Dawnguard is the first expansion pack for Bethesda's big game, Skyrim, and it's packing a lot of content for a DLC. According to the studio, it contains much more than your average content pack. Priced at 1600MSP, it damn well better be.
With the DLC's announcement well out of the way, the first details about Dawnguard have begun to surface with a feature profile on GameInformer. Dawnguard's story involves the return of a vampire named Harkon who intends to use the power of the Elder Scrolls, and an order of vampire hunters called the Dawnguard exists to stop him and his kind.
The player has the option of joining forces with the vampires, or taking up arms against them by becoming a member of the titular Dawnguard. The choice is said to present itself early within the DLC.
Depending on who you team up with, you'll gain access to a new home base replete with bonus powers. Joining the Dawnguard will grant you access to Fort Dawnguard, and offer you unique weapons and armor, including crossbows, to fight the vampires.
Crossbows offer a different feel from bows, and remain loaded to provide a quicker shot. Reloading takes time, however. Your archery skills will be used for the crossbow.
The vampires who make their home in Castle Volkihar will provide the player with bonuses to his or her vampiric powers and offer blood potions.
Players who join forces with the vampires will be able to unlock a Vampire Lord transformation. Much like the lycanthropic werewolf form in the original Skyrim, the ghastly form of the Vampire Lord allows the player to sprout wings and gain all sorts of new powers while in this mode. The Vampire Lord gets its own unique skill tree, allowing players to unlock various new powers and abilities to use with the form.
To even things out, the Werewolf form that comes with the Companions series of quests in the original game will also be getting a skill tree of its own. To unlock new skills for those skill trees, you'll have to kill your enemies while in those forms. It is separate from leveling up regularly.
In addition to the vampire storyline, players will have the opportunity to face new legendary dragons in Dawnguard that require the use of new tactics to defeat. The DLC will also take you to numerous new locations, including a trip into an Oblivion rift. Finally, the expansion will also include a few new dragonshouts for you to use, including Soul Tear, which allows you to raise the dead to fight for you.
Dawnguard is being released as a timed exclusive for the Xbox 360 this summer, and will be available to both the PS3 and PC a few months later.
Here's the tl;dr wrap-up:
– Two factions: the vampires and the vampire hunters—the Dawnguard. You can join either.
– New homes: Castle Volkihar or Fort Dawnguard.
– New powers and items: Joining the Dawnguard gives you crossbows, weapons and armor, while joining the vampires gets you blood potions and new vampiric powers.
– New skill tree: Vampire Lord.
– You can only choose to be a vampire or a werewolf. You can't be both.
– Vampire and werewolf skill trees can be leveled up while in those forms to unlock new skills. It is separate from leveling up regularly.
– New enemies to fight, including legendary dragons.
– New locations, including Oblivion.
– Archery skills are applicable for use with crossbows.
– A new character in the Ratway allows you to have a makeover of your face.
– Dawnguard is designed for characters past level 10.
– New Dragon shouts that can only be found in Dawnguard.