The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

579 ratings
An Intro To Skyrim Gameplay, For New Players
By theMilkDrinker
This guide takes around 15-20 minutes to read, and informs new players of things they will want to know before they start, and could help you make critical decisions so you won't regret a choice you made at the start that you can't change later on.
Choosing Your Race
When choosing a race you will want to focus mainly on a race's special ability(s). Each race also has certain stats increased at the start, though in the long run this will not matter, as the bonuses are only +5 to +10, and in the end everyone caps at 100. However, if you can't decide between two race's abilities, look at what combat skill is boosted most for them, and which one you would rather use. If you want to roleplay, choose the race you like the best based off their race, not their perks. A Wood Elf or a Khajiit do not get very helpful special abilities, but if you like their background by all means go with it.
Choosing A Combat Style
As I said in the first section, race's skill boosts will not matter much in the long run, however it is still helpful to use a combat style that your race is best with. You will want to decide what type of combat you like best around levels 5-10 though, so you don't waste perks or become underpowered.

The basic types of combat are Melee and Magic. Melee and Magic have many different skill trees and perks available to them. However, there is a skill tree regarding bows, which I will refer to as Ranged, as well. Ranged is usually combined with one of the two, as it is it's own seperate tree. However, Heavy Armor users tank damage and might not need any type of ranged attacks, where as Light Armor users could use a bow at a distance if their enemy hits too hard. Magic users will also find little need for Ranged as they already have ranged attacks.

There is also a special type of combat that is for more advanced users, which is Stealth. Stealth will not have it's own section, as it is fairly easy to describe. Stealth will allow you more damage with sneak attacks, and with certain perks in the Sneak tree even more than the standard amount. Magic users can not sneak attack, however. Sneak can be used by any normal melee user, though daggers gain massive damage through sneak with correct perks, and you will want to choose your armor wisely to allow for effective sneaking.

In the next sections you will find more details on each combat type.
Do You Like Melee?
Melee users will need to think about what type of weapon to use, what type of armor to use, and how to use their weapons and armor to fit a certain combat style. Melee attacks have no penatlies, though they can do multiple types of power attacks that will drain the Stamina bar. These are: standing power attack, moving power attack (a different one for each direction moved,) and holding down both attack buttons with two weapons equipped will do a special power attack.

Melee users can decide between light or heavy weaponry, with three different weapons in each category (However, the dagger is technically considered a light weapon, though you will not find any perks for it in the light tree, besides the basic additional damage perk, and it is not recomended you use daggers unless you are building your combat around sneak. Also, unarmed attacks benifit from the same perk listed above, but unarmed is never something you should use in serious combat.)

You can take a look at the perk trees yourself and see which specific weapon perks you would like best and therefore which weapon you should use, but know that each of the six melee weapons all have different damage, reach, and attack speeds, so play around with them to see which ones you like best.

If you choose One-Handed, you will want to decide how you will use it, unlike Two-Handed which has only one way to fight. Will you dual wield or will you use a shield? Shields will add more armor to you and give you the option to block to reduce damage, but each block takes away stamina. Dual weilding will give you better power attacks (and faster attack speed with perks.) Once again, check the perk trees and see what you think you'd like best.

What type of armor do you want to use? Would you like to tank damage, at the cost of movement speed, carry weight, and sneak chance? Or would you like to take less hits, but be able to move faster and sneak better? I'll give you a little tip here: If you plan on playing this game for a while, go with heavy armor, as it's final perk is one that makes it weigh nothing and not slow you down. But if you want to roleplay a sneaky charactor, or one that can't have unrealistic perks, make sure you disregard that tip.

Also, all melee weapons can be enchanted with one of the three basic elements: Frost, Fire, or Shock. All do base damage plus a special effect. Frost will drain Stamina, Shock will drain Magicka, and Fire will ignite targets and then do extra damage if they are hit when still ignited. You will read more on enchantment later.

If you think you will want to use Ranged as well, go with a bow. Magic and armor don't mix well, as magic gains many boosts from cloth. But if you want to use the bow be sure to use or train it, as you don't want to have it be underleveled.

Lastly, even though you fight with a sword, you will want to consider use of restoration. If you are too damaged in a fight, back off and heal. Run around your targets or take cover so they can't hit you when healing.
Do You Like Magic?
Magic users have many special features and limitations they will need to consider. All moves done by them drain the Magica bar, which can be increased through leveling or through equipment. Also, all spells besides starters must be found from Spell Books, which must be read to unlock the spell.

The basic type of Mage is one that uses the Destruction skill, and one of the three elements: Frost, Fire, or Shock. All do base damage plus a special effect. Frost will drain Stamina, Shock will drain Magicka, and Fire will ignite targets and then do extra damage if they are hit when still ignited. These attacks come in different forms with different abilities. For example: Flames will do a constant stream of fire that will do moderate damage, where Fire Bolt will shoot a ball of fire doing increased damage, with the risk of missing the bolt and wasting magica.

