I am a huge fan of The Elder Scrolls series, so much so that I might even subscribe to my first ever MMORPG when The Elder Scrolls Online is released and I buy a PS4 this Fall. The reason I like The Elder Scrolls series so much is the sheer scale and play length of the games themselves. Sure, the main quests are usually pretty short if you stick to them, but the amount of side quests and places to explore is truly astounding from a programming and storytelling perspective. I’ve clocked hundreds of hours (each) on both Oblivion and Skyrim. I played Oblivion on the PC without expansions or mods for years, and I’ve been playing Skyrim on the PS3 since 2011, eventually getting all of the DLC.
Recently, I completed the main quest in Dawnguard, taking the side of the vampires, and I still have a few decent quests from that DLC, as well as the majority of the Dragonborn quest lines. Somewhere along the way, I was griping to a friend about how I had installed Hearthfire, built Heljarchen Hall, upgraded it completely, and now wanted to move everything from my other purchased houses to one place. Mostly because it’s incredibly annoying to have to remember which house held all of my dragon priest masks, etc… I had been running back and forth trying to carry 200 lbs of random stuff at a time…
Said friend told me, “Oh, didn’t you realize you could just tell your housecarl to Take All from your containers and then take them to your other house?” Dumbfounded, I went home and loaded up Skyrim, made Lydia a follower and told her to carry everything in my house in Whiterun. She carried my burdens all the way to my new house, and then I realized it was late and it was time to go to bed.
A few days later I wanted to play Skyrim, loaded it up, and there was Lydia standing there as a reminder that she was carrying thousands of items inside of her somewhere. So I thought, Okay, I guess I’ll start putting this shit away.
One of the worst things about the Hearthfire expansion is that you suddenly have all of these ridiculous containers in many many rooms throughout your house. A kitchen full of cupboards and barrels and sacks, an apothecary storage area with tons of chests and boxes and satchels, bedrooms full of closets and wardrobes and end tables. It’s horrible. Absolutely a nightmare for anyone who has any bit of an obsession with organizing things. My brain says “Okay, wow, I can separate all of my alchemy ingredients into plant materials, animal materials, supernatural materials, rare items, mushrooms…” And that’s what I did. And this was before I started moving all of my items from my other houses.
If I had started the game this way, with Hearthfire installed, and I always returned and sorted my items, that would be fine. But by now, it’s ridiculous. I’ve done so many quests and collected so much random crap, that I don’t want to play anymore if I have to sort it all first. In order to finish the Dawnguard questline, I started throwing all of my stuff into the tiniest little knapsack in the back room of my house.
What’s worse is this: If I want Lydia to put my stuff away, I’ve got to take it all upon myself first, then put each of those things away myself, avoiding putting away the things I’d still like to keep in my personal inventory. I can’t tell her to “Put All.” So, the thought of loading up Skyrim to finish Dragonborn or other questlines is stopped by this expectation that Lydia’s going to be standing there and I will remember that I need to put a million things away. Which is not fun. Putting things away = a chore. This isn’t The Sims.
One of these days I’ll have the patience to start up Skyrim again, and maybe I’ll just send Lydia away and deal with her later… Until then, I associate Skyrim with housework, and that’s never a good thing.