing on magic head to the College of Winterhold. If you’re focusing on melee weapons like swords, head to the companions guild. The respective mission lines will level up whatever skill you’re focusing on, as well as grant you weapons and armor suited to those skills.
4) Civil War quests.
There’s a missable trophy in this quest if you complete the main story first, which is why I said earlier to put the main quests on hold for now. The civil war quests can be done anytime, and I actually did them second (after the College of Winterhold quests) but I recommend them as fourth.
5) Dark Brotherhood
These are the assassin quests, and the thief skills earned in the Thieves Guild will come in handy here. Do this last to prevent killing anyone who may be important. (I actually did them after I completed the main quest just to be safe, but I’ve heard it’s unnecessary).
6) Main quests
These will be a breeze once you’ve done all the guild quests, because not only will you be leveled up, but you will have already visited the places that the main quests want you to travel to. Simple, right?
With the quests out of the way, it’s time to mop up the trophies where you have to grind / collect things. There are a few notable ones I’d like to mention:
Get a Skill to 100 – Much simpler than it sounds. Ordinarily you’re supposed continually use a skill to build it up. Swinging a sword will raise your one-handed (or two-handed, depending on the blade); Throwing a firebolt will raise your destruction magic. However this can take the course of the game, and if you’re impatient and want to get there early, there is a “cheat” you can use that is still active, even after patch 1.09.
(He’s a smug prick but he does have lots of spells)
It’s called muffle and it’s an illusion spell that can be bought from the wizard in Whiterun named Farengar. (He lives with the Jarl) Simply cast this spell over and over to watch its skill level rise on the spot. When I did it I had finished the College of Winterhold guild quest line and was awarded armor that replenished my magic reservoir quickly. Which brings me to…
Reach Level 50 – You can use muffle to cheat your way to a high level, but it’s not recommended because the enemies rise in level too. I used muffle to jump a few levels and reach level 25. Past that I was in the early 40’s when I got impatient and grinded muffle for an hour to hit level 50 to get the trophy, but I loaded the save I had before that, as I did not want to be level 50 with other skills lacking.
Note: In the skill tree you can make a skill “legendary” which means once it hits a 100 you can reset it back to 15 and grind it again. Thus, you can loop muffle infinitely to level up the character, but again, you’re going to need patience as casting the spell gets boring.
Clear 50 Dungeons – This one gave me a lot of grief before it popped because I worried that I was going to finish the game without getting it. In order to clear a dungeon you must not only clear out all of the enemies, but you must also get the rare item inside, which is usually part of a quest line. Unfortunately, there were times where I thought I had done that and when I pulled up the location on the map it did not say “Cleared” next to its name.
In fact, this guide here guarantees that you will get the trophy on the way to the platinum, but I did not. But never fear, for there is a way to easily scrap up dungeons.
(Well, maybe not EASILY)
Head to the giant camps (which are marked with a mammoth head) and clear everyone out. If you’re at a high enough level it only takes about ten minutes and it counts towards the 50. There’s a location of the camps below.
Complete 50 Misc Objectives – On the surface this sounds like a daunting task, especially since misc. tasks don’t give waypoints on your map when you select them. The misc. tasks range from clearing out an area of bandits to delivering an insignificant item to the other side of Skyrim.
(Who has the time?)
What you should do instead if head to Solitude (up north) and find the kids playing tag. Speak to the boy and play tag. Simply mash the X button on the PS3 controller and you’ll pay a lightning fast game of tag, racking up those misc objective points. In no time the trophy will pop, along with a wave of relief.
Have 100,000 Gold – The goal here is not to accumulate 100,000 gold but to have it on your person at one point. This is not as hard as it sounds, because the game is quite generous. Selling dragon bones and jewels you find will help fatten your wallet (or satchel, as it were) in the beginning but as your speech increases and you get higher prices that will be unnecessary. Again, this is why I recommended doing the Thieves Guild quest line first, because you not only make big scores on those quests, but you also have access to vendors with thousands of gold set aside to purchase your junk.
(You mean you’re willing to buy this?)
Furthermore, you’re going to acquire a lot of loot as your progress and might want to hold onto it “just in case.” If you’re a pack rat like me, what I recommend doing is saving your game and then selling EVERYTHING to rack up enough gold for the trophy to pop, then reloading the save file. You’ll have both the trophy and all of your crap.
Collect 15 Daedric Artifacts – This one you have to be careful with, because you can make decisions in the quest that can cause you to lose out on the artifacts, such as killing the person who gives you the quest, but the chances of that are unlikely. Either way, you can refer to the guide here to make sure you’ve gotten each one.
It’s worth pointing out that there was one quest in particular that I had to do last because it’s so annoying, and that’s the “Night to Remember” quest where you get the Sanguine’s Rose. At the first tavern you go to there’s a guy named Sam Guevenne who challenges you to a drinking challenge. The problem is I had no idea which tavern I first went to, so I had to google a list and visit each and every one. I found him at an obscure inn I NEVER would have thought to go to had I not systemically visited every tavern on a list.
Contrary to the theories on the internet, Sam Guevenne is not random, and will always be at the first tavern you visited, so if you can’t find him, visit every one and he’s bound to be there.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the deepest, detailed, and most immersive games I’ve ever played. I think I may do a list of my favorite games of all time in the future, and this will be on the list. What’s nuts is that even after logging in 86.5 hours to platinum the game there’s not only so much more available to do, but there’s also DLC with additional trophies to earn as well.
I’m a bit burned out from the platinum marathon in the course of 4 weeks so I’m going to set it aside for now, and probably return to it at a later date. But either way, I liked the game a lot.
(Well, maybe not THAT much, but you get my point)
This post was late because of length (and also because I wanted to post it on the game’s 3 year anniversary), but no worries; the blog will be up this Saturday night as per usual.
Until next time
J. F. Seegitz
P.S. For any tips you wish to add, be sure to add them in the comments below.