Sunday, February 1, 2009

2 Years Later..... Oblivion Complete At Last

Today's post is a little... odd. I'm going to be writing about how I finally completed Oblivion, in two parts. Part One is a fictional rendition of how I got the last achievement, told from the POV of my character. It's meant to be more amusing than "good" as I'm writing it in one shot, off the cuff, and won't be editing it. It's supposed to be dumb, since I'm making fun of Oblivion's NPC AI. Great game, but very unrealistic in some ways (and I'm not talking about the Fantasy setting). Part 2 is my actual thoughts/opinions on the accomplishment.

Part 1: Training Sneak Skills

I've received the quest from Sheogorath to poison Thadon with Greenmote, and assume my rightful place as the Duke of Mania. However, getting through the royal guards requires a sneaking skill I altogether lack. In order to pull this off, I'm going to have to seriously train in the arts of sneaking up on unsuspecting foes.

The Waterfront district of Imperial city seemed the natural place to do this training. With the guards busy inspecting incoming ships, I was able to easily pick the lock of the home of a man named Jair, who was to be my prey. There he was, sleeping and vulnerable... I spent the 4 hours sneaking around his house, completely undetected. Jair didn't even twitch in his sleep.

Everything was going fine until someone else entered the house... a guy by the name of Isleif the Open Handed... whatever the hell that was supposed to mean... Amazingly, at first he didn't notice me, but stood in the middle of the house, as if unsure what to do next. Eventually, he spotted me, so I did what any would-be-assassin would do in that situation... I acted like I was supposed to be here. Isleif the Dim-Witted actually believed me! Somehow, the fact that their locked door was unlocked upon his arrival, and that a stranger was huddled in the corner, pacing back and forth near his roommate's bed, didn't seem strange to him.

Well, I could not have this interloper getting in my way, so I said goodbye to him, and made my way for the exit. Once I was behind him, I turned around and snuck up on him. This idiot must have the memory of a goldfish, as he seemed as oblivious to me as if I was long gone. I cut him down with one swipe of my sword, then continued my sneaking around the house.

Unfortunately, I overstayed my welcome, and happened to be pacing next to Jair's bed as he woke. I thought I was doomed. An unknown intruder in a house that was supposed to be locked, with a dead body on the floor? I expected the gallows to be my fate, but to my great surprise, he looked around as if I wasn't there. He made his way to the dead body of his friend, and examined it with little real interest, before leaving for the day's work... Maybe this guy is even dumber than his friend.

I shouldn't have pressed my luck, but I returned the following night to train some more. Jair slumbered on his bed, while the body of Isleif remained untouched on the floor. Was there no inquiry? Did Jair do anything about the murder of his friend? I spent the whole night sneaking. Again, Jair awoke and left without seeing me.

For a week, I continued to sneak Jair's house... and the place really started to stink near the end, since Isleif's body never moved...

Part 2: Thoughts on Oblivion

Oblivion was one of the first two games I ever put on my card, and my first regular 1000/1000 points scored. I've invested about 100 hours total between the main game and the Shivering Isles expansion. It was a fantastic game, and I loved it, even though this post has a mostly mocking flavor to it. During the Shivering Isles quest line, there's a branch point where you must choose to be the Duke of one of the two factions. You can't do both in one playthrough. I accidentally saved over my save file of the branch point, so I could not go back and do Mania after finishing Dementia. This meant I had to do a whole new play, at least of the Shivering Isles quests.

While Oblivion is a great game, it holds for me absolutely no replay value. After 100 hours, I just had no desire to go back to this game, but as a completionist, I knew I would have to eventually. I made a new character, and played with the difficulty slider turned all the way down. I only wanted the last 30 points by now, nothing else. Then, to my horror, I learn the Mania quest involves stealth! The character I had already made was a master ninja, and could have done the quest easily, but my new person was a conjurer, and not meant for stealth... So, I had to waste a ton of time upping my sneak skill to have any change.

To do that, I went into the house of a sleeping person, as depicted above, and snuck around all night. After getting tired of pacing back and forth, I wondered if there was an easier way to do it, and came up with a great idea. I pulled out some sticky blue poster putty from my desk (used to attach posters to walls), and broke off a decent sized piece of it. I then used that putty to stick my controller's left stick in the "up" position, so my character would keep running up against the edge of Jair's bed, so I could put down the controller and do things (like type this post), while still gaining sneak skill. Once Jair woke, I'd go outside, wait 18 hours, then re-enter his house and repeat the process, until I got to full sneak skill. The putty trick worked great, and there was no sticky residue on the controller after (unlike when using tape).
I sneak well... lol

Will putty-grinding sneak, I:
  1. Listened to Dream Theater
  2. Ate Lunch
  3. Shaved
  4. Changed clothes
  5. Wrote this post
  6. Surfed x360a

But you want to know the best part of this story? As previously mentioned, I had the difficulty sliders all the way down. When I messed up on the sneaking and a Golden Saint saw me, I killed her in 3 hits!!! I cruised through the whole quest without sneaking! I didn't have to do that damned sneak grind at all! /facepalm

When simply looking at dates, Oblivion took over two years to go from first played to fully completed, as the dates below show. That time period is the longest of any game currently completed on my card, and it's a record that probably won't be undone any time soon.

Earliest Date-Stamped Achievement: Pit Dog, Arena (12/27/06)
Shivering Isles Completed: (06/20/07)
Oblivion 1250: (02/01/09)

How about that time delay?

1 comment:

  1. This post made me rofl. Especially the /facepalm worthy moment.

    But...I can't believe you would kill Isleif the Open-Handed.

    Open-Handed: Generous, giving, charitable, kind, welcoming, peaceful. A Jesus-like figure.

    Way to go...I hope you're proud.