OS Neutral Skyrim Mage Builds Guides ?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Washac, May 6, 2014.

  1. Washac macrumors 68020


    Jul 2, 2006
    I suddenly got an itch to play a mage in Skyrim, does anybody know of any good beginners guides for this, easy to understand simple to follow would be good.

  2. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    I've used this one quite a lot http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/Skyrim
  3. Erasmus macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    Have you ever played Skyrim before? Personally, I'm not sure why you would bother creating a mage character in Skyrim, because it's not that kind of game. If you want to play as a mage, you just start casting spells. Then tomorrow, when you decide you want to play as a warrior, you pull out a sword and shield, and go at it. Either way, inevitably I end up playing the mage/thief/warrior, sneaking around back-stabbing everything with a heavily enchanted sword, wearing heavy armour.

    Anyways, after that, my Skyrim Mage guide follows, after over 500 hours logged on Steam:
    1) At the start of the game, choose the Mage standing stone. This makes your Wizard skills improve faster.
    2) The most important skills if you want to play the true mage are Destruction, Alteration, Restoration and Enchanting.
    - Destruction is obvious; killing stuff.
    - Alteration is for keeping you alive, with spells like 'Stone Flesh', which boosts your armour.
    - Restoration is necessary for healing after or even during battles, and using wards, which help to further boost your armour temporarily.
    - Enchanting is extremely useful as you will likely need "fortify destruction" items to significantly lower the magicka cost of your offensive spells. Otherwise baddies tend to still be alive once you run out of juice.
    3) Get a tanky follower. Lydia your Housecarl works fine.
    4) Look at the Wiki posted above for other tips, such as what armour you can use while still getting the "Mage Armour" perk benefits, what quests you should do first, and what spells should be used in what situation.
  4. iMacFarlane macrumors 65816


    Apr 5, 2012
    Adrift in a sea of possibilities
    Another thing to try right off the bat is getting good at switching between destruction magic and restoration magic on the fly using hot keys / controller d-pad shortcuts.

    I chose the stagger and extra damage perks for dual wielding destruction magic. I would tap my shortcuts to put flames in each hand. Commence the mayhem. If I took a hit or two, switch one hand to healing, continue to burn up my enemies while healing myself. If things really got dicey, turn and run while putting restoration in both hands, heal up until you're real far from the chasing baddies. Drink a mana potion, destruction in both hands, repeat.

    I had Lydia follow me for my entire first play through (about 120 hours), and she started dying so often (with obligatory re-loads) that I would leave her at the Breezehome and go it alone. During my second play through (about 250 hours), I met Serana and never looked back. Serana is "essential", which means no matter what happens to her, she won't die. And, she shoots destruction magic, raises dead foes to fight for us, and is an all around badass.

    Get to it!
  5. Noetics macrumors member


    Nov 8, 2013
    After reading this thread I am seriously jonesing to play on Skyrim!!

    I played for hundreds of hours and near to exhausted the game when it first came out, but it's being well over a year since I've played im so tempted to create a new file when i finish work tonight!!
  6. Washac, May 7, 2014
    Last edited: May 7, 2014

    Washac thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jul 2, 2006
    Thanks for this but all I see is a big article about the history and geography of Skyrim, must be missing something somewhere.


    Yes I have played before but just as a sword, axe swinging, bow and arrow using jack of all trades.

    Been thinking about a mage assassin build also, leaning way more towards the mage though.
  7. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2012
    I have a mixed character, legendary level Destruction and One Handed Combat. Hoping to get the same for lockpicking and two handed combat. Not sure what my next character will be, but I will install a lot of mods.

    There are a few quests which favour the mage. These include the various quests surrounding the College of Winterhold and you need to complete them all to unlock the master spells for descruction etc.

    Any dungeon filled with Draugr can be used to ramp up destruction, conjuration etc.

    For backup, learn the conjuration spells for conjure Sword, Battleaxe and Bow in-case you need them and make sure you have a lot of restore magika potions.

    I got lazy with alchemy but this can be used to imrove enchanting etc.
  8. Erasmus macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    One extra point is that dual-casting a destruction spell uses a lot more than double the magicka as a single cast, but only does a little more damage. It's basically pointless unless you also get the stagger perk, at which point it becomes good. Basically this means repeated dual-casting is a waste of energy. It is more efficient to dual-cast once, then single-cast (practice quickly single-casting from both hands) while the enemy recovers, then repeat. Works great against dragons, assuming you have the magicka reserves, or potions to sustain it.

    On a side note, levelling up Enchanting is vital once you max out your mage, and switch over to the sword or bow. Running around as a high level character with no sword or armour skill trying to be a Knight will just get you killed otherwise. However if you have the level 100 Enchanting perk, you can turn even the dullest of butter knives into an overpowered death stick.

