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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 Sun, 6th May '12, 1:30pm   #1
Sir Rechet
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Heya!

I have grave news indeed: I haven't even touched the game in over a month. Partly because my unintentional powergaming forays have rendered my character a nigh untouchable machine of destruction, but also because I've spoiled the experience by succumbing into cheap powerleveling techniques by f.ex. casting the same buffs over and over. As comparison, anyone that has gone overboard with level-squatting and muling in Icewind Dale 2 knows what I'm talking about.

However, I'm also waiting for a mod or a compilation of mods that would fix at least some of the major problems in the game before starting a new character. I was pleased to know that the patently stupid "500 Iron Daggers to max Smithing" thingy was patched in, and I've read a lot about SkyUI and some of the mods that make the world map usable. Improved graphics mods are superfluous as my gaming rig is kneeling as it is.

So.. any recommendations for no-nonsense mods that would address the borked dps model of magics (no damage improvement from skill, barely any from perks either), eliminate or at least tone down the holy trinity of alchemy/enchant/smithing overpoweredness or such?
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Old Mon, 7th May '12, 2:23pm   #2
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Well, I play on XBox, so I don't even look at mods. However I did want to bring this up:

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Originally Posted by Sir Rechet View Post
I was pleased to know that the patently stupid "500 Iron Daggers to max Smithing" thingy was patched in
You'll still make a lot of iron daggers, because even though they now tie the smithing advancement to the item you make, iron ore and iron ingots are so much cheaper in terms of cost of base materials than anything else, that it still makes sense to craft a few tons worth of iron daggers. You'll just need to craft a few thousand instead of a few hundred to max smithing.

Sure, a set of ebony armor will give as much experience as crafting 10 iron daggers, but it costs way more than 10 times as much money to buy the raw materials. I have found that jewelry seems to award a huge amount of experience per craft. So the easiest means of leveling smithing (assuming you have access to a smelter) is to buy any iron ore you find, transmute to gold, smelt it, make rings/amulets.

The advantages are many:

1. Even before you add in the cost increase from enchanting, a regular gold ring/amulet sells for more than what you paid for the base materials. So it requires no working capital.

2. As stated above, it seems like a gold craft is worth about 3-4 times as much smithing experience as doing an iron dagger. At lower levels 2-3 gold amulets will bump you to the next level.

3. You also get additional experience for leveling alteration for free. Granted, my current character has the mage stone active, but the alteration skill is in the 40s, and that's the only alteration spell I use.

That said, there are two downsides (other than needing to find/purchase the transmute spell):

1. Obviously, you need a smelter. If you're going to do this, you want to buy every piece of iron ore you can get your hands on, which means if your home base is somewhere like Riften or Solitude, you won't have access to a smelter, and will have to transport your ore to use it.

2. It is a magicka intensive process. Each casting of transmute requires 80 magicka, and you need to cast it twice to convert one piece of iron ore into gold ore. (The first casting ups it from iron to silver.) If you're playing a character with a small magicka pool, it is possible that you'll only be able to cast transmute once before waiting for you magicka to replenish. Therefore, this obviously becomes a time consuming process. I have found the easiest thing to do is to buy all my iron ore at the beginning of my trip to town, and then just cast transmute between doing all the other stuff I have to do in town. So my first stop and last stop is the blacksmith. (Unless you're playing an Altmer. With their ability to regenerate magicka at 10 times the normal rate for a full minute, you'll be able to convert pretty much all that you have by activating that skills.)

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the borked dps model of magics (no damage improvement from skill, barely any from perks either)
That pissed me off with my mage character. It seems like the only purpose of having a high skill in any of the schools is to get access to higher level spell books from the college. And it makes no sense, as all other skills in the game have a visible in-game benefit to getting the level higher. All of the warrior weapon skills offer a 0.5% damage increase for every skill advancement, all of the thief skills make performing that particular skill easier or better, while the only thing that advancing a mage skill does is give you experience.

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eliminate or at least tone down the holy trinity of alchemy/enchant/smithing overpoweredness or such?
I don't know how you'd actually do that, other than to tone down the rate at which they advance. You can certainly gimp them as much as you want, but if you gimp them too much, then powergamers like you and me will find other places to spend our perk points. However, even if they just reduce the rate at which those skills advance, it will just delay the process somewhat.

Because right now, that's the only cost of the crafting skills. All three will make you more money than what it costs to purchase the base materials, and so the only limiting factor is the available supply of purchasable raw materials from merchants. If you envision a mythical world in which alchemy reagents, iron ore, and soul gems were available for purchase in unlimited supply, it would be possible to level enchanting, alchemy, and smithing to 100 as soon as you got to Whiterun.
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Last edited by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot; Mon, 7th May '12 at 2:34pm.
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Old Mon, 7th May '12, 8:16pm   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot View Post
You'll still make a lot of iron daggers, because iron ore and iron ingots are so much cheaper
The actual formula for skill exp is known (from UESPWiki)
Creating new item: 25+3*cost^0.65 base exp
Improving an existing item: 25+8*cost^0.6 base exp

In other words, anything costing about 25 about doubles the creation exp (compared to just base 25), 150 gives four times as much, 750 about ten times and so forth. But the real dough seems to come from improving the items, with the extremely low cost of just +1 ingot.

