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Top 9 Skyrim Holds


Fenrir

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This was a manuscript I had that I wanted to make into a Youtube video for Skyrim Week, but I ended up just scrapping it. So for the entertainment of you all I'll post it here and you guys can see what I think are the best and the worst Skyrim Holds. Leave your opinion below as well, but this is going to be long and ranty.

 

The terrain of the hold, the quests, the enemies, locations, and most importantly the cities and towns will factor into how I rank these holds. I only have 2 rules:

- No DLC based content factors into the ranking

- And since there are only nine holds in Skyrim, this is going to be a Top 9, and not a Top Ten.

 

  1. Hjaalmarch

I’d just like to say that this hold is so bad that the most substantial quest for this hold is the quest cures Vampirism. *Sighs* this is going to be a tough segment.  {Insert some noise here}

This hold has NO redeeming qualities WHATSOEVER. There are no good quests, the terrain is just endless snow with no other substantial features, no unique/important locations, and the city is pretty bad in itself. If this hold was done away with completely, I don’t think anyone would notice much less care.  The terrain around the Hold does little to differentiate itself from the other snowy holds and let’s be honest: when was the last time you had a good and solid questline in Morthal? NEVER. And don’t think the capital city has escaped my wrath. Normally cities in Skyrim have some sort of important industry to their city that keeps them economically afloat: Riften has fishing, The Pale has ports, the Reach has mining, Whiterun has farming. But what does Markarth have? NOTHING. WHAT IS KEEPING THESE PEOPLE AFLOAT FINANCIALLY I DONT UNDERSTAND! You could argue that they have that marsh around the city, but that doesn’t matter because the Marsh is so shallow you can walk in it so that’s no good for fishing! Maybe its just me, but I excessively despise this hold and city.

 

  1. Winterhold

You guessed it: Winterhold. I’ve found that if this hold is not at the absolute bottom of people’s lists, it’s never far from it. Look, I’m going to cut right to the chase: there are like 4 buildings in Winterhold’s capital. Oh wait, there are actually FOUR BUILDINGS IN WINTERHOLD. Ivarstead has more houses than that. I know, I know, they have the whole backstory about how the city was destroyed, but really? It looks like some just stuck some shacks together and called it a major city. The terrain is, like Morthal, bland and dreary. The only thing that saves it from being dead last is that you have the College of Winterhold, which albeit a shitty Guild, it’s a start. And I suppose you have some Septimus Signus quests here as well, but this Hold is still pretty bad. Roll the transition.

 

  1. The Pale

 

This hold had potential. It had some nice ports, the town was fairly nice, albeit a little underwhelming, I kinda liked the way they did the snow in this hold, and there were two fairly good Daedra quests. Are you noticing a theme here? This hold just has nothing really to make it stand out. This hold is the pinnacle of mediocrity. The terrain was good, but didn’t really stand out to me. The quests were alright, no favorites but there were some good quests. The towns and cities are alright. Like I said, this hold is pretty average, and maybe that’s what frustrates me the most: it does nothing to stand out from its peers. I don’t really have much else to say about this hold because like I said, this Hold is just meh.

 

  1. Eastmarch

 

I have sort of a love - hate relationship with this Hold. On one hand I fucking hate all the Nords who are bigoted and racist bastards who don’t understand that the Empire is just doing what they have to do to survive the Great War and that their rebellion is making things worse and the  Thalmor our going to kill us all thanks to them and - Oh sorry, I’m rambling aren’t I. On the other hand however, I love the city of Windhelm. This is one of the only cities in Skyrim that actually feels like an actual city. The city is big and it actually feels like there’s a lot to explore in this city.  And the quests are really nice touches: completing the white Phial, my personal favorite Daedric quest in the Boethia one, and a chase for a murderer. Plus, it has the best house money can buy (Hjerm), which definitely isn’t hurting it’s case either. The only thing that stops me from ranking this hold much higher is I just fucking hate the racist Nords in this city. They’re really massive douchebags.

 

  1. Falkreath

 

Okay so this is where the holds start getting good and I won’t just rip into them anymore. Falkreath is going to start us down this path of good holds and for good reasons. I really like what Bethesda did with the environment in this hold. In the words of the Skyrim Wiki, Falkreath is “covered in characteristic pine forests and described by its citizens as being covered in a fine mist that makes it seem seasonless.†  Sounds interesting enough doesn’t it? And it is. The foggy forests make for a great terrain dynamic, one of my favorites in Skyrim. I will say the capital isn’t amazing, but I think it’s a fitting town for the surrounding region and has an interesting backstory regarding graveyards. Also there are two Daedric quests to be found here and the Dark Brotherhood calls this hold their home. So those are all pluses. And this is the hold with Pinewatch in it? Yeah, it deserves it’s spot. Let’s move on before people rage at me.

