I have to admit it has been a while since I adventured in the land of Skyrim. It’s not the now ubiquitous arrow to the knee that curtailed my wanderlust though – more that the seemingly inexhaustible province had begun to feel slightly over familiar.
Once you’ve become a companion, a member of the thieves guild, aided the stormcloaks, and smithed, enchanted and alchemised your way to being a virtually unbeatable warrior, the relentless grind of conquering a dungeon, staggering home with the spoils, levelling up and setting out for more, begins to grate even the hardiest of Nords.
So as Bethesda announce the launch of the first piece of DLC for Skyrim, what do they have planned to tempt tired explorers back to Tamriel?
The trailer released shows some exciting new developments. The title itself, Dawnguard, gives a clue as to the plot you will encounter, as a gravel-voiced narrator mentions the “tyranny of the sun”. Remember being bitten by a vampire? And having to eat people careless enough to fall asleep, just to keep from scaring the townsfolk?
Well expect a whole load more neck bothering, as blood flows from an ancient fountain, waiting to be drunk. Encounters with a vampire lord in a distant fortress will have you following him into the realms of the undead.
We see a transformation not dissimilar to that witnessed upon ending the companions quest line, this time with wings breaking from your back as you become a massive bat-like creature, laying waste to foes with your immense power,” feasting on the souls of the living”. Expect new magic and perhaps even an aspect of flight, although from the footage shown so far the huge bat only hovers tantalisingly a few feet above the soil.
Perhaps the second most exciting prospect from the trailer is the emergence of crossbows as an addition to our adventuring arsenal. Long coveted by Skyrim players, this should please everybody with a penchant for long range aggravation.
Flashes of combat, of mysterious maps and a cloud of bats all appear, as does the majestic sight of a white dragon plunging through the frozen plates of ice into the cold lake waters below, though quite how it relates to the vampiric elements of the plot remains to be seen. I for one hope I don’t have to fight any Dracula dragons.
It appears players will still be waiting for their chance to fly on the backs of dragons, or explore provinces from previous Elder Scrolls games. But there’s enough to suggest an engrossing extra chapter from Bethesda, and thankfully not just armour for your horse…