Skyrim Special Edition first playthough

Should my very first playthrough (in 2022!) be with Survival Mode or without? I’ve been reading through the original 1800-post Skyrim thread from 2011, and kind of wanted to play the game people were playing back then. Is survival mode only for replay value, or is it a must-have improvement even your first time through?

I really don’t love having half the carrying capacity, I can say that. But with Subnautica, I could never play without survival mode; just doesn’t feel right. So I opted in when prompted in Skyrim, but now I’m wondering if it will mostly just add unfun hassle (encumberance) to my first impression of the game where I really don’t understand the game yet.

I just now rerolled, finishing the intro / tutorial and killed the first 3 dudes by the side of the road: Instead of my original Nord THF heavy armor Leroy Jenkins idea, I rerolled into Imperial S&B with light armor and small shield / buckler, aiming for a mix of combat and sneak, heavy on crafting. My first guy had gotten to the first town and talked to some people and sold stuff at the vendor, but then I rerolled. I think I want S&B, but had spent my first perk on THF.

(I have largely corrected the aggravating audio issues, but it’s still annoying.)

I would say without, which is how I’ve always played it.

Since survival mode didn’t exist (well, there were mods for something similar) prior to 2017, I doubt it was what everyone was using, but back then I was a lurker, and didn’t hang around those threads much.

Having said that, I do not care for Survival mode, although there are elements I like. And I believe (haven’t checked recently) there was a mod where you can toggle each separate element of the survival options, which makes it far better.

I enjoy most of the options (as I did in Fallout NV) but what makes it a chore for me is the disabled fast travel. Sure it’s more realistic, but Skyrim is big enough, with enough terrain features, that getting around to each location becomes an unfun chore. Just about everything else is tolerable or even fun, but it often breaks suspension of disbelief.

For example, if I’m freezing to death, why doesn’t just casting a fire spell at the ground near me provide heat, while holding a torch DOES?

Of course YMMV, and Skyrim is an amazing game, Survival mode or not. Do consider some mods for increased options, with my personal choice for hunting good ones being Skyrim Special Edition Nexus - Mods and Community.

(Among other things, various mods to change how harsh survival mode will be for you, if for example you just want food / rest / cold, but don’t want the reduced weight or being locked out of fast travel)

I feel like that intro tutorial is about 20-30 minutes long. I amuse myself during it by pretending to be a cameraman and trying to keep the camera focused on anyone speaking.

So this was great and all, but I had chosen survival mode again. (And then posted this thread.) Now it’s true that you can turn off survival mode at any time in settings, but apparently, you don’t get your carrying capacity back. So I had to rerun the tutorial again last night after making this thread.

You start off the game with 300 carrying capacity, and if you pick survival mode it drops to 150. If you then go to settings and turn off survival mode, your carrying capacity remains 150. When I saw that I rerolled in frustration. There may be an additional setting to fix that, but I didn’t trust that that was the only thing that got fucked up, y’know?

After last night’s hopefully final reroll for the time being, I said no to the survival question and retained my 300 carrying capacity. Further, I confirmed that stamina does indeed increase it by putting my first point in stamina and having it go up to 305. That made me so happy for two reasons: First that I can in fact increase it by putting points in stamina. Second that it’s not so much more capacity that I feel like I have to put points in it. It’s only five per point.

So anyway, I got halfway into my first side quest and I’m excited to get back to it. I’m finally all set up and actually playing!

You’ll have a ton of options later on, both in perks and standing stones to mitigate weight of armor and/or increase carrying capacity, so yeah, I tend to put minimal bonus in Stamina (although it’s good for power attacks for melee types).

While the carrying capacity is silly high in general, it’s largely balanced out by how overweight a lot of equipment is in general. (2x-5x the weight of IRL equivalents, although I won’t bitch about the weight of fantasy metals you use later on).

I actually came back to link this: Skyrim:Skyrim - The Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages (UESP)

It is full of details if you get stuck on quests, crafting, and worst of all - bugs. And just as importantly, lists not only SE details, but details that have changed (if you’re reading a guide from prior to the SE or if you’re using the unofficial skyrim patch).

Perfect. Thanks much!

I always opt in for Survival mode on the PS4; it makes food/cooking relevant, as otherwise there’s little point to food - it’s much more efficient to rely on healing potions/spells.

