Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Skills of Dovahkiin: Your Life as an RPG

Ever wanted to Fight like Dovahkiin?  Well now you can, with the Video Game Combat Guide: Sword and Shield!



Hi guys!  Sorry it's been so long!  I've missed all of you :(  My life is, as always, busy, but I missed writing and I have etched out time and found inspiration to continue!  Yay!

So, where were we? Oh yeah, we were on Dovahkiin, the nord/redguard/orc/breton/argonian/khajiit/dunmer/falmer/altmer star of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim  He/she is a moldable, malleable character, and has honestly been a bit of a challenge to write for in our normal format.  So!  Let's look at the (possible) skills of Dovahkiin!

  • Swords, maces, axes, bows, and pointy things.(no fists perk tree ;-; )
  • Shields, armor, and protecty things.
  • Blacksmithing, enchanting, alchemy, and crafty things.
  • Sneaking, stealing, lockpicking, and subterfuge-y things.
  • Fireballs, lightning, invisibility, mind control, and magic-y things
So, some or all of these things are approachable.  I'm going to touch a bit on the things we haven't in a bit, but first I want to highlight Skyrim's leveling mechanic.  If you've played any elder scrolls game, you know where I'm going with this.  If you haven't, then let me enlighten you.  Elder Scrolls games emulate real life in that, the more you use something, the better you get at it, skill-wise.  Other games are starting to do this now, but the ES series is kind of the hipster of the crowd.  They were, in fact, doing it before it was cool.

How does this apply to you?  Well, like I said, they are attempting to emulate real life.  When you do things more often, you get better at them.  This should seem pretty straightforward, but a lot of people don't know or think that it applies to everything.  Natural talent can help, sometimes, but it's no substitute for hard work, even for things like art.  And this applies to EVERYTHING.  Not good at talking to the opposite sex?  Practice(even on something like Chatroullette [warning, Chatroullette may contain penises]).  It's said it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a  master at something.  In martial arts, we say you have to perform a move 10,000 times before it becomes yours.  So if you want to get good at something, do it, even if you suck! Getting better will come with time.

Now, that said, let's take a look at Skyrim's skill offerings.

Swords, maces, axes, bows, point things:  This is something we've covered before.  Look into finding a local historical fencing/stage combat organization.  Purchase or make a bow, get a target, and go practice in your backyard.  Get a couple PVC pipes, wrap them in foam, and challenge your friends to duels!  The most important thing is to get out there and do.

Shield, armor, protective things: Harder to do on the armor part, but if you can find a good rennaissance organization, or stage combat organization, they can help!  Barring that, strap a belt on a piece of plywood and pair it up with your PVC foam boffers and, again, challenge your friends to combat!

Blacksmithing, enchanting, alchemy, crafting things: Ooh, this is fun. I recommend Instructables as a starting place.  Blacksmithing at home is actually more possible than you think, and probably cheaper than you think, too.  Enchanting is kind of difficult, as magic-by-the-bethesda-definition doesn't exactly exist in the real world, but I'll bet if you pick an "effect" you'd like your object to have, you can figure out a way to do it with some Instructables!  If you're more the alchemy type, you can look into herbal medicine and wild plant identification for the more holistic potion side.  I like First Ways: An Urban Foraging Blog as a good starting point for this sort of thing.  If you're more the pure science type, then maybe you should start experimenting with chemistry in your spare time!  Here's a couple links.

Sneaking, stealing, lockpicking, and subterfuge-y things: I am not one to encourage illegal activities, but learning to be stealthy is fun without illegal rewards required!  Practice sneaking up on wild animals, that's really hard.  Or practice sneaking up on family members, if you want to be creepy.  Here's the Army Field Manual appendix on being a sneaky person.  Lockpicking is also fun and harmless, if you choose for it to be!  The awesome people over at lifehacker have this nifty guide. There's also the Greg Miller site, for a more comprehensive look!  For pickpocketing...well, I wouldn't condone such a thing, but I've heard tales of pickpockets hanging strings on bags and extracting wallets from them without ringing the bells.  Not that I would encourage such a thing.  If you do decide to take this course of action, remember that in the real world, your actions have consequences, and jail time doesn't just pass in a day.

Fireballs, lightning, invisibility, mind control, and magic-y things: This is the more difficult of things to emulate in the real world, for previously mentioned non-real-magic reasons.  However, for fireballs, lightning, and even invisibility, you can probably resort to nifty gadgets, many of which you can find on the previously mentioned Instructables.  For mind control, your best bet is probably learning body language.  There's lots of resources online for how to do this.  Also, look up the book titled, "How to Win Friends and Influence People."  It was written a while ago, but is FAR from outdated.  The principles outlined within it will go far for increasing your people skills, and your ability to bend others to your will(mwahaha). 

The bottom line, is, again, practice.  Pick a skill, and GO FOR IT!  And try to focus on just one to start, it will make your life much easier in the long run(don't worry, you have plenty of time to master anything you'd like).

So that's it for today.  It's good to be back, folks.  I'm not sure what kind of update schedule I'm going to be on for the time being, so I suggest you keep an eye on the Facebook page and my Twitter so you know when the next update goes out!

Dan "DaRatmastah" Wallace

16 comments:

  1. Hey man I really like the blog. Finally someone who.understands gamers lol. Do you think you could do Connor Kenway, or Sam Fisher?

