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The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim For posts concerning Bethesda Softworks' The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, its expansions and various DLC.

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Old Mon, 26th Mar '12, 6:05pm   #1
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Default Game Mechanics

After some more game time this weekend - hell, I probably played more in the past two days than the entire first week I had the game (hooray for rain - I couldn't do yard work!).

Anyway, I'd like some concrete info on particular game mechanics. I now see after the advice I received from some here, and actual playing time that haphazard training to improve skills you don't use much isn't really going to help. Not only will that up the difficulty, but leveling skills you don't use doesn't help you level your character nearly as much as leveling skills you do use.

So I guess that's the first thing. Just from observation, taking a skill that is already at level 60, and advancing it to level 61 gives you considerably more progress towards your next character level than taking a skill at level 25 and leveling it to 26. That's the first mistake I made regarding training. I assumed a linear advancement, in that you need X skill ups to get to the next character level, when in fact it's dependent upon your existing level in that skill. You might only need 10 skill level ups to reach the next character level if it's a skill that's already high, but you might need 20 or more if it's with a bunch of skills that are lower in level.

But the real point of this thread is determining what affect your level in a skill affects what happens in the game - other than the obvious of being able to select certain perks.

For example, weapon damage. It seems to me that there are five things that affect how much damage you do with a weapon. 1) The actual damage rating on the weapon itself (or in the case of archery, both the bow and the projectile). 2) The armor that the enemy is wearing 3) Whether you are doing a regular or power attack 4) Whether or not the enemy sees you. and 5) Your skill rating with the weapon.

It's 5 that's really up for debate. I would like to think that each level in a skill impacts damage by a certain amount. Certainly not a large amount but some small percentage. Like it factors the first four items, and then each level you have in that skill might add something like 1% additional damage.

I could see the same thing happening with armor, except it would damage reduced. (Clearly it can't be 1% per level, as that would mean you'd be immune to damage at level 100, even ignoring other factors.) Or spells would be more damaging/restorative the higher the skill. Maybe lockpicking gives you a little more play in how precise you need to be with the lockpick to get it to open. Smithing doesn't affect what you can make directly, as that's perk driven, but it certainly impacts the quality of improvements you can make to armor and weapons.

But does anyone know precisely how the game does this? What percentage you get, and how it is applied. It seems problematic in some regards. For example skills that work together - like blocking and armor (be it light or heavy). If both provide damage reduction, it would seem like you could get to the point where all damage is practically negated when blocking (unless there's a cap).
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Old Mon, 26th Mar '12, 8:22pm   #2
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As far as spells go, leveling the appropriate skill simply reduces mana cost (except for certain ones). Leveling lockpicking increases the success arc/angle. How effective your armor/weapons are depends on your armor/weapon skills, try comparing the defense of light armor to equivalent heavy armor if your light armor skill is significantly higher than your heavy armor skill. I suppose it's the same for weapons.


The benefits of other skills like Sneak and Speech are much more pronounced. Leveling Alchemy improves your potions, same for enchanting.

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Old Tue, 27th Mar '12, 8:24am   #3
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You can see on a weapon how much damage you would do with it. My stealth character is doing 120+ damage with a dagger but below 30 with a two handed daedric sword so skill sure makes a difference and a rather big one too. I do not know the exact mechanics.
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Old Sat, 31st Mar '12, 5:49pm   #4
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Weapon skills get you yet another "up to" 40% damage bonus (at 100 skill), multiplicative with everything else. Likewise, armor skills give "up to" 25% more armor out of your armor pieces. That is on top of any and all perks for the given skill, so you're looking at around +180% damage or +150% armor compared non-perked, base skill to fully perked at 100 skill. Spell skills only reduce mana cost, they DO NOT increase damage!!