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I have found that jewelry seems to award a huge amount of experience per craft. So the easiest means of leveling smithing (assuming you have access to a smelter) is to buy any iron ore you find, transmute to gold, smelt it, make rings/amulets.
But this makes so much more sense than just doing the most basic thing a smith can do, several hundred times over. Not to mention gives an actual, non-cheesy use for Alteration.

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Even before you add in the cost increase from enchanting, a regular gold ring/amulet sells for more than what you paid for the base materials.
While techically true, the ring/amulet enchants aren't anywhere as lucrative (moneywise) as weapon enchants unless you have lots and lots of large stones to burn.

Quote:
It is a magicka intensive process. Each casting of transmute requires 80 magicka, and you need to cast it twice to convert one piece of iron ore into gold ore.
Other than it takes a fair bit of more IRL time, this is actually a GOOD thing as Alteration increases according to the amount of mana used for it. Just make a habit of casting it at every corner while you're strolling around any city.

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It seems like the only purpose of having a high skill in any of the <magic> schools is to get access to higher level spell books from the college.
And a small mana cost reduction. Whoop-de-doo.

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You can certainly gimp them as much as you want, but if you gimp them too much, then powergamers like you and me will find other places to spend our perk points.
Here's how I would change it:

1) Improve all base items a bit, and a bit more for the top level stuff. This makes the base items more differentiated AND gives you a slight boost even if you decide to skip smithing altogether, a.k.a willfully gimp yourself as it is now.
2) Tone DOWN the amount improved by smithing a notch or two. Maybe +6/+12 for Legendary instead of +10/+20. This together with 1) keeps the balance for smithing alone pretty much where it is now.
3) Nerf +smith enchants and +smith potions heavily, at least by half. Sure you still get benefits by having all three, but not ridiculously so.
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Old Mon, 7th May '12, 8:44pm   #4
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Originally Posted by Sir Rechet View Post
But the real dough seems to come from improving the items, with the extremely low cost of just +1 ingot.
Hmmm... In that case it makes sense to improve almost any item or weapon that you plan to sell anyway. Even cheapy stuff would sell for far more than the cost of one additional ingot, regardless of what it was.

Quote:
While techically true, the ring/amulet enchants aren't anywhere as lucrative (moneywise) as weapon enchants unless you have lots and lots of large stones to burn.
You're right, and I should have been more thorough in my explanation. My thinking was that soul gems are typically the limiting ingredient in the smith -> craft -> sell process. You can always smith more items than you can possibly acquire soul gems to enchant, especially in the early stages of the game. You could therefore enchant the daggers, and sell the jewelry as is. Selling the jewelry would probably make you enough money in the early levels to purchase a couple of more soul gems each trip to town. (Although if you use any soul other than lesser or petty, it's pretty much impossible to realize a net return when you sell. At the early enchanting levels, there's no dagger or jewelry that you could possibly enchant that will sell for ~400 gp, which is the going rate for a common soul gem filled with a common soul.)

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this is actually a GOOD thing as Alteration increases according to the amount of mana used for it. Just make a habit of casting it at every corner while you're strolling around any city.
That exactly what I do. My first and last stop are always the blacksmith. I buy up all the ore, iron ingots and leather strips first. (Although now with the information you posted above it would seem like it would be most advantageous to only spend half of ingots on crafting, and use the other half on improving.) Then do all my other stops around town, casting transmute whenever magicka allows. When I'm done with the alchemist and the enchanting I then head back to the blacksmith with all my gold ore, smelt it, and make jewelry. (I've usually already spent all my soul gems on the daggers, so the jewelry is just for sale. If I've already emptied the pockets of all the merchants, I'll shoot over to Riften where the Agronian in the market only buys and sells jewelry and unload all my gold jewelry on him.) And I agree leveling Alteration with Transmute is definitely non-cheesy, you're using an Alteration spell exactly as the design of the game intended you to use it.

Quote:
Tone DOWN the amount improved by smithing a notch or two. Maybe +6/+12 for Legendary instead of +10/+20.
That would be the biggest difference maker. The reason I elected to make a character who was primarily a mage who dabbled in warrior aspects is I figured I could make uber damage weapons just by crafting without the need to heavily invest in perks.

That, or I would make the bonuses from potions and smithing non-stackable. Therefore, potions would be the way to go early on, but smithing would take over later. That way, you wouldn't have to tone down the potions at all, especially if the bonus for smithing was reduced.
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