 

  1. Haffingar

 

This is where the holds are tricky because they could have gone either way, and I know a lot of you may be surprised to see it this low. This hold is critically acclaimed as being the most aesthetically pleasing hold in Skyrim and I’d agree. So you may be sitting there asking, Well [REMOVED], if you agree why is it so low? And I would respond with a welll thought out reply, but I don’t have one. The only reason this is so low is because the other holds are so good, it’s hard for me to rank it higher, so take this low ranking with a grain of salt. Yes, this hold is truly a sight to see. The capital city is really pretty and so is the surrounding areas, but besides being pretty what is so great about this hold? From a technical standpoint this hold offers a series of unique locations that no other hold really offers: ships. Yes, it’s a small detail, but a detail I thoroughly enjoyed none the less. No other hold has this type of location and it allows for some nice quests and whatnot. Speaking of quests, you get to infiltrate a Thalmor embassy, visit the mind of a madman, do the Meridia’s Beacon quest, violently ruin a wedding, and assasinate the Emperor all in the same hold. Pretty good if I say so myself.

 

  1. Whiterun

 

Cant resist our origins can we? No, no we can’t, Whiterun, in contrast to Solitude, is great from a practical standpoint. Jarl Balgruuf is the only Jarl in all of Skyrim genuinely concerned with the safety of his people and not just his political standpoint in the war. Also Whiterun, the city, strikes the perfect balance between being a big city, but being easy to maneuver around.  And let’s be honest, we’re all a sucker for our starting point. The terrain is vast plains and random streams, nothing too impressive, but at the center of the plains Whiterun boasts a great geographical feature: the Throat of the World, the highest peak in Tamriel. Also, the Companions call this region their home. Quests in Whiterun include investigating a Whispering Ghost behind a door and one of my favorite quests in the Alik’r Warriors quest. Plus, this hold is home to everyone’s favorite priest of Talos: Heimskr.

[TALOS THE MIGHTY, TALOS THE UNERRRING!]

 

  1. The Rift

 

Yes, the hold that is home to cutthroats, thieves, and bandits claims the number 2 spot. The Rift is home to the Thieves Guild, my personally favorite guild, corrupt government, and of course, fishing. Much of the Rift is composed of lush, autumn-colored valleys and rivers, surrounded by mountains to the south, east, and northeast. This hold is great for hunting as sabre cats, bears, and wolves all call this region their home. And this hold is quite literally CRAWLING with Frostbite Spiders. The whole feel to this hold is great, with the whole “Maven Black Briar controls everything and the guards are corrupt and Riften is dangerous†is a great dynamic. The quests are great too, you can reconstruct the Galdur Amulet, you can help an Orc Stronghold lift a curse laid by a daedra, help a guy kill his ex-fiance, or you can recover the lost treasures of Angarvunde. But boy, I don’t know if I have hammered this point home enough: the feel to this hold is so great. I just love the Thieving scoundrel feel to the city. And that earns it the number 2 spot.

 

  1. The Reach

Ah yes, that could only leave the reach. I love this hold for so many reasons. I don’t know where to start, so I’m just going to try and tackle one thing at a time. I’ll start with the Forsworn. The Forsworn are natives of the Reach who are fighting a long war of Independence in an attempt to take back the Reach from the Nords who took it from them. Thus they serve as the main enemy in this area and it is a great contrast to the too often found draugr and bandits. These brutal natives characterize the mountainous Reach, and are a perfect fit. Which leads me into my next point, the geography. The geography of the Reach is mountainous and rocky and provides for a tough and gritty feel. Oh! And don’t let me forget about the unique locations this place has. The Reach is home to some of the most famous locations in Skyrim: Bard’s Leap Summit, Reachwind Eyrie and Skyhaven Temple. If you’re not familiar with these locations look them up, they’re quite the treat. And, and, and! The Quests in this hold are just to dieeee for. My favorite quest line ever resides in the Reach, that being the Forsworn Conspiracy questline. Also, Markath has two daedric quests just in the city, and one more to be found outside of the city in the Reach. Also, Markarth has my favorite Thieve’s Guild quest as well: the one where you sneak into Calcelmo’s Museum. It’s almost as if the guys at Bathesda said, “you know what? let’s just jam all the good quests into the Reach.†ANd I haven’t even tackled the capital: Markarth. This city is awesome: both aesthetically and practically. People complain that it’s “too stoney.†Shut your pie hole guys, it’s an epic design for a city.

