Why Oblivion Sucks

Part 2 - Dumbing Down 

 One of the most irritating trends in gaming is the recent trend of dumbing games down.  This practice is especially prevelant when it comes to console games.  This is for a number of reasons :

1.It's been demonstrated in a multitude of surveys that the average age of a console gamer is younger.
2.Console gamers tend to prefer games that favor fast reflexes and twitches over games that are slower paced and require higher brain function.
3.Even if you claim that number 2 is a stereotype (and I'll admit that number 2 doesn't apply to all console gamers), markets believe the stereotypes and market accordingly.

Oblivion has been dumbed down to the extreme.  It would take pages to list everything that has been taken out in Oblivion compared to Morrowind and even more pages to compare Oblivion to Daggerfall

1.There are less skills.  I wouldn't mind so much if it was just a few skills but at least a third of the skills that were present in Morrowind are now missing in action with Oblivion.  This restricts character development and generalizes everything.     

To add insult to injury, a lot of the items left over from skills that were removed were lumped into skills that make no sense.  

There are just a few examples of the dumbing down of the skills system :
    a.Axes are no longer a skill.  Instead, axes have been lumped into blunt weapons, which makes no sense at all.  If anything, axes should have been with blades since the term blades more accurately reflects axes as a weapon.  Or better yet, the skill should never have been removed in the first place.
    b.There is no enchanting skill anymore.  The enchanting system has been made a perk of Mage's Guild Membership and has been dumbed down to the extreme.  More on that later.
    c.There is no medium armor anymore.  More on this later as well.

2.Skill levels mean less.  A mage can easily pick up a blade with no prior training and start hitting enemies.  Similarly, a warrior can learn a few spells and start casting them with no prior training.  This defeats the point of having major skills in the first place since it's so easy to use skills your character has no training in.  In Morrowind, warriors did not suddenly learn spells and start casting them without a lot of training.  Mages did not suddenly pick up swords and start dishing out damage.  

3.Skills and attributes mean less.  For example
   a.The sneak skill no longer affects your ability to sneak but your critical damage from backstabbing.  Which means a warrior can remove their boots and sneak just as well as a rouge.
   b.Spells cannot fail.  Skills no longer affect a chance that a spell might fail.  Instead, there are arbitrary levels (e.g Apprentice through Master) that determine if a spell will work.  Furthermore, now that fatigue no longer means anything, you can run all day and still cast spells that are 100% successful.  This eliminates a lot of the challenge of spellcasting.
   c.Fatigue is meaningless.  For whatever reason, running does not decrease fatigue.  I guess it's because of the new target audience which is comprised of children with ADHD.  This detracts from realism and eliminates yet another part of The Elder Scrolls that provided a challenge. 

4.Alchemy's usefulness has been greatly reduced
   a.Intelligence no longer affects potion quality.
   b.You cannot fail making potions.  This is another example of the challenge of the game being reduced.  The risk of loosing lots of materials to learn alchemy is gone.
   c.You can only have 4 potions active at a time.  This along with D is the nail in the coffin as far as alchemy is concerned.
   d.The action-oriented quickcast system means that a healing spell can easily be more viable than a potion.
   e.Because the alchemy skill would otherwise be worthless, you can now no longer use ingredient effects your character cannot see.  For some reason, the alchemical properties of various flora now only apply if you have a certain "skill level".  If I go outside in real life and start mixing plants together, the effects are going to be the same regardless of whether I know what I'm doing or not.  Poison ivy is not going to stop giving people rashes because I don't know anything about herbs.
    f.The potions that are useful are extremely overpowered.  The reduction in alchemy's capabilities only hurts things like healing, fatigue and magicka potions.  The neutering of the alchemy system has done nothing to fix balance issues, 

5.Enchanting has been dumbed down
   a.There is no longer any enchanting skill or any skill at all that affects enchanting.
   b.Enchanting is only available to members of the Mage's Guild.
   c.You, as a player, no longer have a choice about the types of enchantments that are applied to items.  Enchantments to weapons MUST BE cast on strike.  Enchantments to clothing and armor MUST BE constant effect.  In Morrowind, constant effect enchantments were rare to loot and expensive to create.  With Oblivion, it's cheap and easy.
   d.Only one enchantment per item with wearables such as armor and clothing.  Bethesda couldn't balance enchanting properly, so they neutered it instead.
   e.Weapon enchanting is useless.  Unlike in Morrowind, weapons do not recharge on their own over time and the number of strikes that one gets before needing a recharge is pitiful.