You can find most exact formulas from, for example, UESPWiki. In short, anything that says +n% percent to anything is most likely a separate multiplier.. leading to some seriously wicked combinations if some power-gaming approach is applied. Like, for example, single weapon hits scoring several thousand, if not tens of thousands, damage at one go in a game where tough dudes stand at around 1,000 hit points or so..
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Old Sat, 31st Mar '12, 6:25pm   #5
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Indeed. My latest archer does 2.3k damage per hit with his bow (after potion)... x3 on sneak attacks.
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Old Sun, 1st Apr '12, 10:17am   #6
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On the positive side of things, Skyrim is a pretty good example on a game design where powergaming is neither needed nor encouraged. Of course you need to stick to your guns and get good at using them, but who wouldn't anyway? On the other hand, it's quite hard to quantify whether yet another level-up due to power-leveling skills you never intend to use to get a small hp/mana/stamina boost is "worth" it since you'll also meet tougher opponents to compensate. Not like almost any other game where higher level is somehow automatically "better".
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Old Mon, 2nd Apr '12, 2:13pm   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Rechet View Post
Skyrim is a pretty good example on a game design where powergaming is neither needed nor encouraged ... Not like almost any other game where higher level is somehow automatically "better".
True - but it does seem like there is a critical amount of health you need to feel comfortable. In the early going, I was constantly short on healing potions because there were many battles where I just couldn't get through it with constantly healing, and many times running away to use the healing spell as well.
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Old Thu, 5th Apr '12, 7:39pm   #8
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Yes, of course. Having 300 instead of just 100 health is a huge boost and probably a good life insurance all by itself no matter what skills you boosted to get there. Just noting that "getting to as high level as fast as possible" is nowhere near as high a priority as it is in just about any other RPG out there as you don't use experience points to measure your level, rather the sum total of your training across the board as the yard stick.

I've read your guides for BG2, for example, and can guarantee you that you suffer at least as much of the powergamitis as I did when starting out. Relax, man. This ain't no Insane Improved Anvil Ironman run we're talking about, this is Skyrim. At least until the Really Tough difficulty mods show up.
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Old Thu, 5th Apr '12, 8:23pm   #9
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Quote:
you suffer at least as much of the powergamitis as I did when starting out
I..... CAN'T.... STOP!

In fact, my power gaming streak has only intensified after my first play of the game. For example, there were some things I didn't know the first time going through that I know now. For example, I figured out that if you have the ingredients for potions like slow, waterbreathing, frenzy, and paralysis, that often times you can craft a potion that sells for more money than the raw ingredients cost you to make.

Hell, I KNOW I'm going to abuse the crap out of that. Raise my alchemy, raise my speech, get a few extra levels early. I know I won't HAVE to do that, but I won't be able to convince myself NOT to do that. Of course, the return on investment on those potions is so high that the sale of those potions will allow me to purchase MORE ingredients to make even more potions. I'll of course make a few low value potions along the way like restore health, but that will be for use, not resale. So long as you buy the ingredients that yield the highest value potions FIRST, you can essentially get all (or at least the majority of) the alchemy stores ingredients AND all of its money. And of course, I'll make sure I'm "well rested" and have the thief stone active before doing any of this, to maximize the skill benefit.

Step two is you take your ill-gotten gains over to the local blacksmith and start purchasing leather and ingots for crafting. (Granted, with the release of the patch 1.5, going to all-daggers route after your blacksmith level hits ~level 40 becomes a losing proposition, and so you'll have to start making higher-value items, but the basic concept remains the same.) Of course, before I do step 2, I'll travel back to the standing stones and pick up the warrior, and rest in the inn again to maximize the smithing skill as well.

Keep in mind that I'll do all of this before I leave Riverwood. I'll probably be level 8 or 9 before I even go to retrieve the golden claw. Or maybe do that first bandit quest for the bounty. And it goes without saying that I'll use that money to purchase archery training levels (for free naturally) from Faendal before proceeding. I won't gimp my character, because the vast majority of perks will be spent on the archery and sneak tree, so that my character may be up against slightly harder enemies, but will also have superior firepower, from the perks, the high skill, and the exquisite elven bow I just crafted prior to leaving Riverwood. (And my first trip is a fast-travel back to the standing stones to switch back to thief. I won't have to worry about leveling archery through traditional means with Faendal with me.)

