Here are 20 things we've yet to or will never encounter in Skyrim, some for better, some for worse. Feel free to add to the list.
To get the most obvious point out of the way first, any game featuring giant winged iguanas that doesn't treat said giant winged iguanas as a taxi service is doing itself a disservice. Also: you're a Dragonborn. If anyone's got a right to park his or her rump on a dragon, it's you.
2. Pie persuasion system
Pies are for eating, not wooing recalcitrant shop-keepers with. We listed Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion's spinning disc of conversational dead-ends as one of 10 "game breakers" last month. Skyrim's a pie-free zone, thank the gods.
3. Separate armour pieces
Where previous games handled pieces of armour separately, Skyrim opts for more of an all-in-one approach in the interests of artistic coherence. You can't mix and match upper and lower armour, though you can still mess around with different hats, boots and other accessories. Fashionistas beware.
4. Class selection
Perhaps Skyrim's most-lamented omission among old school Elder Scrollers, designed to avoid the get-three-hours-in-and-restart experience reportedly typical among casual users. Perks, skills and independently levelling attributes sort of fill the breach - if you focus on spells, you'll be a wizard in all but name. Bit of a departure, hopefully for the best.
An inexplicable casualty. Are dragons too easy to bump off with polearms? Modifications to the Elder Scrolls combat system to discourage backpedal-to-victory tactics and accommodate new, ultra-cinematic finishing moves may have something to do with this.
6. Dragon transformation
If you can't ride a dragon, you should at least be able to assume the form of one. Again: you're Dragonborn. We're sure you have more in common with your progenitors than a tendency to scream a lot.
Done away with to stop players winging their way around otherwise impassable obstacles. And presumably so the dragons don't get upset at the loss of one of their natural privileges. Those dragons. Grasping, selfish little buggers, aren't they?
8. Skill/perk ally management
While you can pair up with NPCs, you can't fiddle with their abilities. Even if you're married to one, yes. What's mine is mine and what's yours is yours, apparently.
9. Key racial differences
Divisions between the playable races have been softened in Skyrim. Choice of origin no longer affects your maximum encumbrance or speed, for example, though races still boast unique abilities and starting attribute make-ups. Orcs get the Berserk power, for instance, while Khajiit can see in the dark.
10. Sub-hour completion
If you know what you're doing, you can polish off Oblivion in under an hour. The ending boss is a character within the world from the get-go, see. No such luck in Skyrim.
11. Total environmental destruction
Where there are dragons, there must surely be piles of scorched, shattered masonry. Trouble is, giving the scaly ones the power to gut Skyrim's terrain and building geometry would royally mess with Bethesda's NPC interaction and quest systems. Dragons will get to destroy stuff at intervals, but don't expect it to happen every five minutes.
12. A Karma gauge
Fame and notoriety are factors in Skyrim, but numerical Karma gauges are kaput. From what we can tell, NPCs will take your overall reputation into account when interacting with the player but remain responsive to local factors, like the precise manner in which you complete particular quests.
13. A Hardcore Mode
Tackling Fallout: New Vegas in Hardcore Mode was an eye-opening experience, to put it mildly. Wounds stubbornly refused to heal, guns jammed at the drop of a hat, and you'd wash down every other meal with a refreshing draught of radioactive toilet water. We have no idea how such a mode would manifest in Skyrim, a game that lets you shout people to death. We're not entirely desperate to find out.
So you've killed all the dragons, conquered all the cities, befriended all the shopkeepers and kicked over all the mountains. What's the use if you've nobody to share it all with? Co-op is the logical next step in the Elder Scrolls franchise's relentless upward march to global assimilation. It would also be a complete nightmare to implement, birthing all sorts of balancing hiccups besides the initial technical predicament.
15. Dynamic enemy levelling
Another feature we're glad to see the back of. Who likes revisiting an area to discover that all the local bandits have armed themselves with magical weapons while you were off saving the universe?
Depending on who you read/believe, Tamriel's dwarfs are either extinct, confined to subterranean settlements or gone from this plane of existence entirely. We explored Dwemer ruins in Morrowind. Now we'd like to meet their architects face to face.
17. Gunpowder weapons
The day Bethesda puts guns in an Elder Scrolls game will be the day the entire internet picks itself up, wrenches the continent of North America out of the sea and casts it into the sun. Still, we think a very small selection of adequately balanced gunpowder weapons, tucked away in the furthest reaches of the game world, could make a decent contribution to the experience.
18. Jumping to raise agility
Oblivion's grow-by-doing attitude to character stats meant you had to bounce up and down as though saddled with a full bladder to max out your agility. Skyrim does things differently. Let us never speak of this again.
19. Crazy areas
We've been promised crazy locations redolent of the Shivering Isles in Skyrim. Thus far, we haven't seen any.
20. Finding forks inside wolves
You'd be amazed at the things you can find in a garden-variety Oblivion wolf. Pelts and bones we can understand. The deluge of cutlery is a little harder to explain.
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