Skyrim Game Overview

“Hey, you, you’re finally awake.”

Developed by Bethesda Softworks, the fantasy action-role-playing game Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released in November 2011. Skyrim sold over seven million copies in its first week of release and has sold over thirty million copies since its release. Although released in 2011, the game has stayed relevant for a decade thanks to its updates and countless re-releases.

skyrim es

Skyrim Geography and Setting

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim takes place within the snowy northern region of Tamriel called Skyrim. The geographical features and landscape of the region vary due to its neighboring borders of Morrowind, Cyrodil, High Rock, and, Hammerfell.

Skyrim consists of treacherously tall snowy mountain peaks, such as the Throat of the World, the highest point in Tamriel. As well as sprawling tundra and farms, frozen glaciers, and icy waters in the Sea of Ghosts. However, it’s not all frosty cold, Skyrim also features pleasant forests, natural hot springs, and open plains. Widely used for farming and can be found traveling East and South of Skyrim in the Rift and East March.

Nords: The People of Skyrim

Skyrim is the home region of the Nords, a race of men who are fair-haired with blue eyes. They are tall and hardy people that are naturally hot-blooded and resistant to frost due to their cold homeland. They are strong and impeccable warriors but also talented poets and bards. Nord culture circumvents around the honor and glory of battle and the importance of family. There are many similarities between Viking and Nord culture.

Civil War: a Province Divided by War

In the Fourth Era, two hundred years after the Oblivion Crisis, Skyrim is currently locked in a civil war between the Imperial Legion. They struggle to keep control over Skyrim and the Stormcloaks. This rebel force opposes the Legion and the Thalmor.

It’s inevitable; sooner or later, you will come across the impact of the Civil War. You will hear the people of Skyrim sing songs either supporting the Imperial Empire or opposing it. You’ll see prisoners of war captured and transported across Skyrim. It’s a time of paranoid neighbors and speaking ill of the Empire, or Stormcloaks could get you killed. It’s a time where people worship Talos in silence, but sooner or later, you’ll have to choose a side.

  • Imperial Legion – Led by General Tullius, the Imperial Legion’s mission is to deny the Stormcloaks from seceding the rule of Skyrim. As well as defend the Third Empire that came into fruition by Tiber Septim in the late Second Era. The Legion angered the Nords when signing the White-Gold Concordant. This agreement would ultimately anger the Nords as a result of banning worship of Talos but establishing peace between the Empire and Aldmeri Dominion.
  • Stormcloak Rebels – Led by Ulfric Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm is considered the true king of Skyrim. The Stormcloaks wish to gain independence for Skyrim, as they believe the Empire to be weak. As well as a puppet of the Aldmeri Dominion after the Empire allowed Thalmor Justiciars to enforce the White-Gold Concordant. Animosity was aggravated further due to the Markath Incident.
  • Thalmor – The reigning council over the Aldmeri Dominion. Whom is an allegiance between Valenwood and the Summerset Isle, they wish to purge the Imperial Empire and prohibit the worship of Talos. The Thalmor are viewed as Elven supremacists to the people of Skyrim. They threaten the way of life of Skyrim’s people by enforcing the rules of the White-Gold Concordant.

skyrim civil war

“Black Wings Unfold” The Return of Dragons

The dragons of Skyrim return in blood and fire. Led by Alduin the World-Eater the Nordic God of Destruction, who is hell-bent on devouring the world.

The Dragonborn first meets Alduin at Helgen during the beginning of the game. Alduin unintentionally saves the Dragonborn by interrupting their execution when assaulting Helgen. After escaping to Riverrun, the Dragonborn travels to Whiterun to report the incident to Jarl Bulgraf.

The meeting is interrupted with news that a dragon has attacked a keep within the Whiterun hold. With no time to lose, the Dragonborn Irileth and the Jarl’s men are ordered to investigate. It becomes apparent that Skyrim is under a much bigger threat; the return of the dragons. Together the Dragonborn and his companions must stop Alduin from destroying Nirn.

Skyrim Gameplay

Skills and Leveling

Skyrim is an action role-playing game that can be played from either a first-person or third-person perspective. The Elder Scrolls series shares elements from Dungeons and Dragons but loosens the need for excessive min-maxing of your character. Unless playing on the Legendary difficulty and Survival mode.

