Daggerfall:Old Unofficial FAQ/Features

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This is the Features section of the Unofficial FAQ, version 0.992. The text version of the FAQ was released on 24 August 1996, but the web version was last updated on 13 November 2006. Other websites mentioned in this document are unlikely to still be valid.

This is an archive of a historical document and should not be edited other than formatting, links, or minor typos.

This section, Daggerfall's Features, contains a list of all currently known features in the game (i.e., what you can do, how you can do it, what you can't do, etc...).

Like TES:ARENA, Daggerfall is set on the continent of Tamriel, being one of 5 major ones on the TES planet. Unlike Arena however, Daggerfall is confined to the area of Tamriel surrounding the Iliac Bay, namely the provinces of Hammerfell & High Rock.

Daggerfall includes many additions and improvements to the Arena gameworld such as (*'s mean updated info since last FAQ version):

  • Bethesda's new full, 3-D X(n)gine(Tm) (also used in Bethesda's Terminator Future Shock and Tenth Planet, the latter to be released in 1997), which promises to redefine the role-playing genre. The new engine allows quicker actions, unrestricted viewing angles and complete freedom of movement. Having taken 3 years to make, this powerful proprietary technology allows full 360 degree rotation with fully textured polygons, multiple shaded light sources, VGA graphics and specialised video effects. The X(n)gine can create weather such as snow, sleet, and fog, as well as realistic shading and a fully contoured fractal terrain. Weather effects will vary somewhat depending on the time of year.
  • the X(n)gine will not support 3D Accelerated GFX boards in the initial Daggerfall release; but it is certainly planned
  • the video refresh rate will vary depending upon what is on the screen at any given time. The 3D X(n)gine should average between 16-20 frames per second and should probably never have to do more than 40. It has no ceiling.
  • a fully topographical landscape with elevations marked every 6 metres, an area approximately twice the size of Britain
  • thousands of towns, fortresses and villages to explore
  • there is about 300MB of terrain and 92MB of sky graphics packed onto the Daggerfall CD!
  • texture maps considerably more complex and detailed than Arena's, allowing for larger, even multi-story buildings.
  • all the countryside terrain and fixtures on top of it (e.g. buildings) are randomly generated once by Bethesda before copying to CDs. Thus everyone will be playing the same game world (unlike your individual random generation in Arena).
  • much improved plot over Arena; your character is asked to undertake a special mission for the Emperor and obtain artifacts before rival groups of the court of the town of Daggerfall can get them & use them to instigate an uprising. In investigating the court of Daggerfall, stories of madness, unrequited love, dark sorcery, seduction, betrayal, and a plot to recreate a powerful force from thousands of years past will be revealed.
  • the plot is a lot more "active" than Arenas, involving many non player character types.
  • keeping with TES "open ended" philosophy, it is even technically possible to win by working against the Emperor
  • conversation remains handled via a menu driven branching strategy, with the new feature of being able to select your conversational goal.
  • greatly improved player interaction with NPCs, both in dialogue and action. For example, depending on the circumstances, the completion of say a mini-quest by a character will be remembered later on either positively or negatively by a particular NPC social group, a NPC, a NPC's family, the NPC's allies or enemies, or all of the above. Daggerfall keeps track of your characters reputation with each NPC. This applies even to characters that are imported into later games in the TES series. Player language skills, though based on the common tongue, will reflect specific groups & social affiliations and will also affect interaction with NPCs. Character clothing, weapons & armor, which can be changed in shops, also affects NPC interactions
  • adventure in intricately designed caves, castles, homes, highlands, lowlands, rivers, cliffs, sand dunes, swamps, underwater and different dimensions: a whole range of environments
  • many objects in the world have mass and can be moved or picked up by the character. These objects follow the normal laws of physics eg. inertia. Some objects, such as houses and pebbles, can't be moved.
  • buy & use houses, ships and other crafts. Property can be furnished with furniture & treasure. Option available which will protect your property against burglary.
  • travel from town to town by foot, horseback, horse and wagon or ship. Beware! you can be attacked while using any of these transport methods except ships.
  • use banks to safely deposit gold, get letters of credit & take out 1 or 3 year loans to finance large purchases
  • join guilds, temples & knightly orders to help enhance your character's reputation with various social groups; trade goods and services, even smuggle.
  • experience Daggerfall's Legal System, complete with courts & jails. Avoid being caught possessing illegal substances!
