Forums » Elder Scrolls

The Right Balance of Skills

    • 490 posts
    December 10, 2014 12:47 PM EST

    Hey everyone,

    Needless to say, characters are the medium through which we experience TES games. How we go about those characters really boils down to skill choices and skill combinations.

    I want to ask and discuss:

    How many skills do you feel is the "right" amount for a balanced character?

    What was the least amount of skills you have used on a character?

    What was the most?

    Give your reasons and thoughts below! Of course, this also depends on your intended class and purpose, but tell us about some of the best combinations and where you drew the line.

    I am currently using 4 (technically 5 with Speech being added into) skills and it feels refreshingly concise and focused. It honestly feels "just right" given the playstyle.

    I have used as little as 3.

    I have used up to 14 on one character.

    *I made this a general discussion in case anyone wanted to compare and contrast with older titles in the ES series and how Skyrim differs*

    • 404 posts
    December 10, 2014 12:51 PM EST
    I don't know, I think that the perks Stability + Magic Resistance 3/3 + Atronach + Atromancy = Epicness
    • 179 posts
    December 10, 2014 12:56 PM EST

    I usually run 5-8. More than that and some of the skills I choose end up going being neglected, not to mention it likely means I won't be able to grab all the perks I want without my character's level being 65+ or something like that. On the other hand, if I run less than five skills, the resulting character tends to feel a little bare-bones. Sometimes that's what I'm going for, but usually not.

    Least number of skills I've ever used with a build is 0. The most I've used is 8 (I think) with a few different characters.

    • 179 posts
    December 10, 2014 1:17 PM EST

    I used 100% Fortify Shouts. Once the character got going, I didn't need any other skills except for casting Healing every now and then.

    • 180 posts
    December 10, 2014 1:23 PM EST

    With Oblivion I felt that the forced 7 major skills was too much. In pre-made classes, they would often have conflicting skills like blunt and blade which you couldn't use at the same time, which is why I always made my own classes. Even then I usually felt that 7 skills were too much to juggle and one or two would always fall behind.

    In Skyrim the freedom to use whatever I wanted was refreshing and it was nice to have characters using only 3 skills. I find 5 or 6 skills to be the perfect balance usually. I rarely go higher than that. Going lower though is entirely possible and can be very fun, its just not often a possibility if you want to create something unique. 

    • 490 posts
    December 10, 2014 1:27 PM EST

    In Skyrim's case, perks. But I guess overall usage in general.

    • 179 posts
    December 10, 2014 1:31 PM EST

    I actually thought seven was a good number given the overall number of skills in Oblivion. Maybe one less, but otherwise it was good. I agree about the pre-made classes using too many weapon skills though. Maybe have a couple that use multiple weapon skills, but otherwise the majority of them should stick with one out of the three melee skills.

    • 1217 posts
    December 10, 2014 2:06 PM EST

    How many skills is right just depends on the character. The better you know the specifics of the character, the easier it is to know which perks to take. If you just have "a mage" you might find that the character isn't as grounded, just kinda does stuff, and juggles skills unevenly. But if you're aiming for a necromage, then you can already start trimming away things that will be irrelevant to them. So the only real greenzone is which skills are relevant to the character. Knowing them, you can make pretty much anything work.

    The fewest skills I've used on a character is 5, if I remember right. The Fog used up to 9 comfortably, but some were very sparsely perked, but that's the highest I've gone for a structured build (my first, catch-all character might have more skills perked).

  • December 10, 2014 2:11 PM EST

    Five seems right to me. 

    Two for attacking, and three for support. This works with any class. 

    Barbarian: Two-handed, one handed, Block, alchemy, and Light armor

    Wizard: Destruction, conjuration, restoration, alteration, and alchemy

    Theif: Archery, One handed, sneak, light armor, and alchemy

    5 lets you spread out, but still be able to focus on things. Five is good. 

    • 1483 posts
    December 10, 2014 2:37 PM EST

    How many skills do you feel is the "right" amount for a balanced character?

    6. I think this number allows for the best synergy between different skills and the number of different playstyles available for the character. Less and it's too simple, more and it's excessive. To note, that's not saying that simple or excessive are not fun.

    What was the least amount of skills you have used on a character?

