"Skyrim": Light Armor vs. Heavy Armor
When deciding between Light and Heavy Armor in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, there are a plethora of factors to consider. First off, check out what the high-level armor sets look like. It doesn’t matter if you have the greatest armor ever created if you hate how it looks. Some “endgame” armors include Daedric, Dragonscale, Dragon Plate, and Nightingale.
If you’re worried about endgame armor rating, both the best light armor and best heavy armor can reach the armor rating cap. Of course, before you get to them, the heavy armor greatly out-does light armor sets in this. If you’re playing a melee character, or any build where you anticipate you’ll be hit a lot (pretty self-explanatory), go for heavy. If you’re planning on not using a shield or restoration spells on a regular basis, heavy armor could save your life.
This is the main difference between heavy and light armor—light armor always has an advantage in this category. Perks like Muffled Movement (noise from armor is reduced by 50%) can help a bit, but never fully make heavy armor more viable than light for sneaking. Therefore, if you’re using a sneak archer or assassin build, light armor is definitely the way to go.
Until you get the perk Conditioning (Heavy Armor 70), heavy armor will weigh far more and also slow you down. If you’re an “endgame” player, then the weight and speed difference between the armors is negligible, but if you’re concerned about being agile early on, you may prefer the light armor. If you want to strafe a lot, getting to Heavy Armor 70 can be very arduous.
The best perks in the Light Armor tree include Wind Walker (stamina regenerates 50% faster in all light armor) and Deft Movement (10% of avoiding all damage). Heavy armor has Tower of Strength (50% less stagger time in all heavy armor) and Reflect Blows (10% chance of reflecting melee attacks). Reflect Blows is obviously better than Deft Movement, as it’s the same thing, except you damage your opponents. Wind Walker vs. Tower of Strength is something you’ll have to decide for your own build. For example, Wind Walker would be pretty much useless for a pure mage (except for sprinting), and Tower of Strength would be impractical for an archer.
It’s your own game, so you can decide what to do. If it seems ridiculous for your character to be able to swim with fully Daedric Armor, or to be able to tank with Glass Armor, then plan accordingly. You could give yourself a challenge and use a light-armored warrior, or a heavy-armored assassin. You could even mix it up and use both armor types, forgoing both perk trees (although I sorta recommend against that). Don’t give up your enjoyment of Skyrim to min/max a “perfect” character; be wary of growing too overpowered. Unless that’s your kinda thing—I wouldn’t blame you. Basically, *cliché* blah blah *cliché* . . . Have fun!