Skyrim 1.5 update goes beta

The latest update to Bethesda’s smash hit game is rolling out in beta form.

The 1.5 version of Elder Scrolls: Skyrim includes a few new features, but mostly its focus is on optimizing the experience for gamers who have already poured in dozens of hours into the game.

Among the updates that actually bring new functionality are additional kill moves and animations for melee weapons, increased item value for improving smithing skilll, and improved presentation for traveling underwater or in snowy landscapes.

The number of bug fixes is much greater. In total, a massive 27 bugs or glitches were addressed in the update.

And yes, as expected, number one of the list was an improved memory architecture, which will hopefully lead to fewer crashes on the PS3 and other platforms.

Here are some of the other major bug fixes that are part of Skyrim 1.5:

* Fixed issue with Deflect Arrows perk not calculating properly

* In “A Cornered Rat,” the death of certain NPCs no longer blocks progression

* Fixed issue where Farkas would not give Companion’s quests properly

* Fixed crash when loading saves that rely on data that is no longer being loaded

* Followers sneak properly when player is sneaking

* Fixed issue with weapon racks not working properly in Proudspire Manor

* Arrows and other projectiles that were stuck in objects in the world now clean up properly

* Fixed issue where “Rescue Mission” was preventing “Taking Care of Business” from starting properly

Skyrim was one of the best-selling games of 2011, and Bethesda has pledged to offer continuous support for the title well into 2012 and beyond. The beta version of 1.5 is now available for PC gamers through Steam, and Bethesda will subsequently issue a patch for the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions.