The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has graced the fans for the past eleven years, but there has been no concrete date set for the next installment of the series. Bethesda has stated number six will not come until after the release of Starfield, which puts the supposed release date of the sixth installment at least 2024-2025.
One of the fun things about Skyrim is leveling different skills. Players can take the path of the mage, the warrior, or the thief and become the greatest and most powerful Dragonborn in all of history, but those skills don’t come easily. There are many to choose from, but there are some that are more of a grind than others to level up.
“The hardest for me to level up seems to be [one-handed], even though I usually use [one-handed] after I’ve been discovered, I may [hinder] myself with strong elemental enchantments on my weapons,” says u/Zebracorn.
Leveling one-handed goes by base damage, not the number of hits. These types of weapons usually do not have very high base damage and thus can take a long time to level effectively. A tip is acquiring or smithing a Daedric Dagger, as it has high base damage, but the level needed to get it is also high.
One of the most needed magic skills in Skyrim, leveling “restoration is almost painful. I’ve only maxed it on one character and I bought a lot of levels,” says u/Devilscrush. While the skill is beneficial to all players, it is one of the most tedious and takes the longest.
In order to level up, the player has to take damage and then heal themselves. It is advisable to level this with other skills so the redundancy is not as apparent. Conjuration, for example, can create enemies for a short period of time to take damage from.
Blasting one’s enemies from a distance without a bow is fun, but the process to get there is draining. According to u/Peterlerock “the values required just feel off […] compared to onehanded, twohanded, archery.”
To be effective, a player should learn all four types of destruction spells (fire, frost, and shock) as many enemies are immune to certain types of damage. This is another skill that can be leveled in addition to Conjuration as Destruction is leveled when the player hits a target.
Many skills can be leveled with conjuration, but it is hard to level itself. u/PistolTimbo says “Hardest would probably be […] conjugation. […] kinda take[s] forever, even if you’re trying to grind it out.”
Thie biggest issue is that conjuring or summoning has to be done when detected by enemies and the spells that are used are not very high in experience. Additionally, the useful spells can’t be used until at least the Adept level where you are able to summon the bound bow, a useful item when leveling archery.
6 Heavy and Light Armor
By wearing armor, players gain the experience of both of these skills, which sounds easy. Unfortunately, it’s not. In order to gain experience effectively, but slowly, a player should be wearing all pieces in one class and take damage from enemies that will keep the hits coming.
As u/JAFANZ states “Heavy Armor & Light Armor both level based on your tanking hits so unless you can survive the Giant[s] […], they may be harder to grind out.” What’s worse, the payoff is not great. Reflect Blows and Deft Movement have only a 10% chance of avoiding all damage from a melee attack while wearing all of the same types of armor. At 100 skill level, players have better perks in other skill trees. Unless players have one of the best armors in Skyrim, like Daedric or Dragonscale, this perk does nearly nothing to help.
The best advice comes from u/Snifflebeard. “The hardest skill to level is the one you wait on [and] then try to level all at once. This is why people pull their hair out trying to level Smithing.” If not done early in the game, the grind is difficult and lackluster. One of the biggest mistakes Skyrim players make is buying instead of smithing weapons and armor.
The premise of leveling Smithing is an easy one: graft items at a forge and improve them at the workbench. However, actually doing it can be a struggle. First, a player must find all of the materials that are needed for the upgrade, and the more materials they need, the more encumbrance the character will have. On the other side, leveling smithing will allow you to make Dragon Armor, the best in the game.
Ingredients are far and wide in Skyrim, but the right ones to level fast are few and far between. u/StainlessCoffeeMug says “all a Google search gave me was the toes and wheat, which while quick in regards to the actual potion-making, is slow in the collection of ingredients.”
Toes are found when killing giants in addition to some other spots around Skyrim. Until the great hidden Daedric quest “A Night to Remember” is completed, the player cannot use giant toes, and they have to be at least level 14. Wheat is easier to obtain as players can rob some farms and buy some from merchants. The respawn takes days. Making potions with ingredients players already have is a shot in the dark unless they use a guide, and any potion not successfully created will not count towards alchemy experience and the ingredients are gone.
Invisibility is great for those taking the thief or assassin routes, but players have to be level 75 to use it. u/uberduger chimes in with “Invisibility is amazing, but I guess you to get invisibility but really can’t be bothered!”
With the vast changes of the illusion spells from Oblivion, leveling illusion past 75 is almost not worth the effort. Even the master-level spells are terrible as they are all about fleeing from combat or getting others to attack a target, which can be just as easily done with a summon or a follower.
Many players have listed exploits and console commands to increase Speech instead of going through the long, slow task of increasing it the normal way. “I’m wearing the Aetherium Crown with The Lover Stone locked in, on top of the Thief Stone as well. So even with 35% extra skill increases, Speech seems to me to be the hardest skill to max without any exploits,” says u/Argiope92,
Speech does have its uses as it can drastically reduce costs and open unique dialog. However, unlike Oblivion, the skill only levels once per interaction or transaction, so selling items in bulk is not advisable. It may be more beneficial to a player’s time to purchase the skill levels from trainers than grind this hard for a skill that has a minimal payoff. Or, to take the road less traveled, players could make the evil choice by stealing and then sweet-talking their way out of it when caught.
“The only skill that doesn’t have a fast, easy way to level up other than Trainers, is Lockpicking. It levels pretty slowly after a certain point and other than constantly breaking picks, there really isn’t a vanilla way to power level it. As such, I feel it’s the hardest to get to 100 naturally,” says u/Low_Party. Many users agreed with this statement, offering their advice.
Lockpicking is another skill useful to the thieves and assassins that lurk in the dark but leveling takes a lot of lockpicks and picking every lock you see. Or lockpicker can acquire is the Skeleton Key that can open any lock and the player still gains the experience. Getting the key requires the player to almost complete the Thieves Guild questline, which is very long in comparison to most factions.
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