Step three is even nuttier. I won't go to the Thane of Whiterun, because I don't want to start fighting dragons yet. (Of course, I will go to the alchemist and blacksmith though). From there it's to Riften where I join the thieves guild and start doing all of their quests as they all offer excellent return on investment (including - or more appripriately, especially - the extra Vex and Delvin quests, that will offer me access to additional merchants who will also purchase my stolen goods).

I might do the Dark Brotherhood quests too - there are benefits to both armor sets, and I'm not sure which I would prefer - although without the complete set perk in the beginning, I can mix and match. I think I like the Dark Brotherhood Gloves and Hood, and the Thieves Guild Armor and Boots.

And then I'll go see the Jarl in Whiterun.
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Old Thu, 5th Apr '12, 10:11pm   #10
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Significantly more, if you have alchemy perks. And you may have already noticed this, but unlike blacksmithing/enchanting as your alchemy skill increases the value of your potions increases as well. Then there are the double/triple bonus potions/poisons.
Basically, sooner or later those perks from Speech are going to start looking mighty useful. Whiterun, for example, happens to have like 8 or so merchants standing in close proximity to each other. Unfortunately most of these merchants are nonfactor without the appropriate perks from Speech... which is why I also typically ignore Whiterun until higher levels.
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Old Thu, 5th Apr '12, 11:08pm   #11
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Aldeth: That's pretty much exactly the game plan I'm doing the next time, going stealth/daggers first instead of in-your-face full plate mail with sword&board. You can't cure a powergamer, it seems.

Yet it'd be rather awkward for me to promote this style of play as "easy mode" (as is usually the goal with powergaming in general), rather "taking the maths approach". You kinda have to know in advance what you're getting into doing this as the less math-savvy adventurer might end up with a bit too much "ouch" without even realizing why.
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Old Tue, 10th Apr '12, 3:17pm   #12
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Default Kleptomania

I'm doomed as a power gamer.

I started my sneak thief over the weekend, and I'm playing him AS A THIEF, including the thief stone. Good god is pickpocketing both profitable and easy to level. I already have more money than I know what to do with!

I'm only level 17 right now, and I did end up going to Whiterun and killing the easy dragon, but that was no more than a short stop on my way to Riften where I joined the thieves guild.

I take a LOT of missions from Vex and Mallory. And I've completely changed my strategy on how I am playing this character. With my first fighting character, I really focused on everything combat related, and I had planned on doing the same thing for this character. Then I started looking at specific perks. First I went with the archery perks:

It occurred to me that even though there are 16 perks in this tree, only eight of those perks actually directly increase the damage you do with a bow. The five in overdraw, and three in critical shot. All the other stuff is convenience, or gives you the ability (such as power shot) to allow a second shot before they reach melee. But here's the thing. If you save those perks, you're not in nearly as bad of shape as you could be, assuming you do eventually go to melee. As such, even though the bow is my primary damage source, I only have four perks spent in archery at this time. Three in overdraw and one in critical shot (my archery skill is currently 40-something, and as such, that's all I can have at this point).

Onto melee. Since I'm eventually going to be dual wielding daggers (but not yet) there isn't a whole lot I need on this tree either. The only skills that are going to directly affect damage are the five for armsman and dual savagery (which will of course require at least one point in dual flurry). So again here, the most I would ever need to invest is 8 perks. I currently only spent three, as that is what I have the ability to invest in at this point.

The final piece of my damage sources come from the sneak bonuses, and so there are some more perks spent here (I need backstab, assassin's blade, and deadly aim). But I don't have to go hog wild. Unlike the first perk in archery and one-handed, multiple points in stealth do not give the same uniform bonus. The first one improves your sneaking by 20%, and the next four only give 5% - so the first one is worth as much as the next four combined. I'll take one - thanks. I can also live without lightfoot and silent roll, which also means I'll have to do without silence and shadow warrior, simply because I won't have the prerequisite perks. I can make do with just five perks in the whole tree.