Mages do not have a skill tree for their armor type. They wear clothes with very little protection that give major boosts to magic and magica, and use spells for their protection. These spells protect them either by giving boosts to their defense, disabling enemies, or giving enemies something else to attack instead of them. You will read more about these spells later.

Mages will also benifit from the other magic trees: Conjuration, Alteration, Illusion, and Restoration. Besides what you will read below, all the magic trees listed above have perks that will affect gameplay even without using anything unique to the tree (or sometimes without even being a mage,) so be sure to check all the tree's perks and see what ones you might like.

Conjuration mainly involves the summoning of familiars and weapons. Familiars will fight by your side and are good for tanking and damaging. You may also summon weapons that will benifit from the tree they would belong to normaly (the bound sword benifits from the one handed tree.)

Alteration focuses on additional benifits, both in and out of combat. It consists of spells that increase your armor rating, will allow you to detect enemies through magic or light, will immobilize enemies, and a few special spells.

Illusion will mostly help you control your enemies and friendlies, though it does other things. It controls targets by causing them to attack others randomly, not attack at all, flee from combat, or gain boosts to skills. It also allows you to see the path to your goal and move quietly.

Restoration has extra benifits to mages, though its healing is helpful to all. Restoration allows mages to use wards, which will block incoming spells but drain magica. It's healing spells can be used to heal you and others.

Mages also need to choose how they want to wield magic. Each tree offers a perk that makes spells more powerful if dual-wielded, though using two types of elemental damage at once can also make interesting effects, play around with it to see what you like.
Resource Related Skills
You now know how to pick your race and what combat you want to use, you are ready to start leveling up and investing perks without the fear of doing something you would want to change but couldn't. Before you go jumping in to Skyrim though, read this last section that gives an idea of how the resource gathering or resource using skills affect gameplay.

Smithing is used for making and upgrading your own armor and weapons. Through enchanted items, you can increase your smithing effectiveness and therefore your item's power or protection. You can also use it just to upgrade your armor and weapons, but you will need the required smithing level first.

Alchemy is used to make potions and poisons through ingredients found in the world. You can make potions that will heal your health, stamina, and magica as well as many other effects. You can also make poisons that can be applied to your weapons and have negative versions of the effects above.

Lockpicking is used to break into locked containers of loot, and to break into shops or homes for whatever needs you have inside. It can also be used to bypass some enemies or traps via a locked door.

Pickpocket is used to steal items off of people, for profit or for objectives. At later levels, you can use it to take weapons or armor off people, which will help with combat.

Enchanting allows you to enchant your weapons and armor with bonuses. Weapon enchantments require charged soul gems to use and keep charged. Armor, however, will only take a charged soul gem to get the enchantment, and will not need to be charged from then on.
Still Having Troubles?
You know all this information about the skills and the gameplay, but maybe you are still having problems with your playing. If you are getting stuck or lost in the tutorial, this video of mine will walk you through it:

If you want more help after this, check out another of my guides here:
Have Fun!
Thank you all for taking the time to read this guide, I spent a lot of time on it and hope it helped you decide how you wanted to play the game. Please let me know what you think of it and if you want a more complex guide that goes in to much more.
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gamerNan Apr 19, 2019 @ 5:58am 
I can't even get out of the initial tower with the dragon flying about, right at the very beginning. Can anyone help?
wugliwugliwu Jan 8, 2017 @ 4:43am 
Nice intro guide. Thanks!
Riley Jan 4, 2017 @ 9:46pm 
Thanks for the guide I am new to skyrim but not bethseda games thanks
theMilkDrinker  [author] Jul 13, 2015 @ 12:56pm 
Well, on PC, if you have a bug or glitch happen that breaks something, you can usually find a solution to it if you google the quest name and what happened. Usually it will direct you to the wiki and there will be a console command fix there.
handstansler Jul 13, 2015 @ 7:49am 
I have played for some time,I have tried many way to play even when quest come up before their time.I am trying to follow the book(early print) and still have problems.I get It just play even if you can't go back and repair lost quest because of bad answers or bad saves or auto saves that keeps you from going back an undue the actions.the shout is a display of frustration.
theMilkDrinker  [author] Jul 11, 2015 @ 7:31pm 
Sorry Handstansler, but I'm not quite sure what you mean. Can you elaborate?
handstansler Jul 11, 2015 @ 8:04am 
Thanks much.but what some want to know is what is the best?Go page by page of the book on quest or just give it your best shout?
7Griffins Feb 3, 2015 @ 12:50pm 
great help with this guide, thanks a lot
Arsinowey Jan 15, 2015 @ 8:06pm 
Thank you a million times !!!!! I'm going to look now !!!!!
theMilkDrinker  [author] Jan 15, 2015 @ 7:47pm