Skyrim: Dragonborn Launch Guide - Welcome to Solstheim!

Posted December 5, 2012 - By Dan Fasulo

Skyrim: Dragonborn Launch Guide - Welcome to Solstheim!

Skyrim may be the largest game out there, but it got even bigger this week with the release of Dragonborn, the third DLC pack from Bethesda. While this summer's Dawnguard added a few new features and locations, Dragonborn really kicks it up a notch. Your journey will take you out of the land of Skyrim entirely, to the island of Solstheim off the coast of Morrowind. Long term Elder Scrolls fans who played Morrowind might recognize a few land marks and items, as well as some lore elements in Dragonborn.

The main storyline of Dragonborn involves your character being approached by followers of Miraak - the First Dragonborn. Once you've been approached by them, and found out where they came from, you'll book passage to Solstheim and begin your journey. Once there, you'll quickly discover something is a little off about Miraak, and that's really where the main quest line kicks off. Of course, in traditional Skyrim fashion, you can totally ignore that quest and explore the island first. In fact I recommend doing just that, at least for a few hours. You'll find a number of the new features added in with the Expansion right near Raven Rock.

My first couple hours in Dragonborn were spent tackling a side quest I got in Raven Rock Mine - The Final Descent. You can grab this quest right when you get to Solstheim and, as you might expect, it turns out to be much more than it initially appears to be. During this quest you find a unique greatsword, the Bloodskal Blade, which some players might remember from Bloodmoon, one of Morrowind's expansions. The version in Dragonborn has a really neat unique effect that comes into play with a locked door in this mine, which turns into Bloodskal Barrow shortly afterwards. I really reccommend running this quest, since it has a few more tricks waiting for you later on, including what could be your first visit to a plane of Oblivion in Skyrim.

One of the major features in Dragonborn is the presence of Hermaeus Mora, one of the 15 Daedric Lords. He had a minor presence in a sidequest in the original Skyrim release, but has a much larger role in Dragonborn. In Bloodskal Barrow, the ruin accessible right from Raven Rock Mine, you can find one of his Black Books, The Winds of Change. Reading it will warp you to Apocrypha, his Plane of Oblivion. Finding all of the Black Books on Solstheim will also give you an Achievement, so there's some added incentive.

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim "Dragonborn" Official DLC Trailer »

Some of the other nice new features include a number of new enemies, including Seekers, Lurkers, Reavers, Rieklings, Netches, Spiders and Ash Creatures. Rieklings will carry a new weapon type - spears, which will be more useful for a low to mid-level character. Speaking of new weapons, I hope you put some points into your Smithing skill, since there's a number of new armor types. You can craft Bonemold, Chitin, Nordic Carved and Stalhrim armors, depending on your skills. In order to even mine Stalhrim though, you'll need to find the Ancient Nordic Pickaxe.

Even with all that, the perhaps biggest new feature is one that I think we all have been clamoring for since day one - Dragon Taming and Riding. Throughout the storyline, you'll learn the ability to tame Dragons, which will then let you ride them in combat and travel. How freaking cool is that?

With all that said, I've just barely scratched the surface of the new content here in Dragonborn. If you would like to join me, Dragonborn is available now on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 1600 points.

Skyrim: Dragonborn Launch Guide - Welcome to Solstheim!


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