You don’t need to be a high level dragonslayer to get Skyrim’s best armour. Just a patience, gold and a couple of hours to spare. But that’s just one piece of the game’s immense jigsaw puzzle.
Skyrim is one of the most staggeringly deep RPGs ever made, and seeing everything it has to offer will take more hours than we dare estimate.
1. How to craft Daedric armour
Daedric armour might look like something you get at the end of the game, but any character at any level can craft their own full set with only two hours and a few thousand gold to spare. Follow the step-by-step process below and you’ll never have to worry about armour ever again.
- Visit the blacksmith in Windhelm and buy up all of his iron ingots and leather strips. Wait 48 hours for his inventory to refresh and repeat.
- When you have a decent amount of iron, go to a forge and start crafting iron daggers. As you create them, you’ll notice your smithing rapidly gaining levels. Your character should also go up a few levels. If you have any gear that boosts smithing, like an amulet or gauntlets, wear them. If you have any smithing potions, drink them.
- Keep smithing daggers until your smithing reaches 100. This will take around 500-600 daggers. If you run out of ingots or leather strips, get more from the blacksmith.
- Every time your character levels up as a result of smithing, use the perk points to upgrade your smithing skill tree. Go from steel to Dwarven to Orcish to Daedric.
- If, after reaching 100 smithing, you don’t have enough perk points to reach the Daedric crafting skill, continue playing the game until you level up naturally.
- First you’ll need some Daedra hearts. Each piece of the armour – helmet, gauntlets, boots and chest plate – need one heart each. Head to the College of Winterhold and find an elf called Enthir. He’s usually found in the Hall of Attainment. Talk to him and buy two Daedra hearts (that’s all he has on him at any one time). Wait 48 hours for him to restock, and then buy two more.
- Now you’ll need some ebony. Go to Gloombound Mine (see the attached video). To get inside you’ll either have to help the Orcs in the stronghold with a super easy quest, or just fight your way in. It’s quicker to do the quest.
- Once the Orcs let you through the gate, head towards the mine entrance. Handily, there’s a full set of blacksmith tools outside. We’ll need them later.
- There are no enemies in the mine – just lots and /lots/ of ebony. Make sure you have a pickaxe (there are a few lying around inside) and start mining the ebony veins. Clear the place out, and ignore the aggressive-sounding Orcs; they won’t attack you unless provoked.
- Outside, use the nearby smelter to turn the ebony ore into ebony ingots. You should now have more than enough to craft the full set of Daedric armour.
2. How to make the most of your companions
Whenever you trade armour or gear with your follower, they’ll automatically equip the best of what you’ve given them if the stats are higher than what they already have. Most followers start out with low-level gear, so it’s a good idea to give them better armour and weapons as soon as possible. If they die, you can just loot it back.
If you give a follower a torch, they’ll equip it in dungeons or at night, lighting the way for you.
It’s also worth noting that, due to a bug, items picked up by followers don’t weigh anything, meaning they can carry an unlimited amount of stuff. To get them to pick something up, switch to command mode and point at it.
3. How to get a dragon to land
When you’re fighting a dragon, they’ll only land next to you if you’re in an open area, like a field or forest. Otherwise they’ll just circle above you, spamming you with flames. If you find yourself fighting one in a rocky or mountainous area, move to a clearing and it should follow you. You can use the Dragonrend shout (earned in the main quest) to speed up the landing process.
To give you an early edge when you’re fighting dragons, follow the main quest until you end up at Sky Haven Temple, former home of the Blades. In the main temple, there’s a room tucked away in the back with some Blades armour, and a katana-style sword called Dragonbane. This does 20 additional damage points to the scaly beasts, and is electrified to boot. A very useful weapon.
4. How to get free archery training
An early side-quest in Riverwood sees you getting involved in a love triangle between Sven, Faendal and Camilla. If you help Faendal, he’ll become a follower.
Faendal can train you in archery. Buy all five levels of training, then speak to him and say you need to access his inventory. All the gold you gave him for the training will be in there, and you can just take it right back.
You can also get your gold back from non-follower trainers, but you’ll have to pickpocket it.