I did find the temperature/sleep bits of Survival a major ball-ache though. It’s often hard to stay warm/refreshed, and the cold/fatigue cripples certain abilities. But it does add to ‘immersion’.

Your first game of Skyrim ever? Oh how I envy you. (How much do you know about the Gear wars?). I bought it but didn’t start playing until 2 weeks later - 2 weeks of planning in what order to level up what I need as fast as possible without cheating. I needed 5 pieces of armor that were of legendary quality and gave the best possible bonuses. To do that is a grind, but a fun grind. You have to have plenty of soul gems with the right souls in them. get enchanting and smith? to 100 etc.

When I started my first storyline mission I was untouchable. I would one-hit kill anything with my bow and arrow and trap your soul. That might be a game-breaker for some, but for me I have my own backstory, so it all makes sense in my gameplay. :stuck_out_tongue:

Don’t get me wrong, I died many times in my quest to get the stuff I needed to level up. I flew the friendly skies on Giant airlines many a time.

Have fun.

According to Steam I was 4 hours into the game when I started this thread. I am currently 12 hours in.

I mentioned upthread that I was halfway through of my first side quest. In the past 8 hours of game time, that is the only quest I have managed to play. If I have to hear another NPC drone on and on about bullshit I don’t care about I’m going to lose my mind.

That one quest I ran was interesting. All of the interiors were very tight and claustrophobic. The hallways were narrow, and the most enemies I faced at any one time was three.

So after that quest I came back to the very first little town sold my loot and crafted up a full set of leather gear: armor, helmet, gloves and boots. I then found some more leather and crafted a +1 bonus on all of them. I’m very happy with the look of my guy now that he’s no longer wearing whatever random gear he managed to take off a freshly killed body.

After that I walked to that first normal size city, with the first Jarl you’re supposed to talk to. I talked to what felt like a hundred people in town, and ended up with dozens of side quests.

But I’m super poor and I can’t figure out how to raise any of my skills other than fighting and sneaking, and those I only raise by fighting and sneaking in quests. Again, I’ve only run the one quest.

Smithing is super expensive and very slow to level. I’m not sure how I’m going to manage to get it to level 30 to spend my next perk in the tree. I have not yet figured out how to do alchemy or enchantment, and I very much want the synergy of all three for my crafting.

Everything is expensive, for that matter. I have found a couple trainers but have yet to be able to afford five training sessions in any given level.

Oh, that was another weird thing: that one single quest I ran? I started it at level 2 and by the time I finished I was level 5. That felt weird to me. But it took me well over an hour, and was tremendously fun. I’m hoping there’s more of that questing stuff in this game because I am just about at the end of my patience with NPCs yammering.

I feel like RPG is not really my thing. I’m more about active combat, crafting and leveling.

For my next quest I’m going to do that iron mine bandit camp thing just north of the first major city. The problem there is nobody has told me to go there yet. So I looked up on the wiki linked above to see who gives that quest. Apparently there’s a dozen different people that give quests for that location, and one of them is bugged, where if I pick up a book before I get the quest it won’t register forevermore, and I’ll never be able to drop that book because it’s a quest item. But that quest is given in the mage guild, which I don’t care about. (My only magic so far has been restoration, which seems ridiculously OP.)

The world is beautiful but kind of choppy. Running around on uneven terrain feels glitchy, jumping up onto stuff feels awkward, and the combat isn’t quite as smooth as it was in DDO. The world also feels very small. Wide open spaces seem few and far between. I don’t actually care about that, so no biggie, but it is my impression.

Anyway, my next move is going to be to go straight to that second quest (even though nobody has asked me to go there yet) and mine all the iron ore, also grab the transmutation scroll so I can convert the iron ore into silver and then gold and then I guess craft a shitload of gold jewelry because that’s apparently the way to level crafting now.

My first crafting ever was a bunch of daggers, but that ended up being just a waste of materials because daggers are just about worthless for crafting nowadays. In special edition you get experience based on how valuable the thing you craft is. Lesson learned on taking googled advice for the original game.

Right now in the game I just got my first companion (Lydia), have killed the scripted dragon, and been offered my own house by the Jarl. This is all very strange to me because, again, I have run exactly one quest in my 12 hours of playing. That seems like way too much advancement for a single quest, but I’ll just roll with it because I’m still so new.

The only significant disappointment I’ve had so far is that it seems like traps aren’t disableable. That’s a mechanic I miss very much from DDO.

