Game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Content Type: Gaming Guides


One of the questions that the Skyrim Fansite receives from casual and hardcore gamers alike is what is the best Skyrim character? The question of character is important, and careful consideration needs to be made before you start stomping throughout the frozen wastes of Skyrim, fighting dragons and exploring lost ruins. Honestly though, there really isn’t a best character per se — with a never ending combination of weapons, spells, Skills and Perks,  you truly can create any type of character you wish. One type of character isn’t necessarily better than another, and often times the best character is determined by a gamer’s style of play.

Basically, there are three character types in the world of Skyrim (Warrior, Thief, and Mage) with additional specialty variations in between (Battlemage, Assassin, Necromancer, etc.). This opportunity to create any character you wish is one of the things that makes Skyrim so special, allowing gamers to truly immerse themselves into the role playing aspects of the game. Sound overwhelming? Then read on as we take a closer look at the primary characters of Warrior, Thief, and Mage.

Skyrim-Best-Character

Style of Play

Enjoys a good fight and doesn’t shy away from combat. Prefers to kick butt and take names. Good choice for players that enjoy weapons, armor, bashing skulls, hack n’ slash, and overcoming obstacles with brute force.

Racial Skill Advantages

Players that pursue the path of the Warrior should consider selecting either the Nord, Orc, or Redguard race. All three races receive certain bonuses above the base level of 15 in the following Skills:

[table caption=”Racial Skill Advantages: Warrior” width=”500″ colwidth=”20|20|20″ colalign=”left|left|left|left|left”]
Race,Smithing,Heavy Armor,Block,Two-Handed, One-Handed, Archery
Nord,20,15,20,25,20,15
Orc,20,25,20,20,20,15
Redguard,20,15,20,15,25,20
[/table]

Picking the Proper Perks

When choosing Perks, Warriors will want to increase their combat skills by following The Path of Might beneath the Skill Constellations. The Path of Might encompasses skills in:

  • Smithing (improves the value and properties of weapons and armor)
  • Heavy Armor (reduces damage)
  • Block (reduces damage)
  • Two-Handed (increases damage inflicted when using two-handed weapons)
  • One-Handed (increases damage inflicted when using one-handed weapons)
  • Archery (increases damage inflicted when using bows)

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Powerful character at the beginning stages of the game, both offensively and defensively.
  • Cons: Strength can only get you so far. Warriors may find themselves at a disadvantage in situations where the use of stealth and magic are a better alternatives than bashing heads.

Specialty Variation

Battlemage: Follows The Path of Might and The Path of Sorcery to combine a Warrior’s toughness and skill at arms with a Mage’s ability to use magic. A potentially powerful character to play, but takes time to increase Skills due to the necessity of following two paths.

Helpful Hints

Don’t neglect your Block Skill! Blocking doesn’t sound exciting — especially if your playing style tends to be overly aggressive. However, the Blocking Skill will not only help reduce the amount of damage you take, but allows you to cause damage by bashing enemies with weapons or shields.



Best-Skyrim-Character-2

Style of Play

Enjoys keeping to the shadows, preferring stealth over combat. Likes the challenge of moving about unseen, and enjoys the thrill of picking pockets and picking locks. Good choice for players looking to use their intellect to overcome obstacles.

Racial Skill Advantages

Players that pursue the path of the Thief should consider selecting either the Argonian, Khajiit, or Wood Elf race. All three races receive certain bonuses above the base level of 15 in the following Skills:

[table caption=”Racial Skill Advantages: Thief” width=”500″ colwidth=”20|20|20″ colalign=”left|left|left|left|left”]
Race,Light Armor,Sneak,Lockpicking,Pickpocket
Argonian,20,20,25,20
Khajiit,15,25,20,20
Wood Elf,20,20,20,20
[/table]

Picking the Proper Perks

When choosing Perks, Theives will want to increase their stealth skills by following The Path of Shadow beneath the Skill Constellations. The Path of Shadow encompasses skills in:

  • Light Armor (reduces damage)
  • Sneak (the art of moving unseen and unheard)
  • Lockpicking (allows for the opening of locked doors and containers)
  • Pickpocket (stealing gold and valuables from unsuspecting targets)

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: A fun character to play for gamers looking for a unique challenge (sneak and stealth vs. hack and slash).
  • Cons: Unable to take advantage of the use of heavy weapons and armor afforded to the Warrior and the powerful spells of the Mage.

Specialty Variation

  • Assassin: Follows The Path of Shadow and The Path of Might to combine a Thief’s stealth with a Warrior’s toughness and skill at arms. Alchemy is a great supporting skill, for it allows the use and creation of powerful poisons. A potentially powerful character to play, but takes time to increase Skills due to the necessity of following multiple paths.

Helpful Hints

Increasing the Lockpicking skill early in the game will allow you to gain access to treasure chests and hidden rooms you’d never otherwise be able to access.



