Skyrim Character Builds
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Overview
Launched Nov. 11th 2011, The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim is the long awaited follow up to Oblivion and possibly the most exciting installment to date of the legendary Elder Scrolls series.
Skyrim in a nutshell, is an open world RPG set in rich fantasy world on the continent of Tamriel. The player assumes the roll of a prisoner who is on their way to be executed when a dragon attacks and allows him or her to escape. It is up to the player character, who is as it turns out the last dragonborn (a powerful warrior anointed by the gods), to hunt down and destroy the returning dragons.
Beyond the main quest line, players can enjoy numerous side quests, dungeons, loot, and fully realized cities and wilderness as well as the thrill of hunting down dragons to learn dragon shouts which will allow the player to slow time, teleport and even breath fire. All told the game is expected to have hundreds of hours of gameplay and almost endless replay-ability without even considering the mods and DLCs which will become available as the game matures.
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Character Development Resources
Skyrim's Character Development System
The skill, stat, and leveling system of all prior elder scrolls games has been largely untouched. However, this time around Bethesda has decided to take it a new direction. Gone are the days of the bizarre and atmosphere breaking leveling system found in Oblivion where players would often avoid leveling their main skills in order to keep monsters from leveling up with the player. Instead Skyrim features much more intuitive leveling of both the player character and the monsters and npcs found in the world.
One major simplification is that all the core stats of the main character have been condensed down to 3 from the 8 stat categories found in Oblvion and Previous Elder scrolls games. The 3 mains stats governing your character will be health, stamina and magicka.
Characters will also be able to specialize more by selecting perks represented in the world by various star signs. These perks function similarly to those found in fallout games, and allow players to make a wide variety of characters by selecting different perks. This too simplifies leveling while adding a lot more depth to character development and allowing for a huge variety of character builds. A player who wishes to play an archetypal warrior may want to select skills that give his weapons more devastating attacks as well as increasing his ability to block during combat, while a mage-like character might want to invest in perks that give greater magicka and offensive power. Thieves or Assassins might go for traits that improve their bow and sneak skills and become more of a Sniper.
The skills too have been cut down to just 18. Some of the magical skills found in Oblivion and Morrowind will be lumped together into similar schools to cut down on confusion.
Gone too is the ugly and atmosphere breaking character information scroll. Instead, as depicted from these screen capture on the right, the player will look to the stars to determine his or her characters path to power.
A Word on Character Development and Builds
As mentioned above, Bethesda has scrapped the class system from previous TES games. This makes a specific build guide for characters very difficult. The leveling system was specifically designed to allow more fluid, natural play. Accordingly, my character builds are also designed to be taken more as rough outlines of possible routes the player can take as they level. They are also intended to provide some role-playing flavor.
The Artificer (Warrior, Treasure Hunter and Smith)
This character is built around the well fleshed out and fun smithing and item enchanting skill trees in Skyrim. The Artificer is always on the look out for Ancient artifacts, unique crafting materials and strange magics to supercharge his or her armor and weapons. This class focuses mainly on melee combat, with a little bit of alteration, restoration and conjuration thrown in as utility skills.
Through magic and expert craftsmanship the Artificer becomes an unstoppable dragon tanking warrior.
Race: Breton (Great armor skill plus 25% to magic)
Standing Stone: The Steed (for hauling all of your artifacts around), The warrior (for leveling), The Atronach
- Magicka - This stat can be largely skipped. If you want to cast more spells select this stat every now and then in order cast more magicka intensive spells. Alternatively, you can rely on your enchanting skill to add more magicka to your armor.
- Health - This should be leveled the most as an up front melee character.
- Stamina - Almost as important as health. You'll need a lot for long drawn out battles and sprinting.
- Smithing: unlock the right hand side all the way up to dragon armor. You will be able to make any of the heavy armor or weapons in the game. While dragon armor is at the top of the tree, it is actually not the best. Daedric armor has the highest defense but Dragon armor materials are far easier to come by.
- Heavy Armor: 5 points into Juggernaut. Other points are up to you. Fists of steel and Cushioned are almost useless but must be picked as prerequisites for Conditioning (Heavy armor becomes weightless and does not slow you down). Tower of Strength (negates staggering) and Reflect Blows are worth getting and the prerequisites are quite good as well.
- One Handed: Armsman (5), try to get all of the central perks with Paralyzing strike being your final perk. Extra points can go into a weapon style of your choice. I chose swords.