    1 unperked. Sneak. My purely passive no-perks and no-kills playthrough

    What was the most?

    12. My first character. It... didn't end well 

    • 4 posts
    December 10, 2014 3:04 PM EST
    For me, it really depends on the particular skills and how many perks they need.

    For example, Sneak can be perfectly viable and useful with just Stealth 1/5, Muffled Movement and Backstab. Speech only needs Speech 1/5 and up to Merchant to be extremely valuable.

    Basically the less perks you have to put in each tree, the more skills you can use. Of course, this is balanced out by the fact that having 3-4 perks in certain skills like 1H and Enchanting isn't nearly as helpful. Personally, the fewest skills I've ever ran with is 4, on my Orc warrior. Just 1H, Block, Heavy Armor and Smithing. The most? A rogue I ran with some time ago used 1H, Block, Heavy Armor, Smithing, Illusion, Destruction (only elemental buffs), Speech and Lockpicking. It actually felt surprisingly solid.
    • 88 posts
    December 10, 2014 6:15 PM EST

    I generally use 5-6, gives me some nice balance between the skills. That's even with the unperked skills.

    I just did a playthrough of a pit fighter mod using only light armor and unarmed. Was quite fun, so that'd be the least amount of skills I've used.

    The most would have to have been my first character. Can't remember how many skills he used though.

    • 1467 posts
    December 12, 2014 6:59 AM EST
    I've always kept it between 5-7 well nearly always anyway. I feel like any more U focuses my character and makes them to broad but any fewer makes him harder to level and to focused on one or two things. At the moment I'm running a very weird character I use Light Armour, Smithing, Resto, Destruction and Block perked heavily but then all three weapon types unperked, I'm shooting up in levels and I'm strong enough with smithing to kill everyone (naturally levelling it mostly.) So eight is my max for sure.

    I feel that Skyrim forces us into sticking with fewer skills then Morrowind or Oblivion did, mostly because of the levelling system and perks, in Oblivion especially you automatically used Athletics and Acrobatics no way around it and I would often find myself levelling pointless skills to increase am attribute, i think the newer way is much better in terms of natural progression and creating characters but the older way meant you didn't ever need to power-level anything, unlike Smithing or Enchanting in Skyrim, where even if you tried not to there's always one point in your game when you craft a bunch of something to get better.
    • 108 posts
    December 12, 2014 7:11 AM EST

    I mostly use 3+1 perk ( I always use speech) one of which is a "weapon" perk, one is a "defense" perk and one is a healing perk.

    For example: destruction, heavy armour, restoration or onehanded, alteration, alchemy.

    • 700 posts
    December 12, 2014 5:10 PM EST

    Five-six skills is where I've found my balance, playing on expert, with one perked crafting skill.  

    Two offensive, one defensive, two-three support skills.  

    Fewest I've used is four, most is seven.  

    I'm currently using five, thinking of a sixth.  It usually ends up that I have a surplus of perks because I can't afford what I want yet, or don't think it's necessary to spend them.  

  • December 14, 2014 5:15 PM EST

    Eh... I normally use 7 in Skyrim. Three major, three minor, one RP or crafting. I like spreading out and find that anything less than five feels really cramped and once I've mastered them, I haven't done nearly everything I wanted to with the character. I once did a completely Shout-oriented character who stacked Amulets of Talos, so he technically didn't use any, and a character I was playing recently used 13, but I don't know if he could be called "balanced".

    I never played Oblivion, but my characters in Morrowind almost always used about 10. You level skills fast, but your actual character level goes up very slowly, so I ended up with tons of skills. My current Legion Battlemage character uses Destruction, Marksman, Long Blade, Heavy Armor, Restoration, Mysticism, Spear, Block, Alchemy, Conjuration. She's perfectly balanced.

    • 622 posts
    December 14, 2014 6:13 PM EST

    Five to seven seems like a good balance to me. Too little feels like I'm not utilizing the character enough, too much feels like he is too spread out.

    • 457 posts
    December 15, 2014 12:35 AM EST
    Fewest I've used was 4 (3 crafting skills and Speech), and the most was 12.

    I try to keep it at around 6 or so--just naturally feels right--but sometimes roleplay will lead me to a couple more. Roleplay is ultimately the determining factor (it's what kept me to 4 skills on one build).