    To explain, destruction enchantment damage is affected by your destruction perks (the three little fingers in the constellation). But so is any other enchantment on the weapon. So if you have both fire and shock damage enchantments on a weapon, and +50% fire and shock damage in perks, your weapon will end up 2.25x the damage it would without the perks, not 1.5x. And this leads me to my favourite weapon:

    If you have the Dragonborn expansion, you can find disenchantable weapons that deal 'chaos' damage. This counts as fire, frost AND shock, all in one enchantment. Therefore if you have all the destruction damage boost points, you get a whopping 3.375x damage multiplier. Add to that 'absorb health' as the other enchantment, and you have a weapon that does an average of ~240 damage, and heals you 84 health per strike.
  9. iMacFarlane macrumors 65816


    Apr 5, 2012
    Adrift in a sea of possibilities
    . . . and I'm starting a new character tonight! :)
  10. Washac thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jul 2, 2006
    Thanks all the pointers and information, been looking around the net and have decided to go with these skills and perks but what do I train first etc.

    First choice for class - Dark Elf
    Second choice High Elf
    Third choice Breton

    Nothing in no particular order.

    Novice Illusion......... 1/1
    Animage................. 1/1
    Kindred Mage...........1/1
    Quiet Casting.......... 1/1
    Master of the Mind... 1/1

    Novice Conjuration.........1/1
    Duel Casting1................1/1
    Apprentice Conjuration...1/1
    Adept Conjuration..........1/1
    Expert Conjuration.........1/1
    Master Conjuration.........1/1

    Novice Destruction.............1/1
    Destruction Duel Casting.....1/1
    Augmented Flames............2/2
    Augmented Frost...............1/2
    Augmented Shock..............1/2
    Apprentice Destruction.......1/1
    Adept Destruction..............1/1
    Expert Destruction.............1/1


    Novice Alteration...........1/1
    Apprentice Alteration.....1/1
    Adept Alteration............1/1
    Magic Resist.................3/3

    Soul Squeezer.........1/1
    Soul Syphon...........1/1
  11. VI™ macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2010
    Shepherdsturd, WV
    After playing ESO with the action bar like a typical MMO, I figured out why I never liked magic much in any of the previous games and that's because it's rather difficult to switch as opposed to just have the number keys as actions. Sure you can set up hot keys, but then you have to configure those when you want to change up spell selections and it's not an immediate swap unlike being able to attack, shield bash, heal, fire a destruction spell, then fire a bolt in Skyrim all in 5-6 clicks.
  12. doh123 macrumors 65816

    Dec 28, 2009
    Don't overlook Conjuration

    Summoned creatures can help tremendously. Takes some work getting the skill up, but when you have it maxed with 2 dremora summons, they can pretty much do all the work for you.
  13. dec. Suspended


    Apr 15, 2012
    I did the same, I got tired of it at some point when I played the first time but a few months ago I started a fresh build and really loved playing it again - although my plan of keeping absolutely clean inventories throughout my homes, chests and drawers went down the drain quickly, hoarder galore...
  14. Washac thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jul 2, 2006
    OK, I have started a Dark Elf mage and having a blast, killing stuff really fast up to first dragon which was dispatched in less than a quarter of the time it took with normal weapons etc.
  15. Furifo macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2010
    Back when I was playing Skyrim, I seem to remember that magic scaling wasn't very well thought out. It was amazing initially at the lower levels but as you started to gain levels, it became harder as it didn't scale very well and often a lot of the higher level magic skills used up a lot of energy.

    I'm not sure if Bethesda themselves have patched magic to make it more balanced with the other forms of combat - I haven't played the game for awhile now. Back when I was playing, there were a ton of very simple mods around that modified stats related to magic i.e. damage output/energy cost etc. I downloaded a particularly good one that made the whole class extremely balanced - not ridiculously easy but definitely a big improvement over the way Bethesda had made it.

    If you're finding yourself struggling at the higher levels, look out for such mods and add them into your game. There are a wide variety of them out there - some which can make magic overpowered and others which can balance it out and make it more enjoyable. Get whichever you want depending on how you want to play the game ;)
  16. Washac thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jul 2, 2006
    Thanks for this information, would the Nexus magic balancing mod work with the legendary version do you know ?
  17. omenamato macrumors newbie

    Oct 7, 2005
  18. Huntn, May 14, 2014
    Last edited: May 14, 2014

    Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    I played through Skyrim completing the Main, Dragonborn, and Mage quest chains, becoming the head of the Mage College, and swear by conjuration, your tank. :) One thing that really disappointed me was they did away with custom spell crafting as they had in Oblivion. :(

    My My Adventures in Skyrim Blog. Why did they bother with marriage? :)

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