- Block: Shield Wall (5), Deflect Arrows, Elemental Protection (reduces elemental damage by 50% while blocking). The bashing side of the tree maybe worthwhile if you want to vary your combat abilities more.
- Enchanting: Enchanter (5), all other perks on the left and middle of this tree should be gotten in order to unlock Extra Effect (2 enchantments on a single item). Soul Squeezer and Soul Siphon can be skipped.
The Swordmaster (Light Melee Assassin and Skirmisher)
A swordmaster excels at dual wielding swords in such a way that his attacks become a blur. He or she relies on speed to close with enemies and dispatch them with a flurry of blows. The swordmaster uses light armor to remain mobile and augments his or her lack of blocking and defense with the Alchemy, Restoration and Alteration skills
Race: Argonian, Khajiit, Nord
Standing Stone: Thief, The Lady, The lord
Magicka - Avoid leveling this. Get enough so that you can cast a few healing and alteration spells to help with survival. A good amount to shoot for would be 200~250.
Health - As always this is one of the most important stats in game. Make sure to get this pumped up high early on. I recommend the first 5 levels health should be selected. After that alternate between health and stamina. Try to get get gear that further ups this stat.
Stamina - Very important for extended fights. You'll want a high amount so that you can continue spamming your dual wield power attack. The attack itself has some of the best DPS in the game, but consumes a huge amount of stamina. Alchemy and your stealth skills can help deal with stamina problems. Drink a stamina potion or 2, or initiate attacks by backstabbing dangerous enemies in order to hurry encounters a long.
- One-Handed: With this tree be sure to go up the right side of the perk tree. You want to grab all of the dual wielding perks. Be sure to also grab the sword speciality perk that gives you a 10% increase per point to sword criticals. Some of the central perks of the one-handed tree are worth getting as well. Especially the sprinting critical perk as well as the highest requirement perk which stuns enemies.
- Light Armor: Attempt to get all of the perks in this tree. Light armor is a good option because speed and mobility are much more important than raw defensive power. Heavy armor will slow you down without a heavy investment in perks.
- Alteration: Because light armor offers less defense, alteration spells that block damage become essential. Early on you can focus on other areas, but mid game you should invest points here.
- Restoration: Every character ends up using restoration, but some of the perks in this tree can prove to be very helpful. Consider getting the perks that heal stamina and health at the same time as well as perks that increase the effectiveness of healing spells. You wont need much of an investment here to reap the rewards.
- Sneak: Sneak perks can really up your effectiveness. All characters make use of sneak, but investing points, will yield huge damage multipliers (up to 15x with daggers, and even 30x after completing a certain questline).
- Add other skill trees to taste. Alchemy is always helpful. Without block this character tends to take a beating so extra health pots and poisions to speed up combat really help.
The Pugilist (Unarmed Combat Specialist)
The pugilist is probably one of the more interesting characters that can be played in Skyrim. Using their fists rather than weapons, the pugilist never backs down from a good barroom brawl. When adventuring too, the pugilist loves to get up close and personal with his or her foes. A mailed fist is just as good as a mace after all, right?
Pugilists come in 2 varieties. The Shielded Pugilist and The Pure Pugilist.
Races: All, but the best choice is Kahjiit for their racial bonus to unarmed combat
Standing Stones: Warrior, Lord, Lady
Magicka - Not important, although leveling this up every now and then may be nice if you would like to augment your defense or offense with spells.
Health - Again as many level ups as you can afford should go here.
Stamina - after getting a decent amount of health, consider leveling this up to at least 200-ish by the time your'e in your 20s. Stamina is very important for using your shield to block, bash and knock over enemies, as well as using your fists for prolonged periods of power attacks.
Heavy Armor: By far the most important perk for the pugilist. Why? well putting aside the need for some serious defense, the heavy armor tree has a perk on the left branch that converts the defense value of your gloves into bonus unarmed damage. For most characters this perk is wasted, but for the pugilist it's invaluable.
Block: Block is really helpful all game and becomes very powerful later on. Almost all of the blocking perks have uses, both defensive and offensive. Getting all of the perks in this tree will increase your resistance to all damage in the game including elemental when your shield is raised. Also blocking allows you to bash opponents. Perks spend on power bash up the damage your shield dishes out. High level investment in this tree nets you the ability to run and sprint with your shield up, dissarm opponents and even knock them off their feet. Every point is worth while unless you are playing the Pure Pugilist, in which case, skip this.
I'm still playing the game myself and getting acquainted with it. More character builds will be forthcoming. Leave some of your own ideas in the comments section below.