How To

How to play Skyrim with tips

How to play Skyrim with tips
Shaun M Jooste

Shaun M Jooste

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim presents an outstanding journey and adventure in a fantasy land. You can spend months or even years playing it and not becoming bored, as there are so many things to do.

With the Skyrim Anniversary Edition available as of November 11, 2021, gamers will be setting off on the action once again. It celebrates 10 years since the original launch. So, we’re going to show you how to play Skyrim if you’re new to the game.

What is Skyrim?

Games like Skyrim are referred to as roleplaying games, or RPG for short. It has an open-world platform, which means you can travel anywhere in Tamriel without any forced linear progression. There are plenty of quests you can embark on in a mission to level up your character, weapons, and armor to become the ultimate Dragonborn hero.

The story starts with you as a prisoner about to be beheaded. Suddenly, a dragon attacks, a mystical creature that the people of Skyrim haven’t seen for decades. You somehow hold the power to speak the same language as them, but will you use it for good or evil?

How to play Skyrim

How to play Skyrim?

When it comes to learning how to play Skyrim, there’s a lot of ground to cover. You’ll need to know the basics before we can move on to more advanced tips. 

Various Skyrim editions

Since the original launch of the game on PC, there have been many Skyrim editions on various platforms. They’re mostly the same in terms of gameplay, but you may find combat easier on some of them or the graphics better. For instance, the Skyrim Switch edition actually lets you move your hands with the Joy-Con controllers to hit and block.

Here are some of the top Skyrim editions:

  • Skyrim for PC
  • Skyrim PS3/PS4/PS5
  • Skyrim Xbox 360/One/Series X/S
  • Skyrim Nintendo Switch
  • Skyrim VR
  • Skyrim Legendary Edition
  • Skyrim Special Edition
  • Skyrim Anniversary Edition

Most of the latest versions include DLCs, such as Skyrim Dawnguard and Hearthfire. There’s also the popular Skyrim Creation Club where games can show off their item creations, approved by the publisher Bethesda.

Getting started

Once you’ve decided which version of The Elder Scrolls 5 you’ll be playing, you’ll need to purchase and install the game. For PC, it means downloading the files onto your computer where you have enough storage. Make sure to check the system requirements for the version of Skyrim you’ll be playing.

Character creation

With the game installed, you’re ready to play Skyrim. There will be a long introduction to the story, but it will reach a point where the guards will ask you for your details. You’ll need to select one of the races, each one with special abilities. 

You can also play around with character customizations. There are face paints to apply, while you can change facial and physical features to make your hero unique. When you’re done deciding how to look, you’ll apply a name and continue with the story.

Starting out

When the first part of the story is done and you’re out of danger, you’ll be on your own with most of the tutorial complete. There will be the main quest for you to follow, but you can wander around as you wish. Take your time getting to know the basic game mechanics and explore. The quest is going nowhere.

Most of all, get used to opening your inventory and checking new items. Also, read through all your upcoming abilities when you level up. It will help you choose which path you want to focus on, which we’ll touch on more a bit later.

Main and side quests

There are three types of quests you’ll unlock once you get the hang of how to play Skyrim. The primary ones are the main missions, which will propel you towards the end of the story. There are companion, city, or guild quests that will earn you stature and unique rewards. Finally, you have random side quests if you’re looking to collect some coin or obtain a special weapon or armor set.

While you can only focus on the main quests to reach the end sooner, you may find some difficulty later in the game fighting the tough bosses and opponents. It’s best to take your time journeying through as many side quests as you can to level up and hone your skills.

Abilities and levels

Finally, you’ll need to understand how the leveling-up system works. Every time you engage in a specific activity, it slowly increases your skill in that regard. For instance, using a sword or a mace in one hand pertains to the One-handed Weapons skill. When your character levels up, you obtain points you can then use to unlock on that skill path.

However, you can only unlock it if the ability is at the correct level. So, if you want to make Dwarven armor, you need Dwarven Smithing that’s only unlocked when your Smithing level reaches 30. To speed up a specific skill, you can engage in the required activity (making potions, using magic, etc), read books, or speak to a master in that art for further progression.

How to play Skyrim

Skyrim: tips and tricks

As you can see, it can be daunting learning how to play Skyrim if it’s your first time. Therefore, we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks that will help you along the way.

Start slowly

Don’t be in a rush to tackle dungeons and massive beasts too soon. If your level is too low or your weapons too weak, you’ll find your character and motivation to play Skyrim dying quickly. Take as much time as you need in each city, and make sure to complete as many quests as you can in every location before moving on.