Best-Skyrim-Character

Style of Play

Enjoys using magic and casting spells as well as the acquisition of magical items. Would rather overcome enemies with a well-thought out spell than rush headlong into physical combat. Good choice for players looking to use their intellect to overcome obstacles.

Racial Skill Advantages

Players that pursue the path of the Mage should consider selecting either the Breton, Dark Elf, High Elf, or Imperial race. All four races receive certain bonuses above the base level of 15 in the following Skills:

[table caption=”Racial Skill Advantages: Mage” width=”500″ colwidth=”20|20|20″ colalign=”left|left|left|left|left”]
Race,Illusion,Conjuration,Destruction,Restoration,Alteration,Enchanting
Breton,20,25,15,20,20,15
Dark Elf,20,15,25,15,20,15
High Elf,25,20,20,20,20,20

Imperial,15,15,20,25,15,20

[/table]

Picking the Proper Perks

When choosing Perks, Mages will want to increase their magic skills by following The Path of Sorcery beneath the Skill Constellations. The Path of Sorcery encompasses skills in:

  • Illusion (manipulate the mind of those around you)
  • Conjuration (summon creatures to fight for you, create Bound weapons, trap souls of enemies)
  • Destruction (harness elemental forces of fire, frost, and shock)
  • Restoration (heal yourself and companions as well as turning the undead)
  • Alteration (manipulate the physical world around you)
  • Enchanting (create magic weapons and armor)

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: A very powerful character at later stages of the game.
  • Cons: Fairly weak at the beginning of the game; unable to rely upon the weapons and armor of other characters.

Specialty Variation

  • Necromancer: Follows The Path of Sorcery with a strong emphasis on the Conjuration, Illusion, and Alteration skills. Uses undead minions to defeat enemies.

Helpful Hints

Increase your Destruction skills as soon as possible in order to cause heavy damage to opponents. The Mage who can dual wield Destruction spells is a force to be reckoned with.

 

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Kongo Kannibal
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Kongo Kannibal

You can also become an Assassin Mage if you combine the power of illusion spells with sneak archery or daggers.

Sacramento NOGUEZ
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Sacramento NOGUEZ

I’m at the beginning of the game and I found three stones is mage, warrior and thief! I want my character to learn spells and assassin which should I pick first to complete my goals? And my character is high elf..

Bryan Kazun
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Bryan Kazun

Yeah, that’s the only part that sucks about it, so be sure to have lots of stamina potions and have at least one item that you can equip to help in that area, like say, s ring of plentiful stamina or something of that nature. You know my game that is the second play through, well, last night I had a power outage while playing and for some screwed up reason it deleted all game saves, GRRRRRRRR. I WAS SO MAD, but it did give me a chance to try something a little different, now I am an orc named Darug ( Daroog) and I am going to equip light armor and either a sword and shield or a two-hander, I think I will probably go two-hander.

Shane Scarbrough
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Shane Scarbrough

Man, power outages are bad! My nephew had hundreds of hours into Skyrim, and his Xbox 360 hard drive crashed — he lost everything…

Bryan Kazun
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Bryan Kazun

that really sucks, but, what is the use complaining, what’s done is done, and I can try something new so… It worked out ok, considering.

Bryan Kazun
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Bryan Kazun

Also, my brother asked me if you can make weapons out of dragon bone now, can you?

Shane Scarbrough
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Shane Scarbrough

Originally, you could only use dragon bone and scales to make sets of Light and Heavy armor. After the release of the Dawnguard expansion, you can forge dragon weapons, including arrows and bows. You need to have a smithing skill of 100, and the Dragon Armor perk though. Definitely worth it if you enjoy making your own weapons.

Bryan Kazun
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Bryan Kazun

that is sooo cool, thanks a lot Shane, I was kind of bummed out the first time that I could not make weapons out of dragon bone, now I can, there is only one catch….. the bloody smithing level to 100 bit, urgh, need to work on that

Sansa
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Sansa

Hi Bryan,
Do you have the Hearthfire expansion? If you do, you can forge building materials with iron ingots (nails, iron fittings, hinges). This is a relatively quick way to increase your Smithing skill to 100. It takes awhile, but is much faster than forging swords and armor. If you don’t have Hearthfire, the best way to increase Smithing fast is to forge lots of iron daggers.

shig
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shig

its cause yur bad the game crashed cause he is that bad lol

Dennis
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Dennis

Hi, I’m from Denmark, please, if i make any spelling or grammatical mistakes, correct me.

So, right now i am on my third playthrough, but only my second lvl 80 character playthrough! And right now I’m a warrior, thief assassin thing. And i’m looking for any sort of tips or advice to help me build a proper mage, i wan’t to play my third lvl. 80 playthrough as a pure mage, maybe a little bit of assassin, you know like a sneaky mage assassin.

shig
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shig

pick the pro choice with warhammer and ALL others are for NOOBS so pick warhammer cause its PRO

Teucer
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Teucer

The three “pure” classes have always been the “best” in regards to Elder Scrolls, but Skyrim tends to move away from that a bit.

