Content of the article: "Mod shout out – KS Dragonrend Overhaul – a small change that changes a lot"
Let's talk about the Alduin fights.
It isn't controversial to say that Skyrim has a rather lackluster final boss. Part of it is because of Alduin himself: he's kind of a pushover, especially when you aren't fighting him alone but alongside three Nord heroes as badass as yourself. There are many mods that aim to fix this and make Alduin a proper World-Eater. This post isn't about these mods.
The problem I want to talk about is the way Dragonrend is used in these fights. Alduin is invulnerable in the air, you have to shout him down to fight him. This is a huge plot point. But in the end, it only matters at the very beginning of these fights. Once Alduin is on the ground, it is trivial to keep him there indefinitely. So the entire fight is just standing next to him, spamming attacks, and pressing the shout button whenever the cooldown ends. Booooring.
This mod mostly advertises itself as a fix for various issues with how and when Dragonrend forces dragons to land. I installed it for that purpose, without giving it much thought. But there is one change it makes that I overlooked, one change that is only alluded to on the mod page, yet one change that gave me a very pleasant surprise when I fought Alduin for the first time.
KS Dragonrend Overhaul increases the duration of the effect to 30 seconds, and the cooldown to 32 seconds. It makes the cooldown slightly longer than the effect.
And that changes EVERYTHING.
Since you cannot keep Alduin grounded indefinitely (at least not easily: I'll come back to that), the fight against him alternates between phases where he is flying around and you have to avoid his attacks and look for an opportunity to shout him down, and phases where he is grounded and you can attack him until he flies off. And that makes it much more fun!
The "grounded" phases are still a matter of spamming attacks, of course. But knowing that it is only a limited window of opportunity, that you need to get in as much damage as you can before time runs out, it no longer feels like a grind. In the "flying" phases, on the other hands, you have to pick the right opportunity to shout him down, weighing the reward – getting to damage him – against the risk – missing and having to wait the entire duration of the cooldown before trying again. The alternance between these phases makes for a varied, engaging fight that never gets boring.
Moreover, notice how the cooldown is only two seconds longer than the duration? The shout becomes available again just as Alduin finishes taking off. If you are quick and accurate enough, you can force him back to the ground before he flies off! So there is a reward for skill, but again, with a risk: if you miss, you'll have to wait.
In conclusion, I strongly recommend this mod, which for me turned the Alduin fights into the memorable, engaging, fun boss fights Skyrim deserves.
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