So at first I thought that this character would be way too ambitious - that I'd simply need so many points to optimize him, that I wouldn't be able to do so in a reasonable amount of levels. Not so. What I just outlined above shows that I can be completely proficient in all the combat skills I need for an investment of just 21 perks. What's more, since I won't have the requisite skills in those final perks until well into the game (the fifth armsman and overdraw ranks require 80 in the respective skills, dual savagery requires 70, and the third critical shot requires 90) - I don't need to invest heavily into these skills early on. So that 21 perks investment really drops to 17 as far as the first 30 or so levels go.

It also allows a ton of flexibility in what I do with the rest of those perks, as I've likely spent less than half of what I'll earn in combat related stuff. I've already stated I wanted to eventually max smithing - MUCH HARDER TO DO WITH THE NEW PATCH! - but that only requires 6 perks max, as I know I'm going to be using exclusively light armor. That also requires a base of capital to do, as I sure as hell am not spending money to TRAIN to get good at this.

Which brings me into my ancillary perk point investment. I break into a lot of houses and I steal a lot of stuff. So much so that a few perks here go a long way. Three perks in pickpocking. The first is light fingers, which makes pickpocketing way easier. The one thing I had not realized is pickpocketing begets more pickpocketing. It's a never-ending loop. Once you get good at it, it's easier and easier to steal. Pickpocketing is my highest skill - level 70 already! It so useful I talked myself into picking up night thief and cutpurse as well. I'm already so successful in my pickpocking chances - generally 90% for most stuff - that I doubt I'll need more than that.

But those guards that see you breaking into places are so bothersome. So I am reluctantly going to spend 3 points in lockpicking as well in order to get quick hands, that let you remain hidden while picking locks. Kills me that I needed to spend points to make novice and apprentice locks easier to pick - as they aren't challenging to pick anyway - but this is the cost of doing business - or at least the business I've decided to do.

For those keeping score, we're up to 33 perks. But the only other things I can possibly want to invest in are alchemy and light armor. Alchemy requires up to 15 points - not that there is any reason to get so many. You can easily do without three ranks in experimenter - the only reason you even need one is to unlock the rest of the skills. Unless purity greatly affects resale value of potions - and even if it does money is already no object - means I don't need that. I also don't need snakeblood, and I definitely don't need green thumb - I'm already buying every ingredient from every merchant I run across. It also appears that the biggest bang for my perk buck comes from just having the "Alchemist" perks. I can get away with five perks - 10 if I really want to be perfect, which I don't plan on being.

Which brings my to the last skill I want a bit in - light armor. This works exactly like armsman and archery - the first 5 in agile defender are all great, and since I know I'll be wearing light armor constantly, that means I want custom fit too. Six perks. All the rest are convenience perks that I won't need. (In fact, since I know I likely won't be wearing a complete set of anything at any time - I already found a pair of elven gauntlets that grant +20% bow damage - a lot of the later perks will have no discernible benefit.

To recap:

Fighter perks:
Archery - 8
One-Handed - 8
Smithing - 6
Subtotal - 22

Thief perks:
Sneak - 5
Pickpocketing - 3
Lockpicking - 3
Light Armor - 6
Alchemy - 5
Subtotal - 22

For a grand total of 44 perks. Easily doable within the game. Any leftover perks can go into alchemy to make that even better.

A few other notes:

Quote:
Whiterun, for example, happens to have like 8 or so merchants standing in close proximity to each other. Unfortunately most of these merchants are nonfactor without the appropriate perks from Speech... which is why I also typically ignore Whiterun until higher levels.
Merchants? I don't need no stinkin' merchants! The jobs that you get from Vex and Mallory eventually unlock additional fences, and increase the gold all of these fences have available. Once you complete 5 small jobs for Vex and/or Mallory (or any combination) - you get a "city influence" quest that restores the thieves guild in a given city. When you do that, you get a new fence inside the thieves guild. Not every city offers you a new fence, but the ones that do include:

