Yesterday Bethesda released the official debut trailer for their first expansion to Skyrim, Dawnguard. Bethesda has teased us about this expansion for a while now, even prompting computer geeks to disassemble codes in patches for clues about what features will be included.
Not a lot of plot information has been revealed yet, but the add-on seems to be about two opposing groups, undoubtedly which the Dragonborn will have to choose between. On one side, you have a race of vampires who seek to bring about eternal night to Skyrim, apparently via an Elder Scroll. On the other, you have the Dawnguard, a group of vampire hunters, who will likely try to prevent this. The story seems to begin after the Dragonborn saves the head vampire’s daughter & is offered the chance to join them while simultaneously learning about the Dawnguard in case they don’t feel like becoming evil. I suspect there may be an additional way to start this questline, as standing face-to-face with a vampire lord & telling him you want to join the hunters seems like suicide. Perhaps you can choose to slay the daughter & get an invitation from the Dawnguard themselves.
The trailer also gives some hints to new features that will be available in the add-on:
- New vampire class. The vampires in this expansion look nothing like the traditional vampires. Instead, they remind me of the ones out of “Van Helsing” with Hugh Jackman. Becoming a vampire not only lets you suck blood, but gives you a beast form that looks like a monstrous bat. Some of the apparent abilities that come with vampirism include what looks like a Force Choke & the ability to scatter into a swarm of bats. It’s unclear how already being a vampire will affect this quest.
- Crossbows! Crossbows were sadly missing from Oblivion but seem to be returning as the Dawnguard weapon of choice for slaying vampires.
- Mounted combat. The addition of being able to use melee or ranged attacks from horseback is technically scheduled for Patch 1.6, but currently this patch is in beta for Steam users only. No release date for the patch has been given yet, so it may coincide with the expansion. The ability to actually defend yourself without having to climb down from your horse will be a great improvement to gameplay.
- New mounts. There’s one clip that shows the character riding a new type of horse, a skeleton horse with blue flames.
There are still a lot of questions & wild speculations being made about this add-on. Some involve the cracked codes I mentioned earlier, which suggest that Snow Elves may be available either as a playable race or as NPC’s. And by Snow Elves I mean the original race & not the Falmer they eventually mutated into.
Bethesda is supposed to release more concrete information at E3. No release date has been given, but Dawnguard will be available on the 360 first some time this summer. The other consoles will likely follow soon after.