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  2. Thanks! Connor maaaay be on the list, however we'll have to see if he actually differentiates enough from Ezio to justify it(can't freaking wait for ACIII). Sam Fisher is a definite possibility, especially since we haven't touched on the "modern spy" archetype yet. Thanks for the suggestions!

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    1. Thanks man. And I know what you mean with the Connor/Ezio thing. For the upcoming articles, do you think you could go more in depth with the physical aspect?

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    2. Sure, what would you like to see more of in regards to the physical aspect? Like, more tiers to the workout programs? Or more detailed descriptions of the exercises?

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    3. I was thinking more variety to keep muscles from plateauing and to work them from every angle. For example, one day the leg workout could be running and squats, while the next day could be biking and lunges. And what would you recommend as a martial art to a beginner like me?

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  3. Ah, I hear you. Yeah, it's tough, I want the blog to be accessible and useful for people at all levels of fitness, but I don't want things to seem overwhelming so I try to lay out very simple workouts. I might do an "advanced fitness" post or two for that sort of thing, though, that's a great suggestion.

    As for martial arts, I would honestly say do whatever is close and affordable. Certain martial arts are more effective than others, but any martial art is better than none. And they all start at the beginner level, so that isn't too much of a consideration. If they don't cater to beginners, they won't stay open long. What options do you have around you?

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  4. There are two roughly the same distance from my house. One teaches kung fu while the other has Hapkido, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Must Thai, Krav Maga, Kick boxing, MMA, and taekwondo. I was thinking muay Thai or kickboxing because those are pretty practical styles that would work in most fights. And before I started complicated arts, I thought it would be good do know a simple style.

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    1. Well, to pick up the nuances of any style it takes some time and work, as they're all pretty complicated at higher levels. The second school sounds a bit more "practical" in that it will offer groundfighting skills and close combat skills, but any place offering THAT many styles is often talking bigger than it walks, if you know what I mean. I would say visit both locations, and question their training, certifications, and lineage. If they start to get antsy or seem like they're trying to bullshit you or sell you on a package like a used car salesman, it's probably best just to walk.

      I would say don't write off Kung Fu just because it's been sidelined by the current MMA craze, or because you think it's too complicated. It's much better to go with a teacher that you feel is reputable and good at instructing, and an art you're going to enjoy enough to continue for years.

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    2. Ah, I see what you mean. And yes I agree with what you said about question the instructors and stuff. One of the reasons I was wary of the kung fu place, is that I'm worried that it won't be authentic shaolin kung fu, and will end up being some commercialized fake fu that won't work in real life.

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    3. Yeah, I mean honestly, you can usually tell just by the feel of a school/dojo/dojang and how they react to you asking serious questions about their qualifications. I was lucky enough to learn a bit of kung fu and tai chi from a guy who actually went to china and not only learned there, but also competed in tournaments and whatnot, and he had some pretty cool stuff.

      If I've learned anything from the large amount of martial arts I've been lucky enough to experience, it's that, at high levels, it all comes down to body mechanics. Functional arts all end up basically teaching the same thing in the end. Conservation of energy, effective hostile control, good body management techniques, and quickly ending altercations through effective means. Everything else is gravy. Sometimes tasty, showy gravy(I love watching Kung Fu forms), but still gravy.

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  5. Yeah I see what you mean. I'll go check them out and see which ones better. If the kung fu one is actually authentic, and good for self defense, I would really enjoy learning that, as it is a beautiful art, and it really interest me. Also, as I'm not in the best of shape right now, would you recommend weight lifting, or bodyweight?

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    1. Well, that's a bit difficult to judge without actually knowing you. Weight lifting can be stressful on seriously overweight bodies, mostly because of overtaxed joints and whatnot, unless you start a a very low weight. How comfortable are you walking at a brisk pace for half an hour or so? Feeling good and ready for more, or a bit out of breath and one or more of your joints hurt? That's usually a good metric to start with.

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  6. Well I could run for about a mile or two, but by then my knees and ankles hurt. I also have some cramps. Fortunately, I'm not obese. I just have like 10 extra pounds I could lose. But being 13, I'm not sure of I'm old enough to lift weights.

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  7. Ah, cool, yeah age does play a part. The danger in weight lifting at a young age is not stunting your growth(contrary to popular belief), but damaging developing joins. Running a mile or two is okay, if you can do it on a track or on grass you might have an easier time with joints. Starting weight training is fine as long as you have a qualified professional helping you. If you're in high school, see if your high school has a weight room and/or weightlifting class where you can get coaching from a professional, or at least older and more experienced students. Remember that everyone starts at low weights, even just the bar without plates can be a big lift for some people.

    If you're looking to work out on your own and have no such resources available, and would like to follow one of the workout programs on the website, I would advise sticking with one of the bodyweight workouts for now. I did mostly bodyweight until my late teens, and I was still plenty strong throughout those years. Weightlifting kind of sucks without a partner to work with anyway.

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  8. Thanks man. I'm joining gym soon and I'm gonna go with some family. And after track season ends I'm joining a martial art. This is a great website, keep up the good work lol. And don't forget about black Friday! At different stores you can get games like AC3 half off, or its a buy two get one free deal.

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    1. No problem dude, always glad to help =)

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