Skyrim throws away many of the attributes in previous Elder Scrolls titles leaving only Health, Magicka, and Stamina. Instead, Skyrim focuses on eighteen major skills. There are 250 perks in the game that the Dragonborn can utilize on their adventure. Skills are broken up into three categories:

The Mage

  • Illusion – Focuses on spells that manipulate the mind of your enemy.
  • Conjuration – is the school of magic that focuses on spells that raise the dead and summon creatures from Oblivion, as well as bound weapons. Conjuration also allows you to trap souls.
  • Destruction – is a school of magic that focuses on using the power of fire, frost, and lightning to obliterate your enemies.
  • Restoration – A school of magic that focuses on life forces to heal wounds and create wards to protect.
  • Alteration – The school of magic dedicated to manipulating the physical world.
  • Enchanting – The process of imbuing magic into weapons and armor.

The Warrior

  • Smithing – The process of creating and improving weapons and armor using raw materials.
  • Heavy Armor – Training in this skill improves damage resistance and the use of Iron, Steel, Dwarven, Orcish, Ebony and, Daedric armors.
  • Block – The art of blocking an enemy’s attack with a shield or weapon. The higher the skill, the more damage and physical knockback are reduced.
  • One-Handed – Warriors trained in this skill will deal deadlier blows with daggers, swords, axes, and maces.
  • Two-Handed – Deal deadlier blows with greatswords, warhammers, and battle-axes.
  • Archery – the proficiency in bows, the higher the skill, the more damage is dealt per shot.

Skyrim Warrior

The Thief

  • Light Armor -Those trained in light armor gain more defense and get more practical use from Hide, Leather, Elven, and Glass armors.
  • Sneak – The art of moving and not being seen or heard. Mastery of this skill will allow the player to sneak even in the line of sight of an enemy.
  • Lockpicking – Determines the ease of lockpicking locked containers and doors.
  • Pickpocket – The art of stealing from an unknowing target’s inventory. The higher the skill, the more valuable the item and chance of success.
  • Speech – Effects bartering prices for buying and selling goods with merchants as well as improves the chances of persuading in dialogue.
  • Alchemy – The process of creating powerful potions and poisons.

Using a skill will contribute to experience in that skill. Once you have leveled enough skills, you will advance your character level. Thereafter the player will get to distribute ten points to one of their attributes and then pick a perk from any skill tree. However, note, perks require you to reach skill-level milestones before being unlocked.

Perks enhance skills making them more useful. For example, Overdraw in the Archery skill tree grants an additional 20% damage boost. Alternatively, Eagle Eye allows you to zoom in while you aim your bow. Leveling your character will also raise the level of certain enemy types but will also improve the chances of finding valuable loot.

Crafting

To survive, Skyrim, you’re going to need to learn how to live off the land. You won’t always be able to rely on warm inns and taverns. Skyrim features various arts of crafting such as Alchemy, Smithing and, Enchanting that was previously mentioned, as well as cooking. To craft, you will have to find either:

  • Arcane Enchanter – Like its name suggests, this is where you will be able to create enchantments for your weapons, armor, and clothing. As well as disenchant items to learn their effects to apply to other items. They can sometimes be found in dungeons.
  • Alchemy Lab – A singular table that is designed for creating potions and poisons from ingredients that you have collected on your travels. Each ingredient has four properties. You can eat and experiment with them to discover their effects.
  • Blacksmith Forge – Using raw materials the Dragonborn can use a Blacksmith Forge to create and improve weapons and armor. The Tanning Rack can be used to create leather from pelts and hide. Whilst the Smelter can be used to create ingots from raw ore. To gain the necessary materials to forge weapons and armor. Workbenches and Grindstones can be found around the Forge to improve the damage or armor rating of a weapon or piece of armor.
  • Cooking Pot – This will allow you to cook food from a range of recipes from a combination of food and ingredients. These dishes can give substantial boosts to the Dragonborn’s wellbeing by improving health. Cooking is essential when playing Survival mode as it will not only serve to replenish your hunger. But will also serve as a buffer from the deadly cold.

Combat and Strategy

Sometimes you’ll be put in a scenario where being quiet may be the best approach. Thankfully Skyrim features a stealth feature. Crouching will make the Dragonborn harder to be seen as well as display on the reticle whether your presence has enemies alerted. While hidden, you will deal additional damage making daggers and bows a powerful, stealthy option.

