Leveling Basics

Section 2: Leveling

Now I’ll tell you what I think you should aim to have to maximize levels and stats.

First, familiarize yourself with the menu screens. Your shoulder buttons should shuffle you through the main distinctions. Each distinction holds sub-headings. From right to left:

-Character information

–+Vital stats, stats values and explanations, skill value (progress and explanation), factions progress, other information

-Inventory management

–+All items, weapons, armor and apparel, potion/poison related (alchemy tools, potions and poisons, ingredients), other items (reading material, keys, soul gems, repair hammer, etc.)

-Magic

–+All selectable magic including Greater and Lesser Powers, target/long range magics, touch based/short range magic, cast-on-self/personal range magics, status and magical effects

-Map

–+Current area map (marker set), World map (fast travel and marker set), current quest progress journal, available quest selection, completed quests.

For simplicity sake, get a pen or pencil and paper. I chart my growth like this:

Lvl X

(Optional number value of connected skill) Stat abbreviation, tally

Lvl 1

10End IIII/ IIII/

The ten indicates the level of the Heavy Armor skill, which is my main basis for Endurance building. The tally, at later levels, would also cover advancements in Armorer and Block. Typically I have two stats to increase per level, but since I am putting one in Luck and it is connected to no skill (thus only one per level) and the other is my leveling skill. On the skill screen under character information, a red bar shows progress towards the next level up.

In order to explain leveling, please view this (albeit crude) diagram:

Increase <—Determine <—–Skill increases here

performance stat increases \/—————————————\/

and vitals here here \/

\/

Blade —

/ Blunt —

Strength \ H2H —

/

Armorer II

/ Block I

Endurance \ Heavy Armor IIII/

/

Vital Stats

\ / Mercantile IIII/

Personality Speechcraft I

\ Illusion IIII

\

Luck —————-

Think of it like Japanese and read from right to left. Each two skill levels gained governed by the same stat will let you add an extra point to that stat when you level up. These stats, outside of what they do exclusively, will help raise your vital stats.

In the example, the skills joined to Strength didn’t level up at all. Selecting that stat to increase will give you a one point boost. The skills under Endurance collectively leveled up eight times. As such, upon leveling up putting stock into the stat will allow you to increase your Endurance count by four. Under Personality, ten skill increases occurred which will net you a potential of five skill points if you so choose. As it has been said, Luck has no skills that it is directed to and nothing that can increase it’s rate of growth (that I or anyone else have been able to discover), so at most you will always be able to bump it up one point a level. Typically I can give it a thirty or forty point boost, landing you in the range of 80 or 90 for this attribute.

The Level Up screen, adhering to the above example, looks like this:

  • Strength 30

  • Intelligence 50

  • Willpower 40

  • Agility 40

  • Speed 40

  • Endurance 35 +4

  • Personality 40 +5

  • Luck 55

You are forced to choose three stats to increase. You cannot leave this screen until you do so. Adding points here is the only way to improve your base stats. You can choose whichever skills you want. If you are mindful of your actions you can always get the most for your placement. Here, I’d suggest Endurance and Personality. The others have governing skills, so Luck would be my third choice. The lower a stats’ initial score, the more carefully I’d watch using the skills connected to it. Without the aid of a birthsign, 50 is about the highest stat score you can get (a male Orc’s Endurance for example). As such you won’t need to dedicate as much to it. Between Heavy Armor, Block, and Armorer it would be a cinch to get it to 100. But with this character, the Strength is at 30. You will need most all the melee weapon skills to ensure it gets to 100.

One thing to remember: Stats/Attributes are level dependent for their growth, Skills are user dependent Leveled up correctly Speed, Acrobatics, and Athletics can all be maxed out, maximizing maneuverability and and mobility. If you’ve gotten to your final level and your Speed is 30 you’re stuck there. You can still level up Athletics, but you won’t be as fast as you could be.

Also, once you hit 100 for any stat you are no longer allowed to put points into it. Any skills that are connected to it feel free to use to your heart’s content, especially if they are only minor skills. Speed maxed and Athletics Minor? Run and Swim across Cyrodill. Same situation but Light Armor Major? You’re free to use it just watch out for your level advancement and taking away from from other stats.

Above in character creation I went over each stat and skill. Here I will delve more into each skill, but in regards to gameplay usefulness and as leveling devices. (sorry if I repeat myself)

Leveling Up

I keep saying this and come to something else. Yet again… a snafu, but it will work out.

