The chief detail revealed is that players will get to choose whether they want to be on the vampires’ side or the vampire hunters’ (the Dawnguard) side. Choosing a side will, of course, determine which quests you will complete and what your experience will be like. For one thing, each side has a different house that you will be given: for the vampires, Castle Volkihar; for the Dawnguard, Fort Dawnguard. Lead Artist Matt Carofano explains:
“Each fort will provide the player with unique benefits. The Dawnguard will [provide?] new weapons and armor to fight vampires, including crossbows. The vampires can grant the [player?] bonuses to vampiric powers and give blood potions, which heal and count towards feeding.”
The brackets indicate where I had to guess at a word due to the difficulty of reading the text in the image.
If you choose the vampires’ side, you will gain the ability to become a vampire lord. It’s much like being a werewolf in that it is a transformation but unlike the werewolf form, you can choose to come out of vampire lord form at any time. As vampire lord, you’ll be able to use new powers, but townspeople will now attack you on sight. Some new vampire lord abilities:
- Vampiric Grip – suspend your enemy in mid-air while you drain its health
- Hover above the ground
- Turn into a swarm of bats
To balance this vampire buff, werewolves are also getting new abilities, such as “totem of the moon,” which allows players to call upon other werewolves to help them. A new type of dragon is also being introduced: Legendary dragons. These dragons are supposedly more difficult than ancient-class dragons, but the reason for that has not been explained. The Dawnguard DLC will also include other, new enemies, including: gargoyles, death hounds, and armored trolls.
Crossbows have also been added to this DLC. All of the perks players have put into archery will be applied to crossbows. Carofano elaborates more upon crossbows:
“The crossbows have a different feel from bows. They will remain loaded while running through the world and provide a quicker shot. They are, however, slower to reload. Another benefit is that each shot has a chance to stagger your opponent.”
Dawnguard also allows fans to finally change the facial features on their characters. This is made possible by visiting a new, hidden character in the Ratway of Riften. The DLC also adds new shouts, such as Soul Tear (which allows players to take the souls of defeated foes and use them to raise undead minions to fight for them).
To see the scanned images yourself, check out our gallery below. If you can’t wait to get your hands on the DLC and you happen to be an Xbox owner, go here to apply for the Dawnguard beta (and get the DLC for free).