Imitation Amnesty - Whiterun
Summerset Shadows - Windhelm
Silver Lining - Markarth
The Dainty Sload - Solitude

So right there, in addition to Tonilla that you get as a fence from the start, means you have up to five fences, each with up to 4000 gold in the thieves guild, so unless you plan on unloading over 20,000 septims worth of stuff, merchants are unnecessary - especially since most of what you sell will be stolen, and thus not able to be sold to regular merchants anyway. That said, you're right about having a high speech skill. It's already one of my higher skills since I buy and sell so much, something that is unlikely to stop in the foreseeable future.
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Last edited by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot; Tue, 10th Apr '12 at 3:52pm.
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Old Tue, 10th Apr '12, 4:15pm   #13
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Have you cranked up the difficulty to master yet?
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Old Tue, 10th Apr '12, 4:44pm   #14
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No, and honestly until you just said it now, the thought never occurred to me to try. Keep in mind this is just my second character. (OK, technically the third, but I hosed the first one up so royally, and restarted when he was level 12 that I don't count that one.) I've only played through the game once, so I consider this my second attempt. I played the first time on whatever the default difficulty setting is. I don't even know how many difficulty levels there are (I assume at least three), nor do I know if the default setting is the easiest setting or a middle setting.

Does upping the difficulty affect skill success or does it just up the damage enemies do and their health? (For example, does picking a lock become more challenging on master, or does it just take longer to kill stuff?) If I were going to play another hard-core fighter, I'd definitely up the difficulty, as there was pretty much nothing I couldn't take on by the time I hit level 30 or so. Even in battles against multiple enemies, it was just an issue of using healing potions. The hardest battle I had after level 30 was when I completed the amulet fragment quest, and one of the bosses the second time you fight them has that should that keeps throwing you back against the wall. That was more annoying than anything though.
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Old Tue, 10th Apr '12, 7:19pm   #15
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Aldeth, I support your cherry pick approach on perks, but if you at the same time concentrate on just a few skills you will play a sizeable chunk of the game without gaining any more level-ups. I find that a tad boring myself so I instead concentrate on keeping the "just one more skill up for the next level" stage of the game as long as possible. I know, a tad odd for a powergamer.. but this game seems to accommodate for that paradox better than most.

Instead, I deem a character fully grown only when (s)he has 100 skill in everything. The powergaming comes in figuring out how to get there with the minimum amount of cheese and maximum amount of elegance within the expected span of the game. Finishing your build should, IMHO, happen somewhere between halfway to near end of the game, just like you do character planning in Diablo 2 with the expection of reaching level 75 to 85 (give or take) by the end of Hell mode rather than comparing level 99 final builds that only the most stubborn ones will ever get to see, much less enjoy.

For example, I've already spoiled my first character a bit by powerleveling stuff just because I could. And I feel like I've cheated myself, not entirely unlike how I felt after I discovered level squatting in Icewind Dale 2 and abused it to hell and back or how fast just one stupidly overpowered mod item can spoil the experience in Diablo 2 (or just about any RPG).

Sure, I still have both Two-Handed and Destruction untouched even though I'm at level 67 and I can't even train them at the same time (not easily anyway) but since I already have many of the related skills maxed, it's pretty much only those two that will add to my overall level and it's going to be an extremely slow crawl given how many hit points' worth of (un)living tissue needs to be transformed into "dead" state by them to max them both.

As I see it, any primary damage skill (or combination thereof) is going to be the yard stick on how progressed your character feels. Armor and other defenses (including Restoration) will kind of hang along, just as convenience skills like Speech and Lockpicking. Crafting skills can be squeezed just about anywhere, anytime to smoothe things out if need be. And finally, magic is an either/or proposition given the extra resource needed by and only by it, although you can kinda get the huge mana pool effect from the -n% mana cost enchants.