The last playthrough I did, the axe of Whiterun, a weapon the Jarl of Whiterun gives you, came with the soul snare enchantment. This was a giant help early on in the game, a great enchantment to have pretty much right away. (The weapon’s enchantment varies by playthrough, just this time was soul snare. The only thing better for me would be Paralyze.)
I have always always found smithing to be a real pain in the ass to level up to a decent level, let alone 100.

I think I still have that axe.

I should point out in fairness that the lock picking in Skyrim is way more engaging than in DDO. Probably enough to make up for the lack of disabling traps. (It’s actually pretty fun with a controller. I imagine using the keyboard would snap my lockpicks by the dozen. So far I think I’ve lost four, while having over 50 in my bag.)

With the soul snare enchantment early on that I mentioned, crafting crappy daggers ended up being a great way to level my enchanting and make some money.
I only needed to collect lots of soul gems. Then, filling them was a piece of cake. Then crafting a dagger and enchanting it, then selling it.

Daggers are no longer useful for crafting experience. It is no longer the same XP for anything you craft. With special edition, crafting XP is given based on the value of the item you craft. Daggers aren’t valuable, thus they give you no XP.

But your recommendation remains valid: craft gold necklaces and rings and such, using whatever soul gems you happen to have.

Skyrim is going to feel very weird then, because all leveling comes from increasing skills - combat levels skills you actively (attacks, parry, blocks with shield) and passively (taking hits while wearing a class of armor). You already leaned the basics of crafting for blacksmithing, in that the more and more expensive item you craft (alchemy, enchanting, blacksmithing) the faster the skill levels, while also SLOWING down based on how high the level of the skill is!

So yeah, it’ll be kinda rough if that’s your preferred play style.

As for questing, enjoy how it is right now, because most of the time, you’ll be out in the world doing a quest to, say, kill giants (damn hard until you’re overgeared) and then come home to the pathetic reward of someone’s petty cash for a night of drinking. :exploding_head:

The exception, as you’re noting now, is the main story quest lines, which tend to have more substantial rewards and recognition. But even then, they don’t ever provide a solid source of cash - that generally comes from exploiting the system (Not cheating, but Alchemy FTW). Speaking of alchemy, the innkeeper in your first town should have given you the basics, and the link above will give you recipes if you don’t want to experiment by yourself.

And if you want crazy, the only way to get to very high levels in skyrim, other than leveling every skill in the game to high levels, is to periodically max a skill and reset it using the legendary option, which drops the skill back down to 15, and lets you relevel it, which increases your level as well. Stockpile the good stuff ahead of time!

But, it WILL get better. Higher levels of crafted stuff sell better, and REALLY well if you apply even a pretty minor damn enchant to the item in question. Selling stuff raises your speech, which ALSO raises the value of the items you sell. Generally in Elder scroll games, you are picking every piece of trash in the beginning, and at the end, no one has enough cash to pay you for your items.

It would be difficult to put into words how much I truly love this mechanic, by the way. I love it to death.

Out of curiosity, I believe you mentioned that you had the axe of Whiterun. What enchantment does it have?

Here’s a screenshot: (The menu wasn’t highlighted on the axe, I guess, or maybe a bug; the green +1 should be a red -2 at the bottom of the screen, and if I switch to it my damage does go down from 15 to 13.)

It says base damage of 13 (weight 12, value 121) plus 5 fire damage per hit. I don’t know if I crit yet (I saw it mentioned in the single weapon perk tree) but I strongly prefer base damage to proc effects because of crits. I suppose 14+5 > 15 by a significant margin; I’ll upgrade it now and switch to it. Will be nice to have a bladed weapon. Ideally I’d like some kind of light sword, but we’ll see.

Fire damage. OK. I’m not saying it’s a super weapon or anything, I was just really pleased to get one that would capture souls. That helped me out a lot in a playthrough where my goal was to get Enchanting up to 100 ASAP. At 100 you can enchant items with 2 different enchantments, which makes for some badass weaponry.
(You can break that weapon down if you want, and learn the fire damage enchantment. Then you can enchant your favorite sword to deal fire damage.)

Well crap, I don’t have the perk to upgrade magical items. Hmmm, 13+5 vs 15+(crits?). My D&D background is telling me that the mace crit profile is shit even if I’m getting it, so I think I still should switch to the axe.

I’m not sure how much I love this perk gating system.