So Skyrim: Dawnguard is out for you Xbox 360 players and will be available to the rest of the rabble in the near future. If you’re like us, you’re starting to hear the call of the Dragonborn to return to Skyrim, but it’s been a little while. Maybe even a few months. The problem with coming back to a game as expansive as Skyrim is that it can be a little disorienting, not unlike waking up from a coma. You’ll have no idea where you are or how you got there. You might not even know what type of character you were playing. That overwhelming sense of being hopelessly lost can be extremely discouraging , maybe even enough to keep you from picking Skyrim back up at all. Thankfully, we’re here to make your return to Tamriel society as smooth as possible with our first Gamer Survival Guide.
So you’ve booted up the game, you’ve loaded up your latest save, and you’re ready to start making sense of the world around you. But what kind of character are you? It’s easy to find out. That’s step one.
Step 1: Check your skills!
Checking your skills is going to identify your specialties. A quick glance at mine revealed my three highest skills to be sneak, archery, and one-handed. Don’t forget to look into the perks you’ve chosen as they may completely alter the way you use those skills. Doing so will make it a little easier to narrow down your no doubt crowded inventory and pick out useful equipment. Now you just need to figure out where to go!
Step 2: Check your journal and map!
Looking through your unfinished skills can jog your memory in regards to what you were in the middle of when you stopped playing and the finding your location on the map can give you some added context.
Be careful, however. You might inadvertently remind yourself why you stopped playing in the first place. Opening my journal revealed nothing but bugged quests that I was unable to abandon. In my case, it provided no useful information as to what quest lines I had yet to finish. Fear not, though. If that’s the case, you have one other option.
Step 3: Check your achievements!
Luckily, the quests in Skyrim are mostly structured into quest lines and there is generally one achievement for each. Checking your achievements will give you insight into which ones you’ve finished and which you might not have started. After looking through mine, I found that I was missing the achievement for joining the Companions and for joining the Circle. A quick google search for “begin companion quest skyrim”, and I was on my way.
Now chances are, if you’ve put any significant amount of time into Skyrim, you’ve amassed a lot of items. If you’re a packrat like me, you’ve been storing all that stuff somewhere and you’re going to want to be able to get to it. The only difficult part is finding it.
Step 4: Find your stuff!
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to go about this and you’ll have to go mostly based off of memory. The most likely scenario is that you bought a house in one of the major towns and have been storing your stuff in chests. I was lucky and I remembered that I had chosen Whiterun as my base of operations for its central location. If your memory is a bit foggier, check your keys; you should have a key to whichever properties you own. A complete list of possible residences can be found here. That will give you a good jumping off point to start your search.
There you go! Getting back into any game after an extended leave of absence is never easy, but once you’ve rediscovered your character and found your stuff, you should be a fully functional and contributing citizen of the empire. Unless you’re a dirty milk-drinking Stormcloak.
If you can think of anything we missed that might make the return to Skyrim easier, put it in the comments below!