5. How to get to capital cities without travelling
When you start the game, you won’t be able to fast travel to any of the major holds – Markarth, Windhelm and so on. If you’re in a rush and don’t fancy riding there yourself, talk to the horse and carriage owner in the stables outside Whiterun (or any city for that matter) and he’ll take you to whichever capital you choose for a small fee.
6. How to beat summoner enemies
Certain enemies use conjuration magic to call up support characters. A good example of this is the Draugr Scourge who has a nasty habit of conjuring up an Ice Atronach. The key to beating these guys is to ignore the conjured monster completely and focus on the summoner. As soon as he or she dies, their helper will die along with them.
7. How to join the Dark Brotherhood
So In Oblivion, murdering an innocent would attract the attention of the Brotherhood, but it’s different in Skyrim. First you’ll have to locate a boy called Aventus Aretino. His house is in the city of Windhelm, on the upper level, and you’ll have to pick the lock to get in.
Once you’ve completed his quest in Riften, continue playing the game as normal and eventually a mysterious courier will deliver a note to you. When he does, sleep in any bed you own and your recruitment will begin.
8. How to find skill books easily
Just because you don’t want to read Skyrim’s massive selection of books doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Certain books give you a skill boost related to their contents – a book about armour crafting, for example, might boost your heavy armour stats. You don’t have to painstakingly read every book you see, though – scan over them and look at their values. If they’re over 100, chances are they’ll give you a boost. Any less and they’re just plain ol’ books.
9. How to find the Mace of Molag Bal
Travel to Markarth and head up the street to your right until you see a guard in an argument with someone. Agree to help him investigate the nearby abandoned house, and you’ll begin the ‘House of Horrors’ quest.
Complete it and you’ll receive a powerful enchanted mace that drains enemies’ stamina and magicka. The earlier you get this the better, as it’s incredibly powerful.
10. How to use the right magic at the right time
Each magic type in the destruction school has a different effect. Fire is pure, raw damage, and more powerful flame spells will set other enemies in their blast radius ablaze.
Shock magic deals similar damage, but will also drain an enemy’s magicka. Good for when you’re fighting against mages and the like. Finally, frost damage drains stamina and will slow an enemy down.
11. How to stagger an enemy
Power melee attacks (hold the attack button) will often stagger enemies – especially if you’ve invested perk points in one and two-handed combat.
You can also stagger an enemy by using the Unrelenting Force shout, the first one you get in the game. This also has the bonus effect of interrupting a mage’s casting, leaving him helpless against the fury of your sword.
Another way to stagger foes is to dual-cast impact spells like firebolt. The charged-up blast of power will make your enemy fall to their knees.
12. How to keep your companion alive
When your companion’s health reaches its lowest point, they’ll go into ‘stagger’ mode and fall to their knees. The instant this happens, all enemies attacking them will switch their attention to you. This means that the only thing that will finish your partner off is splash damage from spells, or a badly-aimed arrow.
If your partner is staggered and you’re fighting mages, draw them away. Getting some distance between your crippled partner and the enemies will protect them from stray spells, or wide area ones like fireball.
13. How to mine faster
You can actually speed up the laborious mining animation by dual-wielding pickaxes and ‘attacking’ the ore vein. You can find a unique pickaxe at the very top of the Throat of the World called the ‘Notched Pickaxe’ (a reference to the Minecraft designer, maybe?) This increases your smithing skills and does shock damage to enemies.
14. How to get blessed
Blessings offer some really good bonuses, so it’s always good to have the gods on your side. Every city has a temple devoted to one, or a few, of the Nine Divines. Each one offers a different effect: Arkay, for example, grants you a health boost. To get blessed, find their shrine and ‘activate’ it with the action button.
This will also cure any diseases you have, including pre-transformation vampirism. Another way to get blessed is to give gold to the poor. This grants you a speechcraft boost (and a smug feeling of superiority).
15. How to master enchanting
Whenever you find an enchanted weapon – one with a status effect, like ‘Orcish Sword of Flame’ or ‘Dwarven Sword of Leeching’, don’t sell it if you don’t plan to use it. Instead, find an arcane enchanter table and disenchant the object. This will let you learn its effects and apply it to standard weapons (providing you have a filled soul gem). The benefit here is that your enchanting will level up rapidly and you can sell the magic items for a pretty penny.