A Beginner's Guide to Skyrim, and other helpful info (General FAQ) version 1.0

#1DoomerangPosted 11/28/2011 9:13:05 PMmessage detail(edited)
This is designed to answer questions and complaints that have been frequently mentioned on this board, at least from what I have seen. I know it won't stop people from asking, but if it helps even one person and allows them to easily access the information without needing to search or ask for it, then the topic will have done its job. You can quickly go to the answer you want by using control + f and typing in the term i parenthesis next to the relevant question.

Feel free to add your own tips, correct any mistakes I make (which I'll implement if/when I make an update to this FAQ)

Early-game related
1) What should I specialize in? (SPEC1)
2) What is the maximum level you can reach in this game? (MXLVL)
3) What should I do when I finish the intro? (INTRO1)
4) When do dragons start spawning? (DRG)
5) Is there a way to quick-travel to cities I've not visited yet? (CRG)
6) How does the level-scaling work? (LVL)
7) Should I focus on doing quests or exploring? (QST)

General Questions
1) What happened to certain features from Oblivion/Morrowind? They were removed! (FTR)
2) Why do bears, giants and sabertooth tigers hurt so much more than dragons? (DAMNBEARS)
3) Can any of the sidequests break the main story? (BRK)
4) What do I need to know about NPC companions? (NPCCOMP)
5) What do I need to know about horses?(HRSE)
6) How are vampires in this game? (VMP)
7) How are werewolves in this game? (WLF)


Early-game-related
1) What should I specialize in? (SPEC1)

There is no "right" way to specialize in this game. The game is designed in such a way that you can enjoy the game in whatever fashion you want. I have personally made a redguard who wears heavy armor, uses sword and shield, and focuses on conjuration and restoration for magic, and enjoyed it just as much as my other character, a classic Breton thief who focuses on sneak, bow, and dual-wielding 1-handed swords.

2) What is the maximum level you can reach in this game? (MXLVL)
I've not hit the cap myself, but most topics I've seen that talk about this question mention 80 as the hard cap for the game. However, it takes a considerably longer amount of time to level up after level 50 than it does before level 50.

3) What should I do when I finish the intro? (INTRO1)
The game implies that you should split up from the person who rescues you in the introduction. However, if you are unfamiliar with Skyrim, do NOT listen to this advice and instead follow the guy. He quickly introduces you to Standing Stones, then takes you to the town of Riverwood where you can get your first quests and get some free items from your rescuer's relatives. If you go into the trader's building, you can start the quest to retrieve the Gold Claw (and while doing so complete a main story quest objective early so you don't have to do it later), but you can also opt to take your rescuer's advice and head to Whiterun.

4) When do dragons start spawning? (DRG)
They only start spawning once you've talked to the Jarl of Whiterun as part of the main quest and fulfill a quest from his mage (the Gold Claw quest I mentioned above). The next main quest will have you battling a dragon, and from then on dragons can and will spawn from time to time.

5) Is there a way to quick-travel to cities I've not visited yet? (CRG)
There is a horse carriage right outside the horse ranch of every major city in the game. You can talk to the guy on the carriage and travel to the other cities for a very small amount (20 to 50 gold). It's surprisingly easy to miss if you're not sure what you are looking for.
#2Doomerang(Topic Creator)Posted 11/28/2011 8:57:11 PMmessage detail
6) How does the level-scaling work? (LVL)
There are two types of level scaling that occur in the game: one is equipment-based, and one is enemy-based.

Enemies scale in level with you, but only within a certain level range. For example, a dungeon might have enemies that start at level 10 and end at level 30, meaning that if you're above level 30 you'll find these enemies really weak. However, this also works for the MINIMUM level of enemies, and the harder to find or out-of-the-way dungeons will often have enemies that start at a MUCH higher level than you. You'll only notice this when you find yourself getting one- or two-hit K.O'd, but you really have to go out of your way to find the high-level dungeons so it's nowhere close to as bad as it sounds. However, once you enter a dungeon, the enemies in that particular dungeon "lock" into the level you are at upon initially enttering and will not scale anymore

Equipment also scales with level, improving in base damage and enchanted effects. The base damage can be improved upon thanks to smithing so there is no major need to force yourself to not obtain unique weapons for hours just so you can grind your level and get a better base damage and enchantments.

