Is the Skyrim DLC worth it? Let’s answer that. Skyrim is one of the most beloved RPGs of all time, having provided Bethesda with a steady stream of income for almost a decade as it constantly launches on new platforms. It’s inevitable that we’ll eventually see a PS5 and Xbox Series X|S release, even if it’s just a 60fps update, meaning that both new and returning players will likely be curious about whether or not to buy the Skyrim DLC. There are three DLC in total – Dragonborn, Dawnguard, and Hearthfire. The first two are £13.49 each while the latter is just £3.39.
In total, counting the Special Edition and the various console ports that I’ve owned, I’ve amassed over one thousand hours in Skyrim, and a lot of that time was spent playing through the downloadable content. It’s safe to say that I’ll be able to guide you on this journey of whether or not they’re worth the extra pennies – unless you already own the Special Edition, which includes all of it. In that case, this’ll serve as a neat breakdown on whether they’re worth your time, not your hard-earned cash.
I’ll explain exactly what each DLC contains before diving deeper into my opinion on each one, sharing whether or not the price tag warrants the content, and whether that content is any good. Skyrim might be ten years old, but it’s still worth diving into today, so don’t be put off by that 2011 release date.
Skyrim: Is The Dragonborn DLC Worth It?
Dragonborn takes us back to the island adjacent to Vvardenfell, Solstheim. It’s the same location we ventured to in Morrowind’s own DLC, Bloodmoon, so it’s chock full of references that fans of the classic 2002 RPG will be clued into. However, the actual storyline of this decrepit ash-ridden spot is more Skyrim-oriented, despite the return of the Dunmer in all their glory. On the mainland, you get jumped by some hopped-up cultists after you nick the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller. They’ll declare you a false messiah, but you’re not, so they die pretty easily. With that, you read their note and voila, your journey to Solstheim and your rivalry with the primordial Dragonborn, Miraak, begins. Alternatively, you can simply hire a boat there from Windhelm’s docks, but that won’t start the main quest of this expansion.
Here’s everything you get for the price of £13.49:
- The Dragonborn questline
- The region of Solstheim, a new land to explore
- A shout that lets you tame and ride dragons
- A new Daedric plane to venture into – Apocrypha
- Stalhrim and Nordic weapons
- Chitin, Nordic Carved, Bonemold, and Stalhrim armor
- New ingredients
- The Dragon Aspect, Bend Will, and Cyclone shouts
The actual island of Solstheim is a beautifully bleak locale. It’s bogged down in the shadow of the Red Mountain, Vvardenfell’s looming volcano. There’s political intrigue with the resurfaced House Redoran, tucked away magic mushroom towers with House Telvanni, bloodthirsty assassins to duke it out with by way of the Morag Tong, Nords embracing the old ways with their historic culture intact, Rieklings overthrowing mead halls, ancient dragon lore being unearthed, and more. It’s Skyrim at its best, focusing on the aspects of the base game that were a treat to play. You get to feel like the powerhouse the Dragonborn is all while meeting a new cast of characters that are fighting against the oppressive return of Miraak, who has his own twisted agenda running in parallel with Alduin. There’s enough content, new story beats, and fascinating ideas that this could have easily launched as a tie-in, short game to keep us entertained while we wait for The Elder Scrolls 6. So, is it worth it for £13.49? Absolutely. That’s a bargain.
Skyrim: Is The Dawnguard DLC Worth It?
Dawnguard is a vampire-centric DLC with one of the series’ most popular characters, Serana, and it’s stuffed with intriguing lore. It is The Elder Scrolls itself at its peak, not just Skyrim. It starts off fairly innocuous after you reach level ten. Every single guard and their mother will tell you that they’re considering joining up with the vampire-hunting Dawnguard amidst an increase in attacks. This adds the quest to your journal, and from there, you can head over to the fort just by Riften to join up yourself. Now, there’s a choice here. You can either take the side of the vampires after returning Harkon’s daughter to him, or you can continue to help out the vampire hunters, stopping the bloodthirsty, undying monsters’ goal to blacken the sun so they can roam free and conquer Nirn.
Here’s everything you get for the price of £13.49:
- The Vampire Lord form and perk tree, which is similar to the werewolf one
- Changes to vampire and werewolf mechanics
- The Fort Dawnguard, Castle Volkihar, Dimhollow Crypt, and Soul Cairn locations
- Dragon bone armor and weapons
- Craftable arrows
- The Drain Vitality and Soul Tear shouts
- Legendary Dragons
- New ingredients
I won’t delve into anything too spoiler-heavy but suffice to say, some of the reveals later on in Dawnguard’s story make this a must-play for any Elder Scrolls fan, and certainly for any Skyrim fan. Beyond that, the Vampire Lord gameplay is some of the most fun you can have in the game, even if the Dawnguard faction has my heart. I remember going over to my cousin’s house when I was only 12 and tearing apart towns and cities for the hell of it, feeling even stronger than I did with my Dragonborn’s shouts. The Soul Cairn even brings forth a new mount that topples Shadowmere. They’re called Arvak, and they’re a beautiful, blue, fiery, skeletal steed. All in all, aside from a standout and epic fantasy tale that expands on Skyrim’s world in the best of ways, there’s a bunch of extra content that you can make use of in the base game and other DLCs. It’s absolutely worth it.
Skyrim: Is The Hearthfire DLC Worth It?
Hearthfire is a smaller DLC priced at just £3.39, bringing with it adoption and buildable houses. There are three different locations you can get an abode at – Dawnstar, Morthal, and Falkreath. Rather than being nestled in the city as per usual, you’ll get a nifty little retirement settlement in the outskirts, surrounded by nature. They start out pretty lackluster, but you can expand them with display cases, stretched-out storage spaces, and plenty of bedrooms for your children should you choose to adopt.
It’s a neat little expansion that’s certainly fun the first time around. In subsequent runs, it gets a little stale, and you’ll find yourself falling back to Breezehome or the many fantastic mods out there. It laid the groundwork for Fallout 4’s much better building system, at any rate, and you definitely get more bang for your buck than Oblivion’s horse armor. It’s worth it if you want a distraction that’s a bit different from the rest of Skyrim – something a bit calmer and more relaxing.
That’s all of the DLC. They’ll set you back a total of £30.37, which is half the price of a triple-A game. Granted, Skyrim’s ten years old now, but that’s a steal. Hearthfire isn’t the most exciting, but Dragonborn and Dawnguard are some of The Elder Scrolls’ best stories. If the sixth game manages to capture even a slither of the quality on show in those expansions, then it could be the best entry yet. Simply put, yes – these expansions are absolutely worth it, but you won’t be missing out on too much if you dodge Hearthfire.
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