So, to maximize the meaningful game time (ie. still leveling and getting better), all you need to do is to pick the permutation you like between 1h, 2h, Archery and Destruction. Squeeze in Block (or dualwield), Sneak and/or Illusion/Conjuration magic to spice it up to taste. Any melee and any ranged can be (kinda) trained together, although you'll wear out your fingertips on the weapon switch hotkeys. The more consecutive "steps" you have on this permutation list, the more you need to pay attention to diverting your training points to advancing them rather than something else, lest you'll end up with an extremely slow crawl towards the end.

---------- Added 0 hours, 15 minutes and 27 seconds later... ----------

Difficulty level only affects damage output of you and your enemies with a flat percentage. It has no effect on skills, at least not what I know of.

I fully expect a multitude of mods in the making (maybe already published, not sure) that allows for more dials and knobs to turn to fine tune the difficulty in a more elegant way.
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Old Wed, 11th Apr '12, 3:17pm   #16
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I'm either misinterpreting what you're saying, or we have vastly different visions for this character.

While I say this character is "done" at level 44, that is not to say he is optimized at level 44. (Btw, you evidently did a LOT more than I did with your first character - I finished at level 56 - a full 11 levels behind your character, and given how level progression slows as you advance, that is a TON more stuff that you got to that I didn't.) Granted, there's a ton of stuff I never did on my first play through the game. I didn't do the Thieves Guild, the Dark Brotherhood, or the College of Winterhold, which are objectives 1, 2, and 3 with this character. I also didn't bother with going back to the Graybeards to find the location of other shouts, finding the masks, all the daedric artifacts, or the Stones of Barenziah. With my first character, he was pretty much optimized at level 44, because I only picked 4 skill trees to work on, and one of those was Smithing, which is like half a tree. (Seriously, I went blocking, heavy armor, one handed and smithing. Didn't spend a single perk in any of the thief or mage trees.) So once I got through to that point, I just went ahead and finished the game.

This character is much more ambitious because I'm heavily utilizing 5 trees, and dabbling in 3 others. So level 44 is when I expect him to be able to reasonably do everything that I think he'll really need to do. That's when he'll have most of the perks he'll need to do solid damage and survive reasonably well. That is not to say that I won't see any point in playing beyond level 44. After level 44, that's when I go back and start grabbing those perks that would have been ever so nice to get earlier, but I held off on because I didn't want to gimp my character in the early going.

Believe me, my first abortive attempt as a sneak character failed precisely because I did the "OOOOOHHHH! AAAAAHHHHH! Shiny new perk!" leveling system. Around level 15 I had a character that was virtually undetectable, but couldn't kill anything, and once detected was totally hosed. Seriously - I was getting OWNED by anything tougher than a wolf in toe to toe combat.

So this character is designed with the thought in mind to make the earlier levels less painful. It is true that both this character and my initial failed attempt would have ended up at the same point once they reached level 50 - but I couldn't see how I could have got that character to level 50 to begin with. For example, Shadow Warrior looks awesome to have - I may go that route with the next 5 or 6 perks I get after level 44. Or heck, there's a ton of useful perks in the Archery tree I'm skipping. I love Eagle Eye and Steady Hand, but not at the cost of passing up damage in the early going. Heck, I can even pick up enchanting - I think the double enchantment affect is attainable with just 4 perks.

Finally, there IS a steady progression of this character even in the early levels. Armsman, Overdraw, Alcehmist, and Agile Defender all have level requirements that go 0/20/40/60/80. So it's not like I can optimize one ahead of all of the others - I will gradually advance in all of those skills. I know this because it's already happening. I'm only level 17 right now, and I have perks in 7 different trees.

---------- Added 18 hours, 57 minutes and 52 seconds later... ----------

Hmmm... This is an odd game mechanic regarding pickpocketing. My pickpocketing skill is now at 75, and I have a 90% success rate with everything I attempt to steal. It would appear that 90% is the maximum % chance for success, as it's 90% if I'm pickpocketing just a few pieces of gold, or a 1K necklace - which was not the case when I had a lower pickpocket score. Well... almost everything I attempt to steal has a 90% chance of success.

