Skyrim: The Best Race for Playability for All Character Builds
Building a character in Skyrim is a detailed process, and starts with choosing a race. Some people look at physical appearance, initial skill bonuses, or powers and abilities when choosing the best race. I personally choose to build my Skyrim character emphasizing powers and abilities, not because the other things don't matter, but because I aim to make my character practical in the long run. Initial skills do not have any drastic long-term effects on the game. Here I list my reasons for thinking the Breton is the best race for most player types (assassin, battle mage, warrior, thief) by comparing it to the other races. If you take my advice for race at face value, please consider following on to my general advice page. Now is the perfect time to think everything through.
Race: Altmer (High Elves)
With a 50+ magic bonus, the Altmer is one of the superior races for Skyrim. This attribute is important because it is a constant effect. The Altmer also has the Highborn power, which allows it to regain magic more quickly than other Skyrim characters. This is a useful attribute, in the beginning especially, and while training a spell. Furthermore, the Altmer has more height and can therefore run faster (as I heard from the Skyrim designers.) This makes it almost as good as the Breton, if not as good. If you plan to become a mage, consider this race over the Breton.
Argonians' 50 percent resistance to disease is nice, but if other players want to be werewolves or vampires, it becomes rather pointless. Werewolves are 100 percent resistant, as are vampires. The Histskin power allows an Argonian to recover health very quickly. This is nice in a tight spot, but can only be used once per day. Finally, the water breathing ability is nice but I personally never had a problem with water. Any time you need to go under water for a while, there are potions around to help you out. Plus, there’s a spell for it. Being an Argonian might be convenient at first, but doesn't give you any long-term advantages.
Race: Bosmer (Wood Elves)
Bosmer have a 50 percent resistance to both poison and disease. As listed above for the Argonians, the disease resistance isn’t totally necessary. Poison, however, is a different story. This can be very useful when facing certain enemies, especially at higher levels when your armor will give you better defense against physical attacks. Command Animal lets you command an animal for a short period, but there are never animals around when you need them. The Bosmer makes for an okay race in Skyrim because of its poison resistance.
Race: Dunmer (Dark Elves)
A 50 percent resistance to fire is extremely helpful, considering how much damage magic attacks do to your health. This makes the Dunmer one of the better races. The power Ancestor’s Wrath, which does fire damage to nearby enemies, is useful for taking out stronger enemies or packs at low levels, but gradually becomes less useful as the game progresses, eventually becoming useless. In my opinion, the Altmer is a superior race to the Dunmer for a mage, simply because the Altmer is designed for all areas of magic and not just destruction.
The 50 percent resistance to frost is a lifesaver when facing mages. Like I said above, magic kills you…quickly. Battle Cry is also useful when something is gunning you down and about to kill you, because it makes your enemies flee. The Nord makes a relatively decent choice for a character build in Skyrim. It's probably not the best, however, because Battle Cry can only be used once per day, and other races have better magic resistance.
The Imperial luck allows for more gold to be found. This is kind of cool and there are no other effects in Skyrim like this one, making it unique and almost worth it. The Voice of the Emperor power is also somewhat useful when you accidentally piss off a town and need to run away, because it calms people for 60 seconds. The Imperial is lacking, however, in anything useful for active combat. Combat in Skyrim is typically the drive of the game and the main challenge. For this reason, I don't consider the Imperial a significant race. I consider it the oddball race because of its unusual perks.
In Oblivion, I consider the Khajit the best race. In Skyrim, however, it is the worst race. It is stronger in melee attacks, but weapons will always be a better option anyway, making this perk useless except in a fist fight. As far as Night Eye is concerned, if you’re having trouble seeing, turn up the lighting in the Settings menu. It is easier to do that than to scroll in search of a spell or power you need. In other words, the Khajit doesn't really come with anything useful in Skyrim besides its looks. No offense to this race, but in Skyrim, it is pretty much useless.
Beserker Rage allows an Orc player to take half and inflict double damage for 60 seconds, once per day. This is definitely useful for upper-level enemies, especially bosses. On the other hand, a race whose qualities remain constant is probably better, considering preparation time is not always available in the Skyrim wilderness. Although Beserker Rage and other greater powers are awesome, the once-a-day use always seems to spoil them for me. They won't help you in a dungeon full of tight spots. You probably won't even remember to use Beserker Rage when you need it.
Redguards are another race in Skyrim with a 50 percent resistance to poison. Adrenaline Rush makes stamina regenerate ten times faster for 60 seconds. I personally never bother upping stamina regeneration, because Become Ethereal, a shout, allows sprinting without stamina for a short time. Still, the poison resistance makes the Redguard a race worth considering. The only reason I wouldn't choose it is because magic is far worse to deal with than poison, and far more common.
This is it, the cream of the crop. The Breton is the best race in Skyrim for one reason, and one reason only: a 25 percent resistance to magic. This is so much more important than many players realize, especially when choosing a character for the first time. It is a pain to augment Resist Magic, and even at upper levels, magic attacks will drop a player almost instantly. There are ward spells, but they take time and hinder fighting back. The Breton's greater power, Dragon Skin, allows a player to absorb 50 percent of magic attacks for 60 seconds. This is just a nice little perk for the Breton. Consider this: regardless of which player style you choose, be it assassin or thief, you will always have to worry about being hit with an electricity spell.
I hope you enjoyed this little hub of mine. Please, vote on which race you think is best. If you take anything away from this, let it be that the Breton and Altmer are your best choices in Skyrim, and that the Khajit is the worst. Check out the comments below. You'll get some insight from other players concerning race in Skyrim. Also, please check out my general advice article, linked below. You may learn some invaluable information about the game.
- Skyrim Advice, Tips, and Resources
Designed to facilitate a play-through for a broad range of players, only the most pertinent Skyrim advice and tips lie herein with resource links for details.
What race from Skyrim do you consider to be the best?
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