If sneaking isn’t your style, you can rush into combat with a sword and shield or two-handed greatsword cleaving enemies in two. Whilst engaged in close quarters combat, you will be able to deal light and heavy blows. Light blows are great for dealing damage and using a minor amount of Stamina. Heavy attacks can be used to stagger your opponent, leaving them open to attacks.

Alternatively, you could obliterate your enemies away with destruction spells or raise the dead to fight alongside you. Or maybe turn your enemies against each other with illusion spells. As a mage, you will have access to a wide variety of spells for different combat approaches.

There are countless ways to engage in combat in Skyrim, and while skills may be broken down into three categories. You are free to mix and blend these archetypes to create your own playstyle. For example, combine destruction magic with a shield, or archery and illusion spells in combat to trick your enemies into attacking each other.

Dragons

As the main antagonists of the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, dragons are formidable foes to go up against. Not only will you have to deal with their firey or icy breath you will also contend with an array of deadly physical attacks. Clawing, biting and, tail clapping attacks can result in a one-hit kill. Dragons will also hover, strafe and dive-bomb any person or creature insight during a fight. Dragons will also use their environment to their advantage by mounting buildings and objects of elevation, allowing them to stay out of physical range. There are many different kinds of dragons that stalk the skies of Skyrim.

Movement & Exploration

On your journey, your adventures will take you everywhere, from the four corners of Skyrim to everything in between. The formidable landscape is a challenge in its own right. Luckily Skyrim features a few methods of transport to get around the map:

  • Horses – Acquiring a horse will drastically reduce travel times. Horses can be purchased or stolen at stables or even earned as a reward from quests.
  • Fast Travel – allows you to quickly teleport to any location you have previously visited before.
  • Carriages – Located in all major cities, these carts offer transport to all major hold for a small fee of Septims. This is a great form of traveling early in the game when you have not traveled to many locations. It is also a great role-play feature.

There are many different kinds of locations that you will be able to visit in Skyrim. Each location is divided into a category that can be recognized on the map or compass as an icon. Understanding each icon is important as this will indicate whether you are approaching a hostile area. Such as a dragon burial ground or bandit camp.

When outside of dungeons, you’ll spend most of your time in major cities and villages. Shops can be used to barter your treasure as well as blacksmiths, alchemists, enchanters, can be used to improve your gear. Inns can be used to replenish hunger and fatigue if playing on Survival mode. Whiterun is one of my favorites holds in Skyrim due to its utilities, and it is home to the Companions faction. Whiterun will most likely be the first major hold you’ll visit after leaving Riverwood and the tutorial area.

NPCs: Meet the People of Skyrim

You’ll meet many people in Skyrim that will ask you to solve all kinds of problems. In fact, it seems as though it’s your job to solve every problem in Skyrim yourself. There are different kinds of quests in Skyrim:

  • Main Quests – These quests revolve around the central plot of the Dragonborn defeating Alduin and ultimately stopping the Dragon Crisis. Quests from the main plot will conclude with valuable rewards.
  • Faction Quests – These are quests that you’ll receive from factions. They include a series of quests and have their own main plot. Faction quests conclude with valuable rewards.
  • Side Quests – these quests are one-off quests that are given by regular NPCs and conclude with moderate rewards.
  • Miscellaneous quests – Short tasks that can be anything from defeating a bandit camp to retrieving a Mammoth Tusk for an NPC. They build rapport with the people of Skyrim, allowing you to access better rates at shops and unlocking new dialogue options with NPCs.

Skill Trainers

Skyrim can be dangerous and inhospitable land. To survive, the people of Skyrim have had to adapt to the land. If you’re willing to share some coins, some NPCs will offer to train you in their specialized skill. Each trainer is only able to train one skill a maximum of five times, with the cost increasing as you level the skill. I would recommend waiting until you have gained a high skill level before training as lower-level skills train faster.

