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  • I don't usually make posts like this, but does anyone else hate Soul Cairn?  I think it lacks details, is boring, and is a pain to walk about.  Does anyone agree with me?

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    • Yep.  It is the single worst location to navigate in the game.

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    • Can someone please make a mod to skip it. Like they did with the Fade section in Dragonage: Origins

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    • By Azurah, I must have spent 24 hours in that thing. It was so boring it made me a bit depressed. And that place gives me the chills. I was really relieved when I finally got out of there.

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    • Yup, I got mayby 8-10 hours in trying to find all the collectibles and enough husks to buy stuff off that dude, all the while neglecitng to save, and then... boom! Game Freeze - Back to the start :(  

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    • same thing happened to me i forgot to safe to and bam game freeze i don't know how long i was in there maybe 3 hours and that Jiub quest so irritating could not find page 9

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    • I don't mind the look of the Cairn but i really hate finding my way around it, it was the same with Blackreach though and after about my third or fourth playthough i'd learned my way around.

      For Jiub's quest and page nine check the quests bugs list here (and if you look at the old thread here there is another possible solution thats been removed from the list).

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    • Ah, the soul Cairn. I wasted so much time running around like an idiot. It looks cool, but that is masked over by the fog. I always start walking one way, then forget where I'm going, whip around, and not know were I came from. I spent a long time searching for the Jiub's thing, only to come out with six pages. I don't hate the Soul Cairn, but I don't really like it.

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    • I personally used vampire lord to get through it. Still hated it though.

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    • itd be nice if they added some kind of landmarks to the map that u could navagate by

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    • It is kinda depressing, and a very bland landscape filled with nothing but heavy breathing skeletons. But I can appreciate it's existence. It also answers the questions people might have had about soul gems and enchanting in general.

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    • I appreciate it's existence, but it is very tedious: find Arvak's skull, find the pages of the Jiub's something, find the three keeper areas, find Valencia, find Durnaviir, find your sanity, find nothing! Yeah, a lot of search and destroy.

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    • Personally I love the Soul Cairn. The atmosphere is morbid, the area is interesting lorewise, and it doesn't have any annoying children.

      I don't get why people complain about navigating the area. It's not hard for a competent person to make a mental map of land marks with the point of reference being Valerica's Prison.

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    • I personally have only been in there once. All most of us are saying is that it is not the easiest to navigate. It is not a question of whether or not someone can make a mental map, we are saying that the fact that you have to do so in the soul cairn is very annoying.

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    • Wolf of Velka wrote: I don't get why people complain about navigating the area. It's not hard for a competent person to make a mental map of land marks with the point of reference being Valerica's Prison.

      No so much as being hard to navigate. Just rather very mundane and repetitive. And personally for me, searching for Jiub's Pages was a very mentally exhausting task. Mainly because I'd end up inadvertently searching the same area and ruin over and over again. because they all look exactly the same.

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    • Purrington wrote: No so much as being hard to navigate. Just rather very mundane and repetitive. And personally for me, searching for Jiub's Pages was a very mentally exhausting task. Mainly because I'd end up inadvertently searching the same area and ruin over and over again. because they all look exactly the same.

      I wouldn't say they all look exactly the same. It doesn't exactly take a keen eye to notice the differences between a dillapidated building and a fortress like the building where page 9 is located.

      Ottoman Hold wrote: I personally have only been in there once. All most of us are saying is that it is not the easiest to navigate. It is not a question of whether or not someone can make a mental map, we are saying that the fact that you have to do so in the soul cairn is very annoying.

      I guess it could be pretty difficult for someone to navigate the Soul Cairn if they don't know how to travel from point A to point B without the aid of a map.

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    • I really hated it my first time through, second time I was more prepared and was able to find everything ( many thanks to this wikia) and get out in a few hours. It's not hard to find your way around per se, but there is little in the way of depth perception and finding one little spot, like Arvaks skull, feels like tyring to find a needle in a haystack. I always check for where the stairs are and where the prison is and keep track of my directions, but unlike Blackreach it has well defined limits.

      Blackreach.... now that's a rant for another time.

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    • Blackreach gave me a similar issue, although I was better in there. At least you could see the walls, for the most part. However, unlike the soul cairn, there were four or five ruins inside it, which each needed to be cleared out. I hate tedious areas, especially on my first run through.

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    • Worst. Area. In. The. Game. History.