Choose your path

It helps to select a path you want to focus on besides the main story. For instance, you can join the Mages Guild and progress towards becoming an archmage. If you join the Companions, you’ll unlock the ability to transform into a Werewolf. Each path has an ending, and then you can choose a new one to complete.

Use your abilities well

You need to strike a balance between leveling up one of your skills and distributing points between several of them. While you play, you’ll inevitably power up more than one ability. Learn which ones work well in specific situations, such as archery for more damage in quiet dungeons.

Build your wealth

You’ll need plenty of coins to buy items or books when you want to level up faster or unlock a set piece of armor. When you begin learning how to play Skyrim, try and collect as much as you can. You’ll be able to sell objects at merchants, but pay attention to which ones are more valuable than others. You can also clear out caves and kill bandits for some decent loot.

Get to know the regions and cities

Every region and city has a unique quality and theme. There’s also a Jarl that watches over the main towns, and the people are eager to give you small quests to complete to improve your reputation. Once they’re all happy and the Jarl approves, you’ll become Thane of that area with a special weapon or item as a sign of your glory.

How to play Skyrim

Learn about potions

When times are hard and you’re struggling with a mission, it helps to have a potion at hand. Whether you need to heal or become invisible, there are many types you can use to aid you. Make sure you read what each one does before your character drinks it, as not all of them will work in your favor.

How to use scrolls in Skyrim

Scrolls are magical items you can use when you need a spell, but you can’t cast it by yourself. To use a scroll in Skyrim, you need to equip it and then use it. The scroll will vanish after you’ve used it, so it helps to have a few on you, depending on the situation.

Choose what you collect

Unfortunately, Skyrim is as realistic as a fantasy game can be when it comes to inventory weight. You can’t collect everything your heart desires without slowing you down

While you can increase your Stamina when you level up or use other items to increase your limit, you’ll need to be wise on which items you pick up. You can also try and come back for anything you left behind if it hasn’t vanished by then.

Storing objects

You’ll reach a stage where you really don’t want to sell a special weapon or armor piece, or you’re rewarded with something spectacular. To avoid it taking up needed inventory space, you can store it in a chest or a safe storage unit that you own. It will remain safe from looting, while you can also display some of them on walls or unique cases.

Make your own items

While collecting items in Skyrim is fun, you can also craft many objects using your skills. With alchemy, you can make potions from various ingredients. With smithing, there are weapons and armor for you to craft. They may not be as valuable as some of the rewards from quests, but at least you won’t need to spend money on them.

Solo and companions

If you find a mission challenging to complete, you can ask someone to join you. There are some non-playable characters (NPCs) who will gladly embark on the quest for you, as long as they like you. To gain their favor, just complete a small set of tasks for them. You can also send them back home when you’re tired of them.

Buying or building a home

One of the rewards of becoming a Thane in a city is that you can buy a home there. When you own one, you can then speak to the Jarl’s assistant about decorating it. There are set pieces you can unlock, so don’t expect much customization. 

With the Hearthfire DLC, or in any of the Skyrim special editions, you can build your own home in a few select locations. You need permission from the Jarl first, and then you’ll need to collect all the necessary resources. There’s a blueprint table to select how you want your home to look, and then you can start making all the decorations that go inside.

Starting a family

It can be a lonely life in Tamriel, so part of knowing how to play Skyrim is starting a family. There’s a quest you’ll need to complete if you want to marry an NPC in the game, and you can adopt children. When you have your family, you select which home they’ll stay in. Be sure to check on your partner now and again between missions, as she may have some rewards waiting for you.

How to use mods in Skyrim

The final tip we have for playing Skyrim is using mods, such as the Skyrim Nexus platform. Modders are always looking for ways to improve the game, such as enhanced, unique weapons or having plenty of followers. There are even ones for improving lighting and graphics.

How to play Skyrim

An adventure awaits you, Dragonborn

Learning how to play Skyrim doesn’t need to be challenging, but there’s a lot to know. If you’re a completionist and want to complete all quests, the game can take you months. We’re looking forward to seeing what Elder Scrolls 6 has in store for us when it launches.

Shaun M Jooste

Shaun M Jooste

I live in South Africa, Cape town, as a father of two children. I've been gaming almost all my life, with plenty of experience writing reviews and articles on the latest titles. With 15 years of experience in local government performing Facilities Management functions, I moved towards becoming CEO of my own company, Celenic Earth Publications, which serves to publish author's books, including my own. I'm a published author of horror and fantasy novels, while I also dabble in game and movie scriptwriting.

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