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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim beginner's guide

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It is time to once again delve into the land of Tamriel - Skyrim has arrived! It’s taken awhile but the fifth entry in The Elder Scrolls series is finally here in all its glory. Much has changed in the land of Tamriel which means there is a lot to learn even for long time veterans of the series. Almost everything from the ground up has been tweaked or redesigned to create a more action-packed sword and sorcery experience. With blade in one hand and sword in the other it’s time to take on the hordes that stand between your hero and his destiny...

Above: And also, lots of dragons

There is a lot of ground to cover here so let’s get right into it. As usual, this guide is put together for newbies of the game, and is meant to help them out with many of the various intricate systems in this title. While veterans of the older games might find some information to aid with the transition to the new mechanics of this title, newer players will gain the most out of this. With that said, if you have any suggestions or tips you would like to share with the GamesRadar community, please use the comment section below to enlighten your fellows.

To battle!

Character Creation

Character Builds

Leveling Up

Perks

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58 comments

  • FierceVoltage - July 28, 2013 8:24 p.m.

    Why is this on the front page?
  • tehtimeisnow - July 28, 2013 7:05 p.m.

    i didnt raelly like skytim. singel player ganes suck and there basecally obselete so i only play games with online mutliplayer
  • nhilton - February 20, 2012 6:29 p.m.

    My character keeps turning into a vampire which makes it impossible to go on with the storyline because everyone tries to kill him. How can I fix this?
  • blue_pants - July 28, 2013 11:16 a.m.

    nhilton, when you first contract the Vampire disease, in order to get rid of it fast and easy is to go to a shrine of one of the divines and get their blessing, it will cure any and all diseases and give you a perk for a couple of hours.
  • trish-elliott - March 14, 2014 10:56 a.m.

    I know one way to get rid of it, You can join the Companions and later on they have you become a werewolf.
  • Gamer_Dude69 - January 6, 2012 9:04 a.m.

    Quite possibly one of the best games that i have ever played. My personal favorite race is the nord. There isn't anything wrong with this game at all. Anyone who has anything bad to say about this game has no idea what they are talking about.
  • KungFoo - January 18, 2012 9:33 a.m.

    Couldn't agree more. My only problem is that I have a job which gets in the way of more Skyrim
  • TheMasterJeef - November 23, 2011 3:52 p.m.

    Thanks to everyone who provided comments on my earlier queries. Much appreciated!
  • Seishiro - November 20, 2011 2:31 a.m.

    I'm assuming it does, but has anyone tested if Armsman and Assassin's Blade stacks, a good dagger... double chanted, with alchemy bonus poison, well... just sounds painful.
  • PieFlingingNinja - November 15, 2011 11:56 a.m.

    You guys probably already know this but, for all you thief/rouge types that prefer dual wielding. Daggers don't use stanima at all, unless you use a charged attack. Plus they don't make as much noise as swords or battle axes, adding to the stealth.
  • D0CCON - November 20, 2011 1:04 p.m.

    Isn't it true that swinging any weapon doesn't use stamina unless it's a charge attack (at least one handed weapons don't, I never use two handed).
  • TheMasterJeef - November 15, 2011 9:01 a.m.

    Personally? Im bitterly disappointed by Skyrim. I would have LOVED to buy and play this game. But having enchanted weapons needing a 'battery change' drives me insane. To the extent I just can’t play this. I only lasted one weekend with Oblivion due to this. Why Bethesda couldn’t have implemented the system from Morrowind, where weapons charge over time, beggars belief. I can’t recall any fantasy literature when the hero has to worry about how many charges his mighty flaming blade has left!! Plus has Bethesda actually made straight stealth a viable play option? In Oblivion straight stealth (no magic, or two handed weapons) was nigh on impossible. Even critical stealth shots from my bow in Oblivion would just irritate bandits, who would then call all their friends over to bludgeon me to death. It seemed to me that you could only really play as warrior, mage or a hybrid of the two. If someone can confirm if this is playable as a straight ranger/thief/assassin type character (including selling stolen items to normal merchants) and that enchanted weapons aren’t a must have, i would love to pick this up. P.S. I am not trolling, or hating Skyrim. It looks a phenomenal game. However there are elements of gameplay that make this unplayable for me.
  • Mr.Bobicus - November 15, 2011 10:36 a.m.

