3. Don't keep the same first-person combat engine. Lay Fallout 3's optional pause-based limb-targeting combat on us. Some of us like to plot our battles in lieu of crash-'n-smash brawling, especially seeing as scuffling takes the lion's share of game time in these games. I'm a lowly level 15 Nightblade currently, and with 39 days under my belt (game days, that is) I've slaughtered over 300 creatures, mostly by wading in and pulling the trigger mindlessly. Add a little more tactical depth than just strafe-slashing or spell-casting. Tailor the game to third-person with a first-person option (instead of the current reverse emphasis) and reboot the combat system Dynasty Warriors style. Medieval hand-to-hand in first-person's kind of bland after you've whack-block-whacked your thousandth foozle. Third-person works infinitely better if you want a truly kaleidoscopic (and thereby more gripping) combat engine.
4. Abolish quest personas garrisoned at the abyss end of random generic dungeons stocked with level-iterative hell-spawn. I'm presently hacking and slashing my way through Deranged Zombie Numbers 15 and 16 as I spelunk toward the bottom digs of a cave-maze to chat up some Mage's Guild exile who's decided â€” like every other cave-dwelling nutjob â€” that cohabitation with a bunch of brainless corpses is all de groovy. If you've seen one dungeon in Oblivion, you've seen...well, if not every last one of them, certainly the lot. If we're stuck exploring barely iterative gloomy blue-gray grottos and lairs, at least make the inhabitants' motivations plausible so we're not unearthing blithe Leave it to Beaver crackpots living la vida mundane in Dante's eighth or ninth circles.
5. Get the camera out of NPC faces. Take advantage of the medium's low-cost option to be anywhere, anytime, for more dramatic storytelling. Anyone else weary of Oblivion and Fallout 3's zoom-on-face approach during conversations? Yeah, sure, Argonians look rad enough with their mottled rainbow scales and slit-style pupils, but the head-on jam sessions coupled with the repetitious voice acting and off-the-shelf facial ticks wear out their welcome early on. Get the camera moving and grooving. Throw in some signature directorial motifs for important talking heads. Meet-and-greets with characters like Jauffre and Martin ought to stand apart from random chitchat with some grumpy Orc kvetching about Kvatch outside a tent in Anywheresville. Start with the 180 degree rule...then by all means smash it to pieces.
That's my first five. Stay tuned for five more shortly, or add your own below.
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