I noticed that when I was training skills that were lower than level 50 - when they are cheaper. It was nearly certain that I would have an easy time getting my money back by pickpocketing. I don't know if this was a change in the latest patch, but it gets MUCH more difficult once you break level 50. Last night I attempted to level archery through training by Niruin. However, my archery was just a tad over 50 (like 52 or so). When I attempted to steal the gold back from him, my % chance of success was 11% - which is much lower than I see for just about everything except some very expensive items when I had a very low pickpocket skill. So I did some research and found this on the Skyrim Wiki:

Quote:
There is an unknown formula for maximum gold value that can be pickpocketed based on the level of the character's pickpocket skill and which perks they have. This can result in situations where even a small change in gold value can result in huge swings in percentage chance of success.
So evidently, once you hit level 50 and the cost of training skyrockets, you pass off the maximum gold value threshold. While I often quick save before pickpocketing - unless I don't care if the target goes hostile - I also hate wasting time reloading, so I won't even attempt to pickpocket unless my chance for success is at or very near 90%. (I had one very expensive necklace last night with a 87% chance of success, and that's high enough for me to try.) With an 11% chance of success, I won't even bother trying.

That's unfortunate, because there are two skills that I was considering leveling through training - archery and light armor. The former because I'm using the thief stone and thus am not leveling archery as quickly as my other primary skills, and the latter because it's pretty freaking dangerous to level light armor through conventional means.
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Old Thu, 12th Apr '12, 9:36am   #17
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Let them keep their hard earned cash, you ought to have plenty.
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Old Sun, 15th Apr '12, 3:23pm   #18
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Aldeth, you character build is a solid one and I applaud your take on further improving the leveling experience beyond "just get to max level ASAP and you'll be fine".

You can safely ignore most of my ramblings if slow (or non-existent) leveling after a certain point in the game is not an issue for you. I'm just promoting the fact that the leveling system is such a perfect match for a true dual or triple class approach, much better than Baldur's Gate ever was at least. If all you really want is a bad-ass assassin, you're not really gimped in any way or form by sticking to that. In fact, in terms of raw power, you're actually DISCOURAGED from straying off the path of the assassin - your primaly abilities won't improve but you WILL meet tougher opponents, and a few extra HP/magicka/stamina is all you get as compensation. That all by itself is a pretty darn good and desirable thing to achieve in a CRPG.

My approach for my first character is that of the completionist, ie. wanting to do everything with just one character. Not sure why, actually, since the game seems rather to be written with the assumption of several consecutive playthroughs with vastly different approaches. You can't really be a both a good guy and a douche at the same time, and trying to do BOTH Companions and Thieves Guild quest lines with the same character is a bit of a storyline stretch even for a seasoned powergamer. There's so many diversions to keep you occupied that doing EVERYTHING is, frankly, nowhere near as necessary (nor desirable) as, say, scouring every nook and cranny for experience points in Baldur's Gate series is. Yet another odd but certainly refreshing change for a powergamer in favor of Skyrim.

The weak points come in terms of a lacking overall purpose for your character (the main storyline is VERY short for a game this size), balancing issues, numerous all too easily achieved exploits and so forth. But as far as I can tell, most of them can be fixed with mods, self-respect and/or self-discipline. "Don't dismiss your dream car just because you don't like the colour."
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Old Mon, 16th Apr '12, 3:07pm   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joacqin View Post
Let them keep their hard earned cash, you ought to have plenty.
Well, I actually went and did a little more digging into the issue. Along the way I got my pickpocket skill up to 100 (the first skill maxed with this character). Remember that there are three "levels" with training. Up to level 50, you can train a new level for about 500 gold or less. For levels 51-75, it costs you around 1500-2000 gold per training session. For levels 76-90, you're looking at 3500-4000+ (maxes out around 4200 at level 90) gold per training session. I have discerned the following:

1. With a three perk investment (in order to get Light Fingers, Night Thief, and Cutpurse - Cutpurse is the most important the other two prerequisites) you'll have a 90% chance of pickpocketing your gold back from any trainer up to level 50. Depending on your views of leveling early on, you can decide for yourself if this is worth the 3 perks. However, once you hit level 51, the cost of training effectively triples, and your chance of success drops dramatically.

