I gather, from speaking to quite a few people, that Skyrim can be quite off-putting in both terms of size and lack of direction. So I thought I’d write a few tips to see if it helps. I know the game is 4 years old, but I still love playing it and it’s never too late to be introduced to the Elder Scrolls series 🙂
To me, the most wonderful thing about this game (and the others in this series) is that you can just do what you want – in a large, open and gorgeous world. With modding, you can take that even further… but I digress, I’ll get on with the tips.
Different races give some different starting benefits (e.g. bosmer have a slightly higher archery skill, nords have cold resistance) but these don’t really have a major impact in later game stages – I think it’s more important to choose a character you’ll be happy looking at for x amount of hours.
There are no classes – you level up by training skills – 10 skills levelled up equals a level. You train skills by using them. So you level up archery by killing things with a bow, you level up armour (heavy or light) by being hit, you level up alteration by casting waterbreathing, etc etc etc. You can train some or all of them.
the section from when you arrive by cart at Helgen to the point where you exit the cave (trying not to spoilerise here!) is basically the tutorial. You have to do this part and once you are out of the cave – you are free. During this section you will get to try out some of the basic skills (fighting, lockpicking, sneaking) and pick up some basic armour and weapons.
I would suggest for first time players to follow the main storyline, by following your NPC down to Riverwood (after leaving the cave mentioned above). This questline is basically about being the Dragonborn – I would suggest at least completing it to the part where you learn about Dragon Shouts so you can use those in battle.
OK, so now what?
well, this is really where Skyrim shines. Do you want to play a traditional type character (e.g. plate + sword + shield, leather armour + bow or daggers, mage robes + staff + spells) or mix it up (plate + spells, robes + two hander, er… nothing and a big axe)? Try things out and find out what you enjoy.
Just explore and discover? The game is beautiful and you will come across all sorts of dungeons and caves to explore and quests as you do.
Obviously you can do most of the above in one playthrough and this is where it can get overwhelming. Most of the quests are ignoreable and can be picked up later if you want – I tend to try and focus my playthroughs (e.g. Thieves Guild) so that I don’t get too distracted.
Personally, I wouldn’t mod until my second playthrough or when I decide that I need to start again. That’s personal preference though.
Having said that, if the UI feels unbearable – try this mod. It requires SKSE and you use the SKSE icon to launch Skyrim instead of the usual shortcut. I install SKSE via steam and use Nexus Mod Manager for installing the mod.
I may do a separate post about which mods I’m using but I would suggest using the Steam workshop to begin with / if you are only going to use a few mods and Nexus Mods and their Manager if you get mod-heavy (and you very well might!)
There are three different DLCs – Dawnguard (join the Vampires or the Dawnguard), Hearthstone (new build your own housing, plus ability to adopt children) and Dragonborn (continues the Dragonborn story).
I would suggest getting Hearthstone fairly early on if you like housing… Otherwise leave the DLC until you are at least a good way through your playthrough.
Anything I haven’t covered?
let me know in the comments section 🙂