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    • I really like the design of the Soul Cairn, but the compass is really messed up. Those red dots don't show up and when you finally see the ghosts, chances are, you're dead. That is, if your level is low enough and you've been through the soul cairn only once. On my first playthrough I spent like an hour in there, half of that was looking for Arvak's skull, the other half, fighting Durneviir. On my last one, I spent two hours searching for the reaper fragments and jiub's opus. Searching for the Crimson Nirnroots in Blackreach is tougher, I think than searching for everything in Soul Cairn. To me, the Soul Cairn is one of the easiest parts of the game, but I'm probably the only one..

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    • While I have also felt some frustration regarding the Soul Cairn, the creators should be commended for their efforts, as it does exactly what it is meant to do. It's meant to be a place where souls can wander around forever, and never feel like they're any closer to escaping. The depressing atmosphere and similar look of the buildings are spot on.

      Skyrim is first and foremost an RPG, so you are supposed to role play; be your character. If you are getting lost, frustrated and/or depressed being in the Soul Cairn, then it is working as intended, as you are feeling what people trapped in the Soul Cairn would and should be feeling.

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    • 93.127.86.213 wrote: Worst. Area. In. The. Game. History.

      Well, what did you expect? The Soul Cairn is just one massive graveyard, where the dead still walk. Not exactly the kind of place where you'd throw a party...

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    • Whilst it's no so much that I "hate" it but like others have said I do find it a navigational nightmare, also it's a really dark and depressing, I can only imagine how horrid it must be for the souls who are trapped there for eternity, especially the Nord souls who might have otherwise gone to Sovngarde.

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    • I hated it and the Forgotten Vale the first time I played DG, but afterwards, when I memorized the ways I needed to go, things got a lot easier.

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    • Kiadony wrote:
      I hated it and the Forgotten Vale the first time I played DG, but afterwards, when I memorized the ways I needed to go, things got a lot easier.

      Really? I thought the Forgotten Vale was beautiful.

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    • Kaztaani wrote: Really? I thought the Forgotten Vale was beautiful.

      It is, but it took me forever to find my was through it the first time I played. I'm not sure why.

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    • Yeah, I'm about to say. Why would anyone hate Forgotten Vale? One of the most unique, and best looking places in Skyrim in my honest opinion.

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    • I don't hate its looks. I just suck at navigating places in video games sometimes. Heck, it took me a while to find the way to Fort Dawnguard the first time, as well. Since I wanted to beat the entire questline for DG in one sitting, by the time I got to Forgotten Vale, I was already frustrated and near rage.

      Basically this is how it went for me:

      • First, spending way too much time finding the fort because I thought Clairvoyance was bugging out;
      • Then, spending way too much time looking for Sorine's bag. It never occurred to me that it was that close.
      • Then, getting hopelessly lost at some point in Castle Volkihar due to one oddly placed quest marker and my failure to see a gate.
      • Then, since I wasn't that far into the main questline with that character, I had to do Elder Knowledge, basically. I swear Alftand is huge.
      • Then there was Soul Cairn, where my sense of direction failed me completely. Despite the quest markers. And just walking back and forth in it started to irritate me.
      • Then, in Darkfall Cave, you can imagine that I also got lost a lot, at that point I felt like rushing through it, so I spent a while just running around there in panic (did I mention that character also wasn't high-leveled enough to fight the Falmer confidently?).
      • And then I got to Forgotten Vale, already enraged and really, really just wanting the whole thing to end. So I started running and getting lost, again. For some reason, I failed to navigate to the Glacial Crevice because I thought that the way ahead was somewhere on the very top of the Falmer settlement... Yeah.
      • Thankfully, I really enjoyed the Vyrthur fight. So that was a plus. It was reasonably hard for my underleveled character, but I pushed through, mostly with Fire Breath.

      The rest I finished rather quickly, mostly because it didn't involve any more walking.

      For the second time playing DG (technically third, but I have yet to complete that one), I did it with my tank character, and it was a lot easier. Turned out that both Soul Cairn and Forgotten Vale aren't too big. Things truly are much easier when you know where to go.

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    • I agree, Darkfall Cave was a bitch to navigate. But once I reached the frosty surface of the Forgetten Vale... ahh, all the pieces fell into place. Place was out of this world. Even Serana thought the same.

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    • It's just boring, blan and empty. It's fair I guess, given it's lore. I just wish there was more in it. I can't seem to find any good mods that add to it. I love the theme, and it really isn't hard to navigate. It's just vast and empty. Again, like the lore would describe. I don't know, the quests inside felt like a low-rated quest mod to be honest. If at least the quests had been better, or if there were more of them(maybe more interactions with the souls?). That alone would make me happy. No one seems to want to touch it since it's such a small part of the DLC, but it would be an imense improvement if only the souls had more dialouge. Imagine, if that's enough to change it, what would a full overhaul be like? It doesn't have to be like Wyrmstooth or Falskarr. You can tell instantly once you enter The Forgoten Vale that they (Bethesda) spent most of their efforts there. The Soul Cairn seems like something you make when you want it to be good but have something else to work on as well. I think they had to choose, and they chose The Forgotten Vale.

