Today we begin the publication of a long and in-depth guide in six installments dedicated to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Let's start with an overview on the creation of one's alter ego and its development, and then continue in the next appointments by analyzing the main and secondary quests, the secrets and all the most hidden mysteries included in the game world signed Bethesda. Hoping to do what you like, we will appreciate feedback and suggestions so as to improve in progress and shape the contents also on your requests.
The wise man's advice
Before we go into the specific tips for creating your Skyrim character, let's start with the standard advice for any self-respecting RPG: forget the tips and follow your wishes. It may seem like the usual banality, but one of the most exciting aspects of the first game of a vast and complex role-playing game like this is to create an alter ego in total autonomy to satisfy your tastes, be they practical or aesthetic. Also remember that in the long run, with the right self-denial, all the initial difficulties due to problematic choices can be eliminated. And now, after the essay's advice, let's delve into some of the main aspects of character creation.
Magician, archer, or longshoreman?
Skyrim, like all Elders Scrolls, allows you to choose your character's race. Each race assigns fixed initial bonuses to certain skills, well illustrated within the game. The principle that it is not mandatory to follow the specializations of each race is always valid, but starting with bonuses in skills is certainly an advantage.
The starting value of all 18 skills in the game is 15. By selecting a race the race skills are increased to 20 (favored skill) or 25 (primary skill of the race). Obviously the value of a race is not only counted on the skills, but also other characteristics that are modified, such as innate magic or race powers, must be considered.
There are four ways to grow skills while playing:
1) Through practice
Do you want to become proficient with your two-handed ax? Fight! Do you want to become a great burglar? Dedicate yourself to closed doors! Do you like magic? Cast spells! Easy and straightforward.
There are actions that could deceive you but that do not help to increase the skills: hitting misses does not improve the skill with weapons (you have to fight), the creatures summoned must fight to grow the skill Conjuration, talking to everyone does not improve Speech, but you have to trade or pass the tests of dialogue.
2) Taking advantage of trainers
By spending money it is possible to pay for the lessons of various characters that allow you to quickly grow skills. There are three levels of trainers: Journeyman (up to level 50), Expert (up to level 75) and Master (up to level 100).
3) Reading the skill books
Books scattered throughout the game which, as soon as they are read, improve relative skills by +1. Unfortunately they are not conservable, therefore, even if it would be better to use them when the skills have the highest values, it is not worth worrying too much about them.
4) Wearing magical items
Magic items can have bonuses assigned to skills among the characteristics. The more powerful the item, the bigger the bonuses will be.
The 18 skills can be divided into three sub-sets, which we will explain in the titles: combat skills, skills for criminals, skills for magical characters. Obviously you will be free to grow the skills you want. In this sense there are no limits and if you want to create a warrior wizard you are free to do so, as well as a wizard thief, a pure thief, a thief warrior and so on. The only thing we can do is give you a series of tips:
- Don't waste your efforts. Choose the skills to grow and focus on those. Maybe play around and see what you like to use the most before making your final decision.
- Don't get obsessed with skills. Grow them as you progress through the game, also to avoid problems with the automatic leveling system.
- It is useless to have all 200 perks linked to the skills. As you play, you will find some more useful than others. Bet on those.
- Always examine the collected items carefully, as they may improve the very feature you need.
- If you are undecided on which perk to grow, wait and think about it. Spending points can be saved, but once you get a perk, you won't be able to go back.
- Take advantage of leveling up in situations where it can come in handy. Whenever you grow the character, he is healed completely. Maybe try to level up during a challenging battle so that you have a better chance of succeeding without having to fall back.
In Skyrim, as in any self-respecting fantasy game, there are three ways of fighting in which to specialize: melee combat (hand weapons or bare hands), ranged combat and magic. The combat system itself is explained by the game and we won't be repeating it. What we can do is give you a series of tips to survive and not get caught unprepared during the fight. In the meantime, let's start with the general ones, which are then some suggestions dictated by common sense valid for other games:
- Before fighting, use all the necessary power-ups and try to have maximum health, stamina and mana.
- Always stock up on consumables before embarking on a trip, so you can recover in any situation without having to go back.
- Remember to use the special powers you have at your disposal, such as Screams. It would be foolish to have such "weapons" that can change the course of the game and not use them.
- In case of need, or if you really can't survive a certain fight, lower the difficulty level. - Remember that in Skyrim there is no need to specialize in a class to use skills, so a warrior can easily learn magic, just as an archer can fight in melee. Configure your character however you like.
Fighting in melee is the way of the warrior of the north. Learning how to use weapons in Skyrim is not difficult, but there are some considerations to make if you want to be a perfect fighter. First you need to choose a weapon that suits your style. In Skyrim, weapons can be faster or slower and more or less powerful. At first use several and try to understand if you are more like a two-handed ax or a dagger, just to be clear. Choosing a preferred type of weapon is important because it will allow you to develop the character in a clear direction. Incidentally: there is no point in having sword perks if you only use clubs.
During melee combat, remember to parry. If you use one-handed weapons you will have the possibility of using a shield, but even with two-handed weapons it will be possible to use the weapon itself to stop enemy shots (even if with less effectiveness). Don't forget, because parrying can make a difference in many fights.
