Skyrim is a huge game. That's not even the best way to describe it at all. It's a highly involved, customizable, and in-depth experience that should please any fan of the role playing game genre. However, big games can be daunting to start, especially if Skyrim is your first game in The Elder Scrolls series. So, we decided to put together a list of tips to keep in mind to help aid your quest to defeat the dragons as the Dovahkiin and bring some comfort and peace to the residents of the world.
Before we get started with the tips, it should be said that Skyrim is worthy of a few playthroughs and experimentation with character building. Want to make a spell-sword who spends his off time as a thief? Sure, why not? Or how about an Orc who eschewed the barbaric ways of her people to be a mage? No matter what you decide to do, there's no wrong way to play the game. Hopefully, our Skyrim review was enough motivation to go out and purchase the game. Now, without further delay, let's get down to it.
Always carry a bow.
Yes, any character can be created thanks to the game's lack of specific classes, but that doesn't mean that characters should be without some kind of ranged weapon. In D&D games, it would be foolish to make any kind of character who didn't have the means to attack from range. Sometimes that distance advantage is all you need to deal some serious damage before getting the chance to use up close & personal weapons.
That being said, there's no disadvantages to having a bow. Come across any enemies or wildlife abound in the world, crouch, aim, and shoot at them. If undetected, the arrow just got a free x2 damage multiplier from a sneak attack, which makes a world of difference in any combat scenario. The bow serves as a great way to soften up enemies for up close weapons and it also builds the skill pretty easily. Heck, even throw a little poison on the bow for that first sneak shot and you've gained the upper hand.
Thieves who focus more on using a bow, rather than a dagger to sneak attack may find it a lot easier. There's also an Overdraw perk from the Archery tree or the Deadly Aim perk from the Sneak tree can create a very dangerous ranged character.Of course, it's just as important to keep Destruction or One/Two-Handed skills up as well for when things devolve into all out mortal combat.
Looting for value.
As Skyrim is an RPG, looting is a very important component to making money and obtaining new items. However, nobody can carry absolutely everything. Carry load is determined by stamina and if that isn't pumped high enough, then there will be situations where Sophie's choice must be made and the player must decide what is ultimately worth adding to their inventory. Sometimes, you might end up looting... unusually.
How can this problem be mitigated? First off, dungeons can be returned to after they have been cleared, and items that were left behind can be picked up. Dungeons remain empty for about three days in-game before they are repopulated by enemies. Should the time be available and money desirable, it's not a bad way to go. Barring that, examine all the items to be picked up and scrutinize their monetary value. For example, the Hide Bracers only weigh 1 and are worth 10 gold. That's not a bad pick up. On the other hand, the Ancient Nord Greatsword that weighs 14 and is worth only 20 gold? Not so much. Live by a simple ratio of value, like 1:10.
A lot of the time, the items worth the most are the ones that weigh the least, like magic robes, gems, or jewelry. Inventory space is precious and can fill up rather quickly if you don't keep an eye on it.
Your follower is a pack mule.
Of course, being overburdened with massive amounts of loot isn't something that has be handled alone. Having a follower is like having a really good pack mule, except it also attacks and doesn't bray. The earliest follower available is Lydia, who is sworn to carry your burdens, so she won't mind holding 10 sets of Elven armor. Keep in mind, the follower also has a weight limit, so make sure looting efforts are maximized as much as possible.
Depending on who your follower is and what they specialize in, equip him/her with some new equipment to increase their combat effectiveness. Lydia is actually a really good tank character, so back her up by giving her some better armor and maybe a better weapon. Followers also serve as warning signs occasionally while in dungeons, they'll make cliched comments, which might be a good idea to start saving.
Don't forget to block.
Yes, many a dragon may have been felled at the hands of the Dovahkiin, but sometimes, the little things can be just as deadly, even more so if they can swarm and surround. Whether a sword & board style or two-handed preference is chosen, blocking is still a very important skill. It's one of the few skills that level up pretty easily, especially if the tendency is to be in a lot of melee fights. Using the Shield Bash can also offer a good advantage against an opponent or two, as it staggers enemies to set up for a power attack.
Sure, stamina is lost, but the health that is saved is far more important. Think of it this way; would you rather end up using more health potions or stamina potions at any given time? Yes, this will not be apply to players who are opting for a pure mage playthrough, but mages can still utilize shields, just in case they have to.
The Block skill also applies to two handed weapons, so don't disregard investing points into the skill because a shield isn't being utilized in combat. Fights can get crazy up close, but just remember, blocking is better than not blocking. There are times however, where standing your ground will not work which leads us to our next point...
Know when to run.
Kenny Rogers said it best in "The Gambler," you got to know when to run away. In Skyrim, if faced with an overwhelming amount of problems in a fight. Retreat, regroup, and rethink. This might be a bit more difficult in dungeons, but in the open world, where all the space is available, run away. Look for a more tactically advantageous spot where enemies can be bottle necked. Mages, set up wards or start charging a spell. Warriors, drink a stamina potion and get ready to power attack. A thief can drink an invisibility potion and get ready for the sneak attack.
Nobody likes running away from fights, especially once several dragons have been felled under your hand, but it's sometimes better to live to fight later than die and have to re-do the fight again. Of course, being well prepared for a fight with health potions and a few poisons will also help out.
This might seem pretty obvious, and it is, but it's always nice to be reminded to save often. PlayStation 3 users will want to be careful and not have huge save slots as problems have been reported although they should be cleaned up with Bethesda's 1.2 patch.
Blacksmithing and enchanting are worthwhile.
If you want an easy way to earn some relatively quick cash that didn't involve chopping tons of wood, invest some points into the Blacksmith and Enchanting skills. Not only can great weapons and armor can be created (Daedric armor, anyone?), players can also be able to enchant them with some nifty powers. These are skills applicable to any kind of character and they are very much worthwhile to undertake.
For a fast(ish) way to make money, here's what can be done: Smith a bunch of iron daggers, enchant them with some kind of property, and then sell them off. An invested amount of 100 gold or so, can make a 1000+ gold profit.
Of course, to enchant, soul gems and the Soul Trap spell are required. Filled gems can be purchased/stolen at the College of Winterhold. It takes a little bit of running around, but doing this can help players earn good coin. Combined with selling general loot, that 25,000 gold house can be bought in no time at all.
These are but a very few things to keep in mind while playing Skyrim. Obviously, there are a lot of different things people are going to be doing, and there is an incredible amount of ideas that were not covered here. That's the beauty of Skyrim though, and players can inevitably find the answer to something by talking to people who are playing the game.
Tell us about your character and some interesting experiences you've had during your game.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
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