The “Pure Warrior” with Heavy Armor / 2-Hand focus is unbeatable in close combat, but the trick is that you have to actually get close. Against dragons that use their breath weapons in flight (or perched on rooftops) you’re basically helpless, and don’t get me started on those @%#$ Dragon Priests. This can be mitigated somewhat with a Range-focused follower like Aela, but eventually you’re going to get frustrated and start building Archery.

The “Pure Mage” with Destruction focus suffers the opposite problem. It’s awesome at range, but anyone who gets close is going to eat him for lunch, and that’s not even looking at high-level archers you’ll be running into at around level 30 or so that will 1-shot anyone foolish enough to neglect building health. “Tank Followers” sound like a good fix, but your best spells have “splash” damage which will drop your follower right along with the enemy. The best fix I’ve found is Atronachs. Using the same element Atronach as your destruction spell allows you to blast away with impunity.

The “Pure Thief” has, in my opinion, been overpowered in every Elder Scrolls game and Skyrim is no exception. Whether you go dagger or bow, the mass damage from stealth hits just makes things too easy. Taking out a dragon with three well-aimed arrows from a NON-enchanted bow is the norm rather than the exception, and like the other Elder Scrolls games, any “mage” enemy is a guaranteed 1-hit kill. The only “difficult” part of working a “Pure Thief” is finding a good place to set up before you start decimating the enemy ranks. The bad news is that once your Stealth gets high enough you won’t “trip” enemy spawns, meaning you can go through an entire “dungeon” wondering why there aren’t any monsters to fight.

nord dragonborn
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nord dragonborn

Warrior NORD arnt nerds

Anthony
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Anthony

A tip for if you want to be a warrior is picking the altmer race. The reasoning for this is because the game uses the persons scale factor to determine its speed and attack power. Most characters you can be are a 1.00 but the altmer are a 1.08 So your attack and speed is 8% higher.

nordicprince
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nordicprince

Shane, your a high elf, THALMOR, dude, why? HEHE

Shane Scarbrough
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Shane Scarbrough

The Thalmor really are jerks 🙂 On my first Skyrim play-through I wanted a mage/fighter, so I went with a High Elf for the bonuses. The spellsword build has a lot of advantages, especially in the lower to mid levels. With that said, I’ve disliked every Thalmor I’ve come across in Skyrim — arrogant, condescending, and obnoxious.

nordicprince
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nordicprince

Thank you for your kind words toward the Thalmor. I started a new game to see how the life of a thief would suit me. As it happens, I am very good at it! Yesterday I was at dustman’s Cairn, and do ya know those draugr in the wall tombs that if you would get close to them they would get up. Well, poor Farkas could not get a sword swing in edgewise, on them or the silver-hand, I shot them all in the head, no misses, with the elven bow I stole from skjor’s room. Total kills=38, and im still level three! Just want to let you know, I’m not bragging like Ragnar the Red, I just thought it worthy of sharing, that’s all.

Shane Scarbrough
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Shane Scarbrough

Awesome! I’m currently in my second playthrough, and I’m also playing a thief. When I played a spellsword in my first playthough, I never used a bow (for ranged attacks I relied on magic).

I think using the bow is more fun — especially for sneak attacks. One of my favorite perks under the Archer skill tree is Steady Hand — tonight I just achieved rank two, and when I zoom in with the bow time slows by 50%, giving me the ability to set up the perfect sneak attack to nail the bad guys.

nordicprince
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nordicprince

Cool, today I got Dawnbreaker, oh my god, the necromancer pissed me off. I
died two times, both on the same spell. The third time I was lucky, he got stuck on a boulder, and me, not wanting to get any closer, took a potion of true shot, equipped my bow and shot him down like a bite-size doughnut. Also, I joined the thieves guild in Riften, I assume you know how, and got that awesome thieves guild armor. Oh, I love that armor!

Shane Scarbrough
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Shane Scarbrough

I had the hardest time defeating the necromancer — thankfully I saved the game right before I entered the chamber. I tried at least 20 times (I kid you not) before I was finally able to time him and his hench-shades down. I almost gave up, but I didn’t want to backtrack out of there. It wasn’t pretty, but I finally won the fight by doing my best chicken impersonation by shooting, fleeing, shooting, fleeing. Ugly, but it worked.

Besides my bow, Dawnbreaker is my favorite weapon (really cool special effects when the undead die in an explosion of blue light).

The Thieves Guild is great, and I agree with you — the armor is awesome. The extra carrying capacity sure comes in handy when dungeon diving.

shig
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shig

dawnbreaker is NOOB use volderdung cause its PRO

nordicprince
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nordicprince

that slow time bit is so cool, can’t wait till I can get it, that will definitely help me in bleak falls barrow

Shane Scarbrough
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Shane Scarbrough

I’m totally addicted to the slow time perk. I use it in nearly every battle. It drains your Stamina though, so you have to be mindful of the meter bar.

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