7) Should I focus on doing quests or exploring? (QST)
The game emphasizes that you should play however you want, and I strongly suggest following that advice for the most part. However, if you decide to focus on completing the major guild or main story quests, it is a good idea to at least check out the various dungeons and shrines you pass by while completing a quest objective. Many of these places have special quests, new and unique items, and more, and many people who ignore these smaller quests tend to have considerably less to do in the game.

General Questions
1) What happened to certain features from Oblivion/Morrowind? They were removed! (FTR)
This depends on WHAT features you are talking about:

- Spears, crossbows and medium armor have been completely removed.

- Attributes that used to dictate how well you would use a weapon or speak have been replaced by the skill trees (which improve either by trainer or by performing an action based on the skill tree - such as sneaking around to improve your sneak skill) and perks. The perks in particular are designed to give you a sense of progression with your character as they provide significant boosts to the category you focus on (i.e. perks in the one-handed tree will improve damage, allow you to cause bleeding damage, and so forth). The improvement is unnoticeable at the beginning, but quickly becomes more obvious as you notice enemies dying much faster or the enchantments you can give becoming far more useful.

- Birth signs have been replaced by the Standing Stones, which essentially act like the same thing except you can switch between them whenever you want... provided you've discovered the location of the stone you want to use.

- The mysticism class of spells has been removed, and its spells have either been divided into other spell categories or are nixed completely.

2) Why do bears, giants and sabertooth tigers hurt so much more than dragons? (DAMNBEARS)
Because those enemies, particularly giants and sabertooth tigers, start at a higher level than you or the dragons and thus can kill you very, VERY quickly if you try to fight them at a low level. You also have to go out of your way to actually fight giants (whose appearance simply screams "You WILL get hurt if you come close") and tigers (located in the harder-to-reach areas of Skyrim). Bears are encountered far more frequently, but they are at least survivable if you are careful.
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Kenshin's the Beauty, Kaoru's the Beast? - Mister_Feeny
Would that make Shishioh the candle guy? - Gettles
#3Doomerang(Topic Creator)Posted 11/28/2011 8:58:39 PMmessage detail
3) Can any of the sidequests break the main story? (BRK)
One of the Dark Brotherhood quests LOOKS like it would break the main story because it features a very important character, but none of the sidequests actually do that. However, there are bugs that prevent you from completing a few sidequests. For example, one of the most well-known ones involves a house you can get after the quest "Blood on the Ice". While I personally have not experienced it, I have heard several people mention how they can not access the house if they either buy the house before doing the mentioned side-quest, or finish the sidequest after doing the quest chain for the Civil War.

4) What do I need to know about NPC companions? (NPCCOMP)
The companions are allies who follow you around Skyrim, helping you against enemies and also serving as an extra inventory "bank". You can normally only have one companion at a time unless a quest requires another npc to follow you. You can obtain them through several ways:
- Hire them from the inns at the major cities (500 gold each, which you'll need to pay every time you re-hire them)
- Earning one per city by becoming the Thane of the major city (this does NOT apply to all of them unfortunately). You become Thane by talking to the Jarl of the city and performing tasks for him or her. These companions are free to use.
- Completing a quest chain involving a guild, with the sole exception of the Thieves Guild for whatever reason.
- Sidequests given by the companions themselves (such as one woman in Riften who wants you to retrieve the Grimsever for her before she will join you)

These companions all have different specialties in terms of skills, and will equip any weapons and armor that you give them that also fit in their specialties (so a heavy armor specialist won't equip light armor you give him/her). They also have "invisible" equipment that they use as default if you remove all their items for whatever reason.

The companions are very hard to kill, as when their hp hits near 0 they normally fall on their knees and enemies shift their attention to you instead. However they still can be killed either by YOUR attacks (either directly or by area of effect spells/shouts) or if they're simply hit hard enough by an attack. They will also die if you run away and they fall to their knees, because the enemies won't target you and will continue to attack the companion.

Companions are matched to your level at the time you first recruit them, but DON'T improve as you level up. That means that the bard you recruited at level 1 will get OHKO'D when you're level 60 and facing level 60 enemies, even with the best armor equipped. The only way to fix this is by using the console like this (make sure that the companion ISN'T following you when you do this):

- Press tilde (~) to go to the console screen
- Click the character
- Type "disable" without the quotes
- Type "enable" without the quotes

This will refresh the companion to be at your current level.

