Skyrim completely overhauled the traditional leveling and skill mechanics of The Elder Scrolls series in a big way with its new perk system. Not only did this simplify and streamline its formerly daunting mechanical complexity, but the perks themselves provided much more palpable rewards for skill progression. They introduce progression milestones that have a real impact on your playstyle, beyond simply getting better at something or doing more damage, such as being able to slow time while you're aiming your bow.
However, as many cool perks as there are, not all of them are all they're cracked up to be. In fact, some of them are outright lame or pointless. This less fortunate side of the coin is what brings Game Rant to the table today. Below you'll find a ranked list of the absolute worst perks in Skyrim. Needless to say, if you haven't picked any of these up during one of your own playthroughs, it's probably best to keep ignoring them.
10 Speech - Allure
The speech system in Skyrim is likely the most deprecated incarnation that the series has seen yet. Even still, it does have its shining moments and is far from completely useless as a whole. The "Allure" perk, however, is responsible for approximately zero of these moments.
Allure simply improves your prices when trading with members of the opposite sex by ten percent. Sure, it's a neat little inclusion for roleplaying purposes. But considering the speech tree already possesses a line of perks that flatly boosts your trading value without gender limitations, this one's practically a wasted skill point.
9 Pickpocket - Extra Pockets
Your character's carry weight can be a little restrictive when first starting out. However, it's a self-solving problem. Your carry weight steadily increases while you're leveling up stamina, and there are a ton of potions and enchantments that can give the Dragonborn that extra boost they need to get to the nearest merchant.
Extra Pockets just adds a flat one hundred pounds to your carry weight. That's it. It doesn't scale, it can't be improved, and even then, it's a relatively pointless bonus. You're much better off saving the skill point and buying a few potions.
8 Heavy Armor - Cushioned
"Cushioned" would be a solid contender for one of the most pointless perks in the game if it weren't required to pick up the "Conditioning" perk. This one reduces the amount of fall damage that you receive by half while wearing heavy armor, but only so long as the fall wouldn't have been fatal.
Unless you are remarkably careless or lack depth perception, taking damage from falling shouldn't ever really be much of a problem. It's pretty easy to glance over a potential drop and reason out whether it's going to hurt or not.
7 Speech - Intimidation
As mentioned, Skyrim's speech mechanics are largely gutted, with a few shining moments here and there. Of course, those times when it does shine are going to involve the timeless triad of persuasion, intimidation, or bribery.
At a glance, beefing up any of these options seems like a solid point spent. After all, it'll be nice if they work on the odd occasion that you can actually use them. But this is before you consider that it's buried pretty deep in the tree and requires seventy speech to grab. By then, your speech options are already pretty effective, and you've likely already blown through quite a few situations where it would've been handy.
6 Destruction - Rune Master
Most of the perks offered in the spell casting trees are actually pretty good. They're effective or useful in one way or another and generally contribute positively to the experience of playing a mage. In fact, the problem presented by the "Rune Master" perk actually has more to do with the spells that it's supposed to effect.
Runes are almost heinously underpowered for how rare they can be used effectively. They essentially function as traps, ones set up on the ground to explode when an enemy comes near. With the AI's unreliable pathing and stealth detection, the situations in which this actually works are few and far between.
5 Heavy Armor - Fists of Steel
The first problem with "Fists of Steel" is its awkward placement. It's a perk that increases your unarmed damage depending on how much defense your equipped gauntlets provide. It feels like they just needed an excuse to shove it in somewhere, and the whole gauntlet component fulfills that role.
Beyond that, there's the obvious consideration - it's unarmed damage. Save for kicks or challenge runs, no one in their right mind does an unarmed playthrough. In the former two cases, sure, it's a fine perk to take, even if it's in a weird tree. But for the greater majority of players? It collects an awful lot of dust.
4 Pickpocket - Cutpurse
There are some neat diversions and tricks that one can perform with some of the Pickpocket perks. But you can rest entirely assured that absolutely no one uses it as a primary means of income. Unfortunately, the "Cutpurse" perk seems aimed squarely at that counter-intuitive method of making cold, hard cash.
"Cutpurse" just makes it easier to pickpocket gold from an NPC by raising your chance of success. This might actually be somewhat fruitful if it increased the amount of gold gained by a percentage, but even then, it'd be by an incredibly thin margin.
3 Sneak - Light Foot
Skyrim often gets accused of dumbing down the gameplay formula of The Elder Scrolls series. In a lot of cases, that's a totally valid accusation. But when it comes to the puzzles and traps featured in the games, we need to face the facts, players have never really needed a genius tier intellect to solve or avoid them.
This is particularly evident with traps, which are usually incredibly noticeable. So any perk that renders them entirely impotent is going to seem pointless. That's precisely where we're at with the "Light Foot" perk, which simply keeps players from triggering pressure plates.
2 Archery - Hunter's Discipline
Given the prevalence of archery as a preferred method of combat in Skyrim, players are likely to run out of arrows once or twice. However, this is generally going to be recognized as an issue early on in the game. And it'll prompt players to craft and buy more to keep themselves well-stocked.
"Hunter's Discipline" is a late-game archery perk that allows players to recover more arrows from corpses. It's nice and all, but especially by the time players are in a position to snag it, it's not really going to solve any pressing ammunition scarcities. Mainly because there shouldn't be any.
1 Lockpicking - The Entire Skill Tree
Perhaps no skill in the game was as thoroughly gutted during the franchise's transition to Skyrim than lockpicking. From the start of the game, you can attempt to pick locks of any difficulty level. All you need are enough lockpicks and a little patience.
To add insult to injury, almost every perk in the tree is borderline useless. Easier time picking master locks? Doesn't matter. More gold in locked chests? Trivial. Unbreakable lockpicks? They're cheap as dirt, and you'll get the Skeleton Key eventually. Every single one is a wasted skill point.