Bai Lee, High Elf, The Atronach

Female Male

Attributes/Stats

Endurance and Luck Favored

30

50

40

40

40

35

40

55

Strength

Intelligence

Willpower

Agility

Speed

Endurance

Personality

Luck

30

50

40

40

30

45

40

55

Kitsune Custom

Skills

<Class>

Kitsune ZS Custom

Combat Specialty

Stealth Specialty

Restoration

Acrobatics

Light Armor

Marksman

Mercantile

Sneak

Speechcraft

Major Skills

25

25

25

25

25

25

25

Restoration

Armorer

Heavy Armor

Blade

Block

Blunt

Hand to Hand

Minor Skills

Alteration

Destruction

Mysticism

Alchemy

Conjuration

Illusion

Heavy Armor

Armorer

Athletics

Blade

Block

Blunt

Hand to Hand

Security

15 (High Elf)

15 (High Elf)

15 (High Elf)

10 (High Elf)

10 (High Elf)

10 (High Elf)

10 (Specialty)

10 (Specialty)

10 (Specialty)

10 (Specialty)

10 (Specialty)

10 (Specialty)

10 (Specialty)

5

Alteration

Destruction

Mysticism

Alchemy

Conjuration

Illusion

Light Armor

Acrobatics

Marksman

Mercantile

Security

Sneak

Speechcraft

Athletics

Had a bit of an issue with development, but it will give me the chance at a side-by-side comparison for your benefit.

As you can see, same character by and large, minor differences. The outcomes can be considered quite different. Notice first under the stats. There is a discrepancy between female and male for Speed and Endurance, each sex having a greater stat respectively.

This will mean less to you until you’ve seen and exploited it yourself, but notice the skills. Under the female she has mainly Stealth skills while holding a Combat specialty, while the male has Combat skills for leveling while holding a Stealth Specialty.

When creating a Specialized character having the highest skill levels in your chosen skills and stats is important. i.e. For a mage, picking sustainable magic (probably Breton or High Elf with Mage or Apprentice birthsign) is key. Specializing them in Magic will give them a +10 skill boost and level them up faster, and selecting all the magics you want to train in as Major Skills adds 25 to each skill. If my math is correct, this will start some of your Magic Skills as a High Elf at 50. Not only being skilled enough, but having the raw magicka to cast Journeyman spells sustainably at Level 1 is absolutely nothing to scoff at.

However, that is for a Specialized character. I run Balanced characters. On the normal difficulty setting It really doesn’t matter how you play. I found the enemies to be a breeze. Only one situation gives me trouble. By that point I have advantages (the biggest one being that now I know it’s coming). Having used characters with all maxed stats and skills on the hardest difficulty… you have to play differently, and you’ll want every advantage if you choose to do so.

Beginning a Balanced character is somewhat counter-intuitive. The level of your skills should be as low as possible, especially to allow growth to the skills they accompany (you’ll want lower Block, Heavy Armor, and Armor levels if your Endurance is at 30 compared to it being at 50 or 60). Major skills should all rest at 25. I don’t know of any race that has a negative effect upon stats (Elves aren’t so lithe that it takes extra effort to perfect Heavy Armor), so you need to ensure that you will be able to get every level you can. With the stratagem I’m working now one level can mean the difference between maxing all stats or not.

One of my reasons for grumbling and groaning was because Mercantile was inside my Major Skills. As noted, it’s tedious to level up, meaning maxing out my level became that more tedious. Acrobatics to an extent as well. On the male side, Blade, Blunt, AND Hand to Hand? Gah. Really, really tedious. In addition to that, there’s something I haven’t discussed yet. Surprise.

My last several characters have had every magic in their main skills. For my Dark Elf and previous High Elf, this limted their levels ever so much (I think one of them I specialized in Magic because I was making a mage in theory). I make the choice to not seek out Trainers for any of my Major Skills. Why? Because I use those to level up, I always seek the maximum level, so I’ll work with the skills I choose. With the magics? That’s no sweat. Skills like Sneak and Marksman? Those will get old quick. Every melee weapon skill takes time. Even if you have a lot of free time, I imagine you’ve got better things to do. As such, these characters would have taken a long while to level up.

So when making Balanced characters avoid including your Specialties your Major skills.

Keep in mind the the Training I recommended: Armorer, Heavy Armor, Alchemy, Sneak, Marksman, Athletics, Acrobatics…

The Oghma Infinium: Steel: Strength, Speed, Blade (or?) Blunt, Heavy Armor

Shadow: Speed, Acrobatics, Sneak, Security, Light Armor

Spirit: Intelligence, Alteration, Destruction, Conjuration, Restoration

You may also want to keep Free Training (see Spoilers) in limited mind.

Of course… looking ALL this over and telling you the comparisons I think I know what I’m ACTUALLY going to do. See why I told you that inside the sewer save file was most important? Just for situations like this.

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