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why did you go from city names to hold names?

 

imo the list is:

9. Falkreath

Generally boring place, not much of note other than Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. Littered with bears and stuff, pine forest is cool enough but the town is a craphole.

8. Winterhold

College of Winterhold has an interesting history, but the town and rest of the hold doesn't have much else to offer.

7. Morthal

Swamps and Labyrinthian. Fuck that.

6. Riften

It's Skyrim's version of Detroit, except more interesting. Everyone is kind of an ass, but has a cool lake and environment outside (if you can avoid wildlife roaming around everywhere)

5. Markarth

Cool design, Dwemer ruins are my favorite. Really like the area too, mountains are difficult to explore and have an interesting history. Too bad Forsworn aren't much different than the common bandit and there isn't any real reason to go into the city other than some scattered story missions.

4. Whiterun

Basically the main hub, really cool city to go to with a so-boring-it-isn't environment, which is actually different from the rest of Skyrim.

3. Solitude

Giant fucking castle, one of the more medieval city-like towns, with an interesting location and just the right amount of involvement in the story.

2. Dawnstar

The forest outside of Dawnstar as well as the ice plains are really cool, I don't really know why I like it so much.

1. Windhelm

Most badass city in Skyrim, awesome city design that's like a more badass, snowy Solitude. On its own is probably the most interesting city, and the location is fantastic.

 

why you gotta support the Imperials

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I had no idea people still made skyrim videos.

 

I recently played skyrim again for the first time in a while because i packed it full of mods but I got tired of it after like ~15 hours.

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why did you go from city names to hold names?

 

imo the list is:

9. Falkreath

Generally boring place, not much of note other than Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. Littered with bears and stuff, pine forest is cool enough but the town is a craphole.

8. Winterhold

College of Winterhold has an interesting history, but the town and rest of the hold doesn't have much else to offer.

7. Morthal

Swamps and Labyrinthian. Fuck that.

6. Riften

It's Skyrim's version of Detroit, except more interesting. Everyone is kind of an ass, but has a cool lake and environment outside (if you can avoid wildlife roaming around everywhere)

5. Markarth

Cool design, Dwemer ruins are my favorite. Really like the area too, mountains are difficult to explore and have an interesting history. Too bad Forsworn aren't much different than the common bandit and there isn't any real reason to go into the city other than some scattered story missions.

4. Whiterun

Basically the main hub, really cool city to go to with a so-boring-it-isn't environment, which is actually different from the rest of Skyrim.

3. Solitude

Giant fucking castle, one of the more medieval city-like towns, with an interesting location and just the right amount of involvement in the story.

2. Dawnstar

The forest outside of Dawnstar as well as the ice plains are really cool, I don't really know why I like it so much.

1. Windhelm

Most badass city in Skyrim, awesome city design that's like a more badass, snowy Solitude. On its own is probably the most interesting city, and the location is fantastic.

 

why you gotta support the Imperials

 

Because some Holds have the same name as their capital city ...

Also can't say I like Windhelm like at all.

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  1. Eastmarch

On the other hand however, I love the city of Windhelm. This is one of the only cities in Skyrim that actually feels like an actual city. The city is big and it actually feels like there’s a lot to explore in this city.  And the quests are really nice touches: completing the white Phial, my personal favorite Daedric quest in the Boethia one, and a chase for a murderer. Plus, it has the best house money can buy (Hjerm), which definitely isn’t hurting it’s case either. The only thing that stops me from ranking this hold much higher is I just fucking hate the racist Nords in this city. They’re really massive douchebags.

 

 

Because some Holds have the same name as their capital city ...

Also can't say I like Windhelm like at all.

only Winterhold and Whiterun have the same names as their capitals :3

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only Winterhold and Whiterun have the same names as their capitals :3

 

I did what I did with Windhelm because the city plays a large part in the ranking of the hold and I was trying to say that yeah the hold was pretty shitty but at least the city was nice :3

Also the second was my error T.T

Oh, and you forgot Falkreath

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