About a week ago, we reported some information based on pre-release gameplay footage of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that it was possible to become a werewolf in the game. Skyrim was released on Friday, and I’ve spent all weekend playing it; I can happily report that this is indeed the case.
Unlike vampirism, which in the Elder Scrolls series is often not worth the power it grants due to the serious drawbacks and the difficulty in curing the condition, being a werewolf in Skyrim really doesn’t give you a hard time. You can transform at will (once per in-game day) and are never forced to do so, nor do you have to transform at a particular time or with certain regularity. The werewolf figure model is pretty great — although if I’m being picky I’d say the head is a bit too large — and the animation is superb.
Be warned: minor spoilers follow. But also a video of a werewolf fighting a dragon.
I was given the opportunity to become a werewolf fairly early on in an optional (but worthwhile) questline, and of course I jumped at the chance. First, the advantages: You become immune to disease even in your normal form, and you gain a once-a-day ability to transform. When in werewolf form, you are shifted to a third-person perspective (and the transformation sequence is pretty sweet), during which you have a large amount of health — which you can restore by feeding on dead enemies, also extending your transformation time — and do tremendous damage with your claws. You also move at great speed and can drop to all fours for an even faster sprint.
The disadvantages: Don’t let people see you transform. It’s a no brainer not to turn into a werewolf in the middle of the town square, so it’s best to use the ability when you absolutely, positively have to kill every motherf**cker in the room. You also can’t get a bonus for resting, but it’s a minor boost at best and it’s not a great loss. While in werewolf form, you’re unable to use any kind of items, nor can you pick things up or interact with anything in a way that doesn’t involve clawing its face off. It’s also suggested in the associated questline — which largely involves killing werewolf hunters with extreme prejudice, a worthwhile pursuit — that the soul of a werewolf doesn’t go to Sovnheim (the game-world’s equivalent of Valhalla, more or less) after death, but instead to the Hunting Grounds of the daedra lord Hircine, to chase prey for eternity.
Check out this video featuring the transformation, and a werewolf fighting a dragon. A werewolf fighting a dragon.