Dragons were central to the plot of Skyrim, having returned to Tamriel after disappearing from the land during the reign of Tiber Septim. Although the last main Elder Scrolls game focused heavily on dragons, that does not mean that they should be absent from The Elder Scrolls 6.
In fact, the lack of focus on dragons in The Elder Scrolls 6's main plot could allow for encounters with the creatures to be made far more interesting and story-driven in the next game. Here's how the next Elder Scrolls should handle dragons, and why dragon encounters could end up being more interesting after the Dragonborn's story has come to an end.
The vast majority of the dragons seen in Skyrim are random world encounters. As the Dragonborn increases in power, so too do the dragons that appear to attack the Dragonborn. As the game goes on and the player levels up they are exposed to increasingly powerful types of dragons, with their own unique looks and shouts.
While there are a few dragons in Skyrim who can be found perched on Word Walls instead of appearing as part of a random world event, there are very few dragon encounters in unique lairs or at the end of story-driven questlines. Most dragons just appear overhead before attacking the player character. The game's randomly generated dragons are scripted to appear after a certain amount of time has passed since the last dragon encounter, often appearing directly after the player fast travels to a new location.
This kind of randomly generated dragon system was necessary in Skyrim for a few reasons. Most importantly, killing dragons was the only way to attain dragon souls, which could then be spent to learn new words of power. Without an essentially infinite supply of randomly generated dragons, it would be far harder for the player to progress through one of Skyrim's main mechanics. This also partially necessitated the ability for dragons to appear and attack anywhere in Skyrim's open world, otherwise hunting down dragons would risk becoming a burden for players who wanted to learn new shouts.
The Elder Scrolls 6 will almost certainly not star the Dovahkiin as its protagonist, but if it follows the pattern established in the series so far it will take place after the events of Skyrim. This means that dragons will have returned to Tamriel, but will likely be far less central to the next game's main story and principle mechanics. This provides Bethesda with an opportunity to create some interesting dragon encounters in The Elder Scrolls 6 that could be far more unique than the randomly generated encounters needed in Skyrim.
The dragons encountered in The Elder Scrolls 6 might have a unique place in the lore after the events of Skyrim. If the Dragonborn defeated Alduin in Skyrim and chose not to kill Parthurnaax, then Parthurnaax will express a desire to spread the peaceful teachings of the Way of the Voice to the rest of his kind.
Without shouts, The Elder Scrolls 6 won't need a Skyrim-style randomly generated dragon system. As such the few dragons that appear in the next game should have more unique characterizations and lair designs. Alduin's defeat could mean that The Elder Scrolls 6's dragons will be more peaceful, or at least reasonable, than the ones that returned in Skyrim. It is unlikely, however, that Parthurnaax will have been able to overcome every dragon's innate draw towards domination before the events of the next game.
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