Invites for the Dawnguard Beta were sent out this week, and out of the thousands of people who applied, only 0.5% of the applicants were accepted. Sadly, I was not among them. Ever since I first saw the trailer for the new Skyrim DLC, felt like an 8 year old waiting for Christmas morning. Luckily the tentative release date for the expansion is June 26, so I and all the other aspiring crossbow wielding vampires don’t have much longer to wait. But despite the hype, not too many people really know what the expansion is about. Here’s a quick overview of some of the things you can expect to see.
The trailer shows two factions present in Dawnguard’s story: The Volkihar Vampires, lead by Lord Harkon, and a group of vampire hunters called, you guessed it, the Dawnguard. The Volkihar vampires are very ancient and power vampires from the Elder Scrolls mythos that are referenced in the in game books “Immortal Blood” and “The Volkihar”. They inhabit Skyrims coldest regions are said to reside in Castle Volkihar, near the waters of Winterhold. Their leader, Lord Harkon, wishes to use the power of an elder scroll and an ancient blood ritual that involves sacrificing his daughter to blot out the sun, making the land a shadowed paradise for horrible creatures everywhere. Not exactly the guy to win parent of the year. However siding with this faction will allow you to become the much hyped “Vampire Lord” allowing you to transform into a winged gargoyle Man-Bat creature that grants you some unique evil powers and more strength.
Then there are the Dawnguard, making their base in a large and secluded fort in the Reach. They are the Van-Helsing esque vampire hunters that rather enjoy the sun coming up every morning, and don’t like having the blood drained from their bodies, so they fight the Volkihar to stop the above mentioned from happening. Though less is known about this faction, expect to see some cool armor variations as well as the new crossbow weapons. There will also be Dragon Bone weapons present in the game, though they may not be allied with any particular faction.
They player can choose to help or hinder whatever faction they so desire, but another highly anticipated feature to this expansion is the skill tree that will be added for Vampirism and Lycanthropy. What this means for the casual player is that now, killing a bandit as a werewolf or vampire lord isn’t just fun, it also nets you experience, which you can use to level up and unlock new abilities for you monster alter egos. Vampire Lords can expect perks in their skill tree that do things such as increase Vampiric Drain’s power, give the player poisoned claws and allow you to summon gargoyle minions. Werewolves can expect things like faster healing, more powerful claw strikes, and howls being much more effective.
Short story long, It just looks awesome. I can’t wait to download this and start playing. Even after the expansions main quest line is concluded it still seems like there will still be fun to be had, because there will also be a whole bunch of new baddies added to the over world, namely Legendary Dragons and Armored Trolls. Come two weeks, I will have a more in depth review for you, but for now we wait for that dawn to rise.