  • shop at furniture stores, armories/weapon stores, tailors, book stores, alchemists & pawn shops
  • new spells include identify, polymorph, shadow, slowfall, telekinesis, teleportation, waterbreathing and water walking: there are some 78 standard types
  • create more unusual and powerful spells with the spellmaker
  • customizable spell duration icon which flashes towards the end of the spell period
  • new improved special effects eg. polymorphing
  • surface dependent walking sounds
  • 3-D graphical movement is handled much more efficiently than in Arena
  • random monster encounter will be largely done away with. It will only occur where it has a direct relationship to the plot, or in a "cleared out" dungeon in a period of time
  • Each created character, must take 3 primary skills, 3 major skills, and 6 minor skills. When characters begin the game, they are naturally better at the primary and major skills, and worse at the minor and miscellaneous skills (the latter being the skills not chosen, but in which advancement can still be made with great difficulty). It is easiest to advance in primary and major skills, because of the formula used to check the chance of increasing a point every night, and due to you're character being most likely to use the primary and major skills and thus advance in them. Advancement of your character's primary and major skills will cause them to advance in their class as well.
  • customizable character classes. Characters will be able to take on up to 7 special advantages/disadvantages, which will increase/decrease the amount of experience needed to make the next level.
  • Bethesda has attempted to reduce the potential power of high level characters in Daggerfall by including negative effects for some of the items produced by the ItemMaker and by ensuring that, for instance, "high level characters face up against up high level monsters". There will be no "levelling up" like that occurring in Arena, an orc will remain a weak monster, regardless of your level increasing the relative "toughness" of some of the monsters
  • the imbalance in Arena towards spellcasting character classes has been partly addressed by allowing all non-spell casting classes in Daggerfall spell points equal to half their intelligence.
  • advanced, multi-channel, digitized sound effects and music
  • although speech will be a part of the game, there was not enough room to implement full speech
  • enjoy a large variety of song/ballad lyrics written especially for Daggerfall
  • a large variety of quests and adventures offered by individuals and guilds
  • a standard character generator similar to Arena will also be available, allowing you to choose one of the 18 character types from that game
  • create potions and magical items as an extension of Arena'S SpellMaker. Like in character creation, items can be made more powerful if a side effect is included
  • Magical items appear with a green background in your inventory
  • have eavesdropping ability
  • you can choose an option so that the terrain will have an affect on your constitution
  • read virtual books graphically covering aspects of Tamriel
  • Like Arena, the layout of major dungeons are fixed. The random dungeons will be more variable than those in Arena, which only had 4
  • Unlike Arena, there will be no dungeon riddles
  • a new CHILDGUARD feature which allows parents to set the amount of violence and sex displayed with password protection
  • will be a CD-ROM only game
  • the following Virtual Reality Helmets will be supported: Virtual I/o, CyberMaxx, Forte VFX1
  • the interface will be completely mappable by the player
  • a calender system conceptually similar to Arena's is used, however Daggerfall will have local and regional holidays as well
  • the automap is colour coded for urban areas to identify different buildings eg mages guilds

"What is wonderful about Arena and Daggerfall is that you can be and do whatever you want with virtually no limitations," said Bethesda President Chris Weaver. "Aside from all the sophisticated technology operating in the background we think that freedom is one of the most important features of TES series. The vast detail of the computer world we have created and the freedom to explore and live an unhindered life has hit home with numbers groups of "non-standard" role players. A case in point is the thousands of Arena users over age 55. We are very gratified by such cross-over demographics."

"We've taken the best elements from the highest quality game engines out there, and improved upon them", said President Chris Weaver. "X(n)gine has the immediacy of DOOM and DARK FORCES and the greater flexibility of DESCENT all in one engine."

"X(n)gine is the most sophisticated 3-D engine currently available." Weaver said. "The speed, clarity and dynamics are better than all the others within the 3-D genre. It's as realistic as you can get within the current limitations of the PC. We believe it is also the fastest at moving real world polygons."

"Daggerfall is the largest, most detailed CRPG ever created for a computer. There are something on the order of fifty thousand people, six thousand towns, tens of thousands of buildings, caves, dungeons, etc., etc.....Every single editor who has visited our lab has told us that Daggerfall will redefine the entire genre."


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