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    • Purrington wrote:

      Well, what did you expect? The Soul Cairn is just one massive graveyard, where the dead still walk. Not exactly the kind of place where you'd throw a party...

      I'm sure Cicero would beg to differ.

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    • ShadeKoar wrote:
      I'm sure Cicero would beg to differ.

      All the awards!

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    • The idea that every soul goes to some hellish place after they've been soul trapped, no matter what they did in the waking life, is pretty cool to me, and it'd be a nice touch to see people you soul trapped end up in the Soul Cairn. I'd like to see Emporer Titus in the Soul Cairn cuz I always save The Black Star just for him, but I do agree that it is very tedious to go navigate around since everything looks the exact same, and there's really nothing interesting to do. I wish there were more interesting quests and more unique landmarks to encourage players to go back to it.

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    • 72.235.10.236 wrote:
      The idea that every soul goes to some hellish place after they've been soul trapped, no matter what they did in the waking life, is pretty cool to me, and it'd be a nice touch to see people you soul trapped end up in the Soul Cairn. I'd like to see Emporer Titus in the Soul Cairn cuz I always save The Black Star just for him, but I do agree that it is very tedious to go navigate around since everything looks the exact same, and there's really nothing interesting to do. I wish there were more interesting quests and more unique landmarks to encourage players to go back to it.

      Or an easier and faster way to get into the Cairn. The Cairn having unique creatures and dead animals would be enough for me to return there, I think.. Repeatable hunting quests, maybe?

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    • Imagine sniping in the soul cairn, its perfect, you can see for miles

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    • me i like the soul cairn becouse dont think im crazy but ican go their and adventure alot i travled across no place not seen at lvl 1 and when i was done i was lvl 87

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    • I don't hate it but I can say two words : Too big.

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    • I actually really like the Soul Cairn. I find the atmosphere calming and rather peaceful, but perhaps that's because I'm used to things that most people only see in their worst nightmares. The few enemies trying to kill me doesn't really detract from it either.

      As for finding ones way around, I do understand how it's annoying, even if I find my way around fine, it seems designed to purposely be confusing to most people. It's definitely not for everyone.

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    • The atmosphere is indeed pretty good.

      The quest about Jiub's pages is particulary annoying : I did it 2 times, everytime 1 page was messing. Finding a single page here is a nightmare.

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    • The Soul Cairn for me was a nightmare to navigate but it was pretty calming.

      Apocrypha on the other hand...that place has given me real-world nightmares.

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    • Gameplay wise, yes.

      Lore wise, no. I love it for the personal role play possibilities, like using both my DB's to send various enemies ther every time a black soul gems is used lie...

      Astrid (first DB)

      Any member of the Forsworn

      Any member of the Thalmor

      And so on...

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    • I hated it on my first few playthroughs however I actually bothered to explore it on my most recent character and I liked it more it was just a bit tedious and a lot of it looked the same

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    • 82.171.70.174 wrote:
      same thing happened to me i forgot to safe to and bam game freeze i don't know how long i was in there maybe 3 hours and

      that Jiub quest so irritating could not find page 9


      have you looked underneath the spot where its supposed to be?? it could be that it could've got knocked out of its original place

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    • 68.231.32.32 wrote:
      Imagine sniping in the soul cairn, its perfect, you can see for miles

      you can with a perk

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    • 68.231.32.32 wrote: Imagine sniping in the soul cairn, its perfect, you can see for miles

      Imagine? That's pretty much the only way I play the game. I prefer to avoid a direct battle and play it safe so that's how I play and I can take out any enemies before they even find me. I can literally be right in front of most enemies and they still won't find me so that's pretty funny when you shoot someone but don't kill them and they look for you but don't find you, much like that skyrim animation

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    • Kiadony wrote:
      I don't hate its looks. I just suck at navigating places in video games sometimes. Heck, it took me a while to find the way to Fort Dawnguard the first time, as well. Since I wanted to beat the entire questline for DG in one sitting, by the time I got to Forgotten Vale, I was already frustrated and near rage.