Followers

Followers are NPCs that will join the Dragonborn on their adventure. You can get access to followers as rewards for completing quests, joining their faction, or hiring them as mercenaries. Note that each NPC has its own alignment and morality. Meaning that some followers will not mind if you commit crimes such as theft and murder. Typically

However, some followers will oppose your behavior and may leave you for your actions or set pay for a bounty for your head! The Dragonborn will be limited to one follower at a time. If you decide to part ways with your current follower, they will return to where you found them or your house.

skyrim followers

Skyrim Factions

  • Thieves Guild – The Thieves Guild is a faction that can be located in the hold of Riften. You can gain access by visiting the Riften market and helping…. on a job. The faction unlocks new types of ledger and thieving missions.
  • Dark Brotherhood – The Dark Brotherhood is a faction that can be accessed by talking to Cicero outside of Whiterun by a guarded watchtower. Aiding him will allow you to join the faction unlocking new assassination contracts.
  • College of Winterhold – The College of Winterhold, like its name suggests, is located in the frozen town of Winterhold. It is accessed by displaying your magical ability to Faralda outside the bridge to the college. Here you will develop your magical capabilities.
  •  Bards College – Located in Solitude, the college is accessed by completing Viarmo’s quest of retrieving verses from a poem at Dead Men’s Respite. At the Bard’s college, you’ll be rewarded with a skill point for each skill in the Thief, Warrior, and Mage categories.
  • The Companions – The Companions are a faction based in Whiterun. They are revered as skillful mercenaries and warriors. The player will first discover members of the faction outside Whiterun fighting a giant who later explains that the Dragonborn should join them. Joining the companions will train your character in the art of being a warrior. It is also how the player can become a werewolf.

Legendary and Survival Mode

Legendary difficulty and survival mode in the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is for players that truly want to challenge themselves. As well as experience the game in a more immersive way. Legendary difficulty makes the game even harder than Master difficulty and introduces new bosses that can be found around Skyrim. Legendary mode is incredibly difficult and will require you to carefully build your character to be able to stand a chance. As even a fight with an Ice Wolf could end your adventure.

Survival Mode

Survival mode substantially alters the way Skyrim is played by introducing new mechanics and restricting fast Travel. It’s a fun game mode that breathes new life into the game. If you are a Skyrim veteran, then I’d highly recommend giving it a go. The challenge will allow you to experience and appreciate Skyrim in a whole new way. 

In addition, Survival Mode adds new survival traits and bonuses for specific races. I played as the Khajiit race in Survival Mode as this gave me extra protection from the cold due to the khajiit’s fur. I also did not have to worry about getting food poisoning from eating raw food. In survival mode, the Dragonborn will have to monitor the following:

  • Fatigue – In Survival Mode, the Dragonborn will have to periodically rest by sleeping to regain vigor. If the Dragonborn goes for long periods of time, fatigue will impact the speed of Magicka regeneration and your total available Magicka. As well as the recovery speed of your Stamina. Sleeping indoors will grant you the Well Rested bonus but will not be granted from sleeping outside. 
  • Hunger – With Survival Mode enabled, the Dragonborn will have to maintain their hunger levels by eating food. Neglecting to eat will inflict negating effects such as reducing your maximum amount of Stamina, Stamina regeneration, and your ability to use weapons. Eating hot food will boost your cold resistance when in freezing areas.
  • Cold – Normally, in Skyrim, your character can wander around a harsh, deftly cold mountainous landscape without a care in the world. However, in Survival Mode, you will have to dress appropriately. All clothing now has a Warmth stat which determines whether the Dragonborn can handle the freezing climate. As you start to freeze in Skyrim, your maximum health will begin to decrease as well as your movement speed. Your ability to pickpocket and lock pick will decrease.
  • Warmth – This determines the Dragonborn’s resistance to the cold. You can improve your warmth by standing by fires, wearing warm clothes, holding torches. If the Dragonborn is warm, a sun icon will appear top right of your screen.

Skyrim Expansions

Skyrim major and minor DLC that offers a whole new plot to the game with new villains and locations. You can access these DLCs early in the game; however, note that the Dawnguard and Dragonborn expansions are designed for high-level characters.

Dawnguard

Dawnguard is an expansion that revolves around vampire hunters and vampire lords. The Dawnguard expansion is accessible after a Dawnguard member is met and explains to the Dragonborn of Skyrim’s new threat. The player to either become a vampire hunter or a vampire lord.