2. Since I have perks to burn with this character, I went whole hog on the pickpocketing tree, and invested the full 5 points into Light Fingers. Doing that, along with some basic pickpocketing gear, allows you to maintain that 90% chance of success through level 75. Of course, in order to do that, you've now invested 8 perks into pickpocketing as opposed to 3. Once you hit level 76, the cost of training jumps again, to approximately double what it was during levels 51-75.

3. For training skills that are level 76 and above, it is extremely difficult to pickpocket your money back. I'm a powergamer to the core, but even I have my limits. I won't do countless reloads just to get my money back. At level 76, you'll notice that your chance of success has dropped from 90% to around 60%. For every level beyond that, it drops another 3%-5% or so. So by the time you get well into the 80s, your chance of pickpocketing your money back is around 10%.

So my take on it is if you are playing a character that needs some skills in trees that you won't have the appropriate standing stone active, and you can't get the well rested bonus reliably when doing it (so that applies to pretty much every skill you won't be using around town), it may very well be worth your while to invest those three points into pickpocketing to get such skills trained to level 50. (Like I did with my current archer thief. Getting to level 50 early, allows you to get those crucial early perks that make continuing using those skills ever so much more useful.) It's crazy easy to level pickpocketing in the early going, so long as you start with some low value items, that many characters can benefit from this strategy.

For training levels 51-75, I think the calculus really changes. Unless you're playing a character that's just looking to spend perks anywhere, investing an additional 5 perks is a lot to ask. Possibly worth it if you were considering a late game career change, as it would allow you to get that new skills humming at a much faster rate, but generally speaking, I wouldn't advise it.

Training beyond level 75 wouldn't require any additional perk investment - although at that point you'd have your pickpocket long since maxed out and you could spend two points for Misdirection and Perfect Touch to pickpocket equipped items, including weapons, but for the purposes of getting your money back from training, there's nothing else you can do to help yourself. Even if you tricked out your character with optimal pickpocketing gear - say an enchanted ring and amulet, and I think gloves and boots can also carry pickpocket enhancements - you may be able to keep going, but there's not way that I can see to be able to reliably pickpocket sums of gold exceeding 3K-4K.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Rechet View Post
There's so many diversions to keep you occupied that doing EVERYTHING is, frankly, nowhere near as necessary (nor desirable) as, say, scouring every nook and cranny for experience points in Baldur's Gate series is. Yet another odd but certainly refreshing change for a powergamer in favor of Skyrim.

The weak points come in terms of a lacking overall purpose for your character (the main storyline is VERY short for a game this size)
I agree with both of those points. The only skill I trained with this character is archery, and I STILL reached level 44 with him last night just by completing the Thieves Guild, and starting the first few quests with the Dark Brotherhood. (I have yet to go to the Graybeards, just because, well - I already have done that in a previous game, and I want to see new stuff.) After the Dark Brotherhood, I want to do the College of Winterhold, so it's entirely conceivable that I'll be level 50 before I start the main storyline. Conversely if you focused nearly exclusively on the main storyline, I think it's conceivable you could finish the entire game without reaching level 50.

As far as other things to do with this character, I see little incentive of going after all the Dragon Masks. Most of the time, I'm wearing enchanted gear anyway, and it looks like most of the masks wouldn't offer much more than what I'd get from what I already have. (Btw - I HATE having to switch my equipment around. I like having favorites with weapons to quick-switch stuff, but it's annoying every time I want to do enchanting, alchemy, or smithing to switch gear around. And that doesn't count switching my gloves around from archery gloves to shrouded gloves depending on whether I'm using my bow or backstabbing.

So maybe I'll see how many shouts I can accumulate. I didn't do that last game but apparently, the Graybeards will give you quests where there are dragon shouts at the end. As you may well imagine, I have very few shouts but a good chunk of souls to spend with this character.
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