Skyrim on productivity and relationships, Part III
March 23, 2012 by K. Brian Kelley
This is the last in a 3 part series on lessons I’ve seen demonstrated in the game, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The complete list:
Today’s post will concentrate on relationships. In Skyrim, relationships are important. You cannot succeed in relationships. Unlike a lot of RPGs, you actually have to work with people throughout the quests. This isn’t a game where you have mindless, faceless merchants and you do all the heavy lifting yourself. And thus Skyrim can remind us of important lessons with regards to real life.
You can’t do it alone.
There are certain quests where you must have help. In order to progress through the Companions quest line there are several. To complete the big quest, the slaying of the wimpy dragon (it really is a let down but I won’t issue a greater spoiler than that), you can only do so with help. So from a game progress perspective, you must have help.
In real life you can’t do it alone. There are people who help each and every day. Some help a lot and some help a little. Some get paid for it and some don’t. However, we all are helped. Look at it this way – if someone didn’t help us when we were babies, we wouldn’t be here. That doesn’t really lessen as we get older. So the thing to remember is that we all need help sometimes and that we shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for that help.
Pick your friends carefully.
The first time I ran through the game, I had picked up a follower who is best described as a “tank.” He did not mesh well with my character and I found fights harder and when he ended up dying in a fight, I didn’t restart the game. He was not a good fit and I should have just cut him loose. However, I didn’t, and my progress paid the price.
With my second character I carefully considered how I would go about combat. Then I chose and retained those followers who best fit the way I played my character. I know a lot of places say if you’re going to be stealthy you can’t have a follower, but that’s not true. You just have to have the right ones and maneuver them around traps. Pick wrong, and you will get in a lot of trouble like I did with my first character.
This is true of life, too. Sometimes the folks we are closest to are not the healthiest for us. Sometimes we have to distance ourselves and pick up new associates and friends. Those who chose not to can be dragged down by the ones who are only trouble for them. Carefully consider who you spend time with and who shares your counsel. It may mean all the difference in the world.
Sometimes those you trust will betray you.
If Jesus had his Judas Iscariot, you know that there would be cases in Skyrim where you will be betrayed. This happens several times through the game and in a few quest lines, most notably the Thieves’ Guild and Dark Brotherhood ones (no surprise). You have to put your trust in certain people, but no one is infallible. This is true in the game and it’s true in real life.
So what can you do about it? Nothing. In game those plot lines are not for changing. In real life we don’t have perfect vision nor a game FAQ to find out who is going to betray us next week. The key in life, like in the game, is to keep pressing forward. Expect occasional disappointment in the fact that folks will outright betray you for their own gain. This is inescapable. However, don’t dwell on it, don’t brood over the person who did it to you, just seek to continue moving forward. That’s often the best revenge anyway.
Diplomacy can turn an enemy into a friend.
There are several cases in the game where an NPC will give you the cold shoulder, however, after doing a favor for said NPC, they look upon you favorably. In a few cases they will even agree to be your follower. A lot of times in the real world a little diplomacy goes a long way. Even if you know you’re right, the question that should come to mind is, “Is it worth it?” If it’s not, why prolong a fight or disagreement? For pride’s sake? There are times when you stand your ground, such as for ethical or moral reasons. But does it really matter if a particular pitcher threw 225 innings instead of 212 if you’re not a scout, GM, or personnel type for a baseball team? When in doubt, try to make a friend and not an enemy.