Check out my Kickstarter project!
Link: Rumors of War Comic Relaunch


I’ve noticed a problem with the Alchemy system in Skyrim — which I only really noticed was a problem when I was able to contrast it with the simplicity of the Smithing and Enchanting systems.

First, there’s the annoyance of picking everything up. Since the game is in first-person — and woe to anyone who tries to pick up stuff in the unwieldy third-person view — looking down to pick something up off the ground means you can’t be looking up at whatever is about to murder your face off.

It’s tedious to fill your screen with the thing that you’re about to pick up, not to mention the fact that without an option to highlight objects that can be picked up/interacted with, you’ll probably miss 90% of what can be picked up.

There’s the problem of how much ingredients weigh — why, when gold pieces and arrows are weightless, do reagents have a weight? It’s all basically money anyway, so why discriminate between them? Why do gemstones have a weight? *sigh*

Then, there’s the problem of identifying the uses of ingredients — you still have to level up and spend a perk (or three!) to learn a lot of the properties of ingredients, or you’ll have to experiment by rubbing them together, or look on the Internet.

You know what would be handy? If you automatically knew at least one property. I mean, with Alchemy providing potions that basically everyone in the game world uses on a regular basis, shouldn’t some of it be common knowledge?

And every ingredient has four properties — some of them conflicting, some of them useless (more about useless effects below) — which means it makes a lot of ingredients less useless, but also produces a great deal of clutter.

There’s the problem that many such uses are useless or irrelevant — a potion of enchanting is good for like, one item or two if you’re fast and don’t take the time to give the items unique names. I imagine you get more out of smithing.

Seriously, who fortifies stamina? Or health/magicka regen?

Potions are a pain in the butt to use. I don’t know, maybe the PC version is less cumbersome if you can say, bind potions to keys — but on the xBox, you have to open your inventory and scroll through stuff to get to your potions.

Sure time stops while you have the inventory open, but the game lags and sometimes freezes when you open the inventory which means you might have to reload just for trying to not die — which basically creates a lose-lose situation.

Getting back to the context of the game world — there’s the conundrum of the “cure disease” potion effect. Visiting a shrine of any of the Eight (Nine) Divines will grant you an associated blessing, and cure you of any disease.

Wait, hold up a minute.

Potions can cure diseases too. Does that mean a potion is as powerful as a god? Does a potion use the power of a good? Do potion-makers play god, or imagine themselves as powerful as the gods? Are the gods just lame, since their power is comparable to what Joe Adventurer can put in a bottle?

In conclusion, I like Smithing. It’s simple, straightforward, and useful. I wish there were a way to enhance leather-crafting, but whatever. Enchanting is pretty okay but soul gems are cumbersome — “soul sizes” are BS. And Alchemy is just awful.