      Basically this is how it went for me:

      • First, spending way too much time finding the fort because I thought Clairvoyance was bugging out;
      • Then, spending way too much time looking for Sorine's bag. It never occurred to me that it was that close.
      • Then, getting hopelessly lost at some point in Castle Volkihar due to one oddly placed quest marker and my failure to see a gate.
      • Then, since I wasn't that far into the main questline with that character, I had to do Elder Knowledge, basically. I swear Alftand is huge.
      • Then there was Soul Cairn, where my sense of direction failed me completely. Despite the quest markers. And just walking back and forth in it started to irritate me.
      • Then, in Darkfall Cave, you can imagine that I also got lost a lot, at that point I felt like rushing through it, so I spent a while just running around there in panic (did I mention that character also wasn't high-leveled enough to fight the Falmer confidently?).
      • And then I got to Forgotten Vale, already enraged and really, really just wanting the whole thing to end. So I started running and getting lost, again. For some reason, I failed to navigate to the Glacial Crevice because I thought that the way ahead was somewhere on the very top of the Falmer settlement... Yeah.
      • Thankfully, I really enjoyed the Vyrthur fight. So that was a plus. It was reasonably hard for my underleveled character, but I pushed through, mostly with Fire Breath.

      The rest I finished rather quickly, mostly because it didn't involve any more walking.

      For the second time playing DG (technically third, but I have yet to complete that one), I did it with my tank character, and it was a lot easier. Turned out that both Soul Cairn and Forgotten Vale aren't too big. Things truly are much easier when you know where to go.


      i don't know why you had trouble with finding the fort dawnguard you know once you get the quest from the orc who works there you would get a questmarker...you did get one did you?

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    • I find it tedious although I've played enough to navigate my way around reasonably well. It's very samey. I'm not fond of blackreach either, although I think it's more the harvesting than the exploring that irritates me.

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    • Honestly it’s the most Oblivion like portion of the game. It’s almost exactly the same as going through an Oblivion Gate pretty much lmao the area’s layout, navigation, even the keepers and their towers were sort of reminiscent of Oblivion. That’s the only reason this place is redeemable for me, the misc. quests kinda suck, and holy jheez was it ever a waste of time to grab all of those soul husks for an elven helmet and the flames spell tome -,-

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    • The soul cairn is awesome. Atmospheric, one of the most atmospheric places in the entire game in fact. As someone said, it's somewhat reminiscent of entering an Oblivion gate, an albeit very large one. I hate it for many reasons, don't look forward to going in there, want to leave sooner rather than later, but I think that's the point. You're supposed to feel that way. It's not supposed to be a fun loveable place. The living aren't welcome, it's no wonder it screws with your mind with the difficult navigation.

      Too big? If it were small and brief with fewer quests to do people would whine that it was too small, too easy. Come on.

      Boring? You're doing it wrong then. If you're finding some of the side quests inside there too tediiious then why not just stick to seeking out Valerica and getting out as quick as possible and just ignore the rest? No soul husks, no juib's opus, ignore the dead horse, etc. In and out like a ten minute wal-mart run. Why not rush the whole game in fact, it's 'boring' right?

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    • i like soul cairn, but this place made me chills

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    • 177.66.72.194 escreveu:
      eu gosto de alma cairn, mas este lugar me fez arrepios
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    • is it just me or does that sky void look like a giant eyeball?

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    • Tsumefan2 wrote:
      Kiadony wrote:
      I don't hate its looks. I just suck at navigating places in video games sometimes. Heck, it took me a while to find the way to Fort Dawnguard the first time, as well. Since I wanted to beat the entire questline for DG in one sitting, by the time I got to Forgotten Vale, I was already frustrated and near rage.

      Basically this is how it went for me:

      • First, spending way too much time finding the fort because I thought Clairvoyance was bugging out;
      • Then, spending way too much time looking for Sorine's bag. It never occurred to me that it was that close.
      • Then, getting hopelessly lost at some point in Castle Volkihar due to one oddly placed quest marker and my failure to see a gate.
      • Then, since I wasn't that far into the main questline with that character, I had to do Elder Knowledge, basically. I swear Alftand is huge.
      • Then there was Soul Cairn, where my sense of direction failed me completely. Despite the quest markers. And just walking back and forth in it started to irritate me.
      • Then, in Darkfall Cave, you can imagine that I also got lost a lot, at that point I felt like rushing through it, so I spent a while just running around there in panic (did I mention that character also wasn't high-leveled enough to fight the Falmer confidently?).
      • And then I got to Forgotten Vale, already enraged and really, really just wanting the whole thing to end. So I started running and getting lost, again. For some reason, I failed to navigate to the Glacial Crevice because I thought that the way ahead was somewhere on the very top of the Falmer settlement... Yeah.
      • Thankfully, I really enjoyed the Vyrthur fight. So that was a plus. It was reasonably hard for my underleveled character, but I pushed through, mostly with Fire Breath.

