Thursday, April 7, 2011

Living Roads

So, it's been a while, but I finally have enough time to post again. I'm sure those that pay attention to my activity on the official Elder Scrolls forums have easily predicted the topic of this discussion, since I spent a significant amount of time inquiring about the various options related to it. But for those of you that don't, I'm talking about adding more life to the roads of Cyrodiil. I always felt so lonely when walking between towns. The guards that patrolled the paths were never interested in small talk, and the only other people you encounter just want to kill you. Where are all the other travelers? There's no underground passages connecting the cities that I ever discovered, so they must be around somewhere. Think of the next few mods I suggest as just making who should have already been around a bit more easy to find.

The first and most basic mod I'll talk about is Crowded Roads Revisited. The idea is just what I've already hinted at, adding more people onto the roads between towns. They'll all travel at different paces, and there are a variety of different types, ranging from adventurers to merchant suppliers. I use the optional package, which includes various different probabilities of running into the additions. Since I planned on adding more mods for the same purpose, I picked the smallest rate, which is 5%.

To add a bit more interaction into the mix, I added Immersive Travelers, which adds a few more people, but this time they have a chance of being merchants. This is great for those who spend a lot of time in the wilderness, since it can be irritating to go all the way into town just to sell your loot and go out again. You can also choose to interact with them only if you need to, since they move constantly like those from Crowded Roads.

In an effort to display alternative methods of transportation and give travelers so extra help against creatures and the like, I decided to add Roaming NPCs, since the people it adds occasionally are on horse-back and generally fend for themselves. I didn't want all of the travelers to be like this, though, since most common folk tend not to be well-trained with a weapon. You can also ask a few of the adventurers to join you on your travels, which also helps a lot of with the loneliness factor of the original game. That being said, you have to be on-par with them, otherwise they won't consider you worth their time. Sad, but it makes a lot of sense.

Another interesting addition that ties in with this theme is Wandering Encounters, which gives people who were already in Cyrodiil a decent chance to travel between cities and the like if they already had a tendency to wander about the location they were originally from. This mainly occurs with violent NPCs, though, so remember to keep your eyes open for bandits on the roads. Just be sure not to confuse them with adventurers!

I figured that adding more soldiers to the roads would help counter-balance the higher likelihood of violence that comes with adding more people, so I tried out VOILA. It makes the solitary Imperial Legionnaires have a patrol to accompany them on their rounds, occasionally even including a battlemage to heal injured troops. This is especially more realistic when doing the main quest, since it never seemed like the Council was doing enough to protect the public roads from harm during a time of impending doom. The new ranks also come in all non-beast races, which adds a lot to diversity. VOILA does a lot more than what I use it for, though, so be sure to read the full description before installing it.

And finally there's Tamriel Travellers, which is probably the most widely-known mod on this list. Just like Immersive Travelers, it adds a higher likelihood of running into merchants along the roads of Cyrodiil. The reason why this one stands out so much to people is the inclusion of pets that follow the merchants around for protection and the like. Although I actually wasn't a fan of this idea, I discovered this feature can be toggled using a ring you receive upon activating the mod. Sadly this means you won't see pets in my video, but there are plenty of screenshots of them on the download page.

And without further ado, the video, which probably doesn't really do much in comparison to the actual descriptions. I felt like it was still important to make one, though.

Again, keep in mind that this video is only meant to compliment my discussion. Please don't decide on whether these mods are worth downloading solely based on my cinematography skills; that wouldn't be fair to you or the author of the mods in question. There's a lot that I didn't include in the video, so be sure to read the authors' descriptions as well, even if you're only slightly interested.

And that's that. I have no idea how much time I'll have this weekend, but hopefully I'll at least be able to make one little post before next week. I apologize how lengthy these have been lately, but it's a lot easier to compile mods into one post when they're all pretty small. Until next time, goodbye for now.

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