As you all know, we have some die hard werewolf and vampire fans around these parts. I know this topic has been somewhat skirted before by TwistedOrthrus and Muffin Warrior--but what I'm posing to you today is somewhat different. I'm not asking which is more powerful in-game, which you prefer to play... Today I'm asking you to put yourself in Tamriel. The question has two parts, but they're both straightforward.
I'd choose vampire over werewolf, but I wouldn't do it willingly. I'd much rather remain human, and not be forced to subsist off of other people. But vampires (at least as I understand them) have more self-control than werewolves. while it's true that the circle can control themselves while in beast form, Synding couldn't. I really value my autonomy, so this makes Lycanthropy a no go for me. At least as a vampire I can be discerning as to who feed off of. Like a Tamrielic Dexter Morgan or something.
My humanity, not unlike my virginity, is something that I will wholeheartedly preserve, but if I was forced, I would go with vampirism. Why? For one, I'd rather be an undead human rather than a half-beast, and moreover, I've always wondered what blood tastes like. Oh, and chicks love vampires, so I'm going to have that going for me, which is always nice.
Ah, thank you for pick up on these important nuances, Adds. This is sort of what I was hoping someone would bring up. It's not just that you have to be OK with killing people, cannibalism, and maybe living in exile... it's that it would also completely change who you are. It's a really radical departure from the life and existence you would have always known.
Good points Borom. I would be inclined to argue the opposite--but only because I can think of two specific examples off hand in Skyrim and I have to really think hard in terms of vampire movies I've seen. (And before you ask, I completely skipped the Twilight phenomenon). Have you seen What We Do in the Shadows? I DID catch that one recently; that one definitely supports your point (and is worth a few laughs too).
I feel like in pop culture they might be more likely to play down side effects in the name of the narrative... or at least the temptation to do so would be there. But in Skyrim Serana is very much changed by what she's gone through with her transformation and the Circle (with the exception of Skjor and Aela) report that their thoughts have become clouded etc.. Maybe I just haven't seen enough vamp/werewolf flicks though.
Werewolf for me...
At least if you're a werewolf you get to live a fairly ordinary life.
Plenty of evil bandits about when it's 'that time of the month'...
It's a pretty blessed life as long as you aren't forced to transform while shopping for sweetrolls. Of course Hircine may have something to say when you do eventually die and go to the Hunting Grounds, if that ruling is strictly canon...
Vampires and werewolves have really been softened a lot in much of the last hundred years or so, versus stuff from when the original myths and legends were circulating.
They've gone from monsters to be feared, to tragic examples of how circumstance can destroy our lives to disturbing questions about how far you'd go to survive (Will you kill another person to save yourself? Will you do it over and over, forever?) to something to be desired.
They've become these sexy symbols of freedom from the restraints and limitations of civilization. Vampires are simply better than humans - stronger, faster, more attractive, a seductive and empowering state that often features almost no drawbacks whatsoever. Werewolves are a call to the primal, letting go of restricting, civilized concepts such as morality, social contracts and pants.
There's supposed to be horror in becoming these things - vampire knowingly and willingly murder others for their own pleasure/survival, while werewolves lose control of themselves and their actions, harming those closest to them. Obviously, a game like Skyrim (that isn't even about werewolves and vampires) needs to cut back on the negatives. After all, nobody would want to become them if they didn't offer a gameplay benefit, but I kind of wish there'd be more to it.
Neither, because I would master things like Alchemy, Conjuration, and Restoration. I need not sacrifice my beautiful face and marvellous odor for biologically immortality and power when I am aware of 'common' magic, especially when neither creatures have long lifespans in the 'wild'.