Also remember that the shield can be used to attack. It does no damage, but it can ward off enemies and give you the time you need to get the pulse of the situation. Also, some enemies are stunned when hit with the shield. Use this to your advantage to deliver lethal blows. If you have developed stealth skills, remember to ALWAYS use them. Coming up behind an enemy and hitting them by surprise will either kill them instantly, or cause them massive damage.
Ranged combat involves the use of bows. Even if you don't like the philosophy of archers, you should always take this type of combat into account, because it is very useful for several reasons. The first, fundamental, is that it allows you to strike from a safe position. A particularly skilled archer can kill any generic enemy before they get too close, but fighting from a distance can also be useful for those who prefer hand-to-hand combat because it allows you to "sweeten" even the strongest enemies, especially with arrows imbued with poison and other special arrows.
The advice to give to archers is very simple. First, try to always have a good supply of arrows of different types, so that you can hit the weak points of the enemies. It would be great to always have poisons ready to use when needed. Secondly, try to be quick. An archer that is too slow is a dead archer.
Magical combat is the most versatile of Skyrim's styles. Of course, each magical specialization comes with his own spells, all fully explained in the game, which allow each player to develop their own style. Let's say that, in general, you can be more or less aggressive wizards, or prefer the use of offensive spells or focus on more passive ones such as traps. In general, especially early in the game, it's hard to rely on magic alone to keep going. But with time and effort, the Gandalfs on duty will discover that they are powerful enough to face any situation. As a general advice we can tell you to balance offensive spells with defensive ones. Doing a lot of damage may not be enough to survive the toughest encounters, so it's best to have tools ready to avoid damage from stronger enemies, such as giants or dragons.
Also try to have healing spells. This is true for all classes, but especially for wizards. They are comfortable and save a lot of money on potions.
Try to learn your opponents' weaknesses. Some spells are more effective against some enemies than others. Don't aim for just one spell, but vary your diet so you can handle all situations.
The world is divided on the use of followers in Skyrim, some consider them precious allies, while others emphasize their intrinsic uselessness, mainly due to their self-defeating tendencies. To get a follower there are two general methods: help him do something, or pay for his services. Remember that you can only take one follower with you at a time, so choose wisely. Let's make some considerations on this resource:
- During a battle, if they have fallen to the ground, you can still heal them to get them back on their feet or wait for the end of the fight and wait for them to get up on their own. Followers can die permanently.
- I can follow you everywhere, so don't worry about venturing into too remote areas. If you lose them, they will go home on their own.
- They always use the best equipment at their disposal, but following their skills (a specialized character with a sword will always choose the latter over, perhaps, a bow).
- They follow your moves, so if you draw a weapon, they will draw it too and if you move silently they will imitate you. Unfortunately, they will not always be able to read your mind and there will not be rare cases in which they will mess up your plans.
- Given the point above, we advise against having followers if you are geared towards using rogue skills. There is nothing more frustrating than a minion throwing an attack from behind.
- Learn to give them orders to make them useful. The way to command them is explained in game, so we will not repeat it. What we can tell you is to exploit it. There is no point in having a follower if you don't use him as he deserves.
- Choose a follower who comes in handy based on your play style. For example, if you are an archer, try to have a warrior to serve you as a tank, while if you specialize in melee combat, look for someone who supports you with magic or ranged attacks.
- Be careful because you can damage a minion if you accidentally hit them in melee, with an area attack or with an arrow.
Vampirism, lycanthropy and other diseases
During the game it will be possible to contract various diseases, for example ending up in traps or fighting against some enemies. Diseases are a big problem because they alter the characteristics of the character making him less effective in combat. As soon as you contract a disease you should immediately cure it using potions or looking for one of the altars scattered around the game world. Otherwise you can go to one of the Vigilants of Stendarr in their strongholds and ask for help.
There are particular diseases, vampirism and lycanthropy, which involve a profound alteration of the style of play. Let's see them in detail.
If after fighting a vampire vampirism appears in the list of active effects, run to heal yourself with a potion or an altar. Otherwise, after a few days, vampirism will become irreversible.
Being a vampire has advantages, because it makes you immune to diseases and poisons, as well as making you more resistant to cold and giving you special abilities. But it also has disadvantages, such as the development of social hatred, the need to drink blood to survive and, above all, extreme weakness in the sun and fire. There are only two ways to cure vampirism once the disease has run its course: become a werewolf, or go to the wizard Falion in Morthal to complete the Rising at Dawn side quest.
There is only one way to become werewolves in Skyrim: during the blood ritual of The Silver Hand quest. After the initial frenzy you can take advantage of the powers deriving from lycanthropy. The most powerful is the ability to transform into a beast once a day, improving all the combat characteristics a bit, gaining new powers and receiving big bonuses in healing damage. There are no particularly downsides to being a werewolf, other than a certain social hatred (in case you get caught) and the inability to sleep with your wife.
To heal from lycanthropy you have to solve the Purity quest, which will require you to take the head of a Glenmoril Witch to take it to the depths of the Tomb of Ysgramor, where you will have to defeat the beastly spirit that dwells within you. Once the ritual is over, the cure will be permanent and it will no longer be possible to become werewolves.