You can also recruit a dog to help you fight enemies, and can be used along with a human companion. However, they tend to be squishier than regular companions and don't have the semi-immunity to taking fatal damage that companions have. The only exception to this is a talking dog you get in a Daedric quest... but his immortality comes at the cost of being an incredible nuisance.
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Kenshin's the Beauty, Kaoru's the Beast? - Mister_Feeny
Would that make Shishioh the candle guy? - Gettles
#4Doomerang(Topic Creator)Posted 11/28/2011 9:08:11 PMmessage detail(edited)
5) What do I need to know about horses?(HRSE)
Horses can be bought at horse ranches outside of major cities for 1000 gold. They are faster than traveling on foot, though not by a huge margin. You can not attack enemies while riding, but horses will attack enemies when you're on-foot. Unfortunately, most horses also have terrible hp and can die very quickly.

The ONLY exception to this is Shadowmere, a special horse who is gotten as a reward from a Dark Brotherhood quest. She is practically invulnerable to regular damage due to an obscenely high health regeneration rate (which makes her really useful to take enemy focus off of you) and runs faster than regular horses. However, she can still die if you fall from a high place and unlike normal horses can not be gotten again.

Speaking of falling, all horses seem to be VERY vulnerable to dying if they fall a really small height which you yourself would survive easily, including Shadowmere.

6) How are vampires in this game? (VMP)
Vampires are considerably weaker than their counterparts from the earlier games as they do not get the stat boost that earlier vampires get, but are still fun to play. You still become a vampire by getting a disease (Sanguinus Vampiris if I recall) and not curing it for three days. Vampirism occurs in four stages and depends on how long you do not feed on a sleeping person. For each night you do not feed your vampirism enhances a stage, which increases the potency of your vampiric powers (such as the invisibility ability and the spells) but also imposes harsher penalties to your health and stamina for being outside during daytime. Also, if you reach the final stage of vampirism, npcs will attack you on sight. The only way to fix this is to feed on a sleeping person, which resets your vampirism down to level 1.

7) How are werewolves in this game? (WLF)
Werewolves are treated completely differently from previous games. First, lycanthropy is given by going through the quest chain in the Companions guild and not a disease, meaning that if you cure it you can never become a werewolf again. Second, you have full control over becoming a werewolf (you can activate it once per day) and it functions quite differently to normal play:

- You lose health regeneration while in wolf form
- You stay in the form for two and a half minutes, but can be extended by 30 seconds per playable race corpse eaten, along with a small amount of hp recovery
- Your active ability becomes a howl (the effect of the howl can change based on what quests are completed)
- Your attacks function differently (one of the power attacks launches enemies, the other beats the tar out of them)
- You sprint faster than horses.

On top of this you get 100% disease immunity, but you do not get the "rested sleep" perk (10% increase to skill growth for 8 hours) while you have lycanthropy.

Well that's it for the FAQ for now. I'll improve upon this based on posts in this topic, so it will grow and improve over time :)
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Kenshin's the Beauty, Kaoru's the Beast? - Mister_Feeny
Would that make Shishioh the candle guy? - Gettles
#5Zeke50100Posted 11/28/2011 8:59:38 PMmessage detail
Not entirely complete, but looks fine for a first sticky in the board :P

Sticky requested.
#6CanOfTUnaPosted 11/28/2011 9:02:17 PMmessage detail
Werewolf form lasts 2.5 minutes real time, extended by 30 for each playable race corpse you eat.


Other than that, great info for new people. Sticky requested!
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#7Doomerang(Topic Creator)Posted 11/28/2011 9:10:31 PMmessage detail
Thanks for the correction. Edited it to reflect the correct information :)
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Kenshin's the Beauty, Kaoru's the Beast? - Mister_Feeny
Would that make Shishioh the candle guy? - Gettles
#8Doomerang(Topic Creator)Posted 11/28/2011 9:11:50 PMmessage detail
Ok what the hell? I was trying to respond to you codemann but the quote thing glitched and edited my first post. <_>
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Kenshin's the Beauty, Kaoru's the Beast? - Mister_Feeny
Would that make Shishioh the candle guy? - Gettles
#9DaEvilWithinPosted 11/28/2011 9:31:57 PMmessage detail
Good information. There is something I feel is missing, but I don't know what it is.

I'd request a sticky if I knew how.
#10Ulala RulesPosted 11/28/2011 9:37:48 PMmessage detail
I wouldn't want this stickied.
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