      The rest I finished rather quickly, mostly because it didn't involve any more walking.

      For the second time playing DG (technically third, but I have yet to complete that one), I did it with my tank character, and it was a lot easier. Turned out that both Soul Cairn and Forgotten Vale aren't too big. Things truly are much easier when you know where to go.


      i don't know why you had trouble with finding the fort dawnguard you know once you get the quest from the orc who works there you would get a questmarker...you did get one did you?

      did you know you don't have to look for her bag? you can always pick up another dwemer core somewhere else and it would save you a bunch, and if you have a high enough speech level you can persaude her that you are in a hurry and you don't have to look for the dwemer core

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    • I agree with poster above, just too big for the quests involved and despite people with the Master Mind-Mapping perk like Wolf of Velka (/sarcasm), it is overly confusing to navigate for the content therein. The whole place feels like the devs planned on adding more quests, but simply had other priorities that were more important, ran out of time, or they disliked the Soul Cairn as much as the rest of us,

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    • I think this place is a filler to the DLC. How much time did you spent walking there on your first playthrough? It could easily add no less than a couple of hours to the total gameplay time, so the DLC would seem bigger than it was.

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    • It didn't make since because you're soul can only be taken by a dragon or other dragonborn but yet it tries to eat your soul. On top of that Serana can take a piece of it? That's a story flaw. Durneviir said they couldn't have his soul.

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    • Just finished my third playthrough and I love the aesthetic/vibe of the soul cairn but was curious what people thought, not sure if this thread is really representative but anyway, I can see the complaints, (tedious, hard to navigate, empty/repetetive) but for me it gets more fun each time I play it, this time it took 2-2.5 hours to do all the quests prior to actually entering the castle (husks, Arvak, Jiub, reaper, spell tomes, keepers), that was taking my time, running on foot and exploring everything. I think the problem is most people aren't the thorough, bordeline obsessive completionist player I am and don't play games to soak in every detail but rather to breeze through as many quests as quickly as possible which I hate. But the reason that relates here is I think that, in their impatience, people may accidentally waste time and mental energy running around this place like chickens with their heads cut off. Not to diss. I have legit advice for those who want to quickly and efficiently find everything without looking it up and rarely getting turned around. Compartmentalize, explore area by area starting with the main road then loosely circling the borders and exploring each structure, sweep the area, can even take notes on a paper so you know what you have and where you got them, sounds like extra trouble but my skyrim paper actually saves my brain a lot of work (looking at you stones of barenziah). With a few exceptions, everything in the soul cairn is in/on a notable structure or landmark. And always carefully check the ground at prominent locations like near chests and crystals cause nothing's worse than realizing you left something at a place you looked right at an hour before (max efficiency = minimum backtracking). The soul husk thing should be a breeze, I had 25 before I ever got to the dude but his stuff is useless anyway, can just use the husks for the crystals if ya want. Like I said I'm slightly obsessive so naturally I hoard the husks for no reason. The keepers and reaper are awesome, wish I could see them more before they die and disappear into a ghostly remains pile or whatnot. But yeah really like that place. This time I found all 10 pages of the opus without trying (yeah I know it's different the third time), but made me realize most of it's a mind game that makes it seem harder than it is the first time round.

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    • I just hated it for the buggy mess it is. Had to start over multiple times and got 3 corrupt saves in the proces. Still don't know why it crashed repeatedly. Had to download mods to make it work.

      The jiubs quest was a pain to navigate but I got them all. Found the horse along the way the soul for that quest was walking by at the moment so I could wrap that up fast. The first time the main quest didn't start. So me and serena were standing before her mother who just stood there behind a pillar. I don't want to do it again. I spent more time trying to get it to work than actually playing the damn thing. I like the lore and the enemies are nice. Don't like the side quests that much and loath the seller. Not for asking husks just for having to go through the same dialog for every item. Speed it up, your a seller no need to wrap up every single transaction seperatly.

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    • Not a fan of the Soul Cairn either, same with the Forgotten Vale.  Seems like I hang out in those areas just long enough to finish the quests and get all the unique items then never come back (although the items/abilities you get such as the spell to summon arvak, or the ability to be a vampire lord are worth the tedium).  Had a much better time exploring Solstheim from the Dragonborn dlc, plus it gave me additional dragon priest masks to collect.

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    • A FANDOM user
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