    I think not playing this game because of the "charge" is a big mistake, I personally love it. I agree, I was a bit annoyed at first, but you can recharge them I believe. I'm also a (more or less) straight up Wood Elf stealth ranger, and it has worked well so far, although I dabble in one-handed swords and destruction magic (trolls are a nightmare without fire magic).
  • TheMasterJeef - November 15, 2011 11:22 a.m.

    Thanks for clarifying that Mr Bobicus, seems your pretty much playing the sort of character I would (including the race). Its not so much the charges, as recharging it. I remember the cost (in gold) being quite steep, that or having to level up magic to cast soul trap & cart round shed loads of soul stones. Plus casting soul trap on someone before trying to backstab/shoot them in the eye kind of removed my stealth advantage. Does anyone know if soul trapping or paying for recharges is handled better in Skyrim?
  • Hobojedi - November 15, 2011 3:21 p.m.

    Simple - give your companion a weapon enchanted with the soul tap ability along with your empty soul gems. Then, let your companion get a little damage near the end of the fight and watch the gems fill up with soul-juice.
  • TheMasterJeef - November 16, 2011 4:36 a.m.

    Hmmmm. Thats something I never thought of. Thanks. I may pick up a used copy in the new year. I have Battlefield 3, Arkham City, and AC: Revelations to occupy me until then!
  • Y2Ken - November 21, 2011 3:11 a.m.

    Don't worry too much about having to recharge - you find the gems needed for it almost constantly, it really shouldn't be an issue. And yes stealth is completely viable, a friend of mine is almost all bow and dagger stealth and he's had no real trouble. Even against Dragons his archery pulls him through, especially if you're going to be enchanting your bows.
  • blue_pants - July 28, 2013 11:34 a.m.

    TheMasterJeef, I have been pretty much every single type of character one can imagine. Including a Ranger/Thief type. But what I am trying to say is that it is very easy to refill your enchanted weapons if you do these very simple things. Level up your sneak to around 35-40, and select the bow perk which gives your sneak attack with the bow x3 damage. Then if you haven't already report to the Jarl of Whiterun and tell him about the dragon attack in Helgen. He will then point you in the direction of his court wizard. Farengar (the Court Wizard) will send you on a quest to Bleak Falls Barrow to collect the dragon stone. When you have the dragon stone after collecting the word of power and killing the Dragur, loot the Dragur and you will find the Dragon Stone. Then return to Dragonsreach and give the Stone to Farengar . After that Erileth will run into the Laboratory, telling Farengar to come with her. Follow them and listen to the guard's story about the dragon. Talk to the Jarl and he will give you an enchanted item and tell you to go kill the dragon who is located at the western watchtower. After killing the dragon fast travel back to Whiterun and go report to the Jarl on your success. He will then give you the Axe of Whiterun (and if he doesn't just load the autosave which sais that you entered Dragonsreach). Which usually has Soul Trap enchanted on it. When you get it go back to Farengar's Laboratory and disenchant it. Then if you dont have a Petty Soul Gem yet with a Petty Soul in it, buy one from Farengar. (They are relatively cheap.) Then enchant your bow with it using the Petty Soul Gem and make sure the enchantment says, "If a target dies within 1 second it fills a soul gem." After that is done you are ready to run around Skyrim sneak attacking weaker creatures with it and fillgin up all your soul gems. I would not recommend though attacking more difficult creatures until your Archery skill is pretty high up there. Around the 45-50 range. And there you have it, all you need to know on how to fill soul gems effectively.
  • D0CCON - November 16, 2011 3:47 p.m.

    The Morrowind way for recharging would have been better, but I personally noticed that recharging was smoother here. Soul gems are everywhere and are sometimes even filled and I got an Axe of Whiterun very early on that was enchanted with soul trap so it was easy for me to get souls (not to mention I got access to a Soul Trap spell sooner. A lady in Solitude sells one). It's also not a requirement. Sure, shooting arrows that electrocute your enemies or something like that is awesome, but it isn't needed to beat the game. Also, I've noticed quite a few more improvements that make stealth actually work. I wear heavy armor and my sneak skill is low, so the enemy finds me a lot, but they are never instantly aware of your location when you attack and new spells and shouts let you trick enemies or set up traps (magic runes are deadly traps and a shout lets you create noise in a specific area causing people to check that area. It's range is huge and you can put it on top of traps). It's also nice that guards aren't instantly aware of your crimes and if you have a crime with witnesses, killing them all before they report you removes your bounty goes away. Bows are also way more powerful and there is a perk that lets sneak attacks with daggers do 15X damage. Combine that with a stronger dagger and you have a weapon that can one hit kill practically any non-boss human if you are stealthy.

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