The expansion also includes new weapon types such as crossbows and new armor sets. As well as introduces the Lycanthropy and Vampire Lord skill trees that add new perks for Werewolves and Vampires. Dawnguard introduces the Soul Cairn, a new explorable plane of Oblivion to explore. As well as the Forgotten Vale, a valley carved from a glacier. Along with a bunch of new enemy types and creatures to fight.

Dragonborn

The Dragonborn expansion takes place in Solstheim, an island located on the outskirts of Morrowind. The Dragonborn will get access to the expansion after two Dragon Cultists accuse you of being a fake Dragonborn and attempt to murder you. Reading a note found on their corpses gives you access to a ship to Morrowind. As well as reveals that Miraak, a former Dragon Priest, has returned. The Dragonborn expansion introduces new types of enemies and gear, such as spears. The expansion also allows the player to travel to the realm of Apocrypha and unlocks the Dragon Riding Shout.

skyrim Dragonborn

Hearthfire

Hearthfire is an expansion that allows the Dragonborn to build their very own home from scratch. Where you’ll be able to hire or turn your Housecarl followers into Stewards. Stewards are used for purchasing raw materials for building your house and furnishing your home. They additionally can be used to purchase farm animals such as chickens and cows. You will also be able to hire carriage drivers, making this a must-have for survival mode.

Once your house has been built, the Dragonborn will be able to adopt a child with their spouse. Which allows you to give gifts to your child and ask your child to do chores. You can additionally get a pet dog for your child that will live at your house. However, keep in mind that Skyrim is just as dangerous as it is beautiful. Your house will occasionally be raided by bandits, giants, kidnappers, skeevers, and more. 

Skyrim Alternatives

There are many great alternatives for fantasy and Skyrim fans to experience. Whilst Skyrim offers extensive exploration and a variety of gameplay, I recommend these game series for anyone who enjoys Skyrim:

Dark Souls

Dark Souls

Offers challenging and engaging combat that feels rewarding with every victory. Includes extensive lore and exploration.

Dragon Age

Dragon Age

Offers fantastic writing and characters that feature an epic fantasy story.

The Witcher

The Witcher

For those who are looking for a darker fantasy world. The Witcher series includes thoughtful mechanics and brilliant writing.

Elder Scrolls Online

If you want an experience like The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim but in an MMO format ESO is a great option

FAQs

Question: What is the Saints and Seducers Quest in Skyrim?

Answer: The Saints and Seducers quest is a creation club quest that is included in the Anniversary and Special Edition of Skyrim. This quest adds new weapons and armor, as well as new pets, ingredients, crafting items, and lorebooks. The quest revolves around a mage who has broken the walls between the Shivering Isle and the mortal plane. Allowing for entities to merge into either realm.

Question: How many Versions of Skyrim are there and what are they?

Answer: Lots, because Todd Howard loves to milk this game for all it’s worth. Skyrim was initially released in 2011 by Bethesda Game Studios/ Zenimax Media and over the years there have been numerous rereleases of the game. Such as:
• Skyrim Legendary Edition (2013) – that includes the Dawnguard, Hearthfire, Dragonborn. As well as mounted combat, new combat cameras, a new legendary difficulty mode, and, legendary skills.
• Skyrim Special Edition (2016) – The Special Edition includes everything from the Legendary Edition. As well as remastered art and effects, volumetric god rays, dynamic depth of field, screen-space reflections, water and snow shaders, PC mods unlocked for consoles.
• Skyrim Switch Edition (2017) – A vanilla Skyrim port for the Nintendo Switch.
• Skyrim VR ( HTC, Vive, Oculus Rift) (2017-2018) – A Vr port of Skyrim that includes Dawnguard, Hearthfire, Dragonborn.
• Skyrim Anniversary Edition – Includes everything from the Special Edition and adds all available DLC that has been released up to Skyrim’s tenth anniversary from the Creation Club.

Question: Can your Followers be over-encumbered in Skyrim?

Answer: Simply put, no followers cannot be over-encumbered. However, they do have a maximum carry capacity that, once reached, will deny you to add any more items to their inventory.

Conclusion

In Conclusion, Skyrim is a legendary fantasy RPG game that is a must-have for any gamers library. It will bring many hours of joy exploring and fighting dragons. I’ve been playing Skyrim since its release, and it’s one of those games that I’ve always returned to. Its vast amount of ways to play keeps the game feeling fresh and fun. 

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