Kit’s Basic Survival Guide For Skyrim
The UPS Lady-of-Awesome-ness delivered my copies of Skyrim at exactly 2:23 pm on November 11, 2011. I had intended to do a comprehensive review but after nearly a month of game play as well as scrolling past the 27 million reviews of the game already written, I decided to approach the subject from a different direction.
My crack team of game testers and I spent long hours sacrificing sleep, television viewing and the glory of twitter to better explore the enormous game world of Skyrim.
I give you Kit’s Basic Survival Guide for Skyrim:
1) SHARPEN YOUR WEAPONS – It is quick, cheap, easy and gives a measurable boost to your damage capability. Grinding stones can be found at any smithy, in most bandit camps and scattered around homes and farms. Sharpened weapons do more damage and when you are ready to upgrade they also sell for more coin at the shops. If you follow Hadvar, the Nord Imperial soldier, out of Helgen you can use the iron and steel bars at his uncle Alvor’s smithy in Riverwood for free. You can also also chop wood for free in every town and village and either sell it or use it to upgrade bows.
While you are sharpening your weapons step over to the work table and refine your armor. Turn all those wolf and elk hides into leather to upgrade your light armor or use the iron and steel bars to upgrade heavier armor.
2) PICK UP SOUL TRAP as soon as you possibly can and start filling all the soul gems you find. This will save you time and money when you begin enchanting your own items. Trust me, you will want to enchant your own items. The weapon you find with fifteen or twenty points of shock damage will invariably be a ‘six points of damage’ iron dagger. Enchanting will allow you to pop that shock damage onto your awesome (and sharpened) Orcish Axe. Draugr will faint at the sight of you.
3) PERK ALLOTMENTS AND SKILL INCREASES - Skyrim is amazingly interactive and it is easy to lose yourself in basic tasks like fishing, cooking, smithing or alchemy and completely forget you will need to engage beasties in combat. Take care to go hunt down the wolves, elk and rabbits you need for food and hides. Counter a lengthy potion brewing session with a quick trip to clean out a barrow or a bandit camp. When you allot points, keep your choices down to three or four skills for the first several levels. Focus heavily on one combat skill and one support skill such as Bow and Sneak, Destruction and Restoration or Two Handed and Heavy Armor. After a few levels it is okay to add crafting skills like Smithing, Alchemy or Enchantment to the list as long as you have taken care to buff up the combat skills. As the link to The Escapist below illustrates, the monsters get tougher whether you do or not.
4) ARROWS - Do not go anywhere without arrows. Do not leave any city, village, barrow, cave or farmhouse without arrows. Do not go to sleep without arrows. Do not sit down for a drink with Sam without arrows. Find them, buy them, steal them…just keep arrows in your inventory. When a dragon swoops down and refuses to land you will be so very glad you had ARROWS and didn’t have to kill the fire-breathing monster armed with only your little War Axe of Glancing Blows.
5) PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR ENVIRONMENT – Not only is it easy to lose yourself in tasks, but it is also difficult to pay attention to activities around you. With soaring mountains, plunging waterfalls, forests filled with plants and animals and beautiful scenery all around, distraction is a given. Don’t get so caught up in how the water spray off the falls glistens in the morning sunshine or so busy fishing in a stream that you completely miss the giant sabre cat until it mauls you.
While writing this article I asked my playtesting team to share their most important basic survival tips. They agreed (loudly and emphatically) that Sneak was the most important skill to learn. Whether playing a war hammer wielding warrior, a shadowy archer-mage, or a dual war axe wielding blacksmith, sneak was the skill that kept all of us alive.
How about you all? If you have a basic survival tip please share it with everyone in the comment section below.